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Big Fish buys mobile casino game maker

Big Fish buys mobile casino game maker

March 6, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Big Fish Games has acquired Self Aware Games (and its parent company Social Concepts), an Oakland, California-based mobile and social game developer best known for creating Card Ace: Casino.

The purchase follows a number of companies stepping into the social casino game space, like virtual gambling game firm IGT, which bought Double Down Interactive (DoubleDown Casino) for $500 million; and Caesars Interactive acquiring Playtika (Slotomania) and releasing Caesars Casino.

Zynga also has plans to form its own Zynga Casino franchise that will include its popular Zynga Poker/Texas HoldEm Poker game (33.2 million monthly active users, according to AppData). And just two weeks ago, EA PopCap launched its open beta for Lucky Gem Casino.

Unlike those Facebook titles, Self Aware's Card Ace: Casino is a free-to-play mobile release available for iOS and Android devices. The company is also working on a location-based mobile MMO game platform, and an iPad title called Fleck Touch.

This acquisition adds 25 employees to the Seattle-headquartered Big Fish, and gives the casual game publisher access to Self Aware's virtual goods technology platform. Big Fish intends to bring the studio's mobile-social brands to the platforms where it traditionally distributes games, too.

Along with the purchase, Big Fish announced that it saw a 30 percent year-over-year increase in revenues for 2011 -- its ninth consecutive year of record revenues. The publisher attributed the growth to digital sales for its 2500+ game catalog across PCs and smartphones.

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