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Marker Metro sold to UK group

Paul Brislen, Editor. 01 August 2016, 7:06 am

Local game developer Marker Metro has been bought by UK-based digital agency The Marketing Group and is now listed on Nasdaq First North stock market in Sweden.

The mobile app and gaming developer is one of four subsidiaries of parent company Ulysses which was sold for just shy of NZ$30 million. Marker Metro accounts for around half Ulysses' revenue.

The sale immediately raised the spectre of local jobs being farmed out overseas, however Marker Metro chief executive and co-founder Keith Patton told NBR that the company was based on its staff (currently around 20 people) and he didn't foresee any changes to their roles.

"I don't want to rock the boat in terms of changing our recipe for success," Patton told the newspaper.

In January, French game developer, Gameloft, closed its New Zealand office at a cost of 160 jobs.

New Zealand Game Developers Association chairperson Stephen Knightly said at the time the decision to close the Auckland-based studio was likely to have been driven by the offshore head office rather than a reflection of New Zealand's video gaming industry.

"When Gameloft originally set up in Auckland six years ago, our expectations were that they would grow to become maybe a 50 or 60 person team. The fact that they grew to over 150 people shows how well the team performed," he told the New Zealand Herald.

Marker Metro was founded in 2011 by Patton and director Jon Beattie, and while it employs 20 full-time staff in New Zealand it also has a contractor pool across the UK, US and Sweden.

Metro Marker's big-name clients include Disney, Sony Pictures Television, Zynga, NZTE, Carters Holt Harvey and Plunket New Zealand.


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