Saban Brands, a transmedia entertainment management group run by Saban Capital, has acquired mobile game developer The Playforge to build on its current and future free-to-play mobile titles.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Playforge is best known for Zombie Farm, an early iOS hit that distinguished the developer as one of the few bootstrapped outfits to hold a spot in the upper 25 of the iOS top grossing charts. It’s been almost a year since we’ve profiled the developer — and in that time, Playforge has released Zombie Life, Tree World and Zombie Farm 2 without ever really repeating the success of its first game. Zombie Farm also didn’t seem to make as much of a splash on Android, despite signing onto DeNA’s Android-oriented Mobage platform.
According to the press release, The Playforge will continue to release mobile games under its brand while also assisting Saban Brands in expanding its current licensing, merchandising and media opportunities. Saban Brands bought the rights to the Power Rangers franchise from Disney for $43 million and Paul Frank Industries for an undisclosed sum in 2010. In 2012, Saban Brands partnered with CW Television Network to program its Saturday morning cartoon block, now called “Vortexx.”
Each of these brands and verticals provide plenty of opportunities for The Playforge to develop branded mobile games with recognizable character IP. Given the wording of the press release and the scarcity of mobile game IP jumping to merchandising and entertainment opportunities (with Rovio’s Angry Birds being the notable exception), we don’t anticipate a Zombie Farm cartoon on the CW anytime soon.