Zynga Acquires Mobile Games Developer Area/Code

Social games developer Zynga this week announced the acquisition of Area/Code, the developer of popular mobile games including "Drop7" and "CSI Crime City" for Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a blog posting announcing both the acquisition and the opening of a new office in New York City, Zynga officials said Area/Code "boasts a strong and creative team with a proven track record of hit social games on Facebook and mobile devices."

"We recognize great talent, and Area/Code shares our passion for building lasting games that bring family and friends together for fun," the company added.

Zynga, which developed popular social and mobile gaming apps "FarmVille" and "Mafia Wars," now counts more than 50 million active daily users and 225 million monthly users.

Mobile gaming applications are among the most popular downloads for smartphones and tablet PCs and are added by the hundreds every day at mobile app stores operated by Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).

According to UK-based IT research and consulting firm FutureSource Consulting, the worldwide market for mobile games is expected to eclipse $10 billion by 2014, and sales of iPhone and iPod touch games alone will represent more than 24 percent of total mobile gaming sales by 2014.

Strong demand for gaming apps -- a study by the Pew Research Center found that 34 percent of smartphone users download and play games from their devices -- combined with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets designed with faster processing chips and larger, more vibrant screens has led to substantial consolidation in the mobile gaming development sector.

In October, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) spent $20 million to acquire Chillingo, the UK-based publisher of "Angry Birds," one of the most popular downloads on the iPhone.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.