Wargaming.net is not content ruling the World of Warships, the World of Warplanes, and most importantly the World of Tanks. The Belarusian video game company is dead set on ruling the actual world. Maybe not literally, but the company already commands one of the largest single game audiences on the planet. World of Tanks became one of the most played games on Earth in December when it hit 45 million active players, besting even Riot’s League of Legends. In 2013, the company has been spending its free-to-play-born wealth on acquiring other game studios, expanding its empire across the globe. Gas Powered Games, creator of Dungeon Siege, is Wargaming’s latest purchase.
“Gas Powered Games’ heritage and development pedigree shows us just how valuable an addition Chris [Taylor, studio founder] and his company will make to the Wargaming family,” said Wargaming chief Victor Kislyi, “Gas Powered Games has a long track record of providing incredibly engaging AAA gaming experiences and we can’t wait to start working with them.”
After making strategy classic Total Annihilation in 1996, Taylor founded Gas Powered Games in 1998, making Dungeon Siege for Microsoft Game Studios and the Supreme Commander series for THQ and later Square-Enix. Gas Powered Games has struggled to stay open over the past two years. With days to go on a Kickstarter campaign for the game Wildman, it appeared the Gas Powered Games would not be able to raise adequate funds—with three days left, it had raised just above $500,000 of its targeted goal of $1.1 million—but it abruptly closed the campaign on Tuesday. Rather than shutting down the studio as some suspected, it turns out that Wargaming was buying the studio.
Based on its recent activities, Wargaming appears dead set on capturing Western gamers’ attention in the same way it’s done with Russian and other Eastern European audiences. It acquired F.E.A.R. 3 and MechAssault developer Day 1 Studios for $20 million at the end of January. The purchase was made to expand into the console business. “The move into console game development is a huge step for Wargaming, as we begin to expand our presence into new platforms,” said Kislyi. Gas Powered Games, however, is chiefly a PC game developer.
Wargaming did not say whether or not it would continue developing Gas Powered’s Wildman or it’s delayed strategy game Kings and Castles.