Posted Jul 30, 2021, 7 p.m.Updated Jul 30, 2021, 7:43 p.m.
It is not (yet) the most famous of the tricolor “unicorns”, but its mobile video games are well used by tens of millions of players and have billions of downloads worldwide. On Friday, Voodoo took a new step with the arrival to its capital of the investment holding GBL (Groupe Bruxelles Lambert), which values it at around 1.7 billion euros.
Launched in 2013 by Alexandre Yazdi and Laurent Ritter, Voodoo has established itself internationally in mobile video games by becoming the world reference in the very promising niche known as “hyper-casual games”, that is, titles that are very easy to learn and whose parts do not exceed a few minutes. Therefore, it should not be confused with “casual” games, which includes in particular the hits “Candy Crush” or “Angry Birds”, another part of the mobile video game sector that is more financially mature and about which Voodoo he says today ‘the hui have ambitions.
Before that, the French publisher managed to premiere its first hit, in 2016, in “hyper-casual games” with its game “Paper.io”. “Snake vs Block”, “Helix Jump”, “Keep it live” …: successes followed one another and fueled the meteoric growth of the start-up, which is remunerated by displaying advertisements within its titles. Between 2016 and 2019, the group’s annual income thus it went from 1.13 million to 360 million euros.
Goldman Sach and Tencent already in the capital
A success that has not escaped the giants, and not only in the field of “technology” and / or video games. In 2018, Voodoo raised almost $ 200 million in funds from the US bank Goldman Sachs. A year ago, the global “gaming” giant Tencent also acquired a minority stake in Voodoo, based on a valuation of $ 1.4 billion.
Still, last year, the “hyper-casual gaming” niche slowed down with the health crisis. The reason ? People play these kinds of games a lot when traveling by public transport in particular. In the United States, the number of hyper-casual game downloads fell 4% in 2020, over a year, selon sensor tower according to who Voodoo is the leader of this niche on American soil.
Despite this context, the Frenchman does not seem to have lost the leg that made his triumph. On Friday, its title “Run Rich 3D” emerged as the fourth most downloaded free mobile game in the United States on iPhone and iPad. according to data from App Annie. In total, Voodoo places nine of its games in the Top 100 of the most downloaded mobile titles for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system.
A year ago, the American Zynga took Rollic, an influential player in “hyper-casual games”, for a check of 168 million dollars. This operation had valued Voodoo’s rival at nearly 210 million. A level far removed from the blue-white-red nugget that fits into the “heavyweight” category in the ring of hyper-relaxed matches.
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