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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Keywords Studios acquires AI and machine learning firm Yokozuna Data

keywordsKeywords Studios is purchasing Yokozuna Data, a developer of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, from Silicon Studio Corporation for US$1.5mln in cash, which includes all associated technology rights and trademarks.

Yokozuna’s technologies, which include a range of self-learning, predictive analytic models drawing on AI and machine learning tech, are designed to predict the behaviour of individual video game players and adapt themselves to changes made in the game. The models are also used to determine the likelihood of players abandoning the game and their propensity to buy items in the game. The firm also offers a management framework which allows game companies to adjust key parameters, record and view results, and to monitor key performance metrics of their games in live operation.

As part of the agreement, Keywords will collaborate with Yokozuna’s previous owner Silicon to introduce the technologies developed by the company to Japanese game developers and publishers, while also retaining the non-exclusive right to resell Yokozuna’s solutions to non-game markets (such as healthcare) in exchange for a share of associated revenues.

Andrew Day, Keywords’ chief executive, said that the company had been looking to “establish a foothold in…video game analytics for a few years”, and that while Yokozuna was pre-revenue, it was a “rare asset” with clients expected to start implementing the software in 2018. He added that as video games continued to transition to a service model from a product model, “the use of sophisticated analytics engines like this to automatically understand player behaviour and trigger real time decisions in-game will become increasingly valuable”, and that the use of AI to adapt predictive models in games based on in-game changes was “critical to the future of the video games industry”.

Ireland, Dublin & Japan, Tokyo

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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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Keywords Studios acquires games developer Sperasoft

keywords

Keywords Studios, an international technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Russian game development business Sperasoft from the founders Igor Efremov, Alexei Kudriashov and Mark Rizzo.
The total consideration is $27 million. Keywords Studios are paying $22 million in cash, $1 million of which is deferred until the first anniversary of the acquisition. The remainder will be paid through the issue of new shares, which will be issued to the sellers on the first anniversary of the acquisition.

 

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Sperasoft provides game development, art creation and software engineering services to video game developers and publishers around the world from its production studios in St Petersburg and Volgograd, Russia and Krakow, Poland. Founded in 2004, Sperasoft employs 400 software engineers and artists. The company offers a full range of services for initial game development as well as developing games in live operations.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios, said, “The acquisition of Sperasoft provides us with an entry point into co-development, positioning us as a strategic partner to games developers at the early stages of the games development lifecycle. As games are becoming bigger and are higher definition, game developers are increasingly relying upon co-development arrangements with companies like Sperasoft to provide them with broader capability to develop both initial games and additional content and features post launch.”

USA, Santa Clara, CA & Ireland, Dublin

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Keywords Studios acquires Lakshya Digital in India

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Lakshya Digital Pvt. Ltd, a provider of outsourced art services for the video games industry internationally with centres of operation in New Delhi and Pune, India, for a total consideration of $4.0m.

Founded in 2004 and employing 270 people, most of whom are highly trained artists, Lakshya is one of the most recognised brands in the large and highly fragmented market for the provision of outsourced art services to the video games industry. It provides Keywords Studios an entry point into this fast growing market, where the demand for art assets (such as characters, vehicles, landscapes, cityscapes, space ships and weapons) is growing in line with the increase in game content as games on consoles, social media, PCs, tablets and smart phones become more complex and richer in their definition.

Keywords Studios is paying a total of $4.0m in two tranches. 91% of the shares of Lakshya have been acquired for $3.0m in cash. The remaining 9% will be acquired for a total of $1.0m in October 2015, of which up to $400,000 at sole discretion of Keywords will be used to subscribe for shares in Keywords Studios at a price determined by the volume weighted average price per share in the 5 days prior to completion of this second stage. Two of the sellers will each be granted options over 450,000 shares of Keywords at the prevailing market price.

Lakshya’s audited accounts for the year to 31 March 2014 show it achieved revenues of INR 249m ($4.05m); it had net assets of INR 78m ($1.3m) including net debt of INR 9.1m ($0.15m). Underlying PBT after adjusting for a non-continuing activity amounted to INR 23m ($0.37m).

Lakshya’s well-established position with game development studios, particularly in the US and Japan, will open up new sales channels for the Keywords group where the focus is primarily on video game publishers. The business development team of Lakshya will be integrated into the Keywords sales force to further facilitate cross selling between the Group’s extended range of services.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive of Keywords Studios, commented: “By providing us with an entry point into the large, growing yet fragmented art outsourcing market, the acquisition of Lakshya provides Keywords with additional growth opportunities as well as cost and revenue synergies. It will enable the Group to have earlier involvement in the development cycle of video games titles, it will enable us to share one facility at Gurgaon (New Delhi) where both Lakshya and Babel Media are located and it will provide us with a base from which to expand further in the art outsourcing market.”

UK, & India, New Delhi

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Keywords Studios acquires Babel Media

Keywords Studios, the  technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Babel Media Ltd, a  provider of outsourced video games services with operations in the UK, Canada and India, from Quatrro Global Services Pvt. Ltd. and The D. E. Shaw Group.

Keywords Studios is paying the sellers and settling the financing obligations of Babel to a total of £5.369 million. £2,215 million is payable through  the issue of 1,516,944 new shares in Keywords Studios at a price of 145.994 pence per share and £3,154 million in cash to settle debts.

The unaudited management accounts for the 10 months to 31 January 2014 show Babel has achieved revenues of £6.4m and EBITDA of £0.4m; it has net assets of £1.44m after adjusting for the loans being repaid. Babel was founded in 1999.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive of Keywords Studios, commented, “The acquisition of Babel brings together two of the leading video games testing and localisation providers, firmly establishing Keywords as the market leader in its field, with operations across Dublin, Rome, Montreal, Seattle, Tokyo and now in New Delhi.”

UK, London & Ireland, Dublin & New Delhi, India & Montreal, Canada.

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