The Walt Disney Company has announced a deal to acquire online and social media game developer Playdom for up to $763 million—$563.2 million up-front, and another $200 million down the line if Playdom meets performance goals.
“We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN, and Marvel,” said Disney president and CEO Robert A. Iger, in a statement.
Playdom has 15 development studios—some of which came on board through acquisition deals of its own—and will remain headquartered in Mountain View, California: Playdom’s CEO John Pleasants will become an executive VP at the Disney Interactive Media Group.
The deal highlights traditional media companies’ growing interest in the online gaming world, although at first glance Playdom and Disney might now seem to be the greatest fit: Playdom’s most successful online game franchise is the not-so-kid-friendly Mobsters, followed up Mobsters 2: Vendetta and Mobsters: Overdrive. However, Disney sees the acquisition as a way to strengthen its online gaming portfolio and extend its brand and characters more fully into social networks like MySpace and Facebook.