If you thought 2010 was a year flooded with mergers and acquisitions, just wait for 2011. After all, we’re only four days into the new year and the first surprise purchase has already hit the newswire! Firemint, the developer best known for iOS games like Flight Control and Real Racing 2, has just purchased Puzzle Quest creators Infinite Interactive for an undisclosed amount.
While it may be surprising in that this was unexpected (Firemint isn’t a firm known for making acquisitions of other developers), it’s actually a move that makes a great deal of sense for both companies. Both Firemint and Infinite Interactive are based out of Australia. Having recently spread their wings to Steam, DSIWare, and the PlayStation Network, Firemint have proven themselves more than capable at successfully self-publishing on a variety of downloadable platforms. Infinite Interactive’s Puzzle Quest series has largely succeeded as a downloadable game, but they have yet to try the self-publishing route (the original Puzzle Quest and Galactrix were released through D3 Publishing, while Puzzle Quest 2 was published through Namco). Combine that with the fact that they make really really popular games, and it seems like a win/win for everyone involved.
What’s more, Infinite Interactive’s founder Steve Fawkner and Firemint’s founder Rob Murray seem to know each other quite well: “Steve and I have been talking about working together for a long time,” says Murray, “and I remember him showing me an early version of Puzzle Quest. This inspired me to make a game during my own holidays two years later, which was Flight Control – and now, another two years later, we’ve finally found a way to work together!”
The two studios, both located in Melbourne, will merge into a single office and develop exclusively under the Firemint name. Fawkner’s new position at Firemint will fall under the heading of “product management,” and it’s a title that suits him just fine: “This new position really frees me up to focus on game design and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”