EA to acquire Flight Control maker Firemint

May 3, 2011
Finance

In a deal that could have some potentially big ripples, games publisher Electronic Arts (ERTS) has acquired Australian iPhone game developer Firemint. Firemint is the house behind a couple of big hits on Apple’s iOS platform. The biggest is probably Flight Control, which is said to have sold more than 4.5 million copies, according to […]

In a deal that could have some potentially big ripples, games publisher Electronic Arts (ERTS) has acquired Australian iPhone game developer Firemint.

Firemint is the house behind a couple of big hits on Apple’s iOS platform. The biggest is probably Flight Control, which is said to have sold more than 4.5 million copies, according to EA’s press release on the deal. The casual game has players directing various planes to landing strips at an airport by tracing a path for each with their fingers, landing as many before suffering a crash. Flight Control only runs $0.99, and is one of the most popular games in the App Store.

Also on Firemint’s roster is the Real Racing series. There are two entries into that line-up available for iPhone and iPad right now, and both boast some of the best graphics available on Apple’s iOS platform. EA’s release puts the number of Real Racing games sold to date at somewhere over 2 million.

There’s no word on the intimate details of the sale of Firemint — we don’t know the cost or what, if anything, will happen to the 60-staffer team that makes up the developer — but EA says the deal should be done in about four weeks.

Firemint joined up with another Australian games company, Infinite Interactive, back in January. Infinite Interactive is the team behind the Puzzle Quest franchise that appears on various platforms, and the two teams became one just a few months ago to work on existing Firemint properties and new games.

READ  Mobile Payment Apps: The New Way to Send and Receive Money

Meanwhile, EA has been on a spending spree in the mobile arena, picking up companies all over the place. Back in October, EA bought Chillingo, the publishing house for Rovio Mobile’s first Angry Birds title and Cut the Rope, for $20 million. It also acquired Mobile Post-Production recently, a gaming company that works to bring games from one platform to another — which could help EA increase its ranks on platforms like Google’s (GOOG) Android OS and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7.

EA is one of the bigger winners in the App Store at the moment. It has been consistently putting out big titles from its roster of quality titles from other platforms — games like NBA Jam, Madden NFL 11, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, Scrabble, Tetris and Dead Space. All those premium titles have found a lot of success and acclaim, but with the acquisition of Firemint, it’s becoming clear that EA wants to be a bigger player not just among video gamers and premium app buyers (although Firemint is good for that, too), but among casual players like the 4.5 million who enjoy Flight Control.

It seems so far that EA has the know-how to be an even bigger player in the iOS sphere. If it’s smart about what it does with Firemint (um, leave it alone and let it do its thing), life in the mobile market could look even brighter for one of gaming’s biggest companies.

Search for more

Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

    Home Apps Games