Albion Online developer Sandbox Interactive has been purchased by Stockholm-based mobile developer Stillfront Group AB, as announced both by Stillfront in a press release and by Sandbox on the Albion forums. The total price of the sale is EUR 130 million, approximately equal to $159 million.
On the forums, CEO Robin “Eltharyon” Henkys stated that the rapid growth of the game meant that “being on our own is not always an advantage” and that there were many places where the dev team “could benefit from additional expertise.” He said that the deal would lead to “more people to play with, more capacities for development of patches and updates, and simply more Albion Online.” The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, with Stillfront taking over operations in January. (UPDATE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Henkys as one of the co-founders of Sandbox Interactive. We apologize for the error.)
As part of this acquisition, and another it made of casual game maker Super Free Games Inc., Stillfront released financial information related to both companies. Sandbox reported a net revenue in Q3 2020 of approximately $10.6 million, and the press release stated that Albion had 120,000 daily active users.
It’s no question that Albion has exploded in popularity since going free-to-play in April 2019. Its Steam numbers show a marked increase in that month, and, after the usual dip in player numbers following that initial surge, it’s actually defied the odds to rebound and keep drawing in new players. Kudos to Sandbox Interactive for finding the way forward when a number of other newly F2P games would have just kept dwindling down to nothing.
The price of the transaction does make me take pause, though, if only because of other recent events. It was less than a month ago that Daybreak Game Company was also purchased by a Swedish company for roughly twice what Sandbox went for. While Daybreak certainly has more games and a longer history, it’s worth noting that it has nearly the exact same number of daily active users (116,000) across all its games as Albion’s 120,000. It’s got me wondering if EG7 paid too much for Daybreak or if Stillfront paid too little for Sandbox.