Record results for video games developer as people turn to gaming in lockdowns

Global video games developer Team17 released a record number of titles in 2020 as more people turned to their consoles during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Team17 completed the acquisition of third party title, Golf With Your Friends, for £12m

The Wakefield-based firm, best known for the Worms video game franchise, launched 12 titles in 2020 and a record 10 new games were released, supported by an increasing number of back catalogue titles.

Two titles - Worms Rumble and Overcooked! All You Can Eat - were launched on next-generation consoles.

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The firm also saw a strong performance from its back catalogue, which contributed 78 per cent of overall revenues.

The company reported a 34 per cent leap in revenues to £83m for the year to December 31. Pre-tax profits reached a record £26.2m - up 36 per cent year on year.

Looking ahead, Team17 said it has a solid and diverse pipeline of launches for 2021 and beyond and is well positioned to deliver on its growth plans.

It said 2021 has started well and the expansion of major new consoles and distribution platforms underpins its optimism about the future of gaming.

The board said it is mindful of any potential headwinds associated with a prolonged pandemic, including uncertain macro-economic and consumer environments alongside manufacturing and supply chain challenges.

However, the company remains confident that its ever-growing and diverse portfolio and high-quality development and commercial teams will continue to underpin its performance.

It said it is reviewing a healthy pipeline of potential merger and acquisition opportunities that could bring long term value.

Debbie Bestwick, chief executive of Team17, said: "Team17 has been able to offer gamers a means of escapism and a way to interact with their friends and family more than ever before, even when they were unable to meet face to face.

"The ability to enjoy interactive entertainment between multiple households is something that is almost unique to gaming and we are pleased that our inclusive and family-oriented games have proven so popular."

She said the popularity of gaming is likely to continue even when lockdown ends.

"I think it's a permanent trend. Covid has accelerated where the games industry probably would have been within a couple of years anyway," she said.

"We are cautious over what people will be doing when they do come out of lockdown, but I do believe gaming is on the upwards in general."

She said that 2021 will be a "very exciting and busy year" for Team17, with more games signed to its label than at any time in its history and new IP launches including Rogue Heroes, King of Seas, Narita Boy, Epic Chef, Super Magbot, Greak: Memories of Azur, Honey I Joined a Cult and Hokko Life with three new games still to be announced."

Ms Bestwick said games like Worms, Escapists, Overcooked!, Golf With Your Friends, Hell Let Loose and Moving Out all proved very popular in 2020.

"We have a good portfolio of family games, but also we have some for the older age group as well," she said.

"It's been a great way to communicate with family and friends and chat and game around the world."

She said that 2020 was a significant year for the gaming industry as a whole, as it saw the launch of both Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles.

"It is fantastic to see our titles being launched on both these platforms and that another generation of gamers will get to explore Team17’s gaming universes," she said.

"Incredibly, our Worms franchise is now 25 years old and in December we launched the franchise’s newest title, Worms Rumble, on PlayStation 5.

"While we have all been delighted to see how well the game has taken to this new platform, I know many gamers, myself included, will fondly remember Worms’ first iteration, developed for the Commodore Amiga and released in 1995."

Team17 said it had a seamless transition to remote working in early March 2020 ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak as the safety of colleagues was paramount.

Following the acquisition and integration of Yippee Entertainment, the group has established a second UK development studio based in Media City, Manchester. Following the deal, the Manchester team has doubled in size.

The company reported overall headcount growth of 25 per cent to 250 teamsters at the end of 2020.