In what is by far the biggest move from Google into online gaming, the search giant has reportedly agreed to pay $182 million to acquire social game developer Slide.
TechCrunch.com cites unnamed sources as confirming the deal between the two online companies. Slide has developed a number of Facebook games, though none of them has really managed to gain a lot of traction.
Last month, reports began to circulate that Google was pouring in investment money to Zynga, the undisputed leader in social gaming with its notable games like Farmville. However, Google has been very quiet about its plans to break into the two markets of social networking and video games.
It is an important market for Google as the company needs to hit the ground running to remain its online dominance. Facebook is already edging alongside Google as the most valuable Internet property, and clearly the Web is turning more toward a social experience and away from the more static experience that Google has historically offered.
Slide isn’t the heavy hitter that a company like Google would normally snatch up. In March, Slide had to lay off 10% of its workforce because of slow sales. But that also means Google could get it for a relatively low price, and by nature of this news story alone, all of Slide’s social games are suddenly worth checking out.