It’s game time for MySpace. Already solidly established as a music and video destination for their users, the social networking giant announced Tuesday they will add casual games to the mix.
Through a deal with New York based game maker and publisher Oberon, MySpace will launch a game destination on their site in January. The section will be host to as many as hundreds of easy to play, easy to learn games. Puzzles and word games, variations on standbys like chess and checkers, should figure prominently. The idea is similar to Yahoo Games, Pogo and other sites, but will also include social networking functionality.
Casual games aren’t usually big money earners. They account for a small fraction of overall gaming industry income but the games are increasingly popular with web hosts as ways to keep their audiences entertained with quick burst of activity.
Throughout the industry, the sector is viewed as high growth. A few months ago, gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts even created a division solely focused on casual gaming as a a part of a management restructuring.
Oberon was founded in 2003. They have been backed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Oak Ventures and Lehman Brother’s. While privately owned and relatively young, the company is no stranger to handling sizable business development deals. The games Oberon has created for partners can be found on such leading properties as Yahoo, Microsoft and AT&T (mobile).
Amit Kapur, MySpace VP of Bus. Development said the idea “answered a need for enhancing the fun factor at MySpace.”
The two companies will also push developers to come up with creative ways to incorporate social networking features in to the gaming experience.