You’ve probably heard the Dumb Ways to Die audio while scrolling on Instagram or TikTok, but did you know where it’s from? The Melbourne rail campaign, Dumb Ways to Die—the franchise which has been under Aussie video game developer PlaySide Studios (ASX: PLY) for about two years now. Besides that, the studio has a broad range of games that have raked in the money this quarter.
In Q1 FY24, the Company recorded quarterly revenue of $15.5 million, up from the previous quarter’s $12.7 million. Its IP revenue stood at $6.6 million, a major uptick—181%—on Q1 FY23. Thanks to a bunch of AAA contracts with some Hollywood studios and well-known partners, the Company’s Work for Hire revenue increased by 116% on Q1 FY23 to $8.9 million.
It also reported a positive EBITDA of $4.2 million, with cash receipts of $12.4 million. It reported a positive cash inflow of $1.5 million, ending the year with $31.7 million cash balance.
PlaySide CEO, Gerry Sakkas, said, “The year has started off really strongly, which is consistent with the guidance we provided to the market. Pleasingly, Dumb Ways to Die social channels saw their strongest month ever during the quarter – eclipsing almost all key metrics on owned channels even compared to the highs of February 2023 when the brand went viral. We remain cashed up to execute our vision of developing valuable Original IP content across all platforms, with several new projects now in the pre-production stage across mobile and PC/Console and some larger opportunities being explored and concepted.”
PlaySide is the gaming company behind titles like Age of Darkness: Final Stand and World Boss. It’s also got several Hollywood-inspired games, like Legally Blonde: The Game (What, like it’s hard?).
It has commenced developing its Dumb Ways to Die VR title for Meta. Its publishing division has also signed a deal to publish “Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown” PC/Console title. Project Phoenix is now in production, and PlaySide Studios locked in the Studio of the Year award at the Australian Game Design Awards.
Original IP game revenues were at record levels for the quarter and higher than total revenues for PlaySide in Q1 FY23. Much of this is due to the continued success of the Dumb Ways to Die franchise, which PlaySide acquired from Metro Trains Melbourne in October 2021 for $2.25 million. The audio went viral on social media in February 2023, helping the Company gain many downloads for Dumb Ways to Die mobile titles.
Recent deals PlaySide has signed for Dumb Ways to Die have pushed the brand into new platforms, contributing to its quarterly revenue performance.
In August, the PlaySide Publishing team signed a deal with Canada-based Zugalu Entertainment to publish its forthcoming medieval fantasy city builder Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown. This is the second title it has signed, and it plans on launching the game in 2024.
Taking note of ongoing economic uncertainties and subsequent layoffs, PlaySide reaffirmed that it is careful in its hiring approach. It has about 290 staff at present and spent over $8 million in staff costs in Q1 FY24. It has been using an incremental hiring strategy to bolster its Work for Hire pipeline and Dumb Ways to Die licensing deals.
PlaySide expects its EBITDA and operating cash flow to remain positive by the December quarter. In FY24, it expects its revenue to be between $50 and $55 million.
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