Russian internet giant acquires War Robots developer, buys into mobile free-to-play market

Mail.Ru acquires developer Pixonic for $30 million

One of Russia’s top internet companies, Mail.Ru, announced its acquisition of developer Pixonic yesterday for $30 million.

Pixonic is the studio behind well-received War Robots, a free-to-play strategy game for iOS and Android featuring bipedal tanks. It’s a big step for the internet company, giving Mail.Ru access to a strong free-to-play audience. Mail.Ru claim Pixonic have turned over 619 million rubles — just under $1 million — in the first half of 2016.

Mail.Ru has found success in Russia publishing games already, but War Robots is an international performer with most of its revenues coming from the United States, so this acquisition could be a sign that the company are looking to further their publishing ambitions around the globe.

Not that Russia is a slouch when it comes to game spending. While Russia largely avoided the console adoption that surged across much of the western world, the country is known as one of the big spenders on PC microtransactions, making millions for publishers Wargaming and Gaijin Entertainment.

"We are pleased that we signed up to one of the strongest teams of developers of mobile games in the world." said Dmitry Grishin, co-founder and CEO of Mail.Ru Group, in a canned statement contained in the press release "We are confident that the merger will strengthen the international trend of mobile development and publishing, and together we will make the company even more successful games in the world market."

Mail.Ru will be marketing War Robots to its massive Russian userbase while Pixonic continue development, a move both companies are hoping will do wonders for its growth in the country. 

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