SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For transition period from to
Commission File Number 001-39652
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
|10150 Covington Cross Drive, |
Las Vegas, Nevada
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
Registrant's telephone number, including area code:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A common stock||MYPS||Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|Redeemable warrants exercisable for one share of Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share||MYPSW||Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☐||Accelerated filer||☒|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☒|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal controls over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Aces (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act): Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the registrant's Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of this registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of the registrant's Class A common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Global Market ("Nasdaq") on the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter was approximately $329.9 million.
As of February 28, 2023, there were 115,895,837 shares of Class A common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, and 16,457,769 shares of Class B common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the terms “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company” and “PLAYSTUDIOS” mean PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. (formerly Acies Acquisition Corp.) and our subsidiaries. On June 21, 2021 (the “Closing Date”), Acies Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation (“Acies” and after the Acies Merger described herein, the “Company”), consummated a business combination (the “Acies Merger”) pursuant to the terms of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of February 1, 2021 (the “Merger Agreement”), by and among Acies, Catalyst Merger Sub I, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“First Merger Sub”), Catalyst Merger Sub II, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company ("Second Merger Sub"), and PlayStudios, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Old PLAYSTUDIOS”). Immediately upon the consummation of the Acies Merger and the other transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement (collectively, the “Transactions”, and such completion, the “Closing”), First Merger Sub merged with and into Old PLAYSTUDIOS, with Old PLAYSTUDIOS surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Acies. Immediately following the First Merger, and as part of an integrated transaction with the First Merger, Old PLAYSTUDIOS merged with and into Second Merger Sub, with Second Merger Sub surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Acies. In connection with the Transactions, Acies changed its name to “PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc.” and Second Merger Sub changed its name to “PLAYSTUDIOS US, LLC.”
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events. All statements, other than statements of present or historical fact included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, about our future financial performance, strategy, expansion plans, future operations, future operating results, estimated revenues, losses, projected costs, prospects, plans, and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. Any statements that refer to projections, forecasts, or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “believe,” “estimate,” “continue,” “goal,” “project,” or the negative of such terms or other similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•our business strategy and market opportunity;
•our future financial performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue, cost of revenue, gross profit, or gross margin, operating expenses (including changes in sales and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative expenses), and profitability;
•market acceptance of our games;
•our ability to raise financing in the future and the global credit and financial markets;
•factors relating to our business, operations, financial performance, and our subsidiaries, including:
◦changes in the competitive and regulated industries in which we operate, variations in operating performance across competitors, and changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
◦our ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations, and identify and realize additional opportunities; and
◦general economic conditions and their impact on levels of spending by players, our awards partners, and our advertisers, including risks of inflation and recession and other macroeconomic conditions.
•our ability to maintain relationships with our platforms, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook;
•the accounting for our outstanding warrants to purchase shares of Class A common stock;
•our ability to develop, maintain, and improve our internal control over financial reporting;
•our ability to maintain, protect, and enhance our intellectual property rights;
•our ability to successfully defend litigation brought against us;
•our ability to successfully close and integrate acquisitions that contribute to our growth objectives;
•our success in retaining or recruiting, or changes required in, our officers, key employees or directors; and
•the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (including existing and possible future variants as well as vaccinations) on our business.
These forward-looking statements are based on our current plans, estimates, and projections in light of information currently available to us, and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and assumptions about us, including those described under the heading “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and in other filings that we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) from time to time, that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition, the risks described under the heading “Risk Factors” are not exhaustive. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible to predict all such risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all such risk factors on our business or the extent to which any risk factor or
combination of risk factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are also not guarantees of performance. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements, all of which are expressly qualified by the statements in this section, to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
We intend to announce material information to the public through our Investor Relations website, ir.playstudios.com, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls, and public webcasts. We use these channels, as well as social media, to communicate with our investors, players, and the public about the company, our offerings, and other issues. It is possible that the information we post on our website or social media could be deemed to be material information. As such, we encourage investors, the media, and others to follow the channels listed above, including our website and the social media channels listed on our Investor Relations website, and to review the information disclosed through such channels. Any updates to the list of disclosure channels through which we will announce information will be posted on our Investor Relations website.
Summary of Principal Risk Factors
The following is a summary of some of the risks and uncertainties as of the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. This summary should be read together with the more detailed description of each risk factor disclosed under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" contained in Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
•we may be unable to entertain our players, develop new games and improve the experience of our existing games;
•we may be unable to grow our overall player base;
•the value of playAWARDS, our real-world rewards loyalty program, is highly dependent on our ability to expand and diversify our inventory of real-world loyalty rewards;
•we operate in a highly competitive industry;
•a small portion of our total players generate a substantial amount of our revenue;
•general economic conditions may impact the levels of spending by players, our awards partners, and our advertisers;
•we rely on third-party platforms such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook to make our games available and collect revenues;
•we may be unable to meet customer expectations with respect to our brands, games, services, and/or business practices;
•we may be unable acquire and maintain licenses to intellectual property;
•we may be subject to disruptions in our information technology systems or networks;
•legal proceedings could adversely impact our business;
•we may inadvertently fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations;
•any cybersecurity‑related attack or significant data breach could compromise our information or the information of our players and expose us to liability;
•our dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting power with Andrew Pascal, our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, which limits an investor’s ability to influence the outcome of important transactions, including a change in control;
•we do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future; and
•provisions in our corporate documents and Delaware state law could delay or prevent a change of control.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Acies was incorporated on August 14, 2020 as a Cayman Islands exempted company for the purpose of effecting a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination with one or more businesses. Acies completed its initial public offering in October 2020 (the “IPO”). On June 21, 2021, Acies consummated the Acies Merger with Old PLAYSTUDIOS, pursuant to the Merger Agreement. In connection with the closing of the Acies Merger, we changed our name from Acies to PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. PLAYSTUDIOS continues the existing business operations of Old PLAYSTUDIOS as a publicly traded company. Our website address is https://playstudios.com.
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act are made available free of charge on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we have electronically filed the material with, or furnished it to, the SEC.
The Power of Play
We build award-winning casual games that are among the most popular games available on iTunes and Google Play. Our games, which include myVEGAS Slots, myVEGAS Blackjack, my KONAMI Slots, POP! Slots, myVEGAS Bingo, MGM Slots Live, Tetris®, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Sudoku, and Mahjong, have been downloaded over 100 million times and were played by 7.9 million monthly active users for the year ended December 31, 2022. From social casino to casual games, each game has been thoughtfully crafted for the people who play it. As a result, we’ve been able to build a loyal and engaged community of players by virtue of our direct development efforts.
But we are not just a game company, because at the heart of every game we create is a powerful, one-of-a-kind loyalty program we call playAWARDS. It sets us apart from other leading game developers and it’s our key to building deep and lasting connections with millions of players. Every time players engage with one of our games, they begin earning valuable loyalty points and elevating their playAWARDS status. Once they have accumulated loyalty points, they can unlock a collection of real-world rewards and other benefits, that include, but are not limited to, vacations, invitations to special events, and access to our VIP services. Through our loyalty program, with a few swipes and a tap, players can be on their way to a complimentary meal, show, or weekend getaway, along with a chance to connect with other players who share their passion for our games.
During the year ended December 31, 2022, our curated collection of 96 awards partners represented more than 210 unique brands including MGM Resorts International, Wolfgang Puck, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Cirque du Soleil, and House of Blues. The appeal of our loyalty program speaks for itself. As of December 31, 2022, players have exchanged their loyalty points for over 15 million rewards with a retail value of more than $725 million.
Managing a loyalty program like playAWARDS requires a robust technology platform. We have created a collection of tools and services that allows our network of global awards partners to make the most of their in-game promotional presence. With our platform, our awards partners can launch new rewards directly into our games and make changes to their existing rewards. Then, in real time, they can see how players are responding to and engaging with their brands within our games.
Our awards partners recognize the value of showcasing their products and services within our games. The benefits, however, extend well beyond simple brand impressions, because each reward that a player acquires in our games translates to a potential customer for our awards partners. Extending these rewards to our players helps keep our awards partners top-of-mind in a way that’s entertaining and engaging, rather than transactional.
Our loyalty program provides our players a whole new dimension to their gameplay experiences. We often hear player stories of unforgettable memories and personal connections that our players have made through our real-world rewards. And that is what makes PLAYSTUDIOS so much more than a game company.
The Loyalty Lift
Successful games, just like most forms of creative content, move through a predictable life cycle — from development and launch to maturity and late-stage contraction. At each stage, they are met with unique challenges, from driving discovery
and amassing a community of engaged players, to retaining players, and converting non-paying players to payers. Our games are free-to-play, and we have primarily generated our revenue from the sale of in-game virtual currency, which players can choose to purchase at any time to enhance their playing experience.
The key to any game’s success is the ability to hold onto its players long enough to realize their economic value, and therein lies the true benefit of our playAWARDS program. By incorporating loyalty mechanics into each of our games, we believe we have changed the profile of the typical game life cycle — scaling quickly, driving deeper engagement, and realizing greater life-time value from our players.
From the players’ perspective, our in-game rewards enrich their gameplay experience, offering them something very real in exchange for their engagement with our games. This engenders an important sense of reciprocity, which is a key element in designing captivating digital experiences.
Our Loyalty Program
Our playAWARDS program is grounded in a proven model that provides our players with a rewarding entertainment experience and our awards partners with promotional access to a large and valuable audience. From our perspective as a game developer, our playAWARDS program affords us a key competitive advantage in our strategy to retain, engage, and ultimately monetize our players. The platform’s rules engine allows us to align our reward offerings with players’ preferences based upon certain qualifying criteria. We believe our differentiated playAWARDS program benefits our players, awards partners, and business for a number of reasons as described below.
We believe our unique playAWARDS program provides our players with a compelling and differentiated value proposition: “Play Free Games. Earn Real Rewards.”
Each of our legacy social casino games and our Tetris®-branded mobile game incorporate loyalty points that are earned by players as they engage with our games. Like miles in a frequent-flyer program, our players accumulate more loyalty points as they demonstrate their ongoing commitment to our games. These loyalty points can then be exchanged for a vast library of real-world rewards. Each of these games features an integrated rewards lobby, enabling our players to easily browse and acquire benefits from a curated collection of rewards. Loyalty points are aggregated across the games, allowing our players to accumulate loyalty points more rapidly by engaging with more of our games. This drives traffic across our entire portfolio of games.
It is our view that the playAWARDS program enriches the overall value proposition of our games. By complementing inherently great games with a compelling collection of rewards, we’ve been able to distinguish ourselves from our competition.
Our awards partners are able to reach new audiences and optimize marketing dollars through playAWARDS.
The playAWARDS program allows our awards partners to connect directly with a valuable mobile audience in a way that is engaging, entertaining, and cost effective. By integrating branded content and promotional offerings into our games, playAWARDS converts entertaining digital impressions into real world brand engagement. In the process of earning loyalty points and redeeming rewards, players make the journey from our world into the world of our awards partners. This activity helps them acquire new customers and reactivate ones that have lapsed. In addition, by extending restricted offers, our awards partners are able to shift customer demand from peak to off-peak periods, allowing them to optimize the utilization of their inventory.
Our awards partners are equipped with a robust toolkit to manage, monitor, and measure the performance of their rewards.
The playAWARDS platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools that enables participants in our loyalty program to optimize their participation. Our platform includes operating tools tailored to the needs of our game makers, customer service features for our support and VIP teams, and a dedicated console for our awards partners. All of these participants are empowered to manage their activities in real time, drawing on player insights to optimize the impact and value they derive from the playAWARDS program.
We have amassed a global network of awards partners.
As we have amassed a diverse collection of awards partners, the scale of our network has become a competitive edge that delivers benefits to both our players and awards partners. During the year ended December 31, 2022, our catalog of rewards offerings included 96 partners who represent more than 210 entertainment, retail, travel, leisure, and gaming brands across
105 countries and 6 continents, and our players have used their loyalty points to acquire over 15 million rewards with a retail value of more than $725 million.
Our loyalty program extends the engagement and retention of our players and mitigates the impact of the “Creator’s Dilemma.”
The “Creator’s Dilemma” speaks to the unique challenges a game must overcome in each phase of its life cycle. This dilemma highlights the complexities of standing out among hundreds of thousands of competing games, as well as the importance of driving deeper engagement and its relationship to monetization. Whether it be early adoption, mid-term engagement, or long-term payer conversion, we believe our loyalty program enhances the trajectory and life cycle of our games. We believe that the benefits of our loyalty program are best illustrated by our retention, engagement, and monetization metrics. In each of these key measures of performance, we see meaningful increases that we believe are attributable to players becoming aware of, and ultimately taking advantage of, our loyalty program.
We grow our network of players and awards partners.
By leveraging our unique loyalty program, we grow our vibrant community of players. As our players engage with our games, they accumulate loyalty points that enrich their experience in the real world. As they consume their real-world rewards, they drive incremental business value for our awards partners, who more fully engage with our loyalty program and actively promote our games as a means of keeping their brands top-of-mind with target consumers. This drives players back to our games, where they can engage more deeply, accumulate more loyalty points, and repeat the cycle. The more players we drive to our awards partners, the more awards partners and rewards inventory we can attract. The more rewards we attract, the more we can offer to our players, making our loyalty program more compelling to an even broader audience.
Our Core Strengths
We build engaging and beautifully executed games.
We are dedicated to building fun and beautiful games that feature a captivating complement of graphics, sounds, and visual effects. We undertake an extensive internal creative review process and comprehensive quality assurance testing before publishing any new game. We constantly monitor the performance of our games to improve the overall gameplay experience.
We have a proprietary loyalty platform with a global network of awards partners.
During the year ended December 31, 2022, we continued to develop and scale our proprietary loyalty platform to over 96 partners who represent more than 210 brands across 105 countries and 6 continents. We have amassed a global, diverse collection of awards partners across entertainment, retail, technology, travel, leisure, and gaming. Our loyalty platform allows us to provide an engaging enhancement to the primary gaming experience of our 7.9 million monthly active users for the year ended December 31, 2022.
We believe the combination of our more than ten years of development investments, operational experience, integration of our loyalty platform within our awards partners’ marketing and operating practices, and the breadth of our corporate relationships are significant competitive advantages, and to replicate our systems would require competitors to invest substantial time and incur significant expense.
We are experts in live operations.
We have established “live operations” as a core competency throughout the company and have dedicated live operations teams within each of our game studios. Crafting great content is a necessary, but not sufficient requirement when it comes to building an enduring franchise. Games, and the teams that build and operate them, must cultivate the capacity to understand, anticipate and respond to player behaviors. This ability is often enabled by sophisticated tools and a disciplined process. When done well, the overall experience, level of difficulty, rate of progress, and breadth of features, can be fine-tuned to the expectations and desires of individual player cohorts. Our live operations teams closely analyze player data in order to design and deliver content, offers, and features to our players at the optimal times during their gameplay. We believe thorough effective live operations, we can drive paying player conversion, continued monetization, and long-term paying player retention.
We are committed to adding value to our player experience through rewards, service, and community.
We believe that focusing on the player experience is the key to driving player retention and opportunities for conversion to paying players. We have built a player management infrastructure that includes customer support, social media community engagement, VIP hosting for premium players, and real-world meetups and social events with our awards partners.
We focus on transparency and accountability, empowering our employees and management to drive the efficient use of capital.
We believe that achieving our potential is rooted in the alignment of our teams around our vision, product plans, organization design, and expected results. To achieve this goal, we’ve implemented a company architecture that promotes transparency, engagement, critical thinking, and shared learning. Fundamental to this structure is our studio model and rigorous planning exercise. Teams evaluate their market opportunities, assess what’s unique about their position, craft or refine their strategies, and translate them into plans that are actionable and measurable.
We have built an operating framework that consists of the tools, information systems, communication practices, and disciplines that enables each of our studios to function independently and optimize its performance. While this model encourages creativity, dynamism, and independence, it also ensures that our values as a company are deeply ingrained in all that we do. This model fosters our commitment to our employees and their growth, our uncompromising attention to innovation and the creative execution of our games, and our relentless focus on creating value for our players and our awards partners.
We have adopted certain organizational conventions to drive collaboration and shared learning. Our Council Framework consists of a collection of forums, each comprised of experts across our studios, that self-organize, meet, and advance an agenda that serves the interests of the broader business. Today we have over 10 active councils focused on areas such as monetization, data science, technology, creative, product execution, user acquisition, player experience, and the playMAKER experience. These forums are designed to drive deeper connections among our key leaders, leverage the collective intelligence from subject matter experts, and provide opportunities for learning and problem solving within key disciplines of the business.
Our founder-led management team includes industry-leading talent in the casino, leisure, and entertainment industries as well as seasoned game developers and operators.
Our leadership team is a diverse collection of entrepreneurs, product leaders, technologists, game designers, data scientists, and loyalty marketers. In each case, they bring decades of experience, and a shared commitment to assembling teams and building products that are enduring. As a group, they’ve drawn upon their vast experience to design our operating framework, implement the tools to develop our talent, clarify our strategies, measure our performance, and optimize our decision making.
We rely on data-driven performance marketing capabilities to drive return on our ad spend.
There are certain functions or areas of responsibility that we’ve elected to centralize for every studio’s benefit. In the case of player acquisition, we leverage a centralized marketing team to achieve efficiencies across our portfolio of games. Our performance marketing capabilities focus on cost-effectively acquiring players. Our player acquisition strategy is centered on a payback period methodology, and we strategically balance spend between the acquisition of new players and the reactivation of lapsed players.
We demonstrate our culture of innovation through the work of playLABS.
playLABS is an internal group of game designers, engineers, and artists dedicated to the creation of cutting-edge games, features, and content. This group is also tasked with monitoring the competitive landscape for current and emerging trends, within our current category as well as adjacent genres that might hold crossover appeal or from which new features and functionality could be cross-appropriated.
Our Growth Opportunities
We have a collection of growth opportunities that fall into four distinct categories — optimize, expand, acquire and diversify. We will continue to optimize the performance of our existing portfolio of games, attracting, engaging, and monetizing more players. In addition, we intend to broaden our focus and act on acquisition opportunities that will allow us to complement our existing franchises by integrating new products and players into our playAWARDS program, as we have done with our acquisition of the mobile rights to Tetris® in 2021, and our acquisition of Brainium Studios in 2022. In
parallel, we will continue to diversify our business model as we scale advertising within each of our games. We also plan to introduce new playAWARDS features that will enable our players to transact directly with us, which we expect will improve our gross margins. Lastly, we’ll continue to evolve our playAWARDS platform and tools such that we can make them available to strategic partners and third parties under a SaaS model, or in our case, Loyalty-as-a-Service.
New Game Launches, Including myVEGAS Bingo and MGM Slots Live
Our strategy to date has been to expand our portfolio of games and game studios through in-house development, leveraging the talent and culture of our teams to develop innovative and award-winning games. We launched our myVEGAS Bingo game in March 2021 and MGM Slots Live in October 2021. These games represent an extension of our addressable market and growth opportunity.
As we expand into these new genres and games, we expect to leverage loyalty mechanics and our player network to seed, and then grow, each new product.
Exclusive Rights to Tetris® Franchise For Mobile Devices
The Tetris® brand is one of the leading and most distinctive video game brands and franchises in the world. Securing the exclusive license for mobile devices globally, excluding China, fully aligns with our strategic priorities and positions us to accelerate our growth, diversify our portfolio, grow our network of players, and scale our unique playAWARDS platform.
Targeted Strategic Acquisitions
During the company's first ten years, we generally grew our business organically by assembling every team, building every product, and acquiring every player ourselves. We continually seek, evaluate, and pursue strategic transactions which we believe will enhance our business as further described below. In November of 2021, we acquired the rights to Tetris® on mobile devices, and in October of 2022 we acquired Brainium Studios LLC. Our intention is to continue to apply the resources obtained from becoming a public company and accelerate our growth through strategic acquisitions. We believe prospective game companies will find us to be a more attractive acquirer, given the uniqueness of our playAWARDS program and our overall operating framework. Whether it be a young company with untapped potential or a mature business with an established portfolio of existing games, we intend to apply our experience, resources, and proprietary assets to helping them achieve their full potential. We believe our model, operating approach, team, and scale will enable us to compete for the best of these acquisition opportunities.
Our prior, current, and future acquisition strategy is to expand into new genres, acquire proven games and brands with franchise value, assimilate talented teams, scale our audience, and leverage our playAWARDS platform to create value and improve operating performance. The genres and related games we are currently focused on include casual (match, bubble, word, card), niche (racing, sport), midcore (Idle RPG, card battler) and casino (poker, bingo, slots).
While most of our revenue is derived from in-game purchases, we introduced ad monetization mechanics as a limited pilot program and expanded it throughout 2021 and 2022 into our apps. In addition, we acquired the rights to Tetris® on mobile devices in November of 2021 and Brainium Studios in October of 2022. The Tetris® mobile game and all ten Brainium games generate most of their revenue through ad monetization. We intend to continue to qualify and scale in-game advertising as a source of revenue.
In 2020, we developed and trialed a new collection of web-based VIP features. In 2022, the service was extended to all players, who were invited to engage with us through a customized player portal. Each portal is tailored to the player, with a curated collection of unique benefits, rewards, and real-world events. The player is also able to review his or her status and currency balances across all playAWARDS-enabled games, and should the player choose, the player can purchase virtual items from within the portal. It’s important to highlight that these players are given preferential access to unique rewards, along with virtual currency packages that are not available within the game. The VIP player portal is available to all VIP players at any tier level.
Continued Conversion of Non-Paying Players into Paying Players
We believe we can generate revenue growth by converting more non-paying players into payers. Our average daily conversion rate of non-payers to payers was 1.5% for the year ended December 31, 2022, down from 2.7% for the year ended
December 31, 2021. We continually assess the data about our players to develop insights that we can use to improve conversion. We also engage regularly with our players at community events and other occasions associated with their reward redemptions. These opportunities enable us to glean additional insights from our players that inform our ongoing product refinements. We intend to continue to explore new strategies to improve our conversion of non-paying players into paying players, including continued game enhancements, player outreach, live operations offerings, and data-driven player management strategies.
Increasing the Monetization of Our Paying Players
We believe we can generate revenue through increasing the monetization of our paying players. Each of our products has a rich roadmap of live events and new features focused on deepening the engagement among our existing paying players. From exclusive in-game VIP events and bespoke hosting services, to tailored pricing on store bundles and premium real-world rewards, we continue to expand the value we deliver to our players, which we believe will translate to increased levels of purchases by our players.
Our playAWARDS program provides value to our awards partners while increasing player engagement and retention within our games. As we introduce new games and explore potential acquisition opportunities, we will integrate our loyalty program in order to drive value and benefit from our increased scale. We will continue to enhance our playAWARDS program by updating the platform and tools, optimizing the redemption funnel and growing our collection of awards partners. Our robust platform and knowledge can be leveraged and applied to other products and services as well. We also plan to explore additional opportunities for monetizing our technology, tools, and operating expertise by offering to other game publishers a tightly integrated, full-featured, loyalty-as-a-service solution.
Our Company Values
Values are not what you say. Values are who you are. At best, they are the product of self-discovery, not belabored wordsmithing. At PLAYSTUDIOS, the essence of who we are is expressed in three simple truths: PLAY better together, PLAY to win, and the game is for the PLAYer.
The founders of our company and the principals of our Tel Aviv and Hong Kong game studios have long histories together, and the importance of those relationships sets the tone for a company that places its highest premium on trust, mutual respect, and genuine regard for one another — even when we disagree. While clichés about close-knit cultures abound, we believe that in our case the metaphor of a company as family truly does apply. We recognize that building and growing a successful business requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy. Taking that journey with people you care about makes it all the better, whether shouldering a setback or sharing a success.
This leads us to our second value, PLAY to win. We all want an opportunity to do great work and to see the direct impact we have on the success of our company. And while there are many ways to measure success, for us, it’s all about the quality of what we create — about thoughtful design and attentive execution. To this end, we spend a good deal of time working through details that most people will never notice, but that do make a difference. The result is that our games have become known for their innovative features, distinctive look and feel, and level of quality that has become a hallmark of PLAYSTUDIOS.
The closeness of our teams and the quality of our content come together in our conviction that everything we create is for our players. Unlike a retail or a hospitality business, most game companies don’t have the luxury of daily encounters with their player base. While it is standard practice to continually evolve games based on a rich set of performance analytics, the importance of face-to-face player feedback cannot be overstated. Thanks to our real-world rewards and loyalty program, and an active calendar of community events, we have regular opportunities to socialize with our players in ways that other game companies cannot. Here again, our playAWARDS program affords us a distinct competitive advantage.
Our portfolio includes 19 games. Many of our games are classic in nature with mass appeal due to their highly engaging game mechanics. Our portfolio includes both casual and casino-themed games as follows:
•myVEGAS Classic provides our players with the opportunity to build their own virtual Las Vegas Strip while enjoying free-to-play slots and table games inspired by their favorite desert destination.
•myVEGAS Slots offers our players a growing library of new slots, game content, daily challenges, and special offers.
•myVEGAS Blackjack offers our players traditional blackjack rules and game mechanics with a host of social gaming features such as collectibles, challenges, and leaderboards, along with distinct “rooms” that provide the look and feel of a familiar Las Vegas casino.
•my KONAMI Slots introduces the growing popularity of real-world casino content in free-to-play mobile gaming, and provides our players with a vast collection of casino-proven slot content.
•POP! Slots introduces our players to an entirely new, immersive world in which they roam a virtual strip, enter their favorite casinos, and spin reels alongside others with whom they were teamed-up, or pitted against, with real-time audio chat and emojis, allowing our players to connect with one another.
•myVEGAS Bingo integrates real-world casino brands, innovative power-ups, group social features, collectibles, and leaderboards.
•MGM Slots Live enables our players to experience genuine MGM casino games, tournaments, and live 3D shows.
•Tetris® is one of the world's favorite puzzle games.
•Tetris® Beat offers our players a unique twist on the classic puzzle game by fusing its hit gameplay with exclusive music and rhythm mechanics.
The following games were added to our portfolio following the acquisition of Brainium Studios LLC in October of 2022:
•Mahjong by Brainium has elevated the relaxing tile match game with clean, modern design, smooth animations, and calming sounds.
•Brainium Solitaire is a modern take on the classic card game.
•Sudoku by Brainium has updated the classic puzzle with a clean, modern design, calming backdrops, and intuitive controls with a user-friendly and complete mobile Sudoku learning system.
•Spider Solitaire by Brainium pairs the relaxing gameplay with a fresh, modern take on a classic, clear, easy-to-read cards, subtle animations and soothing sound effects enhance the playing experience.
•FreeCell by Brainium combines the fun, challenging, classic gameplay with crisp, clear, easy-to-read cards, smooth animations, tap or drag controls, and subtle sounds; a user-friendly and visually stunning FreeCell.
•Pyramid by Brainium, has elevated the classic Pyramid Solitaire card game, with a focus on beautiful design, smooth animations, and fast, fun gameplay.
•Blackjack by Brainium, captures what makes the original casino game exhilarating, while making the experience easy, beautiful, and fun to play.
•Jumbline 2 by Brainium is an engaging word game, the object of which is to make words from jumbled lines of letter by rearranging the scrambled letters into words and underlining them with your finger to score points.
•Word Search by Brainium is a fun, charming, and user-friendly word finding puzzle on mobile with dozens of categories ranging from foods to astronomy.
•ilu by Brainium is a puzzle game solved with light, set in the boundless void of space with countless forgotten worlds adrift in the dark without the ability to warm their dark and frozen features, where players bring light and life to these abandoned landscapes.
During 2022, we also operated Kingdom Boss, a game that allowed players to be immersed in an epic role-playing game as they built their empire, forge alliances, command an army of epic heroes, and rescued their subjects from the shadowlands of exiled kingdoms. We suspended development of Kingdom Boss in the first quarter of 2022.
Integration of Loyalty Program
In the decade since launching our first game with integrated loyalty mechanics, we’ve worked to abstract the technologies, tools, and operating practices that were central to this unique value proposition. Our aim was to transform our loyalty construct into a free-standing and full-featured program that could be more efficiently integrated into future game releases. Our playAWARDS initiative, and the dedicated team that leads it, is focused on further establishing it as the gaming industry’s gold standard. As we continue to look to accelerate our growth through new product introductions and strategic acquisitions, playAWARDS will serve as a catalyst, driving deeper engagement among newly acquired audiences.
Research and Development
We believe our ability to attract new players and retain existing players depends in part on our ability to evolve and expand our content library by continually developing differentiated games, systems technology and functionality to enhance player entertainment and user profitability.
We have a diverse pool of talent located in game development hubs, including in Israel, Serbia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam. This provides us with a funnel of new, internally developed game concepts, ideas for improvements to our systems, and close relationships with those local game-development communities.
As a developer of mobile games, we compete with other game makers and other forms of entertainment content. Our primary competitors include Activision Blizzard (the parent company of King Digital), Electronic Arts (EA Mobile), Epic Games, Jam City, Netmarble (the parent company of Kabam), NetEase (NetEase Games), Niantic, Take-Two Interactive Software, Vivendi (the parent company of Gameloft) and others. Our market is continually evolving as new developers and new games become part of our rapidly growing, mobile gaming ecosystem. We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including quality of player experience, breadth and depth of gameplay, ability to create or license compelling content, brand awareness and reputation, and access to distribution channels.
We believe we are well positioned as a gaming company with a robust loyalty program. It is our view that our investments in the quality of our games, coupled with the unique value proposition of playAWARDS, will continue to distinguish our products and drive our growth.
We believe the value of our playAWARDS program is tied to the breadth of rewards we make available to our players. Our ability to keep the program fresh and relevant is rooted in the value we deliver to our awards partners. As we continue to demonstrate the productivity and impact of our games as a user acquisition, reactivation and inventory management solution, our awards partners can increase their engagement, optimizing their rewards and the overall merchandising of the program. Driving demonstrable results is key to retaining our existing awards partners and attracting new ones. We expect to continue to demonstrate the value of our program, and in doing so, further build upon our substantial collection of awards partners and rewards.
We believe that we can compete favorably in our market. Successful execution of our strategy depends on our ability to attract and retain players, expand the market for our games, convert non-paying players into payers, attract and retain awards partners, and offer unique and compelling experiences to players. In some cases, we compete against gaming operators who could expand their product lines to include games that could directly compete with ours. See “Risk Factors — Our industry is very competitive. If players prefer our competitors’ games over our own, our operating results could suffer.”
We have 92 registered U.S. trademarks, 12 pending applications for U.S. trademarks, 19 issued U.S. patents, and 20 pending U.S. patent applications as of December 31, 2022. We create most of the intellectual property we use in our games, but we also license or otherwise receive rights to third-party intellectual property for use in our games. For example, we use licensed intellectual property from MGM Resorts International, Konami Gaming, Tetris®, Ainsworth Gaming Technology, and Shaquille O’Neal among others, as creative assets in our games. These licenses typically limit our use of intellectual property to specific uses and for specific time periods and include other contractual obligations with which we must comply. Certain intellectual property rights may be licensed to us on a non-exclusive basis, and accordingly, the owners of such intellectual property are free to license such rights to third parties, including our competitors, on terms that may be superior to those offered to us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. Competition for these licenses is intense, and often results in one or more of advances, minimum payment guarantees, and royalties that we must pay to the licensor, which decreases our profitability. Additionally, in the future, we may identify third-party intellectual property we may need to license in order to engage in our business, including to develop or commercialize new games; however, such licenses may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. We expect to continue to use a mix of originally created and licensed content in our games. See “Risk Factors — Our ability to acquire and maintain licenses to intellectual property may affect our revenue and profitability. Competition for these licenses may make them more expensive and increase our costs.”
We are subject to a variety of laws in the U.S. and abroad that affect our business, including state and federal laws regarding consumer protection, electronic marketing, data protection and privacy, competition, taxation, intellectual property, export, and national security, which are continuously evolving and developing. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to us are often uncertain and may be conflicting, particularly laws outside the U.S. There is a risk that existing or future laws may be interpreted in a manner that is not consistent with our current practices and could have an adverse effect on our business. It is also likely that as our business grows and evolves and our games are played in a greater
number of countries, we will become subject to laws and regulations in additional jurisdictions or other jurisdictions may claim that we are required to comply with their laws and regulations.
There are ongoing academic, political and regulatory discussions in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and other jurisdictions regarding whether social casino games should be subject to a higher level or different type of regulation than other social games to protect consumers, in particular minors and persons susceptible to addiction to social casino games, and, if so, what this regulation should include. For example, at the end of August 2020, a court approved a settlement of class action litigation relating to violations by Big Fish Games, Inc., the operator of an online social casino game, of a specific anti-gambling law in the State of Washington, in an aggregate amount equal to $155.0 million. While our games operate differently from games implicated in the Big Fish Games class action litigation, if new social casino regulations are imposed, or other regulations are interpreted to apply to our social casino games, certain, or all, of our social casino-themed games may become subject to those regulations and expose us to civil and criminal penalties if we do not comply. In addition, the increased attention focused upon liability issues as a result of lawsuits and legislative proposals could harm our reputation or otherwise impact the growth of our business. Any costs incurred as a result of this potential liability could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
It is possible that a number of laws and regulations may be adopted or construed to apply to us in the U.S. and elsewhere that could restrict the online and mobile gaming industries, including player privacy, advertising, taxation, content suitability, copyright, distribution, and antitrust. Furthermore, the growth and development of electronic commerce may prompt calls for more stringent consumer protection laws that may impose additional burdens on companies such as ours conducting business through the Internet and mobile devices. We anticipate that scrutiny and regulation of our industry will increase, and we will be required to devote legal and other resources to address such regulation. For example, existing laws or new laws regarding the marketing of in-game purchases, labeling of free-to-play games, regulation of currency, banking institutions, unclaimed property, or money transmission may be interpreted to cover our games and the purchase of virtual currency within our games. If that were to occur, we may be required to seek licenses, authorizations, or approvals from relevant regulators, the granting of which may be dependent on us meeting certain capital and other requirements and we may be subject to additional regulation and oversight, all of which could significantly increase our operating costs. Changes in current laws or regulations or the imposition of new laws and regulations in the U.S. or elsewhere regarding these activities may impede the growth of social game services and impair our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We are a member of the ISGA, which promotes best practices in gaming
The International Social Games Association or ISGA is the worldwide representative body of the social games industry, a thriving segment of the entertainment and digital economies. Its mission is to educate and inform the public, policy makers, and regulators on what the industry does, how it works, and the value it generates for both the digital economy and people that play social games. The ISGA’s “Best Practice Principles” offer guidance to the industry on consumer protection, accountability, and transparency, while its research program provides insight for its key stakeholders. We are a member of the ISGA and our co-founder and Executive Vice President, Paul Mathews, is the current Chairman of the ISGA. We are committed to ISGA’s Best Practice Principles, including transparency in our game mechanics, functionality, and in-game purchase process, striving to adhere to data privacy and protection law, and providing customer support.
Data Privacy and Security
We receive, store, and process personal information, including personal information of our players and other player data. We respect the data privacy rights of our players and strive to comply with all applicable data privacy laws. However, there are numerous federal, state, and local laws around the world regarding data privacy and the storing, sharing, use, processing, disclosure, and protection of personal information, and current laws and regulations are inconsistent across jurisdictions leading to a patchwork of data privacy laws that are difficult to fully interpret and adhere to. Some of these laws and regulations authorize the governing agencies to investigate companies under their jurisdiction to ensure compliance, and to impose fines and other measures against companies who are not in compliance. The applicability of these laws and regulations to us, and their scope and interpretation, are constantly evolving, often uncertain, and may conflict between jurisdictions.
For example, in the U.S. we are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which was enacted by the State of California and effective on January 1, 2020, and establishes additional data privacy rights for California residents, with corresponding obligations on businesses relating to transparency, deletion rights, and opting-out of the selling of personal information, and grants a private right of action for individuals in the event of certain security breaches. In November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA. The CPRA significantly expands the CCPA, including by introducing additional obligations such as data minimization and storage limitations, granting additional rights to consumers, such as correction of personal information and additional opt-out rights, and creates a new entity, the California
Privacy Protection Agency, to implement and enforce the law. The CCPA and CPRA could subject us to additional compliance costs as well as potential fines, individual claims and commercial liabilities.
Similar laws relating to data privacy and security have been adopted in Virginia and Colorado, and proposed in other states and at the federal level, and, if passed, such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements.
In Europe, we are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 or GDPR, a regulation on data protection and data privacy applicable to companies processing personal data of users in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area that became effective May 25, 2018. The GDPR is wide-ranging in scope and imposes strict obligations and restrictions on the ability to collect, use, retain, protect, disclose, transfer, and otherwise process personal information (including restrictions on cross-border transfers of personal information), with substantial monetary penalties for violations. The GDPR also provides that EU member states may enact their own additional laws and regulations in relation to certain data processing activities. Recent legal developments in the EU have created complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal information from the EU to “third countries,” especially the U.S. For example, in 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (a mechanism for the transfer of personal information from the EU to the U.S.) and made clear that reliance on standard contractual clauses (an alternative mechanism for the transfer of personal information outside of the EU) alone may not be sufficient in all circumstances. In addition, after the UK left the EU, the UK enacted the UK GDPR, which, together with the amended UK Data Protection Act of 2018, retains the GDPR in UK national law, but also creates complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal information between the UK and the EU, which could further limit our ability to use and share personal data and require localized changes to our operating model.
We are also subject to data protection and data privacy laws in other jurisdictions, such as the Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados or LGPD, a data privacy act enacted by Brazil that became effective September 18, 2020, which created new privacy rights for individuals and include monetary penalties for non-compliance. We are further subject to consumer protection laws, such as general truth in advertising and unfair trade practices that prohibit making false statements about, or otherwise failing to disclose, how we use our players’ data, as well as federal and state data breach notification laws.
The scope of data privacy laws and regulations worldwide continues to evolve, and we anticipate that the number of data privacy laws and the scope of individual data privacy and protection rights will increase, and we will continue to evaluate tools and methods to help us comply with existing and new laws and regulations.
See “Risk Factors — We are subject to laws and regulations concerning data privacy, information security, data protection, and consumer protection, and these laws and regulations are continually evolving. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with these laws and regulations could harm our business.”
We had 752 full-time and twelve part-time employees in our principal office and ten studios located in seven countries as of December 31, 2022. None of our employees are represented by a labor organization or are a party to any collective bargaining agreement with respect to their employment by us, except for certain employees in Vietnam where local law requires those employees to be represented by a trade union. We have never experienced a material interruption of operations due to labor disagreements.
We believe that our people are the reason for our success, and we have organized ourselves to maximize productivity and performance. We are also working to build diversity within our workforce.
Our human capital resources objectives include, as applicable, identifying, hiring, training, integrating, and retaining our existing and additional employees. We believe we are able to attract and retain top talent by creating a culture that challenges and engages our employees, offering them opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve their career goals. Further, we believe that our commitment to a culture of inclusion is integral to our goal of attracting and retaining talent.
We strive to provide compensation and benefits that are competitive to market and create incentives to attract and retain employees. Our compensation package includes market-competitive base pay, health care, retirement benefits, paid time off and family leave. In addition, we offer stock-based compensation and access to a variety of health and wellness resources.
Our principal business operations are located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We lease space in San Francisco, California, Austin, Texas, Portland, Oregon, Tel-Aviv, Israel, Hong Kong, Belgrade, Serbia, Hanoi, Vietnam and Singapore for our game development and operation functions. We believe our facilities are adequate and suitable for our current needs and that should it be needed, suitable additional or alternative space will be available to accommodate our operations.
From time to time, we are a party to litigation and subject to claims incident to the ordinary course of business. Although the results of litigation and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, we currently believe that the final outcome of the litigation and claims we currently face will not have a material adverse effect on our business or financial condition. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
On April 6, 2022, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, by a purported Company shareholder in connection with alleged federal securities violations: Christian A. Felipe et. al. v. PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. (the “Felipe Complaint”). On July 15, 2022, the Felipe Complaint was transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Southern Division. On October 4, 2022, the plaintiffs filed an amendment to the Felipe Complaint. The Felipe Complaint names the Company, several current and former board members of the Company, board members and officers of Acies Acquisition Corp., and Andrew Pascal, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, as defendants. The Felipe Complaint alleges misrepresentations and omissions regarding the state of the Company’s development of the Kingdom Boss game and its financial projections and future prospects in the S-4 Registration Statement filed by Acies that was declared effective on May 25, 2021, the Proxy Statement filed by Acies on May 25, 2021, and other public statements that touted Old PLAYSTUDIOS’ and the Company’s financial performance and operations, including statements made on earnings calls and the Amended S-1 Registration Statement filed by the Company that was declared effective on July 30, 2021. The Felipe Complaint alleges that the misrepresentations and omissions resulted in stock price drops of 13% on August 12, 2021, and 5% on February 25, 2022, following (i) the Company’s release of financial results for the second quarter of 2021, ended on June 30, 2021, and (ii) the filing of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and issuance of a press release summarizing financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively. The Felipe Complaint seeks an award of damages for an unspecified amount. The Company believes that the claims are without merit and the Company intends to vigorously defend against them; however, there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in the defense of this litigation. The Company is not able to reasonably estimate the probability or amount of loss and therefore has not made any accruals.
We are a party to a pending litigation matter brought by TeamSava d.o.o. Beograd, or TeamSava, and other related parties. The plaintiffs filed a Statement of Claim in May 2021 in Tel Aviv District Court in Israel, alleging claims, among other things, that we breached the terms of a commercial contract relating to services provided by TeamSava and related parties in connection with the sourcing and administrative management of personnel in Serbia who provided game development services exclusively for us. The pending litigation seeks damages of 27.3 million New Israeli Shekels (NIS) (or approximately $7.7 million based on prevailing exchange rates as of December 31, 2022). We believe that the claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them; however, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in the defense of this litigation. Our range of possible loss could be up to 27.3 million NIS based on the claim amount of the litigation, but we are not able to reasonably estimate the probability or amount of loss and therefore have not made any accruals.
On March 2, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, by a purported Acies shareholder in connection with the Acies Merger: McCart v. Acies Acquisition Corp., et al. (Sup. Ct. L.A. County) (the “McCart Complaint”). The McCart Complaint names Acies and members of Acies’ board of directors as defendants. The McCart Complaint alleges breaches of fiduciary duties against members of Acies’ board of directors and aiding and abetting the board of directors’ alleged breaches of fiduciary duties against Acies. The McCart Complaint also alleges that the registration statement for the Acies Merger was materially deficient and omitted and/or misrepresented material information including, among other things, certain financial information, certain details regarding Acies’ financial advisors, and other information relating to the background of the Acies Merger. The McCart Complaint generally sought to recover damages related to the Acies Merger. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on August 6, 2021.
Another purported Acies shareholder sent a demand letter on February 19, 2021, making similar allegations as those made in the McCart Complaint and demanding additional disclosure regarding the Acies Merger. We have not received any further correspondence from such shareholder.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Our business faces significant risks and uncertainties. In evaluating our business, in addition to the risks and uncertainties discussed above under “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” you should carefully consider the specific risks set forth herein. If any of these risks actually occur, it may materially harm our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations. As a result, the market price of our securities could decline. Additionally, the risks and uncertainties described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are not the only risks and uncertainties that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may become material and adversely affect our business.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
Our business will suffer if we are unable to entertain our players, develop new games, and improve the experience within our existing games.
Our business depends on developing, publishing, and continuing to service casual, “free-to-play” games that players will download and spend time and money playing. We are currently focused on social casino, casual, and puzzle games, offering our games on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, on social networking platforms such as Facebook, and on our website. We have devoted and we expect to continue to devote substantial resources to the research, development, analytics, and marketing of our games. Our development and marketing efforts are focused on both improving the experience within our existing games (frequently through new content and feature releases for our live services) and developing new games. We generate revenue primarily through the sale of in-game virtual currency. For games distributed through third-party platforms, we are required to share a portion of our revenue from in-game sales with the platform providers. Due to our focus on mobile gaming, these costs are expected to remain a significant operating expense. See “Risk Factors—We rely on third-party platforms such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook to make our games available to players and collect revenues generated on such platforms, and we rely on third-party payment service providers to collect revenues generated on our own platforms.” In order to remain profitable, we need to generate sufficient revenue from our existing and new game offerings to offset our ongoing development, marketing, and operating costs.
Successfully monetizing “free-to-play” games is difficult and requires that we deliver engaging and entertaining player experiences that a sufficient number of players will pay for or we are able to otherwise sufficiently monetize our games. The success of our games depends, in part, on unpredictable and volatile factors beyond our control including player preferences and spending habits, competing games, and the availability of other entertainment experiences. If our games do not meet player expectations, or if new games are not brought to market in a timely and effective manner, our ability to grow revenue and our financial performance will be negatively affected.
Our ability to successfully develop games for mobile and web platforms and their ability to achieve commercial success will depend on our ability to:
•effectively market our games to existing and new players;
•achieve benefits from our player acquisition costs;
•achieve organic growth and gain player interest in our games through free or more efficient channels;
•adapt to changing player preferences and spending habits;
•negotiate with third parties to provide our players with a diverse inventory of real-world loyalty rewards;
•increase player engagement within our games;
•expand and enhance games after their initial release;
•attract, retain, and motivate talented and experienced game designers, product managers and engineers;
•negotiate with third-party platforms;
•continue to adapt to new technologies and game feature sets for an increasingly diverse set of mobile devices, including various operating systems and specifications, limited bandwidth, and varying processing power and screen sizes;
•efficiently manage the development of new games and features to increase the cadence of introductions without incurring excessive costs;
•achieve and maintain successful player engagement and effectively monetize our games;
•maintain a quality gaming experience and retain our players;
•compete successfully against a large and growing number of existing market participants;
•accurately forecast the timing and expense of our operations, including game and feature development, marketing and player acquisition, player adoption, and revenue growth;
•minimize and quickly resolve bugs or outages; and
•acquire and successfully integrate high quality mobile game assets, personnel, or companies.
These and other uncertainties make it difficult to know whether we will succeed in continuing to develop successful games and live operations services and launch new games and features in accordance with our operating plan. If we do not succeed in doing so, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and reputation will suffer.
If we are able to develop new games and features that achieve success, it is possible that these new games and features could divert players of our other existing games without growing our overall player base, which could harm operating results.
Although it is important to our future success that we develop new games and features that are popular with players, it is possible that new games and features may reduce the amount of time players spend with our other games. In particular, we plan to continue leveraging our existing games to cross-promote new games and features, which may encourage players of existing games to divert some of their playing time and discretionary spending away from our existing games. If new games and game features do not grow our player base, increase the overall amount of time our players spend with our games, or generate sufficient new revenue to offset any declines from our other games, our revenue could be adversely affected.
We believe that our players’ level of engagement with our games is partly based on playAWARDS, our real-world rewards loyalty program. If we fail to expand and diversify our playAWARDS program, in particular given restrictions imposed as a result of, and player behavior impacted by, the COVID-19 pandemic, our business may suffer.
Players accumulate loyalty points by engaging with our games, and players can exchange their loyalty points for real-world rewards through our playAWARDS program. We believe that our players’ level of engagement with our games is partly based on the perceived value of earning loyalty points and exchanging those loyalty points for real-world rewards that they can redeem at our awards partners’ establishments. We currently offer real-world rewards relating to, among other things, dining, live entertainment shows, and hotel rooms. For example, through an agreement with MGM Resorts International, or MGM, our players are able to exchange loyalty points for, among other things, free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets for various Las Vegas properties, including ARIA, Bellagio, and MGM Grand. We observed a lower level of rewards redemption during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to restrictions on the operations of awards partners and on the ability for players to travel or attend public events, and while such restrictions generally have been lifted we continue to experience a lower level of rewards redemption. If we are unable to expand and diversify our playAWARDS program, in particular to include real-world rewards not based on travel or attending public events or shows, the perceived value of exchanging loyalty points for the real-world rewards we offer will diminish and our players may be less likely to play our games or may reduce their level of engagement with our games. Such loss of, or reduction in, players or their level of engagement with our games would cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer.
The COVID-19 pandemic and containment efforts across the globe significantly impacted our business, and the extent to which this situation and any future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks will impact our future results of operations and overall financial performance remains uncertain.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related containment and mitigation efforts, including social distancing, shelter-in-place, quarantine and similar policies, practices and governmental orders, have resulted in widespread disruption in global economies, productivity, and financial markets and materially altered our day-to-day business operations. The COVID-19
pandemic and related public perceptions also have contributed to consumer unease and may continue to lead to decreased discretionary consumer spending, which could negatively impact our business. Other future health epidemics, contagious disease outbreaks, or the emergence of new COVID-19 variants could have similar impacts.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken various precautionary measures intended to minimize the risk of COVID-19 to our employees. These measures have included temporarily closing our offices around the world (including our corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada) and implementing travel restrictions for our employees. Although our facilities have all since reopened, we continue to monitor COVID-19 case levels and best practices, and our business may be negatively impacted if we implement future precautionary measures, which may include temporary closures of some or all of our facilities, travel restrictions, and other measures that could be disruptive to our normal business operations.
The full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and any future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks may impact our business, operations, and financial results will depend on numerous factors that we may not be able to accurately predict, including:
•the duration and scope of the pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak, including any potential follow-on disease waves, both globally and within the United States;
•the impact of new disease variants;
•governmental, business, and individuals’ actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak;
•the availability and cost to access the capital markets;
•the effect of the pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak on our players and their willingness and ability to engage with our games and make in-game purchases;
•the limitations on redeeming dining, live entertainment, and hotel real-world rewards due to travel and other similar restrictions;
•disruptions or restrictions on our employees’ ability to work and travel;
•labor shortages, increasing competition for talent, and increasing employee attrition;
•temporary or permanent changes to consumer behavior or spending patterns; and
•interruptions related to our cloud networking and platform infrastructure and partners, including impacts on Amazon Web Services, mobile application platform providers, advertising partners, and customer service and support providers.
During the continuing COVID-19 pandemic or any future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks, we may not be able to provide the same level of product features and customer support that our players expect from us, which could negatively impact our business and operations. While substantially all of our business operations can be performed remotely, many of our employees who work remotely must balance additional work-related and personal challenges, including adjusting communication, technical and work expectations, and challenges to collaborate in a hybrid environment with work colleagues and business partners.
In addition to the potential direct impacts to our business, the global economy has been, and is likely to continue to be, significantly weakened as a result of the actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and future government intervention remains uncertain. A weakened global economy may impact our players’ purchasing decisions within our games, in particular given the limitations of redeeming real-world rewards due to government mandated or other restrictions on travel and other activities and limitations on our players’ discretionary spending, consumer activity during the pandemic and its impact on advertising investments, and the ability of our business partners, including our awards partners that provide the real-world rewards available in our games, to navigate this complex social, health, and economic environment, any of which could result in disruption to our business and results of our operations.
The duration and extent of the impact on our business from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or any future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks will depend on future developments that cannot accurately be predicted at this time, such as disease severity and transmission rates, the existence of any additional waves of any pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak, the impact of new disease variants, the extent and effectiveness of mitigation and containment actions, progress
towards widespread rapid testing, effective treatment alternatives and the adoption and efficacy of available vaccines, and the impact of these and other factors on our employees, players, and business partners. If we are not able to respond to and manage the impact of such events effectively, our business may be harmed. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic or any future health epidemic or contagious disease outbreak adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks to our business described herein.
Our industry is very competitive. If players prefer our competitors’ games over our own, our operating results could suffer.
Competition in the gaming industry, especially the mobile gaming segment, is intense and subject to rapid changes, including changes from evolving player preferences and emerging technologies. Many new games are introduced in each major industry segment (mobile, web, PC, and console) each year, but only a relatively small number of titles account for a significant portion of total revenue in each segment. While we have diversified our product offering, we historically competed primarily in the social casino gaming category. Our competitors that develop mobile and web games in the social casino gaming category vary in size and offerings and include companies such as Aristocrat, DoubleU, Huuuge Games, Playtika, SciPlay, Scopely, Zynga, and others. In addition, there are competitors that develop mobile and web games that are not currently focused on the social casino gaming category but may move into that space and that may also impede our diversification efforts, including companies such as Activision Blizzard (the parent company of King Digital), Electronic Arts (EA Mobile), Epic Games, Jam City, Netmarble (the parent company of Kabam), NetEase (NetEase Games), Niantic, Take-Two Interactive Software, Vivendi (the parent company of Gameloft), and others. In addition, online game developers and distributors that are primarily focused on specific international markets, such as Giant Interactive and Tencent in Asia, and high-profile companies with significant online presences that to date have not actively focused on social games, such as Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, may decide to develop social games including social casino games which may compete with our games. Some of these current and potential competitors have significant resources for developing or acquiring additional games, may be able to incorporate their own strong brands and assets into their games, have a more diversified set of revenue sources than we do and may be less severely affected by changes in player preferences, regulations. or other developments that may impact our industry.
There are relatively low barriers to entry to develop a mobile or online game and we expect new game competitors to enter the market and existing competitors to allocate more resources to develop and market competing games and applications. We also compete or will likely compete with a vast number of small companies and individuals who are able to create and launch games and other content for devices and platforms using relatively limited resources and with relatively limited start-up time or expertise. The proliferation of titles in these open developer channels makes it difficult for us to compete for players without substantially increasing our marketing expenses. We also face competition for the leisure time, attention, and discretionary spending of our players from other non-gaming activities, such as social media and messaging applications, personal computer and console games, video streaming services, television, movies, sports, and the Internet. Increasing competition could result in loss of players, increasing player acquisition and retention costs, and loss of talent, all of which could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We rely on a small portion of our total players for a substantial amount of our revenue and if we fail to grow our player base, or if player engagement declines, our revenue and operating results will be harmed.
Compared to all players who play our games in any period, only a small portion are paying players. In order to sustain and grow our revenue levels, we must attract, retain, and increase the number of paying players or more effectively monetize our players through advertising and other strategies. To retain players, we must devote significant resources so that the games they play retain their interest and attract them to our other games. We might not succeed in our efforts to increase the monetization rates of our players, particularly if we are unable to retain our paying players. If we fail to grow or sustain the number of our paying players, if the rates at which we attract and retain paying players declines, or if the average amount our players pay declines, our business may not grow and our financial results will suffer.
A substantial portion of our loyalty rewards are obtained from MGM, and any change in that relationship could materially and adversely affect our business and financial results.
Although we have a portfolio of entertainment, retail, technology, travel, leisure, and gaming brands across the globe providing rewards through our playAWARDS program, MGM historically has provided a substantial amount of such rewards, and the majority of the rewards redeemed through our playAWARDS program for the year ended December 31, 2022 were offered by MGM. Under the terms of our marketing agreement and rewards agreement with MGM, MGM has discretion over the types and quantities of rewards and whether to make any rewards available for a particular game, and MGM may discontinue any rewards previously made available. The terms of our marketing agreement with MGM requires
us to meet certain performance criteria for it to be automatically renewed, and if we fail to meet those performance criteria, MGM could terminate both the marketing agreement and the rewards agreement. If we fail to meet our required performance criteria under the marketing agreement, we could also lose certain intellectual property rights that we license from MGM under the marketing agreement and which we use as creative assets in our games. In the event that MGM offers fewer or less attractive rewards for our games or if we fail to achieve the required performance milestones and MGM decides not to renew our agreements, our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected.
We rely on third-party platforms such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook to make our games available to players and collect revenues generated on such platforms, and we rely on third-party payment service providers to collect revenues generated on our own platforms.
We derive a significant portion of our revenue from the distribution of our games on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook, and the virtual items we sell in our games are purchased using the payment processing systems of these third-party platform providers. Additionally, we have historically acquired a significant number of our players through Facebook. If we are unable to maintain a good relationship with such platform providers, if their terms and conditions or pricing change to our detriment, if we violate, or if a platform provider believes that we have violated, the terms and conditions of its platform, or if any of these platforms loses market share or falls out of favor, or is unavailable for a prolonged period of time, our business will suffer.
We are subject to the standard and non-negotiated policies and terms of service/publisher agreements of third-party platforms, which govern the promotion, distribution, content, and operation generally of games on the platform. Each platform provider has broad discretion to unilaterally change and interpret its terms of service and other policies with respect to us and other developers, and those changes may be unfavorable to us. For example, in late 2019, a platform provider updated the rating on one of our games to Adults Only. While this issue has been resolved and the game is no longer rated Adults Only, the platform provider took longer to review and approve new releases for such game while it retained the Adults Only rating, which resulted in uncertainty around when releases would be approved, and resulted in delays in commercial releases that negatively impacted our ability to undertake planned marketing and promotional campaigns to feature the new releases. A platform provider may also change its fee structure, add fees associated with access to and use of its platform, alter how we are able to advertise on the platform, change how the personal information of its users is made available to application developers on the platform, limit the use of personal information for advertising purposes, or restrict how players can share information with their friends on the platform or across platforms. Our business could be harmed if:
•the platform providers discontinue or limit our access to their platforms;
•governments or private parties, such as internet providers, impose bandwidth restrictions, increase charges, or restrict or prohibit access to those platforms;
•the platforms increase the fees they charge us or change the ways in which their fees are determined;
•the platforms modify their algorithms, discovery mechanisms, communication channels available to developers, respective terms of service, or other policies;
•the platforms decline in popularity;
•the platforms adopt changes or updates to their technology that impede integration with other software systems or otherwise require us to modify our technology or update our games in order to ensure players can continue to access our games and content with ease;
•the platforms elect or are required to change how they label free-to-play games or take payment for in-game purchases;
•the platforms block or limit access to the genres of games that we provide in any jurisdiction;
•the platforms impose restrictions or spending caps or make it more difficult for players to make in- game purchases of virtual items;
•the platforms change how the personal information of players is made available to developers or develop or expand their own competitive offerings; or
•we are unable to comply with the platform providers’ terms of service.
In addition, third-party platforms also impose certain file size limitations, which limits our ability to create software with additional features that would result in a larger size than the platform providers would support. Aside from these file size limitations, a larger game file size could cause players to delete our games once the file size grows beyond the capacity of their devices’ storage limitations or could reduce the number of downloads of these games.
Changes in the respective terms of service or policy changes of third-party platforms may decrease the visibility or availability of our games, limit our distribution capabilities, prevent access to our existing games, reduce the amount of revenue we may recognize from in-game purchases, increase our costs to operate on these platforms, or result in the exclusion or limitation of our games or certain in-game features on such platforms. Any such changes could adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
If our platform providers do not perform their obligations in accordance with our platform agreements, we could be adversely impacted. For example, in the past, some of these platform providers have been unavailable for short periods of time, unexpectedly changed their terms or conditions or experienced issues with their features that permit our players to purchase virtual items. If any of our third-party service providers is unable to process payments, even for a short period of time, our business could be harmed. These platforms and our third-party online payment service providers may also experience security breaches or other issues with their functionalities. In addition, if we violate, or a platform provider believes we have violated, its terms of service, policies, or standard publisher agreements (or if there is any change or deterioration in our relationship with any of these platform providers), that platform provider could limit or discontinue our access to the platform or we may be exposed to liability or litigation. For example, in August 2020, Epic Games attempted to bypass Apple's and Google’s payment systems for in-game purchases with an update that allowed users to make purchases directly through Epic Games in their game, Fortnite. Apple and Google promptly removed Fortnite from their respective app stores. In August 2020, Epic Games filed separate lawsuits against Apple and Google relating to, among other things, the 30% platform fee and anti-trust violations. In September 2020, Apple filed a counterclaim seeking injunctive relief to block the use of Epic Games’ payment system and seeking monetary damages to recover funds made while the updated version of Fortnite was active. In September 2021, a court ruled that Apple must provide other payment options for in-app game purchases within a certain time, however, Apple is not required to allow Fortnite back on its app store. Both parties have appealed the ruling. In October 2021, Google filed a counterclaim seeking monetary damages from Epic Games for breach of contract.
If any such events described above occur on a short-term or long-term basis, or if these third-party platforms and online payment service providers otherwise experience issues that impact the ability of players to download or access our games, access social features, or make in-game purchases, it could materially and adversely affect our brands and reputation, as well as our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We rely on third-party hosting and cloud computing providers to operate certain aspects of our business. In particular, a significant portion of our game traffic is hosted by Amazon Web Services, or AWS, and any failure, disruption or significant interruption in our network or hosting and cloud services could adversely impact our operations and harm our business.
Our technology infrastructure is critical to the performance of our games, the satisfaction of our players, and our corporate functions. Our games and company systems run on a complex distributed system, or what is commonly known as cloud computing. We own, operate, and maintain elements of this system, but significant elements of this system are operated by third parties that we do not control and which would require significant time and expense to replace. We expect this dependence on third parties to continue. We have experienced, and may in the future experience, disruptions, outages, and other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, and capacity constraints. If any such interruption is significant or prolonged, if a particular game is unavailable when players attempt to access it or navigation through a game is slower than they expect, players may stop playing the game and may be less likely to return to the game as often, if at all.
In addition, any changes in these third parties’ service levels may adversely affect our ability to meet the requirements of our players. As our platform’s continuing and uninterrupted performance is critical to our success, sustained or repeated system failures would reduce the attractiveness of our offerings. It may become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve our performance, especially during peak usage times, as we expand and the usage of our offerings increases. Any negative publicity arising from these interruptions, delays, outages, or other performance problems could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, or reputation. Furthermore, in the event that any of our agreements with these third-party providers are terminated, we may experience significant costs or downtime in connection with the transfer to, or the addition of, new hosting or cloud computing providers. Although alternative providers could host our platform on a
substantially similar basis, such transition could potentially be disruptive and we could incur significant costs in connection with such transition.
In particular, a significant portion of our game traffic, data storage, data processing and other computing services and systems is hosted by AWS. AWS provides us with computing and storage capacity pursuant to an agreement that continues until terminated by either party. The agreement requires AWS to provide us their standard computing and storage capacity and related support in exchange for timely payment by us. Any disruptions, delays, outages and other performance problems caused by AWS could significantly impact our business due to our many services and systems relying on the AWS services.
We have engaged, and expect to engage, third-party game development companies to develop and operate certain mobile games, including myVEGAS Bingo and my Konami Slots, and if they fail to perform as expected, our business may suffer.
We currently, have in the past and expect in the future to, engage third-party game development companies to develop and operate certain mobile games on our behalf. Currently, we rely on third-party game development companies to provide operation and development services for our myVEGAS Bingo and my KONAMI Slots games. In each instance, we have been, and in the future intend to be, the publisher of our existing games as well as third-party developed or co-developed games when they are available to players through platforms such as the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook. However, in some cases much of the responsibility to develop and operate our games will be undertaken by the development company. Typically when we engage a third-party game development company, we will enter into a contract with them that defines their and our duties and responsibilities, but we have limited control over the work performed by the development company and are therefore subject to additional risks than if our own employees were developing and operating our games, such that completion of our games and their publication could be delayed due to the development company’s failure to adhere to our milestones and roadmaps. We have in the past experienced this risk when one of our third-party game development companies failed to complete development milestones in accordance with our game development roadmap. If our third-party game development companies do not perform in accordance with our agreements with them, it could adversely affect the development of our games that are the subject of that agreement, including delaying their availability for launch and their performance once launched, which could materially and adversely impact our ability to meet our forecasts.
Once a co-developed game is launched, or in the event we engage a third party to operate an existing game, we will be reliant on the development company’s ability to maintain an adequate number of knowledgeable and experienced personnel to operate and maintain the co-developed game or existing game successfully and to develop and implement future game updates, patches and bug fixes, as well as provide ongoing support services. If the development companies fails to operate and maintain the co-developed game or existing game, it could adversely affect such game's performance and player satisfaction, and our business may suffer as a result. Further, if the game development companies breached our agreements with them, or unilaterally elected to discontinue providing services, we would have to find a substitute provider or replace the lost services internally, which could disrupt the operation of the games and result in dissatisfied players, increased expenses, lost revenues, and other adverse effects.
We do not own or have direct control of the source code of the third-party developed games, but we endeavor to have source code escrow agreements in place under which the source code and operation documentation of such co-developed games will be held in escrow. If the source code escrow release conditions are triggered under the applicable source code escrow agreement, while we may be able to obtain access to and use the source code and operation documentation to operate the relevant co-developed game, it would take significant time for our employees to learn how to manage the operation of the co-developed game or develop future game updates, patches, or bug fixes for the co-developed game, which could adversely affect the co-developed game’s performance and player satisfaction, and our business may suffer as a result.
In addition, a co-developed game may incorporate intellectual property owned by the applicable development company. In such cases, we have or will obtain licenses to use the intellectual property as integrated with and into the co-developed game, but we will not own such intellectual property. If the third-party game developer challenged our right to use its intellectual property or the manner in which we use such intellectual property, it could materially and adversely affect our ability to continue to publish the co-developed game.
If we do not successfully invest in, establish and maintain awareness of our brands and games, or if we incur excessive expenses promoting and maintaining our brands or our games, our business, financial condition, results of operations, or reputation could be harmed.
We believe that establishing and maintaining our brands is critical to maintaining and creating favorable relationships with players, awards partners, content licensors, and advertisers, as well as competing for key talent. Increasing awareness of
our brands and recognition of our games is particularly important in connection with our strategic focus on developing games based on our own intellectual property and successfully cross-promoting our games. In addition, globalizing and extending our brands and recognition of our games requires significant investment and extensive management time to execute successfully. Although we make significant sales and marketing expenditures in connection with the launch of our games, these efforts may not succeed in increasing awareness of our brands or the new games. If we fail to increase and maintain brand awareness and consumer recognition of our games, our potential revenue could be limited, our costs could increase, and our business, financial condition, results of operations, or reputation could suffer.
We strive to establish and maintain our brands by obtaining trademark rights, including for our games. However, if our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our competitive position, business, financial condition, or results of operations may be harmed.
Our ability to acquire and maintain licenses to intellectual property may affect our revenue and profitability. Competition for these licenses may make them more expensive and increase our costs.
Much of the intellectual property we use in our games is created by us, but we also rely on licenses or rights we receive to third-party intellectual property for use in our games or platform to enhance the experience of our players or otherwise operate our business. For example, we use licensed intellectual property from certain parties such as MGM, Tetris®, and Konami Gaming as creative assets in our games. These licenses typically limit our use of intellectual property to specific uses and for specific time periods, and include other contractual obligations, including the achievement of certain performance milestones with which we must comply in order for the license to remain in effect. Moreover, certain intellectual property rights may be licensed to us on a non-exclusive basis, and accordingly, the owners of such intellectual property are free to license such rights to third parties, including our competitors, on terms that may be superior to those offered to us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. Competition for these licenses is intense, and often results in one or more of increased advances, minimum payment guarantees, and royalties that we must pay to the licensor, which decreases our profitability. In the future, we may identify additional third-party intellectual property we may need or desire to license in order to engage in our business, including to develop or commercialize new games. However, such licenses may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. If we are unable to obtain and remain in compliance with the terms of these licenses or obtain additional licenses on reasonable economic terms, we may be required to discontinue or limit our use of our games or features therein that include or incorporate the licensed intellectual property, and our revenue and profitability may be adversely impacted.
We also cannot be certain that our licensors are not infringing, misappropriating, or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of others or that our licensors have sufficient rights to the intellectual property to grant us the applicable licenses. If we are unable to obtain or maintain rights to any of such in-licensed intellectual property because of claims of intellectual property infringement, misappropriation, or other violation claims brought by third parties against our licensors or against us, our ability to develop games containing such intellectual property could be severely limited and our business could be harmed.
The perceived value of our virtual currency is highly dependent on how we manage the economies in our games. If we fail to manage our game economies properly, our business may suffer.
Historically, we have derived substantially all of our revenues from the sale of in-game virtual currency. Paying players purchase virtual currency in our games because of its perceived value, which is dependent on the relative ease of obtaining equivalent virtual currency by simply playing our games. The perceived value of our virtual currency can be impacted by various actions that we take in our games, including offering discounts for virtual currency or giving away virtual currency in promotions. Managing game economies is difficult, and relies on our assumptions and judgment. If we fail to manage our virtual economies properly or fail to promptly and successfully respond to any such disruption, our reputation may suffer and our players may be less likely to play our games and to purchase virtual currency from us in the future, which would cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer.
Our ability to successfully attract in-game advertisers depends on our ability to design an attractive advertising model that retains players.
While historically we have derived substantially all of our revenues from the sale of in-game virtual currency, our Tetris®-branded mobile game and Brainium games derive the majority of their revenues from the sale of in-game advertisements. If we are unable to attract and maintain a sufficient player base or otherwise fail to offer attractive in-game advertising models, advertisers may not be interested in purchasing such advertisements in our games, which could adversely affect our revenues from in-game advertising. In addition, if we include in-game advertising in our games that players view as excessive, such advertising may materially detract from players’ gaming experiences, thereby creating player
dissatisfaction, which may cause us to lose players and revenues, and negatively affect the experience for players making purchases of virtual currency in our games.
Our games and other software applications, and our and our vendors' and other partners' information technology and other systems and platforms, have, on occasion, experienced failures, errors, defects, or disruptions. Although such events have not had a material impact in the past, future similar events could disrupt our business, impact our games and related software applications, affect our ability to scale our technical infrastructure, diminish our brand and reputation, subject us to liability, and adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.
Our games may contain errors, bugs, flaws, corrupted data, defects, and other vulnerabilities, some of which may only become apparent after their launch, particularly as we launch new games and rapidly release new features to existing games under tight time constraints. Furthermore, our development and testing processes may not detect errors and vulnerabilities in our games prior to their release. Any such errors, flaws, defects, and vulnerabilities may disrupt our operations, violate applicable security standards, adversely affect the game experience of our players, harm our reputation, cause our players to stop playing our games, divert our resources, and delay market acceptance of our games, any of which could result in harm to our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Our technology infrastructure is critical to the performance of our games and satisfaction of our players and to the general operation of our business. We devote significant resources to network and data security to protect our systems and data. However, our systems may not be adequately designed with the necessary reliability and redundancy to avoid performance delays or outages that could be harmful to our business. We cannot assure you that the measures we take to detect and prevent or hinder cyber-attacks or other security or data breaches, to protect our systems, data and player information, and to prevent outages, data loss, and fraud, including a disaster recovery strategy for server, equipment, or systems failure and the use of third parties for certain cybersecurity services, will provide sufficient security or be adequate for our operations. Our vendors and other partners are also subject to the foregoing risks, and we do not have any control over them. We have experienced, and may in the future experience, system disruptions, outages, and other performance problems, including when releasing new software versions or bug fixes, due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, and capacity constraints. Such disruptions have not had a material impact to date, however, future disruptions from unauthorized access to, fraudulent manipulation of, or tampering with our or third parties’ computer systems and technological infrastructure, including the data contained therein or transmitted thereby, could result in a wide range of negative outcomes, including violations of applicable privacy laws which can result in significant fines, governmental investigations and enforcement actions, legal and financial exposure, contractual liability, and damage to our reputation, each of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Programming errors, defects, and data corruption could also disrupt our operations, cause us to violate applicable data privacy laws, adversely affect the experience of our players, harm our reputation, cause our players to stop playing our games, divert our resources, and delay market acceptance of our games, any of which could result in legal liability to us or harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
If our player base and engagement continue to grow, and the number and types of games we offer continue to grow and evolve, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure, including network capacity and computing power, to continue to satisfy our players’ needs and operate our business. Such infrastructure expansion may be complex, and unanticipated delays in completing these projects or availability of components may lead to increased project costs, operational inefficiencies, or interruptions in the delivery or degradation of the quality of our games or other operations. In addition, there may be issues related to this infrastructure that are not identified during the testing phases of design and implementation, which may only become evident after we have started to fully use the underlying equipment or software, which could further degrade the player experience or increase our costs. As such, we could fail to continue to effectively scale and grow our technical infrastructure to accommodate increased demands. In addition, our business may be subject to interruptions, delays or failures resulting from adverse weather conditions, other natural disasters, power loss, terrorism, cyber-attacks, public health emergencies (including the COVID-19 pandemic or other future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks), or other catastrophic events.
We believe that if our players have a negative experience with our games, or if our brand or reputation is negatively affected, players may be less inclined to continue or to engage with us. As such, a failure or significant interruption in our service would harm our reputation, business, and operating results.
If the use of mobile devices as game platforms and the proliferation of mobile devices generally do not increase, our business could be adversely affected.
The number of people using mobile Internet-enabled devices has increased dramatically over time and we expect that this trend will continue. However, the mobile market, particularly the market for mobile games, may not grow in the way we anticipate. Our future success is substantially dependent upon the continued growth of the market for mobile games. In addition, we do not currently offer our games on all mobile devices. If the mobile devices on which our games are available decline in popularity or become obsolete faster than anticipated, we could experience a decline in revenue and may not achieve the anticipated return on our development efforts. Any such declines in the growth of the mobile market or in the use of mobile devices for games could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
While we have achieved profitability in the past, we also have a history of net losses and our revenue and operating margins may decline. We also may incur substantial net losses in the future and may not sustain profitability.
Our operating and net income has historically fluctuated and we believe our operating margin could decrease as a result of increasing costs resulting from the risks discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in connection with any merger and acquisition activity that we may undertake. We expect to continue to expend substantial financial and other resources on game development, our technology stack, game engines, game technology and tools, player acquisition, the expansion of our network, international expansion, and marketing. Our operating costs will increase and our operating margins may decline if we do not effectively manage costs, launch new products on schedule that monetize successfully, and enhance our games so that these games continue to monetize successfully. In addition, weak economic conditions or other factors could cause our revenues to contract, requiring us to implement significant additional cost cutting measures, including a decrease in sales and marketing and paid player acquisition, which could harm our long-term prospects. If our revenue does not increase to offset any additional expenses, if we fail to manage or experience unexpected increases in operating expenses, or if we are required to take additional charges related to impairments or restructurings, our financial results and results of operations may suffer and we may not achieve or maintain profitability.
We intend to grow our business through strategic acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures that involve numerous risks and uncertainties.
We intend to grow our business through strategic transactions, including acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures, that involve numerous risks and uncertainties. We have previously closed several such transactions, including the acquisition of Brainium, and are currently in, and in the future expect to continue to be in, various stages of seeking, evaluating, and pursuing additional strategic transactions both in the U.S. and in non-U.S. jurisdictions. These transactions often require unique approaches to integration due to, among other reasons, the structure of the transactions, the locations, and cultural differences among the other company’s teams and ours, and have required and will continue to require significant attention from our management team. If we are unable to obtain the anticipated benefits from these transactions, or if we encounter difficulties in integrating any acquired operations with our business, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed.
Challenges and risks from such acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures include:
•our ability to identify, compete effectively for, or complete suitable acquisitions and investments at prices we consider attractive;
•our ability to estimate accurately the financial effect of acquisitions and investments on our business, our ability to estimate accurately any synergies or the impact on our results of operations of such acquisitions and investments;
•acquired products, technologies or capabilities, particularly with respect to any that are still in development when acquired, may not perform as expected, may have defects, or may not be integrated into our business as expected;
•acquired entities or joint ventures may not achieve expected business growth or operate profitably, which could adversely affect our results of operations, and we may be unable to recover investments in any such acquisitions or joint ventures;
•our assumption of legal or regulatory risks, particularly with respect to smaller businesses that have immature business processes and compliance programs, or litigation we may face with respect to the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, players, former stockholders, or other third parties;
•negative effects on business initiatives and strategies from the changes and potential disruption that may follow the acquisition;
•diversion of our management’s attention;
•declining employee morale and retention issues resulting from changes in compensation, or changes in management, reporting relationships, or future prospects;
•the need to integrate the operations, systems, technologies, products, and personnel of each acquired company, the inefficiencies and lack of control that may result if such integration is delayed or not implemented, and unforeseen difficulties and expenditures that may arise in connection with integration;
•the difficulty in determining the appropriate purchase price of acquired companies may lead to the overpayment of certain acquisitions and the potential impairment of intangible assets and goodwill acquired in the acquisitions;
•the difficulty in successfully evaluating and utilizing the acquired products, technology, or personnel;
•acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures may require us to spend a significant amount of cash, to incur debt, resulting in increased fixed payment obligations and could also result in covenants or other restrictions on us, or to issue capital stock, resulting in dilution of ownership of our stockholders;
•the need to implement controls, procedures, and policies appropriate for a larger, U.S.-based public company at companies that prior to acquisition may not have as robust controls, procedures, and policies, in particular, with respect to compliance with privacy and other regulations protecting the rights of users, and compliance with U.S.-based economic policies and sanctions which may not have previously been applicable to the acquired company’s operations;
•the difficulty in accurately forecasting and accounting for the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including accounting charges and integrating and reporting results for acquired companies that have not historically followed U.S. GAAP;
•the fact that we may be required to pay contingent consideration in excess of the initial fair value, and contingent consideration may become payable at a time when we do not have sufficient cash available to pay such consideration;
•the fees and costs of legal, accounting, and other professional advisors engaged by us for such acquisitions, which may be substantial;
•under purchase accounting, we may be required to write off deferred revenue which may impair our ability to recognize revenue that would have otherwise been recognizable which may impact our financial performance or that of the acquired company;
•risks associated with our expansion into new international markets and doing business internationally, including those described under the caption “Our international operations are, and our strategy to expand internationally will be, subject to increased challenges and risks”;
•in the case of foreign acquisitions, the need to integrate operations across different cultures and languages and to address the particular economic, currency, political, and regulatory risks associated with specific countries;
•the potential loss of, or harm to, our relationships with employees, players, awards partners, content licensors, and other suppliers as a result of integration of new businesses;
•our dependence on the accuracy and completeness of statements and disclosures made or actions taken by the companies we acquire or their representatives, when conducting due diligence and evaluating the results of such due diligence;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including intellectual property and other litigation claims or disputes, cyber and information security vulnerabilities, violations of laws, rules, and regulations, commercial disputes, tax liabilities, and other known and unknown liabilities; and
•we may not be able to effectively influence the operations of our joint ventures, or we may be exposed to certain liabilities if our joint venture partners do not fulfill their obligations.
The benefits of an acquisition, investment, or joint venture may also take considerable time to develop, and we cannot be certain that any particular transaction will produce the intended benefits, which could adversely affect our business, financial
condition, or results of operations. Our ability to grow through future acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures will depend on the availability of suitable candidates at an acceptable cost, our ability to compete effectively to attract these candidates, and the availability of financing to complete larger transactions. In addition, depending upon the duration and extent of shelter-in-place, travel and other business restrictions adopted by us and imposed by various governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks, we may encounter challenges in evaluating future acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures and integrating personnel, business practices, and company cultures from acquired companies. Acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures could result in potential dilutive issuances of equity securities, use of significant cash balances or incurrence of debt (and increased interest expense), contingent liabilities or amortization expenses related to intangible assets, or write-offs of goodwill or intangible assets, which could adversely affect our results of operations and dilute the economic and voting rights of our stockholders.
In addition, if we divest any businesses, these divestitures would similarly require significant investment of time and resources, may disrupt our business, distract management from other responsibilities, and may result in losses on disposal or continued financial involvement in the divested businesses, including through indemnification, guarantee, or other financial arrangements, for a period of time following the divestitures, which could adversely affect our financial results.
Our international operations are, and our strategy to expand internationally will be, subject to increased challenges and risks.
Continuing to expand our business to attract players in countries outside of the U.S. is an important element of our business strategy. An important part of targeting international markets is developing offerings that are localized and customized for the players in those markets. While we have international game studios in Hong Kong, Israel, Serbia, Singapore, and Vietnam, we expect to continue to expand our international operations in the future by opening new international game studio locations and expanding our offerings in new languages. Our ability to expand our business and to attract players and talented employees in other international markets we may enter will require considerable management attention and resources and is subject to the particular challenges of supporting a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, economics, legal systems, alternative dispute systems, regulatory systems, and commercial infrastructures.
Expanding our international focus may subject us to risks that we have not faced before or increase risks that we currently face, including risks associated with:
•inability to offer certain games in certain foreign countries;
•recruiting and retaining talented and capable management and employees in foreign countries;
•challenges caused by distance, language, and cultural differences;
•developing and customizing games and other offerings that appeal to the tastes and preferences of players in international markets;
•competition from local game makers with intellectual property rights and significant market share in those markets and with a better understanding of player preferences;
•obtaining, utilizing, protecting, defending, and enforcing our intellectual property rights;
•negotiating agreements with local distribution platforms that are sufficiently economically beneficial to us and protective of our rights;
•the inability to extend proprietary rights in our brand, content, or technology into new jurisdictions;
•implementing alternative payment methods for virtual currency in a manner that complies with local laws and practices and protects us from fraud;
•compliance with applicable foreign laws and regulations, including privacy laws and laws relating to content and consumer protection;
•compliance with anti-bribery laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;
•credit risk and higher levels of payment fraud;
•currency exchange rate fluctuations;
•protectionist laws and business practices that favor local businesses in some countries;
•double taxation of our international earnings and potentially adverse tax consequences due to changes in the tax laws of the U.S. or the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate;
•political, economic, and social instability;
•public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks, which can result in varying impacts to our employees, players, vendors, awards partners, and commercial partners internationally;
•higher costs associated with doing business internationally;
•export or import regulations; and
•trade and tariff restrictions.
If we are unable to manage the complexity of our global operations successfully, our business, financial condition, and operating results could be adversely affected. Additionally, our ability to successfully gain market acceptance in any particular market is uncertain, and the distraction of our senior management team could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Our business is subject to a variety of U.S. and foreign laws, many of which are unsettled and still developing, and which could subject us to claims or otherwise harm our business.
We are subject to a variety of laws in the U.S. and abroad that affect our business, including state and federal laws regarding consumer protection, electronic marketing, data protection and privacy, competition, taxation, intellectual property, export, and national security, which are continuously evolving and developing. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to us are often uncertain and may be conflicting, particularly laws outside the U.S. There is a risk that existing or future laws may be interpreted in a manner that is not consistent with our current practices and could have an adverse effect on our business. It is also likely that as our business grows and evolves and our games are played in a greater number of countries, we will become subject to laws and regulations in additional jurisdictions or other jurisdictions may claim that we are required to comply with their laws and regulations.
There are ongoing academic, political, and regulatory discussions in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and other jurisdictions regarding whether social casino applications should be subject to a higher level or different type of regulation than other social game applications to protect consumers, in particular minors and persons susceptible to addiction to social casino games, and, if so, what this regulation should include. For example, at the end of August 2020, a court approved a settlement of class action litigation relating to alleged violations by Big Fish Games, Inc., the operator of an online social casino game, of a specific anti-gambling law in the State of Washington, in an aggregate amount equal to $155.0 million. In addition, since 2020 there have been numerous cases filed against social casino game developers, and third party platform providers, alleging that social casino games violate various states' gambling laws. While our games operate differently from games implicated in the Big Fish Games class action litigation and the other cases filed against social casino game developers, if new social casino regulations are imposed, or other regulations are interpreted to apply to our social casino games, certain, or all, of our casino-themed games may become subject to the rules and regulations and expose us to civil and criminal penalties if we do not comply. In addition, the increased attention focused upon liability issues as a result of lawsuits and legislative proposals could harm our reputation or otherwise impact the growth of our business. Any costs incurred as a result of this potential liability could harm our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
It is possible that a number of laws and regulations may be adopted or construed to apply to us in the U.S. and elsewhere that could restrict the online and mobile industries, including player privacy, advertising, taxation, content suitability, copyright, distribution, and antitrust. Furthermore, the growth and development of electronic commerce may prompt calls for more stringent consumer protection laws that may impose additional burdens on companies such as ours conducting business through the Internet and mobile devices. We anticipate that scrutiny and regulation of our industry will increase and we will be required to devote legal and other resources to addressing such regulation. For example, existing laws or new laws regarding the marketing of in-game purchases, labeling of free-to-play games, regulation of currency, banking institutions, unclaimed property, or money transmission may be interpreted to cover our games and the virtual currency, goods, or payments that we receive. If that were to occur, we may be required to seek licenses, authorizations, or approvals from relevant regulators, the granting of which may be dependent on us meeting certain capital and other requirements and we may be subject to additional regulation and oversight, all of which could significantly increase our operating costs. Changes in
current laws or regulations or the imposition of new laws and regulations in the U.S. or elsewhere regarding these activities may lessen the growth of social game services and impair our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We may be subject to future litigation in the operation of our business. An adverse outcome in one or more proceedings could adversely affect our business.
We may be involved in claims, suits, government investigations, and proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business, including actions with respect to intellectual property claims, privacy, data protection, law enforcement matters, tax matters, labor and employment claims, commercial and acquisition-related claims, class action lawsuits, and other matters. Such claims, suits, government investigations, and proceedings are inherently uncertain and their results cannot be predicted with certainty. Regardless of their outcomes, such legal proceedings can have an adverse impact on us because of legal costs, diversion of management and other personnel, and other factors. It is possible that a resolution of one or more such proceedings could result in liability, penalties, or sanctions, as well as judgments, consent decrees, or orders preventing us from offering certain features, functionalities, products, or services, or requiring a change in our business practices, products or technologies, which could in the future materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Failure to obtain, maintain, protect, or enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We regard the protection of our trade secrets, software, trademarks, service marks, trade dress, domain names, patents, and other intellectual property rights as critical to our success. We strive to protect our intellectual property rights by relying on a combination of federal, state, and common law trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secret protection laws, as well as contractual restrictions and business practices. We enter into proprietary information and invention assignment agreements with our employees and contractors and confidentiality agreements with parties with whom we conduct business in order to limit access to, and disclosure and use of, our proprietary information. While these agreements will give us contractual remedies upon any unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary business information or intellectual property, we may not always be able to effectively monitor or prevent such unauthorized use or disclosure or misappropriation of our proprietary information or intellectual property or deter independent development of similar technologies by others. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated our proprietary information is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable, and therefore, we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies. In addition, some courts inside and outside the U.S. are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third party, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us, which could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We own registered trademarks and issued patents, and have filed, and may continue in the future to file, trademark and patent applications to protect certain of our innovations and intellectual property. This process can be expensive and time-consuming, may not always be successful depending on the intellectual property laws of the applicable jurisdiction in which we seek protection or other circumstances, in which case we may be unable to secure intellectual property protection for all of our technology and methodologies. We also may choose not to pursue registrations in every jurisdiction depending on the nature of the project to which the intellectual property rights pertain. We may, over time, increase our investments in protecting our innovations and other technology. Even if we are successful in obtaining effective intellectual property protection, it is expensive to maintain these rights and the costs of defending our rights could be substantial. Moreover, our failure to develop and properly manage new innovations and other technology could hurt our market position and business opportunities.
While our software and other proprietary technology may be protected under copyright law, we have chosen not to register any copyrights in these works, and instead, primarily rely on protecting our software as a trade secret. In order to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit in the U.S., the applicable copyright must be registered. Accordingly, the remedies and damages available to us for unauthorized use of our software may be limited.
Furthermore, our intellectual property and other proprietary rights may be challenged, knowingly or unknowingly infringed, misappropriated, circumvented, declared generic, or determined to be infringing on or dilutive of third-party intellectual property rights, and we may not be able to prevent infringement or misappropriation or other violation of our intellectual property and other proprietary rights without incurring substantial expense. Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our trade secrets, or determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights claimed by others. Monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly, and while it is our policy to protect and defend our rights to our intellectual property, we cannot predict whether steps taken by us to enforce and protect
our intellectual property rights will be adequate to prevent infringement, misappropriation, dilution, or other violations of our intellectual property rights. Any inability to meaningfully enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our ability to compete and reduce demand for our games. Moreover, in any lawsuit we bring to enforce our intellectual property rights, a court may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on grounds that our intellectual property rights do not cover the technology in question. Further, in such proceedings, the defendant could counterclaim that our intellectual property is invalid or unenforceable and the court may agree, in which case we could lose valuable intellectual property rights. Any litigation of this nature, regardless of outcome or merit, could result in substantial costs, adverse publicity, and diversion of management and technical resources, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations. If we fail to maintain, protect, and enhance our intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition, or results of operations may be harmed.
We have been in the past, and may be in the future, subject to intellectual property disputes, which are costly to defend and could require us to pay significant damages and could limit our ability to use certain technologies in the future.
Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to operate without infringing, misappropriating, or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of others. We have faced, and may in the future face, allegations that we have infringed, misappropriated, or otherwise violated the trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights of third parties, including from our competitors and non-practicing entities. We may also be subject to claims that our employees, consultants, or other advisors have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers or claims asserting ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property. Intellectual property litigation may be protracted and expensive, and the results are difficult to predict. As the result of any court judgment or settlement, we may be obligated to cancel the launch of a new game, stop offering a game or certain features of a game in a particular geographic region or worldwide, pay significant royalties, settlement costs, or damages (including treble damages and attorneys’ fees if we are found to have willfully infringed intellectual property rights), obtain licenses (which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all), modify our games and features, or develop substitutes. Even if we were able to obtain a license, it could be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors and other third parties access to the same technologies licensed to us. Furthermore, even if intellectual property disputes do not result in litigation, the time and resources necessary to resolve them could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition, and reputation.
Our games utilize third-party open source software components, which may pose particular risks to our proprietary software, technologies, and games in a manner that could negatively affect our business.
We use open source software in our game development and expect to continue to use open source software in the future. Use and distribution of open source software may entail greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide support, warranties, indemnification, or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the open source software code. To the extent that our games depend upon the successful operation of open source software, any undetected errors or defects in this open source software could prevent the deployment or impair the functionality of our games, delay new releases, result in a failure of our games, and injure our reputation. For example, undetected errors or defects in open source software could render it vulnerable to breaches or security attacks and, as a result, make our systems more vulnerable to data breaches. In addition, the public availability of such software may make it easier for others to compromise our platform and games.
Moreover, some open source software licenses require users who distribute open source software as part of their proprietary software to publicly disclose all or part of the source code to such software or make available any derivative works or modifications of the open source code on unfavorable terms or at no cost. If we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, we could, under certain open source licenses, be required to release or license the source code of our proprietary software to the public, and from time to time, we may face claims from third parties that incorporate open source software into their products, claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the source code of the open source software or derivative works that were developed using such software, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. The terms of various open source licenses have not been interpreted by courts, and there is a risk that such licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our use of the open source software. We monitor our use of open source software and try to use open source software in a manner that will not require the disclosure of the source code to our proprietary software or prevent us from charging fees to our players for use of our proprietary software. However, we cannot guarantee that these efforts will be successful, and thus there is a risk that the use of such open source software may ultimately result in litigation, preclude us from charging fees for the use of certain of our proprietary software, require us to replace certain code used in our games, pay damages, settlement fees, or a royalty to use some open source software, make the source code of our games publicly available, or discontinue certain games. Any of the foregoing would have a negative effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We are subject to laws and regulations concerning data privacy, information security, data protection, and consumer protection, and these laws and regulations are continually evolving. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with these laws and regulations could harm our business.
We receive, store, and process personal information and other data relating to employees and business contacts, in addition to that of our players, and we enable our players to share their personal information with each other and with third parties, including on the Internet and mobile platforms. There are numerous federal, state, and local laws around the world regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, processing, disclosure, and protection of personal information, the scopes of which are changing, subject to differing interpretations, and may be inconsistent between jurisdictions or conflict with other rules.
Various government and consumer agencies have called for new regulation and changes in industry practices and are continuing to review the need for greater regulation for the collection of information concerning consumer behavior on the Internet, including regulation aimed at restricting certain targeted advertising practices.
In the U.S., there are numerous federal and state privacy and data protection laws and regulations governing the collection, use, disclosure, protection, and other processing of personal information, including federal and state data privacy laws, data breach notification laws, and consumer protection laws. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, became effective on January 1, 2020 and created new privacy rights for consumers residing in the state of California. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA allows for the California Attorney General to impose civil penalties for violations and also provides a private right of action for certain data breaches. In November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, which became effective on January 1, 2023. The CPRA significantly expands the CCPA, including by introducing additional obligations such as data minimization and storage limitations, granting additional rights to consumers, such as correction of personal information and additional opt-out rights, and creates a new entity, the California Privacy Protection Agency, to implement and enforce the law. The CCPA and CPRA could subject us to additional compliance costs as well as potential fines, individual claims and commercial liabilities.
Similar laws relating to data privacy and security have been adopted in Virginia and Colorado, and proposed in other states and at the federal level, and, if passed, such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements.
In the European Economic Area, or EEA, we are subject to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, and from January 1, 2021, we are also subject to the UK GDPR and UK Data Protection Act 2018, which retains the GDPR in UK national law. The GDPR and national implementing legislation in EEA member states and the UK impose a strict data protection compliance regime in relation to our collection, control, processing, sharing, disclosure, and other use of personal data, including providing detailed disclosures about how personal data is collected and processed, granting new rights for data subjects to access, delete, or object to the processing of their data, mandatory breach notification to supervisory authorities (and in certain cases, affected individuals) of certain data breaches, and significant documentary requirements to demonstrate compliance through policies, procedures, training, and audit. In particular, European Union privacy supervisory authorities have focused on compliance with requirements relating to the processing of children’s personal data and ensuring that services offered to children are age appropriate, and we may be subject to regulatory scrutiny and subsequent enforcement actions if we are found to be processing children’s data given the nature of our services.
We are also subject to European Union rules with respect to cross-border transfers of personal data out of the EEA and the UK. Recent legal developments in Europe have created complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from the EEA and the UK to the U.S. On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union, or CJEU, invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, or Privacy Shield, under which personal data could be transferred from the EEA to U.S. entities, such as ourselves, who had self-certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. While the CJEU upheld the adequacy of the standard contractual clauses (a standard form of contract approved by the European Commission as an adequate personal data transfer mechanism, and potential alternative to the Privacy Shield), it made clear that reliance on them alone may not necessarily be sufficient in all circumstances.
These recent developments will require us to review and amend the legal mechanisms by which we make and/ or receive personal data transfers to in the U.S. As supervisory authorities issue further guidance on personal data export mechanisms, including circumstances where the standard contractual clauses and other mechanisms cannot be used, and/or start taking enforcement action, we could suffer additional costs, complaints, and regulatory investigations or fines, or if we are otherwise unable to transfer personal data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, it could affect the manner in
which we provide our services, the geographical location or segregation of our relevant systems and operations, and could adversely affect our financial results.
In addition, Brazil’s passage of the Lei Geral de Protecao de Dados Pessoais, or LGPD, became effective September 2020 and created new privacy rights for consumers residing in Brazil.
Compliance with the GDPR, LGPD, CCPA, CPRA, and similar legal requirements has required us to devote significant operational resources and incur significant expenses. We expect the number of jurisdictions adopting their own data privacy laws to increase, which will require us to devote additional significant operational resources and incur additional significant expenses and will also increase our exposure to risks of claims by our players that we have not complied with all applicable data privacy laws.
Our business depends on our ability to collect and use data to deliver relevant content and marketing materials, and any limitation on the collection and use of this data could cause us to lose revenue.
When our players use our games, we may collect both personal and non-personal data about our players. We use some of this data to provide a better experience for our players by delivering relevant content and marketing materials. Our players may decide not to allow us to collect some or all of this data or may limit our use of this data. Any limitation on our ability to collect data about our players and game interactions would likely make it more difficult for us to deliver targeted content and marketing materials to our players. Interruptions, failures or defects in our data collection, analysis and storage systems, as well as privacy concerns, increasing public scrutiny, and regulatory restrictions regarding the collection of data, could also limit our ability to aggregate and analyze player data. If that happens, we may not be able to successfully adapt to player preferences to improve and enhance our games, retain existing players, and maintain the popularity of our games, which could cause our business, financial condition, or results of operations to suffer.
We are also subject to evolving EU and UK privacy laws on cookies and similar technologies and eMarketing. In the EU and the UK, regulators are increasingly focusing on compliance with requirements in the online behavioral advertising ecosystem, and current national laws that implement the ePrivacy Directive are highly likely to be replaced by an EU regulation known as the ePrivacy Regulation which will significantly increase fines for non-compliance. In the EU and the UK, informed consent is required for the placement of a cookie or similar technologies on a user’s device and for direct electronic marketing. The GDPR also imposes conditions on obtaining valid consent, such as a prohibition on pre-checked
Additionally, Internet-connected devices and operating systems controlled by third parties increasingly contain features that allow device users to disable functionality that allows for the delivery of advertising on their devices, including through Apple’s Identifier for Advertising, or IDFA, or Google’s Advertising ID, or AAID, for Android devices. Device and browser manufacturers may include or expand these features as part of their standard device specifications. Advertising identifiers are frequently used as a means to deliver targeted advertising to devices. While historically we have conducted limited advertising to our players in our games (often referred to as “ad monetization”), it is a meaningful way to generate revenue for many mobile game companies. We introduced ad monetization mechanics as a limited pilot program and expanded it throughout 2021 and 2022 into our legacy social casino games. In addition, our Tetris®-branded mobile game and all ten Brainium games generate most of their revenue through ad monetization. Since we intend to continue to qualify and scale in-game advertising to generate revenue, we will be limited in how and to whom we can present with in-game advertising, which could adversely affect our ability to generate revenues from advertising.
We rely on assumptions and estimates to calculate certain of our key metrics, and real or perceived inaccuracies in such metrics may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.
Certain of our key metrics, including Daily Active Users, or DAU, Monthly Active Users, or MAU, Average Daily Revenue per DAU, or ARPDAU, Daily Paying Users, or DPU, and Daily Payer Conversion, are calculated using data tracked by our internal analytics systems based on tracking activity of player accounts. The analytics systems and the resulting data have not been independently verified. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable calculations for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring usage and player engagement across our player base and our recently acquired operations, and factors relating to player activity and systems may impact these numbers.
Our awards partners, content licensors, advertisers, and investors rely on our key metrics as a representation of our performance. We regularly review and may adjust our processes for calculating our internal metrics to improve their accuracy. If we determine that we can no longer calculate any of our key metrics with a sufficient degree of accuracy, and we cannot find an adequate replacement for the metric, our business, financial condition, or results of operations may be harmed. In addition, if awards partners, content licensors, or advertisers do not perceive our player metrics to be accurate representations of our user base or player engagement, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our user metrics, our reputation may be harmed and awards partners, content licensors, or advertisers may be less willing to allocate their resources, intellectual property, or budgets to our games, which could negatively affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Companies and governmental agencies may restrict access to platforms, our website, mobile applications, or the Internet generally, which could lead to the loss or slower growth of our player base.
Our players generally need to access the Internet and, in particular, platforms such as Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, and our website to play our games. Access to the Internet in a timely fashion is necessary to provide a satisfactory player experience to the players of our games. Companies and governmental agencies could block access to any platform, our website, mobile applications, or the Internet generally, or could limit the speed of data transmissions, for a number of reasons such as security or confidentiality concerns or regulatory reasons, or they may adopt policies that prohibit employees from accessing Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, and our website or any other social platform. In addition, telecommunications companies may implement certain measures, such as increased cost or restrictions based on the type or amount of data transmitted, that would impact players’ ability to access our games. If companies or governmental entities block or limit such access or otherwise adopt policies restricting players from playing our games, our business could be negatively impacted and could lead to the loss or slower growth of our player base.
Despite our security measures, we have been subject to attacks by hackers, and our information technology and infrastructure may in the future be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance, or other disruptions. Any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost, or stolen. Any such access, disclosure, or other loss of information could result in legal claims or
proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, regulatory penalties, disruption of our operations and the services we provide to players, damage to our reputation, and a loss of confidence in our products and services, which could adversely affect our business.
Cybersecurity attacks, including breaches, computer malware and ransomware, computer hacking, and insider threats have become more prevalent in our industry, and experts have warned that the global disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working conditions may result in increased threats and malicious activity. Any cybersecurity breach caused by hacking, which involves efforts to gain unauthorized access to information or systems, or to cause intentional malfunctions, loss or corruption of data, software, hardware, or other computer equipment, or the inadvertent transmission of computer viruses or other unauthorized access to our systems caused by employee error, malfeasance, or other disruptions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, or reputation. We have experienced and will continue to experience hacking attacks of varying degrees from time to time. Because of our prominence in the social casino gaming industry, we believe we are a particularly attractive target for hackers. Additionally, rapidly evolving technology and capabilities, evolving changes in the sources, capabilities and targets for cybersecurity attacks, as well as the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals increase the risk of material data compromise or business disruption.
In addition, we store sensitive information, including personal information about our employees, and our games involve the storage and transmission of players’ personal information on equipment, networks, and corporate systems run by us or managed by third-parties including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. We are subject to a number of laws, rules, and regulations requiring us to provide notification to players, investors, regulators, and other affected parties in the event of a security breach of certain personal data, or requiring the adoption of minimum information security standards that are often vaguely defined and difficult to practically implement. The costs of compliance with these laws and regulations, including the GDPR,the CCPA, and the CPRA, have increased and may increase in the future. Our corporate systems, third-party systems, and security measures have been subject to a breach and may be breached in the future due to the actions of outside parties, employee error, malfeasance, a combination of these, or otherwise, and, as a result, an unauthorized party may obtain access to, or compromise the integrity of, our data, our employees’ data, our players’ data, or any third-party data we may possess. Any such data security breach could require us to comply with various breach notification laws, create significant exposure for us, including under applicable data privacy laws and regulations such as the GDPR, the CCPA, and the CPRA, in particular if we have failed to take appropriate security measures, may affect our ability to operate, and may expose us to litigation, remediation and investigation costs, increased costs for security measures, loss of revenue, damage to our reputation and potential liability, each of which could be material.
Changes in tax laws or tax rulings could materially affect our effective tax rates, financial position, and results of operations.
The tax regimes we are subject to or operate under are unsettled and may be subject to significant change. Changes in tax laws (including in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or other future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks) or changes in interpretations of existing laws could cause us to be subject to additional income-based taxes and non-income based taxes (such as payroll, sales, use, value-added, digital services, excise, net worth, property, and goods and services taxes), which in turn could materially affect our financial position and results of operations. For example, in December 2017, the U.S. federal government enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or the 2017 Tax Act. The 2017 Tax Act significantly changed the existing U.S. corporate income tax laws by, among other things, lowering the corporate tax rate, implementing a partially territorial tax system, and imposing a one-time deemed repatriation toll tax on cumulative undistributed foreign earnings. Many of the provisions of the 2017 Tax Act are highly complex and may be subject to further interpretive guidance from the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, or others. Some of the provisions of the 2017 Tax Act may be changed by Congress and may face future challenges by the World Trade Organization, or WTO, such as the favorable tax treatment for foreign-derived intangible income claimed by us. Although we cannot predict the nature or outcome of such future interpretive guidance, or actions by Congress or WTO, they could adversely impact the consolidated results of our operations and financial position. In addition, many countries in the EU, as well as a number of other countries and organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, have recently proposed or recommended changes to existing tax laws or have enacted new laws that could impact our tax obligations. Any significant changes to our future effective tax rate may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We could be required to collect additional sales, value-added, or similar taxes or be subject to other tax liabilities that may increase the costs of our players to engage with our games and adversely affect our results of operations.
One or more U.S. states or countries may seek to impose incremental or new sales, value-added, use, or other tax collection obligations on us. While we generally are not responsible for taxes generated on games accessed and operated through third-party platforms, we are responsible for collecting and remitting applicable sales, value-added, or other similar
taxes for revenue generated on games accessed and operated on our own platforms. Historically, we paid taxes on revenue generated from games accessed on our own platforms in U.S. states where we had a sufficient physical presence or “nexus” based on the location of our U.S. offices and servers. However, there is uncertainty as to what constitutes sufficient physical presence or nexus for a U.S. state to levy taxes, fees, and surcharges for sales made over the Internet. Furthermore, an increasing number of states have considered or adopted laws that impose sales tax collection obligations on out-of-state companies. This is also the case in respect of the EU, where value-added taxes may be imposed on non-EU companies making digital sales to consumers within the EU. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., or Wayfair, that online sellers can be required to collect sales and use tax despite not having a physical presence in the customer’s state. In response to Wayfair, or otherwise, state and local governments have adopted and begun to enforce, laws requiring us to calculate, collect, and remit sales taxes in their jurisdictions. Similarly, many foreign jurisdictions have considered or adopted laws that impose value-added, digital services, or similar indirect taxes on companies despite not having a physical presence in the foreign jurisdiction.
A successful assertion by one or more states, or other countries or jurisdictions, requiring us to collect taxes where we presently do not do so, or to collect more taxes in a jurisdiction in which we currently collect some taxes, could result in substantial liabilities, including taxes on past sales as well as penalties and interest. We continually monitor the ever-evolving tax landscape in the jurisdictions in which we operate and those jurisdictions where our players reside. The requirement to collect sales, value-added, or similar indirect taxes by foreign, state, or local governments for sellers that do not have a physical presence in the jurisdiction could also create additional administrative burdens for us, put us at a competitive disadvantage if they do not impose similar obligations on our competitors, or decrease our future sales, which may materially and adversely affect our business, and results of operations.
We may have exposure to greater than anticipated tax liabilities.
Our income tax obligations are based in part on our corporate operating structure and intercompany arrangements. The tax laws applicable to our business, including the laws of the U.S. and other jurisdictions, are subject to interpretation, and certain jurisdictions are aggressively interpreting their laws in new ways in an effort to raise additional tax revenue. Our existing corporate structure and intercompany arrangements have been implemented in a manner we believe is in compliance with current prevailing tax laws. However, the taxing authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for intercompany arrangements, which could impact our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and results of operations. We are currently under a transfer pricing examination by the Israel Tax Authority for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. While we expect to prevail, it is possible that a negative outcome in this examination would have a material impact on our consolidated results of operations and financial position. In addition, changes to our corporate structure and intercompany agreements, including through acquisitions, could impact our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and results of operation.
Our ability to utilize our research credit carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may have been limited by “ownership changes” and may be further limited.
Our ability to utilize our research credit carryforwards to offset potential future income taxes that would otherwise be due is dependent upon our generation of future income taxes before the expiration dates of the research credit carryforwards, and we cannot predict with certainty when, or whether, we will generate sufficient income taxes to use all of our research credit carryforwards.
Under Section 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and corresponding provisions of state law, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change” (generally defined as a greater than 50 percentage point change (by value) in its equity ownership over a rolling three-year period), the corporation’s ability to use its research credit carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change income taxes may be limited. We may have experienced, and we may in the future experience, ownership changes, either as a result of the Acies Merger or other changes in our stock ownership (some of which are not in our control). As a result, if we incur income tax liability, our ability to use our pre-change research credit carryforwards to offset U.S. federal income taxes may be subject to limitations under Section 383, which could potentially result in increased future tax liability to us. In addition, at the state level, there may be periods during which the use of research credit carryforwards is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or permanently increase state taxes owed.
General Risk Factors
Economic downturns and political and market conditions beyond our control could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects.
Our financial performance is subject to U.S. economic conditions and their impact on levels of spending by players, our awards partners, and our advertisers. Economic recessions have had, and may continue to have, far-reaching adverse consequences across many industries, including the gaming industries, which may adversely affect our business and financial condition. In the past decade, the U.S. economy experienced tepid growth following the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 and experienced a recession in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as international trade and monetary policy and other changes. If the U.S. economy experiences another recession or any of the relevant regional or local economies suffers a prolonged downturn, our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects may be adversely affected.
In addition, changes in general market, economic and political conditions in domestic and foreign economies or financial markets, including fluctuation in stock markets resulting from, among other things, trends in the economy as a whole, inflation, unemployment, consumer debt levels, geopolitical events, and other challenges impacting the global economy, including the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption of supply chains, and armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, may adversely affect consumer confidence or cause a reduction to our players’ disposable income or our awards partners’ budgets resulting in fewer or less desirable rewards to be offered to our players. In addition, the impact of inflation on our operating expenses may decrease profitability. Any one of these changes could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects.
Our results of operations may fluctuate due to various factors and, therefore, our periodic operating results will not be guarantees of future performance.
Our financial results and operating metrics have fluctuated in the past and we expect such results to fluctuate in the future. These fluctuations may be due to a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Our financial results and operations in any given period may be influenced by numerous factors, many of which we are unable to predict or are outside of our control. Player engagement with our games may decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including the popularity of the underlying games, the player’s level of satisfaction with our games, our ability to improve and innovate games and to attract new awards partners, outages and disruptions of online services, the services offered by our competitors, our marketing and advertising efforts, or declines in player activity generally as a result of economic downturns, among others. Any decline or fluctuation in the recurring portion of our business may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects.
Our reported financial results may be affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S.
Generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S., or GAAP, are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported financial results, and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change. Any difficulties in implementing any future changes to accounting principles could cause us to fail to meet our financial reporting obligations, which could result in regulatory discipline and harm investors’ confidence in us.
Our core values of focusing on our players and their experience within our games and acting for the long-term may conflict with the short-term expectations of analysts.
We believe that providing quality and highly engaging content to our players is essential to our success and serves the best, long-term interests of our company and our stockholders. Therefore, we have made in the past and we may make in the future, significant investments or changes in strategy that we think will benefit us in the long-term, even if our decision has the potential to negatively impact our operating results in the short term. In addition, our decisions may not result in the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case the success of our games, business, financial condition, or results of operations could be harmed.
Securities analysts may not publish favorable research or reports about our business or may publish no information at all, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
Our stock price and trading volume may be heavily influenced by the way analysts and investors interpret our financial information and other disclosures. If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, delay publishing reports about our business, or publish negative reports about our business, regardless of accuracy, the trading price and trading volume of our Class A common stock could decline.
The trading market for shares of our Class A common stock may be influenced to some extent by the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us and our business. We do not control these analysts. As a recent public company, we may be slow to attract research coverage and the analysts who publish information about us will have had relatively little experience with us, which could affect their ability to accurately forecast our results and could make it more likely that we fail to meet their estimates. In the event we obtain securities or industry analyst coverage, if any of the analysts who cover us provide inaccurate or unfavorable research or issue an adverse opinion regarding our stock price, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to publish reports covering us regularly, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
Even if we are actively covered by analysts, we do not have any control over the analysts or the measures that analysts or investors may rely upon to forecast our future results. Overreliance by analysts or investors on any particular metric to forecast our future results may lead to forecasts that differ significantly from our own.
We may require additional capital to support our growth plans, and such capital may not be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all. This could hamper our growth and adversely affect our business.
We intend to continue to make significant investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new games and features or enhance our existing games, improve our operating infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses, personnel, and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our Class A common stock. In June 2021, we entered into the Credit Agreement, which subjects us to certain operational and financial covenants.
Any additional debt financing that we secure in the future could involve offering additional security interests and undertaking restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. Additionally, lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic and political conditions, including inflation and higher interest rates, have disrupted capital markets, and if we seek to access additional capital or increase our borrowing, there can be no assurance that debt or equity financing may be available to us on favorable terms, if at all. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to support our business growth and to respond to business challenges could be significantly impaired, and our business, financial condition, or results of operations may be harmed.
Our investment portfolio may become impaired by deterioration of the financial markets.
Our cash equivalent and investment portfolio, including the proceeds of the Acies Merger and the PIPE financing, have been invested with a goal of preserving our access to capital, and generally consists of money market funds, corporate debt securities, U.S. government and government agency debt securities, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, and time deposits. We follow an investment policy and set of guidelines to monitor and help mitigate our exposure to interest rate and credit risk, which guidelines include credit quality standards and permissible allocations of certain sectors to limit our exposure to specific investment types. Volatility in the global financial markets can negatively impact the value of our investments, and recent depressed performance in U.S. and global financial markets due to current economic and political conditions and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the carrying value of our investment portfolio. If financial markets experience further volatility, including due to depressed economic production and performance across the U.S. and global economies due to current economic and political conditions, including inflation or higher interest rates, or lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in some financial instruments may pose risks arising from market liquidity and credit concerns. In addition, any disruption of the capital markets could cause our other income and expenses to vary from expectations. Although we intend to manage our investment portfolio for a low risk of material impairment, we
cannot predict future market conditions, market liquidity or credit availability, and can provide no assurance that our investment portfolio will remain materially unimpaired.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources and divert management’s attention, and the increases in legal, accounting and compliance expenses may be greater than we anticipate.
We are a public company, and as such (and particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company”) we incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, and are required to comply with the applicable requirements of the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC and the listing standards of the Nasdaq, including changes in corporate governance practices and the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls. Compliance with these rules and regulations can be burdensome. Our management and other personnel need to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations have increased, and will continue to increase, our historical legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, we expect that these rules and regulations may make it more difficult and more expensive for us to attract and retain qualified members to the Board of Directors. In particular, we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which will increase when we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We will need to hire additional accounting and financial staff, and engage outside consultants, all with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge and maintain an internal audit function, which will increase our operating expenses. Moreover, we could incur additional compensation costs in the event that we decide to pay cash compensation closer to that of other publicly listed companies, which would increase our general and administrative expenses and could materially and adversely affect our profitability. We are evaluating these rules and regulations, and cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.
We may not have adequate personnel with the appropriate level of knowledge, experience, and training in the accounting policies, practices, or internal control over financial reporting required of public companies. Our management will need to continually assess our staffing and training procedures to improve our internal control over financial reporting. Further, the development, implementation, documentation, and assessment of appropriate processes, in addition to the need to remediate any potential deficiencies, will require substantial time and attention from management. The development and implementation of the standards and controls necessary for us to achieve the level of accounting standards required of a public company may require costs greater than expected. It is possible that we will be required to expand our employee base and hire additional employees to continue to support our operations as a public company which will increase our operating costs in future periods.
As a private company, Old PLAYSTUDIOS was not required to document and test internal controls over financial reporting, management was not required to certify the effectiveness of internal controls, and auditors were not required to opine on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting. Failure to maintain adequate financial, information technology, and management processes and controls could result in material weaknesses which could lead to errors in our financial reporting, which could adversely affect our business.
Old PLAYSTUDIOS was not required to document and test internal controls over financial reporting, management was not required to certify the effectiveness of our internal controls, and auditors were not required to opine on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting. We are not currently subject to the auditor attestation requirement of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. However, when we lose our emerging growth company status and become subject to the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we may not be able to complete our evaluation, testing, and any required remediation in a timely fashion. In addition, our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of poor design and changes in our business, including increased complexity resulting from our international operations and our contemplated international expansion. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could adversely affect the results of assessments by our independent registered public accounting firm and its attestation reports.
If we are unable to certify the effectiveness of our internal controls, or if our internal controls have a material weakness, we may not detect errors timely, our financial statements could be misstated, we could be subject to regulatory scrutiny and a loss of confidence by stakeholders, which could harm our business and adversely affect the trading price of our Class A common stock.
We are currently an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act and have taken advantage of certain exemptions from disclosure requirements available to emerging growth companies, which could make our securities less attractive to investors and may make it more difficult to compare our performance to the performance of other public companies.
We are currently an “emerging growth company” as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act. As such, we are eligible for and have taken advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, and we intend to continue to take advantage of such exemptions for as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, including, but not limited to: (i) not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, (ii) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and (iii) exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (1) the last day of the fiscal year in which the market value of our Class A common stock that are held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of June 30 of that fiscal year, (2) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenue of $1.07 billion or more during such fiscal year (as indexed for inflation), (3) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt in the prior three-year period, or (4) the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the first sale of Acies Class A ordinary shares. Investors may find our securities less attractive because we have relied on these exemptions. If some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less active trading market for our securities and the trading prices of our securities may be more volatile.
Further, Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts emerging growth companies from being required to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies (that is, those that have not had a Securities Act registration statement declared effective or do not have a class of securities registered under the Exchange Act) are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that a company can elect to opt out of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies but any such election to opt out is irrevocable. We have elected not to opt out of such extended transition period which means that when a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an emerging growth company, can adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard. This may make comparison of our financial statements with another public company which is neither an emerging growth company nor an emerging growth company which has opted out of using the extended transition period difficult or impossible because of the potential differences in accounting standards used.
Our workforce and operations have grown substantially since our inception and we expect that they will continue to do so. If we are unable to effectively manage that growth, our financial performance and future prospects will be adversely affected.
Since our inception, we have experienced growth in the U.S. and internationally. This expansion increases the complexity of our business and has placed, and will continue to place, significant strain on our management, personnel, operations, systems, technical performance, financial resources, and internal financial control and reporting functions. We may not be able to manage our growth effectively, which could damage our reputation and negatively affect our operating results.
Properly managing our growth will require us to continue to hire, train, and manage qualified employees and staff, including engineers, operations personnel, finance and accounting staff, and sales and marketing staff, and to improve and maintain our technology. If our new hires perform poorly, if we are unsuccessful in hiring, training, managing, and integrating these new employees and staff, or if we are not successful in retaining our existing employees and staff, our business may be harmed. Moreover, in order to optimize our organizational structure, we have implemented reductions in force and may in the future implement other reductions in force. Any reduction in force may yield unintended consequences and costs, such as attrition beyond the intended reduction in force, the distraction of employees, and reduced employee morale. Any reduction in force also could adversely affect our reputation as an employer, which could make it more difficult for us to hire new employees in the future and increase the risk that we may not achieve the anticipated benefits from the reduction in force. Properly managing our growth will require us to establish consistent policies across regions and functions, and a failure to do so could harm our business.
Our failure to upgrade our technology or network infrastructure effectively to support our growth could result in unanticipated disruptions. To manage the growth of our operations and personnel and improve the technology that supports
our business operations, as well as our financial and management systems, disclosure controls and procedures, and internal controls over financial reporting, we will be required to commit substantial financial, operational, and technical resources.
Our current and planned personnel, systems, procedures, and controls may not be adequate to support our future operations. If we are unable to expand our operations and hire additional qualified personnel in an efficient manner, or if our operational technology is insufficient to reliably service our games, we could potentially face difficulties in retaining players, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Our organizational structure is complex and will continue to grow as we add additional employees. We will need to scale our operational, financial, and management controls as well as our reporting systems and procedures to support the growth of our organizational structure. We will require capital and management resources to grow and mature in these areas. If we are unable to effectively manage the growth of our business, the quality of our games may suffer, and we may be unable to address competitive challenges, which would adversely affect our business, operations, and financial condition.
Continued growth and success will depend on the performance of our current and future employees, including certain key employees. Recruitment and retention of these individuals is vital to growing our business and meeting our business plans. The loss of any of our key executives or other key employees could harm our business.
Our ability to compete and grow depends in large part on the efforts and talents of our employees and executives. Our success depends in a large part upon the continued service of our senior management team, including Andrew Pascal, our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Pascal is critical to our vision, strategic direction, culture, products, and technology, and the continued retention of our entire senior management team is important to the success of our operating plan. We do not have employment agreements with members of our senior management team, all of whom are "at-will" employees, and we do not maintain key man insurance for members of our senior management team. The loss of any member of our senior management team could cause disruption and harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, or reputation.
In addition, our ability to execute our strategy depends on our continued ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate, and retain highly skilled employees, particularly in the competitive fields of game design, product management, engineering, and data science. These employees are in high demand, and we devote significant resources to identifying, recruiting, hiring, training, and successfully integrating and retaining them. Interviewing, hiring, and integrating new employees has and will continue to be particularly challenging following the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in hybrid/remote working arrangements. Furthermore, we have observed labor shortages, increased competition for talent, and a rise in employee attrition. We will continue to devote increased efforts to maintaining the collaborative culture of the corporate headquarters and each of our domestic and international game studios through the use of videoconferencing and other online communication and sharing tools, and to monitoring the health, safety, morale, and productivity of our employees, including new employees, as we evaluate the impacts of this challenging situation on our business and employees.
We believe that two critical components of our success and our ability to retain our best people are our culture and our competitive compensation practices. As we continue to operate as a public company, we may find it difficult to maintain our entrepreneurial, execution-focused culture. In addition, any volatility in our operating results and the trading price of our Class A common stock may cause our employee base to be more vulnerable to be targeted for recruitment by competitors. While we believe we compete favorably, competition for highly skilled employees is intense. If we are unable to identify, hire, and retain our senior management team and our key employees, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be harmed. Moreover, if our team fails to work together effectively to execute our plans and strategies on a timely basis, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be harmed.
Any restructuring actions and cost reduction initiatives that we have undertaken or may undertake in the future may not deliver the expected results and these actions may adversely affect our business.
We have implemented restructurings in the past and may implement restructurings in the future for purpose of reducing costs, streamlining operations, and improving cost efficiencies to better align our operating expenses with our revenue. Such restructurings may include reducing our headcount, rationalizing our product pipeline, reducing marketing and technology expenditures, and downsizing or closing certain game studios. We plan to continue to manage costs to better and more efficiently manage our business. Our restructuring plans and other such efforts could result in disruptions to our operations and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We actively monitor our costs, however, if we do not fully realize or maintain the anticipated benefits of any restructuring actions and cost reduction initiatives, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be adversely affected, and additional restructuring actions and cost reduction initiatives may be necessary. In addition, we
cannot be sure that such actions and initiatives will be as successful in reducing our overall expenses as expected or that additional costs will not offset any such reductions. If our operating costs are higher than we expect or if we do not maintain adequate control of our costs and expenses, our operating results will suffer. In addition, any cost reduction measures could negatively impact our business, financial condition, or results of operations including but not limited to, delaying the introduction of new games, features, or content, delaying introduction of new technology, impacting our ability to react nimbly to game or technology issues, or impacting employee retention and morale.
We have a facility in San Francisco, California, and the occurrence of an earthquake or other natural disaster or other significant business interruption at or near our San Francisco facility, or any of our other game studios or facilities, could cause damage to our facilities and equipment and interfere with our operations.
We rent an office facility in San Francisco, California, an area known for earthquakes, and this facility is thus vulnerable to damage in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. In addition, all of our game studios and facilities are vulnerable to damage from natural or man-made disasters, including power loss, fire, explosions, floods, communications failures, terrorist attacks, contagious disease outbreak (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), and similar events. If any disaster were to occur, our ability to operate our business at our game studios or facilities could be impaired and we could incur significant losses, recovery from which may require substantial time and expense.
Our insurance may not provide adequate levels of coverage against claims.
We believe that we maintain insurance customary for businesses of our size and type. However, there are types of losses we may incur that cannot be insured against or that we believe are not economically reasonable to insure. Moreover, any loss incurred could exceed policy limits and policy payments made to us may not be made on a timely basis. Such losses could adversely affect our business prospects, results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.
Because we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules, our stockholders may not have certain corporate governance protections that are available to stockholders of companies that are not controlled companies.
So long as more than 50% of the voting power for the election of directors is held by an individual, a group or another company, we will qualify as a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. As of December 31, 2022, the Founder Group controlled more than 70% of the combined voting power of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards and are not subject to the requirements that would otherwise require us to have: (i) a majority of independent directors; (ii) a nominating committee comprised solely of independent directors; (iii) compensation of our executive officers determined by a majority of the independent directors or a compensation committee comprised solely of independent directors; and (iv) director nominees selected, or recommended for the Board of Directors selection, either by a majority of the independent directors or a nominating committee comprised solely of independent directors. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we do not utilize any of these exemptions, however, should we later choose to do so, you may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of these corporate governance requirements.
The Founder Group may have its interest in us diluted due to future equity issuances or its own actions in selling shares of our Class B common stock, in each case, which could result in a loss of the “controlled company” exemption under the Nasdaq listing rules. We would then be required to comply with those provisions of the Nasdaq listing requirements.
The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting power with Andrew Pascal, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, which limits an investor’s ability to influence the outcome of important transactions, including a change in control.
Shares of our Class B common stock are entitled to twenty (20) votes per share, while shares of our Class A common stock are entitled to one (1) vote per share. Mr. Pascal and his affiliated entities included in the Founder Group hold all of the issued and outstanding shares of our Class B common stock. Accordingly, as of December 31, 2022, the Founder Group, including Mr. Pascal, beneficially owned more than 70% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common stock, and is able to control matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors, amendments to our organizational documents and any merger, consolidation, sales of all or substantially all of our assets or other major corporate transactions. Mr. Pascal may have interests that differ from yours and may vote in a way with which you disagree and which may be adverse to your interests. This concentrated control may have the effect of delaying, preventing, or deterring a change in control of our company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their capital stock as part of a sale of our company, and may ultimately affect the market price of shares of our Class A common stock.
We cannot predict the impact our dual class structure may have on the stock price of our Class A common stock.
We cannot predict whether our dual class structure will result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common stock or in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. For example, certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with multiple-class share structures in certain of their indexes. Under these policies, our dual class capital structure would make us ineligible for inclusion in certain indices, and as a result, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track those indices will not be investing in our stock. It is unclear what effect, if any, these policies will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from such indices, but it is possible that they may depress valuations, as compared to similar companies that are included. As a result, the market price of shares of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.
We may issue additional preferred stock or common stock, including under the 2021 Plan and 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Any such issuances would dilute the interest of our stockholders and likely present other risks.
We may issue additional shares of preferred stock (which may be convertible into a substantial number of shares of common stock) or additional shares of common stock, including under the 2021 Plan and 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Any such issuances of additional shares of preferred stock or common stock:
•may significantly dilute the equity interests of our stockholders;
•may subordinate the rights of holders of common stock if preferred stock is issued with rights senior to those afforded our common stock;
•could cause a change in control if a substantial number of shares of our common stock are issued, which may affect, among other things, our ability to use our net operating loss carry forwards, if any, and could result in the resignation or removal of our present officers and directors; and
•may adversely affect prevailing market prices for our Class A common stock.
The historical financial results of Old PLAYSTUDIOS included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may not be fully comparable to our future results as a result of the Acies Merger.
The historical financial results of Old PLAYSTUDIOS included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K do not necessarily reflect the financial condition, results of operations or cash flows we would have achieved as a standalone company during the periods presented or those we will achieve in the future. This is primarily the result of the following factors: (i) we will incur additional ongoing costs related to public company reporting, investor relations and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and (ii) our capital structure will be different from that reflected in Old PLAYSTUDIOS’ historical financial statements. Our financial condition and future results of operations could be materially different from amounts reflected in Old PLAYSTUDIOS’ historical financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, so it may be difficult for investors to compare our future results to historical results or to evaluate its relative performance or trends in our business.
Legal proceedings in connection with the Acies Merger, the outcomes of which are uncertain, could divert management’s attention and adversely affect our daily operations.
On March 2, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, by a purported Acies shareholder in connection with the Acies Merger: McCart v. Acies Acquisition Corp., et al. (Sup. Ct. L.A. County) (the “McCart Complaint”). The McCart Complaint names Acies and members of Acies’ board of directors as defendants. The McCart Complaint alleges breaches of fiduciary duties against members of Acies’ board of directors and aiding and abetting the board of directors’ alleged breaches of fiduciary duties against Acies. The McCart Complaint also alleges that the registration statement is materially deficient and omits and/or misrepresents material information including, among other things, certain financial information, certain details regarding Acies’ financial advisors, and other information relating to the background of the Acies Merger. The McCart Complaint generally seeks to enjoin the Acies Merger or in the event that it is consummated, recover damages.
Another purported Acies shareholder sent a demand letter on February 19, 2021 (the “Demand”), making similar allegations as those made in the McCart Complaint and demanding additional disclosure regarding the Acies Merger.
While the McCart Complaint was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff on August 6, 2021, and we have not received any further communications relating to the Demand, additional lawsuits may be filed against us or our directors and officers in connection with the Acies Merger.
On April 6, 2022, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United Stated District Court, Northern District of California, by a purported Company shareholder in connection with alleged federal securities law violations: Christian A. Felipe et. al. v. PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. (the “Felipe Complaint”). On July 15, 2022, the lawsuit was transferred to the United States District Court of Nevada, Southern District. On October 4, 2022, the plaintiffs filed an amendment to the Felipe Complaint. The Felipe Complaint names the Company, several current and former board members of the Company, board members and officers of Acies Acquisition Corp., and Andrew Pascal, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, as defendants. The Felipe Complaint alleges misrepresentations and omissions regarding the state of the Company’s development of the Kingdom Boss game and its financial projections and future prospects in the S-4 Registration Statement filed by Acies that was declared effective on May 25, 2021, the Proxy Statement filed by Acies on May 25, 2021, and other public statements that touted Old PLAYSTUDIOS’ financial performance and operations, including statements made on earnings calls and the Amended S-1 Registration Statement filed by the Company that was declared effective on July 30, 2021. The Felipe Complaint alleges that the misrepresentations and omissions resulted in stock price drops of 13% on August 12, 2021, and 5% on February 25, 2022, following (i) the Company’s release of financial results for the second quarter of 2021, ended on June 30, 2021, and (ii) the filing of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and issuance of a press release summarizing financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2021, respectively. The Felipe Complaint seeks an award of damages for an unspecified amount.
Defending the Felipe Complaint and any such additional lawsuits could require us incur significant costs and draw the attention of the management team away from the daily operations of our business. Further, the defense or settlement of any lawsuit or claim may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Warrants may be exercised for our Class A common stock, and Earnout Shares and Sponsor Shares may become issuable or vest, each of which would increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
Outstanding Warrants to purchase an aggregate of 10,996,631 shares of our Class A common stock became exercisable in accordance with the terms of the Warrant Agreement governing those securities on October 27, 2021. The exercise price of these Warrants is $11.50 per share. The Company completed an offer to purchase each of its Warrants in the Tender Offer on May 13, 2022, in which holders of 1,792,463 outstanding Public Warrants tendered their Public Warrants for a purchase price of $1.00 per warrant. Following redemption of the Public Warrants tendered in the Tender Offer, approximately 5.4 million Public Warrants and approximately 3.8 million Private Warrants remained outstanding. In addition, up to 15,000,000 Earnout Shares may be issued and up to 900,000 Sponsor Shares may vest and become unrestricted upon the closing price of the Class A common stock exceeding $12.50 and $15.00 per share, respectively, for any 20 trading days within any 30-trading day window commencing on or after November 18, 2021 and ending no later than June 21, 2026 (the Earnout Shares will also vest based on the price targets in connection with a sale of our company). To the extent such Warrants are exercised and the Earnout Shares are issued or the Sponsor Shares vest and become unrestricted, additional shares of our Class A common stock will be issued or become eligible for resale, which will result in dilution to the holders of our common stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Actual or potential sales of Earnout Shares or Sponsor Shares in the public market, or the fact that additional shares are issuable upon exercise of such Warrants, could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.
Regulatory and licensing requirements may limit the ability of third parties seeking to make investments in us or acquire us.
Many states require prior approval of acquisitions of “control,” as defined under each state’s laws and regulations, which may apply to an investment without regard to the intent of the investor. In some states, the obligation to obtain approval is imposed on the licensee, and in other states, the prospective investor bears the statutory obligation. Depending on the form of entity, the threshold trigger may be limited to voting stock. A failure to make the relevant filings and receive the requisite approvals could result in administrative sanctions against the prospective investor or the licensee, including the potential suspension of the license in that state until the requisite approval is obtained. These regulatory requirements may discourage potential acquisition proposals or investments that would result in a change of control of us, may delay or prevent acquisition of shares that would result in a change in control of us, and, as a result, may adversely impact demand for, and the trading price of, our Class A common stock.
Risks Relating to the Restatement of Our Previously Issued Financial Statements
Our Warrants are accounted for as liabilities and changes in the value of our Warrants could have a material effect on our financial results.
On April 12, 2021, the SEC Staff expressed its view that certain terms and conditions common to warrants issued by a special purpose acquisition corporation such as Acies may require the Warrants to be classified as liabilities instead of equity on our balance sheet (the “SEC Staff Statement”). As a result of the SEC Staff Statement, we reevaluated the accounting treatment of the Warrants, and determined to classify the Warrants as derivative liabilities measured at fair value, with changes in fair value reported in our statement of operations for each reporting period.
As a result, included on our balance sheet as of December 31, 2022 and 2021 contained elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are derivative liabilities related to embedded features contained within the Warrants. ASC 815-40 provides for the remeasurement of the fair value of such derivative liabilities at each balance sheet date, with a resulting non-cash gain or loss related to the change in the fair value being recognized in earnings in the statement of operations. As a result of the recurring fair value measurement, our financial statements and results of operations may fluctuate quarterly based on factors which are outside of our control. Due to the recurring fair value measurement, we expect that we will recognize non-cash gains or losses on the Warrants each reporting period during which any Warrants remain outstanding and that the amount of such gains or losses could be material.
Additional Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock and Our Operation as a Public Company
The price of our Class A common stock and Public Warrants may be volatile.
The price of our Class A common stock, as well as our Public Warrants, may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including:
•changes in the industries in which we and our vendors operate;
•developments involving our competitors;
•changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•variations in our operating performance and the performance of our competitors in general;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results;
•publication of research reports by securities analysts about us or our competitors or our industry;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements, and our filings with the SEC;
•sales of shares of Class A common stock by our stockholders, including the PIPE Investors (as defined in Note 3—Business Combinations);
•the issuance and potential sales of 15,000,000 Earnout Shares and potential sale of 900,000 Sponsor Shares upon the occurrence of an Earnout Triggering Event;
•additions and departures of key personnel;
•commencement of, or involvement in, litigation against us;
•changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of securities or the incurrence of additional debt;
•the volume of shares of our Class A common stock available for public sale; and
•general economic and political conditions, such as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, recessions, interest rates, local and national elections, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations, corruption, political instability, armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, or other acts of war or terrorism.
These market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our Class A common stock and Public Warrants regardless of our operating performance.
In addition, fluctuations in the price of our securities could contribute to the loss of all or part of your investment. If an active market for our securities develops and continues, the trading price of our securities could be volatile and subject to
wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Any of the factors listed above could have a material adverse effect on your investment in our securities, and our securities may trade at prices significantly below the price you paid for them. In such circumstances, the trading price of our securities may not recover and may experience a further decline.
We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.
We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to finance the further development and expansion of our business and do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will depend our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, restrictions contained in future agreements and financing instruments, business prospects, and such other factors as the Board of Directors deems relevant.
We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercise of the Public Warrants and options, and we may invest or spend the proceeds in ways with which investors do not agree and in ways that may not yield a return.
We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercises of the Public Warrants and options. Investors may not agree with our decisions, and our use of the proceeds may not yield a return on investment. We intend to use these net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include capital expenditures, investments, and working capital. In addition, from time to time in the past we have considered, and we continue to consider, acquisitions and strategic transactions, and we also may use such proceeds for such purposes. Our use of these proceeds may differ substantially from our current plans. Our failure to apply the proceeds from the exercises of the Public Warrants and options effectively could impair our ability to pursue our growth strategy or could require us to raise additional capital.
We are currently, and in the future may be, subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile and, in the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. In addition to the Felipe Complaint, we may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Additional securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Future resales of Class A common stock may cause the market price of our securities to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
Pursuant to the Sponsor Support Agreement and the Bylaws and subject to certain exceptions, the holders of: (i) the shares of our common stock issued as consideration pursuant to the Acies Merger, (ii) any Old PLAYSTUDIOS Options; (iii) the shares of our common stock underlying the Old PLAYSTUDIOS Options; (iv) Sponsor Shares; or (v) Private Warrants, in each case, were restricted from selling or transferring any of the securities described in clauses (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) (the “Lock-Up Securities”) from the Closing through June 21, 2022.
Since such lock-up period has expired, the Sponsor and the Old PLAYSTUDIOS stockholders are no longer restricted from selling shares of our Class A common stock held by them, other than by applicable securities laws. Additionally, the PIPE Investors were not restricted from selling any of their shares of our Class A common stock, other than by applicable securities laws. Since the lock-up period has expired and with registration statements (filed after the Closing to provide for the resale of certain shares from time to time) available for use, sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could have the effect of increasing the volatility in the share price of our Class A common stock or reducing the market price of our Class A common stock.
The Public Warrants may never be in the money, and they may expire worthless and the terms of the Public Warrants may be amended in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment.
The Public Warrants were issued in registered form under a Warrant Agreement between Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company, as warrant agent, and Acies. The Warrant Agreement provides that the terms of the Public Warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder to cure any ambiguity or correct any defective provision, but requires the approval by the holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants to make any change that adversely affects the interests of the registered holders of Public Warrants. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the Public Warrants in a
manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment. Although our ability to amend the terms of the Public Warrants with the consent of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants is unlimited, examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the Public Warrants, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of shares of Class A common stock purchasable upon exercise of a Public Warrant.
We may redeem the Public Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to the holders of Public Warrants.
We have the ability to redeem outstanding Public Warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per Public Warrant if, among other things, the last reported sale price of our Class A common stock for any 20 trading days within a 30-trading day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the holders of the Public Warrants equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share dividends, rights issuances, subdivisions, reorganizations, recapitalizations, and the like). If and when the Public Warrants become redeemable by us, we may exercise our redemption right even if we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. As a result, we may redeem the Public Warrants as set forth above even if the holders are otherwise unable to exercise the Public Warrants. Redemption of the outstanding Public Warrants as described above could force the holders of Public Warrants to: (i) exercise the Public Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for them to do so; (ii) sell the Public Warrants at the then-current market price when they might otherwise wish to hold their warrants; or (iii) accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Public Warrants are called for redemption, we expect would be substantially less than the market value of the Public Warrants. None of the Private Warrants will be redeemable by us (subject to limited exceptions) so long as they are held by our Sponsor or its permitted transferees.
In addition, we have the ability to redeem the outstanding Public Warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.10 per Public Warrant if, among other things, the last reported sale price of our Class A common stock for any 20 trading days within a 30-trading day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the holders of the Public Warrants equals or exceeds $10.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share dividends, rights issuances, subdivisions, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like). In such a case, the holders will be able to exercise their Public Warrants prior to redemption for a number of shares of Class A common stock determined based on the redemption date and the fair market value of our Class A common stock. The value received upon exercise of the Public Warrants (i) may be less than the value the holders would have received if they had exercised their Public Warrants at a later time where the underlying share price is higher and (ii) may not compensate the holders for the value of the Public Warrants, including because the number of shares of our Class A common stock received is capped at 0.361 shares of Class A common stock per Public Warrant (subject to adjustment) irrespective of the remaining life of the Public Warrants.
Furthermore, the shares of Class A common stock issued upon exercise of the Public Warrants or Private Warrants (or upon the redemption of such Public Warrants for shares of our Class A common stock) will result in dilution to the existing holders of our common stock.
Delaware law and our organizational documents contain certain provisions, including anti-takeover provisions, that limit the ability of stockholders to take certain actions and could delay or discourage takeover attempts that stockholders may consider favorable.
Our organizational documents, and the Delaware General Corporation Law ("DGCL"), contain provisions that could have the effect of rendering more difficult, delaying or preventing an acquisition that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class A common stock, and therefore depress the trading price of our Class A common stock. These provisions could also make it difficult for stockholders to take certain actions, including electing directors who are not nominated by the current members of the Board of Directors or taking other corporate actions, including effecting changes in our management. Among other things, the organizational documents include provisions regarding:
•the ability of the Board of Directors to issue shares of preferred stock, including “blank check” preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;
•the Certificate of Incorporation will prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
•the limitation of the liability of, and the indemnification of, our directors and officers;
•the ability of the Board of Directors to amend the Bylaws, which may allow the Board of Directors to take additional actions to prevent an unsolicited takeover and inhibit the ability of an acquirer to amend the Bylaws to facilitate an unsolicited takeover attempt; and
•advance notice procedures with which stockholders must comply to nominate candidates to the Board of Directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which could preclude stockholders from bringing matters before annual or special meetings of stockholders and delay changes in the Board of Directors and also may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company.
These provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent hostile takeovers and changes in control or changes in the Board of Directors or management.
The provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation requiring exclusive forum in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware for certain types of lawsuits may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, and unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, in the event the Chancery Court does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware or other state courts of the State of Delaware) will be the sole and exclusive forum for: (i) any derivative action, suit, or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action, suit, or proceeding asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, or stockholders to us or our stockholders; (iii) any action, suit, or proceeding arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL or our Bylaws or our Certificate of Incorporation (as either may be amended from time to time); (iv) any action, suit, or proceeding as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; or (v) any action, suit, or proceeding asserting a claim against us or any of our current or former directors, officers, or stockholders governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Notwithstanding the foregoing, our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Similarly, Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. The organizational documents also provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the U.S. federal district courts shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.
These provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers. The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any applicable action brought against us, a court could find the choice of forum provisions contained in our Certificate of Incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our principal business operations are located in offices owned by us in Las Vegas, Nevada. We lease facilities in nine locations throughout the world, including San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; Tel-Aviv, Israel; Hong Kong; Belgrade, Serbia; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Singapore for our game development and operation functions. We believe our existing facilities are sufficient for our current needs. We may add new facilities and expand our existing facilities as we add employees and expand into new locations. We believe suitable additional space will be available as needed to accommodate our needs.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
See discussion of legal proceedings in Note 16—Commitments and Contingencies in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Common Stock Information
Our Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol MYPS. There is no public market for our Class B common stock.
Holders of our Common Stock
As of February 28, 2023, there were 177 holders of record of our Class A common stock, five holders of record of our Class B common stock and five holders of record of our Warrants. The number of record holders does not include Depository Trust Company participants or beneficial owners holding shares through nominee names.
We do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our shares of Class A common stock or Class B common stock on a go-forward basis.
Stock Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our Class A common stock with the cumulative total return on the Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index. The graph assumes an initial investment of $100 in our common stock at the market close on December 21, 2020, which was the initial trading day of the Class A ordinary shares of Acies (our predecessor) on a stand-alone basis. The Acies Merger was announced on February 2, 2021 and closed on June 21, 2021. Data for the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index assume reinvestment of dividends. Total return equals stock price appreciation plus reinvestment of dividends.
The performance graph should not be deemed filed or incorporated by reference into any other Company filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent the Company specifically incorporates the performance graph by reference therein.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Use of Proceeds
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table provides information about share repurchases made by us of our Class A common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2022:
Total Number of Shares Purchased1
Average Price Paid per Share2
|Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of a Publicly Announced Program|
Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Program3
October 1, 2022 - October 31, 2022
|— ||$||— ||— ||$||50,000 |
November 1, 2022 - November 30, 2022
|243,492 ||$||4.17 ||243,492 ||$||48,989 |
December 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022
|922,293 ||$||3.93 ||922,293 ||$||45,381 |
1.The repurchases are being executed from time to time, subject to general business and market conditions, through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions, including through Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, pursuant to a stock repurchase program. On November 10, 2021, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program authorizing the Company to repurchase, within a 12 month period, up to $50.0 million of the Company’s Class A common stock at such times and in such amounts as the Company’s Board of Directors deems appropriate, based on factors such as market conditions, legal requirements, and other business considerations. The Company publicly announced the approval of such stock repurchase program on November 12, 2021. On November 2, 2022, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an extension of the time period for repurchases under the stock repurchase program for an additional 12 months from November 10, 2022 to November 10, 2023. The Company publicly announced the extension of such time period on November 8, 2022. See Note 17 of the notes to consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information relating to share repurchases.
2.Average price paid per share includes costs associated with the repurchases.
3.Subsequent to December 31, 2022, the Company acquired an additional 1.3 million shares of Class A common stock under this program at an aggregate purchase price of $5.4 million and an average purchase price of $4.29 per share.
ITEM 6. [RESERVED]
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis provides information which our management believes is relevant to an assessment and understanding of our consolidated results of operations and financial condition. The discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements and involves numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those described in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Unless the context otherwise requires, references to “we”, “us”, “our”, and “the Company” are intended to mean the business and operations of PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Our actual results and the timing of certain events may differ significantly from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a discrepancy include, but are not limited to, those discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly in the section titled “Risk Factors” set forth in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances, except as required by law.
We are a developer and publisher of free-to-play casual games for mobile and social platforms. Each of our legacy social casino games and our Tetris®-branded mobile game incorporate our unique playAWARDS loyalty program. Over our eleven-year history, we developed a portfolio of free-to-play social casino games that are considered to be among the most innovative and unique in the genre. We recently acquired Brainium, a developer and publisher of free-to-play casual games with industry leading user retention and engagement. Our games include the award-winning POP! Slots, myVEGAS Slots, my KONAMI Slots, myVEGAS Blackjack, myVEGAS Bingo, Tetris®, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Sudoku, and Mahjong. Our games are based on original content as well as third-party licensed brands and are downloadable and playable for free on multiple social and mobile-based platforms, including the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and Facebook.
Each of our legacy social casino games and our Tetris®-branded mobile game is powered by our proprietary playAWARDS program and incorporates loyalty points that are earned by players as they engage with our games. For the year ended December 31, 2022, these loyalty points could have been exchanged for real-world rewards from 96 awards partners representing more than 210 hospitality, entertainment, and leisure brands across 105 countries and six continents. The rewards are provided by our collection of awards partners, with the majority of whom provide their rewards at no cost to us, in exchange for product integration, marketing support, and participation in our loyalty program. The program is enabled by our playAWARDS platform which consists of a robust suite of tools that enable our awards partners to manage their rewards in real time, measure the value of our players’ engagement, and gain insight into the effectiveness and value they derive from the program. Through our self-service platform, awards partners can launch new rewards, make changes to existing rewards, and in real time see how players are engaging with their brands. The platform tools also provide awards partners the ability to measure the off-line value our players generate as consumers and patrons of their real-world establishments.
PLAYSTUDIOS' playAWARDS platform embodies all of the features, tools, and capabilities needed to deliver loyalty programs tailored for the games industry. Our consumer-facing brand for our loyalty program is myVIP. The myVIP program is an aspirational benefits framework, with in-game mechanics and rewards features, along with a player development and hosting program. The program dynamically ranks and assigns players to tiers based on their accumulation of tier points, which are a proxy for their overall engagement with our games. The tier points are separate from and are not interchangeable with the loyalty points earned in the playAWARDS program. Qualified players are provided access to enhanced benefits that increase with each tier. Higher tiers provide access to a VIP player portal where players can view and purchase special chip bundles, redeem loyalty points for a curated set of rewards, and communicate directly with a dedicated personal host. The VIP player portal, concierge, and host programs, enhance the in-game and real-world reward experience with both in-game and in-person, invitation-only special events. We believe that the myVIP program drives increased player engagement and retention, and therefore extends each game's life-cycle and revenue potential.
We have primarily generated our revenue from the sale of in-game virtual currency, which players can choose to purchase at any time to enhance their playing experience. Once purchased, our virtual currency cannot be withdrawn from the game, transferred from one game to another or from one player to another, or be redeemed for monetary value. Players who install our games receive free virtual currency upon the initial launch of the game, and they may also collect virtual currency free of charge at periodic intervals or through targeted marketing promotions. Players may exhaust the free virtual currency
and may choose to purchase additional virtual currency. Additionally, players can send free “gifts” of virtual currency to their friends on Facebook. Our revenue from virtual currency has been generated world-wide, but is largely concentrated in North America.
We also generate revenue from in-game advertising. Advertisements can be in the form of an impression, click-throughs, banner ads, or offers, where players are rewarded with virtual currency or loyalty points for watching a short video. While we historically have derived most of our revenue from the sale of in-game virtual currency, we introduced in-game advertising as a limited pilot program and expanded it throughout 2021 and 2022. In addition, our Tetris®-branded mobile game and our Brainium games generate most of their revenue through in-game advertising.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and related containment and mitigation efforts, including social distancing, shelter-in-place, quarantine, and similar policies, practices, and governmental orders, have resulted in widespread disruption in global economies, productivity, and financial markets and have materially altered our day-to-day business operations. We have followed guidance by the U.S., Israel, Hong Kong, and other applicable foreign and local governments to protect our employees and operations during the pandemic. We cannot predict potential future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or other future health epidemics or contagious disease outbreaks on our business or operations, but we will continue to actively monitor the related issues and may take further precautionary actions that alter our business operations, including as may be required by federal, state, local, or foreign authorities or that we determine are in the best interests of our employees, players, partners, and stockholders.
In addition to the potential direct impacts to our business, the global economy has been, and is likely to continue to be, significantly weakened as a result of the actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and future government intervention remains uncertain. A weakened global economy may impact our players and their purchasing decisions within our games, in particular as a result of the limitations associated with redeeming real-world rewards due to government-mandated or other restrictions on travel and other activities and limitations on our players’ discretionary spending, consumer activity during the pandemic and its impact on advertising investments, and the ability of our business partners, including our awards partners, to navigate this complex social, health, and economic environment, any of which could result in disruption to our business and results of our operations.
The duration and extent of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on future developments that cannot accurately be predicted at this time, such as the severity and transmission rate of the virus, the existence of any additional waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and variants thereof, the extent and effectiveness of containment actions, progress towards widespread rapid testing, effective treatment alternatives, and the success and timing of vaccination efforts, and the impact of these and other factors on our employees, players, and business partners. We have observed labor shortages, increasing competition for talent, and increasing employee attrition. If we are not able to respond to and manage the impact of such events effectively, our business may be harmed.
See “Risk Factors” for more information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key Factors Affecting Our Performance
There are a number of factors that affect the performance of our business, and the comparability of our results from period to period, including:
•Third-Party Platform Agreements—Historically we derived substantially all of our revenue from in-game purchases of virtual currency that are processed by platform providers such as the Apple App Store, Google Store, Amazon Appstore, and on Facebook. The platform providers charge us a transaction fee to process payments from our players for their purchase of in-game virtual currency. These platform fees are generally set at 30% of the in-game purchase. Each platform provider has broad discretion to set its platform fees and to change and interpret its terms of service and other policies with respect to us and other developers in its sole discretion, and those changes may be unfavorable to us.
•Player Acquisition—Establishing and maintaining a loyal network of players and paying players is vital for our success. As such, we spend a significant amount on advertising and other forms of player acquisition, such as traditional marketing and advertising, email and push notifications, and cross promoting between our games in order to grow our player base. These expenditures are generally related to new content launches, game enhancements, and ongoing programs to drive new player acquisition and the reactivation of lapsed player engagement. Our player acquisition strategy is centered on a payback period methodology, and we strive to optimize spend between the acquisition of new players and the reactivation of inactive players.
•Player Monetization—Our revenue to date has been primarily driven through the sale of virtual currency. Paying players purchase virtual currency in our games because of the perceived value, which is dependent on the relative ease of obtaining equivalent virtual currency by simply playing our game. The perceived value of our virtual currency can be impacted by various actions that we take in our games including offering discounts for virtual currency or giving away virtual currency in promotions. Managing game economies is difficult and relies on our assumptions and judgment. If we fail to manage our virtual economies properly or fail to promptly and successfully respond to any such disruption, our reputation may suffer and our players may be less likely to play our games and to purchase virtual currency from us in the future, which would cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer.
•Investment in Game Development—In order to maintain interest from existing players and add new players and achieve our desired revenue growth, we must continually improve the content, offers, and features in our existing games and the release of new games. As a result, we invest a significant amount of our technological and creative resources to ensure that we support an appropriate cadence of innovative content that our players will find appealing. These expenditures generally occur in advance of the release of new content or the launch of a new game, and the resulting revenue may not exceed the development costs, or the game or feature may be abandoned in its entirety.
•Investment in our playAWARDS and myVIP programs—In order to drive player engagement and retention we invest a significant amount of resources to enhance the playAWARDS and myVIP programs. We continually evaluate these programs through an iterative feedback process with our players and awards partners and update them so that both our players and awards partners are able to optimize their personalized experience. As a result, we continuously incur expenses to enhance and update these programs. However, the results may not generate revenue and the enhancements may require additional significant modifications or be abandoned in their entirety.
•Real-World Rewards—We currently offer real-world rewards relating to, among other things, dining, live entertainment shows, and hotel rooms, and we plan to continue to expand and diversify our rewards loyalty program in order to maintain and enhance the perceived value offering to our players. Our players’ willingness to make in-game purchases is directly impacted by our ability to provide desirable rewards. The real-world rewards we offer to our players are provided at no cost to us by our awards partners, and there is no obligation for us to pay or otherwise compensate either our awards partners or players for any player redemptions under our awards partner agreements.
Key Performance Indicators and Non-GAAP Measures
We manage our business by regularly reviewing several key operating metrics to track historical performance, identify trends in player activity, and set strategic goals for the future. Our key performance metrics are impacted by several factors that could cause them to fluctuate on a quarterly basis, such as platform providers’ policies, seasonality, player connectivity, and the addition of new content to games. We believe these measures are useful to investors for the same reasons. In addition, we also present certain non-GAAP performance measures. These performance measures are presented as supplemental disclosure and should not be considered superior to or as a substitute for the consolidated financial statements prepared under U.S. GAAP. The non-GAAP measures presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K should be read together with the consolidated financial statements and the respective related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The key performance indicators and non-GAAP measures presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may differ from similarly titled measures presented by other companies and are not a substitute for financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Key Performance Indicators
Daily Active Users (“DAU”)
Daily Active Users ("DAU") is defined as the number of individuals who played a game on a particular day. We track DAU by the player ID, which is assigned for each game installed by an individual. As such, an individual who plays two different PLAYSTUDIOS games on the same day is counted as two DAU while an individual who plays the same PLAYSTUDIOS game on two different devices is counted as one DAU. Brainium tracks DAU by app instance ID, which is assigned to each installation of a game on a particular device. As such, an individual who plays two different Brainium games on the same day is counted as two DAU and an individual who plays the same Brainium game on two different devices is also counted as two DAU. The term "Average DAU" is defined as the average of the DAU, determined as described above, for each day during the period presented. We use DAU and Average DAU as measures of audience engagement to help us understand the size of the active player base engaged with our games on a daily basis.
Monthly Active Users (“MAU”)
Monthly Active Users ("MAU") is defined as the number of individuals who played a game in a particular month. As with DAU, an individual who plays two different PLAYSTUDIOS games in the same month is counted as two MAU while an individual who plays the same game on two different devices is counted as one MAU, and an individual who plays two different Brainium games on the same day is counted as two MAU and an individual who plays the same Brainium game on two different devices is also counted as two MAU. The term "Average MAU" is defined as the average of the MAU, determined as described above, for each calendar month during the period presented. We use MAU and Average MAU as measures of audience engagement to help us understand the size of the active player base engaged with our games on a monthly basis.
Daily Paying Users (“DPU”)
Daily Paying Users ("DPU") is defined as the number of individuals who made a purchase in a game during a particular day. As with DAU and MAU, we track DPU based on account activity. As such, an individual who makes a purchase in two different games in a particular day is counted as two DPU while an individual who makes purchases in the same game on two different devices is counted as one DPU. The term "Average DPU" is defined as as the average of the DPU, determined as described above, for each day during the period presented. We use DPU and Average DPU to help us understand the size of our active player base that makes in-game purchases. This focus directs our strategic goals in setting player acquisition and pricing strategy.
Daily Payer Conversion
Daily Payer Conversion is defined as DPU as a percentage of DAU on a particular day. Daily Player Conversion is also sometimes referred to as "Percentage of Paying Users" or "PPU". The term "Average Daily Payer Conversion" is defined as the the Average DPU divided by Average DAU for a given period. We use Daily Payer Conversion and Average Daily Payer Conversion to help us understand the monetization of our active players.
Average Daily Revenue Per DAU (“ARPDAU”)
Average Revenue Per DAU ("ARPDAU") is defined for a given period as the average daily revenue per Average DAU, and is calculated as game and advertising revenue for the period, divided by the number of days in the period, divided by the Average DAU during the period. We use ARPDAU as a measure of overall monetization of our players.
Adjusted EBITDA (“AEBITDA”) and AEBITDA Margin
Adjusted EBITDA, or AEBITDA, as used herein, is a non-GAAP financial performance measure that is presented as a supplemental disclosure and is reconciled to net income as the most directly comparable GAAP measure. We define AEBITDA as net income before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, restructuring and related costs (consisting primarily of severance and other restructuring related costs), stock-based compensation expense, changes in fair value of warrant liabilities, and other income and expense items (including special infrequent items, foreign currency gains and losses, and other non-cash items). We also use AEBITDA Margin, another non-GAAP measure, which we calculate as the percentage of AEBITDA to revenue.
We use AEBITDA and AEBITDA Margin to monitor and evaluate the performance of our business operations, facilitate internal comparisons of our operating performance, and to analyze and evaluate decisions regarding future budgets and initiatives. We believe that both measures are useful because they provide investors with information regarding our operating performance that is used by our management in its reporting and planning processes. AEBITDA and AEBITDA Margin as calculated herein may not be comparable to similarly titled measures and disclosures reported by other companies.
The following table sets forth the reconciliation of AEBITDA and AEBITDA Margin to net income and net income margin, the most directly comparable GAAP measure (in thousands, except percentages):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|Net (loss) income||$||(17,783)||$||10,737 ||$||12,807 |
|Depreciation & amortization||35,562 ||27,398 ||22,192 |
|Income tax benefit||(5,835)||(258)||(1,671)|
|Stock-based compensation expense||17,727 ||4,455 ||3,519 |
|Change in fair value of warrant liability||(1,047)||(13,933)||— |
|Change in fair value of contingent consideration||(2,411)||— ||— |
|— ||7,500 ||1,427 |
Restructuring and related(2)
|13,020 ||3,082 ||20,092 |
|AEBITDA||38,253 ||39,546 ||57,974 |
|GAAP Revenue||290,309 ||287,419 ||269,882 |
|Margin as a % of revenue|
|Net (loss) income margin||(6.1)||%||3.7 ||%||4.7 ||%|
|AEBITDA Margin||13.2 ||%||13.8 ||%||21.5 ||%|
(1)Amounts reported (i) during the year ended December 31, 2021 represent a transaction bonus and a charitable contribution per the terms of the merger agreement related to our business combination with Acies Acquisition Corp. (the “Merger Agreement”), and (ii) during the year ended December 31, 2020, represent charitable donations made by us related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(2)Amounts reported (i) during the year ended December 31, 2022 represent a non-cash impairment charge related to the suspension of Kingdom Boss development, fees related to evaluating various merger and acquisition opportunities, and fees related to the Tender Offer for the Warrants, (ii) during the year ended December 31, 2021 represent severance-related costs and fees related to evaluating various merger and acquisition opportunities, and (iii) during the year ended December 31, 2020 include $20.0 million resulting from the termination of the profit share provision of the MGM Marketing Agreement as further discussed in Note 4 — Related-Party Transactions to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Results of Operations
Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2022 versus the year ended December 31, 2021
The following table summarizes our consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 (in thousands, except percentages):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|2022||2021||$ Change||% Change|
|Net revenue||$||290,309 ||$||287,419 ||$||2,890 ||1.0 ||%|
|Operating expenses||318,390 ||290,409 ||27,981 ||9.6 ||%|
|Operating loss||(28,081)||(2,990)||(25,091)||839.2 ||%|
|Net (loss) income||(17,783)||10,737 ||(28,520)||(265.6)||%|
|AEBITDA||38,253 ||39,546 ||(1,293)||(3.3)||%|
|Net (loss) income margin||(6.1)||%||3.7 ||%||(9.8)pp||(264.9)||%|
|AEBITDA margin||13.2 ||%||13.8 ||%||(0.6)pp||(4.3)||%|
|pp = percentage points|
Revenue and Key Performance Indicators (in thousands, except percentages and ARPDAU):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|2022||2021||$ Change||% Change|
|Virtual currency||$||261,620 ||$||280,087 ||$||(18,467)||(6.6)||%|
|Advertising||21,839 ||6,964 ||14,875 ||213.6 ||%|
|Other revenue||6,850 ||368 ||6,482 ||1761.4 ||%|
|Net revenue||$||290,309 ||$||287,419 ||$||2,890 ||1.0 ||%|
|Average DAU||1,917 ||1,244 ||673 ||54.1 ||%|
|Average MAU||7,932 ||4,111 ||3,821 ||92.9 ||%|
|Average DPU||29 ||34 ||(5)||(14.7 ||%)|
|Average Daily Payer Conversion||1.5 ||%||2.7 ||%||(1.2)pp||(44.4 ||%)|
|ARPDAU (in dollars)||$||0.41 ||$||0.63 ||$||(0.22)||(34.9 ||%)|
|pp = percentage points|
Revenue information by geography is summarized as follows (in thousands, except percentages):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|United States||$||253,556 ||$||250,252 ||$||3,304 ||1.3 ||%|
|North America (excluding United States)||14,161 ||15,692 ||(1,531)||(9.8)||%|
|Other||22,592 ||21,475 ||1,117 ||5.2 ||%|
|Net revenue||$||290,309 ||$||287,419 ||$||2,890 ||1.0 ||%|
Net revenue increased $2.9 million, or 1.0%, to $290.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to $287.4 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily driven by increases in advertising and other revenue. Virtual currency revenue decreased $18.5 million, or 6.6%, to $261.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to $280.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2021, primarily driven by the decline in DPU. Our Average Daily Payer Conversion rate decreased 1.2 percentage points to 1.5% during the year ended December 31, 2022 from 2.7% during the year ended December 31, 2021 due to the addition of Tetris® and the Brainium portfolio of games, which primarily operate with an advertising revenue model, as described below. Advertising revenue increased $14.9
million, or 213.6%, to $21.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to $7.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in advertising revenue was primarily driven by an increase in impression count and focus on providing more opportunities for our players to engage with advertisements, including the addition of the Tetris®-branded mobile game to our games portfolio and the acquisition of the Brainium portfolio of casual games.
The following table summarizes our consolidated operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 (in thousands, except percentages):
|Years Ended December 31,||% of Net Revenue|
|2022||2021||$ Change||% Change||2022||2021|
|Cost of revenue||$||85,400 ||$||91,642 ||$||(6,242)||(6.8)||%||29.4 ||%||31.9 ||%|
|Selling and marketing||80,819 ||79,042 ||1,777 ||2.2 ||%||27.8 ||%||27.5 ||%|
|Research and development||63,315 ||61,343 ||1,972 ||3.2 ||%||21.8 ||%||21.3 ||%|
|General and administrative||40,274 ||27,902 ||12,372 ||44.3 ||%||13.9 ||%||9.7 ||%|
|Depreciation and amortization||35,562 ||27,398 ||8,164 ||29.8 ||%||12.2 ||%||9.5 ||%|
|Restructuring expenses||13,020 ||3,082 ||9,938 ||322.5 ||%||4.5 ||%||1.1 ||%|
|Total operating expenses||$||318,390 ||$||290,409 ||27,981 ||9.6 ||%||109.7 ||%||101.0 ||%|
Cost of Revenue
Cost of revenue decreased by $6.2 million, or 6.8%, during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease was due to a decline in virtual currency revenue. As a percentage of net revenue, cost of revenue decreased from 31.9% for the year ended December 31, 2021 to 29.4% for the year ended December 31, 2022. The decrease was due to an increase in advertising and other revenue which do not incur platform fees, and a reduction in royalty expenses associated with our revenue.
Selling and Marketing
Selling and marketing expenses increased by $1.8 million, or 2.2%, during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily due to $1.2 million of additional payroll expenses, $0.8 million of additional outside services, $0.7 million of additional stock-based compensation, and $0.3 million of other selling and marketing expenses. This increase was partially offset by a reduction of user acquisition costs of $1.2 million. As a percentage of net revenue, selling and marketing expenses increased from 27.5% for the year ended December 31, 2021 to 27.8% for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Research and Development
Research and development expenses increased by $2.0 million, or 3.2%, during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily due to $6.2 million of additional stock-based compensation, $1.8 million of additional payroll expenses, and $0.3 million of other research and development expenses. This increase was partially offset by a reduction of $6.3 million of outside services expenses. As a percentage of net revenue, research and development expenses increased from 21.3% for the year ended December 31, 2021 to 21.8% for the year ended December 31, 2022.
General and Administrative
General and administrative expenses increased by $12.4 million, or 44.3%, during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily due to $7.0 million of additional payroll expenses, $6.8 million of additional stock-based compensation, $1.5 million of additional insurance expenses, $1.0 of additional legal expenses, and $2.8 million of other general and administrative costs. This increase was partially offset by one-time charges of $4.2 million for bonuses related to the Acies Merger and $2.5 million related to charitable contributions
made during the year ended December 31, 2021. As a percentage of net revenue, general and administrative expenses increased from 9.7% for the year ended December 31, 2021, to 13.9% for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Depreciation and Amortization
Depreciation and amortization expenses increased by $8.2 million, or 29.8%, during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase was primarily due to $6.0 million of additional amortization of the license associated with our Tetris®-branded mobile game, $1.8 million in additional depreciation of fixed assets, and $1.4 million of amortization of intangible assets acquired in the Brainium and WonderBlocks acquisitions. This increase was partially offset by a decrease of $1.0 million of amortization of internal use software as a result of the impairment of Kingdom Boss. As a percentage of net revenue, depreciation and amortization expenses increased from 9.5% for the year ended December 31, 2021 to 12.2% for the year ended December 31, 2022. See Note 8—Internal-Use Software, Net and Note 9—Goodwill and Intangible Assets in our consolidated financial statements.
Restructuring expenses increased by $9.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase is due to $8.3 million of non-cash impairment charges related to the suspension of Kingdom Boss development and $2.2 million in fees related to various merger and acquisition opportunities, including the acquisitions of Brainium and WonderBlocks. As a percentage of net revenue, restructuring expenses increased from 1.1% for the year ended December 31, 2021 to 4.5% for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Other Income (Expense), Net
The following table summarizes our consolidated non-operating income (expense) for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 (in thousands, except percentages):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|2022||2021||$ Change||% Change|
|Change in fair value of warrant liabilities||$||1,047 ||$||13,933 ||$||(12,886)||(92.5)||%|
|Interest income (expense)||1,925 ||(235)||2,160 ||(919.1)||%|
|Other income (expense)||1,491 ||(229)||1,720 ||(751.1)||%|
|Total other income, net||$||4,463 ||$||13,469 ||$||(9,006)||(66.9)||%|
The change in fair value of warrant liabilities is related to the warrants discussed in Note 8—Warrant Liabilities to our consolidated financial statements herein. Interest income (expense) is related to the unused commitment fees and debt issue costs associated with the Credit Agreement and the Revolver, respectively, as discussed in Note 13—Long-Term Debt to our consolidated financial statements herein. Other income (expense) primarily relates changes in fair value of contingent consideration associated with business combinations, gains or (losses) from equity investments and gains or (losses) from foreign currency transactions with our foreign subsidiaries.
Provision for Income Taxes
Income tax benefit was approximately $5.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, as compared to an income tax benefit of $0.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2022 reflected an effective income tax rate of 24.6%, which was greater than the statutory tax rate of 21% primarily due to benefits from the exercise of non-qualified stock options, state taxes, and research and development credits. The increase in our effective tax rate was partially offset by the reduction of our foreign tax credit carryforward and conversion to foreign tax deductions, as well as a valuation allowance on a portion of our California research credits.. The income tax benefit reflected an effective income tax rate of negative 2.5% for the year ended December 31, 2021, which was less than the statutory federal rate of 21.0% primarily due to the fair value adjustment related to warrants issued which do not have a tax impact and research and development credits that may be utilized on our federal and state tax returns. The decrease in the effective rate was partially offset by the recognition of uncertain tax benefits on research and development tax credits for tax years 2017 through 2021, as well as the recognition of additional state tax liabilities due to an updated nexus study.
Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2021 versus the year ended December 31, 2020
See Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of the 2021 Annual Report on Form 10-K for our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of $134.0 million, which consisted of cash on hand and money market mutual funds. Historically, we have funded our operations, including capital expenditures, primarily through cash flow from operating activities. We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents, the cash generated from operations, and the borrowing capacity under our Credit Agreement as described below will be sufficient to fund our operations and capital expenditures for at least the next twelve (12) months. However, we intend to continue to make significant investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new games and features or enhance our existing games, improve our operating infrastructure, or acquire complementary businesses, personnel and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds or we may decide to do so opportunistically.
On June 24, 2021, in connection with the Closing, Old PLAYSTUDIOS terminated and replaced its then existing revolving credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank (the “Revolver”). We, one of our subsidiaries, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as administrative agent and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Silicon Valley Bank and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, as joint bookrunners and joint lead arrangers entered into a credit agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) which provides for a five year revolving credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of $75 million. Borrowings under the Credit Agreement may be borrowed, repaid, and re-borrowed by us, and are available for working capital, general corporate purposes, and permitted acquisitions. Commitment fees and interest rates are determined on the basis of either a Eurodollar rate or an Alternate Base Rate plus an applicable margin. The applicable margins are initially 2.50%, in the case of Eurodollar loans, and 1.50%, in the case of Alternate Base Rate loans. The applicable margin is subject to adjustment based upon our Total Net Leverage Ratio (as defined in the Credit Agreement). Eurodollar rates and the Alternate Base Rate are subject to floors of 0.00% and 1.00%, respectively. The Credit Agreement contains various affirmative and negative financial and operational covenants applicable to us and our subsidiaries. We are also obligated to comply with two financial maintenance covenants as of the end of each fiscal quarter, commencing with the quarter ended September 30, 2021: (i) we must maintain a Total Net Leverage Ratio not to exceed 3.50:1.00 (subject to increase to 4.00:1.00 following consummation of certain material acquisitions) and (ii) we must maintain a Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio of not less than 1.25:1.00.
On May 13, 2022, the Company entered into the Amendment No. 1 to the Credit Agreement, which amended the Credit Agreement to, among other things, exclude from the definition of Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio certain funds, up to $15,000,000, expended or to be expended by the Company in connection with the Tender Offer as defined and described in Note 10 - Warrant Liabilities in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
On August 9, 2022, the Company entered into the Amendment No. 2 to the Credit Agreement, which further amended the Credit Agreement (as amended by Amendment No. 1 to the Credit Agreement) to, among other things, (i) increase the total current available line of credit from $75 million to $81 million, (ii) change the basis for calculation of interest under the facility from LIBOR to SOFR, and (iii) exclude from the calculation of the Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio (A) up to $6 million for the acquisition of, and improvements to, the real property located at 10150 Covington Cross Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89144 incurred on or prior to the first anniversary of the effective date of Amendment No. 2 to the Credit Agreement, and (B) up to $20,000,000 for the repurchase or redemption of up to 10,996,631 warrants to purchase shares of Class A common stock of the Company, and shares of Class A common stock of the Company, on or before December 31, 2023, of which as of the date of Amendment No. 2 to the Credit Agreement, the Company had used $1,792,463 to redeem outstanding warrants to purchase Class A common stock in connection with the Tender Offer.
As of December 31, 2022, we do not have any outstanding amounts under the Credit Agreement.
The following table presents a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated (in thousands):
|Years Ended December 31,|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||33,384 ||$||33,876 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(102,349)||(56,936)|
|Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities||(9,571)||186,892 |
|Effect of exchange rate on cash and cash equivalents||(966)||743 |
|(Decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents||$||(79,502)||$||164,575 |
Year Ended December 31, 2022 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2021. During the year ended December 31, 2022, operating activities provided $33.4 million of net cash as compared to $33.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease in net cash provided from operating activities was slightly down, but generally flat.
Year Ended December 31, 2022 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2021. During the year ended December 31, 2022, investing activities used $102.3 million of net cash as compared to $56.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase of cash used in investing activities was primarily due to the $70.4 million of cash paid related to the Brainium and WonderBlocks acquisitions and $10.0 million of additional property and equipment purchased in the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the prior year. The increase was partially offset by $21.0 million of cash paid related to licensing agreements and $8.5 million in notes receivable from third-party game developers during the year ended December 31, 2021.
Year Ended December 31, 2022 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2021. During the year ended December 31, 2022, financing activities used $9.6 million of net cash, while financing activities provided $186.9 million of net cash during the year ended December 31, 2021. This increase is primarily due to the $5.0 million payment of minimum guarantee obligations and $4.3 million of share repurchases made during the year ended December 31, 2022 and $185.2 million of net proceeds received in connection with the Acies Merger and PIPE Financing during the year ended December 31, 2021.
Contractual Obligations, Commitments, and Contingencies
The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2022 (in thousands):
|Total||Less than 1 year||Years 2 and 3||Years 4 and 5||More than 5 years|
|Operating leases||$||17,442 ||$||5,085 ||$||7,693 ||$||4,282 ||$||382 |
|Minimum guarantee obligations||3,000 ||1,500 ||1,500 ||— ||— |
|Total||$||20,442 ||$||6,585 ||$||9,193 ||$||4,282 ||$||382 |
Our capital requirements as of December 31, 2022, in connection with the WonderBlocks acquisition, ranges between $0.0 million and $2.5 million, subject to the satisfaction of certain product and financial milestones.
Our other long-term liabilities in the consolidated balance sheet include unrecognized tax benefits and related interest and penalties. As of December 31, 2022, we had gross unrecognized tax benefits of $0.5 million and an additional $0.1 million for interest and penalties classified as long-term liabilities. At this time, we are unable to make a reasonably reliable estimate of the timing of payments in individual years in connection with these tax liabilities; therefore, such amounts are not included in the above contractual obligation table.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our management's discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these
consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, as well as the reported revenue generated and expenses incurred during the reporting periods. Our estimates are based on our historical experience and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about items that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
The Company recognizes internal-use software development costs in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 350-40, Internal-Use Software. Capitalized costs include consulting fees, payroll and payroll-related costs, and stock-based compensation for employees who devote time to the Company’s internal-use software projects. Capitalization begins when the preliminary project stage is complete and the Company commits resources to the software project and continues during the application development stage. Capitalization ceases when the software has been tested and is ready for its intended use. Qualified costs incurred during the post-implementation/post-operation stage of the Company’s software applications relating to upgrades and enhancements are capitalized to the extent it is probable that they will result in added functionality. Costs that cannot be separated between maintenance of, and minor upgrades and enhancements to, internal-use software are expensed as incurred. Capitalized internal-use software development costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over a three-year estimated useful life. The Company believes that a straight-line basis for amortization best represents the pattern through which the Company derives value from internal-use software. The Company evaluates the useful lives of these assets and test for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances occur that could impact the recoverability of these assets.
The Company applies the provisions of ASC 805, Business Combination and allocates the fair value of purchase consideration to the tangible assets acquired, liabilities assumed, and intangible assets acquired based on their estimated fair values. The excess of the fair value of purchase consideration over the fair values of these identifiable assets and liabilities is recorded as goodwill. When determining the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, management makes significant estimates and assumptions, especially with respect to intangible assets.
Significant estimates in valuing certain intangible assets include, but are not limited to, future expected cash flows from customer relationships, acquired technology and acquired trademarks from a market participant perspective, useful lives and discount rates. Management's estimates of fair value are based upon assumptions believed to be reasonable, but which are inherently uncertain and unpredictable and, as a result, actual results may differ from estimates.
In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) (“ASU 2014-09”). ASU 2014-09 combined with all subsequent amendments, which is collectively ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, provides guidance outlining a single five-step comprehensive revenue model in accounting for revenue from contracts with customers which supersedes all existing revenue recognition guidance, including industry-specific guidance. ASU 2014-09 also required expanded disclosures relating to the nature, amount, timing, and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers. On January 1, 2019, the Company adopted the new accounting standard and related amendments (collectively, the “new revenue accounting standard”) using the modified retrospective method.
The Company determines revenue recognition by:
•identifying the contract, or contracts, with a customer;
•identifying the performance obligations in each contract;
•determining the transaction price;
•allocating the transaction price to the performance obligations in each contract; and
•recognizing revenue when, or as, the Company satisfies performance obligations by transferring the promised goods or services.
The Company develops and operates free-to-play games which are downloaded and played on social and mobile platforms. Players may collect virtual currency free of charge through the passage of time or through targeted marketing promotions. Additionally, players can send free “gifts” of virtual currency to their friends through interactions with certain social platforms. Players may also purchase additional virtual currency through accepted payment methods offered by the respective platform. Once a purchase is completed, the virtual currency is deposited into the player’s account and is not separately identifiable from previously purchased virtual currency or virtual currency obtained by the player for free. Once obtained, virtual currency (either free or purchased) cannot be redeemed for cash nor exchanged for anything other than game play. When virtual currency is consumed in our games, the player could “win” and would be awarded additional virtual currency or could “lose” and lose the future use of that virtual currency. As the player does not receive any additional benefit from our games, nor is the player entitled to any additional rights once the player’s virtual currency is substantially consumed, the Company has concluded that the virtual currency represents consumable goods.
Players can earn loyalty points through a variety of activities, including but not limited to playing the Company’s games, engaging with in-game advertising, engaging with marketing emails, and logging into the game. The loyalty points can be redeemed for rewards offered by the Company’s awards partners. There is no obligation for the Company to pay or otherwise compensate the Company’s awards partners for any player redemptions under the Company’s awards partner agreements. In addition, both paying and non-paying players can earn loyalty points. Therefore, the loyalty points earned by players are marketing offers and do not provide players with material rights. Accordingly, the loyalty points do not require any allocation to the transaction price of virtual currency.
Additionally, certain of the Company’s games participate in an additional program which ranks players into different tiers based on tier points earned during a given time frame. Tier points can be earned through a variety of player engagement activities, including but not limited to logging into our games, achieving multi-day log-in streaks, collecting hourly bonuses, and purchasing virtual currency bundles. Depending on the tier, players are granted access to special benefits at the Company’s discretion. Similar to loyalty points that are redeemable for real-world rewards, the tier points are not awarded as a result of a contract with a customer since both paying and non-paying players can earn these tier points. As a result, the tier points earned by players do not provide players with material rights and do not require any allocation to the transaction price of virtual currency.
The Company has the performance obligation to display and provide access to the virtual currency purchased by the Company’s player within the game whenever the player accesses the game until the virtual currency is consumed. Payment is required at the time of purchase and the transaction price is fixed. The transaction price, which is the amount paid for the virtual currency by the player, is allocated entirely to this single performance obligation.
As virtual currency represents consumable goods, the Company recognizes revenue as the virtual currency is consumed over the estimated consumption period. Since the Company is unable to distinguish between the consumption of purchased or free virtual currency, the Company must estimate the amount of outstanding purchased virtual currency at each reporting date based on player behavior. The Company has determined through a review of player behavior that players who purchase virtual currency generally are not purchasing additional virtual currency if their existing virtual currency balances have not been substantially consumed. As the Company can track the duration between purchases of virtual currency for individual players, the Company is able to reliably estimate the period over which virtual currency is consumed. Based upon an analysis of players’ historical play behavior, the timing difference between when virtual currency is purchased by a player and when such virtual currency is consumed in gameplay is relatively short, currently one to seven days with an average consumption period of approximately one day. The Company recognizes revenue from in-game purchases of virtual currency over this estimated average period between when the virtual currency is purchased and consumed. If applicable, the Company records the unconsumed virtual currency in “Deferred revenue” and records the prepaid payment processing fees associated with this deferred revenue in “Prepaid expenses”.
The Company continues to gather detailed player behavior and assess this data in relation to its revenue recognition policy. To the extent the player behavior changes, the Company reassesses its estimates and assumptions used for revenue recognition prospectively on the basis that such changes are caused by new factors indicating a change in player behavior patterns.
The Company has contractual relationships with various advertising service providers for advertisements within the Company’s games. Advertisements can be in the form of an impression, click-throughs, banner ads, or offers. Offers are advertisements where the players are rewarded with virtual currency for watching a short video. The Company has determined the advertising service provider to be its customer and displaying the advertisements within its games is identified
as the single performance obligation. Revenue from advertisements and offers are recognized at a point in time when the advertisements are displayed, or when the player has completed the offer as the advertising service provider simultaneously receives and consumes the benefits provided from these services. The price can be determined by the applicable evidence of the arrangement, which may include a master contract or a third-party statement of activity.
The transaction price is generally the product of the advertising units delivered (e.g. impressions, videos viewed) and the contractually agreed upon price per advertising unit. Further, the price per advertising unit can also be based on revenue share percentages stated in the contract. The number of advertising units delivered is determined at the end of each month so there is no uncertainty about the transaction price. Payment terms are stipulated as a specific number of days subsequent to end of the month, ranging from 45 to 60 days.
Principal Agent Considerations
The Company’s games are played on various social and mobile third-party platforms for which such third parties collect monies from players and remit net proceeds after deducting payment processing fees. The Company is primarily responsible for providing access to the virtual currency, has control over the content and functionality of games before they are accessed by players, and has the discretion to establish the pricing for the virtual currency. Therefore, the Company concluded that it is the principal and as a result, revenues are reported gross of payment processing fees. Payment processing fees are recorded as a component of “Cost of revenue” in the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Operations. The Company reports its advertising revenue net of amounts retained by advertising service providers.
The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes, which requires recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been included in its consolidated financial statements or tax returns. Under ASC 740, the Company determines deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the temporary difference between the consolidated financial statements and tax bases of assets and liabilities using the enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which it expects the differences to be recovered or settled. The Company establishes valuation allowances when necessary, based on the weight of the available positive and negative evidence, to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount that is more likely than not to be realized.
The Company accounts for uncertain tax positions in accordance with ASC 740, which requires companies to adjust their consolidated financial statements to reflect only those tax positions that are more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the issue. ASC 740 prescribes a comprehensive model for the consolidated financial statement recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure of uncertain tax positions taken or expected to be taken in income tax returns. The Company recognizes interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in the provision for income taxes.
We have elected to account for the impact of the global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) inclusion and base erosion anti-avoidance tax (BEAT) based on the period cost method.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to our consolidated financial statements for more information about recent accounting pronouncements, the timing of their adoption, and our assessment, to the extent we have made one, of their potential impact on our financial condition and our results of operations.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Market risk is the risk of loss arising from adverse changes in market rates and prices, such as interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. We are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. These risks primarily include interest rate risk, investment risk, and foreign currency risk as follows:
Interest Rate Risk
Our exposures to market risk for changes in interest rates relate primarily to our Credit Agreement. The Credit Agreement and Revolver are floating rate facilities. Therefore, fluctuations in interest rates will impact the amount of interest
expense we incur and have to pay. We did not have any borrowings outstanding under our Credit Agreement or Revolver at December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively.
We do not purchase or hold any derivative financial instruments for trading purposes.
We had cash and cash equivalents including restricted cash and cash equivalents totaling $134.0 million and $213.5 million as of December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively. Our investment policy and strategy primarily attempt to preserve capital and meet liquidity requirements without significantly increasing risk. Our cash and cash equivalents primarily consist of cash on hand and money market mutual funds. We have not entered into investments for trading or speculative purposes. Changes in rates would primarily impact interest income due to the relatively short-term nature of our investments. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in interest rates would have increased or decreased our interest income for a twelve-month period by an immaterial amount.
Foreign Currency Risk
Our functional currency is the U.S. Dollar and our revenues and expenses are primarily denominated in U.S. Dollars. Our indirect foreign currency transaction exposure results mainly from the sale of our virtual currency to players outside of the U.S. While players outside of the U.S. make purchases in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, we are paid by platform providers and record revenue in U.S. Dollars pursuant to the terms of the relevant contracts. While we have the ability to change the foreign currency pricing of our virtual currency, sudden and significant changes in the exchange rates of the Canadian and Australian Dollars and Pound Sterling to the U.S. Dollar could have a material impact on our results of operations. We do not hedge our foreign currency exposure but may do so in the future.
However, a significant portion of our headcount related expenses, consisting principally of salaries and related personnel expenses, as well as leases and certain other operating expenses, are denominated in New Israeli Shekels, or NIS. We also have foreign currency risks related to our operating expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, including the Hong Kong Dollar, Euro, Serbian Dinar, Vietnamese Dong, and Singaporean Dollar. Accordingly, changes in exchange rates in the future may negatively affect our future operating results as expressed in U.S. Dollars.
We have experienced and will continue to experience fluctuations in our net income as a result of transaction gains or losses related to remeasurement of our asset and liability balances that are denominated in currencies other than the functional currency of the entities in which they are recorded.
A hypothetical 5% strengthening or weakening of the U.S. Dollar would have increased or decreased our foreign currency gain or loss for a twelve-month period by an immaterial amount.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the shareholders and the Board of Directors of PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of PLAYSTUDIOS, Inc. and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, and the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive (loss) income, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2022, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB and in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits, we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
/s/ Deloitte & Touche LLP
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 10, 2023
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2018.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands, except par value amounts)
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||134,000 ||$||213,502 |
|Receivables||27,016 ||20,693 |
|Prepaid expenses||5,148 ||5,059 |
|Income tax receivable||1,372 ||2,117 |
|Other current assets||8,443 ||413 |
|Total current assets||175,979 ||241,784 |
|Property and equipment, net||17,532 ||5,289 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||15,562 ||— |
|Internal-use software, net||36,118 ||43,267 |
|Goodwill||47,133 ||5,059 |
|Intangibles, net||41,113 ||18,755 |
|Deferred income taxes||13,969 ||6,282 |
|Other long-term assets||4,603 ||14,408 |
|Total non-current assets||176,030 ||93,060 |
|Total assets||$||352,009 ||$||334,844 |
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY|
|Accounts payable||4,425 ||7,793 |
|Warrant liabilities||3,682 ||6,521 |
|Operating lease liabilities, current||4,571 ||— |
|Accrued liabilities||21,473 ||15,599 |
|Total current liabilities||34,151 ||29,913 |
|Minimum guarantee liability||1,500 ||— |
|Operating lease liabilities, non-current||11,660 ||— |
|Other long-term liabilities||2,385 ||1,464 |
|Total non-current liabilities||15,545 ||1,464 |
|Total liabilities||$||49,696 ||$||31,377 |
|Commitments and contingencies|
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value (100,000 shares authorized, 0 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021)
|— ||— |
Class A common stock, $0.0001 par value (2,000,000 shares authorized, 116,756 and 110,066 shares issued, and 115,635 and 110,066 shares outstanding as of December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively)
|11 ||11 |
Class B common stock, $0.0001 par value (25,000 shares authorized, 16,457 and 16,130 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively).
|2 ||2 |
|Additional paid-in capital||290,337 ||268,522 |
|Retained earnings||16,756 ||34,539 |
|Accumulated other comprehensive (loss) income||(151)||393 |
Treasury stock, at cost, 1,166 and 0 shares at December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively
|Total stockholders’ equity||302,313 ||303,467 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity||$||352,009 ||$||334,844 |
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in thousands, except per share data)
|Years Ended December 31,|
|Net revenue||$||290,309 ||$||287,419 ||$||269,882 |
Cost of revenue(1)
|85,400 ||91,642 ||91,469 |
|Selling and marketing||80,819 ||79,042 ||57,124 |
|Research and development||63,315 ||61,343 |