Industry sources claim EA has completed a deal to acquire social games developer Playfish, report Inside Social Games and Silicon Alley Insider. Unconfirmed estimates put EA's buyout bill at $250 million, while ISG believes Playfish could earn as much as $75 million in revenue this year alone. That's alotta money for those janky, little games on Facebook, right?
For years, EA has been dabbling in social gaming -- a slightly less dirty designation than "casual gaming" -- starting with the launch and consolidation of the EA Casual Entertainment division in 2007, and then with the creation of EA Blueprint expressly for social ventures in 2008. The company has done plenty of outside spending, too, like throwing some dollars at Napster creator Shawn Fanning for his Rupture service. Just this week, EA launched Pogo Puppies for Facebook -- which actually competes with Playfish's Pet Society (pictured above) -- and scooped up social games publishing technology company J2PLay, as reported by Games.com.
It's difficult to predict how EA Casual's major investments in social gaming might affect the EA Games label -- makers of the kinda games we care about -- but let's just hope there's a mighty thick wall between the two divisions. Okay, so maybe we've got some social anxiety, but we just can't stand the thought of our extravagant, big-budget, dim-the-lights, and shut-out-the-world games go the way of the dodo.
[Via Industry Gamers]
Source – Is EA Going to Buy Zynga or Playfish in Social Gaming Bid? [Inside Social Games]
Source – Rumor: EA Acquires Playfish For $250 Million [Silicon Alley Insider]