Los Angeles-based Scopely said it has made a strategic investment in Digit Game Studios to create multiple games together. The deal is the latest that Scopely is bankrolling thanks to its own recent venture funding and successes in mobile.
Market researcher Newzoo recently said it expects global mobile games to grow from $25 billion in revenue in 2014 to $30.3 billion in 2015, with the dollars eclipsing those generated by console games this year. That’s why you’re seeing deals like this, and it’s why Kentucky Derby owner Churchill Downs bought Big Fish Games, a casual mobile and online game publisher, for up to $885 million recently.
“Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading free to play game developers,” said Tim O’Brien, the chief revenue officer at Scopely, in a canned statement. “We are looking to partner with the world’s leading mobile game developers of specific genres, and see Digit as an emerging market leader in strategy games. We are excited about helping accelerate the studio team on their path to success with this multi-game publishing partnership.”
The Dublin-based Digit Game Studios is Ireland’s largest game developer, with an international team with collective experience working on browser, console, massively multiplayer online, mobile, and social games.
Digit Game Studios has a deep focus on strategy games, while Scopely has a proven record of getting apps to the top of the charts on both the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play.
“We’ve gotten to know many well-known publishers and chose to work with Scopely because we believe they give us the best chance to build the games we aspire to make and turn them into huge commercial successes,” said Richard Barnwell, founder and chief executive of Digit Game Studios, in a canned statement. “Partnering with Scopely enables us to quickly grow our team and focus on building incredible strategy games with the confidence that Scopely can bring them to a large audience. Currently, we’re adding new features to Kings of the Realm and scaling up our studio to launch an all-new title together, with iconic, world-leading triple-A IP, that we feel has a chance to be huge.”
Digit Game Studios debuted its first mobile game, Kings of the Realm, in September 2014. It is a 3D strategy game that runs on multiple platforms.
Digit is backed by Delta Partners, ACT Venture Capital and Enterprise Ireland. Back in March Scopely also announced a a long-term partnership with seasoned developer Kung Fu Factory in Los Angeles to create mobile games over multiple years.
Kung Fu Factory has won a bunch of awards for titles such as Adventure Time: Card Wars, TMNT: Rooftop Run, and SpongeBob Moves In.
Scopely was founded in 2011, and it raised $35 million in a first round of funding in November to fund its “touchscreen entertainment network.” Scopely’s games have been played by tens of millions of players.
Scopely makes its own casual games, but it also publishes content created by a small group of game developers that it views as elite teams. It publishes the games and works on optimization, distribution, player growth, retention, live operations, and monetization. These are the valuable things that a modern mobile-game publisher can do for developers.
Evolution Media Partners and Highland Capital Partners led Scopely’s funding round. Evolution Media Partners is a joint venture of TPG Growth, Participant Media, and Evolution Media Capital. Highland partner Andy Hunt and Evolution Media Capital’s Rick Hess are joining Scopely’s board. Former AT&T CEO David Dorman’s Knoll Ventures participated in the financing alongside existing investors Greycroft, The Chernin Group, and Sands Capital Ventures.