Disney Officially Acquires Zynga Competitor Playdom

It’s been rumored for a while now–our iFive roundup last week noticed a flurry of chattery on the subject–but now it’s official: Disney is entering the social web gaming battle by purchasing Playdom.

Playdom is one of the biggest players in the burgeoning and buzzworthy social gaming community. Started by two UC Berkeley grads, Playdom’s games like Mobsters and Wild Ones have led to its being crowned with the marginally impressive title of “largest social game developer on MySpace.” More impressively, it’s a major developer for Facebook as well, ranked fourth biggest, which is largely where its future promise lies.

Playdom is also notable for being profitable right now, making it a very smart investment for a massive company like Disney. Disney paid a whopping $563.2 million for the company, plus up to an additional $200 million that will be linked to performance. That could mean up to $763.2 million, in case the math was too tough for you.

That’s an unusually high amount for a company in such a new field. Zynga, the social games developer that has pretty much set the bar so far, is only sitting on a war chest of $410 million, far less than what Disney just dropped for its smaller competitor.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one–you’ll have to do the legwork yourself).DN