Rollic CEO Burak Vardal talks to GameDaily about what the deal means for the growing Turkish mobile games market.
This week, Rollic, the Zynga-owned mobile developer and publisher, announced the full acquisition of hypercasual game Onnect from Chef Game Studio in a deal worth a reported $6 million. Onnect was published--and already partially owned--by Rollic, meaning that the deal cements its control over the match-three game.
The addition of Onnect bolsters Rollic’s stable of free-to-play, hypercasual titles, which was the primary motivator behind the purchase, according to founder and CEO Burak Vardal.
“Onnect has been one of the top-performing titles in Rollic’s portfolio,” Vardal told GameDaily. “Rollic decided to acquire the game in full to continue the operations with its internal studio and product team. While the majority of Rollic’s portfolio is within the hypercasual space, Onnect will represent a new methodology, where Rollic merges our hypercasual know-how with a title that has long-term retention.”
Since its launch in late 2018, Onnect has become a fairly popular free-to-play mobile title. According to mobile analytics group Sensor Tower, it’s generated $1.5 million in player spending by way of 42.6 million downloads across Google Play and the App Store. For Rollic as a company, this deal could serve as a springboard into greater user acquisition.
“Rollic has grown rapidly since its formation in December 2018, and this acquisition will help further fuel that growth with a large existing playerbase, and perhaps one that the studio can expand upon,” Sensor Tower mobile insights strategist Craig Chapple told GameDaily. “On top of expanding its portfolio, the acquisition could provide a good opportunity to advertise Rollic and Zynga's other games to millions of players, particularly their highly monetizable puzzle titles.”
Another notable aspect of Rollic and Chef’s deal is that both studios are from Turkey. It’s a games market that has been on the rise lately, especially in the mobile sector, Chapple said.
“Turkey's mobile games companies have become some of the industry's leading lights on the global stage,” he explained. “Zynga has taken notice, acquiring Merge Dragons developer Gram Games and Toy Blast publisher Peak Games, whose titles have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020. And, of course, earlier this year Zynga purchased hyper-casual games experts Rollic. Their success--along with other studios--is providing a hub for games talent in the country, which will inevitably go on to spawn more studios.”
For Vardal, keeping a finger on the pulse of the Turkish games business is key to Rollic’s continued success.
“It is not a surprise at all to see this country exhibiting a rising trend now,” he said. “We feel the same excitement every time we scout a talented team and help them achieve the best potential with a global release.”
Vardal believes that there is a high level of interest in the Turkish market at the moment, and that the Onnect deal has the potential to become a blueprint for the future of the country’s games business.
“We believe that Onnect represents a perfect example for all developers regarding the path developers need to follow to match Rollic’s product and gaming cultures for possible future acquisitions,” he explained.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to track the success of Onnect, and how it affects the growing Turkish games market. Vardal is certainly very optimistic on that front.
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