Google is said to have acquired social games group Jambool in what is widely believed to be part of a covert operation to become a serious Facebook rival.
The search engine giant has acquired the San Francisco-based company in a deal worth up to $75 million, claims a TechCrunch report.
TechCrunch’s previous articles on Google’s games strategy have turned out to be accurate.
It is said that Jambool was a key target for Google due to its in-app payment system, known as Social Gold. The technology allows developers to build payments directly into their games and other applications.
This may be a bigger move for Google than the alleged price tag suggests. Facebook has put relationships with its development partners under strain since introducing its own Credits model, in which it takes a 30 per cent cut.
Jambool’s Social Gold gives developers, in theory, the chance to customise their own payment models with Google. Neither company have made comments on the alleged deal, or their plans with it.
Social Gold was co-founded by Amazon veteran Vikas Gupta, who himself is outspoken on the Facebook Credits system.
The Social games space has become a lucrative phenomenon in the last several years, with groups such as Zynga making a fortune from the platform.
And any grand plan from Google won’t come without a fight. Facebook is racing to find a star games industry exec that will broker deals with publishers and development studios.
The social networking giant – which recently clocked over 500 million individual active users – wants to make major deals with external studios and publishers, in a bid to bolster the platform’s games offering.