Tim Hely Hutchinson, CEO of Hachette UK today announces Hachette UK’s acquisition of one of the UK’s leading mobile games development studios, Neon Play.
Co-owners Oli Christie and Mark Allen founded Neon Play, which is based in Cirencester, in 2010. To date it has created over 30 games, including Paper Glider, Flick Football and Panic Traffic London and in total its games have attracted over 60 million downloads. The studio has won 20 business awards including the Queen’s Award for Innovation and Oli Christie was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the UK Chamber of Commerce Awards in 2011.
Oli Christie, Mark Allen and their team will continue to be based in Cirencester running Neon Play as a stand-alone business under the Hachette UK umbrella, creating, developing and marketing new mobile games.
Tim Hely Hutchinson, Richard Kitson and Pierre de Cacqueray of Hachette join the board of Neon Play. Tim Hely Hutchinson says: “For some time Hachette has been developing a plan to diversifyintothe games market. This is both to provide opportunities for our authors to be published in a new dimension, and also to pursue more generally our aim to generate rapid growth on a variety of digital platforms. We have been looking for a bold, creative, well managed and highly successful games studio and we have found it in Neon Play. I am delighted that Oli and Mark, who are brimming with exciting ideas, see Hachette as the right partner for their future.
“When we acquire companies we look for a good fit with Hachette: people who are passionate about what they do, whose vision for the future is aligned with ours and whose ideas and plans for growth are full of potential. This is absolutely true of Neon Play and I am delighted that Hachette is taking a step into a complementary new industry and finding adventurous new ways to publish, with this world-class team.
“We at Hachette today see the future of publishing as continuing to be centrally about sympathetically taking the work of creative people to market, but that market will be more broadly defined in the future, with all the emphasis of digital that modern consumers expect. While we love producing beautiful printed books, this wider vision is at the heart of all our plans for a vibrant and successful future.”
Oli Christie, CEO of Neon Play, said: “Mark and I have huge ambitions for the growth of Neon Play and I’m delighted that, in Hachette, we’ve found an owner who is as enthusiastic about our business as we nare. In fact, we think it’s the perfect meeting of minds.
“We’re very much looking forward to creating a number of new innovative, mass-‐market games and, on occasion, working with some of Hachette’s authors on their ideas for interactive content.”
Notes to Editors
Hachette UK is the second largest publishing group in the UK. The group consists of over 50 different imprints comprising seven publishing divisions: Hodder & Stoughton (including John Murray and Quercus), the Headline Publishing Group, Little, Brown, Orion Publishing Group, Octopus Publishing Group, Hachette Children's Group and Hodder Education (including Rising Stars), publishing books in all formats for all ages and tastes.
In 2016 authors published by the group include Martina Cole, Cressida Cowell, Julian Fellowes, Sabrina Ghayour, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley was named Book of The Year at the British Book Industry Awards and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney won the Baileys Prize for Fiction. Hodder Education was named Educational Publisher of the Year for the second year in succession.
Neon Play is a mobile games studio founded in 2010 by Oli Christie and Mark Allen in Cirencester, UK. With a team of over 25 people, they have achieved over 60 million downloads from games such as Flick Football, Paper Glider and Traffic Panic London, with 10 global number one hits. Paper Glider became Apple's 10 billionth app download back in 2011.
Neon Play has won numerous awards in the last six years, including being the first mobile games studio in the UK to win a prestigious Queen's Award for Innovation in 2013.