From the CEO
Revenues grew 12% in the fourth quarter, Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales generated more than half million euros.
2021 was a year of many positive changes and new initiatives for Next Games. Together with our partners at Netflix, we launched Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, a game crafted with care for Stranger Things fans. Our focus on securing a solid pipeline of new games in the future was also strengthened by the establishment of three new internal teams to work on our future games as well as a new framework to support new games development.
I’m also very pleased we closed an up to USD 16.5 million co-development agreement on a yet unannounced mobile game at the end of the year. The partnership is a logical continuation of Next Games’ strategy to focus on building long term strategic partnerships, as well as strengthening the company’s portfolio and risk position with different deal structures.
Our revenue increased in the fourth quarter by 12% to EUR 7.5 (6.7) million with the start of the co-development project and scaling Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales. In its first few months Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales has generated more than half million euros in revenue. We expect further monetization improvements during 2022, which will be a solid base for future growth. The game’s impact on our overall revenue was still modest for the full year, as the game started generating revenues only towards the end of 2021. Next Games ́ full-year revenue was EUR 25.2 (27.2) million in 2021.
Both of our The Walking Dead games, No Man’s Land and Our World, improved their profitability and that combined with our newly signed co-development agreement helped us minimize loss, as Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales was entering a growth phase, where all, or most of the game’s revenue is invested back into user acquisition and growing the game further.
Our overall EBITDA was impacted by both increased R&D costs as well as Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales
investments. We originally aimed for neutral to positive EBITDA for 2021. However, we ended up at EUR -0.6 million compared to EUR 0.5 million in 2020. Regardless, our achieved publishing operations’
profitability is an excellent basis to build on. Even though paid user acquisition is becoming increasingly
challenging, we find ourselves well equipped to succeed owing to our licensed games strategy and active
brand portfolio management.
In March 2021, we took steps to support our future growth through a successful direct share issue to domestic
and international institutional investors in order to enter into new partnerships, sign new intellectual property
licenses, finance the development of new games and support the implementation of the company’s
Our guiding light in growing our team is that we don’t look for culture fit — we look for what each person brings to our culture and values to make them richer. This year we made an important and very concrete commitment to reach 50% of non-male identifying employees in our staff by 2030.
Currently, we come from a wide range of backgrounds, with 28 nationalities and 22% other than male- identifying employees, we are prepared to work hard to achieve an even more diverse Next Games. In 2020 we also set up a special, employee-led interest group focusing on diversity, inclusion and belonging that welcomes anyone to participate across the whole company. We have also put considerable effort into ensuring equal and fair pay as well as making sure our recruitment process is free of any unintentional bias.
2022 started off with Netflix’s exciting announcement on 2 March 2022 of a voluntary recommended public cash tender offer for all issued and outstanding shares in Next Games. We have had an unwavering focus to execute on our vision: To become the partner of choice for global entertainment businesses and craft authentic and long-lasting interactive entertainment based on the world’s most beloved franchises.
Joining forces with the world’s largest streaming service, Netflix, presents an opportunity for a logical and exciting continuation of our strategy to craft interactive experiences for the world to enjoy. Our close collaboration with Netflix on Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales has already proven that together we create a strong partnership. This is a unique opportunity to level-up the studio on all fronts and continue on our mission together.
Our mission is to redefine the way entertainment franchises transform into engaging mobile games with an authentic and social fan experience at the heart. I’m very excited to continue pushing our ambitious plans forward together with team Next Games in 2022.
I would like to thank our players for keeping us grounded, our staff for the uncompromising focus to craft
authentic and long-lasting interactive entertainment and our investors for their support.