RealNetworks Acquires Backstage Technologies, Commits to Making GameHouse Social

Seattle-based digital entertainment services company RealNetworks (NASDAQ: RNWK) has acquired Canadian social games company Backstage Technologies for an undisclosed amount. The deal, according to Real, will add valuable game engineering and monetizing expertise to Real’s digital gaming division, GameHouse, as it works on its own expansion into the social gaming marketplace.

“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 RealNetworks CEO Bob Kimball in a statement. “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.”

Backstage Technologies’ is best known in the gaming world for its partnership with iWin to create the Facebook adaptation of the popular TV game show Family Feud. Under the RealNetworks umbrella, the company says Backstage will contribute several key technological components to the GameHouse platform. Real’s GameHouse, a global leader in digital gaming, engages more than 60 million active users every month. The addition of Backstage’s games—including social gaming titles such as Pulltabs, Scratch and Win, Slots, and Vinyl City—will add to the company’s growing gaming portfolio.

“We acquired Backstage to advance our commitment to delivering fun and engaging games,” said Matt Hulett, RealNetworks’ senior vice president of the games division, in a statement. “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.”

RealNetworks says it does not expect the acquisition to have an effect on its revenue in 2010. Under Real, Backstage Technologies will continue to operate out of its Victoria, B.C. offices.

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