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EXCLUSIVE: Syfy Leaps Into Social Gaming Space

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Syfy is voyaging into the largely uncharted yet rapidly expanding universe of social games.

The NBC Universal network, which holds its upfront presentation Tuesday at a performance of the Broadway show Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, says the suite of games from Syfy Ventures, its business development and enterprise unit, will be completely sponsorable.

The first social titles published under the Syfy Games banner will launch later this year and be available initially on Facebook in the U.S. Syfy plans later to expand onto other social networks in other territories worldwide.

Syfy's games will be in the sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, action/adventure and super hero genres. Some games will be based on Syfy programming. Others will be based on original content.

Syfy points to an estimate by research company ThinkEquity that the worldwide market for social media games will hit $6.1 billion in 2011 and $12.1 billion by 2014.

"This bold business expansion into games publishing secures a key foundation for the powerful Syfy brand in the burgeoning social games space," said Dave Howe, president of Syfy. "By providing our fans on social networks and other platforms with a distinctive, premium gaming experience, we are creating a perfect complement to our existing Syfy Games portfolio."

Syfy will serve as the exclusive publisher of these new games in all markets. It will work with an independent game developer to bring their concepts to markets. These could also expand onto other game platforms, as well as onto Syfy's TV, motion picture and digital platforms.

Syfy Ventures already has done gaming with the massively multiplayer online game Trion Worlds and with THQ's Red Faction: Origins.

"As social games rapidly evolve from generic, mass-market offerings into higher quality, exciting entertainment experiences, Syfy Games is uniquely positioned to deliver engaging games that will resonate with players," added Alan Seiffert, senior VP of Syfy Ventures.