As its GameHouse portal reaches over 60 million monthly active users, RealNetworks announced its acquisition of Canadian social game developer Backstage Technologies. Though Real did not disclose financial terms for the purchase, the company says the purchase price is not material and won't affect its 2010 revenues.
Founded in 1996, Backstage produces casual games for social networks like MySpace and Facebook. Its titles include Pull Tabs, Scratch and Win, Slots, Vinyl City
, and the licensed Facebook adaptation of TV game show Family Feud (published by iWin), the last of which has 6.6 million monthly active players.
Real intends to let Backstage continue to work out of its current office in Victoria. It believes that the studio will add "valuable expertise in both engineering and monetizing games" to GameHouse, its digital game division responsible for maintaining the GameHouse Fusion social gaming platform.
GameHouse Fusion launched last May, allowing users to play social and casual games across multiple sites and devices (Facebook, MySpace, mobile phones, PCs, and other internet-connected platforms). The portal currently reaches over 13 million monthly active users on social networks, and 60 million monthly users overall.
Backstage is expected to work with GameHouse to take advantage of the platform's capabilities while contributing several "key technological components" to the system. Real notes that its acquisition of Backstage is a sign of its commitment to making its entire GameHouse business social.
"We acquired Backstage to advance our commitment to delivering fun and engaging games," says Matt Hulett, senior vice president of the Games Division at RealNetworks.
He adds, "With their pioneering talents in supporting and optimizing leading social gaming titles to scale to millions of users, Backstage will help evolve and improve our existing social games efforts."