gaming-weekly-05

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 11

Highlights

Tencent Announces 2020 Fourth Quarter Results (link)

  • Online games revenues grew by 29% to $5.98B, among which international games revenues were $1.50B, up 43% YoY
  • Increases in games revenues were primarily driven by contributions from smart phone games including Peacekeeper Elite, Honour of Kings, PUBG Mobile, and Moonlight Blade Mobile
  • Total smart phone games revenues were $5.61B and PC client games revenues were $1.56B
  • Honour of Kings was the top-grossing mobile game worldwide for the second consecutive year and continued as the most popular mobile game in China by MAU
  • Tencent’s partnership with Nintendo yielded over 1 million Switch consoles sold and published a dozen popular Switch titles in China
  • League of Legends attracted over 45M peak concurrent viewers for its 2020 World Championship Finals, setting a record viewership for a games eSports event

Rocket League is racing onto mobile (link)

  • Psyonix is to release a mobile version of Rocket league later this year
  • As confirmed on the Company’s website, the Epic Games subsidiary Rocket League Sideswipe will come to iOS and Android devices

Nexon invests $874M in Bandai Namco, Konami, Sega and Hasbro (link)

  • The firm disclosed investments amounting to $874M, spread across Bandai Namco, Konami and Sega Sammy, as well as toys manufacturer Hasbro
  • The investments come after Nexon's board approved plans to invest $1.5B into entertainment companies that "demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain strong, globally recognized intellectual property."
  • The $874M represents 58% of this authorized investment, so more announcements are likely to follow
  • Nexon emphasized that these are "long-term friendly investments" with "no intention of acquisition or activism."

Crash Bandicoot Mobile Game Reaches 8M Downloads (link)

  • The mobile title Crash Bandicoot: On The Run was released recently for Android and iOS and reports are already showing that it's been downloaded more than 8M times since launch
  • On The Run was developed by King, the same company behind Candy Crush Saga which has been a mainstay in mobile gaming since launching in 2012
  • To put Crash's download numbers into perspective, on the day it was released, Candy Crush, one of the most successful mobile game in history, was downloaded 1.4M times

M&A and Capital Raising

ByteDance snaps up Shanghai-based studio Moonton Technology (link)

  • ByteDance subsidiary Nuverse has acquired developer and publisher Moonton Technology
  • Reuters reported that the deal had valued the Shanghai-based studio at $4B, however ByteDance did not disclose the size of the acquisition
  • Moonton CEO Yuan Jing has clarified that the company will maintain its independence from ByteDance and its games arm once the agreement has been complete
  • Founded in 2014 by former Tencent employees, and is best known for its smartphone MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, which was released in 2016

Social gaming platform Rec Room raises $100M at $1.25B valuation (link)

  • Social gaming platform Rec Room has raised $100M at a $1.25B valuation
  • The funding is another vote of confidence for user-generated content
  • Users-as-creators is a big theme in the latest gaming boom, which has seen user-generated content platform Roblox go public and Overwolf raise $52.5M for PC gaming mods and helper apps
  • Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investor Madrona Venture Group
  • Rec Room launched as a free-to-play experience in 2016, and now it has 15M lifetime users
  • Revenue grew 566% in the past year as monetization came together, said CEO Nick Fajt in an interview with GamesBeat

Digital Turbine to acquire Fyber for $600M (link)

  • The company is to acquire 90% of the shares from the current majority stakeholder, Tennor Holding B.V.
  • Overall, for the 100% of Fyber, Digital Turbine will pay $600M
  • The majority, $400M, will be paid in Digital Turbine shares, while $150 will be a cash sum
  • It is believed that the deal will be closed in Q2 2021, with the backing of Fyber's executive and supervisory boards

MTG acquires Ninja Kiwi, the studio behind Bloons (link)

  • Modern Times Group (MTG) has acquired New Zealand-based studio and publisher Ninja Kiwi
  • Ninja Kiwi is best known as the creator of Bloons Tower Defense, a series of strategy titles
  • The acquisition comes in at approximately $142M, with a potential $47M in further consideration

Frost Giant secures additional $5M funding (link)

  • The former Blizzard developers at Frost Giant Studios have attracted another $5M in investment
  • This funding came from Korean VC fund Kona Ventures, Global Founders Capital, the co-founder of Rxbar nutrition bars Jared Smith, as well as games entrepreneur Eden Chen
  • It comes in the wake of the $4.7M that Frost Giant raised when it was established in October 2020

Ryu Games secures $2.3M in funding (link)

  • Mobile games platform Ryu Games has secured $2.3M in funding
  • The round featured participation from Velo Partners, Citta Ventures, MGV Capital, INP Capital, Side Door Ventures, and 500 Startups
  • Ryu Games specializes in esports, meaning it offers cash prizes for competitive tournaments. As such, it will use the money to grow, building upon its offerings when it comes to competitions

Others

A Pikmin AR mobile game is coming from Nintendo and the Pokémon Go team (link)

  • Nintendo and Pokémon Go developer Niantic are aligning for a new partnership
  • This deal will bring the companies together to produce new augmented reality mobile games based on Nintendo characters
  • They announced this collaboration will kick off with a new Pikmin smartphone app designed to “make walking fun,” according to Nintendo
  • Previously, Niantic had a deal with The Pokémon Company but not directly with Nintendo

Riot website confirms details about its League of Legends MMO (link)

  • The League of Legends MMO, which may not go by the name “World of Runeterra,” is only one of a number of new spinoff projects coming from Riot
  • The company is also making a fighting game called “Project L,” and it launched the PC shooter Valorant last year

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 10

M&A and Capital Raising

Riot veterans raise $37.5M for Theorycraft Games startup (link)
Griffin Gaming Partners participated in the round
  • Industry veterans from Riot Games and other studios have raised $37.5M to launch their Theorycraft Games studio
  • The studio of six people is based in Seattle and Los Angeles, and it is working deep, competitive player-versus-player games
  • China’s NetEase led the round, and other investors include NEA, Bitkraft Ventures, Griffin Gaming Partners, Sisu Game Ventures, and a small group of strategic angel investors
  • The Company will use the proceeds to recruit diverse and driven talent to the Theorycraft team to develop a community-driven, PvP game available on multiple platforms
Zynga acquires Diablo co-creator’s Echtra Games in expansion to PC and consoles (link)
  • Zynga has acquired Echtra Games, the game studio that Diablo and Torchlight co-creator Max Schaefer started, as part of its expansion into cross-platform games that include PC and console
  • The transaction continues the company’s strategy of growing through deals. In this case, it is taking a step further with a push into PC and console
  • Echtra Games uses proprietary cross-platform development tools and technologies built on top of Epic’s Unreal Engine, and that will strengthen Zynga’s development capabilities for future cross-platform projects
  • The terms of the deal were not announced, as the value is smaller than previous Zynga acquisitions

Vungle acquires mobile game analytics firm GameRefinery (link)

  • Mobile performance ad platform Vungle has acquired GameRefinery, a Finland-based mobile game analytics service firm
  • GameRefinery’s Game Intelligence platform provides developers with retention and monetization insights through its cloud-based developer tools, and has customers including Zynga, King, Rovio, and Ubisoft
  • GameRefinery offers deep contextual data sets across 160,000 gaming apps, which will help Vungle’s platform to enable advertisers to target contextually relevant campaigns
  • GameRefinery brings image recognition and creative tagging capabilities that Vungle Creative Labs (VCL) will use to provide performance recommendations for its largest customers

Fortnite developer Epic buys Fall Guys studio Mediatonic (link)

  • Epic Games announced that it has acquired Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout studio Mediatonic for an undisclosed sum
  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says this is part of his company’s quest to create an online world for players to express themselves and play together
  • “It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse, and Tonic Games shares this goal,” said Sweeney. “As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who know how to build powerful games, content and experiences.”
Dream Games raises $50M for casual puzzle titles (link)
  • Mobile games developer Dream Games has raised $50M in a Series A funding round
  • Index Ventures led the investment, while existing investors Balderton Capital and Makers fund also participated
  • The developer is known for its work with Peak Games on the Toon Blast and Toy Blast games acquired by Zynga last year in a deal worth $1.8B
  • The Istanbul-based studio will use the proceeds to work the casual puzzle games, with its first title, Royal Match, being launched today for both iOS and Android devices

Rivalry raises $20M for sports and esports online betting (link)

  • Rivalry has a mobile and PC platform that makes it easy to place bets on sports and esports matches
  • The Company has an offshore gambling license with the Isle of Man, which enables it to facilitate gambling in places where there’s no domestic licensing in place
  • Rivalry will use the funding to accelerate its expansion plans through new licenses and gray markets under its existing regulatory regime, including in the US
Virtuix raises $11M on SeedInvest for Omni One VR treadmill (link)
  • Virtuix said it has raised $11 million from 4,000 investors on the SeedInvest equity crowdfunding platform for its home-based Omni One VR treadmill
  • The proceeds will help the company introduce a new generation of its consumer virtual reality devices
  • The successful funding is a reminder of how well VR has fared during the pandemic, when people have been willing to try new digital experiences while stuck sheltering at home
  • Omni One will feature its own game store with 30 titles at launch, including games developed by Virtuix alongside top titles licensed from third parties
India’s All-Star Games raises $1.5M to make cricket sports games (link)
  • Indian game startup All-Star Games has raised $1.5M to make multiplayer games based on sports such as cricket on iOS and Android
  • Lumikai, a game-focused fund that invests in Indian companies, led the round, with additional participation from Play Ventures
  • The studio’s first title, Cricket Star, was developed as a hypercasual game and drew over 60% retention after the first day, and its second title, RCB Cricket, generated over a million downloads in five days

Others

Roblox public offering is a vote about the metaverse (link)
  • Roblox, the platform for user-generated games, will go public through a direct listing of its shares on March 10
  • On average, 32.6M people come to Roblox every day, and more than 1.25M creators have made money in Roblox
  • In the year ended December 31, 2020, users spent 30.6B hours engaged on the platform, an average of 2.6 hours per daily active user each day
  • Amid the pandemic, Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki said he has enjoyed seeing experiments in Roblox like concerts and parties that enable people to enjoy each other while socially distanced – and the Company will likely continue expanding beyond “traditional gaming” events on its platform

SEC green-lights Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax Media (link)

  • The SEC has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda-parent ZeniMax Media
  • The deal is unable to close until regulators in the EU similarly gives their approval
  • As of the initial announcement, the deal is expected to close in the second half of Microsoft’s fiscal year, which ends June 30th, 2021

Gaming Public Multiples