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Monday, May 27, 2024

Devolver Digital has gone public with Sony acquiring a minority stake

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Indie publisher Devolver Digital has gone public today, with Sony already acquiring a minority stake.

It’s the largest US-based company to ever go live on the London Stock Exchange, floating at around $950 million (thanks, gamesindustry.biz). Sony has already made a 5% investment in the publisher, with Chinese videogame behemoth NetEase purchasing an 8% stake. Devolver says its staff are still the majority owners though, with its founders and all current employees owning a stake in the company.

In an announcement, Devolver called the milestone “a kind of validation” for the team’s hard work since 2009, adding “we’re insanely proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last decade, and we genuinely believe this will make us even better.” It said that going public will help it invest more in games it’s currently working on, and partner with games that it has “previously not been able to consider.”

CEO Douglas Morin, somewhat unsurprisingly, has these words: “An IPO is the right choice for us to ensure our continued growth and support even more wonderful games. Most importantly, it will allow us to retain our culture.”

The culture is the big question. Devolver Digital’s entire brand is about being the upstart, the rogue publisher, the one that rents out carparks opposite E3, holds Adult Swim infomercial-style press conferences, and finds indie games you might be interested in before you do. The game that arguably made Devolver’s name, Hotline Miami, is exactly the kind of provocative schlock that larger companies tend to balk at. Do you think Rockstar will ever make a Manhunt 3?

“Being a public company gives liquidity to our amazing team, all of whom are shareholders. It also gives us access to capital markets to continue investing in our growth strategy and talent,” says Morin. (Which, roughly translated, means that they’re rolling in it.)

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