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SPY mouse is the next blockbuster iOS game from Firemint, creators of worldwide hits Flight Control and Real Racing.

Play as Agent Squeak, the dashing and debonair undercover mouse. Outsmart ferocious felines and crack fiendish challenges! Sneak, sprint and strategize in your quest to "reclaim" every precious piece of cheese.

Are you prepared for the biggest game to hit iPhone in 2011? Time to get your secret agent credentials up to scratch!

http://www.firemint.com/spymouse
http://www.facebook.com/Firemint
http://www.twitter.com/Firemint

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/05/11 - 8:12 PM Permalink

at least 150k a head a year?

Investors in the tech industry have NFI.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/11 - 2:52 PM Permalink

It does cost quite a bit on top of an employees salary to employ someone. You need to take into account everything else such as hardware, software licenses, dev kits, rent, power bills etc..

Submitted by souri on Thu, 05/05/11 - 11:15 PM Permalink

"One of the things we rather enjoy here is acquiring companies and then having people speculate that we spent five times more on it than we actually did," said Riccitiello, referring to both initial reports of its acquisition of Angry Birds publisher Chillingo last year and its just-announced Firemint (Flight Control) acquisition, saying that the purchase price was "vastly lower" than the one reported by some outlets.

According to Brown, the acquisition cost EA "less than $25 million."

Gamasutra.com

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/11 - 2:06 PM Permalink

To the surprise of nobody...

Firemint and Infinite Interactive are successful, but not THAT succesful. And given the size of either company, anything more than $25 million was pure fantasy. Makes a good headline, though.

Lesson here - Tech industry investors > Venture capital firms.

Although Electronic Arts did not disclose how much they paid to acquire prominent Melbourne based games development studio, Firemint, during their announcement yesterday, it hasn't stopped tech industry investors and analysts from estimating how much the deal was worth.

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article containing the speculations of various tech industry sources on how much EA paid for Firemint, basing their estimations on the employee size of Firemint to how much the studio was turning over annually.

Investors in the tech industry field put the sale of Firemint between $20 and $40 million, based on the knowledge that the studio had a turn over $10 million dollars in revenue per year. Another source with connections to major venture capital firms puts that ceiling much, much higher, from $25 to $100 million. From smh.com.au...

"They've got 60 people so they'd be costing at least $150,000 a head for sure. If there's 60 of them, that probably means they're spending $9 million a year at least in costs; if you assume that they're making at least $9 million a year in revenue, even just on a revenue multiple of four or five times you imagine it's somewhere between $25 and $100 million, depending on how crazy Electronic Arts were for it," the source said...

Even if you're making $5 million a year in revenue you're going to get $25 million.

** Update:

During a conference call, EA executives revealed that the publisher paid less than $25 million to acquire Firemint.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/05/11 - 11:00 PM Permalink

A sad day for the staff of Firemint... Losing their best feature (independence) is sure to hurt. Here's hoping they each got a share of the reported $20-$40million (or more?).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/05/11 - 8:59 AM Permalink

I'm not so sure it's a sad day. The whole deal is characterized as an acquisition of Firemints creative talent - to me this implies that they're basically being enlisted to create new IP's (business as usual as far as Firemint is concerned), as opposed to just being an iOS port farm.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/05/11 - 4:41 PM Permalink

“… there are shops out there we see where the motivations align and there’s a great cultural fit,” claimed Cottle, “and Firemint was one of those for us. It brings that creative talent – and particularly, that kind of mobile-centric talent, so we can begin to develop our brands in the marketplace.”

Direct quote from EA confirming that Firemint will be used to push EA IP's in the mobile space, not to develop new IP. That's what EA calls 'creativity'

Submitted by NathanRunge on Thu, 05/05/11 - 5:17 PM Permalink

I think that's reading between the lines, and may or may not prove accurate. The statement from EA says, specifically:

"so we can begin to develop our brands in the marketplace"

The first thing to note is that it references brands, rather than IP. While they are often used interchangeably, they are not necessarily the same thing. Firement, for example, is now potentially an EA 'brand'. Additionally, the word 'begin' is used, which may indicate that they view Firemint's involvement as the start of a new phase or new projects, or it may not.

The statement is very simple, and doesn't necessarily indicate their intended use of the Firemint team. It may well prove to be that they do only wish to promote their existing or otherwise-sourced IP, or it may be they want to utilise Firemint's talent for exploiting the market and developing creative new titles. I think it's best to wait and see rather than switch to 'big company' panic mode.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/11 - 4:26 PM Permalink

Your lack of actual experience with multinational publishers shows through here, and makes you sound naive. When they say brands, they definitely mean their software brands and not their developer brands. EA (and years of experience makes this crystal clear to anyone who's been directly involved with them, or vaguely follows the industry) doesn't care about developer brands and in fact does their absolute best to hide them away. They don't put developers in front of press wherever they can possibly help it, and they don't make developers figureheads for IP.

EA, like Activision, believe that development teams are interchangeable - and you can see this by the very literal changing of development teams on major IP, from COD to Burnout.

Their statement is very simple, and absolutely indicates their intended use of the Firemint team. Expect to see them working on Burnout iPad, Sims Mobile, and 400 new versions of Flight Control.

I can't think of a single EA purchased studio who've managed to release new IP developed post-acquisition. Can you? Check out how many original releases Iron Monkey has come out with since the purchase.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Fri, 06/05/11 - 8:59 PM Permalink

You can anonymously snipe at my experience if you wish, but the statement is most certainly not clear. You are right that Firemint is unlikely to be a 'figurehead' for IP, and as a publisher owned studio should have no expectation of being so. This, however, does not mean Firemint will cease being engaged in developing 'their' current IP, or new IP.

EA have their bottom-line in mind, and they are aware of the changing nature of the industry whether we wish to believe so or not. They will do with Firemint what they see is best. This might involve having Firemint work on existing 'brands', or developing new ones. Flight Control, for example, is now an EA 'brand'. I'm inclined to agree the likely outcome is few, if any, new IP from Firemint, but I think we should refrain from jumping on the 'doom, horror big company from OUT OF STATE' bandwagon.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/05/11 - 1:54 PM Permalink

Should be good, but deals like these make me nervous. Let's wait two years and see what happens then (that was about how long Pandemic lasted after acquisition, right?)

Submitted by designerwatts on Thu, 05/05/11 - 3:28 PM Permalink

Congrats to the team at Firemint. The only thing I would hope to see changed is their financials further secured under being a publisher-owned developer. Hopefully this acquisition will open up some new job opportunities in Melbourne over the next few years.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/05/11 - 9:41 PM Permalink

Of course. Firing some of the more expensive, less EA-cultural-fit employees and bringing in cheaper people who will toady up to the new management. Or is that just being cynical?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/05/11 - 9:25 AM Permalink

Since when do EA have a reputation for hiring "cheap" people? In my experience they are actually very selective with who they hire, and they pay quite well compared to the rest of the industry. What is this fear based on?

Announced today, publishing giant, Electronic Arts will be acquiring leading Melbourne based mobile games developer, Firemint, for an undisclosed amount. The Flight Control and Real Racing developer will become part of Electronic Arts Interactive (EAi) once the agreement is finalised within the next four weeks.

From the announcement...

"The Firemint team is remarkable for its critical and commercial success," said Barry Cottle, Executive Vice President and General Manger of EA Interactive. "Having them as part of EAi will accelerate our position as worldwide leader in game development for mobile devices and online gaming platforms.

The acquisition of Firemint by EA comes four months after Firemint acquired fellow Melbourne games developer, Infinite Interactive. Electronic Arts had acquired another prominent mobile Melbourne games developer, IronMonkey Studios, in early 2010. IronMonkey Studios have since created critically acclaimed iOs games for EA including The Sims 3, Need For Speed: Shift, NFS: Undercover, and most recently Dead Space.

Firemint had previously worked on EA titles before their breakout Flight Control hit, including Madden NFL '07 3D, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, and The Sims DJ.

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The International Games Developers Association (IGDA) has raised some significant concerns for the distribution terms provided by Amazon on their new Amazon Appstore service. Games developers are advised to educate themselves on the pros and cons of the store's terms and the implications it could have on the sales of their titles. Generally, Amazon are able to manipulate app prices and sales as a way to leverage their appstore over competing appstores, to the detriment of the app developer.

The five most significant issues listed by the IGDA are:

(from the IGDA)

1) Amazon steeply discounts a large chunk of its Appstore catalog (imagine: “our top 100-rated games are all 75% off!”). Some developers will probably win in this scenario, but some developers — most likely, those near the bottom of the list — will lose, not gaining enough sales to offset the loss in revenue per sale. Amazon benefits the most, because it captures all the customer goodwill generated by such a promotion.

2) By requiring all developers to guarantee Amazon a minimum list price that matches the lowest price on any other market, Amazon has presented developers with a stark choice: abandon Amazon’s market or agree never to give another distributor an exclusive promotional window.

3) Other digital markets that compete with Amazon (both existing markets and markets yet-to-be-created) may feel compelled to duplicate Amazon’s terms, and perhaps even adopt more severe terms in an effort to compete effectively with Amazon. In essence, we’re looking at a slippery slope in which a developer’s “minimum list price” ceases to be a meaningful thing.

4) Amazon steeply discounts (or makes entirely free) a game that has a well-defined, well-connected niche audience. The members of that niche audience snap up the game during the promotional period, robbing the game’s developer of a significant percentage of its total potential revenue from its core audience.

5) Amazon steeply discounts (or makes entirely free) a hit game at a time when the game is already selling extremely well. This sort of promotional activity may attract consumers away from competing markets and into Amazon’s arms. But it might actually represent a net loss for the developer, which was already doing quite well and didn’t need to firesale its game at that moment in time.

Local games developers have been embracing new digital distribution services such as the Amazon Appstore, with Firemint releasing their popular Flight Control game to the service as well as Intel's appstore service, Intel AppUp. Halfbrick Studios have also released Fruit Ninja on the Amazon appstore. Both locally developed titles have been listed as free downloads as part of the Amazon "free app a day" program.

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With full support for high-definition, 1080p output - a first for any iOS game - in the next major update, Real Racing 2 HD will be the perfect title to see the full potential of Apple's latest hardware.

Relish crisp, gorgeous graphics at full screen 1080p, running at rock-solid frame rates, with an unbeatable hands-on, precision control method that'll have your console green with envy. Real time telemetry puts your iPad 2's display to work while your big screen takes care of the track-side action.

IGN has heralded Real Racing 2 HD as "the best racing game for the iPad", and Real Racing 2 on iPhone has received numerous accolades, including two Game of the Year awards from Pocket Gamer and perfect scores from Slide To Play, Macworld, Touch Arcade and CNET.

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Any new game announcement from Firemint is always anticipated, given the high standard of quality titles from the Melbourne games studio and for the fact that they've only released two titles for the iOS devices so far since the launch of their original 2009 hit title, Flight Control. Firemint certainly haven't been sitting on their laurels, however, as they've been preoccupied since with the big productions and highly acclaimed titles of Real Racing and Real Racing 2, as well as the many platform ports and updates of Flight Control.

Firemint CEO, Rob Murray, disclosed late last year that the studio was always prototyping new ideas but discarded many because they did not reach a certain level of innovation or freshness that the studio has come to expect. He explained that Firemint would be ready to announce any new game "when we have gotten it to the stage where it is close to finished and we are really loving it".

It seems that time has come as Firemint have been busy showcasing a preview of their new casual iOS title at the Game Developers Conference this week. The new game, titled Agent Squeek, has you you playing a mouse that has to collect cheese that has been strategically placed in the level. Once retrieved, you'll need to find an escape route to a mouse hole. You'll be doing this by drawing your path in the familiar way to directing your plane in Flight Control.

As to be expected, there are enemies to avoid, powerups to collect, and many achievements to be had. From the many previews that Agent Squeek has had, it's expected to include increasingly challenging levels, huge boss battles, and the final product will be of a level of polish you'd expect from Firemint.

From the hands-on preview by Slidetoplay.com...

The developers promise many hours of content, with tons of levels set in a variety of environments, plus a lot of replayability. Like in Angry Birds (and many other casual games), when you complete each level, you're awarded up to three stars for your performance.

No exact release date has been given so far for the release date for Agent Squeek nor has any screenshots or footage been released so far, but we should be seeing it sometime in 2011.

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We're looking for an outstanding Marketing/Business Development Manager to join our team. This is a new position due to the growth of the self-publishing side of our business, commencing ASAP.

  • Take responsibility for driving revenue. The success of this role will be measured against revenue growth, so you will need a thorough, analytical and methodical approach.
  • Channel Management: develop the highest level of expert knowledge of the digital channels through which we sell and promote our games (for example, Apple App Store, Steam, PlayStation Network, Facebook), including recommending and implementing pricing strategies and developing promotional opportunities.
  • Brand Management: the role includes aspects of brand management – researching and developing opportunities for our existing brands and games including licensing, sponsorships and platform expansion.
  • Industry Analysis: keep abreast of general industry development, in particular competitor activity.
  • Business Development: you will manage a small number of B2B relationships with some of our hardware and platform partners, but predominantly focus on our millions of players. There is no requirement for cold calling or generating leads.
  • Work with our marketing team to implement campaigns, measure and analyse results.
  • This is a start-up department within an established and prospering studio, so you will need to take a flexible, proactive and hands-on approach to getting things done.

Who we're looking for

  • You have at least 3 years experience in a similar role.
  • Demonstrated experience driving revenue with measurable results in a previous position, by originating and implementing profitable business strategies.
  • Proven track-record with high quality consumer goods, ideally in discretionary spending areas such as entertainment or digital content.
  • li>Understanding of digital channels and analytics, and experience generating revenue from long tail sales.
  • Pro-active and self-motivated with a laser focus, great drive and energy and a demonstrated ability to knuckle down and execute.
  • Outstanding organisational skills and ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Obsessive attention to detail and exceptional judgement.
  • Clear, concise, effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong interest in games as well as internet and tech trends is essential.
  • Tertiary qualifications in marketing, business or related fields.

What we can offer you:

  • The opportunity to work with a true world leader and Australian success story, creating fantastic products that people are genuinely interested in.
  • A great, professional but laid back team environment with some of the smartest and most talented game makers anywhere.
  • Light, modern studio environment in central Richmond location, awesome coffee immediately across the road. Many local cafes, restaurants and shops.
  • Close to public transport with various train and tram stops within walking distance. Car and bike parking available.
  • Lots of small perks – fresh fruit, game library, Friday drinks.
  • Great camaraderie – everyone shares an interest in games, gadgets and technology.
  • The opportunity to do your best work yet!

Interested?

Please apply through SEEK only and include:

  • A cover letter telling us why you'd like to work for Firemint and why you're perfect for the role. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.
  • Your CV

You must be available to attend an interview in Richmond if short-listed.

Firemint does not work with recruiters so please apply direct.

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Local developers Firemint and Sidhe Interactive are listed as just two of the 80 publishers and games developers listed so far that have been given the go ahead to develop for Sony's recently announced PSP2, the codenamed "NGP" for Next Generation Portable. Sidhe are hoping to announce some titles for the next-generation PlayStation Portable, which Sony has described "is as powerful as the PlayStation 3", within the upcoming months.

Sidhe Managing director, Mario Wynands, explains to Stuff.co.nz what the new platform means for the New Zealand based games developer...

(Mario) Our strategy is to make great games and take them across as many platforms as possible and this is another opportunity where we have the ability to self-publish and deliver content digitally. That's a great opportunity not only for us but for other developers throughout the country and around the world.

The PSP2 will have an initial release in the fourth quarter of 2011 and boasts the following features:

- 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
- 5" OLED capacitive touchscreen
- 960 × 544 pixels
- Rear touchpad
- Six-axis motion sensing
- Three-axis electronic compass
- D-pad, 12 Buttons, 2 Analog sticks
- Front camera, rear camera
- Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth
- proprietary flash memory "E-Media" card

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Apple have unveiled a page within iTunes which displays the top ten downloaded apps of all time as the appstore races towards hitting the 10 billion apps downloaded milestone.

The top ten lists are categorised by platform and whether they are paid or free apps, but the category we're most interested in is the All-Time Top Paid iPhone Apps category simply because Flight Control, by Melbourne's Firemint, has hit the #10 spot in that list.

All-Time Top Paid iPhone Apps

1. Doodle Jump
2. Tap Tap Revenge 3
3. Pocket God
4. Angry Birds
5. Tap Tap Revenge 2.6
6. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
7. Traffic Rush
8. Tap Tap Revenge Classic
9. AppBox Pro Alarm
10. Flight Control

To celebrate this achievement, Firemint has decided to share more of their sales data, revealing that Flight Control has amassed an incredible 3,881,634 sales so far. One of the charts Firemint has released show the sales spikes that Flight Control has received during the various game upgrades, hardware and iOS functionality releases, and holiday periods. It goes to show that Firemint has been able to consistently take great advantage of those opportunities to boost up more even sales for Flight Control.

The other chart that Firemint has released shows that a huge chunk of Flight Control's sales come from Australian customers. While we're a relatively small country with a population of just 21 million, we've managed to hit the third position in sales listed by countries behind the U.S and Great Britain, and ahead of much larger populated countries such as Germany, France, and Japan.

I guess with a 110% and 115% subscriber penetration of mobile services, which means that there are more handsets subscribed to mobile services than there are people in the country simply due to people owning more than one handset, we're definitely a nation that has really adopted mobiles and mobile gaming.

Anyway, congratulations to Firemint for gaining yet another great notch in the Flight Control success story!

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Submitted by Mario on Wed, 19/01/11 - 11:59 AM Permalink

There is a free version of the game, Bird Strike Featherlite, available to check out too.

Firemint and HalfBrick Studios, as well as PikPok in New Zealand, have been recognised for mobile gaming excellence by being shortlisted for various categories in the seventh annual International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGAs).

Being shortlisted from a field of over 250 is a heck of an achievement!

The categories that local developers have made it in are:

Best Casual Game
Bird Strike : Gold Edition - PikPok, New Zealand
Fruit Ninja - Halfbrick, Australia

Excellence in Design
Real Racing 2 - Firemint, Australia

Best of luck, developers!

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