11 AUG 2023

The games market saw a notorious downward trend in the first half of the year

In the first half of 2022, US$106 billion were spent across 280 video games deals, and this dropped to just US$8 billion (-93%) and 213 (-44%) in the first half of 2023, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

11 AUG 2023

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In the first half of 2023, worsening macroeconomic conditions, slowing growth in the games market and the crypto winter undermined investment activity in the games sector significantly. In the first half of 2022, US$106 billion were spent across 280 deals, and this dropped to just US$8 billion (-93%) and 213 (-44%) in the first half of 2023, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.

The downward trend observed in Q1 2023 continued in Q2, with the overall volume of investments dropping to 92, down 24% quarter-on-quarter, the most significant downturn observed since the first quarter of 2022. Despite this, investment value actually saw a sharp rise of 577% from US$1 billion in Q1 2023 to US$7 billion in Q2 2023 with 73% of this attributed to Savvy Games Group’s acquisition of Scopely for US$4.9 billion.


Funded and wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Savvy Games Group is one of the biggest investors in the game sector today. The PIF is a sovereign wealth fund managed by the state and a significant share of Saudi Arabia’s wealth is tied to oil; it therefore comes as no surprise that Savvy Games Group is largely unaffected by the economic challenges faced by the broader games industry, Ampere said.

Savvy Games Group has invested around US$7.2 billion across four deals since January 2022, with its latest being a US$4.9 billion acquisition of US mobile game developer Scopely in April 2023, the sixth largest by value in the industry to date. Scopely is Savvy’s first acquisition specifically targeting mobile.

The company is well established and has proven success on the platform, with several notable titles to its name – including “Stumble Guys,” “Scrabble Go,” and “Marvel Strike Force.”  The acquisition will bring expertise and development capacity to the recently established Savvy Games Group and strengthen its global position, while lending Scopely aid in cross-platform expansion to segments like PC and console.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is confirmed as one of 2023’s key trends, with the number of companies interested in the sector rising – in Q2 2023 eight companies using AI were targets of investments or acquisitions. User-generated content is emerging as a key application of AI technology, making content creation more accessible. This is attractive to developers and consumers alike, with Ampere Games – Consumer finding that 39% of respondents agreed that creating their own in-game content it is important to them (Q2 2023).

In late June 2023, Scriptic raised US$5.7 million in a seed funding round. The company develops interactive media with one of its titles, “Scriptic: Crime Stories,” being featured in Netflix’s gaming catalogue. The investment will go to toward onboarding writers to its AI-led creator service that allows users to create, share and monetize their own stories. Generative AI is also being applied throughout the game development process, collaborating with human creatives.

“AI offers opportunities to innovate and promising solutions to challenges faced within the industry but there are unanswered questions surrounding the technology; including the protection of IP to train models and the ethics of using AI resources to create art. This skepticism has impacted the adoption of AI, particularly within larger companies, with Valve reportedly banning games with AI art assets if the creator cannot prove that they have the rights for the training material,”  concluded Katie Holt, Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.