Purchase of leading UI tech firm could shake foundations of game tools business

Autodesk makes shock $36m bid for Scaleform

Tools provider Autodesk has stunned the middleware industry with a multi-million-dollar takeover bid of leading UI firm Scaleform.

Autodesk is offering about $36 million in cash for Scaleform’s technology, people and brand.

It is unknown if the Scaleform board have fully accepted the decision, though the firm’s CEO implied the deal will go through. The takeover is to be completed in a matter of weeks if customary conditions are met, Autodesk said.

CEO Brendan Iribe, along with CTO Michael Antonov and COO Marc Bennett, will join the Autodesk management as part of the deal.

Autodesk has pledged to keep Scaleform’s Maryland offices open if the buyout is completed. No clarification was made on staff numbers or if the Scaleform name will live on.

The age of austerity appears to have little impact on Autodesk’s ambition. The firm has a history of buying out rival firms, incorporating technology, and as a result offers numerous tools and services across the game development pipeline.

But the Scaleform deal, if secured, will be widely seen as a coup.

Scaleform quickly rose to become an industry-leading provider of Flash-based UI tools. Its tech is used across a wide range of studios for games such as Batman Arkham Asylum to Street Fighter 4.

“The Scaleform team will bring a wealth of expertise in creating highly optimised runtime solutions for PCs, consoles and mobile devices,” said Autodesk’s vice president of games, Marc Stevens.

“We expect the integration of Scaleform to allow us to innovate faster and help further improve the game creation process for online, console, and mobile development,” he added.

In what may be his last statement as Scaleform CEO, Brendan Iribe said the firm “will finally realize our longstanding vision of integrating 2D and 3D authoring technology while continuing our commitment to deliver leading-edge real-time graphics solutions to our customers.”

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