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Yahoo buys virtual worlds gaming company Cloud Party

The company helps to improve Yahoo's own engineering prowess

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Yahoo has acquired Cloud Party, a gaming company specializing in virtual worlds, in another deal to give the search giant more engineering chops.

Cloud Party provided a multiplayer, three-dimensional gaming platform that could run directly in a Web browser without plug-ins. Players could build their own worlds and avatars and explore immersive environments, similar to the online system Second Life. The company launched in 2011.

Now those worlds, or at least the technology they were built on, will be incorporated into Yahoo. Cloud Party CEO Sam Thompson said in a blog post Friday that the company will be joining Yahoo and shutting down its service next month

A Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed the acquisition. Financial details were not disclosed.

Cloud Party may not provide Yahoo with any sweeping new worlds in which its users can play, at least not immediately. Yahoo's Games site already lets people play games online and download titles including arcade, board and puzzle games.

Cloud Party appears to be another "acqui-hire" for Yahoo, netting it a talented pool of gaming developers who could improve Yahoo's own gaming offerings or build new ones.

"We're excited to merge their unique perspective and experience with a team that is just as passionate about gaming," the Yahoo spokeswoman said.

Yahoo signaled its interest in gaming last year when it acquired PlayerScale, which provides infrastructure software.

Yahoo has been on an acquisition spree since Marissa Mayer became CEO in 2012. Some of those acquisitions have brought new users, as with Tumblr last May.

But others have been geared toward technology and engineering, as with LookFlow for improving Flickr.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com



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