Blog Post

Could MySpace + Yahoo Games = A New Online Gaming Powerhouse?

Just as we were pondering who might make a good potential buyer for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Games, comes commentary from News Corp.’s Jon Miller, about the company’s plans to transform MySpace into a serious online gaming destination.

“MySpace is and will be more in the future a gaming platform,” Miller said, during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference (per Reuters) — and he said News Corp (NYSE: NWS). wasn’t opposed to making acquisitions to do it. (See some of our own coverage of the conference, here).

If Yahoo Games is really on the block, it’s 19.2 million monthly unique visitors could be a huge source of new traffic for MySpace — since visits to its own games portal (and the network as a whole) have trended downward over the past year.

Combined, Yahoo Games and MySpace Games would attract roughly 19.7 million unique visitors (per *comScore*) — moving it just ahead of EA with 19.6 million uniques. But MySpace would need to get more than just traffic out of the deal for it to be lucrative, since Miller said transforming MySpace Games into a more game developer-friendly platform was key to its future success.

Though rival Facebook is currently the social gaming platform “du jour,” companies like Playdom have already launched wildly popular games on MySpace — games that in some cases, have performed better than on Facebook.

That means any future acquisitions would need to include game development or monetization technology that MySpace doesn’t have (like player achievement-tracking across different devices and networks, an integrated virtual payments system, or some form of unique ad-targeting, for example). If Yahoo Games comes with said technology, then a buyout by News Corp. would be an ideal match.

Updated: We asked Yahoo about the tech platform behind Yahoo Games and got the following details: “Games has the same ad targeting capabilities as the rest of Yahoo. Our backend payment is provided by Oberon. We have mobile games tied to the parlor games on our site but do not have a portable games profile separate from your Yahoo profile.” So … unless there’s something more under the hood that they’re not revealing, then News Corp. (if it really is interested, of course) would just be buying traffic — and potential access to Yahoo Games’ existing ad deals with Double Fusion and NeoEdge.