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4J Studios: Dundee tech firm behind Minecraft success ‘performing well’ despite second £3m sales fall

Dundee entrepreneurs Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl.
Dundee entrepreneurs Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl.

The Dundee tech firm which has played a large part in the continued global success of the Minecraft video game continues to “perform well” despite its second consecutive drop in sales.

4J Studios has developed versions of the popular block-building game for a variety of video games consoles, as well as mobile devices, since 2012.

Newly published accounts for the business, run by Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, show sales fell for the year to October 2021 by more than £3 million.

Turnover dropped to £7.8m from £10.3m the year previous. Turnover for 4J Studios in 2019 was £13.5m.

In his strategic report published alongside the accounts, Mr Burns said:

“The business has continued to perform well despite a fall in revenue during the year.

“The directors are satisfied with the position at the end of the year.”

Chris van der Kuyl is chairman of 4J Studios.
Chris van der Kuyl is chairman of 4J Studios.

Pre-tax profits were also significantly down for the tech firm. They fell from £8.6m in 2020 to £2m for the reporting period.

Its net assets fell only slightly, but remained above £45m.

Keeping pace with new technology

Mr Burns said the company keeps up-to-date with new technology and the development of new platforms.

He said: “The company’s revenue is dependent on the sale and development of video games.

“The success of the company is subject to the uncertainties regarding the popularity inherent in creating new products and changes in technology.

“The company ensures it stays up to date with new technology, ensuring their products are developed to be used over multiple platforms and keep pace with the new platforms released.”

4J Studios owners Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns won a Bafta for Minecraft.
4J Studios owners Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns won a Bafta for Minecraft.

With customers in different global markets, Mr Burns said 4J Studios also takes steps to mitigate its exposure to exchange rates.

Gaming phenomenon Minecraft surpassed 1 trillion views on Youtube late last year.

He added: “As the company has significant levels of investments, there is a risk that investment levels could decline.

“This is addressed by holding a diversified portfolio of investments.”

Meanwhile, the accounts show headcount at 4J Studios rose by eight to 46.

In April this year, the gaming duo made a £1m investment to support young businesses.

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