News Corp acquires developer

Rupert Murdoch’s high-profile entry into the video games sector has been talked about for years, though whether the acquisition of Irata Labs is really the beginning of a new era for News Corp is certainly up for debate.

The buyout of the three-man San Francisco studio does add a new string to News Corp’s still tiny video games bow, but it’s hardly the global publisher buyout that so many have been expecting for so long.

News Corp’s media empire is wide-reaching, including leading brands such as UK newspapers The Sun and The Times, book publisher HarperCollins, US media giants The Wall Street Journal, 20th Century Fox and Fox TV network as well as UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB and former social gaming leader MySpace

However, despite this its only gaming properties to date are consumer online network IGN and mobile games specialist Jamba. A bigger move into gaming has been doing the rounds on the rumour mill for years, however, with the latest prediction published just last month.

The LA Times reports that Irata’s biggest success to date is social-network themed outing Spymaster, which gained plenty of attention thanks to its use of Twitter. A source close to the deal told the paper:

The fact they built a social classified offering, iList, then they built a Twitter game – these guys have shown they can be mold-breakers with great product. And that’s what we care about.”

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