According to recent research done by the Corum Group in 2014, it was found that out of the top 10 deals in the gaming industry, 9 of those involved Asian acquirers.
This trend held strong as last year there were 8 Asian firms involved out of the top 10 acquisitions within the online gaming industry. This may have been because the casual gamer is on the rise as mobile games become more widespread especially within Asia. In 2013, the value of all deals relating to games rose by 29% up to $5.6 billion total.
The top 10 acquiring companies involved many game deals with companies such as Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Facebook absorbing gaming tech companies to further broaden their online presence within a growing gaming industry. A total of 60% of all acquisitions are now international deals as large companies such as the ones previously mentioned look to expand their reach into the Asian-Pacific region. The gaming industry is expected to continue its expansive growth as valuations are supposed to increase from $70 billion to upwards of $100 billion by 2017.
Further Acquisitions – Geography
A few of the larger deals include Scientific Games buying out WMS for $1.5 billion and SoftBank buying half of Clash of Clans developer Supercell for $1.5 billion. With the purchase of large game development companies, changes in ownership in terms of geography and location had significant impact on the power of each country. For example, India’s Reliance Entertainment bought out game companies within Japan and Korea solidifying their presence within these large expanding gaming markets. Gamevil bought South Korean giant Com2Us and Nine Wheels. Within China, Linekong raised a total of $80 million while mobile messaging applications such as KakaoTalk, WeChat, and Line grow daily with millions of active unique users.
Mobile Messaging Networks
KakaoTalk, WeChat, and Line are already the next big thing within the Asian-Pacific region as hundreds of millions of users are using their services to primarily keep in contact with others. However, these mega companies have introduced downloadable and entertaining games within their mobile messaging platforms which have been adopted by their millions of users promoting co-op play and high score competitions between connected networks. This has proven to be highly successful as 13 of the top 20 games are on these mobile messaging platforms.
Consoles are still a great platform and system for game development as seen by the recent successes of GTA V and Titanfall. Free-to-play game, World of Tanks (which is highlighted by Xsolla’s payment systems) is looking to port to the console in the near future which may cause ripples within the market. Popular gaming platform, Steam Powered Games of Valve Corporation is also looking to enter the console market with their Valve Box system and their Steam Controller announced late last year at Steam Dev Days.
A Final Look
Acquisitions within the gaming industry happen frequently although on much smaller scales than the ones mentioned within this article. With new systems constantly being released and gaming becoming more portable and mobile, the industry is very open to innovative ideas as new technology gets developed. Even something as simple sounding as moving from the PC to a Console (such as World of Tanks case) can have a huge impact within the gaming industry and pioneer the way for other developers to look to do the same for their games. It will be interesting to see how the gaming industry develops when all the dust settles from these large-scale acquisitions as not only the games are acquired but also the talent.