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Business news

Outplay Entertainment levels up with acquisition of games studio

December 12 2016

A major Dundee independent gaming studio has acquired Raid HQ and Cartel Kings developer Eight Pixels Square. Outplay Entertainment confirmed it had acquired the Derby-based free-to-play studio, although it declined to reveal the value of the deal. The move sees more than 40 new developers join the Outplay stable, taking the group's headcount more than 190 and making it one of the largest independent studios in the UK. Outplay, which has its headquarters at the Vision buillding at Seabraes, has grown significantly in recent months with downloads of its games now exceeding 55 million. Douglas Hare, Outplay co-founder and CEO of Outplay Entertainment, said he was delighted to have clinched the deal. "The acquisition of Eight Pixels Square is another exciting step forward for the business, as we not only solidify capabilities in mid-core and VR, but also get to work with long-time industry peers," Mr Hare said. "Their exceptional talent, expertise and obsessive focus on quality is a fantastic addition to the team and we believe that this move will make us stronger than ever. ” Eight Pixels Square are best known for mid-core titles All Guns Blazing, Cartel Kings and RAID HQ. Hugh Binns, co-Founder of Eight Pixels Square, said the studio was delighted to be joining Outplay. "Outplay is an obvious fit for our team, both culturally and technically, our catalogue of IP, and our know-how within mid-core and VR (virtual reality). "We’re already hard at work on a 2017 title that we all believe has great potential to disrupt and further enhance Outplay’s position as one of the most successful European studios, if not beyond.” Richard Hare, Co-Founder and President of Outplay Entertainment, says: “We’ve known the team behind Eight Pixels Square for more than 25 years and are delighted to bring them into the Outplay Entertainment family. "It’s great to finally work together, they are an incredibly talented and experienced team. The addition of their capabilities and technical expertise will further enhance Outplay’s capacity to innovate and raise the bar of what’s possible on mobile."

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Business news

Dundee games firm fastest growing

November 22 2017

Dundee-based mobile games developer Outplay Entertainment was named Scotland’s fastest-growing technology company in the Deloitte 2017 UK Technology Fast 50 awards. The business — which has produced games such as Angry Birds POP!, Mystery Match, Booty Quest, and Castle Creeps TD — posted revenue growth of 1,904% over the past four years, placing it 11th in the overall UK table. Outplay Entertainment was co-founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneurs and brothers Richard and Douglas Hare and opened its Dundee studio the following year. Its games have been downloaded more than 100 million times, with millions of users playing every month. In 2015 and last year Outplay Entertainment saw revenues more than double year-on-year, and the business said 2017 is going to be another year of strong growth. Douglas commented: “The previous company I co-founded was based out in California and, back in 2008, we developed and published a relatively simple mobile game as a launch title for the Apple App Store. “I saw an amazing opportunity to build on this, but our publisher client base was more interested in big-ticket games. “The market for mobile games was small and undeveloped, but I knew it would soon grow. “Realising we needed to set up a new business, we looked at several locations to set up Outplay Entertainment.” He added: “After talking to Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise we decided to move back to Scotland and, given its long history in gaming, settled on Dundee. “We started small and built on our initial success. “We’re very bullish about the future and, after two years of double-digit growth, 2017 has been another exciting period for the company. “Picking up the Fast 50 Scottish award is further proof that we’re heading in the right direction.” Garry Tetley, private markets partner at Deloitte Scotland, said: “Outplay Entertainment is a great example of the new kind of entrepreneurial business emerging in Scotland – international, focused on technology, and ambitious. “The company featuring so prominently in the 20th edition of the Fast 50 is also a further vote of confidence in Dundee’s burgeoning games industry. “The team deserves a huge congratulations for what its achieved in such little time.”

Dundee

Computer game company Outplay Entertainment to bring 150 jobs to Dundee

February 10 2011

Dundee's fragile video games sector will receive a significant vote of confidence when First Minister Alex Salmond announces Outplay Entertainment's intention to create 150 jobs in the city. The company will set up in the city and specialise in producing mobile and social games for use on smart phones, social networks and other internet platforms. The news will reinforce Dundee's importance to the video games sector at a time when doubts have been expressed over its long-term future in Scotland. The "high value" jobs created will also help mitigate the damage caused by the collapse of Realtime Worlds, which closed last year with the loss of 200 jobs. Mr Salmond told The Courier that Outplay's decision to base its headquarters in Dundee emphasised Scotland's reputation as an "attractive and competitive" location for games firms. "Over the last decade the games industry has evolved into one of the largest grossing entertainment industries in the world," he said. "Scotland has demonstrated that it has the talent, infrastructure and skills to deliver success in this fast growing sector. "Scotland's creative industries have high potential for growth and are a key sector in the Government economic strategy. Once famed for jam, jute and journalism, Dundee is transforming into a hub for our creative industries and digital publishing." Outplay Entertainment was founded last year by Scottish brothers Douglas and Richard Hare, who have already enjoyed a successful career in the video games industry in the United States. They have now decided to move back home to Scotland and say they decided to base their operations in Dundee due to the city's competitiveness for games development and proximity to a skilled workforce coming out of Abertay University. The brothers are due to travel to the Scottish Parliament today to further discuss their vision for the industry with senior government figures.AstonishingDouglas Hare, the company's chief executive, said the video games market was evolving at a "truly astonishing" rate. "There are more people now playing games on different devices and in different ways than ever before, creating a huge new audience that can truly be considered global in nature," he said. "Outplay has been created to address these new opportunities and bring a new generation of video games to players around the world, regardless of where, or how they are playing. "From the earliest days of the industry, Scotland has built a reputation for creativity, inspiration and innovation, with the right skills, the right people and the right support all in the right place." His brother Richard, Outplay's president, said, "When we chose to bring Outplay to Scotland it was because of the country's reputation, the country's world class skill set in this area and the enthusiasm, professionalism and support we received here from day one. "We are delighted to be back home." This week there was a warning Dundee's video games industry could be lost to foreign markets if the UK Government did not provide greater financial assistance. Labour's Dundee West MP Jim McGovern made the claim following the publication of a Scottish affairs committee report into the games development industry in the country. Compiled by a cross-party group of MPs, the report described the case for tax breaks for developers as "compelling" and urged educational institutions to help develop the next generation of programming talent. With countries outside the UK heavily subsidising their gaming industries, there are real fears top British companies and talent could be lured abroad unless dramatic action is taken to address the issue. Tax breaks for the industry were promised by the previous Labour administration but never implemented, and then scrapped by the coalition government in their emergency Budget in June. The size of the development workforce in the video games industry in Scotland shrank by 18% last year, largely due to the collapse of Realtime Worlds.

Business news

Games producer Outplay Entertainment cuts loss as sales rise

May 24 2016

Dundee video games producer Outplay Entertainment more than doubled its turnover and cut its pre-tax loss by more than two thirds. Director Douglas Hare said 2015 saw further investment in building talented teams to successfully deliver strongly performing new titles through frequent and new and feature updates. Last year its new titles included Crafty Candy, Bubble Genius, and Angry Birds POP!. Previous top performing titles were Alien Creeps TD and Mystery Match. The firm’s loss before tax shrank from £2.9m to £900,000 in 2015 while turnover soared from £2.6 million to £6.3m. Mr Hare continued: “Overall, a significant reduction in operating loss was achieved mainly from the 240% year on year revenue growth we saw in 2015 from the company’s portfolio of six self-published titles as well as the Angry Birds game launched in partnership with Rovio. “We launched two new titles in Q4 last year both of which are doing very well. Crafty Candy in particular is showing very strong commercial prospects and we anticipate it growing significantly over the coming months. “Angry Birds POP! has grown steadily since its launch last March and it’s now a permanent fixture in the US Top 100 grossing chart on the App Store.” “Further growth is expected as the products are enhanced further and new products released during 2016. “We’re doing everything we can to hit a similar level of growth in 2016 as we did last year and also do it profitably.” Outplay was formed in 2011 by brothers Douglas and Richard Hare and last year it crossed the 50 million download mark. Douglas and Richard spent a significant part of their careers in the video games industry in the United States before setting up in Dundee.  

UK & World

SNP and Labour politicians agree tax breaks are ‘vital’ for future of games industry in Dundee

February 11 2011

Tax breaks for the video games industry are "vital" if more firms are to be attracted to Dundee. SNP and Labour politicians both reiterated calls for action on the issue after it was revealed Outplay Entertainment are to set up in the city with a £2.5 million Scottish Enterprise cash boost. "After a difficult year for the computer games industry in Dundee it is extremely good news that the city is attracting these new jobs," said Dundee West MP Jim McGovern. "But the sector is going to need support and investment as it competes on a global scale in order to avoid a brain-drain from Scotland in the future. "That is why we will continue to put pressure on the Tory-led government to reinstate Labour's tax relief plans for the industry." After officially making the Outplay announcement at Holyrood yesterday, First Minister Alex Salmond also raised the issue of tax breaks. "It is vital that governments act in a way which consolidates and accelerates the development of the industry, supporting existing and exciting new enterprises such as Outplay Entertainment," he said.Return"There's no doubt that if we were able as we would wish to do to offer a tax relief scheme for the games industry, then it could pay back many times over. "Indeed, until Scottish and UK-based games developers are allowed to compete on a level playing field with overseas competitors, there remains a risk of losing existing businesses to other countries and failing to attract new companies and highly-skilled jobs." Dundee East MSP Shona Robison added, "It is time for the coalition to do its bit, too, and reconsider its opposition to tax relief so that we can develop even more jobs in the industry." Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said, "Tax relief for games development would create more money for the taxpayer than it would cost. Now is the time for stronger support and investment from the UK Government to the computer games industry to match the support coming from the Scottish Government. "There are huge opportunities available globally and we want the Scottish-based games industry to remain competitive in world terms." Tax breaks for the industry were promised by the previous Labour administration but never implemented, and then scrapped by the coalition government as part of their emergency budget in June. Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland, Alison McInnes, said, "This news is proof that the world-class creative talent and skills that both the city and Scotland boast will continue to attract investment, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of the video games industry."

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Dundee

Games firm Outplay Entertainment’s new HQ in Dundee

June 3 2011

New Dundee games firm Outplay Entertainment has opened its new offices in the city. The company, which will develop games for smart phones and social networks, intends to create 150 jobs and will be based in the Vision building at Greenmarket. It was announced in February that the firm would receive a £2.25 million Scottish Enterprise grant to bring them to the city. Co-founder and chief executive Douglas Hare said, "Establishing Outplay's global headquarters was a crucial first step for the company. "We considered various locations in North America and Europe but Dundee stood out for a number of reasons, not least the concentration of talent, comprehensive support and the level of expertise across every organisation we encountered." "Dundee has a long and proud history of creating world class games and we're thrilled to be locating Outplay in the city at a crucial period in the ongoing evolution of the global gaming market."

Business news

Outplay-ing their way to 50 million-plus players

October 13 2016

Dundee-based Outplay Entertainment has reached the milestone of more than 50 million players worldwide. The achievement marks the venture as one of the most successful to emerge from the UK in recent years. The independent mobile gaming studio is now the largest in the UK and one of the largest in Europe with over 150 staff, after being formed in 2010 by brothers Richard and Douglas Hare. They launched Outplay following their return to the UK from a successful period in the US where they co-founded industry-renowned console developers The Collective and Foundation 9 Entertainment. Emerging as a major player in the world of mobile gaming, Outplay was recently shortlisted for three TIGA awards as well as Growth Champion of the Year for the 2016 Growth Investor Awards. Its Bubble Genius and Crafty Candy have enjoyed significant success, with the team now gearing up for the release of a new, as yet unannounced title, in November. Scotland and especially Dundee, has been a powerhouse driving the UK games industry, boasting a number of global leaders. Creative industries in Scotland have accomplished triple digit growth. Douglas Hare, chief executive, said: “When Richard and I founded Outplay Entertainment in 2010, we set out to create the best possible games and build an amazing team and a world-class company. "Our investment in our people and culture has been fundamental to the success of the company and enabled us to nurture local talent and create jobs here in Scotland. "We’re extremely proud to grow from strength to strength and become the largest independent mobile gaming studio in the UK. "We’ll continue to drive growth with the same passion and focus on quality content, through the creation of original Intellectual Property (IP), that we always have.”

Dundee

Castle Creeps storms the charts after download success

January 13 2017

A Dundee games company is celebrating after its latest title was downloaded an incredible 2 million times in less than a week. Castle Creeps TD, Outplay Entertainment's new game for mobile phones and tablets, reached the milestone just five days after its release. It was also the number-one ranked mobile strategy game in 60 countries. The game, available for free from the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore, was released on January 5 and reached the 2 million download mark on Wednesday evening. It challenges players to build and defend castles that invaders are attempting to storm. Uniquely for a tower defence game, it has an intricate, and constantly evolving, story-line. The plot, written by James L Sutter, one of the authors of the hugely successful Pathfinder role-playing game series, is updated every two weeks, giving players new chapters to complete and additional content. Richard Hare, co-founder and president of Outplay Entertainment, said the game has set a "new bar" for the tower defence genre, which sees players construct or fortify structures to protect them from attackers. He said: “The team here at Outplay have outdone themselves once again, and the global success of Castle Creeps TD since its launch is testimony to that. "We’re immensely proud to bring Castle Creep TD to fans of the tower defence genre all over the world. "The stunning artwork and attention to detail in every aspect of the game, aided by the epic storytelling and fantastic game play has clearly resonated with fans of the tower defence genre and mobile gaming fans at large. "We’re excited to continue to expand the Castle Creeps TD universe and welcome more players to the community.” Outplay Entertainment, which is based in The Vision building at Seabraes, was founded in 2010 by Richard and Douglas Hare. It is now the UK's largest mobile games developer, employing almost 200 staff. In December it acquired Derby-based studio Eight Pixels Square. Previous hits for the company include Alien Creeps TD, Mystery Match, Crafty Candy and Bubble Genius as well as Angry Birds POP! in partnership with Rovio. To date, the studio’s games have received over 55 million downloads. The studio won the 2016 TIGA Outstanding Growth Award.

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