playfish blue 300x117 Its Official. EA Acquires Playfish for $400 Million.Electronic Arts has acquired Facebook gamesmaker Playfish for up to $400 Million.

Playfish is a British based developer of free to play casual social games primarily popular on the likes of Facebook and MySpace, Bebo and the iPhone, among others.
To date, more than 150 million Playfish games have been installed and played by millions of people worldwide .

The company is less than two years old, and ironically is being acquired by the largest games developer in the world and who, not so long ago. argued that the target’s sector – social games – is over-hyped.

Who has the Biggest Brain? was the company’s first hit. It was one of the first Facebook games to attract millions of daily players, and allowed the company to raise funding necessary to produce other hits.

Despite the recent uncovering that many of these online social games are scams in disguise, the deal will bring a smile to many a game developer who have rested their laurels on social gaming becoming a mature business. With this, we’re likely to see either IPO’s or acquisitions in the not so distant future.

Full Press Release below:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced it has acquired Playfish™, a leading creator of social network games. The acquisition accelerates EA’s position in social entertainment and strengthens its focus on the transition to digital and social gaming. Playfish will operate within EA Interactive, a division of EA focused on the web and on wireless

EA has acquired Playfish for approximately US$275 million in cash and approximately $US25 million in equity retention arrangements. In addition, the sellers are entitled to additional variable cash consideration, up to a maximum of US$100 million, contingent upon the achievement of certain performance milestones through December 31, 2011.

“Social gaming, with its emphasis on friends and community, is seeing tremendous growth and this is the right time to invest to strengthen our participation in this space,” said Barry Cottle, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Interactive. “EAi has been successfully leading the charge for EA, and with the addition of proven expertise from Playfish, their broad consumer base and strong game brands, we’re moving ahead aggressively in our plans to lead in the category of cross-platform social entertainment.”

“The industry is undergoing dramatic transformation and joining EA is the ideal opportunity for us to push forward our goals to lead in the social entertainment evolution on a faster and much larger scale,” said Kristian Segerstrale, CEO and Co-founder of Playfish. “EAi’s vision and entrepreneurial culture are consistent with our own, and together, we are in position to be the company that defines new and innovative connected experiences that will change the way people play games.”

Playfish is one of the world’s largest and most respected social gaming companies with more than 150 million games installed and played worldwide on platforms such as Facebook®, MySpace™, Google™, Bebo, iPhone™ and Android. Playfish currently has over 60 million monthly active players across its ten titles – including Facebook hits Pet Society, Restaurant City, and Country Story – driving more than 1 billion game play sessions every month.

EAi is a division of EA focused on digital business, including EA Mobile™, Pogo™ and social gaming. Pogo is the #1 casual gaming destination in audience engagement across North America and Europe. And EA Mobile is the world’s #1 mobile games publisher with 34% market share in the U.S., and the leading games publisher on Apple’s App Store with such Top Paid Apps as Rock Band®, Madden NFL10, The Sims™, and Tetris®.