MTV Networks acquires social gaming development company


MUMBAI: MTV Networks has acquired Social Express, Inc., a social gaming development company, marking the company’s first entry into the social gaming space.

MTV Networks will develop social games based on original IP, as well as shows and characters from MTV, Nickelodeon and its other brands, with the first game to be introduced in the third quarter of 2010. MTV Networks will also leverage Social Express’s expertise to launch a publishing platform for independent game developers. Based in San Francisco, Social Express’s veteran management team boasts former executives and developers from Apple, AOL, Yahoo! and Zynga.

"Social gaming is one of the biggest drivers of the explosive growth in social media – it’s fun, it’s engaging, and it’s shareable. Social Express brings us strong experience and know-how in this burgeoning space, which we’ll supercharge with the IP and scale of Nickelodeon and other MTV Networks brands to create great new social gaming experiences for our fans and cool tools for independent developers as well," said MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judy McGrath.

Social Express will be integrated into Nickelodeon Digital, with Social Express co-founder and CEO Tony Espinoza overseeing social gaming strategy and development as vice president and general manager of Social Gaming for MTV Networks’ Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group. Neil Souza, co-founder of Social Express and FoulPlay Media, will be vice president of Technology, Social Games. Both will report to Dave Williams, senior vice president and general manager of games, Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group, who reports to Stephen Youngwood, executive vice president for digital, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group.

"The Social Express team is a great addition to our gaming unit, and they are set to be a key part of our growth strategy," said Youngwood.