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Zynga buys up another bundle of game studios

Gamedoctors, Page 44, Astro Ape and HipLogic join the social collective.

Zynga quietly purchased four more companies in the latter months of 2011, the social giant has revealed in an interview with Reuters.

Senior vice president David Ko told Reuters that it picked up German outfit Gamedoctors in December after gobbling up US firms Page 44 Studios, HipLogic and Astro Ape Studios.

Ko didn't say how much the massive social and mobile games company had paid for the studios.

The common thread seems to be that all four studios specialise in smartphones and tablets. Gamedoctors produced a game called Zombie Smash, Page 44 was responsible for the iOS port of World of Goo, and Astro Ape made games like Dessert Heroes and Monsterz Revenge.

HipLogic is the odd one out - it's an Android-focused studio but its output began with a mobile user interface platform called *Spark, which replaced the home screen on Symbian and Android handsets.

Zynga has gone acquisition crazy over the last two years or so, buying the likes of Challenge Games, Bonfire Studios, Newtoy, Area/Code (creator of the immortal Drop7), MarketZero and Floodgate Entertainment. The company has over 3000 employees.

All good then? Well, maybe not. According to a report from Cowen and Company, recent releases Hidden Chronicles and Scramble With Friends have failed to hit the heights of success stories like Castleville and Empires And Allies.

This is more of a problem following Zynga's IPO in December. The report's authors Doug Creutz and Jason Mueller noted: "We believe that Zynga's rich valuation can only be justified if Zynga is able to at least stabilise, if not grow, its overall social gaming audience."

For them, that means having "several multiple-million DAU [Daily Active Users] titles per quarter just to keep its overall Facebook DAUs from continued decline". Hidden Chronicles had 'just' 710,000 DAUs after 12 days in the wild, while Scramble With Friends also started slowly.

Sell your shares! Run away! Etc.

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