SoftBank-backed Metaverse Pioneer Improbable Sells Key Gaming Venture for $97 Million
- Improbable, a SoftBank-backed firm, sells gaming venture MPG to Keywords Studios for $97.1 million.
- The sale is part of Improbable’s “venture builder” strategy, focusing on metaverse-related teams.
- MPG, known for work on games like Fallout 76, was acquired by Improbable in 2019.
- Improbable shifts focus from its original SpatialOS technology to Morpheus for mass-scale multiplayer online games.
- CEO Herman Narula envisions a “tale of two metaverses” in 2024, favoring decentralized experiences driven by Web3 technologies.
The metaverse landscape is ever-evolving, with Improbable, a British firm backed by SoftBank, making headlines as it sells The Multiplayer Group (MPG), a significant gaming venture, to Keywords Studios for £76.5 million ($97.1 million).
This move is part of Improbable’s “venture builder” strategy, a unique approach where it invests in or acquires teams within the gaming and metaverse realms, providing them with the option to expand or spin them off later.
The Key Deal Details
Improbable acquired MPG in 2019, and the recent sale reflects its strategic focus on the metaverse. MPG, known for its work on games like Fallout 76 and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, has been a valuable asset that contributed to Improbable’s growth.
This sale, however, doesn’t signify a retreat from the gaming space, as Herman Narula, Improbable’s CEO, emphasizes the specialization of services provided by MPG.
“MPG provides a very specific, specialized service,” says Narula.
The transaction showcases Improbable’s ability to adapt its portfolio, aligning with its broader vision for the metaverse. Improbable’s original SpatialOS technology, once the focal point, has evolved, with Morpheus now taking the lead as the primary product designed for hosting mass-scale multiplayer online games.
Metaverse Vision and Challenges
Founded in 2012, Improbable initially aimed to build large-scale computer simulations with applications in gaming and defense.
Over the years, the company’s focus has shifted towards constructing a network of metaverses.
Despite Improbable’s metaverse-centric aspirations, the journey has not been without challenges, including the cancellation of games built on SpatialOS technology, such as Nostos and Worlds Adrift.
“The jury is still out if they have a viable business model going forward, or whether the reality will ever match the ‘virtual’ hype,” comments Greg Martin, co-founder and managing director of Rainmaker Securities.
Improbable’s CEO, Narula, remains optimistic about the future, envisioning a “tale of two metaverses” in 2024. He predicts a shift away from centralized experiences like Roblox and Fortnite towards decentralized “Web3” versions.
Web3 and the Future
Web3, representing a more decentralized and open version of the web, is crucial in shaping the metaverse.
Narula emphasizes the potential of creating a network of sovereign metaverses, driven by technologies like blockchain. Improbable’s commitment to this vision is evident in the launch of MSquared, a metaverse creation suite, granting developers access to its platform.
“The other branch of the metaverse is really about creating a network of sovereign metaverses,” explains Narula.