Weekly News Digest #25
# of announced deals
announced deals’ size
# of closed deals
King acquires AI software developer Peltarion
US-based multiplatform game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), via its subsidiary, Sweden-based mobile games developer King, has acquired Sweden-based AI software developer Peltarion for an undisclosed sum. Peltarion’s founders, Luka Crnkovic-Friis and Måns Essén, will get new positions in King to lead AI-powered initiatives.
Founded back in 2004, Peltarion operates AI software business and develops no-code, machine learning platform, and helps to integrate AI deep learning models in products of their partners. Over the course of its existence, Peltarion has previously worked with hundreds of companies, including NASA, Tesla, General Electric, Dell, BMW, and many others.
Since its foundation, Peltarion has closed three funding rounds, for a total amount of over $36m:
— In Feb’19, the company closed a $20m Series A funding round led by Euclidean Capital, with participation from its previous investors FAM and EQT Ventures.
— In May’18, Peltarion raised around $13m (€11m) from FAM and the returning investor EQT Ventures;
— In Oct’16, the company secured around $3.4m (SEK 30m) of Seed funding from EQT Ventures.
Now the company becomes a part of one of the largest mobile gaming companies, and will integrate its technology into King’s games.
King didn’t elaborate on how it is going to use Peltarion’s technologies, but with at least 7 casual games grossing over $1m per month, the company clearly has a lot of space for experiments.
First, Peltarion can help King to improve its AI testing algorithms, which help the developers to measure the levels’ difficulty and optimize the randomizing mechanics in match-3 and bubble shooting titles, which are the core genres in King’s portfolio.
Second, Peltarion’s machine learning technology can balance the difficulty curve, optimizing levels for different categories of players, depending on their typical sessions and paying behavior.
At last, King has an AI playing PvP sessions with the players in some of its games (e.g. Candy Crush Jelly Saga). Peltarion’s tech stack may help King to optimize the difficulty and make the PvP more fun and engaging.
These are just a few of the most obvious options of AI being used in the match-3 genre, but they already show that AI has a great influence on key metrics of the game, including ASD, retention, ARPPU, etc. Moreover, we know that King can go further with AI than just using it for gameplay optimization purposes: last month, King announced it would implement the diversity space tool co-developed with MIT Game Labs in the Activision Blizzard games. The tool will measure the character traits of game rosters, to uncover the unconscious bias of the players. So we can only imagine how exactly King will use the technology of the newly acquired company, but we can probably say that the difference, coveted by the developers, data analysts, and marketers, may never be noticed by the players. This is how the fun gameplay works, after all.
We want to thank Hiro Capital and The Games Fund for supporting this digest.
UK-based blockchain game publisher and developer Atmos Labs has raised $11m in Seed funding. The round was led by Sfermion with participation from Animoca Brands, Collab+Currency, and others. The funding will go towards the development of the company’s first metaverse title Atmos, growth of the game’s community, and expansion of the team behind the project.
Israel-based in-game audio advertising platform Odeeo has received an investment from UK-based media and entertainment group Global. The amount and financial terms of the deal are not disclosed. However, Global’s Digital Ad Exchange will become Odeeo’s exclusive sales partner in the UK and in the US. This is the first investment of Global into the gaming advertising market and its first entry in this field.
US-based multiplatform games developer Playful Studios has announced the launch of The Wildcard Alliance — a web3 gaming division. In addition, the studio already has received $46m in Series A funding. The round was led by Paradigm, with participation from Griffin Gaming Partners, Polygon, and others. The funding will be used for the development of web3 games and division growth.
Jordan-based mobile games publisher Tamatem Games has received an investment from Singapore-based venture capital fund MSA Novo. As a part of the deal, the companies will cooperate on bringing more China-developed titles to the Arabic market and expand the presence of Arabic titles in the Asian market.
Web3 gaming community startup Saga has raised $3.6m in funding. The round was led by Animoca Brands, with participation from Delta Blockchain Fund, AAG Ventures, and others. The funding will be used for the development of Soulbound — a reward system that will give benefits to the players based on their playtime in different metaverses.
UK and US-based mobile game developer Hypemasters has raised $3.25m in Series A funding. The round was led by GEM Capital ($2m), with participation from The Games Fund ($1m), and Ludus Venture Studio ($0.25m). The funding will go towards the company’s growth and expansion, and the release and support of its first title World War Armies — RTS for mobile devices.
US-based mobile video gaming platform VersusGame has raised $25m in Series A funding. APEX Capital, Brightstone Capital Partners, Feld Ventures, and others have participated in this round. The funding will be used for product development, partnerships, and the expansion of relationships with video creators.
US-based game developer Clockwork Labs has raised $22m in Series A funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The funding will be used for the development of BitCraft — a sandbox MMORPG with a focus on social interaction.
India-based esports fantasy startup FanClash has raised $40m in Series B funding. The round was led by Alpha Wave Global, with participation from Sequoia Capital India, and others. The funding will go towards hiring more staff and scaling its esports platform.
Australia-based platform for trading NFTs Immutable X announced the launch of a $500m investment fund Immutable Ventures. The fund will focus on supporting web3 games and NFT-centric companies built on Immutable X.