Electronic Arts had purchased Chillingo, the publisher of the phenomenally successful Angry Birds game for an estimated $20 million, it seemed like the video game giant had made a really great acquisition for a steal. After all, the iPhone version alone of the Angry Birds game has sold over 6.5 million copies since December. Many of the reports of EA's purchase of Chillingo were framed in terms of their gaining that Angry Birds Golden Egg (pun intended).When news hit the wire this morning that
But Rovio Mobile, the makers of Angry Birds quickly took to Twitter to correct the shock and surprise, asserting that it did not sell to EA and that it retains full control of the rights to Angry Bird.
Alexia Tsotsis, Rovio clarified that it had only teamed with Chillingo to publish the first iPhone/iPad integration and "will not use Chillingo again."And in an interview with Techcrunch's
If EA doesn't get Angry Birds, then that $20 million seems strange for other reasons. Chillingo publishes a number of other titles from other third-party developers, including Cut the Rope. Chillingo also has a game developer platform, Crystal.
As Industry Changes, Video Game Makers Turn to Social Gaming
According to an EA spokeswoman, "By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world's leading wireless entertainment publisher."
To "reaffirm its position," EA has invested a lot of money lately in the growing social games market, buying Playfish in late 2009 for a cool $275 million. And the company clearly hopes this will position it well in this growing gaming sector - not just with the development of new social games but by utilizing their social networks to increase interest in other titles. EA of course continues to release its traditional games, including Madden NFL, The Sims, and Medal of Honor.
EA did see profits of $96 million in the first quarter of this year, after posting a loss this time last year of $234 million, helped in part by an increase in social gaming revenue.