UTV Acquires majority stake in True Games Interactive

UTV Interactive, the gaming arm of India headquartered media & entertainment group, UTV Software Communications Limited, has entered into definitive agreement to acquire 80% stake in True Games Interactive, a US-based online game publishing start-up. This acquisition is in keeping with UTV’s strategy of in-organic growth that the company has achieved in the past 18 months in the Interactive vertical through acquisitions of UK-based console developer, Ignition Entertainment Ltd, & Indiagames Ltd, India based mobile gaming company. With this recent acquisition UTV achieves presence across all platforms of gaming: Console – Online – Mobile, which spells dynamic synergies across the Interactive Vertical going forward.

Says Preneet Malhotra, CEO, UTV Interactive “Online gaming is the platform of the future once broadband penetration reaches across world markets. While this phenomenon is led by Asia, it has started gaining traction in the west as well. The True Games acquisition gives UTV not only presence in the international online gaming space, both in content creation and publishing but is also a major step towards achieving UTV’s 360 degree gaming vision.”

True Games brings to UTV Interactive, a model that’s 100% focused on the online Multiplayer Online Game Model, which accounts for almost half of the worldwide online game revenues. At the same time its gets UTV started in the Online Gaming Space with development, IP ownership and publishing, which is in keeping with the UTV group business model of B to C and creating & owning IPR. In addition, the True Games business model includes group content and publishing expertise in emerging markets like Turkey and India, among others, in the future.

“The benefits and opportunities that come with joining the growing UTV Interactive family are endless,” said Bob Drobish, CEO of True Games Interactive. “With this partnership we have not only received financial backing, but have also joined a group that offers vast expertise and experience in many areas of entertainment.”

Founded in January 2008, US-based True Games Interactive is located in California. True Games Interactive publishes international multi-player online games through development,aggregation, licensing, publishing and distribution throughout world markets. It was founded by a core team of MMO industry veterans with extensive experience in publishing and operating online games. True Games brings new and innovative development ideas online, delivers them with a state-of-the-art game platform, and leverages micro-transaction revenue models.

The company is working with world-class publishers to license existing online titles and world-class developers to create games exclusively for online play, including a deal with Petroglyph, the award-winning development team best known for its Star Wars: Empire At War and Universe at War series, with members also playing a key role in creating the original Command and Conquer series. True Games Interactive plans to release its first title in Q3 of 2008.

Business Dynamics: Worldwide online game community is expected to increase from the current 276 million to 376 million in 2012, a 36% growth rate with the revenues increasing from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $13.1 billion in 2012, a 130% increase with high growth markets like US, Europe, Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Turkey, etc. Online gamers need only their PC and an internet/broadband connection to start off while specific console hardware is needed for console gaming. The big draw for many online gamers is MMOs, where a player plays the game at the same time with thousands of other players, with an emphasis on the community and social interaction. Online games with its low prices and access to a variety of games (ranging from casual to MMORPGs) appeal to the masses. Which is important for price sensitive markets like Asia.

The US presents an attractive market in the online gaming space since the region continues to lead in broadband penetration in the world. Despite having lower numbers of broadband households in absolute terms 120 million people play video games in the USA a growing number of these consumers are also now using their personal computers to play online games. The majority of the growth in revenues mentioned in the online gaming space is still driven by the North American and East Asian (China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam) market.

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