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MySpace To Facebook: "Game On" With Oberon Deal

CNBC.com

News Corp's MySpace is trying to retain a hold on its users who may be tempted by newer, hipper Facebook. So, MySpace is staking a claim in online gaming, partnering with Oberon Media, a company that creates and distributes online games. MySpace's games section will launch in January with hundreds of free "casual" games.

We're not talking World of Warcraft. This is the fun light stuff, the online equivalent of a Nintendo Wii-- easy for everyone, regardless of their age or gender, to play along with. While the male-dominated Massive Multiplayer online games have been big, this move is seen as a growth opportunity. The games generated just $380 milion in revenue last year, but they have a projected 35% growth rate, according to Pacific Crest securities. That's double the growth of the console business.

This is a beneficial partnership for Oberon games--giving it access to MySpace's 100 million plus active users. Up until now Oberon's had about 33 million users, distributing through Yahoo , Microsoft , and Comcast . And this will branch Oberon into a multiplayer game of sorts: MySpace users will be able to invite their friends to paticipate in Oberon's games, and chat while they're playing on MySpace. All the more reason for MySpace users to stay on the site longer, allowing News Corp to show more ads and cash in on the asset of this huge community.

Meanwhile, Facebook is trying to monetize its assets a bit faster than MySpace has--the company has trademarked the term "Social Ads", defining it as "advertising and information distribution services, namely, providing advertising space via the global computer network, prooting the goods and services of others over the internet." And it appears that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be introducing this revolutionary new format November 6th to the ad community in New York.

The idea is that Facebook would use the specific information in your profile to hook you up with ads related to your interests. It would ostensibly protect your information from being exploited by not revealing exactly who you are to the advertisers. This is a twist on some of the strategies already out there--VideoEgg, a company I profiled on Monday in a "What's Next" segment for "Street Signs" has a similar approach: it provides ads to 50 of Facebooks independent application creators.

Will it be revolutionary? Well Zuckerberg seems to be taking a page from Steve Jobs book-- he's certainly building the hype!

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.