An innovative Canberra gaming software company has been bought in a deal worth $45 million - reportedly the biggest ever acquisition in the Australian video gaming industry.
BigWorld Technology is a local company that sells ''middleware'' to online game developers, offering secure servers, content creation systems, plugins and other tools to support online games.
The company has been snapped up by European-based game developer Wargaming for a reported $45 million.
BigWorld Technology chief executive officer John De Margheriti, also the founder of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, said the acquisition was the largest so far in Australia's gaming industry.
''Everyone's pretty happy, we've made quite a few multimillionaires,'' Mr De Margheriti said.
''One of the good things that came out of it was the directors of the company gave substantial retention bonuses to all staff to remain.
''Plus all the employee shareholders are all very wealthy right now … the wealth has been shared right across the staff.''
The company grew from an idea by Mr De Margheriti in the early 1990s, when he became fascinated by multiplayer games and began to see the potential for their expansion.
''We launched it in the world around about 2000, and no one was interested … there were only two online games at the time,'' he said.
''And then it really took off, in 2003 we got a lot of licences, the whole world went online, and BigWorld Technology became the world leader in what it did.''
Mr De Margheriti said Canberra was home to a quality game development industry and this sale would only serve to strengthen it.
The business has about 40 staff based in Canberra and Sydney.
Mr De Margheriti said BigWorld wouldn't have been a success without research and development grants from the federal government. The deal will be finalised tomorrow.