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Keywords acquisitions top €14m with third deal


Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords

Irish video-game company Keywords Studios has acquired Yokozuna Data, a Japanese developer of video games and solutions for game production.

Keywords will pay Silicon Studio a total cash consideration of $1.5m (€1.3m) for the business, technology rights and trademarks.

Based in Tokyo, Yokozuna Data's team of machine learning engineers, big data engineers and data scientists has developed a range of self-learning, predictive analytic models that draw on artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

These tools can predict individual video game player behaviour and adapt themselves in response to changes that are made in the game.

The models are used for determining the likelihood of players abandoning a video game, as well as the likelihood of a player buying items in the game.

"We have been looking for opportunities to establish a foothold in the exciting area of video-game analytics for a few years," Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords, said.

"As games continue to transition to a service model from a product model, the use of sophisticated analytics engines, like this, to automatically understand player behaviour and trigger real-time decisions in-game will become increasingly valuable to our clients."

As part of the agreement, Silicon will collaborate with Keywords in introducing the technology to Japanese game developers and publishers. Silicon also has a non-exclusive right to resell the Yokozuna Data solution into the non-gaming markets, in exchange for a share of the associated revenues.

Keywords is on a buying spree, having announced the acquisition of Canada's Snowed In Studios for CAD$4m (€2.6m) on Friday, while last month it purchased Hollywood-based Blindlight for a total consideration of $10m (€8.5m).

According to Davy analyst Joseph Quinn the acquisitions are being funded by a mix of loans, internal funds, and stock options.

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"Keywords is going more into the engineering and analytics space, as it increases its service offering for game development," Mr Quinn said.

"In the last few years it has been making 10-plus acquisitions a year, yesterday's deal is among the smaller of them."

Last year Keywords, which has more than 40 studios in 20 countries, reported an adjusted profit before tax of €23m. Revenue for 2017 was €151m, a 57pc increase year-on-year.

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