Deals Digest: The Biggest Deals of 2023

2023 Investment Overview in the Video Game Industry

Investment in the video game industry continues to surge in 2023, with many companies expanding globally and venturing into new markets. Here’s a breakdown of the most significant mergers and acquisitions, investments, and expansions in 2023 so far.

Biggest Mergers and Acquisitions

Savvy Games’ acquisition of Scopely caught the attention of many in the industry due to the amount of money involved and the players. Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games group has been investing heavily in gaming to diversify its economy.

Sega’s purchase of Rovio was successful after Playtika’s soliciting of the Angry Birds developer earlier this year. Rovio and Sega have collaborated before, and many expect Rovio to act as a lead-in to Sega’s expansion in the mobile market.

NetEase was hit by the gaming license freeze in China and has been expanding globally to compensate. The company opened new studios in Barcelona, Canada, and Tokyo, launched a new publishing label, and acquired Skybox Labs.

Turkish Delights

Developers and start-ups in Turkey, such as Ace Games, Gleam Games, Gulliver’s Games, Grand Attic Games, and Yamy, received significant investments despite the economic contraction in the region. Turkish investment firms, such as Ludus Ventures and WePlay Ventures, led these funding rounds.

Firms Expanding Globally

Bitkraft Ventures is expected to open an investment office in Asia to expand its presence and tap into new markets. Having a physical presence offers new talent and perspectives that may be missed otherwise.

Liquid Football

The parting of ways between FIFA and EA has created a gap in the market for new developers and platforms to capture football-enthusiasts. Formation Games is developing CLUB, partnering with Little Dot Studios that invested in a TikTok ad campaign to promote it.

Saudi Arabia’s Spending Spree

Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund invested in Nintendo, EA, Sandsoft, and Bytedance, among others. Despite the mobile market boom, the fund still pours money into traditional game companies.

Supercell’s Super Year

Supercell acquired Phantom Gamelabs while Metacore purchased the rights to and assets of Everdale, a discontinued Supercell title. Metacore aims to spin it into its moneymaker.

Expansions in Africa and Europe

The African mobile market saw significant funding, with Bitkraft Ventures investing $27m in Carry1st. France’s Plug In Digital acquired Celsius Online and Milky Tea Games has a new majority owner, Aonic. Original Games acquired Mergedom, and Cosmic Lounge raised €4m in its seed funding round.

Expansions in Asia and America

NetDragon has spun off its successful education business into a separate entity, seeing revenue growth and investing heavily in AI-assisted learning. Outfit7 invested in Hoplai, and TinyTap gained $8.5m. In China, the government acquired “golden shares” in businesses. In India, Giga Fun Studios raised $2.4m in funding, and nCore Games invested in Penta Esports.

Final Thoughts

Investment in the video game industry continues to boom globally, with significant expansions, mergers, acquisitions, and investments. Companies are looking beyond their local markets to tap into new markets and talent, and there’s a growing interest in esports and mobile gaming.