Playdom Acquires Facebook Developer Offbeat Creations

Playdom, one of the top social game makers on Facebook, has acquired Washington-based Offbeat Creations. Offbeat Creations is best known for Super Farkle, a Flash-based dice game similar to Yahtzee that has grown to over 1,000,000 monthly active users. The goal of the acquisition is stated as bringing in new talent to the existing Playdom family and help Playdom expand their games offerings.

Playdom really took the social games world by storm by launching several applications on MySpace when that network opened up its application directory. As of December 2009, they were still the leading developer of MySpace games. Although, the decline of the network’s traffic in general was one of the factors that led them to pursue the Facebook market early last year, and they have had tremendous success with titles like Sorority Life, Mobsters 2, Lil Farm Life, Tiki Farm, Tiki Resort, Wild Ones and Poker Palace. The company also made a bold move in securing a new CEO in former EA COO John Pleasants last year. John was responsible for managing EA Interactive for a while, and helped EA move their social gaming initiatives forward.

According to Playdom, “To date, over 90 million Playdom games have been installed on leading platforms including Facebook, MySpace, iPhone and Hi5”. This leads me into my question: what is the big deal about Offbeat Games? There certainly must be an angle that Playdom is pursuing with them, and looking at their titles, I noticed a few things. First of all, the graphic quality on their Flash title Farkle are extremely high.

It is more reminiscent of a high production Playfish game than some of the more popular static Playdom games like Mobsters and Sorority Life, and I imagine that Pleasants understands that the market will eventually trend towards higher production values. The second note was that other than Farkle, a lot of the games are static, simple games like Balloon Fight and Be a Tycoon. These are similar to what Playdom already does, and probably aren’t an important part of this deal.

This deal was probably about getting more developer/designers in the door, and putting them to work on some more ambitious Playdom titles. Playdom’s Washington studio is still just a 15-person team, and adding Offbeat will bring 12 new developers and designers to the group.