THQ Nordic acquires game development studios Coffee Stain and Bugbear

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired both Coffee Stain Studios, developers of Deep Rock Galactic, A Story About My Uncle, and the Satisfactory, and Bugbear Entertainment, who created Flatout and Wreckfest. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “We are creating a complementary digital native pillar to THQ Nordic. Coffee Stain is a passionate and highly competent team creating and publishing great games. After some years without major releases, the pipeline of new game releases such as Satisfactory and Deep Rock Galactic look strong. I look forward to working together with Anton Westbergh and his team in the future.”

THQ Nordic now has a sizeable array of studios and IPs, with over 55 games in active development.

Austria, Vienna, Sweden, Skövde & Finland, Helsinki

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THQ Nordic acquires Timesplitters

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired the video game trilogy Timesplitters from owner Crytek GmbH. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Timesplitters was largely considered as one of the most influential console games of the early 2000’s. The three game series earned a large and passionate fan base thanks to its unique humour, art style and pop culture references while encouraging customization and modification to give each person their own individual experience. Timesplitters was originally created by the development studio Free Radical Design that later become Deep Silver Dambuster, part of the THQ Nordic group.

In addition to Timesplitters, the IP and the rights to science fiction action-adventure game Second Sight were acquired. Both acquisitions were made through THQ Nordic’s fully owned subsidiary Koch Media GmbH, which they acquired in February 2018.

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Frankfurt

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Sumo Group acquires The Chinese Room for £2.2M

Sumo GroupSumo Group, the award-winning provider of creative and development services to the video games and entertainment industries, has acquired The Chinese Room from founders Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry for £2.2 million, of which £1.6 million in cash, with the remaining £0.6 million paid through the issue of new shares in Sumo.

As an award-winning independent game developer, The Chinese Room is best known for creating the innovative games ‘Dear Esther’, ‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’, the genre-defining ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ and Google Daydream exclusive ‘So Let Us Melt’.

Dan will take the role of Creative Director of The Chinese Room, while Jessica will continue her career independently as a composer.

The Chinese Room will operate as part of Sumo Digital, becoming its fifth studio and fourth in the UK. Sumo Group intends to invest in The Chinese Room and continue development of current projects by building its team and collaborating with other Sumo Digital studios.

Carl Cavers, CEO of Sumo Group, said, “I am really pleased that Dan has chosen to join Sumo Group. We believe Dan’s renowned creative abilities will add real value to Sumo Group. The Chinese Room has an outstanding reputation and its acquisition will enhance and extend Sumo Digital’s capabilities. Having a studio in the south of England opens new doors for the Group and we are confident that it will create exciting opportunities.

This acquisition follows the addition of the studio in Newcastle, formerly CCP Games, in January this year, and the Nottingham studio that opened in 2016.

UK, Sheffield & Brighton

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THQ Nordic acquires German game developer and publisher HandyGames

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired the game developer and publisher HandyGames, headquartered in Giebelstadt, Germany.

THQ Nordic GmbH is acquiring 100% of the shares for a total cash consideration of 1 million euro. In addition, the parties have agreed a potential performance based earnout of up to 1.5 million euro.

Founded in 2000, HandyGames has released more than 150 games on a multitude of platforms, using a wide range of technologies. Current game development is focused on iOS, Android, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, tablet computers, Android TV, Wearables as well as digital-only releases on next generation consoles. The company currently has about 50 employees.

HandyGames will continue operating as a developer and publisher for value-priced projects under the management of THQ Nordic GmbH in Vienna.

THQ Nordic MD Klemens Kreuzer said, “It is a true win-win situation for all parties involved, as HandyGames perfectly complements the setup of the rest of our group as the new ‘go to’-publisher for small- and mid-sized developers and projects and will benefit from our network and infrastructure in return. In joining forces with HandyGames, THQ Nordic is tapping into the VR Games segment, and gains access to one of Europe’s most powerful mobile games distribution network”.

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Geibelstadt

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Electronic Arts acquires Industrial Toys

Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts Inc. has acquired Industrial Toys, a creative team of experienced game makers based in Pasadena, California. Led by Alex Seropian, founder and former CEO of Bungie Studios and former executive at Disney Interactive, the team is known for developing unique game ideas on different devices, and they join EA with a continued focus on bringing new game concepts to life. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The 14-person Industrial Toys studio is joining EA’s Worldwide Studios organisation, the global creative collective responsible for development of EA titles across all major platforms.

Samantha Ryan, SVP and Group GM in EA’s Worldwide Studios group said, “Creating breakthrough games takes passionate developers and incredible creativity, and each time we’ve worked with the Industrial Toys team, we’ve been inspired by their unique approach. We’re thrilled to have them join our studio organisation, pursue new ideas together and bring amazing new games to our players.”

USA, Redwood, CA & Pasadena, CA

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Bigben Interactive acquires French games developer Cyanide for €20M

Bigben interactive logoBigben Interactive has acquired Cyanide, a French studio developing video games for €20 million, obtaining 100% of the company’s shares and voting rights. In the wake of Bigben’s increased stake in the capital of the Kylotonn Racing studio, this transaction will allow the Group, until now a publisher and distributor of video games, to fully integrate the development phase of games.

The transaction is to be paid for half in cash and for half through the issue of Bigben new shares in order to remunerate the transfer of Cyanide shares (dilution ranging from 3.5% to 4.0% of Bigben’s current share capital).

In order to avoid any further dilution, Bigben also purchased all potential capital instruments on the day of the transaction for an additional € 1.1 million in cash.

An earn-out capped and based on the net profit of Cyanide (and its subsidiaries) for FY 2018-19 (as at 31 March 2019) may be paid in September 2019. The closing of the transaction is scheduled to take place in June 2018.

Created in 2000 by 7 seasoned developers of the video game industry, Cyanide is one of the French reference studios recognized for the development of creative video games in numerous genres (strategy, narrative, shooting, management, sport, action and adventure) as well as for the quality of its productions.

Based in France (Paris and Bordeaux) and in Canada with 110 employees on its payroll, the studio expects €6.1 million sales and a €1.9 million net profit for financial year 2017/2018 (closing on 31 March 2018, pending audit results).

Alain Falc, chairman and CEO of Bigben, said, “This acquisition is a capital milestone in Bigben’s strategy as it greatly enhances our ability to create new games that meet our ambitions in the AA segment. Bigben is also proud to welcome to its Group the talents of Cyanide, one of the most creative French studios in the sector and we will be supporting their upswing towards new, even more ambitious projects.”

France, Lesquin & Nanterre

Bethesda acquires BattleCry Studios

BethesdaBethesda Softworks has acquired fellow ZeniMax Media subsidiary BattleCry Studios, now branded Bethesda Game Studios Austin. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

This growth will mark the second studio expansion since the founding of Bethesda’s in-house game studio in 2001 and the newest addition since Bethesda Game Studios Montreal in late 2015. The Texas-based studio will be led by Studio Director Doug Mellencamp. BattleCry Studios, which was formed in 2012 as a subsidiary of Zenimax Media, is responsible for the shelved free-to-play title of the same name, described as a “multiplayer online action combat game” by former executive producer and president Rich Vogel. The project was suspended in October 2015 in favour of other endeavours, and the studio went on to aid Id Software with post-release content for the multiplayer mode of DOOM.

Mellencamp said, “We’re excited to join Bethesda Game Studios and look forward to working together on some of the industry’s most exciting new games. Austin’s incredible game development scene and talent will also allow us to push our games further than fans have imagined.”

USA, Rockville, MD & Austin, TX

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