Game Maker is an entry-level game development tool which has been used to create several indie megahits, including Undertale, Hyperlight Drifter, Heat Signature and Katana Zero. Since 2015, its developers YoYo Games have been owned by gambling software creator Playtech. There’s been no official announcement that this has changed, but a report on Reuters states that Playtech have sold YoYo Games for “about $10 million”.
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The report doesn’t mention who they sold YoYo Games to, but some investigative folks on the Game Maker forums noticed that employees at Opera, developers of reasonably popular browser software, have been appointed as YoYo Games directors. Companies House has filings which confirm that.
This kind of acquisition is nervy stuff for game developers. Game Maker and its various iterations is a popular, vital tool for creating games, particularly 2D games, and relatively inexpensive when compared to some of its peers. A new owner could mean changes which impact a lot of game developers, many of whom might be years-in on a project with years of work still to go. Heck, I’m several years into a Game Maker project, even if it’s been several years since I last worked on it.
There were similar fears when Playtech bought YoYo Games in 2015, but the gambling firm didn’t change the core software. Over the past several years, YoYo have tried to diversify their business, including announcing a game publishing division in 2018 which closed down the following year. The last major iteration of the Game Maker software, Game Maker: Studio 2, launched in 2017.
I’ve reached out to YoYo Games and to Opera for comment and will update this story should they respond.