Cyprus-based Belarusian developer Wargaming.net has acquired Australian middleware engine developer BigWorld Technologies for a price reported to be $45 million in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.
Wargaming chief executive Victor Kislyi emphasized that the acquisition is to have greater control over the development of their own popular World of series of games:
“This very crucial for us, as we want to control the technology provider we are using, Now we can integrate them to make internal development more efficient.”
Third parties can continue to license the engine for their own use, and the twenty-five BigWorld employees will now be employed by Wargaming.net. It is unknown if they will be moved from their current Canberra studio location.
Wargaming.net is by far the largest user of the BigWorld engine,which also includes a unique central server infrastructure for MMO games, with its three connected shooters: World of Tanks and the upcoming World of Warplanes and World of Warships.
Analysis: I should’ve seen this coming.
As an avid fan of World of Tanks (I’ve played 3300+ matches), I and many other players were displeased with the current engine. The graphics looked fine, but the game ran on only a single core and was very unoptimized, slowing down and dropping frame rates in busy areas even with strong rigs.
Recently, Wargaming.net revealed a video showing off the new rendering engine with new lighting, shadows, physics, and generally improved graphics all round with an increase in frames and lighter system requirements.
I was dumbfounded. How could they improve a third-party engine this much without actually owning it? Now I have my answer.
$45 million may seem like a lot, but Wargaming is rolling in the dough; they revealed they were getting “double digit millions” every month. I can attest to the addictive nature of their games as I must have spent over $200 on World of Tanks. However, it remains to be seen whether Wargaming can make their new engine acquisition into a profitable subsidiary as they were the only AAA game developer who even bothered with it. Thus, it remains to be seen whether BigWorld will become viable in a world of CryEngine 3s and Unreal Engine 4s.