Albion Online studio Sandbox Interactive just got bought out for more than €100M

    
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Albion Online studio Sandbox Interactive just got bought out for more than €100M

As it turns out, the MMO industry is going to see one more big buyout move before 2021 is upon us. Last night, Albion Online studio Sandbox Interactive announced on its forums that it’s been bought out by a company called Stillfront Group AB, a Stockholm-based mobile games publisher.

Sillfront’s own press release says it’s acquiring 100% of the shares of Sandbox from Sandbox’s original four co-founders for a total of €130M (€30M in shares, €100M in cash), with additional earn-out payments over the next four years. €100M is about $122M US, so those four people are going to have a nice Christmas indeed. Stillfront has categorized the purchase as one that will help it “create the leading free-to-play powerhouse of long lifecycle games.”

Sandbox itself has framed the sale for Albion players as a net positive given the game’s rapid growth this year. Devs have also said the four founders are staying with the company.

“For the past eight years, we have been building Albion Online up completely on our own – everything from development, to marketing, translations, customer support has been built up by ourselves. Now that Albion is growing at a massive rate, we realize that being on our own is not always an advantage. There are just too many things we’d have to master, and while we believe no one can develop Albion Online better than we can, there are plenty of areas around the game itself where we could benefit from additional expertise. This is why we decided to join the Stillfront Family. The partnership with Stillfront allows us to remain fully invested in Albion Online and its development, focusing on making the best Sandbox MMORPG experience in the world, while benefiting from Stillfront’s expertise in marketing and publishing to spread the word of Albion Online around the world. For you, the players, this will mean more people to play with, more capacities for development of patches and updates, and simply more Albion Online as we continue to grow the game over the coming years. With this ending to 2020, we’re looking forward to a bright future for Albion Online in 2021 and beyond.”

[…]

“There are no changes to our game design plans, road map or vision for the game. The actual Sandbox Interactive team is staying exactly as it is before and all the founders of the company will fully stay on board. Stillfront’s structure and approach is very different from that of other large companies in the gaming space. Their core idea is to identify and acquire gaming studios that are strong on their own and then letting them continue doing what they are best at – making their games – while offering a strong support structure for things such as marketing.”

Worth noting here is that Sandbox’s financials were released by Stillfront as part of the purchase. Sandbox alone apparently pulled in net revenues of 101M SEK (about 12M US, just under 10M EUR) in 2020, which would make it a relatively small slice of Stillfront’s overall revenues.

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HawkeWar

So….PVE servers confirmed. LOL

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agemyth 😩

If I played this game I would see this as a sign of the end times. But there’s likely still a lot of good times to be had before the mobile game publisher outright ruins the good bits.

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rk70534

Stillfront and EG7 – a little bit curious where the Swedes now have this money; perhaps online gaming is a seen as a good and safe investment in these times and they are getting more investors?

Still it seems like there is a relatively low ceiling of how much they can invest in future projects.

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XanadoX

Congratulations to the Albion team!
Albion was full of people last time I visited it (two months ago).
I played hard thorugh betas and release, and we had very nice moments.

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Arktouros

Make a PvP game that gets popular, get rich.

Take notes devs.

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Blake

You forgot the important part. Build a PvP game that is designed for mobile gaming as well as PC.

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Arktouros

I take it you haven’t actually played it then because the mobile aspect/side of it is a total joke. Not only is it not in the Android store but it’s not in the iOS store either. You have to side load the APK program still to get it to go. Where mobile contributed here is the lower system requirements means you can put it on just about any system and it’ll run.

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Blake

I meant it more that is where it’s headed, and why it has to be so attractive to a mobile company. I’m guessing by summer next year it’ll be in full swing on both iOS and Android.

Companies don’t spend that kind of money acquiring a company for where it is today, and what it has done previously, but where they think it’s headed and where they believe they can take it.

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kjempff

And note that it was the focus on pve that brought in the big crowd.

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Bruno Brito

I’ll pop a champagne the day a studio frames being bought as something negative. It’s always a net positive according to PR.

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PanagiotisLial1

In theory buyouts give more base fund to invest on recruiting personnel and buying assets, but that is theory. That is also because an investor wants the investment to grow and not go in the rocks. In practice it doesnt work 100% of time. That said I prefer a european company buyout out than an asian because asian companies are more prone to overmonetizing through lockboxes, gatcha etc

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Bruno Brito

Yeah. It can be good or bad, but my point is that it’ll ALWAYS be PR’ed as good, no matter how bad it really is.

Sixuality
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Sixuality

What is it with swedish investors and MMOs right now? Well, I for one welcome our new nordic overlords.

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rk70534

Possibly money from old industries seeking a safe haven – Daybreak buyer EG7 has in its board as recent arrivals these business people in their 50s and 60s who most certainly are not tech savvy nerds who made it big.