Weekly News Digest #28
# of announced deals
announced deals’ size
# of closed deals
Tencent-owned Helsinki-based mobile games developer and publisher Supercell has increased its stake in London-based mobile games developer Space Ape Games to 75%. Thus, Supercell paid $37m for a 12.4% stake in the company.
In 2017, Supercell acquired 62.6% in the studio for $56.6m, meaning that Space Ape Games has managed to increase its valuation 3.3x times since then.
Apart from the investment, Supercell extends $50m line of credit to Space Ape Games. This brings total debt and equity investment in the company to $189m.
Founded in 2012, Space Ape Games is a developer of mobile f2p games with over 120 employees on board. For a long time, the studio had been known for titles like Rival Kingdoms and Transformers: Earth Wars, until it recently released music rhythm game Beatstar. Launched globally in Aug’21, the game immediately found its audience and showed that a long four-year period in development was quite the right bet. According to the press release, Beatstar has been played by over 30 million people and reached over $60m of lifetime Revenue. In 2022, the game won the Game of the Year award at the 2022 Pocket Gamer Mobile Game Awards. Now, Beatstar also serves as an additional promotion platform for musicians, who pre-release their songs in the game. Black Eyed Peas, Shakira, and David Guetta joined this.
Though Space Ape Games has other projects in development, after the success of Beatstar, the studio decided to focus more on liveops and further scaling of the game —this is exactly what the raised funds and credit are for.
Stockholm-based gaming holding company Modern Times Group (ST:MTGA and MTGB), via its subsidiary Kongregate, has agreed to acquire Gamaga — Chile-based outsourcing studio focused on blockchain and p2e initiatives. The exact cost of the transaction is undisclosed, but the acquisition is said to value Gamaga in the $5m-$7m range. The deal is expected to close this month.
Founded in 2009, Gamaga is a work-for-hire studio with a team of around 40 employees. For a long time, the studio had been participating in the development of various Mobile, PC, and console titles, partnering with such companies as Sony, Div3rsion, and iEntertainment Network. One of the latest titles Gamaga worked on was a mobile card game Cobra Kai, based on the popular Netflix series. Moreover, the studio owns the source code for two game engines that power the games, which cumulatively generated over 200 million downloads.
Though we haven’t yet seen any big blockchain-related announcements from MTG, the company seems to be taking the new segment seriously: initially focused on the web and mobile games, Kongregate is now a division responsible for blockchain initiatives of the holding. Since 2021, it has been working with Gamaga on the web3 segment, using the majority of the latter’s outsourcing capacity. Now the companies will be able to collaborate closely to help MTG expand into the new market.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Sweden-based AR/VR game developer Resolution Games acquires Sweden-based VR studio Zens VR. The financial terms of the deal are not disclosed. Resolution Games will increase its production power and plans to use it to speed up the development of the Ultimechs, and new playable content for the Demeo.
US-based social storytelling platform Dorian acquires US-based mobile games developer Nix Hydra Games. The financial terms of the deal are not disclosed. Nix Hydra is known for its female-targeted visual novel games — Fictif, and The Arcana: A Mystic Romance. The acquisition will allow Dorian to add more expertise to its storytelling games, at the same time continuing to support and develop the existing Nix Hydra IPs.
Canada-based blockchain company NFT Tech has announced the acquisition of Australia-based blockchain developer Run It Wild for up to $5.7m. Upon closing the deal, NFT Tech will issue 10 million common shares, and pay $1.54m in cash. Possible earn-out of up to $3.85m will be paid based on the performance in the next 9 months after closing the deal. The acquisition will improve NFT Tech’s position in the market and add an experienced team of web3 developers on board to its gaming platform.
China-based game giant NetEase has invested in Poland-based VR game studio Something Random. Financial terms of the deal are not disclosed. Something Random is currently working on 2 unannounced VR titles, and plans to release the first one of them in 2023. This is the first investment of NetEase in the Polish gaming market.
UK-based web3 gaming company Cauldron has raised $6.6m in Seed funding. The round was led by Cherry Ventures, with participation from others. The company ambitiously aims to become something like Pixar in storytelling in their games. The funds will go towards hiring more talents from the game and film industries. The company plans to release three different games — 2 in fantasy, and 1 in sci-fi settings.
Germany-based games developer Klang Games has raised $41m in funding. The round was co-led by Animoca Brands and Kingsway Capital, with participation from others. Klang is currently working on Seed — an MMO space colony with AI-driven NPCs. The funding will allow them to expand the team, and add more talents to work on Seed.
US-based blockchain game developer Crypthulhu Studios has raised $3m in the latest funding. The round was co-led by Coatue and Dapper Labs, with participation from others. The funding will go towards the development of the upcoming P2E RPG Dimension X.
Singapore-based web3 gaming company Planetarium Labs has raised $32m in Series A funding. The round was led by Animoca Brands, with participation from Krust Universe, Wemade, and others. The company is currently working on building a gaming ecosystem based on Libplanet blockchain technology. The funding will go to facilitate the platform’s development, and start several new initiatives like ecosystem funds and community support programs.
Japan and Singapore-based blockchain startup Oasys has raised $20m in a private token sale. The round was led by Republic Capital, with participation from Jump Crypto, and others. The company is creating a high-speed, zero-gas fee blockchain for game developers. The funds will be used for establishing new partnerships with developers, exchanges, and other organizations in the crypto space.