Finally… I-Play and Oberon today announced that the former would be acquired by the latter, allegedly for $110-120m. A deal involving I-Play had been rumoured to happen for quite some time, so good for Gosen and his team that they found a suitor. And not a bad one either: Oberon is an online gaming powerhouse, so a move across to mobile makes sense (and they had probably realised that their acquisition of Blaze (which itself was the combination of Synergenix and Kayak Interactive) last year wasn’t getting them anywhere close to where they need to be). I-Play with its CEO David Gosen certainly showed stamina. They published some pretty cool titles (including Gamevil’s critically acclaimed “Skipping Stone” and hit series “The Fast & The Furious”) and in spite of oft rumoured shortage of cash just hung in there.
UPDATE: Today (12 Sept 2007) I-Play announced 11 new games all drawn from Oberon’s back catalogue. They are Hexic and Mozaki Blocks (apparently from the creator of Tetris), Flowerz, Slinky, Fish Tycoon, Spin & Win, Bricks of Egypt, Bricks of Atlantis, Magic Match, Bubble Town and Saints & Sinners Bingo. It will be interesting to see what will win in the current battle of big brands and casual games; both are frequently cited as two of the key components of breaking into the mass market.