Blog Post

News Corp. Buys Social Gamer Irata Labs

News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) has acquired Irata Labs, a developer of social games across Twitter and Facebook. The deal’s terms weren’t disclosed. The San Francisco company is not expected to be folded into MySpace or game network IGN Entertainment, according to the LAT, which cites unidentified sources. But Irata will be tapped to work with various News Corp. holdings when needed, suggesting that digital head Jon Miller has separate plans for growing Irata as a standalone. At the moment, the company says it’s developing a location-based platform for social gaming.

Irata’s has two main products that it developed. Its most popular one is Spymaster, which debuted last year and is played mostly on Twitter — one of the few games that have emerged on the microblogging site — and on Facebook. The other is iList Micro, which lets users turn Twitter into a classifieds section, allowing them to look for things to buy according to ZIP code or product type.

The company consists of just three people — CEO Chris Abad, software architect Ben Myles and creative director D. Keith Robinson. About two years ago, the company received $1.5 million in initial backing for iList from Dmitry Shapiro, founder of the Veoh Networks (which declared bankruptcy and was then sold to Qlipso earlier this month), Assistly CEO Alex Bard and Draper Fisher Jurvetson,