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News Corp: Increased Focus On MySpace As Gaming Platform

Not long after ousting MySpace's former CEO, the social network's owner News Corp. revealed its intentions to expand the site as a gaming platform, suggesting future acquisitions towards this initiative, according to media reports.
MySpace owner News Corp. says it sees gaming as a crucial element to the social network's expansion, and is considering opportunities to attract video game companies into launching their titles on the site and growing MySpace's current game offerings. "MySpace is and will be more in the future a gaming platform, a space for people to meet and play games," said News Corp.'s chief digital officer Jonathan Miller at the Fortune Brainstorm: TECH conference, according to a report from Reuters. Though he didn't mention any specific studios, he added that the media conglomerate could make acquisitions to advance the platform to that point. This increased emphasis on gaming comes several months after News Corp. ousted MySpace's co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe, installing former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta and its own management team. The company also recently laid off more than 400 workers, or 30 percent of its staff, in the U.S. as part of its efforts to cut costs. News Corp, which purchased the social network in 2005 for some $580 million, is struggling to match Facebook's already matured gaming platform and traffic; while the competing site received more than 307 million unique visitors in April according to comScore, MySpace claimed less than 125 million. Furthermore, Facebook bested MySpace's peak number of unique monthly U.S. users, 76.3 million, last month. Miller referred to recent talks with Rupert Murdoch, revealing that the News Corp. CEO and chairman's desire to see MySpace transformed into an "entertainment portal." The chief digital officer commented, "You must focus, and in our case we are focusing on music, games, video, things like that." "None of the traditional media conglomerates are also significant video game players, so to speak, and I think that that's the missing piece of the equation, particularly when you see how much time is spent playing games online," Miller said.

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