Founded in 2008 by Ling Xiao, Chris Wang, and Dan Yue in the San Francisco Bay Area; Playdom is one of the largest social and casual game development studios, with a player base over 75 million world wide. In 2009, Playdom was named one of the "HOTTEST SILICON VALLEY COMPANIES" by Lead411.
Receiving a finance investment of $43 million in 2009 and $33 million in 2010, Playdom began a huge round of acquisitions. On March 31st 2010, the company announced it had acquired Three Melons, a game development studio based out of Argentina. Playdom then announced on April 28th 2010, they acquired social game developer Merscom. On May 19th 2010, the company made another announcement that it had acquired Acclaim Games. Less then three weeks later on June 7th 2010, Playdom announced it had acquired the game development company Hive7. Then finally a month later on July 8th 2010, the company announced it had purchased social game development company Metaplace Inc.
On July 27th 2010, less then three weeks after Playdom's final acquisition of Metaplace Inc, The Walt Disney Company announced that it had acquired Playdom for a staggering $763 million. Disney reported that it will pay out $563 million initially and an additional $200 million if the company hits an undisclosed rate of growth. Following the acquisition, Disney intellectual properties and themes began appearing in Playdom games, with the first being in the iPhone and Facebook game Social City, in which Disney Park attractions and items where available in a limited raffle. Most recently, Pirates of the Caribbean themed items are available in the Facebook and Playdom.com game City of Wonder.
On June 19th 2009, competing social game developer Zynga filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Northern California against Playdom for allegedly misleading players with online ads in an attempt to confuse users between Zynga's mobster based game Mafia Wars and Playdom's own Mobsters.
On September 9th 2009, Zynga filed another lawsuit against Playdom and four additional defendants in the Superior Court of California. Among the many allegations, Zynga alleged that Playdom and the four defendants had misappropriated trade secrets, breached contracts, breached duty of loyalty, tortiously interfered with contracts, tortiously interfered with existing and prospective economic advantages and competed unfairly. The additional defendants, Raymond Holmes, David Rohrl, Martha Sapeta, and Scott Siegel were ex-Zynga, and now Playdom employees.
In November of 2010, now Disney owned, Playdom settled both lawsuits with Zynga for an undisclosed amount.
Federal Trade Commission
On May 12th 2011, Playdom settled a complaint from the Federal Trade Commission for $3 million in regards to a violation of the FTC's COPPA rule. The complaint was due to the relatively recent acquisition of Acclaim Games in which Acclaim and company CEO Howard Marks had failed to seeks parents permission before allowing children to sign up for their online services.
Playdom has studios based in the following US cities:
- San Francisco, CA
- Solana Beach, CA
- Chapel Hill, NC
- Palo Alto, CA (Headquarters)
- Boulder, CO
- Eugene, OR
- Austin, TX
- Bellevue, WA
- John Pleasants - Co-President Disney Interactive Media Group & General Manager
- John Donham - Co-Chief Operating Officer
- Brad Serwin - Co-Chief Operating Officer
- Dan Yue - Founder & Senior Vice President, Product
- Ling Xiao - Founder & Vice President, Technology
- Chris Wang - Founder & Vice President, Technology
- Michael Rubinelli - Vice President, Studio Operations