Electronic Arts has announced that they are working out the details of a purchase of Australian mobile developer Firemint, reports Develop. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to be completed within a matter of weeks.
In an interview with the Guardian, EA’s Barry Cottle stated that this is a part of EA’s larger mobile strategy.
“Because of iOS in particular, and the ease with which small developers are able to get to market, there are more of these players surfacing in the market with real material market achievements”
Firemint is responsible for the Real Racing series of games, as well as Flight Control, which recently saw an HD release via Steam. The deal will also give EA control of the Puzzle Quest IP, which Firemint acquired by acquiring Infinite Interactive in January.
Analysis: This is a coup for EA. They now have companies known for quality dedicated to various arms of mobile gaming: Playfish is there for social games, and Chillingo will continue to work as a publishing arm. Firemint in particular only has a few games on their docket, but those games are lauded for their quality. I’m personally a fan of Flight Control, and Real Racing is a console-quality iPad game.
Furthermore, the actions of EA and other major entities like Disney Interactive show that the bigger companies are starting to wake up to the potential that mobile gaming has as a business opportunity (Square-Enix is also heavily supporting the iPhone and iPad, though they haven’t quite figured out the “attractive price point” part of it yet). Expect further acquisitions of smaller companies, especially after a couple of big name hits. I’m personally shocked no one’s bought out Gameloft yet.