Microsoft is mounting a bid to become the next company armed with its own a Facebook game studio, reports suggest.
Anonymous sources say that the Xbox 360 owner is in the running to acquire California-based developer CrowdStar. However, Bloomberg reports that any acquisition meetings with CrowdStar may not end up in a mutual agreement.
CrowdStar – one of the most popular Facebook game developers – is thought to be considering remaining independent, turning instead to non-controlling VC investments as a means to progress the business. Bloomberg speculated the company’s value could be at about $200 million, adding that negotiations may last for weeks before a decision is reached.
Analyst group AppData say that CrowdStar is the fourth-largest developer of Facebook applications, boasting over 50 million monthly active users.
The news comes as social game studios continue to transform traditional game industry business models. EA just recently purchased Facebook game group Playfish for at least $400 million, while some analysts value Playfish rival Zynga at around $1 billion.
A Microsoft-owned CrowdStar would give the platform holder several new business opportunities. The firm has in the past talked up the importance of developing social games, and owns the MSN Games portal.