Top 10 Most Active Games Acquirers in Europe

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Top 10 Most Active Games Acquirers in Europe

Who are the most active acquirers of European games companies globally?

Over the last 10-15 years there has been an increasing number of acquisitions of European games companies. According to our own crude estimates, over $17bn has been spent in Europe alone by global incumbents to grow their portfolio. 

But who has taken the most interest in the opportunity Europe Video Games presents? 

# 10 - Improbable

Improbable – Clarity PR

Founded in 2012 and an established name within the gaming community, Improbable develops software that simulates the behaviours of large numbers of entities within a given environment. Its first product, SpatialOS, is a software development kit primarily aimed at integrating with game engines to help facilitate large-scale multiplayer capabilities. 

# of European Games Acquisitions: 2

Notable European Acquisitions: Zeus, The Multiplayer Guys

European Acquisitions Total: N/A

# 9 - Facebook

Facebook Logo | Symbol, History, PNG (3840*2160)

While Facebook’s involvement in the European games scene may be at an early stage, its involvement within the wider gaming ecosystem has been long-running. From their early support of the potential for virtual reality with the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, to efforts to enter the cloud-streamed games space with Facebook Gaming in 2020, they are evidently committed to exploring the potential for the future of gaming. And with Europe becoming a prominent hub for all things gaming, we can expect more activity from Facebook within the European gaming ecosystem.

# of European Games Acquisitions: 2

Notable European Acquisitions: PlayGiga, Scape Technologies

European Acquisitions Total: $78 million

#8 - Modern Times Group

Modern Times Group - Wikipedia

Headquartered in Sweden, Modern Times Group (MTG) is an operational and investmentment holding company for a range of companies within the gaming and esports sectors. Their latest involvement in the European games space was their acquisition of London-based mobile studio Hutch for £206M.

# of European Games Acquisitions: 2

Notable European Acquisitions: InnoGames, Hutch

European Acquisitions Total: $437 million

#7 - EA

EA (Electronic Arts) – Logos Download

While EA have been making acquisitions across the global gaming ecosystem as far back as 1991, their activity within European gaming has been sporadic and focused; with their acquisitions both within UK-based companies PlayFish (2009) and Codemasters (2020). 

# of European Games Acquisitions: 2

Notable European Acquisitions: Codemasters, Playfish

European Acquisitions Total: $1.6 billion

#6 - Zynga

Free Mobile &amp; Online Games - Zynga - Zynga

Based in San Francisco and well-recognised across the globe, Zynga is one of the world’s most popular developers of social games, who have produced household names including Farmville and Words With Friends. While they have made 42 acquisitions within the global gaming ecosystem, their largest to date has been with Turkey-based Peak Games - acquired for an eye-watering $1.9bn.

# of European Games Acquisitions: 2

Notable European Acquisitions: Peak Games, NaturalMotion

European Acquisitions Total: $2.4 billion

#5 - Epic Games

File:Epic Games logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Epic Games have recently ramped up their activity within the European gaming ecosystems; having made three acquisitions over the last ~18 months in Quixel (Sweden, acq. 2019), Cubic Motion (UK, acq. 2020), and  SuperAwesome (UK, acq. 2020). It comes as no surprise that their acquisition targets tend to be younger game technology-focused companies. 

# of European Games Acquisitions: 3

Notable European Acquisitions: Cubic Motion, Super Awesome, Quixel

European Acquisitions Total: NA

#4 - Embracer Group

File:Embracer Group logo.svg - Wikipedia

Initially formed as the video games publishing subsidiary of game retailer Game Outlet Europe, Embracer Group is now a Swedish holding company of video games business; active in developing and publishing PC, console and mobile games across the global games market. Their regions of interest with Europe ranges from Germany and The Netherlands, to Ukraine. While their sectors of acquisition interest appear to be within the development, publishing, and even VR spaces. Beyond Europe, they seem to be active acquirers across the global ecosystem; having made 7 acquisitions of games studios/developers in 2020 alone.

# of European Games Acquisitions: 3

Notable European Acquisitions: Vertigo Games, DECA Games, 4A Games

European Acquisitions Total: $96 million

#3 - Stillfront Group

Investors – Stillfront Group

Headquartered in Sweden, and with a presence across Europe, the USA, and the MENA region, Stillfront is a leading free-to-play powerhouse of gaming studios. Of their 5 acquisitions in 2020, 3 were within Europe; UK-based Everguild, Croatia-based Nanobit, and Germany-based Sandbox Interactive. Their acquisition strategy is built around acquiring and developing games studios, and letting them operate in a decentralized structure; so it should come as no surprise that their 3 European acquisitions are all games developers. 

# of European Games Acquisitions: 3

Notable European Acquisitions: Sandbox Interactive, Everguild, Nanobit

European Acquisitions Total: $231 million

#2 - Tencent

Another prominent player in the global games ecosystem known for their large volume of investments within gaming, their acquisition activity is relatively more humble - having made only 4 acquisitions within European gaming, granting them the #2 spot on the list. Of course their most notable acquisition was made in Supercell; acquired in 2016 for an eye-watering $10.2 billion.

# of European Games Acquisitions: 4

Notable European Acquisitions: Supercell, Fatshark, Funcom, Miniclip 

European Acquisitions Total: $10 billion

#1 - Unity Technologies

Coming in at #1 on our list, with 6 acquisitions within Europe’s gaming scene, is Unity - a household name within the global gaming ecosystem. Similar to the other acquirers on this list, Unity seems to take no preference in region - acquiring companies across Ireland and the UK, to Finland, Spain and Belgium. Their spaces of interest seem to be more specific, however, with the bulk of their acquisitions being within the gaming technology space; especially of companies which focus on gaming infrastructure and data & analytics. 

# of European Games Acquisitions: 6

Notable European Acquisitions: ChilliConnect, Codice Software, Graphene, Applifier, DeltaDNA, Artomatix

European Acquisitions Total: $113 million

Other Games related content:

List of top 10 most active games investors in Europe

The History and Evolution of Video Games