Viacom’s MTV Networks is venturing into the social gaming market, acquiring social game developer Social Express. The 10 employee stealth company based in San Francisco was founded in 2009 by Tony Espinoza and Neil Souza, formerly of SuperSecret and Zynga respectively. MTV Networks plans to use Social Express to develop social games based on franchises branded by MTV, Nickelodeon, and other Viacom brands.
Social Express will be integrated with Nickelodeon Digital, with Espinoza becoming vice president of social gaming and Souza assuming the role of vice president of technology for social games. Viacom appears to share EA’s opinion that branded games will rise to the top in the social game market. Says David Williams, senior vice president of the Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group, “We are incredibly bullish on the long-term opportunity in social games.” The first Social Express games benefiting from the acquisition will appear in the third quarter, including characters from MTV and Nickelodeon properties.