Video games developer Team17 has announced record maiden annual profits following 12 new game launches in 2018.
The Wakefield-based group said it has a solid pipeline of game launches planned for 2019 and its headcount increased 30 per cent to 167 by the end of 2018.
The group's chief executive Debbie Bestwick said staff numbers will rise in line with revenue growth, which is expected to rise 10 per cent this year, implying a headcount increase of around 10 per cent in 2019.
“Our people remain our point of differentiation - their passion, talent, ambition and teamwork collectively made the difference in 2018, and as such, it was most rewarding to see industry recognition across our label with over 140 nominations and awards for our games and people," she said.
Top performing games in 2018 included the award-winning Overcooked 2 and Yoku’s Island Express.
Overcooked 2, the sequel to the double BAFTA-winning game, is a chaotic cooking game in which players serve a variety of dishes including sushi, pasta, cakes, burgers and burritos to customers in a series of unconventional kitchens - including a hot air balloon, a magical wizard’s school and another planet.
Team17, which is best known for its hit game Worms, said players work solo or with up to three friends to prep orders while overcoming obstacles such as fire, collapsing floors, overbearing waiters and the classic kitchen problem of floating work surfaces.
Revenue rose 46 per cent to £43m in the year to December 31 following the group's flotation last May and pre-tax profits rose 62 per cent to £8.7m.
Ms Bestwick said the group has already launched three games in January: Genesis Alpha One, launched on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and on PC exclusively via the Epic Games store; My Time at Portia, released on PC via Steam and the Epic Games store; and The Escapists 2 Pocket breakout for mobile.
A new 100-person WW2 simulation shooter called Hell Let Loose will launch later this year.
"Hell Let Loose is a bit out of our comfort zone, but we like to challenge ourselves" said Ms Bestwick.
"We've never made a 100-person shooter before. We decided to work with the best development team around the world."
The Golf with your Friends franchise joined the label in February 2019 and the group's developers will be working to expand this franchise further in 2019.
Ms Bestwick said the video games market is seeing significant growth and opportunities, with a recent report from gaming analytics firm Newzoo estimating the market will be valued in excess of $180bn by 2021.
"Our stock market listing last year was a key milestone for the company and we were delighted with the level of support seen from investors throughout our successful IPO on AIM in May 2018," said Ms Bestwick.
She said the oversubscribed placing raised £107.5m, of which £45.1m was used to repay debt and the remainder was distributed to existing shareholders leaving Team17 in a strong cash position.
"Our entry onto AIM has allowed the company to retain our independence and enhance our profile whilst also providing the ability to incentivise both current and future employees," said Ms Bestwick.
"The last year has been a whirlwind. To release these results 10 months after a float is phenomenal. Following the float, our profile is significantly higher.
"We're really proud of a record year and we've had a strong start to 2019."
In September the group announced the launch of Planet Alpha, the 100th game is has launched since it was founded in 1990.
Analyst Alexandre Schmidt at Liberum said: "Team17 has delivered a strong set of 2018 results.
"Revenue growth of 46 per cent has been fuelled by successful releases, particularly Overcooked 2, and strong back catalogue sales, suggesting the Games Label strategy continues to deliver.
"Shares are up 17 per cent since initiation, but we see further scope for upgrades as Team17 looks to grow its own-IP portfolio and benefits from an expanding back catalogue of games. We keep our 'buy' and increase our target price to 255p from 225p."