Zynga has been preparing for the launch of its real money gambling products through the acquisition of patents and the formation of partnerships over the past year. According to intellectual property consulting firm Envision IP, the social gaming company has acquired 88 patents since February of 2012 and has 36 pending patents in the application process.
Through these acquisitions, Zynga hopes to create a bigger presence in the lucrative egaming market. Recently, the company confirmed plans to launch gambling products in the United Kingdom in July and partnered with bwin.party to develop several gambling products, including a Zynga Poker skin on the Bwin.party platform. Furthermore, Zynga restructured its contract with Facebook in order to pave a path for greater growth.
The patents include a wide variety of technology that can be used in an online or land based casino setting. Online based patents include virtual currency application, gifting solutions, and online multiplayer technology. Zynga also acquired some interesting land based casino patents that include a method of connecting gaming devices to a central slot machine server and an application that allows for team based slot play. The types of acquired patents may hint at the company’s involvement in both the online and brick and mortar gambling markets.
Interestingly, Zynga acquired 38 patents from a software development company named Walker Digital. Jay Walker, founder of both Walker Digital and Priceline, had filed a lawsuit in January of 2011 over patent infringements. At the time, Walker also had pending lawsuits against several major companies including Facebook, Activision, and Blizzard Entertainment. Since the filing of the lawsuit, Zynga has acquired several patents from Walker Digital, though the effects of these acquisitions on the litigation are unknown.
Zynga plans to launch several products in the upcoming year and hopes to use these patents to bolster its business. With the rise of real money social gaming and the rapidly developing regulations in various countries, Zynga is prepared to take a piece of the growing egaming market.