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Zynga Acquires Japanese Game Developer

Purchase of Unoh designed to accelerate company's mobile game development.
In its latest foray into the Japanese market, social game developer Zynga Thursday acquired Unoh, a Japanese developer of social games, for undisclosed terms.

The move comes about a week after Softbank and Zynga unveiled a joint venture to create and distribute social networking games across Japan. Called Zynga Japan, the Tokyo-based operation also marked the completion of Softbank's $150-million investment in Zynga, according to the July 29 report.

Thursday, Zynga -- creator of popular games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville -- announced it had acquired leading Japanese games developer Unoh for undisclosed terms. Unoh is one of the building blocks for Zynga's foray into the Japanese mobile products market, Zynga said in a release. Zynga Japan plans to localize Zynga games -- perhaps including Facebook hits such as Mafia Wars and Farmville -- and develop new games specifically for the Japanese market, the company said.

Founded in 2001, Unoh developed hits such as Machitsuku, Band Yarouo, and Kaizoku Chronicle and will continue to maintain games on sites such as mixi, Mobage-town, and Gree.

"Zynga is delighted to welcome the Unoh team, one of the pioneer Japanese social game developers, to the Zynga family," said Mark Pincus, CEO and founder of Zynga. "They have a great track record of producing innovative, successful games and are a complement to the top-notch team we have already begun to assemble in Japan."

Shintaro Yamada, Unoh's founder and CEO, will stay on to help lead Zynga Japan's mobile efforts, according to Zynga.

"We're very excited to join Zynga to help extend its reach to Japanese consumers," Yamada said. "We're looking forward to being an integral part of Zynga Japan's leadership and growth, and are happy to support bringing the best social games to Japan's cutting edge mobile and web technologies."

Zynga also recently struck-up a distribution deal with Yahoo. And Google is wooing the social-gaming company, according to reports.