Created in 2012 in the Paris region before moving to Montpellier, Plug in digital is one of the stars of the distribution and publishing of independent video games.
Over the past five years, the Montpellier company has recorded annual growth of more than 50%, and has raised funds of 70 million euros.
If its growth is so strong, it is because its founder bet, ten years ago, on a phenomenon that was not yet widespread: the dematerialization of video games.
The Plug in digital adventure began in January 2012. “Not in my garage, but in the room I occupied, in the Paris region,” smiles Francis Ingrand, its founder. At the time, the entrepreneur, who worked for the development of e-commerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was "all alone". Today, this start-up, one of the stars of the distribution and publishing of independent video games, which has moved to Montpellier (Hérault), employs 45 people.
Over the past five years, Plug In Digital has experienced annual growth of over 50%.
She opened offices in China.
And it has just completed a fundraising of 70 million euros, with the British investment company Bridgepoint Development Capital and the French group Eurazeo.
If the rise of Plug in digital is so dazzling, it is because Francis Ingrand bet, ten years ago, on the dematerialization of video games, while this market was only in its infancy.
At the time, the Steam platform, which allows you to play online, did not have the punching power it has today, and we continue to buy boxed video games en masse.
"We arrived at the right time"
“The market was going digital,” continues Francis Ingrand. It was still uncommon, and relatively complex. There was a need for companies, to help publishers and developers to sell better in this sector. I told myself that there was something to do. We arrived at the moment. "By making, in recent years," the right choices ", continues the entrepreneur: bet on the Switch, Nintendo, while few believed in its launch, or ignore augmented reality and virtual reality.
With its labels Dear Villagers and PID Games, Plug in digital has published some sixty games and distributed more than 3,000 games on PC, consoles or smartphones, developed by small studios, but also pundits in the sector:
The forgotten city, A normal lost phone, Edge of eternity, Splasher, Lost in harmony
… All dematerialized. Only a small part of the company's turnover is based on game boxes. Because Francis Ingrand is convinced: the physical medium will gradually disappear in video games. “That's the meaning of the story,” he says. We can see it with the new generation of consoles, the development of cloud gaming… There will always be collector versions, but retail [sales in stores] is set to decrease. "
If today Plug in digital only publishes and distributes games, it is not excluded with this fundraising of 70 million euros that it begins to develop.
"It is likely that in the acquisitions that we are going to make, there will be game development studios," says Francis Ingrand, who recalls that originally, Ubisoft, today one of the most popular developers. most prolific, was a video game distributor.
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