Less than a month after Zynga laid-off 520 employees and closed three offices to cut down on overhead costs and to curb its losses, the social gaming company made a quick turnabout by investing its resources in another social gaming company. Zynga acquired ownership of Spooky Cool Labs for an undisclosed amount, as the company prepares to join the legalized online gambling industry in the U.S.
The focus of the acquisition is more on Spooky Cool Labs’ pool of ingenious developers under the helm of its founder Joe Kaminkow, a world famous and topnotch slot machine designer and Pinball Hall of Famer. He and his 40-man team are the creative force behind the latest Facebook craze “Wizard of Oz”. It is a social game where players engage not only in building a Munchkin town but also in paving the yellow-brick road for Dorothy, so she can find her way to Emerald City.
Spooky Cool Lab’s type of gaming creativity fits Zynga’s vision of free-to-play offerings that will enable players to experience the feel and thrill of engaging in casino games, all in the name of fun. After all, Joe Kaminkow is also the head of the games development at Aristocrat Leisure’s U.S. Division. Moreover, prior to joining Aristocrat and founding Spooky Cool Labs, another top game developer International Game Technology (IGT), harnessed Joe Kaminkow’s innovative talent for 20 years. Throughout his stint with IGT, the first-rate slot game designer contributed some of the best performing slot machine titles in the casino industry such as “Wheel of Fortune”, “Sex and the City” and “Ghostbusters”.