MARCH. 4, 2014 • Aeria Games & Entertainment, Inc. is selling its PC games distribution business to ProSiebenSat.1 Games GmbH (PSG) for an undisclosed amount. Included in the deal is the former’s European subsidiary Aeria Games Europe GmbH, as well as licenses to certain successful mobile games. PSG is taking over the entire Aeria Games brand and platform, and expects no consumer disruption as a result of the acquisition. Aeria intends to exclusively use the proceeds from the agreement to expand its game development for smartphones, and to further its mobile publishing business. PSG is a German mass media conglomerate based in Unterföhring with broadcast, cable, print and electronic media interests.
Impact: A little over four years ago we were touting Aeria as a leading maker of graphically demanding and complex MMOGs that require a significant client download with more than 10 million registered users. A lot can change in 48 months. Now the company wants nothing to do with PC content – client or browser. At face value this seems a little odd, as the major source of revenue growth in games globally is on the PC. But dig a little deeper and it s easier to see why Aeria decided to sell. Less than two years ago Aeria told us of their ambitions to substantially increase their revenue derived from mobile games. In many ways this made sense since Aeria has concentrated a great deal on distributing game content through its Ignite service, which was being adapted to support smartphone users. The company accentuated its publishing operations by merging with Gamepot, Inc. in December 2012. The latter is a leading Japanese publisher and developer of PC and mobile games. Lastly, mobile is where the major platform growth is at the moment. What we suspect is also behind this wholesale conversion to mobile is that competition for mid-core free-to-play online PC games has gotten fierce in recent years with the likes of Kabam, Kixeye and others. As Aeria did not develop most of the PC titles it published, it is harder to fend off other content providers while wooing the limited number of independent studios creating core games. Not that the mid-core mobile game segment is any less crowded – this is the same space that Zynga is attempting to enter, after all. But with more in-house development resources for mobile, Aeria will have better control over what content it releases for smartphones. Even so, we wish Aeria well as it jumps from the frying pan into the fire.