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News Corp to trade music for games, readies MySpace sale

Can Rupert replicate FarmVille?

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News Corp is poised to enter the social gaming sector to get a slice of some of the action Zynga is enjoying with its FarmVille success.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, the head of News Corp’s digital media group, Jonathan Miller said: "Social gaming has a business model. People who play FarmVille actually spend real money to buy virtual food or whatever it may be for their pig. Most people don't but enough do so that it's a real business."

He dismissed interest in buying a company such as Zynga, stating that News Corp prefer to build a social gaming business organically. The new business would also integrate existing assets IGN and Making Fun, which it had acquired over the last few years but has done little with. "We're putting a toe and then a foot in the water and we'll see how that goes," Miller said, adding that News Corp could use its film and television titles to attract players.

My Space would not be part of the social gaming equation, he said.

“We’re trying to strategically figure out what to do with MySpace,” Miller said. The $580m digital albatross has been mooted to be on the market for anywhere between $50m to $200m.

"We're in the process of figuring out strategically what to do. Do we get partners in it, does it turn itself into another business, or is there an outright scale?" Miller said of MySpace. "We're just right now really starting that in earnest." ®

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