THQ Nordic/Koch Media acquires racing-game specialist MILESTONE
THQ Nordic AB’s indirectly wholly owned subsidiary Koch Media GmbH, Höfen, has today entered into an agreement to acquire the Milan based Milestone s.r.l., a leading game developer and publisher behind successful racing games like MotoGP and Supercross.
The acquisition includes the development studio and all intellectual property rights.
“Becoming a part of the Koch Media Family is an important step for our studio. Being run as a family business, which is built on the enthusiasm of its team members and centered around racing games, we are delighted to bring our expertise and knowledge into the company group and strive from the experience and knowledge outside of our core DNA. We are sure that the combination of our experiences will strengthen our position in our market segment and help us to bring more exciting games to our fans and extend the frontiers of racing within the gaming industry,“ says Luisa Bixio, Vice President Milestone s.r.l.
Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO Koch Media GmbH adds: “We are delighted to welcome the team from Milestone to the family. After a long relationship in distribution across selected Koch territories, I am sure that the combined knowledge of our companies will open amazing new opportunities within a core market of the games industry. I am more than confident that the motivation and passion that drives the team at Milestone and the strong value within the racing segment are a solid foundation for future projects. The knowledge of fully licensed titles such as MotoGP and the experience in self-publishing and developing own IPs such as RIDE, rooting on a core DNA which centers around racing will help us to broaden our group portfolio and strengthen us for the future.”
Milestone is a software company founded in 1994 under the name Graffiti. Since 1996, the family owned business with currently around 200 staff is known as Milestone.
Over the years, Milestone produced legendary racing games such as Screamer for Virgin, The Superbike series for Electronic Arts, and WRC for Black Bean to name but a few. 2011/12 Milestone started its own publishing business for licensed IPs and games with the MotoGP series. Growing healthy, based on the experience of the teams at Milestone, 2013 marked the entry of the MXGP series. The company launched its first own franchise Ride in 2015, adding the official Monster Energy Supercross series in 2018. The current line-up is built around the three yearly franchises MotoGP, Supercross and MXGP as well as the bi-yearly release of the owned IP RIDE. Three additional not yet announced IPs, which are due to launch in 2021, underline the further growth of the company near to its core DNA-products.
Ride is Milestone’s most successful own IP and since 2015 the incarnation of the ultimate motorbike experience in video games. With a strong fan base, the third iteration was released in 2018, featuring more than 300 fully licensed bikes and thousands of accessories for customization. RIDE 4 is due to release in 2020, including a fully new neural AI-System and new vehicle classes.
MotoGP is the longest lasting game franchise in Milestone history, starting back in 2007. MotoGP19 was released recently and is critically acclaimed by press and fans alike. Core to the success of the game is the A.N.N.A. (artificial neural network agent) which simulates the learning of NPCs and guarantees for a unique gaming experience with every race. Implementing this new form of AI to a videogame is a unique and unmatched achievement from Milestone. MotoGP is a well-known franchise in eSports and gains attention across the world with more than 15.000 participants per year and major sponsors such as Michelin, BMW and Red Bull supporting the competitions.
MXGP is the officially licensed motocross world championship by Youstream. The next chapter in the franchise history is set to release shortly and will include new features such as track editor and full customization support for riders and vehicles.
Monster Energy Supercross, licensed by Feld, is the most important US motorbike sport. Across the two already released iterations, the franchise sold over 1 million copies and Supercross 3 is due to be released in early 2020. It will be the first Milestone game that will also be released on Google Stadia.