Enthusiast Gaming Media acquires The Escapist Magazine

Enthusiast GamingEnthusiast Gaming Media Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enthusiast Gaming Inc. has acquired The Escapist Magazine from Defy Media. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005, Escapist is a leading online magazine focused on in-depth coverage of the video game industry in addition to movies, comics, TV, and more. Averaging over 6 million monthly visits since 2008, the acquisition significantly grows Enthusiast Gaming’s network and follows the successful acquisition of Destructoid.com in 2017, enhancing the company’s growth strategy as the fastest growing community of online gamers.

Former Editor-in-Chief of Escapist Russ Pitts will be returning to the position after leaving in 2011 to help Vox Media launch Polygon. Mr Pitts spent 5 years building and growing the online magazine and has an impressive track record with Escapist including: six Webby Awards, two Streamy nominations, a G.A.N.G. Award nomination, two dozen video series, over 1,000 written articles and a Time Magazine “50 Best Websites” mention.

Menashe Kestenbaum, Founder & CEO of Enthusiast Gaming, said, “The acquisition of Escapist is instrumental as we continue to grow our network of gamers. Escapist represents long form and intellectual content generation and will be another flagship platform in our network. Russ is a true visionary in online gaming journalism and we are thrilled to bring him back to lead Escapist.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, Durham, NC

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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EA acquires Gamefly’s cloud gaming technology & talent

Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts Inc. has acquired the cloud gaming technology assets and personnel of a wholly owned subsidiary of video game rental company GameFly, Inc. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Los Angeles-headquartered GameFly acquired Israel-based cloud gaming company Playcast Media Systems in 2015. The team will join EA’s functional teams, including the central technology organisation that is responsible for developing and operating the cutting-edge platform that powers EA’s leading games and services.

Cloud gaming opens up new possibilities to expand the reach of games by streaming high-quality entertainment to more players, on more devices, in more geographic regions of the world. With this acquisition, EA is adding to its strategic focus on advanced technologies that will give players more freedom to access the games they want, and enable the delivery of next-generation experiences at scale.

Ken Moss, Chief Technology Officer of Electronic Arts, said, “Cloud gaming is an exciting frontier that will help us to give even more players the ability to experience games on any device from anywhere. We’re thrilled to bring this talented team’s expertise into EA as we continue to innovate and expand the future of games and play.”

USA, Redwood City, CA & Israel, Caesarea

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Ubisoft acquires Blue Mammoth Games studio

UbisoftFollowing its acquisition of 1492 Studio earlier this week, Ubisoft has acquired the video game development studio Blue Mammoth Games. With the acquisition, Ubisoft adds Brawlhalla, currently the most played fighting game on Steam, to its portfolio and bolsters its online expertise. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Blue Mammoth Games is based near Atlanta, Georgia, and is comprised of 21 talented team members, including founders Matthew Woomer and Lincoln Hamilton, who have a multiplayer online background. The studio developed and published Brawlhalla, a free-to-play online brawler that is among the top free-to-play games on PS4.

Laurent Detoc, President of Ubisoft NCSA, said, “The team at Blue Mammoth Games is expert at developing and running scalable, competitive, multiplayer online games, and they’ll be a great addition to Ubisoft’s network of studios. With Brawlhalla, we’re getting a hugely popular and highly-profitable title that aligns with our strategy of expanding our audience and providing players with long-lasting, entertaining gaming experiences.”

France, Rennes & USA, Atlanta, GA

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ReedPOP acquires Gamer Network

ReedpopReed Exhibitions’ games and pop culture live events division ReedPOP is adding Gamer Network and its portfolio of events, websites, and video channels to its portfolio. The addition of Gamer Network marks ReedPOP’s first expansion beyond the event production business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gamer Network is home to editorial and community websites and YouTube channels, including flagship brands Eurogamer, RockPaperShotgun, GamesIndustry.biz, VG247, Outside Xbox, Digital Foundry and USgamer. The company also organises the UK’s biggest games event, EGX and the world class indie games event, EGX Rezzed.

The combination of the two portfolios gives ReedPOP the opportunity to combine its live games events across four continents with a worldwide online community of over 50 million monthly users.

Lance Fensterman, global head of ReedPOP said, “Gamer Network is one of the world’s leading voices for gamers and gaming culture. The opportunity to be in business with Rupert Loman and the brands, events and team he has created is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Bringing ReedPOP and Gamer Network together, PAX and EGX together – these are the kinds of mash ups you dream of. We are beyond excited to dream up new concepts that will blow the minds of fans all over the world.”

USA, Norwalk, CT & UK, Brighton

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Pokémon GO creator Niantic acquires AR startup Escher Reality

NianticThe company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has acquired augmented reality startup Escher Reality. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said, “The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year.”

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

USA, San Francisco & Sunnyvale, CA

Microsoft acquires live game operations startup PlayFab

Microsoft with nameMicrosoft has acquired PlayFab, a startup which helps game developers launch their titles online more quickly with simplified back-end services. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Seattle-based startup had previously raised around $13 million in funding from investors.

PlayFab runs its services for 1,200 cloud-connected games with more than 700 million players, and now Microsoft will integrate PlayFab’s tools into its Azure cloud service.

Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of gaming at Microsoft, said, “PlayFab’s tools are designed to be used by game developers across all platforms (mobile, PC and console). This acquisition extends the investments and work we’ve done on Microsoft Azure to provide a world-class cloud platform for the gaming industry.”

USA, Redmond & Seattle, WA

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