YoYo Games, developer of the popular Game Maker – a toolset which allows creators to make simple games without needing to delve into code – has been bought for £10 million by online gambling company PlayTech, who specialize in providing software to online casinos. The result of the acquisition is an understandably nervy userbase who are unsure what PlayTech plan on doing with Game Maker. YoYo Games’ CEO, Sandy Duncan, has stepped down from his role following the buyout.
The statement issued by PlayTech didn’t help clear things up either, stating that: “This acquisition will enable the company to further diversify its business, benefiting from a combined B2B (business to business)/ B2C (business to consumer) offering focused on a strong and growing segment of the wider gaming market.
The beauty of Game Maker is that it’s a fairly easy tool to learn and that it has different versions that vary both in price and in accessibility meaning that a novice child with an interest in game development, as well as a hardened programmer, could pick up Game Maker and get something out of it. While the majority of games made with the program have been small indie efforts, it has been home to a number of high-profile indie titles – Hotline Miami, Stealth Bastard, Risk of Rain and the upcoming Hyper Light Drifter were all developed using Game Maker.
The general fear is that PlayTech will decide to focus on a different type of business (as in selling the software to other businesses) rather than selling it to consumers who can then use it to create whatever they like, or that the technology will be leveraged and switch focus to gambling. Obviously there is no concrete evidence that this is what PlayTech is planning on doing with Game Maker, but it does seem like a logical assumption to make, given the new owner’s background. That said, it seems unlikely that they’ll want to destroy the reason for Game Maker‘s success entirely; perhaps they may simply add tools to facilitate gambling games in future versions.