Rumors: First PopCap, now Ohai--EA looks for leg up in social games

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OhaiRemember that mystery buyer that was rumored to pick up PopCap for an insane $1 billion? How about the scuttlebutt that a mystery shopper was eying up Ohai? As it turns out, they're both EA, the veteran games publisher that has tailed Zynga on Facebook with games like Madden NFL Superstars and Pet Society for some time. According to VentureBeat, unnamed sources have revealed that the company has purchased Ohai for an undisclosed amount, though the website guesses that it wasn't much.

While an opt to buy a company like PopCap with hit properties like Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies (even if for $1 billion) is fairly obvious, a move to purchase a company like Ohai is a bit more ... puzzling. (Though, the company did just release a new game, Unicorn Parade.) Especially considering the fact that EA owns companies in the social games industry like Playfish and Chillingo, publisher of Angry Birds in the U.S.

However, some considerable talent has passed through Ohai, like former CEO Susan Wu, a professional gamer turned former venture capitalist. But with most of that talent long gone after a few lukewarm releases, why else would EA want Ohai? Our best guess is for good talent at a cheap price, but we know just about as much as you do.

Regardless of whether either rumor turns out to be true, know this: EA is on the hunt, and if it isn't PopCap or Ohai it'll be someone else. With lots of cash and lots of reason to close that gap between its now third-place 31 million players, EA looks like it's ready for another shopping spree.

[Image Credit: Ohai]

Which do you think EA is more likely to buy: Ohai or PopCap? Do you think either could help EA compete with Zynga in the social games race? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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