Opera’s ‘game’ plan: Browser developer buys GameMaker Studio creator, YoYo Games for €8.2M


Web browser maker and consumer internet brand, Opera, has acquired YoYo Games, the maker of 2D game engine, for a sum of $ 10M (approx €8.2M). It has also launched its Opera Gaming division.

Stuart Poole, YoYo Games’ general manager, and Russell Kay, CTO, will both remain at the head of the company.

Opera Gaming division

Krystian Kolondra, EVP Browsers at Opera, says, “We are very excited to start working with the team at YoYo Games. We see the Game Maker Studio platform as being an ideal acquisition to complement our global ambitions in gaming, and to help drive awareness and traffic to our Opera GX gaming browser.”

Opera GX, YoYo Games and GameMaker will unite under Opera Gaming, focusing on innovating across the gaming, game development, and browser experience. “We look forward to further growing Opera GX and driving the growth of GameMaker as part of a broader ecosystem, making it more accessible to novice users and developing it into the world’s leading 2D game engine used by commercial studios,” continues Kolondra. 

Opera Gaming will be focusing on accelerating the growth of this emerging ecosystem, combining more than 7 million highly engaged gamers using Opera GX with millions of GameMaker creators. 

With this tuck-in acquisition, Opera is making efforts to differentiate its web browser, Opera GX – a browser built specifically for gamers. A “tuck-in acquisition”, often referred to as a “bolt-on acquisition,” is a type of acquisition in which the acquiring company merges the acquired company into a division of the acquiring entity.

About YoYo Games

Based in Dundee, Scotland, YoYo Games was founded in 2007 by Michel Cassius. It provides Studio, a cross-platform game development technology that enables developers to create games in a single code base.

GameMaker Studio2 has been completely redeveloped with usability and efficiency at its core, as developers can now create games and then publish them to run natively across multiple platforms including Android, iOS, HTML5, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows Desktop, OS X, Ubuntu, Windows UWP.

YoYo Games has worked on the GameMaker engine for years, and it has been downloaded more than 10 million times since 2012.

What does GameMakerStudio do?

It is an integrated game development software, performance-tuned 2/2.5D engine that fuels many games, including hits such as Risk of Rain, Undertale, or Hyper Light Drifter on an extensive range of mainstream platforms. 

Starting to build games with Game Maker Studio requires little to zero coding skills. Due to its extensive functionalities and ease of use, the software lowers the barriers to entry and empowers a variety of creative people to make their games come alive.

About Opera and Opera GX

Based out of Norway, Opera software was founded in 1995 by Geir Ivarsøy and Jon S. von Tetzchner. It develops web browsers for mobiles and desktops, mobile payment services, and artificial intelligence solutions. The company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

In 2019 Opera launched Opera GX, a browser built for gamers with features that include customisation options, sound effects, background music, a gaming-inspired design, as well as CPU, RAM and Network Bandwidth limiters that make the browser less resource-hungry and leave more of the computer’s resources for gaming. 

Opera GX has seen tremendous growth over the past year with a user base of more than 7 million highly engaged monthly active gamers. Opera GX’s user base grew 350 per cent between 2019 and December 2020, and it continues to grow at a fast pace. It also recently launched Discord server which quickly became number one in the Science & Tech community with more than 240K members.

Kolondra says, “We’re at the brink of a shift when more and more people start not only playing but also creating and publishing games. Game Maker Studio2 lowers the barrier to entry for anyone to start making their games and offer them across a wide range of web-supported platforms, from PCs, to, mobile iOS/Android devices, to consoles.”

Kolondra also mentions that the company does not plan to make exclusive games that run only with the Opera GX browser, as the goal is to create a community around Opera GX users but also make GameMaker Pro 2 available to those who want to make cross-platform games.

According to Kolondra, good browser performance is essential to even 2D gaming, and sustaining that performance across mobile devices and laptops as well as variable bandwidth and connectivity requires thinking outside of traditional application silos. He feels, “The line between building good games and good browsers has been eroding for years – with gaming interactivity across internet connections ramping up and browsers growing more multi-function and sophisticated.”

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