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Zynga acquires Wild Needle casual game maker for an estimated $3.8M

Zynga acquired Wild Needle, a casual game company that had backing from Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson, according to TechCrunch.

We’ve heard that the purchase price was $3.8 million, but the companies involved still haven’t acknowledged the deal. Wild Needle was formed in 2010 to focus on games for women. In addition to Playdom’s co-founder, it was also backed by Shasta Ventures.

The company launched Shoptown Hero as an iOS game last year, and pulled it down from the App Store a month ago. TechCrunch said the deal was a talent-focused one for Zynga, which has been acquiring a number of small teams in order to get access to talented game developers.

Thompson scored big time with Playdom, which Disney bought in 2010 for up to $763 million. He was also an investor in Funzio, which Gree acquired for $210 million.

When he talked to us about Wild Needle, Thompson said he was putting money on the idea that mobile is becoming a larger opportunity. His company was one of the game startups that had a “mobile first” strategy.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Wild Needle raised $2.5 million in funding from Thompson and Shasta Ventures. Thompson said that he didn’t need the money to start the company, but he did want access to Shasta’s managing director, Robert Coneybeer, who joined Wild Needle’s board. Wild Needle’s other top executives included Heidi Carson (vice president of product), Chris Kirmse (vice president of engineering), and Minglei Xu (software architect).

In other news, TechCrunch also reported that Zynga’s next game, Big Harvest, is in testing in the Philippines. The game may be a sequel to FarmVille.


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