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Playdom acquires game engine maker Metaplace

Social games company nabs Raph Koster as developer spending spree continues

Social games company Playdom has acquired yet another developer, snapping up virtual world game engine studio Metaplace.

Formerly known as Areae, San Diegao-based Metaplace was founded by Sony Online Entertainment veterans Raph Koster and John Donham in 2006. Both have experience on Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest II, with Raph Koster also being lead designer on the seminal Ultima Online.

Although forced to close its eponymous Metaplace virtual world the company has seen greater success recently with social games Island Life and My Vineyard.

As a result of the acquisition Metaplace CEO Donham will head Playdom's new San Diego office, while Koster continues his design work with Playdom co-founder and chief product officer Dan Yue. Metaplace vice president of business operations Jason Hable will move to Mountain View to oversee Playdom's "company-wide monetisation efforts".

"We expect that the Metaplace social game engine will form a key part of our unified back-end technology platform for Playdom's games going forward," said David Sobeski, chief technology officer at Playdom.

"We think the Metaplace engine is a competitive advantage in that it will take other companies years to duplicate its capabilities which will streamline and quicken our game development cycles," he added.

The acquisition of Metaplace is just the latest in a long-running spending spree for Playdom, which has been fuelled by a $33 million financing deal last month and a $76 million round of funding in 2009.

The dizzying range of developers acquired in the last few months includes Hive 7, Acclaim Entertainment, Green Patch and Trippert Labs, Three Melons, Offbeat Creations, and Merscom.

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