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Whale Trail picks up Penguin publishing deal to extend brand

London-based digital design studio Ustwo has inked a publishing deal with Penguin Books to release both digital and physical books -- and extend the brand -- for its hit mobile game Whale Trail.
London-based digital design studio Ustwo has inked a publishing deal with Penguin Books to release both digital and physical books -- and extend the brand -- for its hit mobile game Whale Trail. With this agreement, Ustwo is following in the footsteps of other companies that have expanded their mobile game hits to new areas with merchandising and cross-media deals, such as Rovio with Angry Birds, or Halfbrick Studios with Fruit Ninja. Whale Trail hasn't matched the success of those franchises, but Ustwo has managed to sell 170,000 copies of the game on iOS for $0.99, and 12,000 on Android since launching in October, according to The Next Web. By linking up with Penguin's children's imprint Puffin, Ustwo hopes to attract more players once Whale Trail's digital picture book is released this October -- that will be followed by additional ebooks and physical books in 2013. Though Ustwo didn't disclose how much it made from the Penguin deal, it intends to invest all of that money, along with profits from Whale Trail downloads, into further development for the title and additional plans to extend the IP. The developer says it's spending around £50,000 ($79,000) to update the game. As of last January, Ustwo had reportedly spent £250,000 ($397,000) to develop and update the iOS and Android versions of Whale Trail.

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