Posted on December 17, 2019 by staff

Games unicorn Keywords Studios in triple deal


Keywords Studios has made a trio of acquisitions as it looks to become the ‘go to’ technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry.

Dublin-headquartered Keywords, which has a market cap of £918 million at the time of writing, has moved for Ichi, Kantan and Syllabes, adding machine learning technology, marketing services and a recording studio to its portfolio.

Kantan, a leading developer of automated translation technology, has been acquired for a potential consideration of up to €7m and will enable Keywords to provide a machine learning localisation service.

It licenses the technology and delivers development services to end user organisations such as eBay, VistaPrint and the European Commission as well as to language service providers.

The £3.2m acquisition of Ichi expands Keywords’ marketing services with branding expertise that is key to determining the success of a game.

Founded in 2009, Ichi has 13 staff based in Holborn, London, providing a full suite of creative and marketing services to video game publishers, and to the sports and entertainment sectors globally.

It creates full brand marketing campaign strategies, as well as marketing assets such as game trailers, live action, social content, key marketing art and materials. These are deployed throughout the life span of its customers’ games and products.

The company works with major game publishers such as Square Enix, NaturalMotion, Deep Silver and Sports Interactive.

Ichi also works with sports brands, such as Puma, and entertainment content companies including Netflix. Liz Corless will continue as Ichi’s studio head.

Syllabes has been bought for a total potential cash consideration of up to £275,000.

Founded in 2004 in Montreal, Syllabes provides audio recording and casting services in French and English for the video-games industry, as well as for a wide range of media and entertainment customers

“We are delighted to have made three high calibre acquisitions,” said Keywords Studios CEO Andrew Day.

“We have already been working with Kantan, which we previously selected as a commercial partner to underpin our machine translation initiatives in games, as its solutions are uniquely adaptable to the challenges of applying machine translation to video games.

“Video games are highly context specific, often being set in fantasy worlds, are highly immersive, and therefore require both high quality and highly adapted localisation, are multi branching and use real time, AI generated content.

“Kantan brings its highly customisable technology, its exciting crowd sourced translation platform, and the deep expertise of Tony O’Dowd and his team.

“This, combined with Keywords’ 20 years of games localisation experience and video game translators around the world will enable us to provide a fully integrated world leading machine-assisted localisation service to leading video game publishers and developers, further cementing our market leading position.

“Ichi’s high value-add branding strategy and marketing expertise are key to determining the success of a game or product, so they will be a valuable addition to the group’s range of marketing services.

“Having collaborated with Syllabes on a wide range of projects over many years, we are pleased to be able to bring them in to the Group, enabling us to provide the full range of our services out of our Montreal hub.”