Monday, November 9, 2009

EA Buys Playfish

From Techcrunch today:

Electronic Arts closed it’s anticipated acquisition of social gaming startup Playfish for $275 million in cash. An additional $25 million in stock will be set aside for retaining the top talent at the startup, and another $100 million in earnouts are part of the deal as well if the business hits certain milestones. So the total value of the deal could amount to as much as $400 million when all is said and done.

Wow. $400M is a lot of money. Social games are clearly the hot ticket right now, so it makes sense for EA to jump in, but one has to wonder if that's money well spent.

The stock & earnout will retain the people for some time, which is I'm sure a big part of why they acquired the company.

Still, the titles are cheaper to develop, and there doesn't (as of yet) seem to be the same IP loyalty that there is in hardcore games (are there Farmville fanboys out there dissing Mafia Wars?).

Time will tell if it was a good call, but it certain does seem rash, especially with all of the kerfuffle around questionable sources of social game revenues. (Interesting meta-level piece on the same issue here)

1 comment:

David said...

I'm leaning in the same direction; I understand why EA did it, but odds are they overpaid. It would have been cheaper to spin up several independent studios characterized by low overhead and to charter them with focusing on social games.