Mail.ru Group’s appetite for acquisitions in the gaming space was confirmed again today as My.Games Venture Capital (MGVC), the investment arm of its subsidiary My.Games, announced minority investments in three game studios. These are Tworogue Games and VOX, based in Moscow, and Wideview Games from Minsk, Belarus.
MGVC put on the table $3mn in total for these deals, which include options to purchase control stakes at a later stage, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).
“We look at the market as a whole and invest in studios that work in genres with high reach and revenue potential. At the same time, we specifically focus on genres that we do not yet have in the MY.GAMES portfolio, which could significantly expand our expertise,” stated MGVC Executive Producer Nikita Matsokin said.
“One of our development goals is to diversify the gaming portfolio to the fullest with the possibility of further integrating the partner studios’ products into the group’s single ecosystem,” he added.
$90mn invested over four years
Last week a Mail.ru Group executive revealed the total amount MGVC has invested in the gaming space since its launch four years ago: 6bn rubles, or around $90mn at the average exchange rate over the period.
A thousand Russian and foreign companies were screened, of which 45 received funding. Only seven portfolio companies have thus far achieved the targeted results, conceded Vladimir Nikolsky, co-founder of My.Games and operating director of Mail.ru Group, in a media interview.
The firm’s largest deal — 2bn rubles — turned out successfully. This funding went to Novosibirsk developer Deus Craft, which further released Grand Hotel Mania. In August 2020, just weeks after launch, the game took second place in terms of revenue among mobile games in the time management category on iOS and Android. MGVC went further in October 2020, acquiring a majority stake in Deus Craft.
MGVC’s investment in Swag Masha was more modest ($150,000), but successful as well. The capital injection allowed this Belarusian studio to launch its flagship game, Love Sick: Interactive Stories, and quickly repay its new shareholder.
In late September My.Games announced it purchased a majority stake in Mamboo Games, nearly one year after a minority investment. Headquartered in Minsk, Belarus, and employing 35 people, this company develops own and third-party hyper casual and hybrid casual titles. My.Games paid “more than $2mn” at close of the latest deal. A deferred payment will depend on further business performance.
The past few months saw a series of other deals in the vibrant Russian gaming industry. Here are the most notable ones:
On its side The Games Fund — a vehicle launched in Moscow earlier this year to invest in Russia and neighbouring countries — reportedly attracted, in August, $17mn from American and South Korean mobile gaming majors Scopely and Com2us.