Electronic Arts, publishing giant, has acquired 19% of Neowiz, a South Korean game developer that they’ve been working with since early 2006. EA paid over $105 million to acquire a stake in the casual gaming company. This purchase can mean a lot for both companies, but it’s a definite in for EA to the Asian game market.
Last year, Neowiz helped EA develop the online portion of the extremely popular FIFA sports franchise and apparently that’s where the romance began. After making new common and preferred shares and selling them to EA for 100.5 billion won (roughly $105 million), EA will own 19% of the company, putting them in second place behind the current CEO. What to do with all that new money? Oh, I know! I bet they’ll make some new games with their new best friends.
With EA owning a sizable portion of Neowiz, the market is wide open for EA online development, which the company has commented that they are now working on 4 new online games for release in Asia. Of course, Neowiz has their own competition, namely Webzen and NCSoft, makes of the wildly popular Lineage series of games. NCSoft and Webzen may be large, but EA is the proverbial 800 lb gorilla. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but it looks like things might just get interesting in the East.