EA is trying to set themselves up as the dominant player in the mobile and iOS markets, and months after acquiring publisher Chillingo, EA has acquired developer Firemint. Based in Australia, Firemint are known for Flight Control and the Real Racing series, which are responsible for over 4.5 million and 2 million downloads respectively. No details have been released on the terms of the transaction, or if Firemint’s operations will change in any way. While Chillingo is largely just a publisher of apps, any changes on their end have been largely in the background, as they have continued to operate normally on the surface, continuing to regularly publish independently-developed games. Firemint being an actual developer themselves, they may be subject to more changes, although any changes are largely speculative at this point. EA reports that Firemint will be maintained as a studio under the EAi group which includes their mobile, social, and online game offerings.
What this move does for EA is that it brings a pair of successful yet disparate franchises into their tent, and that may have been what made Firemint such an appealing acquisition target. Flight Control is a popular casual game that at one point was possibly the most popular game on iOS around when it was released, and is a progenitor of path management games to this day. Meanwhile, Real Racing is a graphics-intensive game, showcasing some of the best graphics and racing gameplay on iOS. As such, it has always sold at a premium price point, but this hasn’t kept the franchise from gaining popularity of its own, based on the number of downloads it too has gotten.
This move could be based on bringing Flight Control and Real Racing, along with any other future Firemint projects, to other platforms. Firemint has partnered with Namco to publish Flight Control on Android and Windows Phone 7, along with a PC version available on Intel AppUp, but we have yet to see Real Racing leave iOS yet. EA has also recently acquired Mobile Post Production, who have largely worked on cross-platform mobile projects, including the porting of games across various smartphone OSes. This could mean that Real Racing might be popping up on non-iOS platforms at some point, but this is all speculation at this point. While it’s unknown what will come of this move by EA, it’s another example of them making a big splash in the mobile gaming market.