Devolver Digital has acquired Astroneer developer System Era Softworks in a deal worth up to $40 million. System Era broke the news in a blog post and described the move as an “amazing milestone” for both itself and Devolver.
Devolver is the publisher behind titles like Cult of the Lamb, Poinpy, Return to Monkey Island, Loop Hero, and more.
System Era, meanwhile, is best known for working on space exploration sandbox Astroneer. The studio is based in Seattle and was formed in 2014 by experienced developers from EA, Valve, 343 Industries, Ubisoft, and Disney.
Both System Era and Devolver almost came together a decade ago, when the latter almost stepped in to publisher Astroneer. Although that partnership never came to fruition, System Era said it “remained admirers” of Devolver from afar.
“Devolver has become a standard bearer in the industry for indie development. They’ve proven, time and time again, that they care not only about publishing the best quality experiences, but about putting the radical ideas of the amazing, creative developers they support at the forefront of their business,” reads the System Era blog post. “It’s the shared culture between System Era and Devolver that made this a natural match for us.”
System Era believes Devolver acquisition will make both companies stronger
Under Devolver, it’ll be business as usual for System Era. The studio has pledged to “keep going on as before, only stronger” and will continue to support Astroneer. The company also has another project in development that has yet to be revealed.
“When we started System Era, our goal was to build a game unlike any we had seen before. We wanted to build a company we ourselves would love to work for. We succeeded beyond our hopes. But we have new ambitions, and making the kinds of games we want to make was going to require new partnerships of one kind or another that would each change System Era, for better or worse,” wrote the studio.
“This partnership, working in-house with Devolver, lets us focus on what we love, the way we love to do it. We don’t shed independence lightly. But with Devolver, we don’t think System Era is losing independence, we think it’s finding a home among a like-minded confederation of talented people, under a banner that is synonymous with the indie ethos, and we can’t wait to continue our journey, together.”
In a separate press release sent out by European law firm, Fieldfisher, which is acting for Devolver on the acquisition, it was revealed the deal will cost the publisher up to $40 million. It also stated that Astroneer has generated over $87 million to date and attracted over 13 million players across its lifetime.
“The acquisition represents a strategic opportunity for Devolver to extend its reach beyond its core strength of premium indie titles, leveraging System Era’s knowledge of Expandable Game style development, as well as its live operations technology and existing IP,” said Fieldfisher.
“[A] total consideration of up to $40 million is to be satisfied by $22 million initial consideration, made up of $20 million cash on closing and $2 million of shares and cash to be issued and paid on the 12-month anniversary of closing, as well as $10 million deferred consideration, and up to $8 million potential earn out, both payable in cash and shares.”