After over six million downloads of the WSOP play-money social poker app, Electronic Arts (EA) partner Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) has taken the project 100% in house.
For an undisclosed sum, CIE acquired EA’s interest in the product and will continue to develop it using a new social poker development studio based in Montreal. The app works on Facebook, Kindle, Android and all iOS devices.
A team 19 strong in Montreal will report to CIE’s social gaming division Playtika. Playtika was the Israel based developer of Facebook success Slotomania. CIE bought 51% of the company for around $90m in May 2011 with a two year option to buy the rest. The option was exercised just seven months later.
CIE is a founding member of the new International Social Gaming Coalition (ISGC) an industry association which plans to “... establish information sharing agreements between members and aims to educate regulators, governments and media companies about the sector.”
CIE CEO Mitch Garber is himself from Montreal, and after stints as CEO of Optimal Payments, now merged with NETELLER, and nearly three years as CEO of PartyGaming plc, he has returned to headquarter CIE in the city.
He is now one of the leading influencers in monetizing social gaming. The WSOP app generates revenues from several sources, including innovations such as offering detailed opponent statistics for a $5 monthly subscription.
In an interview with the Montreal Gazette he explained how big the division—which was spun out of parent Caesars Entertainment—has become: “We’ve had over 100 million downloads, and we have almost 500 employees in Tel Aviv, Ukraine, Belarus, Santa Monica and now Montreal. We’re one of the largest social mobile app development companies in the world.”