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12 September, 2019 - 12:47 By Tony Quested

Solid silver Frontier Developments smashes all records

Video games pioneer Frontier Developments has massively grown headcount and revenues in a record-breaking year from its Cambridge Science Park headquarters. And founder and CEO Dave Braben says there’s much more success to come.

The company, which celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year and is the UK’s largest independent studio, recruited more than 120 people in the 12 months to May 31 – taking headcount  over 460.

In a hugely successful financial year to end-May, Frontier grew revenue by more than 160 per cent to £89.7 million – 2.4 times the previous record achieved in 2017 – and operating profit by nearly 600 per cent to £19.4m. That was 2.5 times the previous record, also in 2017.

The growth was delivered through the success of Jurassic World Evolution (June 2018), and the ongoing performance of Frontier’s first two self-published titles, Elite Dangerous (2014) and Planet Coaster (2016).

Frontier is sitting on a massive war chest: Cash balances increased by £11.2m during the year to £35.3m. The UK share price at the time of going to press was 1040.00 and market cap was £402.91m.

Frontier’s next major release is Planet Zoo, the company’s fourth title launch since the transition to a self-publishing business model in 2013-2014.

Planet Zoo is the ultimate zoo simulation, featuring authentic living animals, rich management, and limitless creativity, and is coming exclusively to PC on November 5. Expect fireworks!

In addition to Frontier’s core model of developing and publishing its own games, the company is partnering with other high-quality developers to bring more games to market through its Frontier Publishing initiative. 

In June Frontier announced the first of these deals with Haemimont Games, an experienced and respected developer of quality strategy and management titles. And in March, Frontier announced securing a major global IP licence for a future game release in 2021.

While Frontier anticipates considerable success with the release of Planet Zoo, it is unlikely to drive total revenues within the financial year as high as those achieved by Jurassic World Evolution in FY19.  

Braben said: “I am delighted to report a record level of financial performance which reflects the skill and hard work of our talented team and the support of our players around the world.  

“Earlier in 2019 we celebrated our 25th anniversary as a company and while I am very proud of all our achievements to date, it feels like we are at the start of our journey. 

“The opportunities we have now are better than ever. I am more excited about our future, our next 25 years, as a result, as we continue to expand our horizons and grow our portfolio, our team, and our partnerships.”

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