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Astragon is acquiring long-running German studio Independent Arts

Team17 subsidiary Astragon Entertainment is bringing one of Germany's oldest game studios under its wing.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

May 1, 2023

2 Min Read
The logos for Astragon Entertainment and Independent Arts.

Astragon Entertainment, the Team 17-owned German studio behind hot-selling simulator titles like Police Simulator, Bus Simulator, and Construction Simulator, is buying up another German developer named Independent Arts. The smaller studio is one of Germany's oldest operating game developers, having been around since the far-flung year of 1990.

Neither company has disclosed what price Astragon is paying for the new studio.

It looks like Astragon is acquiring Independent Arts in a bid to bring more development resources in-house for its growing portfolio of simulation titles. Independent Arts' resume is a bit thin on major hits, but heavy on reliable business preparing ports for other developers. It had previously been Astragon's partner of choice for bringing games in the Construction Simulator series to consoles.

Independent Arts' most recent in-house game was an Olympic Winter Sports simulator called Winter Games 2023. CEO Holger Kuchling said in a press release that he's looking forward to "the opportunity to expand the studio," under Astragon's ownership, possibly indicating that its new parent company is looking to hire more developers to support more simulation games.

Co-CEOs Julia Pfiffer and Tim Schmitz supported that theory, commenting that Astragon is looking forward to "[expanding] the development of existing and new own IP working simulation titles," while also diversifying the company's portfolio of "in-house productions."

Simulation games are turning into big business

Astragon's acquisition of Independent Arts is a relatively small purchase if you compare it to the sea of major pickups from groups like Embracer, but it does highlight the increasing commercial value of Astragon's simulation games.

Previously, the Overcooked and Dredge publisher paid €100 million (about $114.6 million at the time) to bring Astragon's simulation titles under its wing. Other simulation titles like Farming Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator are heavy hitters in this space, and the Spintires franchise was so lucrative that its creators became stuck in a miserable legal battle over who had the right to develop and publish games. That series now lives on through Saber Interactive's MudRunner and SnowRunner.

Just a few weeks ago, Focus Entertainment made a bigger bid to go after Astrogon's simulation market, acquiring Train Simulator developer Dovetail Games for an undisclosed sum.

If there's one thing worth watching in this market, it'll be keeping an eye on what "genres" these simulation developers expand into. With more money pouring into these studios, it's likely that corporate leaders will want to flex their muscle and try to get the jump on the next hot job players will want to simulate when they're not working a real one.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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