Playside Studios doesn’t frequently come up in conversations of Australia’s biggest developers — gamers generally tend to think of Hollow Knight’s Team Cherry, EA’s Firemonkeys, Wargaming Sydney, the Untitled Goose Game developers, or other games they recognise. But Playside Studios is about to become a whole lot bigger, with Playside preparing for an IPO later this year.
The IPO will value the developer, which lists games such as The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, AR Dragon, Kubo A Samurai Quest, the Dumb Ways to Die series and other licensed mobile spin-offs, at around $50 million according to The Financial Review. The Melbourne studio reportedly finalised a $3 million pre-IPO funding round earlier this week, with investors hearing that the studio made $7 million in revenue for the 2020 financial year.
PlaySide’s CEO is a former EA alumni, Gerry Sakkas, who worked as a designer for Visceral Games Australia. According to the AFR, PlaySide’s games had nearly 700,000 monthly active users for the last financial year across all of its games, with more than 4.6 million downloads in the same timeframe.
That’s neither the most downloaded game or the most played out of Australia, particularly on mobile. But it does show that the appetite for backing local video game development is growing, and the understanding of the industry’s financial potential is starting to mature.
It does make you wonder — what would the industry look like in Australia if venture capital or seed funding was more mature, or there was more support for the scene at a federal level? Fortunately, there are growing signs that Canberra’s long-standing apathy for games is starting to fade.