US-based Words With Friends developer renamed â??Zynga With Friendsâ??

Zynga buys Newtoy in â??new mobile frontierâ??

Zynga has purchased Texas-based mobile game studio Newtoy, the group has confirmed.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Speaking at a Develop-attended conference call, Zynga’s vice president of mobile, David Ko, said the purchase of Newtoy represented what was the beginning of a new era for the Farmville developer.

“It has become increasingly clear that mobile is the next great frontier in social gaming,” he said.

Farmville on the iPhone, Zynga’s first big push into the smartphone market, was said to be a litmus test on the potential of the portable market.

“In the last five months, Farmville on the iPhone has been downloaded over 7 million times,” Ko said.

“We have more than ten million people per month accessing games on a mobile device,” he added.

Zynga is “only getting started” on its mobile push, according to Ko, with plans to make all Zynga games workable on mobile devices.

The strategy, for some, will seem like an inevitability. This week a key exec from Zynga rival Playfish said the Facebook games platform has plateaued, with other companies such as Bigpoint warning startups to be cautious in banking on the social network.

Newtoy co-founder Paul Bettner has been appointed as general manager of The Zynga With Friends Studio, and will report to Ko.

The Texas based studio was formed from the ashes of Ensemble Studios – the RTS developer that Microsoft decided to close down in 2008.

Newtoy’s breakthrough title has been Words With Friends – a mobile adaptation of Scrabble that has proven to be highly popular.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said the Words With Friends franchise “is the best social game experience available on mobile today, and we are excited to welcome the Newtoy team to Zynga.”

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