Playdom powers Poker Palace
 
The World Series of Poker has launched a new Facebook application called Poker Palace, where fans of the game can play for free and win virtual cash.
 
Poker Palace is powered by Playdom Games and has five and ten-handed ring games and Sit & Go tournaments. Players begin with 6,000 virtual chips in their account and buy into a ring game for as little as 400, whilst tournament format buy-ins start at 2 000 and go up to 100 000.
 
There’s also 75 achievements players can unlock and earn, along with leader boards for all players or for players’ friend lists.
 
In related news, entertainment giant Disney has revealed it is buying Playdom, a social gaming company, for $563.2 million, giving notice that it intends to be a major force in the computer game industry globally, especially in social gaming. The Disney statement noted that Playdom engages about 42 million active players each month.
 
The deal is subject to shareholder approval, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.
 
Rumours have abounded in recent times that Google is set on entering the social gaming market. This week the Wall Street Journal reinforced this speculation by reporting that Google is working on a social networking service to rival Facebook, and social games such as Zynga’s Farmville appear to be a key component.
 
Google is reportedly in talks with game developers, unnamed sources told the Journal, and among those with whom it is in discussion are Playdom, Electronic Arts' Playfish and Zynga.
 
Facebook recently surpassed the 500 million mark for subscribers. Social gaming already represents big money business, with the US market estimated at $700 million in 2009 and expected to triple by 2012.