The size of the team is still very modest, but this is nonetheless a first for Gameloft. The French video game group has just opened a development studio in France with around ten employees, located at the group’s headquarters in Paris, which should eventually have its own premises.
“We hired about ten people from the Rubika school who were working on a joint project for a game that convinced us,” explains Stéphane Roussel, CEO of Gameloft, which has belonged to Vivendi since 2016. The team is also made up of more experienced people. We are still going to recruit with the objective of reaching around thirty employees by the end of the year. Until then, Gameloft had studios located in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. But not in France.
With Gameloft Paris, the group – historically focused on mobile titles – intends to accelerate its new strategy: launch 100% PC and console games, without refraining from bringing the title to smartphones and tablets afterward. A real change of course but also a natural evolution.
In recent years, Gameloft has occasionally developed high-end mobile titles with production budgets of over €10 million and equivalent to “double-A” (mid-range) titles on consoles and PC. This did not prevent it from struggling to emerge in this rat race that is the mobile game market.
First two 100% PC and console titles this year
The Gameloft Paris studio will therefore tackle a title for consoles and PC which should be released in the second half of 2023. In the meantime, Gameloft will launch its first two 100% console and PC games this year (with a model still “free-to-play”, the titles being free and equipped with paid bonuses) via the releases of the racing game “Disney Speedstorm”, planned for this summer, then of the life simulation title “Disney Dreamlight Valley.
Two very big projects insight for the company which raised its head last year. In 2021, Gameloft’s revenues grew by 4.5% over one year, to 265 million euros. Its highest level since 2018. And profitability is back in the green with an adjusted operating profit of 8 million, against -24 million a year earlier. This welcome improvement, after several delicate exercises, nevertheless resulted in a depreciation of 200 million Gameloft in Vivendi’s accounts, reducing its value to 400 million.
Games on Apple Arcade and on Netflix
There is a delay effect. This is due to the years that followed the takeover of Gameloft where we encountered difficulties, points out Stéphane Roussel who is also a general manager in charge of operations at Vivendi. But Gameloft is very well positioned between its new strategy and the content war. More and more tech giants are indeed very demanding in video game productions to feed their various platforms.
Five Gameloft games (including “The Oregon Trail”) are already on Apple Arcade, the iPhone maker’s paid offering. A virtuous model for the French firm since the Cupertino group pays the development costs and then pays a share according to the popularity of the games on its service.
Last year, Gameloft also took its first steps on Netflix’s games to offer one of its old titles, “Asphalt Xtreme”, for a fixed sum. Content needs that are not about to dry up.
Gameloft Paris, the French group intends to accelerate its new strategy: to launch 100% PC and console games. A real change of course but also a natural evolution for Gameloft historically focused on mobile titles. In 2021, the group belonging to Vivendi returned to growth after several delicate exercises.