Game Maker and later GameMaker Studio is a very popular game engine with indie developers and YoYo Games just recently sold it off and it appears they did so at a loss.
Originally created by Mark Overmars, who later teamed up with YoYo Games who have carried it on since 2007. Later in 2015 the YoYo Games studio was acquired by Playtech for around $16.4 million dollars. News doing the rounds now though, is that Playtech have actually sold YoYo Games to an unnamed buyer:
Playtech has previously stated that it is a strategic focus of the Company to simplify its business and dispose of non-core assets. It is pleased to announce that it has now completed the sale of YoYo Games, part of the discontinued Casual and Social Gaming business, for a consideration of approximately USD 10 million. With the completion of the sale of YoYo Games, Playtech has now disposed of all its Casual and Social Gaming assets.
So they not only sold it for less than they originally purchased it for but the buyer has yet to be formally announced, even with that financial statement being released a week ago. Not just that though, for an entire game engine and company that's a tiny amount of money - which should ring some alarm bells.
Clever people from the official YoYo Games forum already found who might now own them, thanks to the UK Company House records system we can see that multiple people involved in the Opera browser company now sit as directors of YoYo Games. These records appeared the day after the Playtech statement.
For game developers, the game engine you rely on suddenly changing hands with no prior notice and no announcement a week later must be a little frightening. Games often take multiple years to create, so for developers well into the thick of using GameMaker Studio hopefully the result will be a good one. Perhaps though, the time is ripe to check out Godot Engine since it's free and open source.
Update: Opera have now confirmed they now own YoYo Games in a blog post written today, January 20. From the press release:
"We are very excited to start working with the team at YoYo Games," said Krystian Kolondra, EVP Browsers at Opera. "We see the platform as being an ideal acquisition to complement our global ambitions in gaming, along with our Opera GX gaming browser. We look forward to further growing Opera GX and to driving the growth of GameMaker, making it more accessible to novice users and developing it into the world’s leading 2D game engine used by commercial studios. We are also thrilled to find future synergies between YoYo Games’ products and Opera GX."
Stuart Poole, General Manager of YoYo Games said, "It’s been clear to us from the first time we spoke to them that the whole of the team at Opera is incredibly passionate about games. Since joining them last week, the positivity and creative energy we are seeing from them has been overwhelming. We have always had big plans for improving GameMaker across all platforms, both from the perspective of improving accessibility and further developing the features available to commercial studios; and now we can’t wait to see them arrive much sooner."
To note that Opera GX is their "gaming browser", currently only available for Windows while their normal Opera browser is available for Linux.