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Europe offers acquisition, gambling opportunities for Playdom

Social games business details wider plans for new territory expansion

Europe offers further acquisition and possible gambling opportunities for Playdom, the social games company currently moving into new regions in a bid to scale up in a rapidly expanding market.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Christa Quarles, chief financial officer for Playdom, said that following its initial moves to localise games, it's also likely to create specific content from the ground up for European tastes.

"We do believe there's a broader consolidation opportunity right now," said Quarles. "Smaller developers may have a more challenging time breaking out in the Facebook environment and we see interesting ideas and technology that comes from all over the world. We've not yet acquired anything in the European market place to date, but there are a lot of very interesting players in the market."

In 2010 Playdom has already picked up three developers and the Acclaim brand, as it uses scale to open up advertising opportunities and technology to help its games stand apart from the competition.

"Scale is really going to matter for technology reasons and reasons around advertising. We think there's a real opportunity to get some high quality production assets and technologies in order to continue our path toward becoming a much larger company than we are today."

There's also the potential to introduce gambling concepts to some of its European products, said Quarles, and not just in the sports genre.

"There's different regulations in place around betting that we think might be interesting to take advantage of. We've some other games in the web space that have been pretty successful in that regard and seeing some of those that have tied the social elements into their games, especially as it relates to sport. We've recently announced an agreement with ESPN. There's definitely an opportunity there."

She continued: "What's interesting about the social aspects of games is that instead of potentially betting against somebody that you don't know, wouldn't it be even more fun to make a bet with a friend? It can be around all sorts of elements of game.

"That sort of friendly competition doesn't really have an outlet today in broad ways but it would be fun to challenge ten of your friends on Facebook to a particular match. That kind of concept is something that we want to explore. Even though they're called social games they not as social as we'd like," she added.

And in a move similar to what browser games company Bigpoint is offering, Playdom recognises playing to the dedicated core gamer can be lucrative.

"In Germany in particular there's success with hardcore games and MMOs, there's some interesting gaming culture and a decent amount of monetisation opportunities there. I do think that with our games there will be some that we launch to reach a broader audience and some a more a niche category."

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