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Toy and entertainment company Hasbro made a major investment in a game developer yesterday to bolster its offerings on mobile devices. The corporation put $112 million into acquiring a 70 percent stake in Backflip Studios, which produces titles like Paper Toss Friends for Android and iOS.
Backflip chief executive Julian Farrior announced that his company will now have access to Hasbro’s roster of properties, but this excludes brands like G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Dungeons & Dragons due to previous Hasbro deals.
“Backflip fits the criteria we were looking for – they have a track record of sustained performance, including profitability; they have strong development capabilities; and their games address an end consumer similar to that of Hasbro brands,” Hasbro senior vice president Wayne Charness told GamesBeat. “This does not impact our agreements with other partners. Backflip will continue to develop mobile games around its own original IP as well as mobile games on Hasbro IP that we are not currently developing with other partners. We are working with some of the best companies in the industry and we intend to keep doing so.”
Hasbro’s move to acquire Backflip comes just months after mobile publisher DeNA revealed plans to release games based on G.I. Joe and Dungeons & Dragons. DeNA, along with developer Mobage, released G.I. Joe: Battleground for Android and iOS yesterday. Those two companies also have a collectible-card game based on Hasbro’s Transformers property. These licensing agreements prohibit Backflip from doing their own games based on those properties.
“The addition of in-house digital gaming capabilities allows us to more fully participate in the value being created by our brands digitally and we anticipate the addition of Backflip will add to our earnings in the near- and long-term,” said Charness. “That said, we continue to work with some of the best companies in the industry and we intend to keep doing so.”
Hasbro has a number of brands that Backflip could tap into without conflict. That includes classic board games like Yahtzee, Guess Who?, and Pictionary. We’ve contacted Backflip’s Farrior to ask which titles his company is likely to tackle first. We will update with his response.