RealNetworks Acquires Backstage to Bolster GameHouse Division

Seattle-based company RealNetworks is taking another tack in its efforts to succeed on Facebook. It announced today that it has bought Backstage Technologies, the Canadian developer that is most famous on Facebook for Family Feud, which was produced in partnership with iWin.

Backstage will work with RealNetworks’ own GameHouse, which makes UNO™, SCRABBLE® Worldwide, COLLAPSE! and a handful of other games. It also runs a Facebook app called GameHouse, a cross-platform portal to which it hopes to attract other developers.

The combination of the two companies (virtually, as Backstage will remain in its own Canada HQ) suggests a different sort of Facebook publisher. GameHouse’s own offerings have been branded board or card games, while Backstage makes simple arcade games like Scratch and Win and Action Sudoku. Neither company has ever made a Facebook game along the standard farm, pet or city lines.

Backstage’s reputation from working on Family Feud may be enough to secure RealNetworks more branded partnerships, a hot area right now with games like The Price is Right gaining millions of users.

RealNetworks didn’t disclose the purchase price, but it did say that it won’t impact 2010 earnings — which suggests a relatively low price, since Real is currently losing money as it restructures.