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GGP Gaming Weekly – May 23

Highlights

Take-Two Interactive Completes Combination with Zynga (link)
LionTree served as financial advisor to Take-Two Interactive on the transaction

  • Take-Two Interactive announced today the completion of its combination with Zynga. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Zynga stockholders received $3.50 in cash and 0.0406 shares of Take-Two common stock per share of Zynga common stock
  • Shares of Zynga ceased trading after market close on May 20th, 2022, and following the closing, Zynga is no longer listed on the NASDAQ exchange

 

Take-Two Interactive reported FQ4 2022 Earnings (link)

  • Financial Highlights
    • FQ4 2022:
      • Reported net bookings of $846M, representing an 8% increase YoY, compared to guidance of $808M-$858M and consensus of $883M
      • Reported FQ4 2022 recurrent consumer spending net bookings of $508M (60% of total net bookings), representing a 6% decrease YoY
      • Reported FQ4 2022 digitally-delivered net bookings of $766M, representing a 4% increase YoY
    • FY 2022:
      • Reported net bookings of $3,408M, representing a 4% decrease YoY, compared to guidance of $3,370M-$3,420M and consensus of $3,437M
      • Reported FQ4 2022 recurrent consumer spending of $2,181M, representing a 6% decrease YoY
      • Reported FQ4 2022 digitally-delivered net bookings of $3,085M, representing a 2% decrease YoY
    • Additional Information:
      • Reported FQ4 2022 GAAP Net Income of $111M, representing a 49% decrease YoY and beating prior outlook of $53M – $65M and consensus of $77M
      • Reported FQ4 2022 operating expenses of $403M, representing a 32% increase YoY, compared to guidance of $389M-$399M
      • FY 2022 net bookings were 71.6% Console (-7% YoY), 16.5% PC & Other (-9% YoY), and 11.9% Mobile (+36% YoY)
  • Forward Guidance
    • FQ1 2023 Guidance
      • Net Bookings of $700M – $750M vs. consensus of $798M
      • GAAP Net Income of $94M – $105M vs. consensus of $12M
    • FY 2023 Guidance
      • Net Bookings of $3,750M – $3,850M vs. consensus of $4,146M
      • GAAP Net Income of $223M – $252M vs. consensus of $470M
  • Development Pipeline
    • Take-Two plans to bring 69 titles to market through FY 2025 (excludes Zynga Pipeline)
      • 24 Immersive Core
      • 10 Independent
      • 20 Mobile
      • 7 Mid-core
      • 8 Iterations of Previously Released Titles
    • Marvel’s Midnight Suns (2K) is now scheduled to be released in the second half of CY 2022
    • GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Mobile (Rockstar) is scheduled to be released in FY 2023
    • The Quarry (2K) is scheduled to be released on June 10, 2022
    • Kerbal Space Program 2 (Private Division) is scheduled to be released for PC in FQ4 2023 and for console in FY 2024
    • NBA 2K23, PGA Tour 2K23, and WWE 2K23 (2K) are scheduled to be released in FY 2023
    • New Tales From The Borderlands Game is scheduled to launch in FY 2023
    • Development Studio Staff Headcount of 6,042 as of FQ4 2022

 

Embracer Group reported FQ4 2022 Earnings (link)

  • Financial Highlights
    • FQ4 2022:
      • Reported FQ4 2022 Net Sales of $527M, representing a 117% increase YoY and exceeding consensus by 15%
      • Reported FQ4 2022 Gaming Net Sales of $445M, representing a 124% increase YoY and exceeding consensus by 26%
      • Reported FQ4 2022 EBITDA of $148M, representing a 26% increase YoY and falling short of consensus by 5%
    • FY 2022:
      • Reported FY2022 Pro Forma Net Sales of $3,125M, representing an 18% increase YoY
      • Reported FY2022 Net Sales of $1,717M, representing an 89% increase YoY and exceeding consensus by 5%
      • Reported FY2022 Gaming Net Sales of $1,405M, representing a 116% increase YoY and exceeding consensus by 7%
      • Reported FY2022 EBITDA of $618M, representing a 54% increase YoY and consistent with consensus
      • Reported FY2022 Game Development Projects of 223, representing a 39% increase YoY
      • Reported FY2022 Headcount of 12.8k, representing a 102% increase YoY
  • KPIs Highlights
    • The Company’s Mobile Games business reported FQ4 2022 MAUs of 308M, representing a 5% increase QoQ
    • The Company’s Mobile Games business reported FQ4 2022 DAUs of 35M, representing a 3% increase QoQ
    • DECA Games (incl. CrazyLabs) reported FQ4 2022 MAUs of 230M, DAUs of 21M, and total installs of 290M
    • Easybrain reported FQ4 2022 MAUs of 78M and DAUs of 16M, representing 7% and 14% increases QoQ, respectively
    • Easybrain reported FQ4 2022 total installs of 95M

 

Tencent reported FQ1 2022 Earnings (link)

  • Reported Domestic Games Revenue of RMB 33.0B (USD$ 4.9B), down (1%) YoY, representing 24% of Total Tencent Revenue
    • Recently released games LoL: Wild Rift and Fight of The Golden Spatula generated incremental revenue
  • Reported International Games Revenue of RMB 10.6B (USD$ 1.6B), up 4% YoY, representing 8% of Total Tencent Revenue
    • YoY growth was slower than recent quarters due to decreased PUBG Mobile revenue as user spending normalized post-COVID industry-wide, and the timing of content update in LoL and Clash of Clans
  • Tencent Games was the #1 Gaming company by users in China across PC and mobile

 

Gaming investments reached $3.5B during Q1, according to Digital Development Management (DDM) (link)

  • DDM said that video game investments during Q1 2022 reached $3.5B, representing a 10.3% decrease YoY
  • Blockchain gaming investments comprised 48% of Q1 2022’s value at $1.7B

M&A and Capital Raises

Andreessen Horowitz raises $600M venture fund for games (link)

  • Andreessen Horowitz has raised a $600M fund to invest in games. The venture capital firm is already an investor in games, but Games Fund One will be a16z’s first fund targeted solely at games
  • a16z investors Andrew Chen, Jonathan Lai, and James Gwertzman said in a blog post that the fund is dedicated to building the future of the games industry
  • The fund will primarily invest in the following themes: Game Studios, Games x Consumer, and Infrastructure

 

N3TWORK Studios raises $46M to make Web3 games (link)
LionTree served as exclusive financial advisor to N3TWORK Studios on the transaction
N3TWORK Studios is a portfolio company of Griffin Gaming Partners

  • N3TWORK Studios was formed in January 2022 from the games team of N3TWORK Inc., after Forte’s acquisition of the N3TWORK platform
  • N3TWORK Studios will employ its experience in free-to-play games as a key advantage to change the scale of audience impact
  • The Company will use the proceeds to develop and launch the studio’s first two blockchain games, Legendary: Heroes Unchained and Triumph
  • Griffin Gaming Partners led the round with additional participation from Kleiner Perkins, Galaxy Interactive, KIP, Floodgate, LLL Capital, and N3TWORK Inc.

 

Azra Games raises $15M to take Web3 games to mainstream gamers (link)

  • Azra Games is a blockchain gaming company aimed at building mainstream collectible and combat RPGs for the Web3 era
  • The Company will use the proceeds to accelerate development on Azra’s first game – an epic, fantastical collectibles and mass combat RPG titled Project Arcanas
  • Andreessen Horowitz led the round with additional participation from NFX, Coinbase Ventures, Play Ventures, and Franklin Templeton

 

Virtual stadium developer Virtex closed $3.2M in seed funding (link)

  • Virtex is a VR-focused virtual stadium developer, with a focus towards esports
  • The Company will use the proceeds to expand its team
  • Investors include Global Founders Capital, All Iron Ventures, Graph Ventures, Sure Valley, Mario Götze, and André Schürrle

 

pnkfrg studios raises $3M to bring Bitcoin to mobile gaming (link)

  • Casual mobile studio pnkfrg studios aims to merge video UGC with Bitcoin and the Lightning network into mobile gaming experiences
  • The Company will use the proceeds to create mobile gaming experiences through the blockchain network

 

Behaviour Interactive is acquiring Midwinter Entertainment (link)

  • Behaviour Interactive is Canada’s largest independent developer, best known for Dead by Daylight. Midwinter Entertainment is the studio behind Scavengers, a battle royale style game which incorporates PvE elements
  • Midwinter Entertainment is currently under the umbrella of Improbable, a UK based metaverse technology company
  • Midwinter Entertainment’s team of 30 will officially join Behavior Interactive on June 2nd, 2022. Once the acquisition is complete, Behaviour Interactive aims to get the Midwinter team using their skills on new, original IPs

 

Metafy acquires GamerzClass to expand classes for gamers (link)

  • Metafy and GamerzClass offer coaching with skilled instructors to help gamers reach their goals
  • Recently, Metafy secured $25M in Series A funding from Tiger Global and Seven Seven Six
  • The acquisition will expand the company’s offerings to have more games than before

 

The Walking Dead creator Skybound Entertainment raises funding for expansion (link)

  • Skybound Entertainment is home to franchises including The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Impact Winter
  • The company will use the proceeds to augment and accelerate the internal development of new TV shows, video games, comics, and podcasts
  • Knollwood Advisory led the round with additional participation from Hiro Capital, Boost VC, and additional participation from Com2uS and Skydance Entertainment

 

Tappx acquires Fantasy Manager developer From The Bench (link)

  • Digital advertising firm Tappx has acquired mobile developer From The Bench
  • This represents the company’s first investment into game development, announcing that the acquisition is part of Tappx’s diversification strategy and its commitment to enter the mobile games market
  • Spanish developer From The Bench is primarily known for its fantasy sport titles with the Fantasy Manager series, which has nearly 20M downloads

 

Virtuos acquires art production studio Glass Egg (link)

  • Virtuos has announced the completed acquisition of Glass Egg Digital Media, an art production company based in Vietnam
  • Glass Egg specializes in 2D and 3D art services including concept design and 3D vehicles
  • Glass Egg employs 400 staff, bringing Virtuos’ Vietnamese headcount to over 1,000 total. Virtuos aims to grow this figure to 1,500 employees, and is set to open another studio in Vietnam in June to support its expansion there

 

Curve Games acquires Hue developer Fiddlesticks Games (link)

  • Curve Games has announced the acquisition of Fiddlesticks Games Limited, the indie developer behind puzzle platformer Hue
  • Hue is an award-winning game that has been supported by Curve Games since 2016, and through this acquisition Curve intends to serve the title’s growing community while also expanding its own IP

Other

New York City Mayor Adams Takes Steps To Incentivize The Digital Games Industry in NYC (link)

  • The City University of New York (CUNY) is creating and funding a Bachelor’s Degree program in Digital Game Design at City College of New York (CCNY). The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has partnered with CCNY to offer the first-ever degree
  • Making New York City a leading hub for digital game development was a vital piece of Mayor Adams’s “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,” announced in March
  • Mayor Adams — joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer, MOME, and members of New York City’s digital games community — also introduced the first-ever Game Development Industry Council, created to advise the city’s policies and programs in the games development sector

 

TikTok plans big push into gaming, conducting tests in Vietnam, according to Reuters (link)

  • TikTok has been conducting tests so users can play games on its video-sharing app in Vietnam, part of plans for a major push into gaming, reportedly
  • TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, also plans to roll out gaming more widely in Southeast Asia, reportedly. That move could come as early as the third quarter
  • A TikTok representative said the company has tested bringing HTML5 games, a common form of minigame, to its app through tie-ups with third-party game developers and studios such as Zynga
  • While the company will start with minigames, which tend to have simple game play mechanisms and a short playing time, its gaming ambitions extend beyond that, reportedly

 

China’s video game market is projected to grow despite government restrictions (link)

  • The number of gamers in China in 2021 was 706M, which is a decrease YoY, but the total is projected to climb to 730M in 2026
  • In 2021 the ARPU was $64.44. It’s projected to climb to $75.60 per user over the next few years

 

Apex Legends Mobile is the most downloaded iPhone game in 60 countries (link)

  • Apex Legends Mobile was released on May 17th, and it is the most downloaded game on the App Store in 60 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, India, and Japan
  • Apex Legends Mobile also ranked in the top 10 most downloaded iPhone game in 89 countries

 

Streaming viewership report suggests things are getting back to normal (link)

  • Twitch viewership is up 64% compared to the first four months of 2020, and Facebook Gaming is up 118% in the same period
  • The top games on Twitch are Grand Theft Auto V, League of Legends, Valorant, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Operations, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Elden Ring

 

Eve Online launches Eve Anywhere, allowing play via browsers (link)

  • Coming out of beta is Eve Anywhere. Eve Anywhere allows Eve Online players to access the game from a browser. It’s available now for players in the US and select European countries
  • Powered by Intel technology, the new service passes through connections to powerful PCs via the cloud. With this new option, players that have been historically limited by hardware can also play
  • The beta for Eve Anywhere began last year across Europe. Beginning in August of 2021, over 11,000 players across the world have streamed over 86,000 sessions

 

Geforce NOW bringing Fortnite to mobile with improved controls (link)

  • Geforce NOW is rolling out mobile touch controls to everyone. Users can use their safari browser on iOS or the Android app to play
  • The paid Geforce NOW subscriptions offer access to over 1,300 games to play via the service

 

Fall Guys goes free-to-play in June, launches on Switch, PS5, and Xbox (link)

  • Fall Guys is going free-to-play starting June 21st. In addition, it’s launching on Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Epic Games Store at the same time
  • Mediatonic is also adding cross-play and cross-progression for all platforms. New players will not be able to download the game on Steam, as the Epic Games Store will become the PC home of Fall Guys
  • The game launches for free alongside a new season called “Free for All.” It will have a premium season pass alongside the free one

 

PlayStation Plus debuts new game line-up including Ubisoft+ titles (link)

  • In addition to all the first-party PlayStation titles, the update has looped in the Ubisoft+ service and its titles
  • Ubisoft has added several of its own titles to PlayStation Plus under the title Ubisoft+ Classics. It’s offering these games to PS Plus Extra, Premium, and Deluxe subscribers
  • Ubisoft+ Classics includes 27 titles at launch and will have 50 by the end of 2022. The launch lineup includes Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and The Crew

 

FIFA Online 4 will be unaffected by EA and FIFA split (link)

  • Nexon publishes FIFA Online 4, a free-to-play PC title primarily for Korea and other Asian markets, as well as a mobile counterpart, which were released in 2018
  • Nexon does not expect the end of the long-running partnership between Electronic Arts and FIFA to impact its own entry in the series

 

Saudi Arabia’s PIF Adds to Games Push With 5% Nintendo Stake (link)

  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund took a 5.01% stake in Nintendo
  • PIF indicated the Nintendo purchase was made for investment purposes, according to a filing to Japan’s Finance Ministry
  • PIF has been building stakes in video game makers and esports firms over the past two years, turning to the Japanese market just as a weaker yen has made investments more affordable
  • The Saudi fund disclosed stakes of more than 5% in two other Japan-listed gaming firms this year: Capcom, the maker of the Street Fighter and Resident Evil franchises, and online games provider Nexon

 

Square Enix plans to issue tokens and invest heavily in Web3 gaming (link)

  • Square Enix has revealed in its Q1 earnings report that it will expand NFTs into more game products as part of its medium-term business strategy in 2022
  • The report states that the firm piloted NFTs on the Shi-San-Sei Million Arthur game starting in February this year. The success of the pilot program will lead to the second season of the game’s NFTs and will ultimately see the firm pursue broader activities in the NFT and blockchain industries
  • Among the top priorities of its blockchain domain initiatives, Square Enix plans on establishing regulatory clarity and guidelines for blockchain games, tackling scalability in NFT economies and considering founding a corporate capital venture unit
  • The firm also stated that it plans on establishing an overseas entity that will handle “issuing, managing, and investing our own tokens,” suggesting the firm will begin creating an expansive gaming-token economy

Trading Comparables

Blockchain Gaming

 

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