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Next Games, the Finnish developers behind free to play mobile game The Walking Dead: No Man's Land, have revealed that it is planning to list on Nasdaq First North Finland. The expectation with this IPO is to raise €30 million ($31.77m) to fuel growth. The shares will be available to private investors and Next Games staff in Finland, as well as institutional investors both in Finland and worldwide.
Finland has never seen the IPO of a gaming company, which will make Next Games a first. This is despite the country hosting large mobile games company's which include the likes of Supercell and Rovio. Rovio opted out of an IPO as growth halted and staffing levels had to be cut. Indeed, Rovio reduced staffing levels from above 800 in 2015, to below 500 at the start of this year. Supercell, on the other hand, sold a majority stake to Tencent (HKG:0700)with success of games like Clash of Clans and the follow-up, Clash Royale, seeing large success worldwide.
Next Games is slightly different to these two. Their largest game is the aforementioned The Walking Dead: No Man's Land, based on the U.S. television series. Based on a statement released by the CEO, Teemu Huuhtanen, the cornerstone strategy of the company is to release titles based on pre-existing entertainment franchises. What has been revealed is that the company has two titles in development right now. The plans are to release at least one new game per year, starting in 2018, as well as offer enhanced support for No Man's Land.
Next Games - Using Brand Recognition
There's little doubting the fact that using an already successful franchise can work well. No Man's Land has proven to be a large success for the company. Primarily on the back of the game's success, which was launched in September 2015, the company was able to triple sales last year.
Revenue for the company hit €31.1 million ($32.94m) in the year ending 31st December 2015, over triple that of 2015. Teemu Huuhtanen also revealed that the company became profitable in the second half of the year. Should the planned IPO go ahead and be successful, the company intends to use proceeds to ensure sufficient funding for new licensing agreements, development and marketing of new games as well as No Man's Land.
With a long-term strategy in effect, as well as two games in development with the proven growth of their flagship title, Next Games certainly appears to be a strong prospect for the future. Particularly so if other large franchises like The Walking Dead can be licensed and capitalised on. Next Games could very well be an interesting company to follow, particularly due to the ever-growing market that is mobile gaming.