Rumor: Electronic Arts Acquires Social Gaming Startup J2Play
While we haven’t been able to obtain confirmation or comment from either of the parties involved, we’re hearing from industry sources that J2Play, developers of a social gaming SDK for web, mobile, and PC casual game companies, has been acquired by Electronic Arts. Details of the transaction are unknown, but we’ve heard rumors that it was likely in the “few million dollars” range.
J2Play was founded in 2006 by Robert Balahura, who “creat[ed] and commercializ[ed] the world’s first mobile multiplayer game & SDK,” according to J2Play’s website. Balahura now lists his current job title as “Director of Social Platforms at Electronic Arts” on LinkedIn. Ironically, just earlier today EA COO John Pleasants left the company to take the helm at hot social gaming startup Playdom.
What exactly is J2Play? According to the company, “J2Play provides a do-it-yourself viral distribution framework that exposes your game to all social-site users, makes your game social, generates traffic, and keeps users coming back.” We did an in-depth interview with Balahura late last fall, in which he discussed the company’s products in more detail:
We continuously think about new viral features we can add for discovery of games and new ways for social interaction. One concept that is important that we continue to develop are the concept of native viral features and internal viral features. The concept of native viral features provides the native feeds, invites, and notifications automatically to whatever social network the user is playing on as well as a generalized api that is a write once – get all native viral features for all networks type of concept…The key thing for us is to provide the viral distribution out of the box for developers so they don’t have to spend their time building those but can focus on developing content.
We’ve full loyalty platform and are providing APIs for our tournament module soon. The J2Play solution is a full multi-player games platform so game developers can build different types of multi-player games with the platform and by developing their own game servers. That is fairly advanced stuff compared to most of the games out there now. Developers can also integrate item based microtransactions, an item-model through power ups etc. to their games. We have that from our experience working with Asian developers and content in the past years.
Here are a couple of examples of J2Play games: 1) Pacman, 2) Sudoku on Meebo. You can actually check out the Sudoku on Meebo integration live here.
J2Play received a $250,00 grant in last year’s fbFund competition. No other investments prior or since have been announced.