The Wall Street Journal today reported that Google has been in discussions with with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social networking service that could compete with Facebook. Google has talked with top developers to offer their games on a new service. Those developers include Playdom Inc., Electronic Arts Inc.’s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc. It is still unclear when Google may launch the new gaming platform, but people briefed on the matter said the social game would be part of broader social-networking initiative.

Social games are less complex than those played on consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3. Individuals use the games to interact with online friends in their networks. The developers make money through advertising and by offering users a way to pay for virtual goods in their games.

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