Take-Two Interactive buys hit mobile developer Playdots

Video game studio Take-Two Interactive will purchase mobile games developer Playdots for $192 million, the company announced on Tuesday.

Playdots’ popular mobile games — including DotsTwo Dots, and Dots & Co. — have been downloaded more than 100 million times, according to a release by Take-Two Interactive. Two Dots was named an Editor’s Choice game in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store when it was released in 2014.

Playdots is helmed by Nir Efrat, who joined the company in 2018 after a stint at King, where he oversaw wildly successful titles like Farm Heroes SagaBubble Witch Saga, and Pet Rescue Saga. He’ll continue in his current position and manage the transition of his 70 employees after the acquisition.

“Our acquisition of Playdots will diversify and strengthen further Take-Two’s mobile game offerings, particularly within the casual, free-to-play segment,” Michael Worosz, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy and Independent Publishing for Take-Two, said in a statement. “Two Dots continues to grow its audience and under the leadership of Nir, the addition of scavenger hunts, social leader boards, and live-ops technology are enhancing the game and driving meaningful, long-term consumer engagement. We are very pleased to welcome Nir and the entire team at Playdots to the Take-Two family and are excited by the potential of their development pipeline and positive, long-term contributions to our business.”

The move follows a trend in the video game industry of companies looking to expand into mobile gaming and could help Take-Two grow into the lucrative market.

Take-Two is traditionally underexposed to the mobile games market especially in the more mainstream content areas such as casual games,” said gaming industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls. “All games publishers are seeking ways to reach new audiences to grow their businesses. Some are building organically but many are acquiring studios to bring onboard new IP and mobile expertise.”

Other companies, like Ubisoft, have also purchased other companies with a similar intent. EA bought a few companies over the years to build EA Mobile, Harding-Rolls said, and Activision bought King in 2016.

Nintendo, which was initially reluctant to enter the mobile gaming arena, has also released a number of titles for mobile gaming, featuring its popular Mario Kart and Fire Emblem franchises.

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