Digital content company and publisher OrangeGames is expanding its portfolio of social titles by acquiring a majority stake in Sulake, the developer behind teen-focused virtual worlds Habbo and Hotel Hideaway. Sulake was previously acquired by telecom company Elisa, which still has a minority stake in the studio.
Habbo, also known as Habbo Hotel, launched in 2000 and has picked up over 270 million registered users in the last 18 years. Its followup Hotel Hideaway soft-launched in 2016 before its full release in April and has already attracted more than 300,000 monthly active users. While Habbo was web-based, Hotel Hideaway launched on mobile with similar offerings: users, primarily teens, can customize their avatar with different looks and outfits, and they can play games and socialize in a virtual hotel.
Finnish dev Sulake’s games have always been for a younger demographic, which has gotten it into some trouble in the past. In 2012, bad actors infiltrated its chatroom with pornographic content, which forced it to temporarily shut down the game.
Despite these occasional tricky situations, Habbo was a success, and Sulake generated millions of dollars in sales from users exchanging its virtual currency for cosmetic items like accessories and furniture. This makes it a good fit for OrangeGames, which also owns the youth-targeted online advertising platform Yoki Network.
“OrangeGames gives us a wider distribution network and resources, allowing Sulake to dedicate more creative and development support to our games,” said Sulake’s CEO Liisa Puurunen in a statement. “We look forward to developing new content and experiences with OrangeGames to bolster our growing global gaming communities.”
Hotel Hideaway sits at No. 17 in the role-playing category on the Apple App Store in the U.S., according to market analyst App Annie. And industry researcher Sensor Tower estimates that over 1.5 million people have downloaded the game and it’s generated over $2.3 million worldwide since its soft launch. The game is still new, but it sounds like Sulake has plans to grow it into another hit like Habbo.