Electronic Arts is buying yet another development studio. This time, however, it’s a mobile developer. In a press release this morning, EA announced it will acquire Glu Mobile for about $2.1 billion. The purchase of Glu Mobile follows the announcement and approval of its $1.2 billion purchase of Codemasters. EA has made this acquisition with the goal of strengthening its mobile game portfolio.
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said in a press release the acquisition of Glu “combines amazing teams and deeply-engaging products to create a mobile games leader with proven expertise across many fast-growing genres.” Wilson recognizes mobile games represent the “biggest gaming platform in the world.” Obtaining Glu Mobile’s team and titles also helps accelerate EA’s growth in the mobile market.
Why Would EA Acquire Glu Mobile?
If you’re strictly a sports gamer, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Glu Mobile. The subtitle of its website, “The Leader in 3D Freemium Mobile Gaming,” is a pretty solid elevator pitch. Glu has experience developing sports games for mobile. It developed the WWE Universe mobile game, as well as a baseball series, MLB Tap Sports Baseball. Glu Mobile also has some more impressive licenses under its belt, including a Disney RPG and a restaurant game featuring Gordon Ramsay. Each of these games follows the “freemium” principle; a mobile game that’s free to download, but features tons of in-app purchases and unlocks. Glu’s monetization is part of what
None of Glu’s games capitalize on this formula better than its biggest hit, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. When Kim Kardashian: Hollywood dropped in 2014, it made $43 million in it’s first fiscal quarter. In 2018, it was still making anywhere from $6 to $8 million a quarter. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood had such an effect on release that Polygon named it in its Top 100 games of the decade at #86. It found a new surge of popularity alongside other video games in 2020 when the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic first started forcing people inside. The games’ staying power is a testament to the kind of money EA wants to secure through acquiring a developer like Glu Mobile.
How will EA’s already scrutinized Ultimate Team environment benefit from the addition of Glu’s focus on the freemium model? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
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