Electronic Arts today announced that it would be acquiring UK developer Playdemic from Warner Bros. The all-cash deal for the developer of the highly successful Golf Clash mobile title is costing EA $1.4bn.
The sale is particularly notable given that it comes only a month after parent WarnerMedia’s agreed merger with Discovery. Previous Warner owner AT&T having decided that a content business didn’t fit with its core activities. Although this deal will actually predate the closure of the Warner-Discovery merger, with the cash for the sale going directly to AT&T.
A statement clarified: “The remaining Warner Bros. Games portfolio is included in the recently announced WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction and will become part of the combined media and entertainment company after the expected close of that transaction.”
Wilmslow-based Playdemic was something of an odd part in the Warner lineup. It wasn’t working with Warner IP or long-running IP licensing deals, such as the LEGO games of its sibling studio Tt Games.
That’s something that David Haddad, president, Warner Bros. Games spoke to in a statement: “While we have great respect for the Playdemic team, our decision to divest is a part of our overall strategy to build games based on Warner Bros. storied franchises.”
It simply looks then as if the golf game was a better fit at EA, which itself is keen to get back into the golf space, having announced a next-gen PGA Tour title, its first since 2015. There are obvious synergies between the two games, and EA could easily leverage the casual mobile golf title to help it promote its new console title. More broadly, EA also has, obviously, great experience in sports games.
“Playdemic is a team of true innovators, and we’re thrilled to have them join the Electronic Arts family,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. “In addition to the ongoing success of Golf Clash, the talent, technology and expertise of Playdemic will be a powerful combination with our teams and IP at Electronic Arts. This is the next step building on our strategy to expand our sports portfolio and accelerate our growth in mobile to reach more players around the world with more great games and content.”
“We founded Playdemic with a focus on creating highly engaging and innovative game experiences. Our success with Golf Clash has proven our approach and demonstrated the ability of our incredibly talented teams to develop and operate best in class mobile games,” said Paul Gouge, CEO of Playdemic. “Joining EA, one of the most successful games companies in the world, is an important next step in our journey and we are excited to continue to develop both Golf Clash and new titles as part of the EA family.”