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Kwalee Acquires Narrative Specialists Tictales – European Gaming Industry News

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Kwalee, a world-leading game developer and multiplatform publisher, has made its first ever studio acquisition with a deal that brings French developer Tictales into its increasingly-global family.

Established as one of the world’s foremost mobile game developers and publishers, Kwalee has achieved more than 750 million downloads across its hypercasual games portfolio.

The deal to buy Tictales is the first acquisition by Kwalee in its 10-year history, signalling its serious intent to build upon global hypercasual success with both casual and hybrid-casual titles.

Tictales, whose narrative-based mobile games have been downloaded more than 6 million times and played for more than 350 million hours, will continue to operate with creative independence while benefiting from Kwalee’s marketing expertise.

Screenshot from Perfume of Love by Tictales

14 games have been developed and published by Tictales since the studio’s founding in 2015, including Perfume of Love, Fictions and Swiit Crush – Interactive Stories. The company specialises in free-to-play romance narrative games, and its titles are acclaimed by fans globally.

Headquartered in Leamington Spa, UK, Kwalee has doubled in size over the past year thanks to rapid global expansion. The developer and publisher also has offices in Bangalore, India and Beijing, China along with remote team members all around the world. With the acquisition of Tictales, the company now has team members spread across 18 countries.

Kwalee boasts the world’s most prolific hypercasual games development studio, having published more than 40 number one mobile games – most of which were developed by a dedicated internal team. Internal development is complemented by a dedicated mobile game publishing team working with talented developers all over the world, led by SEGA and Ubisoft veteran Will Cox.

“We have been committed since day one to creating amazing mobile fiction for our audience and I’m very proud of all the team members of Tictales for this milestone,” said Christophe Chocho, Sales Manager and Co-Founder of Tictales.

“The long-term vision of Tictales is to bring bigger franchises to the world, with our production capacity increasing and new talents joining our team. We and Kwalee share the same philosophy about high-quality games and we cannot wait to show our exciting new projects to the world.”

“Our talented team crafts the best narrative experiences for fans to enjoy for many years,” added Harouna Camara, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Tictales.

“Joining Kwalee allows us to concentrate on these passions and specialisms while benefiting from their expertise, particularly in marketing and publishing.”

“It’s a proud moment for us to make Kwalee’s first acquisition, and Tictales is the perfect partner,” said Kwalee CEO David Darling.

“With their successful track record of casual mobile games and ability to tell a compelling story through their games, their ambitions match our own and we’re looking forward to building collective success.”

A legend of the UK games industry who co-founded Codemasters and led the company for 20+ years before establishing Kwalee, Darling is writing yet another chapter in his decades-long gaming career with this acquisition – and he’s not ruling out more deals for companies with complementary skill-sets.

David Darling, CEO of Kwalee

Developers with hypercasual, hybrid-casual or casual mobile games can submit, market-test and get their games published using the Kwalee Publishing Portal. In a process that takes only minutes, all that’s needed are a few 15-second gameplay videos, or a simple prototype: https://www.kwalee.com/publish-with-us/.

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Troubled waters: The NLC is struggling to stay afloat after Riot’s sweeping changes to EMEA

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Before the new year begins, Riot Games revealed an entire treasure chest of changes headed to the European League of Legends scene, including a regional name change, new formats for the LEC, and a new ecosystem for tier two organizations. One league, however, is struggling to tread in these new waters: the NLC.

NLC teams are reportedly struggling to find funding and sponsors for the 2023 season due to the unstable situation in the league, according to independent journalist Brieuc Seeger. Recently, multiple major esports teams have pulled out of the league, including Excel Esports and Dusty Esports. Bifrost has also reportedly parted ways with all of its League staff, according to Seeger.

The league has been running since 2020, and has featured the Academy teams of several major European esports organizations, like Excel Esports, Astralis, and Fnatic. After an unsuccessful year in terms of finances, however, the NLC was forced to downsize its entire operation and become a non-accredited league. As a result, Seeger also said that sponsors are now hesitant to fund the league, especially after the NLC’s prize money and stipends were reduced from 200,000 to 45,000.

Related: LEC is getting a new look in 2023: Riot introduces 3 splits and over 300 games

“We tried our best throughout the year but sadly, we did not hit our partnership goals due to the current market situation,” the NLC said in a statement. “As such, it is no longer financially viable to continue at the level at which we have been operating. Therefore we have to take a step back for 2023 to establish an alternative path to lead the NLC into the future.”

There will be two splits in the year, one pro-am tournament called the Aurora Cup, and there will be eight or 10 teams competing in 2023, depending on the feedback from the teams. If the situation worsens, however, the NLC might need some major help in the coming months if this league wants to survive the new year.



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k0nfig returns to CS:GO for Heroic at BLAST Premier World Finals

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Heroic have confirmed ex-Astralis player Kristian ‘k0nfig’ Wienecke will compete for the team as a stand-in for Martin ‘stavn’ Lund for the upcoming BLAST World Final 2022. Heroic made the decision to rest stavn for the end of the season.

k0nfig returns to CS:GO for his first LAN appearance since September’s ESL Pro League Season 16, after his Astralis contract was terminated a month later amidst reports of a brutal altercation in Malta. Astralis released k0nfig amidst a roster shake-up for the Danish outfit, also bringing back Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz around the same time after a period of mixed results for the four-time major champions.

k0nfig returns to CS:GO - is it a risk?

Heroic released a statement on Twitter to confirm the news, after rumors spread early on Sunday regarding his possible involvement. 

k0nfig returns to CS:GO: is it a risk for Heroic?

Heroic find themselves in career-defining form, coming agonizingly close as runners-up at the amazing IEM Rio Major 2022. Just weeks later, Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller and his team were on top of the world, defeating FaZe Clan in their hometown of Copenhagen at BLAST Premier: Fall Finals 2022. Though k0nfig is undeniably a skilled player, Heroic will be desperately hoping he can avoid controversy during his stint with the Danes.

Heroic will be aware that taking on a currently-controversial figure represents a huge risk, especially as they find themselves as one of the best CSGO teams in the world. Excitement around this Heroic roster has been building for a few months now, so if k0nfig can keep results ticking along quietly, the team will see that as a great return on their investment. 



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Doubling down on Matthews: TSM adds Ari and Whitemon to Dota 2 roster

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TSM’s Dota 2 roster has been going through major changes after the team’s disappointing run at The International 2022. Earlier in the roster shuffle season, TSM parted ways with Dubu, moved MoonMeander to the coach position, and the organization announced Matthew “Ari” Walker and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon would take on their mantle.

In addition to Evil Geniuses moving to South America, TSM’s latest roster move is one of the most intriguing in the North American Dota 2 region. Not only did the team bring in two talents from two different parts of the world, but the roster got dramatically younger in the process.

MoonMeander and Dubu are 30 and 29 years old, respectively, while Ari is 19 and Whitemon is 22. With MoonMeander moving to a coaching position, it looks like TSM decided to bring in young talent in the hopes of developing them in NA.

Despite his young age, Whitemon has been a part of strong rosters in SEA like Geek Fam and T1. Ari, on the other hand, was only beginning to participate in the Dota Pro Circuit, as he only previously played with Into The Breach. Ari’s resume might look a little short in Dota for now, but his past speaks volumes.

Ari is a former Heroes of the Storm professional player who made the transition to Dota 2 in 2019 after HotS scrapped its esports scene. Only two years after making the switch, Ari reached 9,000 MMR and 11,000 MMR in 2022. His ability to learn rapidly and improve in an unmatched speed were recognized by other European talents, and Ari made it to the TI11 WEU qualifiers with Into The Breach, finishing fourth.

With TSM’s roster getting even younger, it will be up to coach MoonMeander to shape the hot-blooded talent into the best versions of themselves. The current iteration of TSM features:

  • Enzo “Timado” O’Connor
  • Jonathan “Bryle” Guia
  • Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek
  • Matthew “Ari” Walker
  • Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon

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