Microsoft could buy its way into social games in 2011, analysts say

Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios

The year 2011might involve even more acquisitions in social gaming from more companies than just Zynga, with potential buyers like Microsoft and media giant Viacom expected by analysts to be considering serious purchases, Reuters said. Because advertising isn't exactly working out this decade, big media and tech companies will look to virtual goods to stay afloat, according to analysts' predictions.

"The truth is everybody is talking to everybody, every potential buyer is probably talking to just about every social game company out there," said principal with Norwest Venture Partners Tim Chang, whose firm invested in Playdom.

Apparently Microsoft could be the next big customer, looking to enhance its Xbox Live platform, industry executives said. With Zynga's FarmVille coming to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, they just might be right. However, Zynga is pretty much off the table at this point with an estimated worth of over $5 billion, but that doesn't mean smaller companies couldn't fill that void.

Find out who could be gobbled up next after the break.