From a GDC rant about the perils of being a game developer laid off in this tumultuous economy to announcing an acquisition less than a year later, brothers Paul and Dave Bettner have been busy. The ex-Ensemble devs were laid off, along with the rest of the studio, after shipping Halo Wars in 2008; they then established iPhone-dev Newtoy and quickly made a splash with the "With Friends" games, Chess With Friends and the Scrabble-esque Words With Friends, along with the ngmoco-published (and very Farmville-esque!) We Rule.
And today, during a press conference call, Zynga SVP of Mobile David Ko made the announcement that the social game powerhouse has acquired Texas-based NewToy for an undisclosed sum. "Zynga has acquired Texas-based mobile game development company NewToy," Ko revealed, before passing the mic to Paul Bettner. Bettner will serve the acronymical roles of VP and GM of the studio, tasked with developing "new mobile social games for the Zynga network."
The 23-person studio is being renamed Zynga With Friends, as seen in the logo above, though the press release awkwardly refers to it as "The Zynga With Friends Studio." While this represents a strong move by Zynga into the mobile gaming space, we're left wondering if the "With Friends" mobile games will make their way to Zynga's home base: Facebook. We've followed up with the company to ask about just that.
Oh, and considering the new company's name includes "With Friends" we're going to assume that its World War Robot game is probably no longer in development. We'll let you know what we find out.