Sweden’s Starbreeze buys Indian video game studio Dhruva Interactive – VentureBeat

Sweden’s Starbreeze, publisher of games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, has acquired 90.5 percent of Indian game maker Dhruva Interactive for $7 million in cash and $1.5 million in stock. It’s one more sign of the globalization of the game business.

In doing so, Starbreeze gains 320 employees at Bangalore-based Dhruva, which Indian game pioneer Rajesh Rao started in 1997. Dhruva has grown by providing art production, taking on tasks that include making the cars in Microsoft’s Forza racing series.

Dhruva Interactive has had a long relationship with Stockholm-based Starbreeze. The Indian developer has three studios, two in the southern city of Bangalore and a studio in the northern city of Dehradun, located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. In an email to GamesBeat, Rao said he was excited about Starbreeze’s virtual reality strategy in particular.

Dhruva will continue to operate under its own brand and continue servicing its clients in the global games industry. Dhruva has worked with the biggest names in the industry on numerous triple-A titles, such as Halo 5, Forza Horizon 3, Days Gone, Sea of Thieves, and Quantum Break.

Led by a seasoned leadership team, Dhruva attracts and retains the best talent from all over India, including a team focused on serious gaming. For several years, the company has provided the major part of the art-asset production for Payday 2. Starbreeze’s hits also include Dead by Daylight, made by Canada’s Behaviour Interactive.

Through the acquisition, Starbreeze secures its art-production needs for projects like Overkill’s The Walking Dead and Nozon’s VFX production, improves the quality of its in-house production projects, and lowers its operating costs.

“Bold plans need the right partners, and content is king. We have worked with Dhruva Interactive for several years and know them well. I am confident that bringing Dhruva into the Starbreeze family will strengthen Starbreeze as a global entertainment company,” said Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint, in a statement. “Dhruva will continue to operate independently under its own brand and run business as usual with existing partners, while greatly contributing to [the] Starbreeze pipeline and adding pronounced value to our publishing services and VR ecosystem.”

The deal will also enable Starbreeze to provide full end-to-end services to its participating publishing partners and to add significant value to its VR ecosystem.

“Starbreeze has been a great client, and over time, we realized that Starbreeze is exactly the kind of company that we’d like to evolve with. They have strong games, an awesome vision for VR, similar culture, and a skilled management team,” said Dhruva’s Rao, in a statement. “Our talent art teams contribute to the some of the biggest and most visually stunning games in the industry today. As part of the Starbreeze family, we will be able to add cutting edge VR content to our repertoire as well. It’s an extremely exciting time.”

The deal contains an earn-out agreement of no more than $800,000 over the next four years.

Dhruva Interactive’s ongoing outsourcing business will have a limited but positive impact on Starbreeze revenue and profit from day one. In the financial year ending March 2016, Dhruva Interactive’s revenues amounted to $4.6 million.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the first quarter 2017, subject to approval processes for foreign investors in India.


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