Mention Team17 and you'll probably muster up an image of little, pink, wiggly worms, blowing the shit out of each other. Whether that be on the PSX or the original Xbox is dependent on how long you hung around for. In recent years the company have been a little on the quiet side, releasing Aven Colony, The Escapists 2 and Yooka-Laylee in 2017 (games you've probably heard of but not picked up). Even, after all these years, they are still most recognisable for the Worms series, the last instalment coming in the form of Worms WMD in 2016. So, how has it come to pass that they are being tipped to top the list of UK publishers?
One of the more depressing reasons is that there just isn't that many UK publishers anymore. Lionhead, Free Radical, Crytek and Codemasters are all gone. Rockstar Lincoln are still around, and several more, but the giants of industry are no more. Team17 have kept afloat throughout the financial crisis and the new industry norm of lootbox micro-transactions, which in itself is pretty impressive. The company itself has 75 employees (collated in 2015) and is headquartered in Nottingham and Wakefield (my home city).
It's been reported that Team17 are preparing for a stock market float of £200 million, and are going public with the company. Reported by The Times, the announcement is supposed to be coming any day now. With publishers in the UK in such short supply and footholds in to the market limited, it could set Team17 up to have a very bright future if all goes well. Lloyds Development Capital paid £16.5 million for a stake in the company in 2016, a year after posted losses of £37,686, despite a turn over of £6.5m.
You've probably heard the term 'going public' before, so have I. Although I didn't quite understand the benefits of such an endeavour. Going public with a company with an IPO (Initial Public Offering) allows the company to be publicly owned and traded, This allows capital to be raised quickly as it puts the business in front of a huge investor base. You could buy shares if you really wanted to. With this comes increased public awareness, doubling down on the ability to generate more revenue, IPOs can also be used as an exit strategy by founders, who get to cash in on a successful business at the right time. That's not to say Debbie Beswick MBE, who founded the company in 1990, is doing that, but it is an option. Generally IPO is designed to help companies expand and evolve.
Of course there are also downsides. A public company is bound to stricter business regulations and financial reporting. The cost of meeting these regulations can be high. A company may also suffer from the whims of the market and aim instead for short term satisfaction over long term goals, to keep potential investors happy. It will be a balancing act for Team17 as it ventures into this new territory.
Team17 have a number of titles planned for 2018, including Planet Alpha, a platformer for the PS4. What do you think of this news? Are you a fan of Team17 and do you think this is a positive move for the company? Comment below or tweet us @ghoulishent.
Founder and Writer