Electronic Arts (EA) buys Chillingo mobile game distributor

October 20th, 2010 - this article is free to republish with open public license

Mobile game distributor Chillingo has been purchased by Electronic Arts.

EA has increased its share of the gaming market by entering into the smart phone arena. Global distributor of mobile games, Chillingo, was recently acquired by Electronic Arts in a deal reported by Reuters to be worth $20 million.

Chillingo is an international marketer, publisher and distributor of video games and lifestyle applications. Originally a publisher of mobile games for Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, Symbian and J2ME games, Chillingo was one of the first to publish on the iPhone platform. In a short period of time, Chillingo had become one of the world’s largest publishers on this platform.

Currently, Chillingo’s most successful products are new IPs including iDracula – Undead Awakening, Ravensword: The Fallen King, Minigore, Touch KO, Toki Tori and Defender Chronicles, games based on popular movie licenses such as Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs and games from long-running franchises like Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island.

Chillingo will launch its first pipeline of games on the Sony PSP Mini and Nintendo’s DSiWare and WiiWare platforms in 2010.

“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,” EA (ERTS, Fortune 500) spokeswoman Holly Rockwood said in an e-mailed statement.

EA didn’t buy the actual Angry Birds game: That’s owned by RovioMobile, the Finnish company that developed the game. But EA’s purchase of Chillingo will give it access to the publishing revenue from the game’s sales.

RovioMobile’s Twitter account was rapidly firing off tweets, clarifying that it did not sell itself to EA and maintaining that it owns Angry Birds and all of its associated intellectual-property rights.

Angry Birds has been one of the most popular iPhone applications since its November 2009 debut. The game was released last week for Android phones, and quickly topped 2 million downloads in just two days, according to RovioMobile.

Angry Birds costs 99 cents in Apple’s App Store but is free on the Android Marketplace, where it is supported by advertisements.

The game is incredibly addicting for both hardcore gamers and casual players. Contestants fling birds with a slingshot at green pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs (that’s why they’re angry). Different birds have different abilities, weights and strengths. The goal of the game is to destroy all of the pigs in each of more than 150 levels.

Angry Birds has become a pop-culture phenomenon. Variety reported that RovioMobile plans on producing a television show, movie and a toy line based on the game.

Date October 20, 2010