Google has quietly invested over $100 million in Farmville developer Zynga, igniting rumours that the company could soon be launching Google Games.
We recently reported how Google was hiring a product management leader for games back in May, with persistent rumours that Google was planning to move into games publishing circulating for some time now.
Secretly backs Zynga
"Google has quietly (secretly, one might say) invested somewhere between $100 million and $200 million in social gaming behemoth Zynga," reports TechCrunch, having confirmed the news from multiple (unnamed) sources.
The same sources also confirmed that Zynga is the key to Google's new Google Games service set to launch later in 2010.
Zynga has raised in the region of half a billion dollars in venture capital over the last year, including $150 million from Softbank Capital in June.
TechCrunch also notes that the "Softbank announcement was never officially confirmed by the company, however, and the Google investment was likely part of that deal."
Zynga is rumoured to have made $350 million in the first half of 2010, with projected revenue for 2011 of at least $1 billion.
Whether you play casual Facebook games such as Farmville or not, this could well prove to be a major deal in terms of Google's strategy to move into the games space.