Zynga buys up German Studio Dextrose

Social games network acquires software group

ZURICH -- Online games giant Zynga, creators of FarmVille, has set up a European beachhead, acquiring German software group Studio Dextrose for an undisclosed sum. The company will be renamed Zynga Germany.

Dextrose's main technology is the Aves Engine, software that enables complex games to run on most standard Internet browsers. The technology could allow Zynga to step up the graphic quality of games such as FarmVille, which are free-to-play but technically simplistic. A key question will be whether Facebook's platform, where most of Zynga's more than 200 million users reside, will support the Aves technology.

Zynga is aggressively expanding internationally, recently launching Zynga Japan as a joint venture with investor SoftBank and setting up in China with the acquisition earlier this year of Beijing-based social games company XPD Media.

Zynga is the world-leader in the so-called casual or social gaming business. Zynga doesn't charge users to play its online games but makes money selling virtual goods used in those games. It's a booming business.

Disney recently entered the casual games market, acquiring Zynga competitor Playdom in a deal worth up to $763 million. Last year Electronic Arts bought Playfish, another social gaming site, in a deal valued at up to $400 million.
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