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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Keywords Studios acquires The TrailerFarm

keywordsKeywords Studios, a services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Brighton, UK based The TrailerFarm Ltd

Founded in 2011 by brothers Tony and Dan Porter, TrailerFarm’s team of 12 creative produce trailers for both mobile and console/PC games for use in game launches and ongoing promotional events. In 2018 Keywords acquired Fire Without Smoke which also provides marketing services and produces trailers. 

 In the year ending 30 June 2018, TrailerFarm posted revenues of £1 million and adjusted EBITDA of £165K.  Keywords is paying a total consideration of up to £2 million. The initial consideration of £1 million is made up of £790k in cash and 11,070 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which are to be issued to the sellers on the first anniversary of the acquisition. The remaining consideration of up to £1m is payable in cash, subject to the increase in profit before tax of TrailerFarm over the 12 month period post acquisition.

 Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios commented, “I’m delighted to welcome Scott and his team into the Keywords family. As games become ever more immersive, sound design quality is getting ever closer to that of movies. Our new Sound Lab studio, created around Scott and his team, will be integrated within the Keywords Audio Services Line and will benefit accordingly from our global network of studios and our extensive video game client base around the world.  

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton

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Keywords Studios acquires Studio Gobo and Electric Square

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Studio Gobo Ltd and Electric Square Ltd (a Gobo studio), for up to £26 million from the founders and other members of the management team.

Gobo’s revenue has grown quickly from £6.2m for the year ended 30 September 2017 to an estimated £11.6m for the 12 months ending 31st July 2018. Underlying pro-forma EBITDA for the same 12 months is expected to be approximately £3.6m.

The total consideration payable is up to £26m. The initial consideration is £10.5m in cash and 254,529 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which will be issued on the anniversary of completion. The remaining consideration of £11 million is payable in a mix of cash and shares, or all in cash at the discretion of Keywords, subject to achieving an increased EBITDA over the 12-month period following completion.  All of the Sellers are remaining with the business under the continued direction of Gobo CEO, Tony Beckwith.

Gobo provides game development services to video game developers and publishers around the world from its Studio Gobo and Electric Square studios based across three studio locations in Brighton and Hove, UK.

Founded in 201, Gobo employs 170 software engineers, artists, animators, game designers, quality assurance testers and producers. Over the years, Gobo has worked on top games franchises such as Disney Infinity, Ubisoft’s For Honor, and Microsoft’s newest racing game, Miami Street.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Studio Gobo and Electric Square to the Keywords family. By significantly enhancing our game development services in both scale and expertise, these studios together with recently acquired Snowed In, Sperasoft, d3t and GameSim help position Keywords as a go to game development partner and give us ever greater visibility of games in the pipeline, at the outset of their development.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton and Hove

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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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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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Keywords Studios acquires Snowed In Studios for $4M (CAD)

keywordsKeywords Studios, the international creative and technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Snowed In Studios Inc. from its current owners, Jean-Sylvain Sormany, Tim Vito and Evan Hahn, for up to $4 million Canadian dollars.

Founded in 2010 and based in Ottawa, Canada, Snowed In offers engineering and co-development services to the video-games industry and has a strong global reputation and well-established relationships with clients such as Ubisoft, Nickelodeon and Bethesda. The company has 29 employees all working in-house in its office in Ottawa led by the current owners, who will remain with Snowed In to drive its growth as part of Keywords.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said, “The addition of Snowed In to the Group will add strength and scale to our recently established engineering service line and enable Snowed In to take advantage of the group’s very strong presence in the region to support its growth. Having grown the engineering service line from nothing in May 2017, we now employ over 300 software engineers in multiple regions, and I’m delighted that Jean-Sylvain, Tim, Evan and their highly talented and creative team are joining the group as we continue to grow.”

Ireland, Dublin & Canada, Ottawa

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