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Frontier Dev PLC - IP Licence with Games Workshop and Trading Update

RNS Number : 5776L
Frontier Developments PLC
01 May 2020
 

Frontier Developments plc

Frontier signs an IP Licence with Games Workshop Group PLC and provides an update on trading

 

·    IP rights licenced from Games Workshop to develop and publish a real-time strategy game worldwide on PC, console and streaming platforms for release in FY23

·    Game based within the globally popular world of Warhammer® Age of Sigmar®

·    Two major releases from internal development teams are now confirmed for each of FY22 and FY23

·    Lockdown-related demand for games is having a positive impact on sales globally

·    Home working for all staff has been in place for over a month

 

Warhammer Licence

Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV, "Frontier", the "Company"), a leading developer and publisher of videogames based in Cambridge, announces an exclusive IP licence (the "Licence") with Games Workshop to develop and publish a real-time strategy game within the rich and extensive world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar is Games Workshop's most recent iteration of the globally renowned fantasy setting in which the four Grand Alliances of Order, Chaos, Death and Destruction vie for control of the Mortal Realms.  Unique and distinct in style, and endless in scope, this ever growing universe sits alongside the far future dystopia of Warhammer 40,000 as the most successful tabletop miniatures games in the world.

Under the terms of the Licence, Frontier has the exclusive rights to develop and publish a real-time strategy game worldwide on PC and console platforms, together with the rights for streaming services.  The game is planned for release in Frontier's financial year ending 31 May 2023 ("FY23").

Release Roadmap

Frontier's development roadmap is now stronger than ever, with two major releases from internal development teams now confirmed for each of FY22 and FY23.  FY22 will benefit from the multi-platform release of a game based on an as-yet unrevealed major global IP and the release of Frontier's first Formula 1 multi-platform management game alongside the 2022 F1 season.  FY23 will see the release of the 2023 Formula 1 management game and the Warhammer Age of Sigmar multi-platform real-time strategy game.

For the financial year ending 31 May 2021 ("FY21") two internally developed major releases are also planned: Planet Coaster expanding onto PlayStation and Xbox, and a major new paid-for release for Elite Dangerous.

FY21 and beyond will also benefit from releases from Frontier's third party publishing initiative.  Two games have been signed for release in FY21, with a further three already signed for FY22 and scope for more.   Five or six third party game releases per year are expected from FY23 onwards.

Trading Update and Covid-19

The safety of our team is Frontier's main priority and we acted quickly to transition the majority of our 500+ staff to home working during March, prior to the lock-down. It is testament to their dedication and positive attitude that we were able to release both the Elite Dangerous: Fleet Carriers Beta update and the Planet Zoo: South America Pack on schedule before Easter and to a positive reception.

Like many companies selling mainly online in the digital entertainment industry we have seen increases in demand for our products. This started in China from February and in much of the rest of the world from March, and is likely related to global lock-down conditions.  We believe the immersive and creative nature of our games and the engaging play times of hundreds of hours makes them particularly popular in today's uncertain world. 

Based on this increased demand, the Board now expects revenue to be towards the top of the previously stated range of £65-73 million for the current financial year ending 31 May 2020 ("FY20"), with operating profit, as reported under IFRS, anticipated to fall within the range of £11-13 million.

Our next major releases are Planet Coaster coming to PlayStation and Xbox and a major new paid-for release for Elite Dangerous, together with the first two games from our third-party publishing initiative. We had originally planned for the Elite Dangerous major update to release in December 2020, but, in the context of the current Covid-19 environment, we have now set a Q1 2021 release date. We do not believe this short delay will materially affect revenue in FY21.  All four of these releases, being two internal developments and two partner developments, are still planned for FY21.

It is too early to judge the long-term effect of home working on efficiency, and there remains significant uncertainty regarding how long the lock-down may continue. We are continually assessing any potential impact on development. A small number of days were disrupted due to the transition in March, and while we anticipate some level of ongoing disruption, and thus potential delays to production schedules for content releases, including for Elite Dangerous' next major update, we do not foresee a permanent loss of efficiency.

The company is in a strong position, and while the Board continues to monitor closely the impact of Covid-19, we do not currently expect to use Government employment support or apply for grants. We continue to recruit and we already have a number of new joiners who have started with us by working from home. The business has a strong, debt-free balance sheet with cash of approximately £40 million, which allows us to continue to invest in our strategy of developing and nurturing high quality games.

David Braben, Frontier's Chief Executive, said:

"We are delighted to announce this licence with Games Workshop.  I personally think it's great news that two such well-established and world-class creative UK companies with global reach are collaborating on a new project.  We look forward to working closely with the team at Games Workshop to bring the rich world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar to a wide audience through an immersive and accessible real-time strategy game on both PC and console.

Our roadmap is looking stronger than ever, with two games from our internal developments for each of FY22 and FY23 and an exciting portfolio coming up from our third party publishing initiative, starting in FY21.

I am incredibly proud of the positive reaction of our staff to the challenges of Covid-19 and would like to thank them all for their dedication.  We were delighted to release Elite Dangerous: Fleet Carriers Beta and Planet Zoo: South America Pack before the Easter weekend as planned."

Jon Gillard, Global Head of Licensing at Games Workshop, said:

"As Warhammer becomes an ever larger brand and our legions of fans around the world look for exciting ways to experience the splendour of our settings, we are always looking for the highest quality partners to work with. Frontier is just such a company, with an incredible heritage, and an innovative and highly polished development capability clearly demonstrated by their compelling vision for this game.  This will be the first RTS set in the epic fantasy world of the Age of Sigmar, which is the kind of game that Warhammer and strategy fans have been clamouring for. We know that the team at Frontier are the perfect people to take on that great responsibility and do it justice."

 

This announcement contains inside information as defined in Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014. The person responsible for making this announcement on behalf of the Company is Alex Bevis.

 

Enquiries:

 

Frontier Developments                                                                         +44 (0)1223 394 300

David Braben, CEO

Alex Bevis, CFO                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        

Liberum - Nomad and Joint Broker                                                  +44 (0)20 3100 2000

Neil Patel / Cameron Duncan                                                              

                                                                                                                        

Jefferies - Joint Broker                                                                          +44 (0)20 7029 8000

Max Jones / William Brown

         

Tulchan Communications                                                                      +44 (0)20 7353 4200

Matt Low / Deborah Roney / James Macey White

 

 

About Frontier Developments plc

Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV) is a leading independent developer and publisher of videogame franchises founded in 1994 by David Braben, co-author of the seminal Elite game. Based in Cambridge, UK, Frontier's world-class team of over 500 staff create innovative games using the Company's own proprietary 'COBRA' game development technology to entertain global communities of players on video game consoles and personal computers.

Frontier's LEI number: 213800B9LGPWUAZ9GX18.

www.frontier.co.uk

About Games Workshop

Games Workshop Group PLC (LSE:GAW.L), based in Nottingham, UK, produces the best fantasy miniatures in the world. Games Workshop designs, manufactures, retails, and distributes its range of Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 games, miniature soldiers, novels and model kits through more than 529 of its own stores (branded Games Workshop or Warhammer), its own web store, and independent retail channels in more than 50 countries worldwide. More information about Games Workshop and its other, related, brands and product ranges (including its publishing division 'Black Library' and its special resin miniatures studio 'Forge World') can be found at www.games-workshop.com.

 

 


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