Google invests $100 million in Zynga, with plans to launch Google Games [Rumor]
Talk about Google's desire to get into the games business has been floating around for some time, and now a big, juicy rumor says the company is starting to invest big bucks in those plans -- dropping between $100-$200 million at Zynga's doorstep. TechCrunch, which initially published this rumor, says the purported deal has not been finalized yet, though part of it includes using FarmVille and other Zynga games as the foundation for Google Games.
Not only will Zynga's games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn't be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal's biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant.
While Google might be spending boucoup bucks to form a partnership with Zynga, it's not immediately clear how this will affect 60 million+ devoted FarmVillers. The farming game is already on Facebook, FarmVille.com and Yahoo -- what could Google possibly bring to the table that would make people migrate to Google Games? Outside of turning more people into click-farming junkies and offering access to the game via iGoogle and Gmail, it's hard to imagine what Google's killer app will be. Then again, thinking about tending virtual crops on an Android phone makes things (a little) more interesting.
What do you think is in store for FarmVille and Google?