Video-game industry-related funding and acquisition deals rose 36 percent to a total of 210 in 2010, driven by developments in the online and social network gaming segments. This is according to new IHS Screen Digest research. The research firm said that 123 funding rounds and 87 acquisitions closed in 2010, and that the volume of activity last year was up by more than a third from the 2009's total of 154 events.
Acquisitions doubled last year, with 20 - 24 events occurring every quarter, compared to 49 acquisitions for all of 2009. Total funding for 2010 reached $1.89 billion, up 130 percent from $819 million in 2009. The numbers cover funding and acquisitions activity in all areas of the games market (excluding mobile gaming, which was tracked separately).
"Two key trends fueled the robust pace of funding and acquisitions in gaming during 2010," said Steve Bailey, games analyst at IHS. "First, it was driven by burgeoning activity in the fast-evolving sphere of online gaming, with particular emphasis on social network gaming. Second, movement in funding and acquisitions also has ramped up between Western markets and entities in Asia, centered likewise on the growth to be found in various aspects of online gaming. In particular, the global opportunity presented by versatile browser-based content, on both PC and mobile platforms, drove companies in Asia and the United States alike to embrace opportunities presented by each region, as IHS Screen Digest research shows."
The total declared value of funding deals in the social network gaming segment increased by nearly 300 percent in 2010. This data comes from a new report entitled: Games Market Monitor: Acquisitions and Funding in 2010.
The biggest funding event of the year in 2010 was Digital Sky Technologies (DST), which closed $300 million from Chinese online gaming company Tencent. DST, which was later renamed Mail.Ru.Group), has investments in both Facebook and Zynga, so its input into social network gaming in the West makes sense. Zynga received $147 million from Japanese investor Softbank. Other notable funding events include Zenimax Media’s receipt of $150 million from Providence Equity Partners, which led to its game publishing arm Bethesda Software acquiring two new studios, Arkane and Tango Gameworks.
Also last year, U.S.-based Flash-gaming aggregator Mochi Media was acquired by Chinese online gaming company Shanda for $80 million.
The report also covers notable developments on many other aspects of the games market. These include social network gaming; massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) and virtual worlds; casual gaming; core gaming; payment and billing; social technology; and edutainment, lifestyle management and gaming networks.