gaming-weekly-24-featured

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 24

Highlights

Mobile gaming industry to grow to $272B by 2030, according to GlobalData (link)

  • GlobalData is predicting that the mobile gaming market will be worth $272B by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11%
  • “The growing maturity of streaming (supported by 5G), cloud gaming services and mobile esports – combined with the fact that mobile platforms are close to technical parity with PCs and consoles – means most gamers will embrace mobile gaming in the next few years,” said Rupantar Guha at GlobalData

75% of pandemic-driven mobile gaming lift will remain, according to IDC/LoopMe (link)

  • A report from market research firm IDC and digital ad platform LoopMe predicts that roughly three-fourths of the pandemic-driven increase in mobile gaming will persist indefinitely
  • The survey found a correlation between increased mobile gameplay time commitments and local pandemic effects, with Live Multiplayer Mobile Games outperforming all other game types in 2020

Koch Media reveals Prime Matter game publishing label (link)

  • Munich-based Prime Matter will publish both new IP as well as games from various studios owned by Koch Media
  • Upcoming titles include Starbreeze Studios’ Payday 3, a new entry in the Painkiller shooter series from Saber Interactive, and an RTS take on the CrossFire franchise from Blackbird Interactive

M&A and Capital Raising

Mythical Games raises $75M for Blankos Block Party game and playable NFTs (link)

  • Los Angeles-based Mythical Games will use the proceeds to launch its Blankos Block Party open-world multiplayer game as well as its platform to create games with nonfungible tokens (NFTs)
  • The Company is pursuing the idea of “playable NFTs”, which uses NFT technology to uniquely identify game characters that players can earn through gameplay, buy, or sell
  • WestCap Group led the round, with participation from 01 Advisors, VaynerFund, Galaxy Digital, Javelin Venture Partners, Alumni Ventures, and Struck Capital

Electric Gamebox raises $11M to build gaming pods to revive retailers (link)

  • The proceeds will be used to create Gamebox game rooms, interactive digital smart rooms that allow two to six players to play games in retail spaces
  • Electric Gamebox will also use the funds to expand to locations including Chicago, Houston, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles
  • Philian Invest led the round, with participation from Brookfield Asset Management, Index Ventures, and ActivumSG

Phoenix Games acquires Knighthood publishing rights from King (link)

  • German mobile game developer Phoenix Games has acquired the rights to Midoki’s RPG Knighthood for an undisclosed amount
  • Phoenix has also gained a minority stake in English game developer Midoki, and will work to integrate its proprietary suite of tools in the game to improve retention, user acquisition, and monetization
  • Knighthood has received over 5M downloads across both iOS and Android devices since its release in February 2020

Stillfront Group acquires role-playing game Crush Them All from Godzi Lab (link)

  • Swedish game developer Stillfront Group has entered into an agreement to purchase the idle mobile title Crush Them All from Godzi Lab in an all-cash transaction for an undisclosed amount
  • As of May 2021, the game has 55,000 daily active users, 250,000 monthly active users, and has generated an estimated $13M in bookings over the last twelve months ending April 2021
  • Once the transaction is complete, Crush Them All will be operated by Imperia Online, a Stillfront subsidiary

Voodoo acquires Bidshake (link)

  • French hypercasual games publisher Voodoo has acquired Israeli cross-channel marketing automation platform Bidshake for an undisclosed amount
  • Bidshake, which launched in January 2020, will continue to operate as an independent company and work to extend its product and service offerings to help with the growth of its mobile games library and app developers

Others

Overwatch is adding crossplay support for all platforms (link)

  • Blizzard Entertainment has recently announced the addition of crossplay support to Overwatch for all platforms (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) across all game modes except competitive
  • Cross-progression was not announced alongside crossplay, and console players will have to link their Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo accounts with a Battle.net ID

Why Microsoft is all-in on gaming, according to CEO Satya Nadella (link)

  • In an interview with Xbox game leader Phil Spencer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reaffirmed the Company’s commitment to further investment in gaming
  • “As a company, Microsoft’s all-in on gaming”, said Nadella. “We believe we can play a leading role in democratizing gaming and defining that future of interactive entertainment, quite frankly, at scale. I’m really excited about the opportunity in gaming.”
  • Nadella identifies three competitive advantages that Microsoft holds over its peers: leadership in cloud computing, the subscription value with Xbox Game Pass, and the Company’s overall focus on empowering creators

Binge will debut in 2022 as a game and entertainment streaming video platform (link)

  • Toronto-based Binge is an upcoming video content platform with original series and shows inspired by the popular video game worlds and content creators
  • Content on the platform will be ad-supported and available to stream for free on any internet-connected device upon launch in 2022

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-23

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 23

Highlights

Netmarble releases FQ1 2021 earnings (link)

  • Netmarble generated $512M in revenue representing a 7% increase YoY and $56M of net profit representing an 8% increase YoY
  • North America accounted for 36% of the revenue, with Korea accounting for 29%, Europe for 12%, and Japan for 9%
  • Netmarble’s top game, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross accounted for 15% of revenue, with MARVEL Contest of Champions accounting for 12%, and Seven Knights 2 for 11%

Nvidia quarterly revenues grow 84% to $5.66B (link)

  • Nvidia reported revenues of $5.66B for its first fiscal quarter ended May 2, up 84% from a year earlier
  • Gaming revenue grew 106% to $2.76B, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations
  • The Santa Clara, California-based company makes graphics processing units (GPUs) that can be used for games, AI, and datacenter computing
  • The Company saw record revenue in its gaming, datacenter, and professional visualization platforms

M&A and Capital Raising

E Virtuix raises $19M for Omni One VR treadmill (link)

  • The Austin, Texas-based Virtuix will use the proceeds to launch Omni One, an omni-directional treadmill for consumers that lets players walk and run inside games and virtual worlds
  • Virtuix’s Reg A campaign allowed anyone to purchase shares in Virtuix, and the minimum investment was only $1,000. More than 6,500 investors participated in the round

Esports brand Fnatic raises $17M for Asia expansion (link)

  • The investment from Marubeni and other investors will help the Company expand in the growing Japanese and Asia Pacific esports markets
  • The investment will accelerate Fnatic’s growth in the substantial Asia-Pacific market with a new strategic partnership that will incorporate the expansion of Fnatic’s base of operations in Japan and support for its Rainbow Six: Siege team, which plans to relocate to the country
  • The Company was founded in 2004, and it has raised $53M to-date with 110 employees

Double Loop raises $8M for mobile game development (link)

  • Hiro Capital led the round for the female-run game studio with additional participation from Garena, Riot Games, London Venture Partners
  • The studio aims to create games for all types of players, designed to be social, relaxing, and accessible
  • Double Loop has 14 employees, and it is hiring at least four more to handle production and is currently focused on development of its mobile puzzle hybrid game

1047 Games raises $6.5M to develop free-to-play shooter Splitgate (link)

  • Based remotely and in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, the game studio already launched Splitgate in early beta form in 2019 to positive reception
  • Galaxy Interactive led the round, with participation from VGames, Lakestar, and 1Up Ventures
  • It will now use the funding to substantially increase the production of in-game content and ramp up marketing efforts to acquire new players

Noice raises $5M for ‘playful’ social platform for gamers (link)

  • Noice has said it is developing a platform that combines user-generated content, deep game systems, and engaging social design
  • The new platform is in early testing and is seeing high user engagement
  • Noice has 8 team members, and it is hiring for over 15 roles
  • The Company will use the raised funds to build the Noice platform with the goal of launching in an open beta of the platform in early 2022

Miniclip acquires Supersonic Software (link)

  • UK-based mobile gaming company Miniclip has acquired Supersonic Software and its subsidiary Appy Nation for undisclosed consideration
  • Supersonic is focused on casual puzzle games such as Puzzle Page, Picture Cross and World’s Biggest Crossword

Others

Epic Games launches Unreal Engine 5 early access, shows massive 3D scenes (link)

  • After years of work, Epic Games is launching early access for game developers for Unreal Engine 5, the latest version of the Company’s tools for making games with highly realistic 3D animations
  • Unreal Engine 5 will deliver the freedom, fidelity, and flexibility to create next-generation games, said Nick Penwarden, the vice president of engineering, in an interview with GamesBeat
  • Founded in 1991, Epic now has 3,200 employees

 

Sony confirms it's exploring "mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises" (link)

  • Sony has confirmed its intentions to move into the mobile market by exploring the sector with a number of PlayStation franchises during a corporate strategy meeting on May 25th
  • “Mobile is just one of the areas we are exploring to reach millions of gamers beyond our platforms,” said Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan. “We are exploring the mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises so please stay tuned"
  • Sony Pictures is adapting a number of game franchises for film and TV, with 10 projects noted to be in various stages of development

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-22

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 22

Highlights

Netmarble releases FQ1 2021 earnings (link)

  • Netmarble generated $512M in revenue representing a 7% increase YoY and $56M of net profit representing an 8% increase YoY
  • North America accounted for 36% of the revenue, with Korea accounting for 29%, Europe for 12%, and Japan for 9%
  • Netmarble’s top game, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross accounted for 15% of revenue, with MARVEL Contest of Champions accounting for 12%, and Seven Knights 2 for 11%

Nvidia quarterly revenues grow 84% to $5.66B (link)

  • Nvidia reported revenues of $5.66B for its first fiscal quarter ended May 2, up 84% from a year earlier
  • Gaming revenue grew 106% to $2.76B, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations
  • The Santa Clara, California-based company makes graphics processing units (GPUs) that can be used for games, AI, and datacenter computing
  • The Company saw record revenue in its gaming, datacenter, and professional visualization platforms

M&A and Capital Raising

E Virtuix raises $19M for Omni One VR treadmill (link)

  • The Austin, Texas-based Virtuix will use the proceeds to launch Omni One, an omni-directional treadmill for consumers that lets players walk and run inside games and virtual worlds
  • Virtuix’s Reg A campaign allowed anyone to purchase shares in Virtuix, and the minimum investment was only $1,000. More than 6,500 investors participated in the round

Esports brand Fnatic raises $17M for Asia expansion (link)

  • The investment from Marubeni and other investors will help the Company expand in the growing Japanese and Asia Pacific esports markets
  • The investment will accelerate Fnatic’s growth in the substantial Asia-Pacific market with a new strategic partnership that will incorporate the expansion of Fnatic’s base of operations in Japan and support for its Rainbow Six: Siege team, which plans to relocate to the country
  • The Company was founded in 2004, and it has raised $53M to-date with 110 employees

Double Loop raises $8M for mobile game development (link)

  • Hiro Capital led the round for the female-run game studio with additional participation from Garena, Riot Games, London Venture Partners
  • The studio aims to create games for all types of players, designed to be social, relaxing, and accessible
  • Double Loop has 14 employees, and it is hiring at least four more to handle production and is currently focused on development of its mobile puzzle hybrid game

1047 Games raises $6.5M to develop free-to-play shooter Splitgate (link)

  • Based remotely and in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, the game studio already launched Splitgate in early beta form in 2019 to positive reception
  • Galaxy Interactive led the round, with participation from VGames, Lakestar, and 1Up Ventures
  • It will now use the funding to substantially increase the production of in-game content and ramp up marketing efforts to acquire new players

Noice raises $5M for ‘playful’ social platform for gamers (link)

  • Noice has said it is developing a platform that combines user-generated content, deep game systems, and engaging social design
  • The new platform is in early testing and is seeing high user engagement
  • Noice has 8 team members, and it is hiring for over 15 roles
  • The Company will use the raised funds to build the Noice platform with the goal of launching in an open beta of the platform in early 2022

Miniclip acquires Supersonic Software (link)

  • UK-based mobile gaming company Miniclip has acquired Supersonic Software and its subsidiary Appy Nation for undisclosed consideration
  • Supersonic is focused on casual puzzle games such as Puzzle Page, Picture Cross and World’s Biggest Crossword

Others

Epic Games launches Unreal Engine 5 early access, shows massive 3D scenes (link)

  • After years of work, Epic Games is launching early access for game developers for Unreal Engine 5, the latest version of the Company’s tools for making games with highly realistic 3D animations
  • Unreal Engine 5 will deliver the freedom, fidelity, and flexibility to create next-generation games, said Nick Penwarden, the vice president of engineering, in an interview with GamesBeat
  • Founded in 1991, Epic now has 3,200 employees

 

Sony confirms it's exploring "mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises" (link)

  • Sony has confirmed its intentions to move into the mobile market by exploring the sector with a number of PlayStation franchises during a corporate strategy meeting on May 25th
  • “Mobile is just one of the areas we are exploring to reach millions of gamers beyond our platforms,” said Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan. “We are exploring the mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises so please stay tuned"
  • Sony Pictures is adapting a number of game franchises for film and TV, with 10 projects noted to be in various stages of development

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-21

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 21

Highlights

TTWO Reports FQ4 2021 Earnings (link)

  • TTWO reported FQ4 2021 net bookings that exceeded expectations
    • Reported FQ4 2021 net bookings of $785M, representing an 8% increase YoY and exceeding prior outlook ($602M - $652M) and consensus ($661M)
    • Reported FQ4 2021 digitally-delivered net bookings of $724M, representing an 8% increase YoY
    • Reported FY 2021 net bookings of $3,553M, representing a 19% increase YoY and exceeding prior outlook ($3,370M-$3,420M) and consensus ($3,431M)
    • Reported FY 2021 digitally-delivered net bookings of $3,095M, representing a 27% increase YoY
  • Franchise Highlights
    • NBA 2K 2021 has sold 10M units and has more than 2.3M users playing the game daily
    • Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold over 37M units worldwide to-date
    • 2K announced its acquisition of HB Studios, the developer of PGA TOUR 2K21, which has sold more than 2M units to-date
    • Social Point's live games, led by Dragon City and Monster Legends, exceeded expectations and helped to drive net bookings growth of nearly 30% for the quarter and 44% for the year
    • Social Point is planning to release three new titles during the second half of fiscal 2022
    • In FQ4 2021, TTWO’s catalog accounted for $515M of net bookings (66%) led by Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and Sid Meier’s Civilization

Post-IDFA Alliance finds iOS 14.5 caused up to 21% growth in Android ad spending (link)

  • Liftoff announced that 64%-83% of users are opting out of being tracked
  • The Post-IDFA Alliance of mobile marketing companies — Liftoff, AdColony, Fyber, Chartboost, InMobi, Vungle and Singular — released data from their experiences with mobile marketing in the wake of the launch of iOS 14.5 that showed spending on the Android platform is up 21%
  • While many marketers decreased spend on iOS in the wake of 14.5, the change seems to be relatively minor, ranging from only 3%-4%
  • Impression costs on iOS 14.5 are down, with the cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) showing a decline, ranging from 2%-9%

Snapchat games have reached more than 200M people (link)

  • Snap said that the Company’s Snapchat games have reached more than 200M players in the past two years, up from about 100M a year ago
  • ~30M Snapchat users play Snap Games every month and more than 30 games have debuted on Snapchat in the past couple of years
  • Snap has partnered with Unity so that developers can bring Bitmoji avatars into their mobile, PC, and consoles games through the Unity platform

M&A and Capital Raising

Forte raises $185M at $1B valuation for blockchain game platform (link)

Griffin Gaming Partners led the Round

  • Forte is an infrastructure company, using blockchain tech to enable new kinds of game economies
  • Forte’s economic technology, which is available by invitation only and still in beta, aims to address the growing misalignment between game developers, players, and fans
  • It enables the creation of new gameplay and world designs that directly support the long-term health of a game through cooperative token-based economics, or what Forte calls “community economics.”
  • New and existing investors including Union Grove Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, and Canaan also participated in the round

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery publisher Jam City will launch SPAC at $1.2B value, buy Ludia for $175M (link)

  • Jam City has filed to go public via SPAC and is using some of the proceeds to buy Canadian mobile game publisher Ludia for $175M
  • Before the acquisition, Jam City had more than 825 employees and nine studios at the end of the first quarter, and with Ludia will add nearly 400 more employees
  • Jam City will combine with DPCM Capital, which is led by Emil Michael, Uber’s former chief business officer
  • The deal values the combined company at an enterprise value of $1.2B, and will support future M&A and other strategic initiatives with the expected addition of approximately $115M of cash to Jam City’s balance sheet, including a committed PIPE of $100M
    • Represents a combined 1.38x multiple on 2022E Bookings
    • Represents a combined 10.7x multiple on 2022E Adj. EBITDA

 

JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Games raises $40M (link)

  • Bad Robot Games, the game division of JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot entertainment company, has raised more than $40M to build games that are “as compelling to watch as they are to play”
  • Galaxy Interactive led the round, with additional participation from Horizons Ventures, Iconiq Capital, and Tencent
  • Bad Robot Games’ first internally developed title will be an original AAA game
  • The Company has raised more than $50M to date and has 20 employees

Madfinger Games raises $6M from Nuverse (link)

  • Czech developer Madfinger Games has raised $6M from Hong Kong-based publisher Nuverse
  • The funds raised will be used to expand Madfinger's team for existing IP and new games
  • Founded in 2010, Madfinger is best known for its mobile shooters such as the Shadowgun franchise and Unkilled, which have been downloaded more the 300M times

Game Taco agrees to buy skill-based games publisher WorldWinner from Sony (link)

  • Game Taco has agreed to acquire WorldWinner, a skill-based publisher that makes games where people can wager money and win cash
  • WorldWinner’s portfolio of games includes Solitaire Rush, Bejeweled, Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble Cubes, Angry Birds: Champions, and Two Dots
  • The combined companies will have more than 60 full-time employees

Vungle acquires mobile ad creative firm TreSensa Technologies (link)

  • New York-based TreSensa provides app developers with a suite of tools to make playables and fully customizable gameplay ad engines through its cloud-based tools for large gaming and brand studios
  • The Company’s clients include game and app companies Zynga, GSN, Electronic Arts, Etermax, Mag Interactive, Mars Petcare, and Kraft Foods Group

Kochava acquires DigiCenter for privacy-first data collection (link)

  • Through the acquisition, the Kochava Collective, the world’s largest independent mobile-first data marketplace, will further bolster its owned data footprint from FreeAppAnalytics with identity data elements from Digicenter
  • The Kochava Collective is a privacy-first data marketplace with key data points on over nine billion unique devices globally, including the largest hashed email file
  • With the acquisition of DigiCenter, the Kochava Collective now has more than a billion hashed emails within its substantial device database

Others

Xbox Game Studios' formalizes relationship with Call of Duty: Mobile developer TiMi (link)

  • TiMi Studios, a game development wing of Tencent Games just announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios
  • TiMi has developed and currently operates top-grossing games ranging from Honor of Kings and Ace Racer in China to Call of Duty: Mobile
  • The developer is also working with The Pokémon Company to launch Pokémon Unite MOBA

Google Stadia breaks through 3M app downloads (link)

  • Google Stadia's mobile app has generated 3.2M downloads 18 months post-launch, with roughly half of the downloads coming from the US
  • 73% of installs originated from Google Play, with the remaining 27% from the App Store
  • "We're well on our way to over 100 new games launching on Stadia in 2021, and we're continuing to make Stadia a great place to play games on devices you already own," said Stadia developer marketing lead Nate Ahearn

Voodoo extends partnership with Snapchat, five more games coming to platform (link)

  • Snap and Voodoo have extended their partnership to bring five more games to the Snapchat platform
  • Voodoo will exclusively bring multiplayer entries of hypercasual hits Hole.io and Crowd City to Snap Games, alongside three currently unknown titles
  • Voodoo initially launched Aquapark IO on Snap Games in late November 2020, which has accumulated close to 45M players

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-20

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 20

Highlights

AppLovin Reports FQ1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • FQ1 2021 Results
    • Reported FQ1 2021 total revenue of $604M, representing a 132% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $557M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 adj. EBITDA $131M, representing a 110% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $125M
  • FY 2020 Outlook
    • FY 2020 total revenue of $2,650M – $2,700M, exceeding consensus of $2,509M
    • FY 2020 adj. EBITDA $680M – $700M, exceeding consensus of $665M
  • Acquisition Strategy
    • AppLovin completed its acquisition of Adjust, a global mobile app measurement and marketing company, during FQ1 2021
    • The Company also acquired Mobile games West Game and Cash Tornado Slots during the quarter
    • After its Mobile game acquisitions this quarter, the Company now has games in every major Mobile genre
    • On additional acquisition targets, AppLovin noted that almost all of its acquisitions were initially clients and that the Company will be content-focused in acquisitions going forward, in Gaming or other verticals
    • “As we continue to grow our content portfolio, gain access to data, and improve the efficacy of our marketing software, we see a path to outsized growth for years to come.” – AppLovin CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Foroughi

EA Reports FQ4 2021 Earnings (link)

  • FQ4 2021 Results
    • Reported FQ4 2021 net bookings of $1,490M, representing a 19% increase YoY, and exceeding prior outlook of $1,375M 
      • Reported FQ4 2021 Live Services & Other net bookings of $1,303M, representing a 32% increase YoY
      • Reported FQ4 2021 Full Game net bookings of $187M, representing a 30% decrease YoY
      • EA repurchased 2.4M shares for $325M during FQ4 2021
  • FY 2021 Results
    • Reported FY 2021 net bookings of $6,190M, representing a 15% increase YoY, and exceeding prior outlook of $6,075M
      • FY 2021 net bookings of $6,190M is more than $600M above original expectations
      • Reported FY 2021 Live Services & Other net bookings of $4,592M, representing a 28% increase YoY
      • Reported FY 2021 Full Game net bookings of $1,598M, representing a 10% decrease YoY
      • The Company repurchased a total of 5.6M shares for $729M during FY 2021
  • Business Highlights
    • Delivered 13 new games and had more than 42M new players join the EA network during FY 2021
    • FIFA 21 has more than 25M LTD PC/Console players
    • FIFA Ultimate Team players grew 16% YoY and matches were up 180% in FY 2021
    • Apex Legends has more than 100M LTD players on PC/Console
    • The Sims 4 has almost 36M LTD players and delivered its sixth consecutive year of franchise growth

Playtika Reports FQ1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • FQ1 2021 Results
    • Reported FQ1 2021 revenue of $639M, representing a 20% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $585M
    • Reported Adj. EBITDA of $258M (40% margin), representing a 39% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $210M
    • Reported net income of $36M (6% margin), which in-line with FQ1 2020, but below consensus of $42M
    • Playtika has available liquidity, defined as cash and cash equivalents and its undrawn revolving credit facility, of over $1.5B
  • Portfolio Highlights
    • Casual portfolio grew revenue 30% YoY
    • Casino-themed portfolio grew revenue 12% YoY
    • Geographic revenue mix: US (71%), Europe (14%), APAC (8%), RoW (7%)
    • Six of Playtika’s top nine games grew revenue over 20% YoY
    • Bingo Blitz, which is now 10 years old and Playtika’s second largest game by revenue, grew revenue 40% YoY (like that the title has legs this long into its lifespan)
  • Key Performance Indicators
    • DAUs of 10.4M, down 10% YoY
    • MAUs of 31.4M, down 15% YoY
    • Average DPUs of 296k, up 9% YoY
    • Average daily payer conversion of 2.8%, up from 2.3% in FQ1 2020
    • ARPDAU of $0.68, up 36% YoY

Roblox Reports FQ1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • FQ1 2021 Results
    • Reported FQ1 2021 bookings of $652M, representing a 161% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $573M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 revenue of $387M, representing a 140% increase YoY
    • Reported FQ1 2021 operating cash flow of $165M, growing nearly 4x YoY
  • Key Performance Indicators
    • DAUs grew 79% YoY to 42.1M
      • 87% growth in DAUs outside of the US/Canada
      • 111% growth in DAUs over the age of 13
    • DAUs composition by region: US & Canada (12.6M), Europe (12.5M), RoW (10.6M), APAC (6.5M)
    • DAUs composition by age group: U13 (21.3M), O13 (20.5M), Unknown (0.3M)
    • Hours engaged grew 98% YoY to 9,674M hours
      • 104% growth in engagement in markets outside of the US/Canada
      • 128% growth from users over the age of 13
    • Average Bookings per DAU (ABPDAU) grew 46% YoY to $15.48

SciPlay Reports FQ1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • SciPlay reported significant growth in YoY revenue and AEBITDA with modest increases QoQ, but lower than expected diluted EPS
    • Reported FQ1 2021 revenue of $151M representing a 28% increase YoY and 3% increase QoQ, exceeding consensus of $145M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 AEBITDA of $46M representing a 32% increase YoY and 2% increase QoQ, exceeding consensus of $45M
    • Reported diluted EPS of $0.21 vs consensus of $0.24
  • Monetization KPIs improved YoY in FQ1 2021, but MAUs and DAUs declined YoY
    • FQ1 2021 ARPDAU of $0.67 vs FQ1 2020 ARPDAU of $0.49, representing a 37% increase YoY
    • FQ1 2021 AMRPPU of $92.80 vs FQ1 2020 AMRPPU of $83.58, representing an 11% increase YoY
    • FQ1 2021 Payer Conversion of 8.1% vs FQ1 2020 Payer Conversion of 6.3%
    • FQ1 2021 MAUs of 6.7M vs FQ1 2020 MAUs of 7.5M, representing a 11% decrease YoY
    • FQ1 2021 DAUs of 2.5M vs FQ1 2020 MAUs of 2.6M, representing a 4% decrease YoY

Ubisoft Reports FY 2020-21 Earnings (link)

  • Financial Performance
    • Reported FY 2020-21 Net Bookings of $2,723M (+46% YoY) versus guidance of $2,693M-$2,766M and consensus of $2,771M
    • Reported FY 2020-21 Operating Income of $575M versus guidance of $546M-$607M and consensus of $559M
    • Reported FY 2020-21 Net Income of $381M versus consensus of $322M
    • Digital Net Bookings grew 28% YoY to $1,955M and comprised 72% of total Net Bookings
  • Business Highlights
    • All time high activity with 141M unique players on PC and Console (up 20% YoY)
    • Assassin’s Creed franchise set a yearly record and Rainbow Six became one of the top 10 most played games in 2020 among premium and F2P console titles, with double-digit player acquisition growth
    • The Division reached 40M unique players
    • Ubisoft Connect was rolled out, an ecosystem of player services for all Ubisoft games across all platforms

Unity Reports FQ1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • FQ1 2021 Results
    • Reported FQ1 2021 Revenue of $235M, representing a 41% increase YoY and exceeding consensus of $217M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 Gross Profit of $176M (75% margin), representing a 30% increase YoY and exceeding consensus of $170M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 Operating Profit (Loss) of ($111M), compared to ($27M) in FQ1 2020 and consensus of ($94M)
    • Reported FQ1 2021 EPS of ($0.39), compared to ($0.21) in FQ1 2020 and consensus of ($0.31)
    • Unity’s first quarter 2021 results were impacted by an increase in stock-based compensation expense primarily related to the satisfaction of the performance vesting condition on outstanding RSUs upon completion of its IPO
  • Business Unit Performance
    • Create Solutions
      • Revenue: $70M (increase of 51% YoY)
    • Operate Solutions
      • Revenue: $147M (increase of 40% YoY)
    • Strategic Partnerships & Other
      • Revenue: $18M (increase of 12% YoY)
    • 837 customers each generated more than $100,000 of revenue in the trailing 12 months as of March 31, 2021, compared to 668 as of March 31, 2020
    • Dollar-based net expansion rate as of March 31, 2021 was 140% as compared to 133% as of March 31, 2020

M&A and Capital Raising

Animoca Brands raises $88M at $1B valuation to capitalize on game NFTs (link)

  • Investors in the round included Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners, HashKey Fintech Investment, AppWorks, LCV, Perennial, Axia Infinity Ventures, SNZ, and Liberty City Ventures among others
  • Animoca Brands has had strong initial results with blockchain games including F1 Delta Time, The Sandbox, and MotoGP Ignition; and has launched associated tokens including Revv and Sand
  • The Company has made investments in Dapper Labs, Opensea, Bitski, Axie Infinity, and many others

Big Time Studios is raising $21M to bring NFTs to game economies (link)

  • The funding comes in two parts: $10M in a round led by FBG Capital with additional participation from North Island Ventures, Digital Currency Group, OKEx Blockdream Ventures, Alameda Research, Circle Financial, and Sound Ventures; and $11M from the Company’s fund that it will use to invest in game companies that adopt its technology
  • The Company’s flagship game is Big Time, an adventure across space and time that puts the player in the driver’s seat of their own time machine, allowing them to collect legendary items from amazing historical battles
  • Development on Big Time is underway for PC, with an announcement for the beta coming later this year; the studio expects to launch the game in 2022

Sky Mavis raises $7.5M for NFT-based Axie Infinity game (link)

  • Investors in the round include Blocktower Capital, Konvoy Ventures, Libertus, Collab + Currency’s Derek Schloss and Stephen McKeon, and Mark Cuban
  • Axie has grown in recent months to 36,000 daily active users and $12M in monthly NFT volume traded
  • The Company is hiring traditional game developers to make the game more fun and is lowering the barriers of entry to allow all gamers to play

Hiro Capital invests $6.4M in Twin Suns and FRVR game startups (link)

  • London-based Hiro Capital is investing in game creators in video games, esports, gamified fitness, and the metaverse
  • Twin Suns is building an unannounced triple-A cross-platform title that will debut with an original game franchise
  • The Twin Suns team has 13 people and plans on hiring more people over the summer
  • FRVR is an instant games ecosystem platform for gameplay on any device and has games including FRVR Basketball
  • FRVR has been in business for five years, and it has a team of 45 people

Former Blizzard and Epic veterans raise $5M for Lightforge Games (link)

  • Investors in the round included Galaxy Interactive, NetEase Games, Dreamhaven, Maveron, 1UP Ventures, and angel investors
  • North Carolina-based Lightforge Games is working on a cross-platform social RPG where players have the power to create worlds and tell stories with freedom
  • Lightforge is a team of 11 people and with immediate plans of hiring three more

Allstar raises $3.9M so gamers can share snackable game highlights (link)

  • Members of the New York Angels led the round with additional participation from Studio.vc, Emerging Ventures, and J-Ventures among others
  • The platform helps casual gamers and rising competitive esports players alike share their biggest highlights with a growing network of supportive users, as well as organizations or coaching staffs
  • The funding will help Allstar enhance the company’s current product offering, integrate new titles onto its growing platform, and expand its hiring and partnership efforts
  • Beyond its own network, Allstar’s creative automation technology integrates with platforms like Discord; and the Company recently announced a partnership with TikTok

Hidden Leaf Games raises $3.2M on a MOBA gambit called Fangs (link)

  • The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with additional participation from Vermillion Ventures and angel investors
  • The team is focused on making a PC game first, and then it will extend it to mobile devices as well, with the ultimate goal being a cross-platform game
  • Hidden Leaf chose a 3-on-3 MOBA instead of 5-on-5 as in League of Legends because it makes for a less chaotic and more accessible game, with a chance for shorter matches
  • The team of 32 has been working for 18 months and the game is entering its alpha testing now with plans to go into beta testing and subsequently launching later this year

Wilder World raises $3M for a metaverse built around NFT art (link)

  • The $3M round was led by Spartan Group, with additional participation from DCG, Animoca Brands, Republic Realm, and Signum Capital
  • In the past three months, Wilder World has launched its $WILD token and recruited more than 250 crypto artists and collectors to the platform
  • The Company has more than 15,000 subscribers and secured partnerships with more than 80 influencers in the crypto ecosystem

Krafton snaps up mobile games studio Dreamotion (link)

  • South Korean gaming company Krafton has announced its acquisition of mobile gaming studio Dreamotion for an undisclosed sum
  • Established in July 2016, Dreamotion has developed and published three games: Samurai, Road to Valor: World War II, Gun Strider: Tap Strike
  • After the acquisition, Dreamotion will continue to work as an independent studio alongside Krafton's other studios, Blue Hole Studio, Rising Wings, and Strike Distance Studio

Others

Nintendo willing to utilize $9B war chest for acquisitions - when needed (link)

  • Nintendo has confirmed that it would be open to making more acquisitions to keep up with "rapidly advancing technological innovation"
  • In January, Nintendo announced that it would purchase Luigi's Mansion 3 developer Next Level Games - marking its first acquisition in over a decade

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-19

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 19

Highlights

Activision Blizzard Reports Q1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • ATVI reported increased YoY revenue during FQ1 2021, and strong growth in its core franchises
    • Reported FQ1 2021 revenue ex-deferrals of $2,066M representing a 36% increase YoY, and exceeding prior revenue outlook of $1,750M
    • FQ1 2021 digital net revenue increased 39% YoY to $2,006M, representing 88% of total net revenue
    • The previously announced cash dividend of $0.47 per common share, is payable on May 6th, 2021 (representing a 15% increase from 2020)
  • ATVI Business Highlights and Recent Events
    • ATVI indicated strong investments in growth with the intention to hire more than 2,000 developers over the next two years, and triple the size of certain franchise teams by the end of 2022 as compared to 2019
    • Call of Duty provides a template that ATVI will apply to other proven franchises in attempt to grow its audiences to 1 billion players
    • The Company is seeing a business shift from a seasonal focus with a holiday emphasis to an always-on business model with far less seasonality due to Live Operations
    • From an M&A perspective, ATVI is generally looking for large established franchises or technologies that have the potential for scale, strong leadership teams with a track record of profitability, and an attractive valuation to satisfy its return threshold
    • The Company indicated that it would like all of its franchises on Mobile, whether it be reimaginations of an IP on Mobile or more similar to an existing PC/Console experience

Skillz Reports Q1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • Skillz reported record revenue, marking 21 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, and raised FY 2021 guidance from $366M to $375M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 revenue of $84M representing a 92% increase YoY, and exceeding consensus of $79M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 GMV of $567M, up 85% YoY and versus consensus of $530M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 Gross Profit of $79M, up 95% YoY and versus consensus of $76M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 EBITDA of -$31M versus consensus of -$34M
  • Key Performance Indicators
    • Reported FQ1 2021 MAUs of 2.7M, up 13% QoQ
    • Reported FQ1 2021 ARPU of $10.35, up 10% QoQ
    • Reported FQ1 2021 pMAUs of 0.467M, up 19% QoQ
    • Reported FQ1 2021 ARPPU of $60, up 3% QoQ
  • Business Highlights & Recent Events
    • Business Highlights
      • Expanded Android footprint, growing revenue from Android users 2x faster than iOS
      • Announced multi-year agreement with the NFL to allow competing developers the opportunity to develop an NFL-themed mobile game
      • Skillz is on track to launch in India by the end of 2021 and is investing in localizing the product, including the payment systems
      • The Company plans to expand into other international markets in 2022 and beyond
      • Tetris Clash is currently in soft launch on the platform

Zynga Reports Q1 2021 Earnings (link)

  • Zynga reported record FQ1 results including highest quarterly revenue and bookings as well as DAUs and MAUs, driven by their Live Services Portfolio
    • Reported FQ1 2021 bookings of $720M, representing a 69.5% increase YoY, and exceeding prior bookings outlook of $680M
    • Reported FQ1 2021 international revenue of $268M, representing a 67% increase YoY, and international bookings of $278M, representing a 59% increase YoY
    • Reported an all-time best advertising revenue of $123M, representing a 108% increase YoY
  • Portfolio Performance & KPIs
    • Record revenue and bookings driven by an all-time best quarter for Zynga’s Social Slots portfolio, in addition to its highest Q1 performance by Empires & Puzzles, Words With Friends, CSR2, and its Casual Cards portfolio
    • Record average Mobile Daily Active Users (DAUs) of 38M (up 85% YoY)
    • Record average Mobile Monthly Active Users (MAUs) of 164M (up 139% YoY)
    • Mobile Average Bookings Per Mobile DAU (ABPU) was $0.202 for the period, (down 6% YoY)
    • Increases in DAUs and MAUs were primarily driven by recent additions of Toon Blast, Toy Blast, and Rollic’s hyper-casual portfolio
    • Bookings composition: Forever Franchises (66%), Other (19%), Social Slots & Casual Cards (15%)
  • Growth Highlights
    • Recently launched Puzzle Combat with additional new launches planned in 2021 and beyond
    • Zynga expects the release of FarmVille 3 and Star Wars: Hunters worldwide by the end of 2021
    • Cross-platform play development expanded with the announcement of Star Wars: Hunters and acquisition of Echtra
    • Record international revenue and bookings with Asia as a key contributor
  • Zynga pays Small Giant $240M for 6.7% in second performance earn-out (link)

Twitch mobile app hits 22M installs in Q1 2021, up 62% YoY (link)

  • US live streaming platform Twitch has seen huge growth via its mobile app, generating over 22M downloads in Q1 2021
  • In 2020, the Twitch app grew by 96% YoY to 17.6M

Newzoo: Global game market 2021 outlook (link)

  • The game industry had a booming year during 2020’s pandemic, and Newzoo believes it will be hard to beat last year’s numbers because of a confluence of forces, such as the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage and Apple’s push to prioritize privacy over targeted advertising
  • Newzoo forecasts the PC game market will decline 2.8% YoY to $35.9B in 2021. Of that, Newzoo forecasts $33.3B will be spent on downloaded/boxed games and $2.6B on browser games
  • For consoles, Newzoo forecasts the market will decline 8.9% to $49.2B as the after-effects of COVID-19 shape the console market this year

Nintendo Switch hits 84.59M units sold, with 28.8M sold this past year (link)

  • Nintendo reported its year-end financial results today and said the Switch sold more than 28.8M consoles, up 37.1% in the past 12 months that ended March 31
  • Lifetime sales of the Switch are now at 84.59M consoles, with 587.12M copies of software
  • That means it has outdistanced the Nintendo 3DS, which sold 75.94M systems and 386.48M copies of software
  • Nintendo forecasted that it could sell another 26.5M Switch consoles in the next year ending March 31, 2022

My.Games grew Q1 FY21 revenues 42% to $147M (link)

  • Russian PC and mobile games company My.Games has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2021
  • The Company witnessed strong growth up 42% YoY, reaching $147M in revenue
  • Grand Hotel Mania, Rush Royale, Zero City, War Robots, and Conqueror’s Blade led the revenue growth in this quarter, with around 98% of revenues coming from MMO games
  • The Company had 22.7M monthly active users: 4.8% are paying customers

Krafton announces Battlegrounds Mobile India (link)

  • South Korean game maker Krafton has announced Battlegrounds Mobile India, the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile India
  • With privacy and data protection being a top priority for the Indian government, Krafton will be working with various partners to ensure data protection and security, at each stage
  • In the initial phase Battlegrounds Mobile will offer a series of local events and have its regional esports ecosystem with tournaments and leagues

M&A and Capital Raising

PlayStation invests in Discord and plans integration with PSN in 2022 (link)

  • In a blog post, Sony Interactive Entertainment head Jim Ryan explained that this connection will enable some form of communication between users on PSN and the Discord app on PC and mobile
  • As part of this deal, Sony is also making an investment in Discord, but the companies did not disclose the amount of the investment
  • Discord has more than 140M people using it each month, and is the go-to solution for gamers looking to connect with one another

EA acquires Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead (link)

  • EA Sports has hits with the Madden and FIFA franchises, but it hasn’t released an MLB game since its MVP Baseball series ended in 2005
  • The Super Mega Baseball series has received praise from fans and critics, but it does not have an MLB license, so it can’t use MLB teams or players

Zynga buys mobile ad and monetization firm Chartboost for $250M (link)

  • With this transaction, Zynga is reaching outside of its usual food chain to another part of the industry — mobile game marketing, advertising, and monetization
  • Chartboost is an advertising platform that has been around since 2011, and it is a big mobile programmatic advertising and monetization platform
  • It reaches more than 700M monthly users and 90B monthly advertising auctions

Metacore secures $179.9M in credit from Supercell for casual games (link)

  • The investment shows what Helsinki-based Supercell is willing to do with the cash it generates from mobile gaming hits like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Hay Day, and Brawl Stars
  • Since releasing its first game (Merge Mansion) in late 2020, Metacore’s annual revenue run rate has reached $54M, putting the Company on track to become one of the fastest-growing game studios in Europe
  • Merge Mansion is a puzzle game with more than 800,000 daily players. The new funding will help boost Merge Mansion’s global operations and strengthen Metacore’s core team

Genies raises $65M to boost avatars for virtual identity and wearable digital goods (link)

  • Genies wants to become the virtual identity for people to express themselves in the digital world. It started with celebrities to capture moments for events such as album releases, song drops, and guest appearances, and it saw greater use over the pandemic
  • Bond led the round, with participation from NEA, Breyer Capital, Tull Investment Group, NetEase, Dapper Labs, and Coinbase Ventures
  • The investment proceeds will be used to invest in the technology behind the Genie avatar system and to continue to build out the digital goods marketplace on Dapper Lab’s Flow platform

Ace Games raises $7M in seed funding (link)

  • The round was led by local VC Actera Group, and included other independent investors
  • Founded in September 2020 by a former Peak Games co-founder, Hakan Bas, Ace Games currently runs two studios

Carry1st raises $6M to publish mobile games in Africa (link)

  • Carry1st has raised $6M in funding for its mobile game publishing platform targeted at the untapped potential of the African market
  • Africa has around 1.1B members of the Millennial and Generation Z groups, who are big technology adopters
  • Carry1st says it provides a full publishing solution, handling distribution, localization, user acquisition, marketing, customer experience, and monetization for its partners

Arcturus raises $5M for holographic imaging in games and entertainment (link)

  • Arcturus today announced it has raised $5M in funding for tools that enable developers to create realistic holographic characters based on recorded video
  • Bitkraft Ventures led the round, with participation from leaders in the sports, telecom, gaming, and music space

BigBrain raises $4.5M and launches trivia game with real-money prizes (link)

  • BigBrain is launching its BigBrain trivia game where you can win real-money prizes. The Company has raised $4.5M to build it
  • The iOS game will let people win up to thousands of dollars in a match, depending on how many people are playing, and each player will pay an entry fee of as little as $1
  • The seed round financing for Brooklyn, New York-based Big Brain came from FirstRound Capital, Box Group, Ludlow Ventures, Golden Ventures, and others

Others

Riot Games will launch Wild Rift esports tournament in late 2021 (link)

  • The Company hopes to apply the lessons of a decade of League of Legends esports to the mobile game
  • Riot Games wants to build a similar community for Wild Rift
  • League of Legends: Wild Rift is a 5-on-5 multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) experience of League of Legends, developed for console and mobile by Riot Games

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic prepares for June 1 launch (link)

  • Blizzard Entertainment announced that World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic will launch for PC on June 1
  • Burning Crusade was the first expansion for Blizzard’s hit MMO. It debuted in 2007

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-18

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 18

Highlights

GamesBeat Summit 2021 (link)

  • Nicholas Tuosto, Managing Director and Head of Gaming at LionTree and Founding Partner at Griffin Gaming Partners Hosted Two Panels During the Summit
  • Interview with Lars Wingefors, Founder & CEO at Embracer Group (link)
  • Interview with Tim O’Brien and Amir Rahimi from Scopely (link)
  • Interview with Bobby Kotick, Chairman and CEO of Activision Blizzard (link)
  • Interview with Chris DeWolfe, CEO of Jam City (link)

Sony has shipped 7.8M PlayStation 5 consoles as of March (link)

  • PlayStation 5 is outpacing the PlayStation 4 in terms of consoles shipped, with 7.8M PS5s sold into the retail supply chain through the end of March, compared to 7.6M PS4s shipped over the same period at launch
  • The PS5 was one of the main contributors to a March record for hardware spending in the United States
  • In the U.S., PS5 is the fastest-selling console through a five-month launch period

Xbox Series X/S demand drives 232% growth for Microsoft gaming hardware (link)

  • Strong demand for the Xbox Series X/S drove 232% YoY for Xbox hardware revenue
  • Xbox’s overall revenue increased 50% YoY, and software and services increased 34% compared Q3 2020
  • According to Windows Central, Game Pass now has 23M users

Nexon buys $100M of Bitcoin (link)

  • Nexon bought $100M of Bitcoin, equivalent to 2% of its cash reserves
  • “Our purchase of bitcoin reflects a disciplined strategy for protecting shareholder value and for maintaining the purchasing power of our cash assets,” said president and CEO Owen Mahoney

Microsoft reduces its cut for games on Windows Store to 12% (link)

  • Beginning August 1, Microsoft will take only 12% of game sales on the Windows Store
  • This move will make the Windows Store more competitive when it comes to attracting game software
  • Microsoft’s revised revenue-sharing model comes alongside efforts to spruce up and revitalize its OS storefront

M&A and Capital Raising

EA completes $2.4B acquisition of Glu Mobile (link)

  • Electronic Arts has completed its acquisition of Glu Mobile at an enterprise value of $2.1B
  • The transaction value represents a TTM Adj. EBITDA multiple of 27.5x and a forward Adj. EBITDA multiple of 19.7x
  • Glu will build on EA's network of 100M monthly active players in mobile, and create a portfolio of more than 15 live services

Adtech company Moloco raises funding at a $1B valuation (link)

  • The round was led by Shinhan GIB, an investment banking unit of South Korea’s Shinhan Financial Group
  • The Company has facilitated more than 100T bid requests on behalf of its advertising partners since 2018, and currently serves more than 13B ad impressions monthly
  • Gaming clients of Moloco include Nexon, Playrix and Netmarble among others

Azerion raises $242M via bonds on NASDAQ Stockholm (link)

  • Digital games and monetization firm Azerion has raised $242M through a bond issuance on NASDAQ Stockholm
  • Azerion will use the proceeds to refinance the €100M it raised from the Frankfurt exchange in 2020 and make acquisitions
  • Through acquisitions such as Habbo Hotel developer Sulake, Azerion has been able to bring more content to its platform, appealing to a wider range of consumers

Huuuge acquires match-3 game Traffic Puzzle for $38.9M (link)

  • Poland-based Social Casino game maker Huuuge has acquired match-3 game Traffic Puzzle for $38.9M from Picadilla Games
  • The acquisition represents the first significant milestone in the Company’s growth and acquisition strategy after raising $445M on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in February
  • Huuuge was already the publisher of Traffic Puzzle and now owns the game, which has seen average daily revenue grow from $12,900 daily in September 2020 to approximately $100,000 a day at the time of signing

PortalOne raises $15M for its mobile game-TV show mash-ups (link)

  • Norwegian startup PortalOne announced it has raised over $15M in an over-subscribed seed round
  • Investors in the round included Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Atari, Coatue Management, Talis Capital, and TQ Ventures among others
  • The Company says it will be the “world’s first hybrid games platform” with entertainment that combines live TV shows within games
  • PortalOne is also building its own proprietary technology to enable third-party creators to create content on the PortalOne platform

Epic Games acquires ArtStation to foster an online marketplace for artists (link)

  • Epic Games has acquired ArtStation, which operates a marketplace for artists to sell their art, post jobs, and host portfolios
  • This partnership underscores both Epic’s and ArtStation’s mission to empower creators with the tools and platforms to thrive
  • ArtStation will remain an independently branded platform that Epic Games owns, and it will continue its current operations
  • ArtStation will immediately drop its standard fee for art sales in the ArtStation Marketplace from 30% to 12%, matching the fee that Epic charges developers in the Epic Games Store

Zynga-owned Rollic acquires High Heels developer Uncosoft (link)

  • Zynga-owned hypercasual studio Rollic has acquired fellow Turkish developer Uncosoft
  • Uncosoft created the Rollic-published High Heels, one of most downloaded mobile games of 2021, with 60 million installs to-date
  • PortalOne opened its beta in June 2020 and aims to fully launch in the US later this year

Others

Wildlife opens indie studio SuperWow Games in Austin and Melbourne (link)

  • Mobile developer Wildlife is opening a second independent game studio, SuperWow Games, in Austin, Texas; and Melbourne, Australia
  • Lu Gigliotti, who has previously worked on numerous games at Rockstar, Electronic Arts, and Ninja Theory, will lead the studio
  • Wildlife recently opened another independent game studio, Never Forget Games, in San Francisco which is being led by Ray Mazza and Mike Duke

Summoners War: Lost Centuria launches on iOS and Android (link)

  • Com2uS has released Summoners War: Lost Centuria, a follow-up to its hit mobile game Summoners War: Sky Arena, for iOS and Android devices
  • Sky Arena launched in 2014, and the turn-based strategy multiplayer mobile game has achieved more than 100M downloads
  • Summoners War: Lost Centuria already has 6M registrations

Sega will launch its first NFTs in summer 2021 (link)

  • Iconic Japanese gaming company Sega Sammy has announced it will start selling NFTs “related to its classic IP” from summer 2021
  • As part of the announcement, Sega has revealed a partnership with local Japanese game company Double Jump

Gaming Public Multiples

weekly-16

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 16

M&A and Capital Raising

LionTree acted as an Underwriter on AppLovin's IPO (link to prospectus)

  • AppLovin’s mission is to grow the Mobile app ecosystem by enabling the success of Mobile app developers
  • AppLovin priced 22.5M primary shares in its IPO at $80/share, raising $1.75B in primary capital
  • Selling stockholder KKR sold an additional 2.5M shares in the IPO and will retain ~30% of the outstanding shares on a pro forma basis
  • AppLovin will start as a public company with $2.2B in cash on its balance sheet with a debt to 2020 Adj. EBITDA ratio of 5.1x

Epic Games raises $1B for long-term metaverse plans, with $200M from Sony (link)

  • Epic Games has raised $1B at a valuation of $28.7B, including a $200M strategic investment from Sony with participation from Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, GIC, T. Rowe, BlackRock, KKR, and Franklin among others
  • The funding will be used to support future growth opportunities
  • “We are grateful to our new and existing investors who support our vision for Epic and the Metaverse,” said Epic CEO, Tim Sweeney, “Their investment will help accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys, while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services, and the Epic Games Store.”

Generation Esports raises $10.8M to grow student esports leagues (link)

  • Altos Ventures led Generation Esports $10.8M round with additional participation from FJ Labs
  • The Company will use the funding to support Generation Esports’ multiple community and student esports initiatives, including the High School Esports League (HSEL)
  • Sponsors Asus, Intel, and the Army National Guard have additionally pledged to support Generation Esports and its leagues in 2021 and beyond
  • The Company is dedicated to being an entry point for young gamers to pursue a career in the professional tech or game industry by instilling values which include fair play, inclusivity, and respect

Jambox Games raises $1.1M to publish games by developers in India and Southeast Asia (link)

  • Jambox Games, a Singapore-based startup, has launched a game publishing platform to help indie developers in India and Southeast Asia to publish their mobile games
  • The Company aims to offer a toolkit that integrates analytics, attribution, user acquisition, and monetization
  • Jambox is looking to launch the platform in Vietnam, India and Indonesia initially before scaling this to Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines

LEGO Ventures invests in learning platform Area9 Lyceum (link)

  • Adaptive learning platform developer Area9 Lyceum has received a strategic investment from LEGO Ventures
  • LEGO Ventures managing director Jamie Beaumont will join the Area9 board of directors
  • "Not only is the LEGO Brand among the world's most respected brands, but its commitment to learning through play is directly in line with our vision for the future of learning,” said Area9 Lyceum chairman and CEO Ulrik Juul Christensen, M.D.

ByteDance acquires Chinese developer C4games (link)

  • ByteDance, owner of TikTok, has further invested into the games market by acquiring Chinese developer C4games
  • The Company previously acquired Mobile game developer Moonton in March 2021, launched a mobile games studio, and established an in-house publishing arm

Others

Epic Games launches early access for MetaHuman Creator tool to make realistic animated people (link)

  • Epic Games unveiled the tool in February, and it had an overwhelming response from people who tried it and created two MetaHuman sample characters with it
  • Early access users will be able to use it in Unreal Engine, or for further editing in a DCC application
  • Epic Games is also providing over 50 ready-made MetaHumans for download and use in projects
  • MetaHuman Creator combines technology from 3Lateral and Cubic Motion – both now part of Epic Games – and makes it widely accessible

 

Nintendo to focus on creating new IPs and new experiences (link)

  • The Japanese firm is behind longstanding franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Fire Emblem and Pokémon is focusing on creating new original IPs
  • Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said "I am looking at and studying various forms of entertainment. In the future, we will focus on creating new game series as well as long-sellers such as Mario and Zelda."

Epic teams with Sony to bring Aloy to Fortnite (link)

  • Epic Games has further established its partnership with Sony, adding PlayStation icon Aloy, the main protagonist from Horizon Zero Dawn, into Fortnite
  • Previously, Kratos, from God of War, was added to Fortnite

Rovio launches midcore strategy game Darkfire Heroes (link)

  • Darkfire Heroes features more than 75 heroes from six different factions as players assemble teams, build strategies, and lead their squads against all manner of monsters
  • The game began development under Darkfire Games until the studio was acquired by Rovio in June 2020
  • The target audience for Darkfire Heroes is mid-core mobile players between the ages of 16 to 44 years old

Gaming Public Multiples

gaming-weekly-14

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 14

Highlights

Mobile games revenue growth remains higher than pre-pandemic levels (link)

  • One year into the COVID-19 crisis, mobile game revenue growth is still higher than it was pre-pandemic, according to Sensor Tower's latest report
  • Downloads fell back to January 2020 levels as early as June, “as consumers looked for new ways to entertain themselves,” the report indicated
  • Downloads for hyper-casual games, which were previously booming, fell during the pandemic

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run caps off first week with 27M downloads (link)

  • The US was the largest market for installs, with Brazil and Mexico securing second and third place respectively
  • In comparison, both Pokémon GO and King's most recent big-name release, Candy Crush Friends Saga, amassed 10M downloads within their first seven days of being live
  • A positive side-effect of Crash's success on mobile has been an increase in sales for Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time on console, alongside the game's launch on Nintendo Switch and further digital promotion

League of Legends: Wild Rift does 3M installs on Americas debut (link)

  • League of Legends: Wild Rift has generated 2.9M installs as its open beta launched across the Americas
  • The game generated $285,000 in player spending on March 29th, the debut in the Americas

M&A and Capital Raising

CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs raises $305M (link)

  • Dapper Labs, the maker of blockchain-based digital collectibles CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, has raised $305M in a new round of funding led by Coatue, with additional participation from The Chernin Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock, USV, and Version One
  • Dapper Labs is also the creator of the Flow blockchain network, an alternative to the Ethereum cryptocurrency network
  • The funds will help scale the Dapper Labs team to continue work on NBA Top Shot, expanding the platform to other sports, and helping a new generation of creators develop engaging experiences using blockchain technology, including NFTs

Manticore Games raises $100M for user-generated games in the ‘multiverse’ (link)

  • The Company offers Core, a platform using Epic’s Unreal Engine with tools that make it easier for players to create their own games
  • The round was led by XN, with additional participation from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, London Venture Partners (LVP), Benchmark, Bitkraft’s new Opportunity Fund, Correlation Ventures, and Epic Games
  • The California-based Company will use the funding to expand its teams, broaden the product, and invest in creators and the ecosystem

Enjin raises $18.9M to launch NFT blockchain on Polkadot (link)

  • Enjin, the creator of the ERC-1155 nonfungible token (NFT) standard, sold out its $18.9M private sale for Efinity, a next-generation NFT blockchain made for games, apps, enterprises, and creators, built on Polkadot
  • The round was led by Crypto.com Capital, DFG Group, and Hashed, with additional participation from Hypersphere, BlockTower, Blockchain.com Ventures, Fenbushi, Iconium, HashKey, Arrington XRP Capital, and DeFi Alliance among others
  • While transactions on Ethereum process at a rate of 15 per second, Efinity is set to process transactions every 6 seconds and will use proof of stake to scale to 1,000 transactions per second

Lowkey raises $7M to capture your gameplay moments (link)

  • Lowkey has raised $7M in funding for its platform with video editing tools that helps gamers post short snippets on social media
  • Casual users and top esports teams in the nation use Lowkey to record, edit, share, and watch highlights from their PC gameplay
  • Lowkey recently launched a new mobile app that allows players to use simple creative tools to inject their personality and transform the raw clips into entertaining short videos

AR outfit Blippar secures $5M in pre-Series A funding (link)

  • AR tech specialist Blippar has raised $5M in funding in a round led by Chroma Ventures and West Coast Capital
  • The Company will use the money to further its position in the augmented reality market and accelerate its growth across the US, Europe and Asia

Graffiti Games raises $1.5M for indie game publishing (link)

  • Vancouver-based Graffiti Games has raised $1.5M for indie game publishing
  • The funding will help the publisher launch titles such as Blue Fire from Argentina’s Robi Studios
  • Graffiti Games has published 10 games with 23 different platform versions

Others

Niantic makes AR demo game Codename: Urban Legends for 5G networks (link)

  • Built on the Niantic platform that runs games like Ingress and Pokémon Go, Codename: Urban Legends is a demo of large-scale multiplayer on 5G networks
  • The demo is part of Niantic’s Planet-Scale AR Alliance, which aims to develop social augmented reality applications for the future broadband networks
  • Telstra has also joined the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, a group working toward persistent shared AR experiences that create new ways for people to interact and play together in the real world

CD Projekt Red will expand to work on multiple games (link)

  • CD Projekt Red has released a new strategy outline to its investors, noting a commitment to work on multiple AAA games and expansions at the same time starting in 2022
  • The Company also noted that its future marketing campaigns for games will be shorter and occur closer to release
  • CD Projekt Red plans to add more online features to its future games while reassuring that it will remain committed to single-player RPGs like The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077

Niantic teases image of gaming headset (link)

  • Niantic is getting into hardware, with CEO John Hanke tweeting an image of what appears to be a pair of glasses that include speakers
  • The Company was also a supporter of Google's Glass technology when it was fully owned by the search engine giant

Supersonic Studios expands to bring hypercasual to China (link)

  • IronSource's publishing solution arm Supersonic has expanded with a new office in China
  • Since launching its publishing arm just over a year ago, IronSource has published 22 hyper-casual games, of which 15 have hit the top 10 in the US, according to Supersonic GM Nadav Ashkenazy

Supercell announces trio of new Clash games - Clash Mini, Clash Quest and Clash Heroes (link)

  • Supercell has announced three completely new additions to the 'Clash' universe in the form Clash Mini, Clash Quest and Clash Heroes
  • Each game promises distinctly different gameplay from any previous title as highlighted in the video reveal
  • It appears Clash Quest has a match-3 'Puzzles and Dragons' or 'Legend of Solgard' style feel to it, Clash Mini seems inspired by the 'auto chess' genre, whilst Clash Heroes is a full on action-RPG set in the Clash world

Gaming Public Multiples

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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