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GameStop Acquires Majority Stake in Jolt Online Gaming

GameStop Acquires Majority Stake in Jolt Online Gaming

November 19, 2009 | By Eric Caoili

November 19, 2009 | By Eric Caoili
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Specialty retailer GameStop recently acquired a majority interest in online gaming platform Jolt. The company develops and publishes license-based, free-to-play titles such as Playboy Manager and the Legends of Zork casual game (in partnership with Activision) based on the text adventure series. It also operates browser-based MMOs like Trukz and Utopia Kingdoms.

"Acquiring Jolt is significant building block in our digital business strategy," explained GameStop general manager Chris Petrovic, according to a note posted by subsidiary Game Informer earlier this month that was later pulled offline. "This is further evidence of our commitment to building a world-class digital business platform."

GameStop believes it can take advantage of Jolt's experience as a publisher, developer, and aggregator to create online games that fulfill needs major publishers aren't addressing, then offer those titles to its huge customer base.

Under the terms of the agreement, Jolt will remain at its current headquarters in Ireland, and GameStop will provide between 15-20 million ($22.4-29.8 million) toward the company's development over the next two to three years.

Irish newspaper The Sunday Business Post appears to have confirmed the deal, despite Game Informer's removal of the announcement, and speculated that the move will generate a significant number of new local jobs.

Jolt presently employs 25 people across Dublin, Belfast, Germany, and Bulgaria. This is the second major sale by the company's founder and CEO Dylan Collins, who also sold his networking middleware firm DemonWare to Activision for $15 million two years ago. Collins will retain a minority stake in Jolt and continue to head the firm.

"Going forward, our vision for Jolt is that it will continue its focus on working with our game publisher partners to create online games for game titles and brands that aren't currently being exploited by the publishers themselves and then leveraging our global retail footprint to offer those games to GameStop's customers," said Petrovic.

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