Electronic Arts Snaps Up Angry Birds Publisher Chillingo

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Angry Birds

They're birds. And they're angry. And they love Halloween. And British prime minister David Cameron loves them . And hey presto, Electronic Arts owns them! (Or their publisher, anyway.)

Wait, Electronic Arts owns what?

Chillingo. The guys who publish Angry Birds. EA apparently did what all good publishing empires must when something sells, you know, 6.5 million copies. Insert Borg sound effects here.

6.5 million was Angry Birds' sales tally back in August. Who knows where it's at now. The Android version of the game, which just launched, apparently drew over one million downloads in the first 24 hours. Everybody Loves Angry Birds then, and if that sounds suspiciously like a sitcom, watch out, it's probably next. After all, we've already heard a movie's in the offing.

EA paid $20 million in cash for Chillingo, according to Reuters. Not too shabby, though a drop in the bucket compared to another EA deal valued at $400 million that snagged social games maker Playfish last November.

Chillingo publishes a bunch of stuff. Toki Tori. Zen Bound. Aztec Quest. Cash Cow. But nothing with quite the sales oomph and visibility of Angry Birds. I mean come on, David Cameron?

If you're like "Angry huh?" it's a casual game that works like this: You launch pudgy birds from giant catapults at squads of green pigs hunkered in destructible houses, castles, trains, and more. Each bird has special abilities, such as splitting into three just before impact, or kicking in thrusters mid-arc to deal extra damage. Basic object physics challenges you to puzzle out where aim the birds for maximum ballistic effect.

"By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple Platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher," said EA in a statement. "This acquisition will combine Chillingo’s expertise in cultivating the ideas of independent developers with EA’s global mobile publishing reach."

Welcome to the even bigger time, furious avians.

Update: Just now confirmed by Angry Birds developer Rovio, and as we noted above, EA has purchased Chillingo, Angry Birds' publisher, not Rovio, or Angry Birds itself.

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