Playdom acquires a familiar name with Acclaim Games deal

Acclaim is one of the oldest names in the video game business, not unlike Atari in terms of its importance to video game history. So it’s interesting that one of the Young Turks of video games, social game publisher Playdom, has now acquired Acclaim Games.|

Mountain View, Calif.-based Playdom said today that it acquired Acclaim in for an undisclosed price. It is the latest in a series of acquisitions that Playdom has made as it tries to become a powerhouse in online games. Playdom is the biggest social game publisher on MySpace and has more than 38 million monthly active users on Facebook.

The old Acclaim (Acclaim Entertainment) that owned properties such as Mortal Kombat went out of business in 2004. But in 2006, game industry pioneer Howard Marks took control of the name and created Acclaim Games, which focused on massively multiplayer online games as well as free-to-play games. (He called the company Acclaim so it would have some of the cachet of the older company). It has more than 15 million registered users and recently launched RockFree, a Facebook game that resembles Guitar Hero. That game has tens of thousands of daily active users. Marks also played a big role in the revival of Activision, which is now Activision Blizzard.

Marks will run Acclaim as a studio inside Playdom and serve in a senior strategic role for Playdom. Acclaim’s chief technology officer, Neil Malhotra, will act as the Acclaim studio’s senior technical officer.

“Bringing Howard and Neil into Playdom strengthens our leadership and bolsters our position as an innovative games developer for the future,” said John Pleasants, CEO of Playdom. “Howard and Neil have worked together building and operating games for many years, and their pipeline of new games is strong.”

Pleasants said that with its first studio in Southern California, his company can now tap the development talent in that region. The larger trend is interesting. As the traditional video game industry slows down, its assets, its people, and even the names of its institutions are being taken over by the new gaming industry.

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