EA is on a roll lately buying up high-value mobile gaming outfits. First Chillingo for a stack of $20 million dollars in cash, and now Firemint. Details are vague at best right now, with news of this just going public a few moments ago, so we're not entirely sure what the terms of the acquisition are. According to TechCrunch, the deal is expected to close in the next four weeks and Firemint will be rolled into the katamari that is EA Interactive (or EAi). EAi is EA's division that focuses on digital business including EA Mobile, Pogo, and Playfish.

Firemint has had an amazing track record of fantastic game releases, so it's not much of a surprise to see them the target of what likely was a high-dollar acquisition. Firemint's catalog of games on the App Store includes classics like Flight Control, the Real Racing series, and will soon be home to the upcoming Agent Squeek.

We're going to get to the bottom of what this means for both Firemint, as well as fans of Firemint games. However, considering it's currently around 2:00 AM in Australia, these details might not come until tomorrow.

  • GodSon

    *Mouth Drops*

  • Geterx

    I'm in Australia :) It's cool to see a local dev with a success story like that! Good on them!

  • Pathock

    lol. track record.

  • http://blog.lwry.me/ Matthew L.

    There goes any chance of them producing any good games in the future... EA will manage to screw up..

    • Anonymous

      Have you played many EA games? Some of them are quite good. Even a game like Pictureka is pretty snazzy. My only hope is that EA will get with the ball and integrate Game Center into their games. Otherwise, though, they've been putting together a pretty good track record with NBA Jam, Dead Space, etc.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      This is such a silly thing to say which seems to get spewed in the comments of any story regarding any kind of acquisition. EA is buying Firemint because they're a talented studio with a knack for making great games. That's how Firemint got as big as it is. They're not going to buy them for untold millions, fire half the staff, and have the rest making Flash-based Facebook Farmville clones. Just like Chillingo, this will likely be business as usual for Firemint who now will have access to the global benefits of EA.

      • Noah

        I've worked for EA before Eli... you'd be surprised how often they start new projects and either half-ass it to meet a publishing deadline or can the project altogether because someone high-up doesn't think it'll pull in a million bucks.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Isn't that what any smart company does? If you don't think you're going to make your investment back, cut your losses, and do something else. I don't think that's a phenomenon unique to EA at all.

      • Noah

        Firemint was known for taking their time developing a polished product before pushing it to the masses, right? Other companies do the same... the Tap Tap Tap guys also take their time to make sure everything works perfectly before pushing that "Publish App" button in the Dev Center.

        In the PC world, Blizzard Entertainment is also known for holding off on releasing products until they feel it is polished enough for their fans/subscriber base.

        I'm afraid that EA will forgo those tried and true philosophies which made Firemint the powerhouse they are today and cause them to disappear into the void which has claimed so many other EA acquisitions and projects in the past.

      • LeeDot

        While I certainly hope for the best I don't think it's unreasonable to be wary of acquisitions from EA considering they have a long and storied history of acquiring developers and then running them into the ground. (Origin and Bullfrog are two that come to mind off the top of my head.)

        If things are going well for you they can be a great ally and provide marketing leverage far beyond anything Firemint could provide on their own at this point in time but if whatever you're working on falls out of favor for any number of reasons your project will get canned in a heartbeat.

        Years ago I recall Alice for the PS2 getting canned abruptly because Alice had only sold only 700k copies on the PC even though those numbers for a 3rd person platformer on the PC were really quite good. The other damning factor was that for whatever reason they were waffling about the PS2 as a platform.

        The irony is that a year later they told a different team to reboot their PC project that had been in the pipe for almost 18 months and was almost ready to launch into PS2 project because suddenly PS2 was where they saw the money. (for the record, neither version of that project saw the light of day.)

      • http://blog.lwry.me/ Matthew L.

        I actually realised I was wrong. As long as the talent from Firemint stays, they'll be fine.

      • Briker Ed

        That's what I thought about Bioware, Playfish, Phenomic, Maxis, Westwood Studios.... all under EA now and I'm ready to argue not as good as they were.

      • Anonymous

        Ah, Westwood. I suddenly feel quite miserable.

      • Anonymous

        Ah, Westwood. I suddenly feel quite miserable.

      • Josh

        They will stay for maybe a year to finish up what ever they are currently working on then EA will give them the boot and give all of the ip's to one of their studios that know nothing and start releasing trash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Poes/5519474 Andy Poes

    Maybe they'll finally make a descent Need For Speed game....

    • http://twitter.com/Sanuku Sanuku

      I am seeing the Bright Future for a Need for Speed Shift 2 that is as Good as the PC Version on the iDevices if Firemint takes the Lead in this Case.

    • Noah

      Ohhh! Like a Need For Speed game that lets you descend into the bowels of the Earth? I agree, that game WOULD be awesome.

    • Noah

      Ohhh! Like a Need For Speed game that lets you descend into the bowels of the Earth? I agree, that game WOULD be awesome.

  • Awesome

    they just integrated firemint to their firm. firemint has developed simcity deluxe (publisher EA) and i think many other games(for EA), so i see nothing too mouth-dropping in it

  • Borgqueenx

    thats bad news. EA will screw up.
    it will make time limits to firemint, in-app purchases, and anything else that is bad.

  • hank

    And when they say, "get to the bottom of what this means", they really mean, "we will wait for their eventual press release".

  • HisDivineOrder

    Glad I didn't fork over the money for the Firemint releases. Now they'll be a $1 by the end of the year. So awesome!

    I suspect Real Racing is dead, but a Need for Speed on iOS will show up that's remarkably a lot like it.

    EDIT: Also, I imagine this means that Firemint's designs on using the video-out to display to a TV (at 1080p) while controlling from your iOS device will now make its way into EA titles, too. That'd be great. Less work and less time before it becomes real on EA titles.

    I can imagine Dead Space 2 on iOS would benefit from something like that.

    • http://twitter.com/Sanuku Sanuku

      Each Game would benefit from that iOS to TV Function. Sadly many Developers don`t see it the same Way as Us. Currently i am using the iPad 2 HDMI Adapter and i can tell you that Games like Dead Space, Real Racing and others are looking Fantastic on a 46`Screen.

  • poutini

    Hmm, how does this help firemint? I mean, immediate monetary gain aside? I assume they'll make less money per game now ... or perhaps a buyout was their goal.

  • Anonymous

    Sweet, I guess this means I'll wait for the inevitable Real Racing 2 HD 0.99 sale.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrzej-Raczynski/668591493 Andrzej Raczynski

    nothing good ever comes from an EA buyout, for the consumers. take bioware as the most recent example, with what they did to mass effect and dragon age. their star wars mmo will be just another 'me-too'.

    • Anonymous

      What did they do to Mass Effect? It's a mega success all-round.

    • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

      Hey, they did gameplay changes that most of the people enjoyed. If you didn't liked it, so sorry.

  • jase

    This could be very bad. Firemint is just about the best there is in terms of making great games that run on limited hardware, such as the original Real Racing.

    The problem with being owned by a big publisher like EA is that meeting quarterly profit forecasts becomes much more of a priority than releasing great games. For example, look at how Activision released as many COD and Guitar Hero games in a very short amount of time, because they wanted to maximize short-term profits.

    EA acquired Bioware, and they forced Bioware to release Dragon Age 2 in a very short amount of time, and the quality suffered greatly as a result. Look at the Metacritic scores by users for Dragon Age 2 compared to Dragon Age: Origins. I hope that the same thing does not happen to Firemint-developed games.

    The other grim possibility is that Firemint may be basically obliterated by EA, and the talented programmers assigned to various EA projects.

    • Noah

      That is EXACTLY what I was arguing above. EA has a very strict release cycle, and if the polish isn't there before the deadline... they'll release said game to market anyways, bug ridden and crash prone. It truly is a shame, but kudos to the Firemint team getting paid off for their hard work.

  • Loulou

    Sorry but I have to disagree with your pessimistic points of view.
    First EA has changed. Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, FIFA are here to remind us how great EA's games can be on console.
    On iOS it is even better. Mirror's Edge and Dead Space are awesome, NBA Jam is incredible, NFS Shift was the best racing game at its time, Reckless Racing is pretty nice, and all those games are not abusing of IAP. I will even say that EA policy on IAP is probably the best one on the market.

    I think it is a good piece of news, and I am looking forward to see future game from Firemint !

    • Anonymous

      All I'm hearing is a bunch of mediocre games and the very occasional decent game.

  • http://korpil.net Korpil

    I hope this helps EA titles that deserve it to use the technology used by Firemint to display full HD output off an iPad 2... I'm still amazed by the graphics quality Real Racing 2 HD has!

    My Wii cried all night when it was informed it was the svelte iPad 2 who was crunching those graphics!

  • Briker Ed

    EA indeed has some good games out there but it HAS ruined a lot of the developers that they 'took under their wing'. I don't even know where to begin but Bioware is the freshest perhaps.

    I'm under the impression that at first EA is like: "Yeah cool, you've got all the freedom to make what you want" and after some time they switch the tune to "You know, it would be nice if you added more separate content that players might want to pay for, in addition to the original game - Just hack into smaller pieces so it can be released sooner".... and eventually they're just like "Do it bi*ch!"

    The idiotic promotions (join 'this' site for 'that item' ingame, play our facebook crap-version of the game for another amazing piece of *bleeep* ), the seemingly free to play games which aren't that playable less you pay.... Worst thing is - many games didn't start out as that. They changed after the developer companies were assimilated by EA.

    Why I keep playing EA's games? Well, basically because anything I'd want to play is friggin' being bought by EA as we're speaking >_>

  • Boggot

    Poor Bullfrog, i mean Firemint

    • Anonymous

      Syndicate for iPad? Please?
      Let the Firemint guys take a shot at it!

  • http://twitter.com/bsanderson Brian Sanderson

    Uh oh. I hope ea keeps there hands off of the firemint team. I was hoping for a real racing 3 but don't know if it will happen now.

  • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

    As long as they don't interfere with the development process of their games, this is some great news. Hate to see the best racing franchise of iOS to have yearly, half-assed editions. This would suck hard.

  • life_is_pleach

    So there is another good developer gone with the wind. Think that Firemint must develop the next NfS. :(

  • Colin

    I'm mostly worried about a lack of updates, or innovative features. While I do like a lot of EA titles, they can go a long time without updates for bug fixes or improvements. Also, I really doubt that we'll ever see 1080p output with an EA title...

  • Skip

    I'm hoping this doesn't have the same effect that Ratbag being acquired by Midway did...at least not the same effect on the Aussie development studio itself...

  • Slim

    Well that sucks. Say goodbye to Real Racing, and hello to Need for Real Speed.

  • http://twitter.com/RoyalServent Royal Servent
  • Anonymous

    Looks like this will be the end of Firemint and it's AAA titles. A lot of game studios die in EA's hands like Westwood. Also, games get released half done and/or with a TON of stuff missing like Spore, which EA then sell later on like The Sims, hence these great games fail.

  • Anonymous

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO! EA, please prove me wrong and do NOT screw up Real Racing and it's successors. Firemint has turned out a few very high quality titles. Do we know anything about structure? e.g. has ownership changed but will Firemint continue to work on their own? If EA have basically bought source code, licenses, intellectual property, but without the staff then I'm disappointed. Well maybe not, if the Firemint guys go on to create Lightningmint and Hyperreal Racing :)

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I wish Gameloft had picked up Firemint, just for that engine. RR2 is FAST, in 1080p, on iPad 2 external display, with lots of cars on screen. Absolutely incredible the power in these ARM+SGX packages.