A game from Zynga called ZombieSmash popped up on our radar this evening.
Curiously, its owner used to be named GameDoctors, an independent studio from Bielefeld, Germany founded by two brothers three years ago. But the owner’s name just changed to Zynga, even though the app has been out for nearly two years. Zynga has not immediately replied to requests for comment.
It may be a sign that Zynga acquired GameDoctors or a sign that the company is starting to publish third-party iOS games. In the prospectus last month for Zynga’s initial public offering, the company said it acquired two companies between the end of the third quarter and Dec. 15 for an aggregate purchase price of $4.9 million. The most likely explanation we’re hearing about from multiple sources — though not confirmed yet — is that this is one of them.
Alternately, Zynga has made number of hires suggesting a move toward publishing. It recently poached Sony’s Rob Dyer, who now heads partner publishing. In September, it also hired Disney game publishing exec Adam Sussman, who used to work at EA Mobile.
Publishing could help defray the risks of being a hits-driven business and help the company cultivate relationships with independent studios it may one day eventually want to acquire. It would also put it in competition with EA’s Chillingo label and with other dual game developers and publishers like 6Waves-LOLApps.