Flight Control maker buys Puzzle Quest studio

Firemint acquires Infinite Interactive for undisclosed amount; Infinite staff to continue work on unnamed title.

Two of Australia's most well-known niche video-gaming studios are set to merge their operations, with the acquisition of Infinite Interactive by fellow Aussie developer Firemint.

Flight Control HD released alongside the PlayStation Move last year.

The pair have shot to global prominence over the past few years through several popular in-house-developed games. For Firemint it was Flight Control, a game initially for Apple's iPhone platform, while Infinite Interactive is best known for its Puzzle Quest series. However, both studios also have other notches on their belt.

In a statement, Firemint noted that Infinite Interactive founder Steve Fawkner and his team would join Firemint's studio in Melbourne, which currently has 60 staff, and continue to work on a game already under development. Firemint described Fawkner as "one of the games industry's pre-eminent innovators," having created more than 30 games in a career spanning more than 25 years.

Flight Control has been highly lucrative for Firemint. In January 2010, for example, the developer noted it had sold 2 million copies of its Flight Control app for Apple's iOS platform--which costs A$1.19 ($1.19). The game has appeared on a number of "top 100" paid apps lists around the world and has held the top spot in some countries, including Australia. Most of the sales at that stage (46 percent) had come from the US, with Australians contributing 8 percent of sales.

Infinite Interactive, too, has achieved critical success. For example, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords from 2007 has a metacritic.com score of 87/100--an aggregation of many reviews scores.

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@Nintendo_Man Sadly Ninty, this is a process that the government is refusing to help with. You see it with our movie industry - up there with the best. We have amazing studios, great films are coming out and the government offers huge grants. Those same grants should also apply to the games industry, especially when it comes to big studios like Krome who have hundreds of employees and make great games. And on top of that, they're fiercely australian - their first game was an australian surfing simulator, they are well regarded for their australian mascot platformers, and their final game was a rather decent tie in to the australian animated film Owls of Ga'Hoole. Australia isnt taken seriously because their are far too many risks involved. A studio like Krome can only prosper on it's next job. A single bad project could have publishers choose someone else next time - which is bad news for the company. It happened with Ratbag Games, Pandemic Brisbane, Krome and hundreds of others. This is why apple games, facebook games and PC games are low risk and potentially very high reward - making it an easy option for small australian companies just trying to survive. If they had the government support they needed, maybe they could self-publish and keep their IP. Thats not to say that Australia cant make big games - Total War is always great, and is aussie, LA Noire is being made in Sydney, and there are numerous other companies in Australia and New Zealand working hard to compete with the big companies overseas with all their dollars. As for this story - I'd say its a match made in heaven. Infinite Interactive make compelling games, as does Firemint, and they can help each other publish titles. And now that they can save some money in that manner, it won't be as fatal if one of their products doesn't find an audience. This can only be a good thing.

Nintendo_Man moderator

It is sad to see decent developers here close while those who develop cheap Apple format games prosper, that is why almost no major developers take the industry seriously in Australia.