EA buys Melbourne-based Firemint

Acquisition gains big iOS games sellers

International publisher, EA Games, has announced the acquisition of Melbourne-based iOS developer Firemint for an undisclosed sum.

The app house, which currently employs 60 staff, will become part of EA’s mobile and Web division, EA Interactive, once the deal closes by the end of May.

The Australian developer sprang to fame in 2009 as the creators of popular iPhone app Flight Control, becoming one of a growing number of successes in the Australian games development industry.

The studio was first founded by chief executive, Rob Murray in 1999, but was a single-developer house until 2003 when Murray first began hiring employees.

The company has worked on both original property and commissioned work since founding, but made its mark with the release of Flight Control for iPhone, which was initially a personally hobby of Murray’s first made over Christmas break.

As of January this year, the company had sold slightly less than 4 million copies of the app on iOS platforms after two years of sales.

Firemint’s other big seller, Real Racing 2, reportedly had a budget of over $2 million during development.

"The Firemint team is remarkable for its critical and commercial success," EA Interactive executive vice president and general manager, Barry Cottle, said in a statement.

"Having them as part of EAi will accelerate our position as worldwide leader in game development for mobile devices and online gaming platforms."

Murray was unavailable for comment at time of writing.

The acquisition is one of several success in the local mobile games development industry, which also includes Disney’s acquisition of developer Tapulous in July last year.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

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