News Corp, the owners of MySpace and IGN game network, have acquired a social gaming company called Irata Labs. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the LA Times says that there are no plans to fold Irata Games into MySpace or IGN. Irata Games develop Facebook and Twitter games and consist of three employees at this time.
The plan seems to be to use Irata Games for development of games when News Corp has a need across its vast network. This means that if, for instance, the Fox News website wanted to promote an upcoming show with a game, they could use Irata Games instead of outsourcing the work. Irata indicates that it’s currently developing a location-based platform for social gaming.
So far, Irata has two big products. Their most popular game is the Facebook and Twitter game Spymaster. The game revolves around a player joining either the American, Russian or British intelligence agency and then performing tasks and recruiting friends to build up your statistics and earn money. It is definitely a take on Mafia Wars, but the presentation is very slick, as seen in the screenshot. Their other application is called iList Micro and turns Twitter into a classified database.
The company is still small, and only has three employees at this point. They received $1.5 million in funding two years ago from the founder of Veoh Networks.