Seattle-area video game company ProbablyMonsters raises $200M to build studios

ProbablyMonsters CEO Harold Ryan. (ProbablyMonsters Photo)

ProbablyMonsters, a video game company headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., announced on Tuesday that it has raised $200 million in a Series A financing round.

Founded in 2016 by ex-Bungie CEO Harold Ryan, ProbablyMonsters is a collective that bills itself as “building a family of sustainable game studios through a people-first culture.” Rather than being a traditional game publisher, it takes a more active role in business management, in an arrangement that’s intended to free up its studios’ personnel to spend more time on creative work.

According to Forbes, the $200 million is the largest amount of funding that any video game company has ever raised via Series A. Mekhato previously reported that ProbablyMonsters had been actively fundraising.

The money is slated to allow ProbablyMonsters to continue to grow its business, while providing “long-lasting stability for people-first gaming careers,” according to a press release from the company.

Put another way, ProbablyMonsters’ leadership intends to hire employees and keep them on long-term, rather than churning through them with the hire-and-fire cycles that are more typical in high-end video game development. The money will also be used to expand live operations and community engagement.

“As part of our growth, we are now secure beyond any one AAA game project, predictably providing our teams with stable, creatively rewarding, and long-lasting gaming careers,” Ryan said in a press release. “Our goal is to make ProbablyMonsters a home where developers with vision can build a meaningful career, thrive in a positive culture, and deliver amazing experiences to generations of gamers across the world.”

Ryan’s aim with ProbablyMonsters, beyond simply creating high-budget original intellectual properties, is to create a “culture of respect” in the overall company. The idea is to build studios around creators, provide logistical support as they develop new games, and maintain a stable, reliable corporate environment for employees.

(This may sound obvious, but in the modern mainstream American video game industry, a big company that’s actively trying to avoid high developer burnout/turnover is low-key revolutionary.)

ProbablyMonsters currently maintains three internal development studios. Firewalk is currently developing a multiplayer game that will be globally published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, while Cauldron’s first project is a “single-player, adventure-driven game that will evolve with and around the player.”

The third, as-yet-unnamed team is reportedly working on a “next-gen open-world co-op experience that will bring players together.”

All three teams are considered “AAA.” In games-industry parlance, this is a large team with a big budget, though it has no formal definition; Ryan himself considers an “AAA” development team to consist of somewhere above 75 people. ProbablyMonsters currently employs more than 230 employees and plans to hire more.

The financing round was led by LKCM Headwater Investments, an arm of Luther King Capital Management in Fort Worth, Texas. Much of the money was raised from investors who had contributed to ProbablyMonsters’ previous funding rounds, though specific names were not released.

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