Somewhat overshadowed by the recent Capcom – Blue Castle Games announcement was the news that Seattle-based RealNetworks®, Inc. has acquired Victoria, BC social games company Backstage Technologies Inc.  RealNetworks feels that the acquisition of Backstage will add valuable expertise in both engineering and monetizing games for social platforms to GameHouse®, Real’s digital games division. Backstage is best known for partnering with iWin on the popular Facebook adaptation of FremantleMedia’s hit TV game show Family Feud™.
“As we transform RealNetworks, we will focus on areas with strong revenue growth and profit potential that will realize the value of our core businesses,” said Bob Kimball, CEO of RealNetworks. “The most compelling growth opportunity in games today is social games, and this acquisition is part of our commitment to make our entire GameHouse business social.”
Earlier this year, GameHouse announced GameHouse Fusion™, the first social gaming platform to make all games social and give consumers access to thousands of socially connected games within a massive worldwide casual gaming community across multiple social websites and devices. As a part of GameHouse, Backstage will leverage the platform’s capabilities and contribute to several of the key technological components of the system. GameHouse Fusion currently powers their smartphone game titles like MarbleMixer, along with Facebook games including UNO™, Scrabble®, TextTwist® and Collapse!®. The addition of the Backstage games portfolio extends GameHouse’s presence as a top social games developer.
“We acquired Backstage to advance our commitment to delivering fun and engaging games,” said Matt Hulett, senior vice president of the Games Division at RealNetworks. “With their pioneering talents in supporting and optimizing leading social gaming titles to scale to millions of users, Backstage will help evolve and improve our existing social games efforts.”
Backstage has built a robust catalog of accessible and fun social games including Pull Tabs, Scratch and Win, Slots and Vinyl City. The Backstage team will continue to operate out of Victoria. The cash purchase price for this transaction was not material, and the acquisition is not expected to materially affect Real’s revenue or EBITDA in 2010.
“Over the past three years, Backstage has excelled at building and monetizing social games to scale to millions of users,” said Russell Ovans, founder & CEO of Backstage. “Joining forces with GameHouse gives us the opportunity to apply our unique expertise while accelerating the company’s broader goal of making all games social for players across their massive global distribution network.”
GameHouse is a leader in the digital games industry worldwide and develops content across multiple platforms, with a vertically integrated development, publishing, licensing, distribution and retail business. Today GameHouse reaches more than 60 million monthly active users.