Laying down a fresh sheet of flypaper for its growing community, News Corp.'s
If the name Oberon doesn't ring a bell, it's because the company typically thrives behind the stage. It teams up with traffic magnets like Comcast
Casual gaming is a big industry. Even if some of its leading players, like Oberon and PopCap Games, aren't exactly household words, publicly traded heavies like Electronic Arts
Unlike conventional video games that skew toward a young, male audience, casual gaming users -- at least on sites like EA's Pogo.com -- tend to be adult females. Casual games offer familiar games with simple rules. They are often little more than online versions of popular card and board games. Naturally, Oberon will be cooking up edgier diversions to pander to MySpace's fickle audience.
Combining social networking with gaming won't exactly be weird science for Rupert Murdoch's media company. The company spent $650 million to buy video game hotbed IGN in 2005, just months after it acquired MySpace.
Connecting the pieces is where things get tricky. MySpace has been successful in parlaying its social networking traffic into popular video-sharing and music-discovery applications, but will the games be sticky enough to keep users on the site?
You can certainly get plenty of free online games out there. Even Google
Wouldn't you know it? Casual games are serious business.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really isn't a friend of MySpace's ubiquitous "Tom" character, but he doesn't want to hurt his feelings by giving him the boot. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.