PlaySide Studios strikes deal with Warner Bros to create Game of Thrones PC game

PlaySide Studios strikes deal with Warner Bros to create Game of Thrones PC game

Photo: Game of Thrones. 

Five months after announcing it signed a multi-game licence agreement with Warner Bros, Melbourne-based PlaySide Studios (ASX: PLY) has revealed it is working on a strategy game inspired by the popular fantasy series Games of Thrones.

Founded in 2012, PlaySide is one of the largest games development studios in the country, with 330 staff working from three offices - two in Melbourne and one in the Gold Coast. The remainder of the team works remotely across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

The Game of Thrones title is being developed by PlaySide Studios and officially licenced by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on behalf of HBO. It will allow players to venture alone or in multiplayer mode, with the format being a real-time strategy (RTS) game.

The developer has a portfolio of more than 70 titles, including award-winning dark fantasy RTS Age of Darkness: Final Stand, in addition to offering development services with AAA game studios and tech giants such as Activision Blizzard, Meta, Netflix Games and Take Two Interactive.

“This agreement is a groundbreaking moment for PlaySide, the culmination of years of effort building relationships with Hollywood studios and investing in our PC and Console development expertise. It is also consistent with our plans to develop larger titles,” PlaySide CEO Gerry Sakkas said when the project was initially announced.

“We are huge fans of the IP we are working with and are thrilled to be entrusted with the task of bringing it to life for other fans. We are proud to be partnering with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which has a longstanding history of supporting the extension of its franchise such as Batman into video games and has enjoyed recent success with the likes of Hogwart’s Legacy.”

Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in the US in mid-2011 and concluded around eight years later, totalling 73 episodes over eight seasons. The series became one of the most acclaimed programs of all-time and is based on the Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin.

The game in development will allow players to take control of prominent factions from the series, recreating characters and the world of Westeros for avid fans.

Other IP licences PlaySide has secured and built characters from includes The Walking Dead and Cars 3. The studio also worked on a collection of mini-games for Dumb Ways to Die – a local public campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne to promote railway safety.

The studio also has a publishing arm that provides funding, development support, marketing and publishing of third-party games for smaller independent studios.

For the first half of FY24, PlaySide announced a record revenue of $36.2 million – more than double the $16.5 million reported the year prior. The studio’s Original IP revenue also soared to $17.7 million, up from $5.6 million. Work for Hire revenue reached a record $18.5 million, reflecting a 69 per cent increase from $10.9 million.

The company also hit a record $12.2 million in EBITDA.

PlaySide has noted an operating cash flow of $12.8 million and a cash balance of $38.3 million.

At the time of writing, PlaySide shares are up 5.17 per cent at 91.5 cents, equating to a market capitalisation of $373 million.

“As a company we are very proud of being able to not only deliver a very high rate of revenue growth but also an extremely strong half year result in terms of earnings and cash flow,” Sakkas said in an update to investors in February.

“When we have a portfolio of high-quality IP and identify the right ways to monetise it, like we have with Dumb Ways to Die, the value created in our business is significant.

“It is why we have deliberately reinvested the profits from our Work for Hire division into progressively larger Original IP projects, and I’m excited by the slate of opportunities in front of us.”

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