US giant acquires Rising Tide Games … and welcomes Maytal Olsha back to the fold
US social gaming giant Zynga has announced the acquisition of social casino developer Rising Tide Games, headed by former Zynga and 888 exec Maytal Olsha.
Other founders of of the company, which has operations in New York and Austin, Texas, are casino slot game veterans Stuart Zoble, Andrew Sega, and Peter Franco. Zoble was previously senior vice president of US games developer High 5 Games, whilst Sega is chief technology officer of Rising Tide, with 15 years of experience in games and previous social casino development at Sojo Studios.
Founded as a free-to-play social casino gaming start-up last year by former Playtika and Zynga managers, Rising Tide has developed quality operations like Black Diamond Casino, the publication VentureBeat notes, valuing the social casino game market at around $3.5 billion worldwide in 2015, according to Eilers Research. It is expected to grow 16 percent to $4 billion in 2016.
The consideration for the acquisition has not been disclosed, but Zynga chief Mark Pincus wrote in his blog that the deal was in line with Zynga's intention to continue expansion into social casino gaming.
"Zynga has a long history in the Social Casino space, as Zynga Poker is the original social game and remains the world's largest free poker game. We look forward to our Poker and Slots teams continuing to deliver games that delight our players," he wrote.
Olsha was originally hired to head up Zynga's real-money gambling ambitions, but as strategies changed she transitioned into the social gaming vertical for the company, overseeing initiatives like Hit It Rich Casino Slots and Duck Dynasty Slots until her departure and involvement with Rising Tide (see previous InfoPowa reports).
"I look forward to once again partnering with Mark, the talented Spooky Cool team and the Zynga Austin Studio to create authentic and truly social free-to-play games,": Olsha said this week.
"Together, with our Rising Tide Games family, I believe we can deliver fun, unique Social Slots experiences to players around the world in the growing Social Casino gaming space."
Pincus said that Zynga plans to eventually launch Black Diamond Casino globally.
VentureBeat reports that Zynga grew its social slots franchise bookings by 274 percent between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa