Rising R&D and admin costs hit Improbable's operating profit

Rising R&D and admin costs hit Improbable's operating profit

London cloud startup Improbable saw its operating losses rise by 65 per cent for the 12 months ending May 31st, 2019.

In a recently filed report on Companies House, the firm's revenue rose by 109 per cent year-on-year for the period, going from £579,859 ($747,475) to £1.2m ($1.5m). Cost of sales also rose by 62 per cent for the year, resulting in gross loss rising by 59 per cent, hitting £16m ($20.6m).

Improbable's operating loss hit £63.7m ($82.1m) for the year, driven by increased R&D spending and admin costs. This will partly be due to the company setting up new offices, including its Edmonton studio as well as hires to staff up a new London first-party studio and an increased headcount in its Virginia office, which is likely tied its past work with the US's Department of Defence.

"At Improbable, we believe that the future of gaming is multiplayer, and we have invested to build products and services to support developers looking to make any kind of multiplayer game – and also to make our own games, which will also drive the development of our technology," the spokesperson told

Since May 2019, three projects using its SpatialOS tech were closed. Bossa announced that month that its MMO Worlds Adrift was going to be shutting down following an Early Access release, while Spilt Milk's Lazarus was also canned in August. Meanwhile, developer Automaton went into administration, taking its battle royale title Mavericks: Proving Grounds with it.

In administration filings, it was revealed that Improbable pulled funding for Mavericks ahead of Automaton going bust. The company has claimed that this funding was a temporary measure.

The spokesperson also said that as of March 2020, Improbable is a very different company. This is likely a reference to the acquisition of developer Midwinter Entertainment, as well as service firms The Multiplayer Guys and Zeuz.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.