Take-Two Interactive to Acquire Mobile Game Developer Playdots for $192 Million

Based in New York City, Playdots says its games have over 100 million lifetime downloads

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive will acquire New York City-based casual mobile game developer Playdots for $192 million.

Playdots was founded in 2013 and led by chief executive Nir Efrat, who joined the company in March 2018 after serving as head of franchises and studios for Activision Blizzard-owned mobile gaming company King. While at King, Efrat oversaw game development across the country’s five international offices.

Playdots’ most popular game is the free-to-play “Two Dots,” a casual phone puzzle game that’s been downloaded over 80 million times on the App Store and Google Play since it launched six years ago, the company said.

Take-Two already owns five studios including Private Division, Rockstar Games, 2K, Ghost Story Games and mobile game developer Socialpoint. Rockstar Games developed the blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption” games and their online spin-offs, while Ghost Story Games created the “Bioshock” series. 2K is known for its simulated sports games, including the upcoming “NBA 2K21” and “WWE Battlegrounds.”

The acquisition of Playdots marks Take-Two’s second investment into mobile gaming in recent years and is expected to close next quarter.

Efrat and Playdots’ roughly 70 employees will now focus on developing games for Take-Two’s mobile audience, and Playdots said in a statement it “has a robust development pipeline with a number of innovative puzzle games planned for launch over the coming years.”

The sizable audience addition is one motivating factor for Take-Two’s buy of Playdots — which reports its three games have been downloaded over 100 million times since the company’s launch seven years ago.

“Our acquisition of Playdots will diversify and strengthen further Take-Two’s mobile game offerings, particularly within the casual, free-to-play segment,” Take-Two Interactive head of strategy and independent publishing Michael Worosz said in a statement Tuesday. “We are very pleased to welcome Nir and the entire team at Playdots to the Take-Two family and are excited by the potential of their development pipeline and positive, long-term contributions to our business.”

Take-Two recently posted a record-breaking first quarter earnings Aug. 3, driven mainly by the increase in gamers spending on their favorite titles during the pandemic. Its net revenue was up 54% to $831.3 million, “a fiscal first quarter record,” the company wrote in its earnings report. Take-Two’s quarterly net income is also on the rise — up 91% to $88.5 million, compared to $46.3 million during first quarter 2019.