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PlayTech (online gambling biz) buys YoYo Games (Game Maker Studio devs) for $16.4m


y'all should be ashamed
Dec 7, 2006
Huh. I'm quite a bit nervous on what this means for GMStudio. I'd imagine they wouldn't change the base model too much...I hope.


YoYo Games, developer of GameMaker: Studio, has been sold to PlayTech, an online casino and gambling specialist based on the Isle of Man for $16.4 million. Potential earn-outs and retention costs are expected to add value of $5.25 million.

Besides its main business in online gambling, PlayTech also offers a number of development tools and systems, a suite which GameMaker: Studio will now join. Whether the cross-platform capabilities of GMS indicate a major drive toward mobile for PlayTech's business is unknown, but the firm has indicated that it will be looking to expand further into the casual gaming market and diversify its core business.

"This acquisition will enable the company to further diversify its business, benefiting from a combined B2B/B2C offering focused on a strong and growing segment of the wider gaming market," a statement from the company explains.


Jun 1, 2014
A bit worried about this as well.
Let's wait and see, obviously, but this doesn't seem especially promising for their long term future.


Mar 23, 2013
Kansas City
This doesn't sound good. Game Maker is a really handy tool for quick prototyping and beginners looking to get into game development, but its more than capable of creating excellent full games. Hopefully it stays as that.
Feb 3, 2007
Optimistically, this means all sorts of free middleware solutions for existing GM:S users for things like IAPs, online networking, user account systems and matchmaking.

Realistically, this means the end of support for GM:S as a hobbyist level game engine.

Ran rp

Sep 12, 2011
Dang. I haven't used it since before it became GMS but I'm still worried about what'll happen to it and to everyone who's currently developing in it.

Sir TapTap

Jun 17, 2014
Sounds...pretty bad. And pretty puzzling, I don't see why they'd need to buy this at all. But it definitely seems like it'll become an internal thing or at least very different from the current hobbyist programer tool.


May 6, 2013
I'm not super optimistic. If it was someone like, I dunno, Adobe or Microsoft or something I might still be wary but given that it's a gambling company I would proceed with the assumption that GameMaker for hobbyists is hitting a dead end.


y'all should be ashamed
Dec 7, 2006
I mean, what would they realistically do to GM Studio? I don't have any idea how this benefits them aside from "diversifying their portfolio" as they say.

edit: aw jeez, Sandy Duncan, the CEO of YoYo stepped down.

Update: According to his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, YoYo Games CEO Sandy Duncan has also stepped down following the acquisition. He is now acting as a consultant for the firm at Ferno Technology.

We have reached out to YoYo Games for comment on the acquisition.


He was a cool guy, wonder what's going on.


Feb 18, 2012
From the perspective of PlayTech, fuckin' baaaaaaaargin. I'd say £10 mil is severely undervaluing the worth of YoYo. They are easily worth twice that. Like, we're talking "Sony buying out Gaikai" levels of dealitude here.

Of course, that assumes they don't screw around with it or let it rot on the vine, and the worry is PlayTech is going to do precisely that. Considering their CEO has jumped ship, it does look like it's a bunch of shareholders cashing out. Still, it's very much a wait-and-see type affair.
Dec 7, 2008
I do hope this deal went down with an emphasis on what's at steak.

I'd hope this means bigger growth and more inclusiveness, but the flip side of the coin is just as likely.

If all goes to shit I'll move to unity more.


Feb 19, 2013
Price seems rather cheap as some famous games use the Engine but I guess Game Maker isn't exactly raking in the money. Their prices seem ok, I got some cheap version of it too and I am not planning on doing anything with it.
Makes you wonder if any platform holder or other company with an interest in gaming should have been more pro-active.

Hope this takeover doesn't mean bad news for developers.


For you.
Dec 14, 2013
Received this email today.

YoYo Games is Acquired by Playtech plc
A personal note from the founding team
Dear All,

We are excited to announce that YoYo Games has been acquired by Playtech, and we wanted to write to you personally and tell you more.

YoYo was founded by myself and a group of games industry friends and has never had any external investors aside from our own funds. This means we’ve relied heavily on generating revenue, mainly from GameMaker sales. While everything has gone well and we’ve grown to 30 people it means that we have had to sell more products before we could invest in new features, yet it’s the new features that generate more sales.

Most companies in this position seek external investment to break the cycle and create new products to sell. We tried to raise funds several times in order to further develop GameMaker, but the offers we were given meant giving up on a lot of what we wanted to keep doing, i.e. developing a tool that would continue to be accessible to both beginners and professionals. Our vision has always been to maintain GameMaker: Studio as affordable and great value. This is why we made the Standard Edition free last year as well as package the technology together as Master Collection.

We looked for the right company with sufficient funds, knowledge and supporting technology that matches our developer’s needs.

The reason we accepted the offer from Playtech was they were the first investor who didn’t want to alter our vision. They haven’t just bought the company, they’re committed to investing in YoYo Games in a way that we have never been able to previously. With their help we can now push ahead and hire more people and make GameMaker: Studio an even better platform for casual games developers everywhere. If there are any changes they will be additions to our plans. In fact, we’re already working on a number of these and some of you will get a very pleasant surprise this summer.

They’ve also made us commit to launching GameMaker: Studio 2.0 later this year. In our efforts to generate sales we’ve not been getting our resources packed into Studio 2.0 as we would have liked. But now it’s all hands on deck and we’re really excited that Playtech’s investment will help us get this done at twice the speed.

Playtech’s purchase of YoYo Games means that GameMaker: Studio will get even better and we’re now even more committed to making GameMaker: Studio the best platform to learn how to make games, as well as a leading technology for professional developers.

The proof will come in the next few months and we can’t wait to get going and show you what’s in store.

Sandy, Mike, Russell and the rest of the team.

A note from Playtech
Playtech takes pride in being the biggest and most successful software supplier in the real-money gaming industry. We have, however, equally been very active in the social and casual games sector for several years and seeking new ways in which to grow this area of the business. Playtech’s acquisition of YoYo Games is part of a bigger plan to further diversify our strong and growing segment in casual gaming, a segment whereby we feel we can add considerable value via a combination of many years of expertise, cutting-edge technology and market value.

Prior to acquiring YoYo Games we‘ve made significant investments in our own in-house casual games studio entitled Plamee which currently employs more than 120 developers. You can enjoy our first launched game, Cake Story, on Facebook today. Please stay tuned for many more games to come in the coming weeks and months.

YoYo, alongside Plamee, will play a vital role in the future of Playtech’s casual games strategy and, on a wider level, a vital role in the overall growth of the Playtech group.

Following the acquisition we want to reassure you all that we have no plans to change the existing operation or business focus; we plan to re-inforce, bolster and grow YoYo in order for it to become the platform of choice for all types of game developers.

We plan to continue to support the loyal community of developers and grow GameMaker: Studio. We plan to invest more resources into improving GameMaker so it will appeal to a wider developer demographic, including the advanced developer segment. We believe that the continued development of GameMaker will enable us to extend our casual games offering, and fits well with our in-house casual team at Plamee.

If you have any more thoughts, please feel free to share those with us at ContactUs@plamee.com

Looking forward to a bright future,

Nadav Goshen, Plamee Advisor; Mor Weizer CEO Playtech

Further questions
Who are Playtech and what do they do?
Playtech (www.playtech.com) is the world’s leading multi-channel gaming software and services supplier with more than 120 licensees in more than 20 countries.
Playtech develops unified software platforms and content for the online, land-based, retail and lottery industries, together with providing a range of ancillary services such as marketing, CRM services and hosting to its customer base which includes: retail and online brands as well as government sponsored entities, such as lotteries, focusing only on regulated markets.
Founded in 1999, Playtech is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has more than 3,900 employees located in 14 countries.

Why is Playtech looking for game development tools?
Playtech provides hundreds of in-house and third-party games and premium content. Playtech has a portfolio of more than 500 multi-channel games available across retail, online and mobile. Therefore, it’s obvious that great technology such as GameMaker: Studio can and will be used by Playtech to make more games for our customers. If anyone is in any doubt about the size of this business, Unity has an entire group focused on serving the real-money gaming industry. However, the focus of GameMaker will always be casual and mid-core gaming!

Will you continue to support development issues for GameMaker developers’ community?
Nothing will change on that front or any for that matter. We will continue to cater for and build on the loyal community GameMaker and YoYo have developed, as well as investing more resources into improving and making the system faster, more efficient, user-friendly and appeal to a wider professional games developer audience.

Will licensing options of the engine change at all?
At this stage NO, we plan to keep the licensing model as is. Like any company YoYo is constantly exploring new licensing models but it is unlikely to make large-scale changes at the near future. We are looking at ways in which we can extend the GameMaker reach within the developers’ community and it is more likely that we will look for ways to introduce other options to the free Standard Edition in the medium to long-term.

Will the development roadmap of GameMaker change at all in the short and long-term?
Playtech will add more resource and we’re working closely with the existing team to add several new features that will extend GM’s capabilities. The wider plan is GameMaker 2.0. This is under development and will be completed later this year. GameMaker 2.0. will be a major release that is based on a long time roadmap that YoYo founders have shared with us based on the developers’ community requests, this was one of the reasons we decided to invest and acquire YoYo in the first place.

In summary, what can we expect?
We hope that by investing the needed money and expertise Playtech has into YoYo you will get a better and more complete GameMaker.


Jun 7, 2013
Hopefully that email isn't horseshit. I really like playing around with GMS. Been planning on making a little game with my room mate's 9 year old son.


Dec 9, 2006
Is there any difference between this purchase of YoYo Games compared to the original purchase of GameMaker from Mark Overmars by YoYo Games?

EDIT: Eh, it seems YoYo Games was only established when it became in charge of GameMaker in 2007, so perhaps this purchase is a bigger deal than that.