April 2024 Investment Recap in Esports and Gaming

From TwogPedia
News/April 2024 Investment Recap in Esports and Gaming

Written by Dante Uzel on 26 April 2024 12:24

Investment-recap-esports-april 2024.png

Playtika to Spend $1.2b

Playtika, has announced a shift in its strategy. According to recent investors call it has decided to halt its search and intends to allocate $1.2b towards mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities over the next three years. The current market conditions are considered an opportunity by the company.

The company stated that "ongoing uncertainty in Israel and Ukraine" was the reason behind pausing its search for a buyer. Despite this decision, Playtika reported a revenue of $638m for the fourth quarter of 2023. The company also stated that they will continue the pause on new titles.

Brain Jar Games Secures $6.7m

Brain Jar Games has secured $6.7m in its seed funding round. The studio intends to allocate these funds towards the development of its inaugural title, Dead As Disco. The funding round was co-led by Transcend Fund Menlo Ventures, and 1UP Ventures. Notably, Brain Jar also received investments from former Harmonix COO Chris Rigopulos, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell, and Xsolla president David Stelzer.

Amy Wu, Menlo Ventures partner, stated “It takes a lot for a new game entrant to capture players’ attention, and Will Cook with Brain Jar Games paints such a sharp vision for the game that I wanted to play it from the first time I heard the pitch. Can’t wait for this to launch.”

More:New Counter Strike 2 Update - Patch Notes

GameSquare Reveals The Sale of Complexity Gaming

GameSquare Esports announced the sale of Complexity Gaming to Global Esports Properties led by Complexity's founder and CEO Jason Lake for $10.36m. According to the release GameSquare and Complexity signed a Membership Interest Purchase Agreement. GameSquare recently announced the purchase of FaZe Clan. The company will pay $17m for the merger. GameSquare is the parent company marketing agency Code Red. FaZe Clan was having financial troubles last year. The organization was issued a notice by NASDAQ several times due to extremely low stock prices. GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna. "The Complexity transaction follows the December 2023 sale of our Frankly radio assets, as we continue to optimize our platform ahead of the pending acquisition of FaZe. Once the acquisition with FaZe closes, which is expected in the coming weeks, we are excited to get to work replicating the success we achieved with Complexity at FaZe. We believe this is a win/win for Complexity, Global Esports, GameSquare and the global esports leagues where Complexity and FaZe compete, as many leagues have rules around ownership of multiple teams. We look forward to rooting for Complexity and finding ways to continue to work with Jason and his team."

Shift Up Files for IPO

Stellar Blade developer Shift Up filed for an IPO. Shift Up, on March 5, applied to offer over 58 million shares on the Korea Stock Exchange. The initial public offering will see 7.25 million shares available for sale, each with a nominal value of ₩200 ($0.15). The IPO process is being managed by Korea Investment & Securities, NH Investment & Securities, and the Seoul branch of JP Morgan Securities. As of October 2023, Shift Up's market valuation neared $1.5b. Around this period, WeMade Entertainment divested 2 million of its shares in Shift Up, selling them to Tencent's Aceville subsidiary for $53.9m. The company also aims to get investment from Saudi Arabia via the IPO.

Saudi Arabia Reveals $120m Fund

Saudi Arabia's National Development Fund (NDF) and the Social Development Bank (SDB) have established two venture funds. The announcement was made at the LEAP 2024 technology conference in Riyadh last week, with the funds totaling $120m. According to release, these funds are part of the Gaming and Esports Financing Programme, designed to offer equity investments to gaming and esports companies to support their growth and increase their contribution to the economy and society. Saudi Arabia has been making strides within the esports and gaming industry. The country is aiming to establish itself as the main player in the esports world. Through Esports World Cup Foundation there will be more than a 10 tournaments with substantial prize pools.

Roar Games Secures $1.5m

ROAR Games announced today that it has secured a $1.5m investment from The Games Fund. The funds will be used to develop the first title of the company Tenet of the Spark, an action game. The game will feature a boxer gaining abilities through connections with his ancestors. The company is formed by the core team of Zheeshee. Artem Shcherbakov, CEO and founder of Roar Games, stated "I'm delighted to welcome The Games fund as our first investor. We were impressed by their human approach and willingness to buy into our team's vision for an experience and an IP which can transcend the boundaries of gaming."

More:Steam Under Fire for Antisemite Game

Balancy Secures $700k

Balancy has secured $700k in funding led by mobile industry veterans. The funds will be used to expand Balancy's software platform, aiding small and mid-size studios in managing and monetizing live service games. Investors include Max Kamenkov, Radostin Petrov, Sergei Kovalenko, and Seth Sivak. Balancy was founded in 2022 by Pavel Ignatov, Andrei Apanasik, and Julia Iljuk, who have 30 years of combined industry experience. Pavel Ignatov stated '"We aim to empower promising midsize and smaller studios to navigate the competition amid a challenging market and the highest CPI (cost per install) numbers in mobile history."

Behaviour Interactive Acquires Fly Studio

Behaviour Interactive has purchased Fly Studio, a multimedia production company based in Montreal. Established in 1996, Fly Studio has a track record of creating mixed-media projects for companies like Ubisoft, Cirque du Soleil, and Toyota. Through this acquisition, Behaviour aims to broaden its business presence in additional markets. The 25-person team from Fly Studio will become part of Behaviour's services division. Dominique Lebel stated "At Behaviour, we see great potential in the immersive and interactive experiences sector, and adding Fly to our team will consolidate our place in that market and allow us to bring innovative, large-scale projects to life."

Saber Interactive Sold for $247m

Embracer Group AB has agreed to sell certain assets from Saber Interactive for a total purchase price of $247m. Through this sale Embracer exited from all operations in Russia. The buyer, Beacon Interactive, is controlled by Matthew Karch, a co-founder of Saber Interactive. Lars Wingefors, co-founder and Group CEO of Embracer stated “I am pleased that we have found a win-win solution for Embracer and the parts of Saber that now will leave us. This transaction puts both companies in a stronger position to thrive going forward. Embracer is now able to discontinue all operations in Russia, according to a previous board decision, while safeguarding many developer jobs under new independent ownership. At the same time, we keep key companies, valuable IPs and future publishing rights. Cash flow is immediately improved, and we remain committed to reducing net debt."

Gamestream Secures €4.5m

Gamestream, a French-based company founded in 2019, has received investment of €4.5m. The company offers a gaming platform accessible on PC, TV, and mobile devices. Operating across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Gamestream plans to utilize the investment to grow its cloud gaming operations.

Ivan Lebeau stated "Therefore, the demand for Cloud Gaming is high, and for just a few euros a month, players can access unlimited console quality licenses from their computer, tablet or smartphone. This new fundraising will allow us to further impose this model on the international scene."

Reef Creative Group Acquires Stake in Bitmap Bureau

Reef Creative Group has acquired a 70% stake in the UK-based game studio Bitmap Bureau. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Southhampton, Bitmap Bureau is led by Matthew Cope and Mike Tucker. The studio has developed games including 88 Heroes, Ninja Shodown, and Battle Axe. Reef Entertainment, a subsidiary of Reef Creative Group, is collaborating with Bitmap Bureau on the development of two undisclosed titles.

Bitmap Bureau technical director Matt Cope stated "Working as part of the Reef Creative Group gives us access to the funding, administration and publishing support we need to expand, study and concentrate on making the best retro titles out there for gamers everywhere."

More:Henning Christiansson Joins G2 Esports

Thirdverse Secures $3.3m

Thirdverse has secured $3.3m in a funding round. According to reports the funding round was led by Nissei Capital and VeriServe. The funding will be allocated towards the development of their upcoming game, Soul Covenant, and for expanding their studio team. Thirdverse, established in 2020, operates studios in Japan and the US. Their portfolio includes games like Altair Breaker, Sword of Gargantua, and X8.

The company completed its Series D funding round with $11.3m with this investment. The VR company' X8 surpassed 450,000 downloads worldwide.

Sensor Tower Acquires Data.ai

Sensor Tower has acquired mobile marketing firm Data.ai for an undisclosed amount, a move that may result in layoffs for an unspecified portion of Data.ai's workforce. According to release, Sensor Tower intends to leverage Data.ai to enhance its presence in digital marketing and mobile sectors, as well as to broaden its customer base and product offerings. Sensor Tower has assured that its platforms will continue to operate independently without immediate changes for consumers. The leadership team will also remain unchanged and oversee both companies. Sensor Tower CEO Oliver Yeh stated "This merger also necessitates optimising our team structure. We are committed to providing assistance and resources to our departing colleagues during this transition."

Gunzilla Games Secures $30m

Gunzilla Games, a game development studio focusing on Web3 technologies for the PlayStation platform, has disclosed a successful funding round totaling $30m. Avalanche's Blizzard Fund and CoinFund led the investment, with additional contributions from Republic Capital and Morningstar Ventures totaling $10 million in a strategic token round. Gunzilla Games also mentioned undisclosed equity and validator sales in their statement.

The funding will primarily be allocated towards expediting the development and launch of their forthcoming free-to-play battle game titled "Off the Grid." Additionally, Gunzilla Games is working on establishing an on-chain marketplace for other titles.

Thunderful to Sell Headup

Thunderful Group has revealed plans to sell Headup Games in a deal worth €500k, thereby restoring ownership of the company to its initial founder. Under this agreement, ownership of Headup Games will transition from Thunderful to Microcuts Holding, a legal entity owned by the founder of Headup, Dieter Schoeller. The decision to divest began undergoing assessment as early as November 2023, aligning with Thunderful Group's revised strategy, which emphasizes publishing fewer but more substantial titles.

As part of the agreement, Thunderful will be entitled to a revenue share of up to €300k from a forthcoming undisclosed title. Although the deal has been concluded between the involved parties, its completion is dependent on factors. These include obtaining shareholder approval and revising three intellectual property-related contracts.

Popularium Secures $2m

Popularium, a gaming studio founded by industry veterans including Richard Garfield, Jon Bankard, and Arka Ray, has successfully closed its seed funding round, securing $2 million in investments. Led by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, along with Jon Bankard, a former developer for Hearthstone and World of Warcraft, and Arka Ray, previously a manager at Xbox Live, Popularium boasts a team with extensive experience in the gaming industry. The studio's debut title, Chaos Agents, is currently in development an autobattler royale.

Richard Garfield stated "Getting everything right in a completely new type of game is challenging, and the experience of Popularium, and the support of early investors and members of our community have been vital - there is no amount of planning that can replace the exciting journey that trial and iteration provides. This support will allow us to launch a public Alpha as soon as this summer and bring Chaos Agent to thousands more fans."

Lil Snack Secures $3m Investment

Lil Snack, has secured $3.1 million in funding for its ventures. The funding round was led by A16z Games Speedrun, Powerhouse Capital, Lerer Hippeau, and Waverley Capital. With this financial backing, Berman and Chen aim to advance their AI-powered pop culture trivia game platform. Notably, Lil Snack's innovative approach incorporates generative art for visual puzzles, alongside custom general-purpose technologies for game modes and general engineering tasks.

Lil Snack is revolutionizing the gaming industry by releasing new games daily, synchronizing them with the latest pop culture trends. Leveraging advanced AI tools, Lil Snack is able to supercharge its game production process, ensuring that each release remains relevant and engaging for players.

A16Z Games Invests $75m

A16Z Games has committed $75m to its third annual Speedrun Tech x Games accelerator. The program, spanning 12 weeks, targets early-stage startups lacking funding and will take place in Los Angeles from July 29 to October 20. In addition to its initial investment in pre-seed startups, A16Z plans to boost its individual investment in each chosen company to $750k.

Officials stated "Our Speedrun program not only provides capital support, but also a team of operators and partners who have worked across the games industry and can equip them with the knowledge that help them go from zero to launch."

More:Voldex Acquires Ultimate Football

Midas Games Secures $1m

Mobile developer Midas Games has secured $1 million in funding. The funding round was led by Ludus Ventures. The funding will assist in supporting the studio's development efforts and the release of its inaugural titles in the latter half of 2024. The founders of the studio are Hikmet Duran, Mert Ulutaş, Emre Öztürk, Selçuk Korateş, Fatih Karadeniz and İlkim Ülgen. CEO Selçuk Korateş stated "Ludus helps us in every aspect, ensuring that our focus remains solely on game development and adding momentum to our business."

Mehmet Ayan stated "Midas Games is one of the most important factors in the Turkish games industry's prominence in the international market, strengthening its young and dynamic team structure with experienced members that we had the opportunity to work within different projects in previous years."

Bitkraft Ventures Reveals New Fund

Bitkraft Ventures has successfully secured $275 million for its third fund dedicated to early-stage investments in gaming and interactive media companies. This latest fund, Bitkraft Venture Fund 3, follows the company's two previous early-stage equity venture funds. It will maintain the focus on investing in studios, platforms, and technology globally within the gaming and interactive media sectors, particularly at the seed and Series A stages. The new fund will bolster Bitkraft Ventures' total assets under management to surpass $1 billion. Notably, this announcement comes shortly after the unveiling of Laton Ventures' $35 million game VC fund, marking the second significant development in the gaming investment landscape within a week. Jens Hilgers stated “That’s probably the thing I’m most excited about with Bitkraft. Culture is very easy to destroy. But it takes a very long time to build. And in our business, trust, integrity and being good people, besides being good investors, and making the right decision fundamentally, is incredibly important.”

Tags: Investment