Candy Crush creator King shuts down Singapore-based game studio

(From left) Co-founders Henrik Karlstrom, Teemu Ikonen, Henric Suuronen and Juha Paananen. They founded Nonstop Games, a tablet and mobile gaming start-up in 2011.
(From left) Co-founders Henrik Karlstrom, Teemu Ikonen, Henric Suuronen and Juha Paananen. They founded Nonstop Games, a tablet and mobile gaming start-up in 2011. PHOTO: NONSTOP GAMES

SINGAPORE - King, the developer behind hit mobile game Candy Crush, has shut down its Singapore-based studio NonStop Games, which it acquired in August 2014 for up to US$100 million (S$140 million).

In a statement on Wednesday (Oct 26), Sweden-based King said: "After careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to close our Singapore studio. We have a fantastic team and world-class talent in the studio and will be working hard to ensure as many people as possible stay within King."

It added: "For those leaving the company we are committed to ensuring the best possible transition and assistance."

King's acquisition of Nonstop Games made headlines around the world as it was the first time a local games company was acquired by a foreign giant.

There was an upfront payment of US$6 million, and a further US$10 million paid to a select group of employee-shareholders to retain their service for a year.

Over the next four years, a further US$16 million was to be paid out annually to retain certain NonStop Games employees.

NonStop Games was founded by four Finns - chief technology officer Teemu Ikonen, lead programmer Henrik Karlström, chief executive officer Juha Paananen, and president Henric Suuronen.

The company was best known for its free-to-play real-time strategy and city management game, Heroes of Honor. Heroes of Honor was discontinued in July last year (2015).

lting@sph.com.sg