Weekly News Digest #28
# of announced deals
announced deals’ size
# of closed deals
Gardens Raises $31.3m of Series A Funding
Other participants include Dreamhaven, TIRTA, Rendered VC, Stephen “Slim” Lim (co-creator of Valorant), Nate Mitchell (co-founder of Oculus), Annie and Jeff Strain (co-founders of Prytania Media, co-creators of Guild Wars and State of Decay), Seth Sivak (VP of Development of World of Warcraft), V Pappas (former COO of TikTok), Julien Merceron (CTO of Bandai Namco), and Craig Kallman (CEO of Atlantic Records).
Early investors of the studio also participated in the round. In Jul’21, Gardens closed a $4.5m Seed round led by Transcend Fund, with participation from 1UP Ventures, FunPlus, and a private investor David Baron.
With this funding, the company also adds former Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson, former Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton, former Tencent President and Take-Two CEO Ben Feder, and Yamauchi No.10 (Nintendo Family) to its advisory team.
Founded in 2020, Gardens is led by Chris Bell, Lexie Dostal, and Stephen Bell, who previously worked on such games as Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch, Blaseball, and Sky: Children of the Light. The studio’s team has also worked on Ultima Online, and fantasy adventure films like The Hobbit and The Adventures of Tintin.
The company is currently developing an online PvPvE fantasy adventure sandbox ARPG. The title of the game is yet to be announced. Learn more about the deal on our website.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
UPDATE: Saudi Arabia-based gaming company Savvy Games Group, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, has completed the $4.9B acquisition of US-based mobile games developer Scopely. The deal was announced in Apr’23, and has already been analysed in one of our previous digests.
LightSpeed Studios, a subsidiary of Tencent (SEHK: 700), has acquired UK-based console games developer Lucid Games for an undisclosed sum. Known for Destruction AllStars, Lucid Games will retain independence in its game development while benefiting from LightSpeed’s global network and technology capabilities. The deal is yet another step of Tencent’s expansion into the console games market. Three years ago the company established LightSpeed LA that develops AAA games for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
US-based games developer Cloud Imperium Group (CIG) has acquired Canada-based outsource studio Turbulent, a long-time collaborator in the development of CIG’s space simulation game Star Citizen. Turbulent’s team will remain intact, and continue working on its ongoing project under CIG’s global network, while also taking on new international ventures.
US-based tech company Embrace has secured $20m in a funding round led by NEA, with participation from Greycroft, AV8 (Allianz), and Eniac. Embrace creates tools for mobile games and apps development, providing its users with insights into various variables affecting end-users’ mobile experiences. The company will use the funding to support further development of its toolset and expand its customer base, which already includes brands like The New York Times, Yum Brands, Discover, Marriott, and Yahoo.
Switzerland-based Web3 gaming platform Xterio has raised a $15m investment from Binance Labs to expand its game development capabilities in AI and Web3. Xterio is developing Web3 F2P multiplatform games, such as Overworld, Age of Dino, and 3T. The investment will support the integration of AI and the launch of Xterio’s tokens. The company also plans to launch digital collectibles, and utilize AI to generate 2D and 3D assets.
South Korea-based Web3 gaming platform SKYPlay has raised $10m of funding from LDA Capital Limited. The investment will be used to publish more games and acquire new users. The first SKYPlay title is CashRow, a Web3 multiplayer strategy game, which is currently in beta launch. The platform also aims to create an AI avatar metaverse platform, the title of which is undisclosed.
US-based user-generated content (UGC) platform Infinite Canvas has raised $6m in funding led by BITKRAFT, with participation from HBSE, Warner Music Group, J Ventures and existing investors LightShed, Day One Ventures, Emerson Collective, and Crossbeam. The funding will be used to further promote the studio’s AI-powered Discord-based game, CreatureCraft. Infinite Canvas plans to utilize generative AI to empower players to become creators in the gaming space.
US-based AI-driven skill-based gaming platform Gamercraft has raised $5m in the first part of its Seed round led by Alienware’s co-founders, with participation from Le Fonds, Mistral Ventures, Quantic Fund, and other existing investors. The funding will be used to expand engineering and platform capabilities, introduce new games and genres in 2024, and enhance growth marketing efforts. Gamercraft allows its users to compete in different esports disciplines for monetary rewards.
Israel-based skill-based game developer Bring It On has raised $4m in a Seed funding round led by Acies Investments, with participation of MY.GAMES Venture Capital, Kona Venture Partners, Lalotte Ventures, Overwolf and angel investors. The studio will use the funding to further develop its flagship title Road Trip Bingo, a mobile puzzle game, where players compete for cash prizes. The company also aims to expand its game portfolio to capitalize on the growing market.
UK-based in-game metaverse marketing company Karta has raised $1.1m of Seed funding. GameTech Ventures led the round, with participation from Toikido, Big Ideas Group and other investors. The funds will be utilized to expand the company’s operations and business reach. Karta has collaborated with such companies as Amazon Music, Unilever’s Sunsilk, and K-pop group TWICE for projects on platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, and Decentraland.