The New York Times reported that Google has acquired casual web game developer Slide in a deal worth around $228m.
While neither Google or Slide have confirmed the detail, the news follows reports of a $100m investment in social gaming giant Zynga and ongoing speculation about the launch of a social networking site being described as a Facebook competitor.
Suggesting the move is more than just a rumour, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has continually refused to deny the move in various interviews, choosing instead to point out that Facebook users are among the highest consumers of Google services and that the company doesn’t view Facebook as an arch rival.
Speaking to the New York Times earlier in the week, Schmidt said: “The question that’s in everyone’s minds is why are we trying to create a competitor to Facebook, and the answer is we’re not going to create a competitor to Facebook. It’s something different.”
Whatever the different something is, there’s growing expectation that it will encompass social gaming in some way. Schmidt did, however, suggest that the company doesn’t have long term goals of being in the game development business, saying instead that “It’s much more likely that we would become an infrastructure for those sorts of things.”