Team17 celebrates record year with plans for a new Worms game

Global video games developer Team17 has reported record trading and profits thanks to strong growth in 2019 when it launched seven new games.

Overcooked has seen strong sales

The Wakefield-based firm, best known for the Worms video game franchise, said it has a solid pipeline of game launches planned for 2020 with 10 new titles including Moving Out and Main Assembly which will both launch next month.

The group’s CEO Debbie Bestwick said: “Moving Out is in the ‘couch co-op’ genre. You sit on your couch and play with your friends.

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“It’s very similar to Worms and Overcooked. It’s a game that anybody can play - with your non-gaming friends, with your family, your children - in the same way you would play board games.

“In Main Assembly, you are building machines to overcome and challenge. It’s very similar to All Hell Let loose in terms of early access launch. You are building machines to overcome many things.”

The group is making plans for Worms’ 25 year anniversary this year and a new game is in development to be launched later this year.

The Worms franchise has sold over 75 million game units since its first launch 25 years ago. The new game will give players the chance to experience Worms in a new, modern format. Developed internally by Team17 across both the Wakefield and Manchester studios, Team17 said the game will attract both new audiences and loyal fans, maximising revenues.

Team17 said revenue rose 43 per cent to £62m in 2019 and gross profit rose 49 per cent to £29.5m.

Ms Bestwick described it as an “excellent year for Team17, delivering record revenues and operating profits”.

Asked whether the firm could benefit from people staying indoors to avoid the coronavirus outbreak, Ms Bestwick said: “We’ve not seen anything material from coronavirus.

“In the games industry traditionally, it’s fairly recession proof. You’re right, more people will play games at home, but does that mean they will be creating additional revenue?”

She said many people will choose to play games that they already own.

Mark Crawford, interim chief financial officer, said: “We had really strong sales growth last year, up 43 per cent.

“That’s a testament to the team we’ve built both in Wakefield, on the development side, and the commercial team. We’ve invested in 20 per cent more people.”

The group increased its head count increased by 20 per cent to 200 staff last year, reflecting further investment across all areas of the business.

Analyst Katie Cousins at Shore Capital said: “We are pleased to see that the back catalogue contributed 71 per cent of 2019 revenue, highlighting the success and longevity of the titles and the importance of support the gaming titles post launch.

“Management has stated a positive outlook for 2020, which has a solid pipeline of games launches and more new original game IP launches than any year so far, 10 titles already announced.

“Note that due to the timing of new game launches, revenues in 2020 are expected to be more weighted to the second half of the year and the company believes previous investment into people and headcount over the last 12 months can support this increased work.

“We continue to like the vast, low-cost portfolio and huge digital presence. Through targeting the indie market, the company has specialised strategically in a niche market with a typically loyal fan base and is suitable with many genres and platforms.”