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Merscom is based in Chapel Hill, N.C., and it makes games for big brands such as Sea World, Purina, National Geographic and NBC Universal. Playdom, a big player in social games on both MySpace and Facebook, plans to leverage Merscom’s expertise in working with brand owners. And it will try to recruit more game veterans in the North Carolina game development community.
Merscom was founded more than 16 years ago to produce games based on brands. The team has produced over 250 games in total and over 30 casual games for such brands as Lifetime Networks, Paramount and Starz Entertainment. Prior to 2009, Merscom produced games primarily using overseas developers. In 2009, Merscom added in-house engineers and started work on social games. The company’s first internally produced social game, The Crazies, was released in conjunction with the movie of the same name last month.
Merscom has 20 employees, led by founders Kirk Owen and Lloyd Melnick. John Pleasants, chief executive of Playdom, said in a statement, “We believe that brands matter and that over time, as the social gaming industry matures, games which incorporate content from popular culture and widely respected brands will garner larger market share than those without it.”
Mountain View, Calif.-based Playdom has previously acquired game development firms including Three Melons, Offbeat Games, Green Patch and Trippert Labs. Playdom’s most popular games include Social City, Sorority Life, Mobsters, Tiki Resort and Big City Life. Playdom raises its war chest for the acquisitions with a $43 million round in November. Playdom has more than 400 employees now.
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