Video game giant Ubisoft has acquired Ketchapp, publisher of mobile games including 2048, Stick Hero and Jelly Jump for an undisclosed sum.
Best known for its console games – with major franchises like Assassin's Creed, Far Cry and the Tom Clancy's games all under its publishing belt – this is a huge step into mobile for Ubisoft. The acquisition will make it the fourth largest mobile game publisher in the world, measured by number of downloads.
Since it opened in 2014, Ketchapp has launched 75 games, which have together amassed almost 700m downloads. Its business model invites submissions from any developer, which are then published under its umbrella as free-to-play apps.
Unlike previous acquisitions which have seen veterans of gaming step into mobile – like Acquisition buying King last year or Microsoft buying Mojang in 2014 – there's no single Minecraft or Candy Crush-size hit in Ketchapp's arsenal. Its biggest hit, 2048, was embroiled in a controversy after it was accused of "cloning" an earlier app, Threes, by that game's developer – though this hasn't held the game back.
In its announcement, Ubisoft refers to the company's "expertise in mobile advertising and cross-promotion", which may well be the primary motivation behind this acquisition.
“With Ketchapp, Ubisoft acquires a highly profitable publisher with a successful portfolio of free-to-play games for mobile,” declared Jean-Michel Detoc, executive director of Ubisoft’s mobile business. “This acquisition gives Ubisoft one of the world’s leading mobile game publishers and reinforces our advertising capabilities in mobile gaming.”