chillingo-logo-SOCT. 20, 2010 • Macclesfield games publisher Chillingo in the U.K. was acquired for $20 million by Electronic Arts. Chillingo was launched in 2002 to promote and market games for smartphones, and was one of the first publishers to publish games for the iPhone. EA sees the acquisition as a means to consolidate leadership in the segment.

Impact: The good news is that EA recognizes the importance of mobile platforms. The worrisome news is that the publisher must purchase its way to greater market share. It is one thing for a motion picture studio to acquire new game content expertise. Video games are not the core competency of a motion picture studio. EA, however, is a premier video game publisher. Furthermore, EA is already a leading mobile game publisher after they acquired Jamdat for $680 million in 2005. Acquisitions such as this just encourage questions as to why big publishers are not better at adjusting to new trends in-house.  Chillingo has been one of the hottest mobile games publishers recently with its runaway hit Angry Birds from developer Rovio.  The publishing rights for future Angry Birds games was not part of the EA / Chillingo deal as Rovio will now self publish all its future titles.  As a publisher why is a small company like Chillingo better at spotting the hits than EA Mobile?