Keywords Studios enters Australian market with latest acquisition

18 Mar 2021

Age of Empires. Image: Tantalus Media

The Dublin-headquartered gaming company has acquired an 85pc interest in Australian game developer Tantalus Media.

Gaming industry player Keywords Studios is becoming a majority investor in a game developer based in Melbourne as part of its global strategy.

The Dublin-headquartered company has acquired an 85pc interest in Tantalus Media for a total consideration of up to $46.8m.

The investment marks Keywords Studios’ entry into the Australian market and will further its strategy to become the ‘go to’ platform for the global video games industry.

Founded in 1994 and led by Tom Crago, Tantalus has worked on almost 100 games including Age of Empires, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Sonic Mania and Mass Effect.

As part of the deal, Crago will now work with Keywords Studios to drive expansion in the region.

He said both companies share the same outlook on the opportunities within the video game industry. “This provides us with a great platform for further expansion, and with the talent and expertise available in this part of the world, we are very excited about the future,” Crago added.

“For all of us, that means being able to work on more games than ever, with our existing publisher partners and beyond.”

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Keywords Studios’ joint interim CEO, Jon Hauck, said Tantalus brings 27 years of experience of video game development in Australia.

“As our first investment in Australia, we are very excited to work with Tom and his talented team who will bring invaluable expertise and market knowledge as we expand our presence in this attractive and growing region,” he said.

While this is the first acquisition of 2021 from Keywords Studios, it follows a string of strategic investments in 2020.

Its most recent acquisitions included PR agency Indigo Pearl and recording studio Jinglebell Communications, as well as full-service AAA game developer High Voltage Software, all of which were announced in December.

Earlier in 2020, the company struck deals to take over UK development studio Coconut Lizard, creative marketing agency Maverick Media, game developer Heavy Iron Studios, and Hollywood marketing firm Gnet.

Keywords Studios established in 1998 and now has more than 65 facilities in 21 countries.

The company enjoys a strong market position, providing services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Epic Games and Ubisoft.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com