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Financial Insights: Keywords Studios plc Fiscal Year 2022 

03 Jun, 2024
Written by
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Reviewed by
Aigerim Ercik
Aigerim Ercik
Financial Insights: Keywords Studios plc Fiscal Year 2022 

Keywords Studios plc, a prominent developer and service provider for the video game and digital entertainment industry, made significant strides in 2022. Founded in 1998 in Ireland, the company has consistently expanded its services and reach, solidifying its position as a key player in the industry. This article delves into the strategic directions, financial performance, and challenges Keywords Studios faced in 2022.

Company Strategy

In 2022, Keywords Studios outlined a comprehensive strategy aimed at capitalizing on its robust foundations to unlock further potential and offer an increasingly compelling value proposition to its partners in the video games industry and adjacent markets. The company’s strategic focus encompassed several key areas:

  • Strategic Partnerships: Keywords Studios emphasized the importance of developing deeper strategic client partnerships to create and capture more value. 
  • Technology: The company invested in new and existing technologies, including AI, machine learning, and automation, to enhance its global platform. 
  • One Keywords: Keywords Studios promoted a culture of entrepreneurialism and collaboration within the group. The “One Keywords” initiative aims to streamline navigation of the company’s comprehensive service and studio platform, facilitating greater collaboration and scalability.
  • Talent and Capabilities: Establishing Keywords as a prime destination for talent and career development is a key goal. The company planned to enhance its employee value proposition through talent acquisition, development, effective communication, engagement, and broadening its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives.
  • Adjacent Markets: Keywords Studios was leveraging its capabilities to target markets closely related to the video games industry. These adjacent markets benefit from the company’s expertise and allow for the transfer of gaming experience to other verticals.

Financial Performance

Keywords Studios showcased robust financial growth in 2022. The company’s revenue for the year amounted to €690.718 million, marking a 34.85% increase from €512.200 million in 2021 and an 84.91% rise from €373.538 million in 2020. The revenue structure for 2022 was as follows:

  • Create: €275.570 million (39.90% of total revenue)
  • Globalize: €300.875 million (43.56% of total revenue)
  • Engage: €114.273 million (16.54% of total revenue)

Total equity as of December 31, 2022, stood at €557.091 million, reflecting an 18.00% increase from €472.120 million in 2021 and a 50.06% increase from €371.235 million in 2020. Total current assets were €231.367 million, surpassing total current liabilities of €189.720 million by €41.647 million.

Keywords Studios also maintained an active acquisition strategy, completing 62 deals from 2014 to 2022. In 2022 alone, the company acquired five businesses: Forgotten Empires, Mighty Games, Smoking Gun, LabCom, and Helpshift, for a total of €136.900 million.

Criticism

Despite its successes, Keywords Studios faced several challenges. In 2019, Epic Games sued a game tester at Keywords’ Montreal branch for allegedly violating a non-disclosure agreement related to Fortnite, seeking $85,000 in damages. In 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, Keywords advised employees to continue working from the office due to non-disclosure concerns, facing criticism for inadequate sanitation and limited remote work options. In 2023, Keywords laid off 13 Canadian testers after BioWare ended their contract, following the unionization of 16 QA testers at Keywords Studios Edmonton in 2022, a significant development in the industry’s labor movement in Canada.

Strategic Growth Amidst Challenges

Keywords Studios plc demonstrated remarkable growth and strategic foresight in the fiscal year 2022, bolstering its position as a leader in the video game and digital entertainment industry. The financial performance of Keywords Studios, highlighted by a significant increase in revenue and equity, underscores the effectiveness of its strategic approach and robust acquisition strategy. 

However, the company also faced notable challenges, including legal issues and criticisms related to workplace practices. The unionization of QA testers and subsequent layoffs in Canada reflect broader industry trends and underline the complexities Keywords Studios must navigate as it continues to grow.  As it moves forward, addressing the criticisms and challenges will be crucial to maintaining its competitive edge and fostering a supportive work environment for its global talent pool.

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