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GGP Gaming Weekly – January 19

Highlights

Mobile games consumer spending reached $116B in 2021, according to App Annie (link)

  • This figure represents an increase of 15% YoY in 2021, according to its State of Mobile 2022 report
  • The report also shows that Gaming represents the majority of consumer spending on Mobile, with total spending reported as $170B across all apps last year
  • Roblox, Genshin Impact, and Coin Master were the highest-grossing titles in consumer spending for the year. Additionally, Strategy, MMORPG, and RPGs were the highest-earning genres
  • Consumer spending is still outpaced by the revenue generated by advertising, with total mobile ad spend at $295B. Advertising spend is estimated to pass $350B in 2022

US consumer spending on Mobile Action games was $967M in 2021, according to Sensor Tower (link)

  • The top three earning action Mobile titles were MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact, Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions, and Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball Legends
  • Mobile Action Gaming revenue grew 69% YoY which was mostly attributed to Genshin Impact, which generated $406M in players spending
  • By comparison, the second-highest earning subgenre, hypercasual, was up 43% YoY having generated $111M in player spending

Twitter reports Gaming delivered 2.4B tweets in 2021 (link)

  • Twitter’s Gaming coverage grew by 14% in 2021, according to a Twitter report. The number of Gaming tweets this year was ten times the amount in 2017
  • Gaming Twitter’s favorite game of the year was Genshin Impact, followed closely by Apex Legends and Ensemble Stars. Other big games include Final Fantasy, Minecraft, and Fortnite
  • Japan was the country that tweeted most about Gaming, followed closely by the United States and Korea

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt markets worth $1.76B in 2021, according to Niko Partners (link)

  • The games market in these three regions – which Niko Partners refers to as the MENA-3 – is expected to rise to $3.14B by 2025, with a CAGR of 13.8%
  • In 2021, 65M people across the MENA-3 played Console, PC or Mobile games – a number that is expected to rise to 86M by 2025
  • Of the three countries analyzed, Egypt was the country with the most gamers in 2021 (58.7% of the total across the three territories). However, 60.6% of the game revenue in the region came from Saudi Arabia last year

M&A and Capital Raises

Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard (link)

  • Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7B, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash
  • Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming
  • The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard

Take-Two buys Zynga for $12.7B enterprise value (link)

  • Take-Two is buying Zynga for $9.86 a share, a 64% premium over Zynga’s closing share price on January 7. Take-Two will pay $3.50 per share in cash and $6.36 per share in Take-Two common stock
  • The combined entity will have $6.1B in trailing TTM pro-forma net bookings and $769M in TTM pro-forma adjusted unrestricted operating cash flow for the period ended in September 30, 2021
  • Zynga has 183M monthly active users. The transaction is expected to deliver approximately $100M of annual cost synergies within the first two years after closing, and more than $500M of annual net bookings opportunities over time
  • The transaction is expected to establish Take-Two as a leader in Mobile Gaming, with Mobile expected to comprise over 50% of its net bookings in the fiscal year 2023 (as compared to an estimated 12% in fiscal year 2022)

Forte acquires N3TWORK’s platform to grow blockchain games (link)
N3TWORK and Forte are portfolio companies of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • N3TWORK will split into two parts as Forte will acquire N3TWORK’s platform and technology and San Francisco-based N3TWORK Games will spin off into a new company called N3TWORK Studios
  • The N3TWORK platform team will join Forte as a part of the transaction; N3TWORK founder Neil Young will lead Forte’s games industry business unit, and he will remain executive chairman of N3TWORK Studios
  • N3TWORK Studios will utilize Forte’s blockchain solutions to build and operate a portfolio of titles, including its new multiplatform Legendary Heroes Unchained, and its upcoming Triumph Mobile game

Turkey’s Spyke Games raises $55M for casual mobile games (link)
Spyke is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • Spyke Games focuses on the mobile gaming market with its first game, Royal Riches, expected to launch on Android and iOS devices in about a month
  • The Company will use the proceeds to focus on the launch and continuous improvement of its initial game, Royal Riches, as well as to hire top talent from Turkey’s thriving technology and gaming ecosystem

Team17 acquires Astragon for €75M (link)

  • An additional consideration of up to €25M in cash may be payable, depending on performance targets for the financial years ending in December 2021 and 2022
  • Astragon will operate as an independent division within Team17 while also collaborating with other developers
  • With the acquisition, Team17 intends to expand its title offerings to provide consumers with non-violent and cooperative entertainment games

Yahaha Studios raises $50M for a no-code game creation metaverse (link)

  • Yahaha is a metaverse platform dedicated to user-generated content. Developers of varying experience levels can create or monetize games within Yahaha Studio’s platform
  • The Company will use the proceeds to build its metaverse game creation platform, which it plans to launch in early 2022
  • It also has a social component that allows users to share their games on multiple platforms

Fan Controlled Football raises $40M for spectator-controlled football games (link)

  • FCF is a pro football sports league where fans use their smartphones to make key decisions for teams that play live events. The fans call all the plays in real-time using their NFT voting rights
  • The Company will use the proceeds to further develop its novel sports league platform where fans can call the plays through NFTs
  • Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital led the funding round, with additional participation from Gemini Frontier Fund, 6th Man Ventures, Jump Crypto, Red Beard Ventures, and other individual investors

Lootex raises $9M for its blockchain metaverse marketplace (link)

  • According to Lootex, its current marketplace supports over 12,000 NFTs spread out across 500 collections
  • The round was led by Spartan Capital, Infinity Ventures Crypto, LD Capital, and Akatsuki with additional participation from Polygon Studio, HTC, Huobi Ventures, and Morningstar Ventures, among many others

Airnow acquires Lab Cave (link)

  • The Madrid-based Lab Cave provides tools for portfolio management, game launches, and app store optimization
  • Lab Cave CEO Luis Bertó will continue to lead the company moving forward, but will now work closely with the Airnow board under the acquisition

Other

Avatar: Reckoning turns the hit film world into a Mobile MMORPG shooter (link)

  • Archosaur Games, Tencent, Lightstorm Entertainment, and Disney announced Avatar: Reckoning, a new Mobile game based on the hit sci-fi film
  • Reckoning is an MMORPG shooter set to release for iOS and Android devices later this year. It will include solo, co-op, and player-vs.-player content. Archosaur Games is using Unreal Engine 4 for development
  • Based in China, Archosaur Games has previously created Mobile titles like Dragon Raja and World of Kings

Chinese streaming platform Bilibili to ban violent games (link)

  • The ban on violent games is an effort to align with the Chinese Government’s ongoing regulation of the Gaming sector
  • Over 60 titles have been banned from the service so far, such as Grand Theft Auto V, The Witcher 3, Heart of Iron, World of Tanks, and Rainbow Six Siege

GameStop reportedly launching NFT and cryptocurrency marketplace this year (link)

  • GameStop is said to be in discussions with select games publishers and developers to form partnerships that will allow them to sell NFTs — such as avatar outfits, weapons, and other digital collectibles — as well as currencies via this marketplace
  • Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the retailer has hired more than 20 people for this team, and the online platform they are building is expected to launch by the end of the year

PUBG Mobile takes top spot in December 2021 at $244M (link)

  • For the final month of the year PUBG Mobile generated $244M in consumer spending, an increase of 36.7% YoY, according to Sensor Tower
  • China’s version of the title, Game for Peace, generated 63% of the total revenue. The US generated the second-most revenue of any country at 6.8%

Netflix brings three more casual games to iOS and Android (link)

  • Netflix has added three new casual Mobile games to its Gaming lineup, bringing the total number of games available to 10
  • One of the new games being added to the Netflix Gaming service is mini-golf game Wonderputt Forever, developed by Rogue Games. Additionally, Netflix is adding the casual puzzle game Dominos Café, developed by Gazeus, and the match-three game Knittens

Mighty Kingdom and East Side Games partner to co-develop four Mobile games (link)

  • The agreement will see the two studios co-develop original IP and licensed properties over the next two years
  • Currently, the two studios have been working on the development of an unannounced Mobile title based on a popular pre-existing sci-fi franchise. The new game is expected to give players a “story-rich idle experience” and is expected to be released early this year

United Esports and Dfinity Foundation create $10M blockchain game dev contest (link)

  • United Esports is the creative partner and gaming agency of record for many global brands. It handles media, marketing, esports events, and investments in esports
  • The game development contest series called Achievement Unblocked was created to give developers at all levels the chance to develop a game. It will follow a pool of up to 100 selected participants and teams from all levels of experience in near-real-time, as they compete and navigate their way through the building of a new game

Ubisoft partners with Gamestream on game streaming tech (link)

  • Gamestream specializes in white-label cloud gaming solutions, meaning it makes its tech available for other game companies to use and brand as their own
  • Ubisoft has selected Gamestream’s cloud streaming technology to improve the gameplay and user experience of its existing library

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