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Zynga Acquires New York's Area/Code

New York-based social game pioneer Area/Code (Parking Wars, CSI: Crime City) has been acquired by Zynga, becoming Zynga New York as it aims to grow its development efforts by aligning with the market giant.

Leigh Alexander, Contributor

January 21, 2011

2 Min Read

New York-based social game developer Area/Code (Parking Wars, CSI: Crime City) is now Zynga New York, announcing it's been acquired by the gaming giant and will become a part of its development efforts. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Co-founder Frank Lantz continues to be the studio's creative director, while general manager Demitri Detsaridis also maintains his role. But according to a statement on the studio's website, co-founder Kevin Slavin "remains nearby but focused on other new ventures." "Zynga is the undisputed leader of an industry in the midst of an important transition," explains the six-year-old studio in a statement. "Social games have demonstrated massive popularity and commercial success even as they are still developing; Area/Code’s ideas, passion and experience will now participate in that development." Area/Code is generally recognized as one of the early pioneers of social gaming concepts, creating one of the first examples of massive Facebook success with Parking Wars, a relatively subtle tie-in to the A&E television show of the same name. Discussing that game over three years ago at the Game Developers Conference, Lantz said he saw Facebook as "a space in which a new kind of game design would flourish." The company's since done numerous projects in the games space, as well as for brand clients like Nike, CBS and Nokia. It also found notable success with its widely-acclaimed Drop7, the studio's first iPhone game. In addition, CSI: Crime City, on which the company worked along with Ubisoft, currently has around 2.2 million monthly unique players on Facebook, and has been critically acclaimed for its social gameplay. Area/Code now says it wants to grow bigger, and says that aligning with a company of Zynga's size is the best approach: "Our ambition is to contribute in a major way to the evolution of games on social networks, to make games in this space that are deeper and more interesting, games that reward the time and attention of the millions of people who play them with complex, meaningful experiences," continues the company's statement. "We believe our best shot at doing this is working with Zynga, the biggest, most successful company in this space." The acquisition is part of a continuing march on Zynga's part; the Area/Code buy is the company's ninth in the past eight months. "We recognize great talent, and Area/Code shares our passion for building lasting games that bring family and friends together for fun," said Zynga on its blog.

About the Author(s)

Leigh Alexander

Contributor

Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro and numerous other publications. She also blogs regularly about gaming and internet culture at her Sexy Videogameland site. [NOTE: Edited 10/02/2014, this feature-linked bio was outdated.]

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