A couple of respected tech sites (Techcrunch and VentureBeat) are reporting that Google secretly has invested somewhere between 100 and 200 million USD in social games developer Zynga. This reported investment is alleged to be part of a Zynga partnership in preparation for the launch of Google Games.
Google Games is reported to allow folks to play popular Zynga titles like Farmville without logging into Facebook. Instead, they will be using their Google accounts and will perform microtransactions using Google Checkout instead of PayPal.
Social Gaming is indeed becoming BIG business if Google thinks it is worth that amount of cash. Interesting times are ahead for the casual and social gaming scene, not to mention payment gateways.