A little factoid that usually cruises under “hardcore” gamers’ radar is that casual games make money. Make a lot of money. So much money that casual game company execs regularly regularly take money baths, swim in money pools, and inhale their prescription medication though tubes made of money. Incidentally, those prescription meds? Powdered money.
Some of the most casual of casual games are the ones you can play on Facebook or other social networking sites. It’s a confirmed fact that 100% of Facebook owners have, at one point or another, received an invitation to join Pet Society, Restaurant City, or some sort of social game involving the mafia.
That said, it makes perfect sense that EA would go and buy Playfish, one of the “big three” social gaming companies. The price? A whopping $275 million. An additional $25 million was tacked on top for something called “equity retention arrangements,” and Playfish could snag up to $100 million more for meeting certain “performance milestones” by 2012. All in all, that’s enough money to remake Grand Theft Auto IV four times over.
An interview with Gamasutra confirmed that Playfish would be operating under EA Interactive (EAi), EA’s division devoted to wireless and web gaming. Barry Cottle, EAi’s senior VP and general manager, said that the move gives EA “the chance to establish ourselves in a leadership position overnight.”
Jesus Christ, that’s a lot of money.