Google’s purchase of Jambool, maker of virtual economy platform Social Gold, marks its latest move in creating a social gaming service to rival Facebook and others around the globe. Starting as a social collaboration platform in 2006, Jambool then turned its focus on creating apps. The challenged to monetize their apps with virtual currency led to the creation of the social gold platform. With hundreds of developers on the platform, Google will add Jambool to its team to help create seamless transaction experiences for developers worldwide. News broke out earlier about the acquisition but it was just recently confirmed by the founders. Techcrunch’s sources estimate the deal to be around $70M although it has not been officially disclosed. This is great news for the founders Vikas Gupta and Reza Hussein who recently bet on subscriptions being strong in the monetization market.
“Our vision is to build world-class products that help developers manage and monetize their virtual economies across the globe,” Jambool founders Vikas Gupta and Reza Hussein wrote in a blog post. “When the opportunity arose to join forces with Google to execute against this vision, we couldn’t pass it up.”
Social Gold’s platform essentially allows developers to add payment systems into their games and manage their virtual economies. Since its launch, Social Gold has been integrated into free-to-play MMOs, virtual worlds, casual online games and social games. Jambool was also one of the first companies to offer in-flash payments, something Paypal is looking to champion as we discussed earlier today. According to the blog post, Social Gold doubled their volume processing in the first half of 2010 compared to 2009 and had their highest revenue day sometimes last week, revealing their continual growth.
Although Google’s socially-focused product releases haven’t been tremendous successes, its grand strategy to focus on games is being executed intrepidly. Last week we reported Google acquiring Slide for $182M, and in the past have talked about other efforts such as Google’s Chrome App Store. Google’s rampant moves have caused Facebook to enter ‘lockdown’ mode where executives apparently don’t leave a designated meeting room till a proper strategy is figured out. Google’s large investment in Zynga and small investment in ngmoco and talks with Playdom and others should help bolster Google’s position as it prepares for a showdown with the champion of social – Facebook.