Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions

July 13, 2011

Ubisoft Acquires Free-to-Play Game Developer Owlient

In an effort to tap deeper into the thriving Web gaming market, publishing giant Ubisoft has agreed to purchase French developer Owlient, maker of several free-to-play Internet games.

Ubisoft will add Owlient’s offerings to its own roster of no-cost games, which includes Settlers Online, CSI (News - Alert) Crime City, Heroes Kingdoms and the recently launched beta version of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online.

The acquisition will allow Ubisoft to expand its online presence as well as improve its infrastructure and technology, the company said in a release. Free-to-play games are monetized via the micro-transaction – something Owlient has years of experience working with. The new relationship should help Ubisoft grow their brands online.

“Over the last five years they have developed an architecture dedicated to delivering and monetizing games as a service, as well as the skills of attracting and retaining online communities,” Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft, noted in a statement. “This acquisition is the next step in the acceleration of Ubisoft’s free-to-play strategy.”

The move seems to be both a technology and talent acquisition. Paris-based Owlient has more than 40 employees and over six years of experience in the free-to-play gaming space.

Olivier Issaly, chief executive officer of Owlient, said that the acquisition will allow his team to break into new international markets and extend their presence to other platforms.

Owlient is a relatively mature and increasingly global video game developer. The company currently attracts more than 2 million users each month in a number of languages and countries, according to the AFP.

The Owlient deal marks Ubisoft’s fourth major acquisition since late 2008, when the company purchased multi-player game specialist Massive Entertainment. Ubisoft also swallowed up TrackMania creator Nadeo in 2009 and online technical solutions provider Quazal in 2010.

The terms of the Owlient acquisition were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close during the second or third quarter of next year.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell


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