Keywords Studios adds High Voltage Software to its list of 2020 acquisitions

15 Dec 2020

Gamer playing Fortnite, which both Keywords Studios and High Voltage Software have worked on. Image: © seanlockephotography/

Dublin-headquartered Keywords Studios ends the year with yet another acquisition to expand its video game development services.

Keywords Studios has announced that it will acquire the entire issued share capital of High Voltage Software for a total consideration of up to $50m.

High Voltage Software is an end-to-end, full-service AAA game developer based near Chicago with a subsidiary studio in New Orleans. Since its founding in 1993, it has shipped more than 100 games across all genres and platforms, stacking up credits on franchises such as Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, Saints Row and Lego Racers.

“With its 27-year pedigree of game development in the global video games market, High Voltage brings incredible experience, expertise and additional scale to our fast-growing game development service line,” said Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios.

“The multitalented team at HVS brings deep expertise in the Unreal game engine development environment, honed particularly well in recent years through working closely with Epic Games on Fortnite, as well as a track record of having worked with many client proprietary game engines, gaming platforms and game genres, which all adds further breadth and depth to Keywords Studios’ existing capabilities. It also adds a new presence in Chicago and in New Orleans for the group, providing access to an additional pool of talent.”

High Voltage will continue to be led by founder and majority shareholder Kerry Ganofsky within the Keywords Studios group.

‘Keywords Studios will provide us the ability to embark upon a growth trajectory for our business creating the next generation of AAA games’

“We are overjoyed to join an industry-leading global group such as Keywords Studios,” Ganofsky said. “We are tremendously excited they share our vision for augmenting our development capabilities and they will provide us the ability to embark upon a growth trajectory for our business creating the next generation of AAA games.

“Furthermore, Keywords Studios’ investment in our studio is an outstanding sign for the continued expansion of game development in Illinois and Louisiana.”

The acquisition is one of many by Keywords Studios this year alone. In summer, it announced the acquisition of UK studio Coconut Lizard, followed soon after by the acquisition of video game marketing agency Maverick Media in a £3.6m deal. September saw the announcement of an €11.2m acquisition of LA’s Heavy Iron Studios and, more recently, Hollywood-based marketing firm Gnet was acquired in a deal worth $32m.

As well as expanding the US presence of Keywords Studios, this latest acquisition aligns with the company’s goal of becoming the ‘go to’ technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry by significantly expanding its game development service line.

High Voltage is expected to generate EBITDA of around $9m in 2021. The terms of the acquisition state that Keyword Studios will pay a maximum amount of $50m in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares, based on performance targets and other conditions being met by the end of next year.

Dublin-headquartered Keywords Studios was founded in 1998 and now has 65 facilities operating across 21 countries. The company has provided services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies and recent game credits include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, League of Legends and Fortnite.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.