Facebook Social Game Dev MetroGames Partners With Chillingo for iOS Games

Auto Hustle and Fashion World developer MetroGames are announcing a partnership with mobile developer Chillingo to develop new games for the iOS platform. MetroGames plans to kick off its iOS offerings with a game based its Facebook game, Pixel Ranger.

Speaking to ISG, MetroGames founder and CEO Damian Harburger says the new iOS game will be built entirely from the ground-up despite the shared intellectual property with the 2009 game. Harburger says the Facebook product would be left alone for the time being, as it’s “too old” to do much without a complete reimagining. For other iOS games in its Chillingo partnership, MetroGames intends to create new IP specific to the platform. Previously, the developer experimented with ports of Plock and Typing Maniac.

On the Chillingo side, this is the first time the mobile games publisher has ever partnered with a social game developer. The publisher is best known for its top-selling games, Angry Birds (developed by Rovio), Cut the Rope (developed by ZeptoLab), and mostly recently Feed Me Oil (developed by HolyWaterGames). Chillingo was acquired by Electronic Arts in October 2010.

Levi Buchanan, Senior Manager of Developer Relations at Chillingo, says he expects MetroGames’ to perform well on mobile, despite the developer’s limited experience with the platform.

“They are great developers who’ve had extremely successful social games,” Buchanan says. “I suspect it’ll be a shallow learning curve [for their fans]. Folks who play social, folks who play mobile are already used to playing outside the previously defined borders of what is a video game.”

As for monetization, MetroGames is still experimenting with what works best for its games on mobile. Pixel Ranger will be a one-time purchase app, but Harburger says MetroGames isn’t averse to in-app purchases for future games or the idea of ad-supported free versions of its games. Once it masters the iOS platform, the developer will evaluate Android releases for the games it develops under Chillingo. Pixel Ranger is set to arrive on iOS “in the coming months.”

On Facebook, MetroGames enjoys 7.7 million monthly active users and 982,000 daily active users on Facebook across all its games and apps. On iOS, Chillingo maintains several games in the top 10 paid apps.