Zynga vs. MindJolt: MySpace founder Chris DeWolfe has buyout spree

MindJoltWasting no time after MySpace's imminent failure, founder and former CEO Chris DeWolfe has acquired two new social game development companies through MindJolt, his own social game platform. MindJolt gobbled up both SGN and Hallpass Media, a leading developer and publisher of social mobile games and a popular free online game network, respectively.

The terms or amounts spent on the buyouts are undisclosed, but DeWolfe said this in a statement: "The acquisition of SGN and Hallpass broadens our content offering and extends our reach," DeWolfe said. "Mindjolt becomes a cross-platform 'triple threat' with great games across mobile, social, and web platforms. This three-pillar approach enables MindJolt to deliver our games wherever people choose to play, and differentiates our service from others in this space."

As you can see from his previous endeavors, DeWolfe aims big--all the time. And the former MySpace chief appears to refuse defeat in this next venture, laying the framework for a social gaming company to compete with the bigwigs like Zynga and EA's Playfish studio. SGN, founded in 2008, has seen its mobile games like Mini Tycoon Casino, F.A.S.T., and Skies of Glory top the charts on the Apple App Store, and now brings those games to MindJolt. Not to mention its development talent.

Chris DeWolfeHallpass will help MindJolt expand its reach beyond Facebook with a network of over 4 million players and 1,500 new games. The company is already well-positioned to take the FarmVille creator head on in the Facebook arena as well with an app that enjoys 6.8 million monthly players and over 1.2 million daily fans.

With these two acquisitions, it appears that MindJolt is working to expand where Zynga has just begun to venture into: mobile and the rest of the Internet. However, Zynga already has two of the top mobile developers, Newtoy, and Area/Code. Will MindJolt be able to stake its claim on mobile before Zynga has a chance to capitalize on its own recent buyouts?

That's not even the end of it. According to AdWeek, DeWolfe (pictured right) plans to follow Zynga's lead in other areas as well like advertising. Zynga has already been wildly successful with brand integration in its games--though perhaps not for gameplay's sake--and MindJolt aims for the same results. "With 25 to 30 million unique users, there's a critical mass of users there," DeWolfe said to AdWeek. "We can go to ad agencies and to top media buyers and integrate their brands into our games."

And with DeWolfe looking to sell more virtual goods too, Zynga is looking at an assault from all angles. The only problem is that CEO Mark Pincus and his crew have already been at this game for a year. DeWolfe and MindJolt are already at a disadvantage. Though, DeWolfe has plenty experience in this department, creating MySpace and bringing social networking into the mainstream. MindJolt just might have a better shot at toppling Zynga than most companies that rise to the challenge, but we won't see the dust settle on this battle for some time.

[Image Credits: MindJolt and Mark Robert Halper]

How well against Zynga do you MindJolt will do given these acquisitions? Should Zynga be wary of MindJolt, or is this just another company looking for a sliver of the social gaming pie? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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