Playtech sells YoYo Games for $10 million

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True Valhalla

Full-Time Developer
GMC Elder
According to reports, Playtech has sold YoYo Games for about $10 million after originally acquiring the company for $16.4 million in 2015 (with a possible additional $5.25 million paid out) suggesting the company has lost up to half of its value over the past several years. Notably, YoYo Game's flagship product GameMaker Studio 2 was released in March 2017.

Newly appointed Directors at YoYo Games include Opera employees and newly listed correspondence point to Opera's headquarters in Norway. Opera is a Norwegian company with headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and branches and offices in Poland, Sweden and China. They claim to be "one of the world’s leading browser providers and a pioneer in the field of integrated AI-driven digital content discovery and recommendation platforms"

Although it is not yet confirmed that Opera are the new owners of YoYo Games, it would seem like a logical conclusion. What are the implications for YoYo Games and the future of GameMaker?

Reuters - Gambling software maker Playtech said on Tuesday it expects 2020 annual performance to be ahead of expectations, driven by its financial trading arm, and casino, poker, bingo and betting businesses.

Online betting has enjoyed a boost as COVID-19 restrictions encouraged locked-down customers to play more from home when casinos and betting shops are off limits.

Playtech, the world’s biggest supplier of technology for online gaming operators, expects adjusted core earnings to be at least 300 million euros ($364.77 million) for the year ended Dec. 31.

The Isle of Man-based company said its core B2B business, including casino, bingo and poker, performed very well in 2020 and its gambling unit Snaitech had a strong performance online, with retail hit by lockdown measures and the cancellation of sports events.

Finalto, the financial trading arm, was “the standout performer” in the first half, benefitting significantly from increased market volatility and trading volumes, but had a challenging second half.

Playtech said it continues to be in talks about the possible sale of the unit as part of an asset review to simplify its business and sell non-core assets.

The company said it had completed the sale of YoYo Games for about $10 million, leading to the disposal of all its casual and social gaming assets. ($1 = 0.8224 euros)
 
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Samuel Venable

Time Killer
It saddens me they lost interest in GameMaker so quickly. I hope the new company and project owners are more committed to it, even with the large loss in value. I also agree knowing it is Opera who bought it that the HTML5 export will likely get a kick-start in major bug fixes, a guy can hope, since they are used to working with web related content, and then perhaps TV can switcih over to GMS2 instead of relying on GMS 1.4 (if he hasn't done that already, which I'm sure will make you very happy to be able to make that move TV).
 

FrostyCat

Member
I can see a few potential upsides to this acquisition, but on more fronts than not, I'm seeing an end to GM as we know it.

The obvious upside is that Opera may be going for GMS 2's HTML5 export. Java applets are done for, Flash has just bitten the dust in December, and Unity is still playing the plugin game. GMS 2 is one of only a handful of commercial engines that export to native HTML5 while also supporting native platforms, and it's significantly more mature than similar competitors. Given my experience with issues in the HTML5 export, I think Opera will have a lot to do, but it would be great if they could work something out.

Another upside speculation is that Opera may be trying to set up their own marketplace for casual games, outside of both mainland China and mainland US. In other words, take two for the publishing wing from several years ago that took applications but never took flight. Right now GMS 2 is built for publishing to Google Play, iOS Store, Steam, and Amazon App Store and Windows Store to a smaller extent. But given the volatile situation in the US and pending legal challenges towards them, many of these platforms may soon become politically charged. There may be space for a new platform that still has some legitimacy and developer protection (unlike rag-tag "jailbreak stores"), but less of the national politics.

Given Opera's current model, there may be a bigger push towards AI and automation in the main UI than we're used to. Say, it might scan your comments/code and recommend Marketplace assets or help articles that relate to what you're working on, or aggregate bug reports and/or inter-developer communication within the IDE. Data collected this way could then be processed by AI to recognize unreported needs or bugs in the engine. This could be a new opportunity for GM-specific content creators such as tutorial authors and online course instructors.

It's not all positive, though. Here are some potential traps and death pits that may lie ahead for GM:
  • Privacy may start becoming an issue if analytics and other tracking mechanisms return to the IDE and/or exported products.
  • They may start dropping exports to reduce development load, leaving only the ones that work with their ecosystem.
  • They may just be poaching game engine developers from YoYo, in which case GMS 2 would be the last version of GM, and something new takes its place.
  • They may be on the catching end of a hot potato (given the 40% write-down from $16.4M to $10M), and if the remaining value disappears due to ongoing development, GM would simply be written off without replacement.
  • Opera GX is giving me the same vibes that Stadia gave me while it was new, and in my opinion, Stadia was and still is a dead-on-arrival deal. On top of that, Opera has a serious market share problem on browsers. GM will be on the auction block again if a similar flop comes a year or so down the line, if not the chopping block.
I've invested quite heavily in GML extension development as a hobby over 2020, but now in retrospect, I should have set aside more time on my career in web development and data science. Neither of the latter depend on a single company to keep ticking. The damage is done, but in the near term I'll reduce my presence in GM. I won't draw any early conclusions since it's only getting started, but if push comes to shove, the 18-year mark wouldn't be a bad time to close the GM chapter of my programming life. After all, that's what being a programmer these days often entails --- closing old chapters to open new ones.
 

renex

Member
Here i'm just hoping that this means we'll finally get to have more input in the development of studio 2, since playtech's whole secrecy thing made the whole thing very boring and complicated from an end user's perspective.
 

RekNepZ

GMC Historian
Were there any noticeable policy changes when Playtech bought it? I just remember it getting more financial and technical support, but nothing that had much to do with the owning company.
 

FoxyOfJungle

Kazan Games
I can see a few potential upsides to this acquisition, but on more fronts than not, I'm seeing an end to GM as we know it.

The obvious upside is that Opera may be going for GMS 2's HTML5 export. Java applets are done for, Flash has just bitten the dust in December, and Unity is still playing the plugin game. GMS 2 is one of only a handful of commercial engines that export to native HTML5 while also supporting native platforms, and it's significantly more mature than similar competitors. Given my experience with issues in the HTML5 export, I think Opera will have a lot to do, but it would be great if they could work something out.

Another upside speculation is that Opera may be trying to set up their own marketplace for casual games, outside of both mainland China and mainland US. In other words, take two for the publishing wing from several years ago that took applications but never took flight. Right now GMS 2 is built for publishing to Google Play, iOS Store, Steam, and Amazon App Store and Windows Store to a smaller extent. But given the volatile situation in the US and pending legal challenges towards them, many of these platforms may soon become politically charged. There may be space for a new platform that still has some legitimacy and developer protection (unlike rag-tag "jailbreak stores"), but less of the national politics.

Given Opera's current model, there may be a bigger push towards AI and automation in the main UI than we're used to. Say, it might scan your comments/code and recommend Marketplace assets or help articles that relate to what you're working on, or aggregate bug reports and/or inter-developer communication within the IDE. Data collected this way could then be processed by AI to recognize unreported needs or bugs in the engine. This could be a new opportunity for GM-specific content creators such as tutorial authors and online course instructors.

It's not all positive, though. Here are some potential traps and death pits that may lie ahead for GM:
  • Privacy may start becoming an issue if analytics and other tracking mechanisms return to the IDE and/or exported products.
  • They may start dropping exports to reduce development load, leaving only the ones that work with their ecosystem.
  • They may just be poaching game engine developers from YoYo, in which case GMS 2 would be the last version of GM, and something new takes its place.
  • They may be on the catching end of a hot potato (given the 40% write-down from $16.4M to $10M), and if the remaining value disappears due to ongoing development, GM would simply be written off without replacement.
  • Opera GX is giving me the same vibes that Stadia gave me while it was new, and in my opinion, Stadia was and still is a dead-on-arrival deal. On top of that, Opera has a serious market share problem on browsers. GM will be on the auction block again if a similar flop comes a year or so down the line, if not the chopping block.
I've invested quite heavily in GML extension development as a hobby over 2020, but now in retrospect, I should have set aside more time on my career in web development and data science. Neither of the latter depend on a single company to keep ticking. The damage is done, but in the near term I'll reduce my presence in GM. I won't draw any early conclusions since it's only getting started, but if push comes to shove, the 18-year mark wouldn't be a bad time to close the GM chapter of my programming life. After all, that's what being a programmer these days often entails --- closing old chapters to open new ones.
Now I'm scared of these speculations, If that happens, what I have left is to go back to Unity and C#... :(
If should GMS 2 fail, they could at least remove the version checker, just like GMS 1.4, so that we can use it offline in the future...
 

FoxyOfJungle

Kazan Games
The only thing that worries me is that GM has apparently lost half it's value since Playtech bought it a few years ago? That blows and is kind of scary for the future of the engine. I was hoping GM was getting stronger after Playtech bought it, but maybe not? ):
I also noticed this, it seems that for example, when there was the old forum and GM 8.1 (back in 2011), there were many, many users who used GM, and the Sandbox made it very popular, but it ended up over time...
 
just wait and see what would happen.
I'm worried more about GM than me....I can make games in Godot or Unity if it comes to that five years from now. I love GM though, and hope it keeps going. I'd rather not switch, obviously!

I also noticed this, it seems that for example, when there was the old forum and GM 8.1 (back in 2011), there were many, many users who used GM, and the Sandbox made it very popular, but it ended up over time...
Maybe killing the sandbox and the free versions was the wrong call afterall? Or maybe there's just more competition now? Either way, it sucks to see it. ):

Hopefully the new owners breath some life into GM. It's been improving a lot lately!
 

FoxyOfJungle

Kazan Games
I don't know if it would be productive if perhaps YYG (Opera? lol) adopted the same method as Unity (over $100,000 in profit, you must give X% of the value to the company). The downside is that most GM users use it as a hobby or are just Indie (trying to grow). I suppose few use it professionally in a large company for example. Besides, for an Indie, it is not so easy to reach 100 thousand dollars of sales.


I'm worried more about GM than me....I can make games in Godot or Unity if it comes to that five years from now. I love GM though, and hope it keeps going. I'd rather not switch, obviously!
I would also hate to change, I am so used to GML, I spent 9 years of my life in contact with it... I love GMS 2.
 

Zhanghua

Member
I'm worried more about GM than me....I can make games in Godot or Unity if it comes to that five years from now. I love GM though, and hope it keeps going. I'd rather not switch, obviously!



Maybe killing the sandbox and the free versions was the wrong call afterall? Or maybe there's just more competition now? Either way, it sucks to see it. ):

Hopefully the new owners breath some life into GM. It's been improving a lot lately!
Me too, pursuited the most beneficial engine for me a long time and finally find the gms2.
 

8BitWarrior

Member
If this information is true, I have hopes for continued growth and maturity for the platform.
I would caution against seeing GameMaker as a "falling knife" due to its apparent valuation. Keen interest and diligence from new ownership could change that. Personally, I suspect GM is worth more than $10 million. In the right hands, I believe it could well exceed that within a few years.
 
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SnoutUp

Member
The only thing that worries me is that GM has apparently lost half it's value since Playtech bought it a few years ago? That blows and is kind of scary for the future of the engine. I was hoping GM was getting stronger after Playtech bought it, but maybe not? ):
Honestly, that doesn't surprise me much. The easiest engine to make lightweight games and they kind of failed to utilize hyper casual game boom as well as growth of HTML5, which could've been a great marketing points for both sales of licenses and overall value. If this acquisition would push for improvement in those areas I'd be quite happy, but at the moment I'm mostly concerned.
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
Okaaaaaay.... This topic is closed because it's pure speculation and we'll wait for the official announcement before we go IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! (oh, and I removed the poll... forum rules state clearly that all polls must be cleared by a moderator before being published ;) )

So, First: PlayTech have divested themselves of ALL their gaming assets, not just YYG. It's obvious they just want out of that whole market and so it should come as no surprise that they are willing to take a loss on the sales of those assets. This is NO reflection on YYG who - and I speak from a place of knowledge - are doing very well.

Second: The sale of the company, IN MY OWN OPINION, will be nothing but good for YYG and for GameMaker. PlayTech was such a massive corporation with so many different assets, that YYG was just another box ticked for them. They also had a massive legal department (they are a gambling company, after all) that stymied all YYG's plans with stupid rules and bulls**t legal stuff. Think about the "YYG Publishing"! That ended because of PlayTech, so maybe that's back on the table again with the new owners? There are a LOT of new possibilities suddenly opening up to YYG, assuming the new buyers are open to them...

Third: And talking of new buyers... $10million may be "chump change" to a company like PlayTech, but to most other companies out there it's a LOT. You don't spend that on acquiring a new asset just to burn it to the ground. I have every faith that whomever has bought YYG has done so because 1) they see a viable product at a great price, and 2) they have spoken with the CEO and CTO of YYG and decided that the future plans for GM are bright and worth investing in. I mean, whomever has bought them can't be worse than PlayTech!!!

Finally: That's my thoughts on this situation, and I'd appreciate it if we have no more threads speculating on this topic. There will be an official announcement some day soon I'm sure, and when that happens you can all pile onto the official thread and speculate, complain, wring your hands and gnash your teeth. ;)
 
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