YoYo Games, the company behind toolkit GameMaker, has been sold to browser developer Opera for $10 million USD.
Word of the sale was very low key. A news post on Reuters last week mentioned that gambling software maker Playtech, who bought YoYo Games in 2015, had sold the company off as part of “the disposal of all its casual and social gaming assets” without elaborating who had purchased it. A post on YoYo Games’ forum yesterday point out that some newly appointed directors were Opera employees (though it did not elucidate on whether they were former or current employees).
Today, YoYo Games released a statement to Gamesindustry.biz confirming the sale. Stuart Poole, general manager at YoYo Games, had this to say about the move, “For over twenty years, the vision behind the GameMaker engine was to not just create more games, but expand development within and beyond the game studio. We think the transaction with Opera represents a massive opportunity to accelerate fulfilment of that founding vision, during a period of exceptional growth for both companies.”
Opera EVP of Browsers, Krystian Kolondra, also commented on behalf of Opera, “We look forward to further growing Opera GX and driving the growth of GameMaker as part of a broader ecosystem, making it more accessible to novice users and developing it into the world’s leading 2D game engine used by commercial studios. Opera Gaming will be focusing on accelerating the growth of this emerging ecosystem, combining the 7+ million highly engaged gamers using Opera GX with millions of GameMaker creators.”
Food For Thought
This is definitely a gamble for Opera. YoYo Games clearly wasn’t making money for Playtech, so the sale is certainly an immediate benefit to them. What Opera hopes to get out of it with their “Opera Gaming” initiative is more of a question mark. The ability to make HTML5-based games in GameMaker is certainly a benefit, and Opera might try to leverage that capability by acting as a storefront for indies outside of Steam and itch.io. But how it will benefit both companies in the longer term is currently unknown.