Game Plan: Osborne Clarke advises Miniclip on strategic gaming investment

April 8, 2021

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Osborne Clarke, a leading law firm in interactive entertainment, has advised Miniclip on its acquisition of Green Horse Games at a time of growth in the gaming sector. 

What does this mean?

Miniclip is a global leader in digital games with 200 million monthly active users from over 190 countries and in 2015, Tencent, a Chinese technology conglomerate acquired majority stakes in the company. Its recently announced acquisition of Romanian games studio Green Horse Games, best known for Football Rivals, will allow the company to expand into the Romanian gaming ecosystem and add to Miniclip’s roster of developers. This comes after a series of acquisitions by Miniclip within the last three years, including companies such as Masomo, Gamebasics and Playsport, all advised on by Osborne Clarke. 

What's the big picture effect?

The future-facing firm was one of the first law firms to focus on the computer games industry, which has paid off as the sector continues to grow. Such fast-moving developments require deep sector knowledge and lawyers who can keep up with innovation.

In recent years, the gaming industry has overtaken the film and music industries by revenue, with 2020 estimated to have generated revenues of over $150bn. Additionally, the already existing growth trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 lockdown with people having more time on their hands and seeking out gaming as a form of interaction during an isolating and uncertain period. 

Despite a difficult year for most sectors, there have recently been a number of exciting developments in the gaming sector. The last year has seen some major acquisitions by big players such as Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax for $7.5bn and Electronic Arts buying Glu Mobile for $2.4bn, with trends suggesting that deal value will be increasing as companies sit on cash reserves following a successful year. It has also been impossible to avoid the buzz around the recent next-generation console releases alongside the introduction of cloud gaming platforms such as Stadia. With concerts and festivals cancelled, 2020 provided an opportunity for collaboration between game spaces and live music. Fortnite, developed by Epic Games, hosted a virtual concert through which digital avatars of Travis Scott and Charli XCX performed, watched by over 28m people. The recently announced Roblox IPO highlights the way in which game developers are capitalising on the moment and the soaring market value points to investors betting on long-term growth. 

This ongoing evolution within the gaming industry signals an increase in the work of gaming lawyers, as clients seek out advice on issues such as how deals are structured, commercial terms, regulatory changes, strategy, data and IP rights. It seems that technology-savvy firms focusing on cultivating sector expertise and identifying areas of growth early on will differentiate themselves as winners as gaming continues to grow.

Report written by Yaeno Fernandez

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