Electronic Arts confirms takeover of Chillingo, the UK based mobile game maker for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Electronic Arts Inc confirmed it had acquired the UK’s mobile games developer, Chillingo after speculation had arisen with reports suggesting such a move. Chillingo is a maker of popular mobile game titles for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Electronic Arts Inc is an interactive entertainment software giant, with a number of popular brand games under its portfolio.

Even though the financial details of the transaction and its terms remain under wraps, the Wall Street Journal reported a figure of about $20 million in cash, in addition to other incentives and earnouts. Electronic Arts expect the investment to enable it reinforce its placement on the Apple News Alert platform and give it access to the UK firm’s expertise in the global mobile publishing space.

In a statement, Electronic Arts Public Relations director Holly Rockwood said the investment will allow bolster its offering while at the same better position itself globally in the mobile publishing markets. Chillingo will maintain its independence and continue designing and marketing mobile games with the help of independent developers. But even so, the deal has not been without controversy.

A number of the UK’s media outlets are reporting that the takeover is not inclusive of the intellectual property rights to Angry Birds, Chillingo’s most popular game. Analysts have been left pondering Electronic Arts move, if it should miss out on Chillingo’s most popular brand.  If Electronic Arts does not get the Angry Birds IP, then the firm will be buying the development platform to put their own IP on it in the hope of driving social networking and customers back to their own properties, said analysts.

The global online and mobile video gaming industry has witnessed some impressive takeovers, with an increased number of acquisitions taking place in the last one year. The impressive performance has been possible thanks to vendors looking to capitalize on the recent smart phone rage. Back in July of this year, Disney spent nearly $1 billion to acquire online social gaming company Playdom and iPhone game developer Tapulous.

On its part, Electronic Arts was not left behind as it picked up social network game maker Playfish for $400 million late last year. Other small players in the industry such as Zynga, has made a number of small moves, recently buying Unoh, a Japanese creator of social games.

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