Game developer

Keywords Studios PLC snaps up game developer Age of Empires for $32.5 million

Keywords Studios has signed a conditional agreement to acquire Forgotten Empires, a full-service video game development studio, for up to $32.5 million.

Forgotten Empires specializes in strategy games and developed Age of Empires for Microsoft, where it also worked with Keywords, including all recent updates to the hit franchise.

Keywords said the acquisition is part of its strategy to become the go-to technical and creative services platform in the global video games industry.

Based in Ohio and founded by Ryan Shepherd in 2013, Forgotten Empires employs 53 people and generated $7.2 million in revenue in 2021, a figure that is expected to grow strongly this year, Keywords said.

The consideration of $32.5 million includes $15.75 million in cash up front, $3.75 million in stock to be issued one year after completion and up to $13 million in cash and in shares based on performance.

Bertrand Bodson, Managing Director of Keywords Studios, said: “The [Forgotten Empires] studio was instrumental in the creation, design and development of the hit and growing Age of Empires series.

“The talented team at Forgotten Empires brings their experience and expertise, particularly in real-time strategy games and will be a great addition to our client offering and game development capability.

Ryan Shepherd, who remains at the helm of the company, added, “Having worked alongside some of Keywords’ development studios, we know the cultural fit will work well and we look forward to working more closely together.”

in a separate business update, Keywords said it was off to a strong start for 2022 with strong organic revenue growth in the first four months.

“We are confident that the performance for the full year will be in line with current expectations.

“Keywords remains well funded to execute its organic growth and acquisition strategy.”

The ancillary video games specialist also gave details of its Capital Markets Day which begins at 2pm UK time today (Wednesday 8th June) and during which Keywords will outline its strategic objectives (details here).

The next scheduled trading update will be the Group’s half-year results in September 2022.