How Much Did EA Pay For Firemint, And What Are Their Plans?

Yesterday, news broke that EA had acquired Firemint, the Australian-based developer behind the lucrative Flight Control and Real Racing franchises. Post the announcement there was speculation as to precisely how much EA paid for Firemint, with estimates ranging from from $20m to $100m.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported a couple of estimates - one source estimated between $20-$40 million, while another claimed the price would be "somewhere between $25 and $100 million, depending on how crazy Electronic Arts were for it."

But speaking at a recent conference call, as reported by Gamasutra, EA CEO John Riccitiello claimed that the price they paid for Firemint was "far lower" than some media estimates.

"One of the things we rather enjoy here," joked Riccitiello, "is acquiring companies and then having people speculate that we spent five times more on it than we actually did."

EA's Eric Brown confirmed that Firemint was acquired for "less than $25m".

In a statement released yesterday, Founder of Firemint Rob Murray was quick to affirm that while EA may have purchased the company, they would retain complete autonomy to create the games they wanted.

"Yes we are staying in Australia," said Rob. "Yes we will be operating with very high levels of autonomy and yes I am running Firemint and doing what is best for our games and our customers. The easiest way to sum it all up is business as usual.

"We reckon that we make some pretty awesome games at Firemint," he continued, "and we reckon we know how to continue making them. EA see us the same way and that’s why they want us to join them. It is a good deal for us, because we need EA’s help in order to win. They can free us up a lot to focus on the creative stuff that really matters and they can provide essential resources to help us build better games. EA believe in us, they want us to make great games and they trust that we know how to do that. We will be joining ranks with some of the best developers in the business."

In an interview with Gamasutra, EA's Barry Cottle expanded on the reasons for picking up Firemint.

"… there are shops out there we see where the motivations align and there's a great cultural fit," claimed Cottle, "and Firemint was one of those for us. It brings that creative talent - and particularly, that kind of mobile-centric talent, so we can begin to develop our brands in the marketplace."

He confirmed that Firemint would utilise EA's strengths in order to further its own creative efforts.

"[Firemint]really knows and understand the space, and to marry that to a publishing and distribution machine - we think the combination of those two things is pretty powerful."

We hope to speak to Rob Murray in the coming weeks to hear more about EA's plans for Firemint, and what they themselves have up their sleeves as a publisher.


Comments

    Good on you Eric Brown you now have joined the Millionares club, who cares what other people think enjoy the smile on your face when you log into your internet banking and look at all those zeros. What makes me happy is thinking about all the plebs working 9-5 for minimum wage when your mega rich and can do what you want. Rock on brother!

      ...Eric Brown is EA's Executive VP...I doubt he isn't already part of the millionaire's club.

      Get back to work, pleb-with-imaginary-grandeur.

    EA is going to kill everything.

    15 million, a copy of Battlefield 3 and a computer that can run it.

    "they would retain complete autonomy to create the games they wanted."

    Why would one company want to enter an agreement that allowed them to attain COMPLETE OWNERSHIP of another company if they are going to let them do whatever they wanted?

    When it comes to strengthening the marketplace for multiple businesses, you usually enter special deals and partnerships.

    When you want to control the marketplace to strengthen one business, you buy out all your competition.

      Did you even read the article mate?

      “We reckon that we make some pretty awesome games at Firemint,” he continued, “and we reckon we know how to continue making them. EA see us the same way and that’s why they want us to join them. It is a good deal for us, because we need EA’s help in order to win. They can free us up a lot to focus on the creative stuff that really matters and they can provide essential resources to help us build better games."

      Because EA learned that lesson the hard way with studios like Bullfrog and Westwood...which they pretty much killed.

      Now they pick up successful studios and let them do what they want, give their publishing and distribution assets and watch them make a crap ton of money for EA.

      Just look at the number of games they've had that are all over 1 million copies sold...then look at the devs behind them.

      They realised there is more value to buying a successful studio and remaining pretty much hands off, then meddling in their internals.

        @SupremeBeans

        yes I read the article, and I'm sure EA weren't going to say to Firemint or anybody else in the press that, "We want to buy Firemint because Firemint are making money and we want some of that money."

        @CloneTrooper

        "Now they pick up successful studios and let them do what they want, give their publishing and distribution assets and watch them make a crap ton of money for EA."

        Now why would I do that when I can do it the old fashioned way? With a publishing deal and all, resources are provided and the publisher gets a sizable cut of profits (usually the majority!) Except I wouldn't get that one priveledge that owning a company get me, to be able to say, "Hey... I OWN this company, I can do WHATEVER I WANT WITH IT!"

        Sure in a publishing deal the publisher could still drop the developer and that usually it practically death for it. But if it's not then you still have a your home-grown development house making games just the way you want to.

        Since the whole business of Activision and Infinity Ward, as well as mass closures of publisher owned development houses when publishers felt the big squeeze, I am always going to be wary when I hear a good studio has been 'bought.'

    I'm not entirely sure why Firemint under EA is necessarily bad... Firemint get more resources to make potentially more expansive games while remaining largely the same, and all they have to do is stick a label for EA on it really. Their iPhone games will probably stay at the same price level, and any non-digitally distributed games that they haven't even made yet would be able to reach a larger audience, than if they tried to do it themselves.

    Basically, it's a win-win for both companies, and nothing except for a small indent on the price on any hypothetical non-digitally distributed games would be noticed by the user.

    I hope that ea will let firemint become thier mobile game developer

    I hope firemint does not become the knew pandemic studios and history does not repeat itself

    And this was how Playfish (once the best creator of Facebook games like Pet Society, Restaurant City, Country Story, Who Has the Biggest Brain, Geo Challenge etc.) died. Under the hands of EA. I believe had they remained independent, Playfish would go on to split the scene with Zynga.

    Too bad the company only wants to continue doing iphone and DS games....

    Firemint do have Infinite-Interactive in house now too, which means all the Puzzle-Quest franchisey goodness can be exploited by EA as well. Maybe time for another Warlords game?

    another Aussie developer bites the dust. Haven't people learnt from Pandemic studios? Bought by EA, mismanaged, and closed.

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