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Electronic Arts is continuing its buying spree. The KlickNation development team behind Facebook titles like Superhero City and Age of Champions will now be known as BioWare Sacramento, following an acquisition by BioWare parent EA.
The newly dubbed studio will join with existing studio BioWare San Francisco (formerly known as EA2D) to form a new BioWare Social business unit, the company announced today, with KlickNation CEO and co-founder Mark Otero at the helm. EA didn’t disclose the price, but one publication put it at $35 million.
While BioWare is best known for sprawling console role-playing games like Mass Effect and highly anticipated upcoming MMO The Old Republic, BioWare San Francisco spun off the Dragon Age franchise into Facebook’s Dragon Age Legends, a minor hit with 140,000 currently active monthly users according to AppData.
“While developing social RPG experiences, we held BioWare as a role model for storytelling and game design,” Otero said in a statement. “Joining with BioWare and EA is an opportunity to realize our vision for bringing high-quality RPG titles to the fast-growing, highly-engaged core gamers looking for deeper experiences on social platforms.”
KlickNation is known primarily for its superhero-themed titles like Superhero City, one of the first Facebook RPGs to feature animated battles, and Age of Champions, which lets players join together for massive battles.
Together, KlickNation’s games currently draw around 350,000 monthly active users, according to AppData, a relative drop in the bucket compared to previous EA acquisitions like Popcap and Playfish, both of which draw millions of active users and cost EA hundreds of millions of dollars (terms for the KlickNation acquisition were not disclosed).
But the KlickNation purchase helps highlight the importance EA places on the social gaming market, which analysts predict will continue to grow at its current blistering pace for at least the next few years.
Despite the success of recent social releases like The Sims Social, EA still runs a distant second to market leader Zynga in the social gaming space, with roughly 57 million aggregate users compared to Zynga’s 215 million. For an idea of how important the market considers that difference, consider that Zynga’s recently detailed IPO will give the company a value over $1 billion higher than EA’s $7.8 billion market cap — this despite the fact that EA currently brings in over ten times as much revenue as Zynga.