Zynga Picks Up iOS Game Engine Developers Through Partial Acquisition of Sapus Media

Zynga brought on two major contributors to an open source 2-D game engine for the iPhone today through a partial acquisition of Sapus Media. Ricardo Quesada and Rolando Abarca, two South American developers from Argentina and Chile, are joining the company.

They both were very active in building cocos2d, an iOS gaming library that’s used by large game developers like ngmoco, South Korea’s Gamevil and Atari.

Zynga has actively been trying to improve its performance in mobile gaming. It not only hired Yahoo executive David Ko to run its mobile division, but it’s also made a series of mobile acquisitions in the last year including Words With Friends maker Newtoythe U.K.’s Wonderland Software and New York’s Area/Code, which was behind Drop7.

While the company got off to a sluggish start on iOS with other independently-built farming games eclipsing Farmville in terms of revenues, it appears like Zynga’s focus is starting to pay off. Today Zynga has the top paid app in the U.S. through Words With Friends (because of a Mother’s Day sale) and two titles among the top ten grossing apps including Zynga Poker.

Here’s the release below:

“This morning Zynga announced that Ricardo Quesada and Rolando Abarca, key contributors to the renowned cocos2d for iPhone open source project, are joining Zynga. The cocos2d for iPhone open source project is widely used by developers globally, including large players like Atari, ngmoco, Gamevil and Zynga, in the development of leading mobile games for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac. Zynga has long been an advocate of the open source community and we are excited to have Ricardo and Rolando continue to support and contribute to cocos2d for iPhone while in their new roles at Zynga. In addition, Ricardo and Rolando’s developer talent and deep roots in an incredibly powerful mobile open source game engine will greatly augment Zynga’s presence in the mobile space. You can find a blog post on the acquisition here: http://www.zynga.com/about/blog.php

Ricardo and Rolando join Zynga through the acquisition of certain assets of Sapus Media. Prior to the acquisition, Ricardo and Rolando focused on developing professional tools for mobile game developers as well as advancing the widely used cocos2d for iPhone open source project. Games and applications will continue to operate on cocos2d for iPhone as they always have. Zynga is not acquiring the community site, cocos2d-iphone.org, which will continue to be managed separately by Ricardo and the other cocos2d administrators.

This is Zynga’s 13th announced acquisition in 12 months, including:

· XPD in Beijing

· Challenge Games in Austin

· Unoh Games in Tokyo

· Conduit Labs in Boston

· Dextrose AG in Frankfurt

· Bonfire Studios in Dallas

· Newtoy Inc. in McKinney, Texas

· Flock team

· Area/Code in New York

· Floodgate Entertainment in Boston

· Market Zero in Texas

· Wonderland Software, UK