NaturalMotion, the developer of smash hit free-to-play game Clumsy Ninja for the iPhone and iPad, has been bought by Zynga for $527 million (£320 million). The games studio is also behind CSR Racing and CSR Classics, with the former also available on Android as well as iOS.
Clumsy Ninja has been a massive success since its release at the tail end of last year, often appearing in the top 10 free apps charts for both iPhone and iPad. The Tamagotchi-style life management game has been lauded for its console-like graphics and an early development version was even showcased by Apple when it launched the iPhone 5 in 2012.
Zynga's acquisition is a sure sign that the company believes it needs to move more swiftly into the smartphone and tablet market to survive and thrive. Most of its games to date have found more success on PC and Mac through Facebook apps, and a new swathe of job cuts and financial losses of $25.2 million in the last quarter of 2013 mean it has to look towards other business models.
Rival studio King has found that converting its successful Facebook online games to smartphone and tablet applications and linking them both together can be very profitable. Candy Crush Saga has been a sensation since its launch.
Perhaps Zynga plans for NaturalMotion to look to do the same with its existing properties.