Financially ailing game company Starbreeze Studios has sold off another of its assets, with Rockstar Games paying £6.1 million for the company's majority share of Indian studio Dhruva Interactive.

All is not well with Starbreeze Studios. Its joint venture with Acer for high-end virtual reality hardware which was to power arcade-hall-style VR arenas was a failure, and in December last year the company ousted its chief executive and applied for reconstruction to avoid closure. Since then, it has been selling off as many assets as possible to keep itself afloat - and now its majority ownership of Indian studios Dhruva Interactive can be counted in the list.

Founded in 1995 by Rajesh Rao, though not adopting the name Dhruva Interactive until 1997, the Bangalore-based company received its big break with a deal that saw it developing a game rendering engine for Intel to showcase its Pentium II processor family. The company was acquired in 2016 by Starbreeze Studios as part of its expansion plans, in a deal which gave Starbreeze 91.82 percent of the company in exchange for £6.56 million in cash and stock.

Now, Starbreeze has agreed to sell Dhruva to Rockstar Games for £6.1 million - a slight loss over its original acquisition value - and the company will be merged into Rockstar India.

'Dhruva Interactive has been a beacon of Indian game development for decades and we are excited to bring them into the Rockstar family,' claims Daniel Smith, studio manager at Rockstar India. 'The addition of the Dhruva team to the existing talent at Rockstar India will expand the studio's capabilities and reinforces our belief in and commitment to the local development community.'

'Rockstar Games are the undisputed leaders of innovation and creativity in modern game development,' adds Rao. 'Dhruva Interactive was founded with the aim of creating a world-class game development community in India, and so bringing the Dhruva team under the Rockstar Games label is further proof that we have succeeded in creating a talented team that can contribute to the best games in the world while helping to create a thriving local game developer community in India.'

While the cash inflow from the deal will help, it won't cover Starbreeze's debts: The company has warned that it won't survive to the end of the year unless it can find considerable investment.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04