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Halfbrick buys mobile-to-web tech dev, will bring  Jetpack Joyride  to browsers

Halfbrick buys mobile-to-web tech dev, will bring Jetpack Joyride to browsers

March 19, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride maker Halfbrick Studios has acquired Spanish firm Onan Games, which develops technology for porting smartphone titles to HTML5 and Flash for the web.

The Australian company says that absorbing Onan and its Mandreel tools will help maximize the reach of its titles. Halfbrick intends to use the tech to improve the development and distribution of titles like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride on the web and on Facebook, and will eventually license Mandreel to its extended client base.

Mandreel enables companies to port their iOS and Android titles to online platforms like Facebook, the Chrome browser's built-in app/game shop Chrome Web Store, video game portals (e.g. Kongregate), and other sites from one C++ code base. Updates made to the mobile editions are automatically applied to the web versions.

Shipped titles that have used Mandreel include Gameloft's GT Racing Motor Academy (iOS, Chrome Web Store), Glu Mobile's Big Time Gangsta (iOS, Facebook), and Rubicon Development's Great Little War Game (iOS, Chrome Web Store). Onan has also ported several games, including several Neo Geo titles for the Zeebo console, since opening in 2011.

After developing games for consoles and mobile devices for more than a decade, Halfbrick began releasing online games last year, first with Monster Dash on the Chrome Web Store (using Mandreel), and then with Fruit Ninja Frenzy on Facebook -- the latter of which currently has 8.2 million monthly active users on Facebook.

Its Jetpack Joyride title has not yet been ported to any platforms outside of iOS, but the game has already seen over 14 million downloads since releasing last August -- Halfbrick saw $1 million in paid sales before making Jetpack Joyride free-to-play. The developer estimates that 5-10 percent of players spent at least a dollar in its in-app store.

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