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Gaming: Zynga Posts Strong Earnings, And A Major Acquisition

  Zynga is the gaming company that made its name developing those social, addictive games that you likely played back when young people were largely on Facebook. After the mania for Facebook Games died down, the company re-invented itself in the market for mobile gaming. A public company, Zynga is mandated to release quarterly earnings reports and has done so this time for the first quarter of this year 2021. The company had record quarterly revenue, driven by strong engagement with older games like  Words With Friends and Empires & Puzzles as well as newer games like  Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells . In Q1, Zynga also made a major acquisition. By the numbers: Zynga reported $680mn in Q1' 21 revenue, up 68% year-over-year. It's a record quarterly revenue for the company in its history. Out of the $680mn, revenue from mobile made up the vast majority at $661mn. Zynga makes money primarily from ads on its games and in-app purchases, with the latter bringing in the major

Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a

Gaming: Sony Invests In And Partners With Discord

Sony Interactive Entertainment, the gaming giant famous for making the PlayStation consoles, has bought a stake in one of the current hottest gaming startups and partnered with the startup. That startup is Discord, the VoIP and chat platform popular with gamers around the globe. Details: Sony has moved to make a minority investment in Discord as part of a tie-up between both companies. The investment, of undisclosed size, is part of Discord's Series H round which opened with a $100 million raise  last December at a valuation of $7bn. The tie-up between Sony and Discord that brought about the investment entails the Discord chat and messaging app getting integrated on the PlayStation Network early next year.  The integration is beneficial to both companies, as the user base of Discord substantially overlaps with that of PlayStation console owners. Discord is the biggest gaming chat app of its kind with more than 140 million monthly users as reported by the company, and with that, a

TikTok Owner ByteDance Makes Big Gaming Purchase, Hires CFO

ByteDance Technologies, the high-flying Chinese technology startup that owns a suite of apps including the popular TikTok, has made a major gaming acquisition that is the company's biggest acquisition yet, paying a reported $4 billion to buy mobile game developer Moonton. Moonton is a Chinese mobile game studio that's best known for its multiplayer online battle arena game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang . It was founded just seven years ago and now has seen a big exit with a sale to ByteDance. Per publicly-known information, Moonton is known to have raised just a small amount of venture funding, making its reported $4 billion sale price very lucrative for its shareholders. Its sale signals ByteDance having big ambitions venturing into the gaming world. As it made a big gaming acquisition, ByteDance also announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer poached from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Shou Zi Chew, who served as Xiaomi's CFO from 2015 to 2020 will become B

EA Buys Games Maker Glu Mobile For $2.1B

After sealing a deal to buy the UK-based game developer Codemasters in December, the American gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) is back with another big acquisition, this time Glu Mobile , a publicly-traded mobile games developer that's behind popular titles like Covet Fashion and Design Home .  EA will pay $12.50 per share for Glu Mobile, summing up to $2.1 billion in total. Combined with Glu's current cash balance of $364 million, the deal sums up to $2.4 billion. EA's acquisition price represents a 36% premium to Glu's closing share price on Friday, the 5th of February 2020. With Glu, EA will be getting a mobile gaming powerhouse with more than 100 million monthly active players across its games. Combined, EA's and Glu's mobile games will have produced $1.3 billion in bookings over the last 12 months. Glu has a team of 800 employees that'll join EA following the completion of its acquisition. 500 of its employees are developers, a significant talent bas

Mobile Game Studio Nexters To Go Public Via SPAC Deal

Nexters Global, a Cyprus-based developer of mobile games whose flagship title is the action-RPG game Hero Wars , is the latest company to seal a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It's announced  that it's reached a deal to merge with Kismet Acquisition One Corp (Nasdaq: KSMTU), a SPAC led by the Russian tycoon Ivan Tavrin. The merger with  Kismet Acquisition One Corp will result in Nexters becoming publicly-traded on the  Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker "GEDV". It's a deal that'll split $300 million equally between Nexters and some of its shareholders who will be cashing out. The $300 million consists of $250 million raised by Kismet Acquisition in its IPO and an additional $50 million from the SPAC's sponsor, Kismet Capital Group. The merger deal values Nexters at $1.9 billion. Nexters is an 11-year-old mobile game developer that was founded in Russia as one of the pioneers of social and mob

Amazon Has A Video Game Problem

You should know Amazon as the tech giant that has its hands dipped in figuratively everything. With a major and mammoth e-commerce business, the company also has big operations in other areas such as movie streaming (Prime Video), game streaming (Twitch), online pharmacy (PillPack), grocery delivery (Amazon Fresh), autonomous driving (Zoox) and the likes. Amazon is a stand-out business for the fact that it's seen success in many areas. The company constantly pours billions of dollars into expansion efforts and has seen its bets reap good fruits over the years. Even with success in many areas, it appears that there's one place Amazon has had much trouble in - the development of video games. A recent report from Bloomberg  shed light on the company's troubles in the video game sector, despite spending up to roughly $500 million annually on its gaming efforts. To develop games, Amazon has spent big and hired a handful of stars in the game development sector. Its dedicated divi

RuneScape Maker Jagex Sells To US Private Equity Firm

Jagex, a British gaming studio and publisher that's best known for its  RuneScape  MMORPG game, has been sold to the American private equity firm The Carlyle Group, a press statement from the firm indicates. While the price of the sale wasn't officially disclosed, a report from The Daily Telegraph pegs the deal at $530 million+. A Jagex acquisition is a landmark one for The Carlyle Group, a well-known and major private equity firm but one that isn't known for dabbling in the gaming sector. It's in fact the first gaming studio that  The Carlyle Group has ever acquired. The Carlyle Group is a major investor in technology companies globally and has thus continued its streak with the acquisition of a major British gaming studio. Jagex in this case  is a studio with a very popular game, RuneScape, which it claims has almost 300 million player accounts and has achieved over $1 billion in lifetime revenue. Jagex employs more than 450 people in the UK. Its reported acquisitio

Roblox Raises $520M, Valued At $30B

After having filed to go public last year, the gaming company Roblox appears to still be tapping the private markets for funding and has announced  that it's raised $520 million in new funding at a share price that places its valuation at $29.5 billion.  The new round was led by the investment firms Altimeter Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, with participation from the likes of Warner Music Group and the Investment Group of Santa Barbara. With the funding raised, Roblox says that it'll now hold a direct listing on the public markets and won't raise any further funding from its public market debut.  Roblox's new funding round seems to be a very strategic play, given that last year, the company postponed its planned public listing  to adjust its pricing strategy after seeing massive first-day pops of companies like Airbnb and DoorDash.  Now, the $520 million investment at a roughly $30 billion valuation represents the amount of money that Roblox would have raised o

Morgan Stanley Bets Big On Skillz

Morgan Stanley, the well-known investment bank and financial services firm, is betting big on Skillz, a mobile gaming company that recently debuted on the public markets by the way of a reverse merger with a blank-check firm.  On the 9th of December, 2020, just a few days before Skillz completed its merger with the blank-check firm Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp, Morgan Stanley submitted a filing to the SEC that indicated it held an 18.8% stake in Flying Eagle.  With Skillz having completed its merger with Flying Eagle on Friday, Morgan Stanley's stake in the blank-check firm has been converted into Skillz stock and made it a major investor in the mobile gaming company. Skillz enjoyed a stellar debut that saw it soar high on its first day of trading. Now, the company trades at $20.92 per share with a market cap of over $7 billion. It seems that Morgan Stanley has found something very attractive in Skillz and thus secured a large stake in the company ahead of its debut. Skillz is

Discord Raises $100M At $7B Value

The popular chat service Discord has said that it's raised a fresh funding round of $100 million led by the investment firm Greenoaks Capital, which was already a previous investor in the company.  The new round brings the total amount of funding Discord has raised to nearly $500 million and is said  to have doubled Discord's valuation from $3.5 billion from a previous round now to $7 billion. The fresh round comes in a year in which Discord has pulled in a high number of users as a Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the need for virtual communications both from computer and mobile gamers, its main area of familiarity, and broader mainstream users. Discord initially started and rose to fame as a chat service for gamers. Now, it's sought to appeal to users outside the field of gaming and earlier this year poached a marketing executive from the apparel company Nike to oversee its expansion beyond gaming in the role of Chief Marketing Officer. According to a report from the Wall S

Roblox Buys Loom.ai

On the cusp of a soon public listing , the gaming company Roblox says it's acquired Loom.ai, a San Francisco-based startup that provides real-time facial animation technology for 3D avatars. The financial terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. Loom.ai was founded in 2016 and has since that time raised some $5.9 million in venture funding from investors including Samsung, DHVC, and Dentsu Ventures. The San Francisco-based company was founded by veterans from the film companies DreamWorks and Lucasfilm. Roblox says it'll integrate Loom.ai's tech into its service to enable Roblox players to create enhanced 3D avatars. “We’re thrilled to join forces with Roblox to bring real-time facial expressions to the 36 million Roblox avatars playing every day in the metaverse,” said Mahesh Ramasubramanian, co-founder of Loom.ai, in a press statement . Both Roblox and Loom.ai are based in San Francisco so there'll likely be not much physical operational changes resulting from

EA Outbids Take-Two For Codemasters

Not long ago, the American gaming company Take-Two Interactive reached a deal to acquire the publicly-traded UK-based gaming company Codemasters for about $1 billion, precisely $994 million.  Take-Two had already announced an agreement with Codemasters' board for an acquisition but now appears to have been outplayed by its rival Electronic Arts (EA), which has offered a higher $1.2 billion bid for Codemasters and  announced a formal agreement with the UK-based gaming company's board. Outbidding Take-Two's offer by $200 million, EA expects its acquisition of Codemasters to be completed in the first quarter of next year.  Codemasters is a publicly-traded UK gaming company famous for its sports and racing games, including the Formula One gaming franchise. It's set to combine with EA, which is famous for many games including the Need for Speed franchise as well as sports games including the FIFA , NHL, and Madden NFL series. With Codemasters, EA will bolster its strong

MTG Buys Hutch Games In $375M Deal

The Swedish digital entertainment company Modern Times Group, best-known by its initials MTG, has reached a deal to acquire the London-based mobile game developer Hutch Games in a $375 million deal, split into a $275 million upfront payment and potential earnouts of up to $100 million. The acquisition will give MTG a mobile game studio with popular titles like Rebel Racing ,  F1 Manager , and Top Drives . The price that it's paying upfront sums up to nearly five times Hutch's $56.3 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2020, wherein during that same period, the game developer posted $14 million in earnings (net income) before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Notably, Hutch's revenue for the first nine months of 2020 grew 158% over the past year. The London-based company has a pipeline of new titles planned for launch in 2021 and 2022. Hutch currently has 100+ staff who'll join MTG upon completion of its sale. As noted in a press stateme

Roblox Said To Delay IPO Till Next Year

Roblox, the gaming company that filed to go public last month and was expected to debut on the public markets before this year runs out, will now delay its IPO till next year, citing difficulties in pricing its shares given the recent upsized surges of the newly-minted public companies Airbnb and DoorDash , the Wall Street Journal reports . According to the Journal, Roblox has sent out a memo to employees that notes its public offering will be delayed till next year to cater to adjustments. It seems that the recent upsized surges of companies like Airbnb and DoorDash from their market debut prices have led Roblox to rethink its own pricing and possibly price its shares higher than intended. For reference, Airbnb debuted at $68 per share and now trades at around $139, giving it a market cap of $97 billion. Likewise, DoorDash debuted at $102 per share and now trades at $175, giving it a market cap of $65 billion. Both companies' recent pops from their market debut prices have rais

Tencent Pours Cash Into Wizard Games

  Wizard Games, a Chinese game development studio that's best known for its hit title "Battle Teams", has announced that it's raised "a substantial investment" from the Chinese gaming giant Tencent as it aims to release a sequel to its hit gaming title named "Battle Teams 2" next year.  Tencent's investment in Wizard Games amounts to 'several hundred million Chinese RMB', a press release notes, whereas Wizard Games also notes of securing "multiple post-investment resources" from Tencent, likely referring to partnerships with the Chinese gaming giant. Wizard Games is based out of Hangzhou, China where it was founded in 2010. The company is best known for developing "Battle Teams", a highly popular shooter title in China that it claims has over half-a-billion players worldwide. Tencent investing in Wizard Games is strategic, just like the Chinese tech giant's investments in many other gaming companies globally. Wi

Microsoft Buys Esports Platform Smash.gg

Microsoft has announced that it's acquired Smash.gg, a platform for hosting esports events and tournaments that was founded in 2015. Microsoft says it'll keep Smash.gg as an independent platform for esports tournament organizers. The financial terms of Microsoft's acquisition weren't disclosed, whereas Smash.gg had raised some $14 million in venture funding before its just-announced acquisition. The esports startup's backers include Spark Capital, Accel, Lowercase Capital, Caffeinated Capital, and Horizon Ventures. Smash.gg marks one of Microsoft's notable esports acquisitions in recent years. The software giant had previously acquired the game streaming service Beam in 2016 and rebranded it as Mixer but ended up shutting it down this year after it failed to keep up with other competitors such as Amazon's Twitch. As Microsoft has said Smash.gg will remain independent, it'll likely exist as a standalone platform for more years to come. It's unclear w

Discord Is Raising New Funding

The popular VoIP and instant messaging platform Discord is closing a new round of funding that would place its valuation at up to $7 billion, TechCrunch reports , whereas Discord closed a $100 million round that valued it at $3.5 billion just in June.  Discord has seen a high usage uptick as a Covid-19 pandemic has driven up the adoption of virtual social networking services. The company says its number of monthly active users has almost doubled to 120 million this year and that it's seeing as much as 800,000 downloads a day. Already, Discord is heavily funded with some $379 million in funding raised so far. The company's investors include many well-known names such as the Chinese gaming giant Tencent and venture capital firms Index Ventures, IVP, Spark Capital, and FirstMark. A valuation of $7 billion would be impressive for Discord and make it one of the most valuable startups ever to emerge from the virtual communications and social networking sector. Discord as a company

A Peek Into Roblox's Financials

Recently, the gaming company Roblox filed to go public , seeking to do so 13 years after launching, and some $336 million in venture funding raised over the years. Roblox is a gaming platform made primarily for kids in which they can create their own games or play those created by others.  The company reports having about 31 million daily active users and some 345,000 developers who have monetized their Roblox games. In this article, we dig into Roblox's S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission to analyze its financial performance over the years as well as its business history. Revenue In 2019, Roblox pulled in $488.2 million in revenue and reported a net loss of $86 million in the same year. In the year before that (2018), the company pulled in $312.8 million in revenue and reported a net loss of $97 million. For the nine months in this year (2020) from January to September, Roblox pulled in $588.7 million in revenue, which is a record for the company. It repor

Roblox Files To Go Public

After first confidentially filing for a public offering in October, the gaming company Roblox has now released a public filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), seeking to go public 14 years after its launch and some $336 million in funding raised over the years. Privately, Roblox is valued at $4 billion by investors and has been reported to be targeting a higher valuation of up to $8 billion on the public markets. Roblox's S-1 filing shows $488.2 million in 2019 revenue and a net loss of $86 million in the same year. In the previous year, the company posted a $97.2 million loss on $312.7 million in revenue. This very year has been good for Roblox, with its revenue soaring to $588.7 million in the nine months leading ended September, compared to roughly $350 million in the same period last year. The company's loss also soared, however, from $46.3 million to $203.2 million in the nine months of this year leading to September. Founded in 2004 and launche

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Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a