Amidst recent layoffs and corporate restructuring, Zynga has acquired Spooky Cool Labs, announced on Zynga’s company blog. With Zynga looking to strengthen its social casino offerings, the company has acquired Spooky Cool Labs to assist in development of more social casino games.
The Spooky Cool Labs team is made up of social and money casino gaming veterans. Company founder, Joe Kaminkow, was ranked as one of the 10 most influential people in the history of slots by Strictly Slots Magazine.
Though it is a leading developer for social casino games, Spooky Cool Labs’s newest game is actually a Wizard of Oz city-building game available on Facebook and iOS. According to AppData, the game has an estimated 188,386 monthly active users with 19,785 daily active users. TechCrunch has reported that the Wizard of Oz brand is also part of the deal.
Spooky Cool Labs will remain Chicago-based, but will work with Zynga’s SF based social casino gaming team. Cofounder Joe Kaminkow will continue to lead game design at Aristocrat Leisure Limited, one of the top land-based slots manufacturers.
Kaminkow also shared,
“We are proud to now be a part of the Zynga team and are confident that we bring a particular excellence in game development to the social casino genre. We are excited about our games which are fun to play and that include leading licensed content that resonate with players worldwide. This, combined with Zynga’s leading social gaming expertise will help us further our joint long-term vision of offering our players the most engaging and accessible social casino experiences across multiple platforms worldwide.”
Zynga’s interest in casino and real-money gaming is nothing new. We have speculated that Zynga may not be able to convert its non-real money spending audience. It is also unlikely to be legal in the US anytime soon. Industry executives have also stated the real-money gaming market is already over saturated.
Phil Gordon, founder and CEO of social gaming startup Jawfish Games, had told Inside Mobile Apps his advice to Zynga was to acquire a small, existing real-money poker or real-money gaming provider in order to kick start what he sees as a “difficult” and “painful” learning experience. With the acquisition of Spooky Cool Labs, Zynga has done just that.