Riot Games acquires Wargaming Sydney Studio to focus on live gaming

The Sydney development studio of Wargaming has been acquired by League of Legends company Riot Games. Riot did not disclose the price or terms of the purchase.

BigWorld, based in Australia and founded as BigWorld Technology in 2002, was the original name of Wargaming Sydney. Bigworld Technology previously powered over 30 MMOs and online games, and it also held the record for the most online gamers on a single MMO server. It was acquired by Wargaming in 2012 for $45 million and contributed to its World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes military MMOs. The studio’s new name will be Riot Sydney. The Wargaming banner will continue to refer to the publishing division of Wargaming Sydney. Riot Sydney will incorporate the full development workforce. While the current publishing team will continue to work for Wargaming, the whole development team will join Riot Sydney.

Speaking on the acquisition, Riot Games President, Marc Merrill, said that the company is excited to bring on a new group of talented developers. “We are really excited to bring these talented developers and teams to Riot. The Rioters that have had the opportunity to work with members of the Sydney team are confident not only in the tech they’ve built over the years but, more importantly, in the people who’ve built it. 

“Naz (Naresh Hirani, Head of Development, Riot Sydney) and the dev teams at the studio have a long history of working in ways that will complement Riot’s ability to deliver value to our players, and we really look forward to collaborating with them.”

Australia’s digital gaming industry

The digital gaming business market is expected to be valued at $240 billion globally in 2020 and $294 billion by 2024. Australia’s video gaming industry is growing. In 2021, the industry generated $226.5 million in revenue, a 22 per cent increase over the previous year, with overseas markets accounting for 83 per cent of the money.

The government announced that it would establish a DGTO as part of the Digital Economy Strategy in order to support the Australian digital games industry, increase employment opportunities for digital and creative talent, boost the industry’s global competitiveness, and promote Australia as a desirable investment destination. 

For eligible businesses that spend a minimum of $500,000 on eligible Australian development expenditure connected to the development of eligible games starting on July 1, 2022, the DGTO provides a 30 per cent refundable tax break.

According to the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association’s annual poll, which also noted a 7 per cent increase in employment in Australia over the previous year, this is the case. In 2021, there were 187 Australian gaming studios with 1,327 full-time employees (or equivalent), and 64 per cent of these studios planned to hire in 2022.

Gaming live-streaming audience to hit over one billion by 2025

The global market for digital media has been steadily rising, with gaming accounting for the lion’s share of industry sales. Online gaming generated an expected 21.1 billion US dollars in revenue in 2020, marking a 21.9 per cent increase over the previous year.

The global COVID-19 pandemic, which caused many people to stay at home, rely on digital entertainment, and seek out new social media platforms, likely contributed to this spike. There are an estimated 1 billion online gamers worldwide, with China, South Korea, and Japan having the highest populations. By 2025, the number of individuals playing online games is predicted to reach 1.3 billion.

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