Woosung Ahn did some smart calculations on the recent Hasbro acquisition of Backflip Studios at a $160 million valuation yesterday. Backflip’s breadwinning game is Dragonvale. We estimate Dragonvale earns $115K-$120K per day in revenue on the iOS store in the US, where it currently ranks 16th on the top grossing apps list.
A 3X revenue multiple sounds about right in terms of valuation, and it’s a phenomenal outcome for the Backflip team, who didn’t take in any outside capital. We love their games and are always excited to see the good guys win!
Will this impact the recent debate about whether game developers should take venture capital? [If you need/want a primer, read smart commentary from Kim-Mai Cutler, Nabeel Hyatt, Mitch Lasky, Kristian Segerstrale, and Eric Seufert.]
Our guess is that it will leave everyone convinced their original point of view was correct. (Confirmation bias FTW!) A 3X multiple in a fast growing market can still support the larger later stage deals, as long as the market & games keep growing. But the VCs like Lasky and Hyatt who are looking for platforms that have network effects and 10X revenue multiples will likely find this as confirmation that investing in game developers isn’t great for VC.
Either way, big congrats to the Backflip team!