Game Maker and developers YoYo Games have been bought for £10 million by PlayTech, a company specialising in online gambling. To which the consensus response from the Game Makering community so far seems to be, “Uh oh.” PlayTech predominantly provide software to online casinos, which means that Game Maker theoretically fits alongside an existing stable of software tools, but when your livelihood or creativity is tied to a piece of third-party software, it’s always nervy times when someone new with unknown goals steps into the mix.
PlayTech released a short statement saying little but that “This acquisition will enable the company to further diversify its business, benefiting from a combined B2B/B2C offering focused on a strong and growing segment of the wider gaming market.”
Game Maker is a wonderful thing in part because it’s easy to use and in part because it has free and cheap versions that lower the bar of accessibility. The greatest risk with an acquisition is that PlayTech will decide to focus on one part of the business over another, perhaps favouring more profitable business-to-business relationships – as per their current gambling model – over selling to consumers.
This is purely idle speculation, however. It’s just as likely that the company will want to maintain what’s an already a successful business. Or maybe they’ll implement betting mechanics into the game, in which you can bet on whether the code you just wrote will work first time. I will put everything I own on “No way.”