Ubisoft picks up Future Games of London

Publisher acquires mobile studio behind free-to-play Hungry Shark franchise

Ubisoft landed a big fish today, announcing that it has acquired Hungry Shark developer Future Games of London. While financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, the publisher will bring on board the studio's flagship franchise as well as its staff of 41 employees.

Future Games of London was formed in 2009 and built its success around the Hungry Shark series of free-to-play action games on Android and iOS. Earlier this year the company announced that its games had been downloaded 50 million times, and it expected to reach 90 million by the end of this year. That would turn out to be a conservative growth estimate, as Ubisoft's announcement today confirmed that Future Games of London's efforts have already surpassed 100 million downloads.

Future Games of London addressed the move separately, explaining, "The decision to sell is always a difficult one, especially when we have built so much success as an independent company, with our own IP and a direct relationship with our players. However, as we grow the team and as the mobile free-to-play industry around us evolves, we want to be in a position to place bigger bets on better games. Being part of Ubisoft's family gives us the support, experience, marketing and resources we need to make a very big impact with our future titles."

When it announced its 2013 growth projections, Future Games of London also stated its intent to move Hungry Shark beyond the mobile market and onto PCs and Macs. However, those plans failed to materialize.

Ubisoft mobile managing director Jean-Michel Detoc said the move fit in with the publisher's direction, saying, "With this deal, we're biting off an even bigger part of the market for mobile and tablet games. Future Games of London brings a popular and profitable franchise to Ubisoft's portfolio, and supplements our mobile group with a very talented team that has a deep understanding of mobile and free-to-play mechanics."

Ubisoft has been busy on the acquisitions front this year. In January, it snatched up THQ Montreal from the THQ bankruptcy auction. It followed that up by picking up the remaining 70 percent of Related Designs that it didn't already own, and just last week brought on board Digital Chocolate Barcelona.

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Latest comments (9)

Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Didn't predict this one.
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Oliver Birch Director of Marketing, Hothead Games4 years ago
Congrats to all at FGOL - great news!
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
If Chris Lee invests and is a director, there's a good chance it will get acquired - see also FreeStyle Games (Activision) and Media Molecule (Sony).
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
I see a lot more of this happening. Big publishers hoovering up the best mobile studios.
Games as a service requires a completely different mindset to games as a product and very many people have trouble adapting. This is why many of the most successful mobile people have no former game industry experience, so they don't have to unlearn the old model.
FGoL know what they are doing. So Ubisoft are getting good people. The difficulty comes in integrating them into Ubisoft so as to capitalise on their knowledge without putting inappropriate restrictions on them.
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Christophe Danguien games developer 4 years ago
@Bruce, lol about what you said. The Head of Technology at FGoL is a veteran in games industry, so it contradicts completely what you said. One of the producer is a veteran too...I think they're making good stuff because of that not despise it...
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
@Christophe Danguien

I went to a talk they gave in London.
And they emphasised like crazy that mobile is completely different to console.
I said: "many of the most successful mobile people have no former game industry experience" and that holds true.
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@Bruce - Ubisoft are very experienced at integrating teams, and are good at encouraging their individuality. Looks like a good match
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Well done to the lads, Chris and Ian are a great pair who knew what they were doing years ago. Probably the most sussed mobile devs I've encountered.
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Christophe Danguien games developer 4 years ago
@Bruce, it's not because they emphasised it, that it means they succeeded because they aren't games veterans....
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