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Starbreeze AB :STARBREEZE and Smilegate in long term strategic partnership

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 21, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Smilegate invests 40 MUSD in Starbreeze, Starbreeze to develop an all-new co-op game of the CROSSFIRE franchise and Starbreeze titles to be published in Asia.

  • The leading Korean game company Smilegate has undertaken to invest a total of 40 MUSD.
  • Starbreeze receives a 10 year right to develop, publish and distribute an all-new first person co-op game on Smilegate's CROSSFIRE franchise for western markets. CROSSFIRE is the world's largest grossing online first-person-shooter (FPS) game with 500 million users.
  • Starbreeze receives distribution rights on the Smilegate platform, and will launch PAYDAY 2 and OVERKILL's The Walking Dead on Asian markets via the platform.

"The Eastern entertainment market has been an enigma for western game developers and vice versa. This in-depth collaboration uniquely positions Starbreeze and Smilegate to bridge the gap between the two markets. Starbreeze gains an extraordinary market position for our present and future products," said Bo Andersson Klint, Starbreeze CEO.

Starbreeze to create premium co-op PC FPS game based on the CROSSFIRE franchise

Starbreeze will develop an all new premium first-person-shooter (FPS) co-op game for PC based on Smilegate's CROSSFIRE franchise, aimed to attract western gamers in particular. Starbreeze will leverage its knowledge and expertise to create a game that can be further expanded over time to attract long term interest from players. The new game will be based on Starbreeze's game engine Valhalla. The game's release date will be announced at a later date.

Joon Ho Sung, CIO of Smilegate Group, said: "Asian, European and US gamers have a lot to look forward to as a result of this collaboration. The aim for both of us is to bring the best from our home markets to new audiences. With its impressive PAYDAY track record, Starbreeze is an ideal partner for bringing the CROSSFIRE franchise to western markets and new titles to our home markets. This is a long term strategic partnership for us."

The original CROSSFIRE franchise has more than 500 million users with six million concurrent players and is one of the top grossing online games worldwide, generating over 1,300 MUSD in sales during 2014, of which a large part is originating from China. The first-person-shooter (FPS) game applies a free-to-play model.

Expanding and attracting further interest to the franchise, the CROSSFIRE movie will premiere in three to five years with "Fast and the Furious" producer Neal Moritz as the movie creator. The movie will represent a valuable marketing opportunity for Starbreeze all new CROSSFIRE title.

Distribution in the Asian market

As part of the strategic partnership, Starbreeze receives distribution rights on the Smilegate platform, enabling it to distribute its titles, including PAYDAY 2 and OVERKILL's The Walking Dead, in Asia.

OVERKILL's The Walking Dead will be expanded with more content where an Asian version will be developed for simultaneous launch with the western version. To maximize the new opportunities, Starbreeze, 505 Games and Skybound have decided to release the game in all markets during the second half of 2017. The partners are convinced this will pave the way to success and cement it as a tent pole product for the next decade to come.

" What the Starbreeze team has achieved in the last few years is amazing. This partnership with Smilegate with an upfront cash injection secures our plans, opens new markets and proves yet again that we have an expansive and ambitious business plan focusing on creating long term value. This deal creates a new paradigm for independent developers in the digital market that we are excited to pioneer," said Michael Hjorth, Starbreeze Chairman of the Board.

Extraordinary General Meeting on February 22

Starbreeze has decided to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 22 February 2016 in order to resolve on the equity issues.

At the meeting, a representative from Smilegate will be proposed as new member of the Board. The proposed will be presented well in advance of the General Meeting.

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Media information

A press release adapted for the financial markets have additionally been released today, it's available on the corporate website www.starbreeze.com

Press kit for Starbreeze and Smilegate can be found on www.starbreeze.com/presskit

For more information, please contact:

Maeva Sponbergs, Investor Relations, Starbreeze AB Tel: +46(0)8-209 208, email: ir@starbreeze.com

Kay Lee, Director of Public Relations, Smilegate Group Tel: +82 31 600 8283 email: hklee@smilegate.com

About Starbreeze

Starbreeze AB is an independent creator, publisher and distributor of high quality entertainment products. With studios in Stockholm, Paris and Los Angeles, the company creates games by own design and through licensed content, aiming to create franchises that prosper as games and elsewhere. We live and die by gameplay.

Source: Starbreeze AB