Playfish Boss Explains EA Buyout: Exclusive Interview!

playfish coo sebastien halleux
playfish coo sebastien halleux

Following this morning's dramatic announcement that game giant Electronic Arts is buying casual gamer maker Playfish for a reported $400 million, Playfish COO Sebastien de Halleux talked to first about the implications for the social gaming industry, and for hit games such as Pet Society and Restaurant City.

"The basics is that this is not going to change anything much for users, specifically -- only that some of the franchises in the hardcore space will be looked at more seriously [in terms of social gaming]," de Halleux says.

de Halleux hesitated to tell us any specific EA franchises (like Madden, Burnout, Tiger Woods) that he'd like to turn into social games ("I'd like to turn that question back to you," he says), but he did namecheck Scrabble and Spore specifically during the conversation.

Even though Playfish will be working closely with EA to bring some of its 'hardcore' games to the social gaming world, Playfish will still operate independently (for now) and de Halleux and the other founders will stay with the company post-sale.

"When we started two years ago in a small room in London, we never imagined that this would go so quickly," he says.

As for Electronic Arts tolerance on upselling offers (some considered 'scammy') to consumers in exchange for free virtual currency, de Halleux says the transactions in Pet Society, et al will move forward status quo. "There's no plan to change any of the games or any motivation or techniques that we use, which are all very respectful of the users," he says, adding that a small portion of Playfish's total revenue comes from these offers.

"We are strong believers that the game industry is changing," he says, "and now [with EA behind them] we will be able to affect that change faster than before."


- EA Buys Pet Society Creator, Playfish
- Spore Islands Launches on Facebook