Fresh frontiers as Braben’s vision is made flesh
Cambridge games creator Frontier Developments is making a bull charge towards founder and chief executive David Braben’s vision of being a global leader in hi-tech entertainment.
Record full-year results including a 550 per cent operating profits increase capped an impressive transition of the business and sent shares 89p higher to 1,209 on the UK’s stockmarket at one stage this morning.
And Braben said there was more to come as Frontier unveiled a new franchise and accelerated output in terms of releasing future games.
Figures for the year to May 31 reflect the company’s successful transition to a business-to-consumer video game developer with multiple self-published revenue generating franchises.
The launch of its second franchise, Planet Coaster, combined with continued strong performance from Elite Dangerous drove a step-up in all financial measures. Frontier’s third franchise, based on the Jurassic World movie franchise, is on track for launch in summer 2018.
The company told shareholders in a statement: “After successfully proving our ability to launch franchises our ambition is to continue our evolution to create a self-publishing multi-franchise success story.
“Ongoing investment in our people, organisation and facilities, supported by the proceeds from the £17.7 million strategic investment by Tencent completed in July 2017, will enable the business to continue scaling up.”
The investment by Tencent, a leading Internet and interactive entertainment company based in China, will improve and accelerate Frontier's growth into the key Chinese market and help drive scale-up of the business.
Braben said: “We have successfully transitioned our business model and I am delighted with the performance of both Planet Coaster and Elite Dangerous. Our next franchise, Jurassic World Evolution, is in development and scheduled for launch in summer 2018. We believe that developing our business to achieve repeatable success requires scale.
“We are continuing to grow our capability and over time we aim to double our output, from roughly one major launch every two years, to one every 12 months or so.
“I'd like to thank our fantastic team who have already achieved so much and to our many players around the world who continue to make it all possible. However, we are at the start of our journey; our long term ambition is to become a global leader in entertainment and Tencent's recent strategic investment will help drive our scale-up plans.”
Full-year revenues soared 75 per cent to £37.4 million and operating profit was up 550 per cent to £7.8m. Frontier has also hoisted its net cash balance to £12.6m from £8.6m.
Frontier has unveiled another coup, luring Stewart Stanbury from Alphabet Inc’s Google as director of marketing with immediate effect.
With expertise in digital marketing and branding for technology and games, Stanbury is expected to strengthen Frontier's marketing team as the company scales up the number and frequency of franchise releases. At Google he was industry manager for Branding for three and a half years, and prior to that for business markets from 2012 to 2014.
• IMAGE: Jurassic World Evolution – courtesy of Frontier Developments