Zynga’s Latest Acquisition Is Challenge Games

Austin-based Challenge Games has been around since 2006, building slick online casual games like card fantasy title Duels. It’s been been active on Facebook games for years, too, and with some success — and now it’s Zynga’s latest acquisition.

Its executives, including chief executive, founder and serial entrepreneur Andrew Busey, and its 35 employees will immediately begin serving as Zynga’s Austin studio.

On Facebook, Challenge Games has turned Duels into an app, launched Warstorm, another card-themed fantasy game, dabbled in role-playing games with office satire Ponzi, Inc and experimented in a few other areas, like sports. While its titles haven’t gotten huge, they’ve held on to some users for many months, and are generally considered to be high-quality.

The company now has 560,000 monthly active users and 140,000 daily active users; like Zynga and most other developers, it has been seeing recent declines, albeit with stronger retention for DAUs.

Name MAU DAU
1. Warstorm 560,170 64,321
2. Ponzi, Inc. 427,803 71,883
3. GridIron Live Football 122,525 3,270
4. Duels 1,152 61
5. Nobility 178 16
6. Baseball Boss Playa Rayta 26 0

The acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, is Zynga’s latest geographic expansion. It recently bought Beijing-based XPD Media, converting that company into a China studio. It is headquartered in San Francisco, and also has offices in Baltimore, Bangalore and Los Angeles.

Challenge Games had raised a total $14.5 million in venture funding from Sequoia Capital and Globespan Capital Partners.

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14 Responses to “Zynga’s Latest Acquisition Is Challenge Games”

  1. Street Sweeper Arias says:

    Bring back Duels.com – CG’s best game.

    The rest of the games are junk – and the facebook games are hated most of all.

  2. Jason says:

    Why would Zynga pay $20 million for this crappy company? 6 games and only 1.7 million MAU? wtf ? Good way to blow some money i guess

  3. Zynga Acquires Challenge Games | Frisky Mongoose says:

    [...] FarmVille developer Zynga has announced that it has acquired Austin-based Facebook developer Challenge Games. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Challenge Games’ chief executive Andrew Busey and his 35 employees will immediately begin working with Zynga’s Austin studio, reports Inside Social Games. [...]

  4. Super-Whales: Top Social Game Spenders Pay More than $10,000 Apiece for Virtual Goods says:

    [...] for instance, several years ago Andrew Busey of Duels.com (now part of Challenge Games, which just got bought by Zynga) told me that his game had attracted a set of hedge fund employees who competed to out-spend each [...]

  5. New Hires in Social Gaming: Crowdstar, Playdom, Zynga, & More says:

    [...] Note that Zynga’s hires from Challenge Games are a result of it acquiring the smaller developer. [...]

  6. Super Whales: Top Social Game Spenders Pay More than $10,000 Apiece for Virtual Goods | iancassel says:

    [...] for instance, several years ago Andrew Busey of Duels.com (now part of Challenge Games, which just got bought by Zynga) told me that his game had attracted a set of hedge fund employees who competed to out-spend each [...]

  7. Zynga’s Confusing Deal Terms Result in Acquisitions, Padding in Case of Hard Times says:

    [...] table in the past few months. Some of these may have had to do with recent acquisitions, including Challenge Games and XPD Media. The big new investors may also be getting other types of stock, which helps explain [...]

  8. Zynga Buys Music Pets Developer Conduit Labs says:

    [...] Challenge Games in June [...]

  9. How much did Zynga acquire Challenge Games for? - Quora says:

    [...] Zynga Silicon Valley Mergers & Acquisitions How much did Zynga acquire Challenge Games for?http://www.insidesocialgames.com…Cannot add comment at this time.   Anon User1 vote by Kevin Li$20.5 million according [...]

  10. Computer Planet says:

    I think it’s becoming pretty difficult to compete with Zynga in the social gaming sector. They seem to be acquiring everyone.

  11. New Hires in Social Gaming: Cie Studios, Digital Chocolate, Flying Wisdom & More says:

    [...] Alamo — As part of the Challenge Games acquisition, Alamo becomes a Software Engineer under Zynga. While at Challenge Games, Alamo was a Flash Games [...]

  12. Virtual Businesses Take Shape on the iPad With The Syndicate! HD says:

    [...] be told, however, the game feels dramatically similar to the RPG of Ponzi Inc. from the then Challenge Games, at least in its core elements. Obviously, this makes for the biggest complaint to be had, but one [...]

  13. Sony Online Entertainment VP Heads To Zynga As General Manager says:

    [...] Blakely was at SOE for nearly a decade, championing development on massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest II and the recently-released DC Universe Online. Before that, he held management positions at other video game development studios and worked in an engineering co-op at NASA. Zynga’s Austin studio was formed in June 2010 with the acquisition of Challenge Games. [...]

  14. Sony Online Entertainment VP Heads to Zynga as General Manager | Graham Integration Management Inc. says:

    [...] Blakely was at SOE for nearly a decade, championing development on massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest II and the recently-released DC Universe Online. Before that, he held management positions at other video game development studios and worked in an engineering co-op at NASA. Zynga’s Austin studio was formed in June 2010 with the acquisition of Challenge Games. [...]

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