Playdom Hopes For NBC Universal Games with Merscom Acquisition

Playdom, makers of the Social City hit game and one of the largest social gaming companies on Facebook, announced today that they are acquiring Merscom Games and hope to publish brand name games in the future. Merscom develops online and social games for big brands, and are currently developing games for Sea World, Purina, National Geographic and NBC Universal. The interesting element here is that Playdom plans to leverage these relationships and expand their games into big brand names using the Merscom connection.

The main development office in North Carolina, and Playdom intends to use the Merscom team as they use all of their various development shops. With their recent acquisitions of Three Melon games, Offbeat creations and Trippert Labs, Playdom is buying developers, games and traffic at a rapid rate. This is all after their recent round of funding, and we assume that there is some grand plan on how to consolidate all this traffic into a business model. That said, there hasn’t been much word from Playdom on any plans to connect the games or create a single currency. It seems as if Playdom, for now, is just content to create big games.

The press release included a little information about Merscom:

Merscom was founded more than 16 years ago to produce games with third party branded content. Merscom’s core team has produced over 250 games in total and over 30 casual games for such brands as Lifetime Networks, Paramount and Starz Entertainment. Prior to 2009 Merscom produced games primarily using international engineering resources. In 2009 Merscom added in-house engineering staff and began building as well as producing social games. The company’s first internally developed social game “The Crazies” was released in conjunction with the movie of the same name in March 2010.

Founders Kirk Owen and Lloyd Melnick and their team of over 20 producers, designers, artists and engineers will lead Playdom’s efforts to partner with artists, entertainment companies and other IP holders to co-develop the next generation of social games.

John Pleasants, the CEO of Playdom also discussed brands specifically. This is interesting as it has been the opinion of EA-Playfish that brands will also begin to dominate the social gaming space, but we haven’t seen it yet.

“We believe that brands matter and that over time, as the social gaming industry matures, games which incorporate content from popular culture and widely respected brands will garner larger market share than those without it,” says John Pleasants, Playdom’s CEO. “Merscom has 16 years experience working with content owners and we intend to call on this experience as we move into this promising area of our industry.”

Incidentally, we’ll have speakers from Playdom at the upcoming Social Gaming Summit in San Francisco on May 6th and 7th. Sign up, come out and say hi!

Register for the Social Gaming Summit, May 6 and 7th in San Francisco