Big GameStop Manager Layoffs Clear The Way For More Changes

Retail generally evolves with the times. Different brands implement new technology into the way things are sold to make it easier for customers to get their product. As with the digital age, customers find themselves shopping online more and more. GameStop is no different, along with their recent closure and liquidation on their ThinkGeek website, they’re making big moves to evolve their brand further with major layoffs of store managers (among others) in what they have deemed the “GameStop Reboot.”

At GameStop, managers are not referred to as “managers”, but as “leads.” The Regional and District Leads (RL and DL, respectively) had a huge upturn in the past day, it seems. News started to break over at the GameStop subreddit, where employees discussed the matter and revealed if they were affected. Many employees shared that they were suddenly part of a different district or that they had no idea what this meant for them. According to GameSutra, the layoffs include over fifty “regional managers, district managers, HR staff, and loss prevention managers” for their “GameStop Reboot.”

Gamestop

Internally, an email went out (which was shared to Twitter), detailing the money moves, which was as follows:

“We have important news to share with you today concerning the redesign of our Field Leadership team. As part of our continued GameStop Reboot transformation initiative, a dedicated team, including the Retail Vice Presidents, HR, LP and the U.S. Store Operations leadership team, have been working diligently to realign our current field regions and districts in an effort to reduce our cost structure and build efficiencies into our field leadership organization so that we can reinvest in the business.

This realignment results in an expanded size of GameStop’s regions and districts, therefore reducing the number of field leaders required to run the organization. The realignment also allows for a reset of the GSL reporting structure, enabling these new multi-unit leader’s ownership in their span of control. More details to come on the GSL process.

Unfortunately, with these changes, there are more than 50 field leaders who have been impacted and will be leaving the GameStop team. This includes regional, district, HR, and LP leaders. These leaders will be missed and we wish them success in their future endeavors.

These decisions are not easy, but necessary to help us reduce costs to enable investment in revenue-driving initiatives that will help grow the business once again. There is more work to be done to streamline the number of tasks for our field leaders and provide tools to support their daily activities. This work has already begun and will continue moving forward.”

We Should Have Expected This

Back in June, GameStop’s own ThinkGeek online website had a pretty sudden sunset closure, inevitably merging the ThinkGeek brand into GameStop’s website. While the ThinkGeek retail brick-and-mortar stores remain open, the website held a “moving” sale and subsequently dissolved. While it meant a dozen layoffs, according to video game business site GameDaily, “website operations, buyers, and marketing” was mostly affected. This would make sense if the jobs were being given to the GameStop team already handling those operations.

Just last month, Gamestop announced a partnership with R/GA, a “global innovation firm” that is helping them test out different types of renovations in “select markets.” They’re changing the way that customers view their stores to make them more “experience” oriented. These changes are expected to affect the layout of GameStop stores and could include dedicated spaces for competitive play. Some concepts also include dedicated “retro” stores, not unlike many mom-and-pop run game shops already out there, with a keen focus on classic systems and games.

While the layoffs of the Regional and District Leads may seem scary to some, it’s all (seemingly) part of GameStop’s plan to evolve with the times and organize their company a tad bit differently. Could these changes be the apocalyptic omen for brick-and-mortar GameStop stores or is it just another power move from a big company to stay relevant in trying times?

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Millennial Gamers Spend Big and Play a Lot of Games

Millennials are all adults now, the youngest of the generation is 22 years old while the oldest is 38. Do you know what we’re still doing? Playing video games, that thing our parents always told us was a waste of time. Well jokes on you Mom! All kidding aside, games and gaming related media are consumed by millennials at an amazing rate and a new report from Superdata dives into the numbers.

Two out of three millennials in the US are gamers and 71% of those gamers are watching gaming video content like livestreams and pre-recorded videos. In comparison, within the same group of gamers, 54% are employed full-time, 46% have children, and 43% have a bachelors degree or higher.

As for gender division between gamers, despite what some may say, it’s very close to being an even split. 48% of all millennial gamers identify as female, 50% as male, and 2% listed other or preferred not to say. Women are the majority when it comes to mobile gaming, 54% of millennial mobile gamers in fact. But, women aren’t far behind on the other platforms, 43% of PC and 41% of console players.

While many gamers complain about mobile games it would seem that we are in fact still playing them. 7 in 10 millennial gamers will play a game on a smartphone at least once a month. Mobile gaming is, in fact, more popular than both PC and console. 60% of millennial gamers are also playing on consoles, though that may not always be their first choice. Meanwhile, PC gamers make up just 30% of the audience.

Millennials who are playing on mobile devices are spending more time each week playing, an average of 9.7 hours a week. Though this playtime is broken up into multiple sessions throughout the week. Millennials spend 9.6 hours a week on average playing console games and just 7 hours a week on PC.

One big trend we’ve seen in millennials is they are playing to hang out with their family and friends online. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment, we all know it’s more friends than family. 70% of millennials are playing multiplayer games. That number goes up to 72% for Gen Zers. For Gen X it’s just 43%.

 

Gaming Video Content

Overwatch BCRF Charity Event - QueenE Stream

Chances are if you’re a millennial gamer you watch gaming related video content online. That’s because 71% of us are doing it. For Gen X and older gamers that number is just 43%. Meanwhile, 77% of Gen Z gamers are watching gaming content. 24% of millennial gamers are watching video content at least once a day. 35% watch once a week or less, and 39% watch 2 to 6 times per week. 53% of millennial gamers watching gaming content watch for less than an hour in each session. 26% watch it for 1 to 2 hours while 22% will watch for 3 or more hours in one sitting. Millennial gamers are sitting at 97 minutes on average each session, compared to Gen X and older who are watching for 73 minutes and Gen Z who are watching for 106 minutes. 38% of Twitch viewers say they’re watching their favorite streamers because they can learn strategies from top players while 36% say that they watch streamers because they enjoy the personalities of the creators.

 

Spending

This brings us finally to spending. It should be noted before we get started that these numbers are averages which means that not every millennial gamer is spending this much. In fact, much of the gaming industry is driven by whales, a small select group of people willing and able to drop large amounts of money on games and game-related content. Because we were last looking at gaming video content, lets continue there. Millennial gamers spend more on donations to their favorite creators than they do subscriptions. On average they give $29 a month in donations and $25 in subscriptions. In doing this, they actually outspend Gen Zers and Gen X and older in donations, though we do spend less than both on subscriptions.

On average millennials spend $112 on games every month. That’s $20 more per month than Gen Z and almost twice as much as Gen X who spend a measly $59 a month. It shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that millennials are spending more online than they are on physical games. $72 a month is spent on digital downloads and game subscriptions compared to $39 a month in stores. They also spend $22 every month on in-game content which includes skins and lootboxes.

So, what can we take away from all of this? Well, to quote the conclusion of the Superdata report, “Gaming isn’t an activity Millennials are about to grow out of anytime soon. They are set to be the first generation of lifelong gamers, and media firms and marketers need to take note.” So the next time someone in the office makes fun of you for playing games because “that’s something only children do,” show them this article. Millennials are driving the gaming industry, even if we can’t afford to buy a house. Thank you whales.

All of these numbers came from a survey that was conducted in February 2019 by Superdata.

Now I’m curious! Are you a millennial? How do you stack up against the average? Let me know down in the comments. For me, as someone who mostly plays MMOs, I spend more on in-game items than I do on new games. I also don’t watch streaming, it just doesn’t connect with me. I do enjoy watching Youtubers talk about gaming but I wouldn’t say I’m a regular in that department. As for how many hours spent gaming a week…. let’s just say that 20 hours would be a slow week for me. Yeah, I play a lot of games, but my husband is right there with me while I do it. Couples who slay together stay together.

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Battle Royale Weekly: State of the Battle Royale Genre

IHS Markit put out a pretty extensive report this week that covered a lot of topics in the mobile games industry, but a good chunk of the 13-page report was specifically about the Battle Royale genre. So, this week, instead of our usual dive into the news from the genre I want to look at what this report has to say about Battle Royale games.

Click the image to enlarge it

The report begins with two charts side by side as seen above. One is the top 10 mobile games by net revenue and the other is the top 10 by the number of downloads. Right away we can see that PUBG mobile, with 274 million downloads doesn’t make the revenue chart at all while a game like Pokemon Go which brought in $729 million isn’t in the chart for downloads at all. In fact, the only game that appears on both charts is Candy Crush Saga which lands at number 9 for downloads and number 1 for net revenue. On the other side, Fortnite makes the chart for revenue near the bottom with $390 million in revenue and isn’t anywhere to be seen on the number of downloads. Clearly, we’re seeing that having a lot of downloads doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be making all of the money. Other Battle Royale titles on the charts include Garena Free Fire…and that’s all. Quite a lot of the games on the charts are considered to be hyper-casual games. The sort that makes adult women the largest demographic of gamers in the world right now, and yes, that is true.

In another chart, focusing just on Battle Royale games, we can see revenue and downloads together in one place. Downloads for PUBG Mobile are massive thanks to China, however, the game isn’t able to monetize that audience so they’re losing out in a big way. The revenue they do have for PUBG Mobile is for the international version of the game which can be monetized, but as you can see, that doesn’t amount to much. The revenue on that chart for Fortnite, by the way, is only for iOS since Epic has quite famously decided not to use the Google Play store to release the Android version of the game. Even with just one revenue source, we can look at how Fortnite still manages to completely dominate the industry. We can only imagine what that would look like with Android thrown in on top.

The report goes on to predict that the Battle Royale genre will go in a way that is similar to what we saw with the MOBA genre. They’re predicting that there will be a few high profile failures coming in the near future because of the extreme influx of competition. This is something we here at MMOGames have also been predicting since Battle Royale fever took over the industry. They also predict that we will see the genre filled with a lot of titles that never stand a chance at being at the top, and that there will be a high turnover for these games. We’re already seeing this on Steam with indie Battle Royale titles that sometimes only get a daily concurrent player count in the dozens. This is especially difficult for the Battle Royale genre because the games require a higher number of players to get a match going than you would see with other games. So, when a player logs in and is never able to get a match going they stop logging in. This in turn makes it even more difficult to get a match going and quickly the game is considered dead.

This isn’t all bad news for the industry and once again, our old friend esports is predicted to swoop in and save the day. While esports may not be bringing in much, if any money right now for Battle Royale games, it does keep interest in the games, which keeps people playing. Epic also announced in mid-2018 that they would be providing $100 million for prize pool funding to establish Fortnite’s esports scene.

Ultimately, however, the report points out that Battle Royale is more of a game mode than a fully fledged game genre in its own right. With this in mind, they say that we will see RPGs in Asia adding Battle Royale modes to their games as they did with MOBAs. Battle Royale games are limited in their scope and really, there’s only so much you can do with a Battle Royale game. That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing a decline in Fortnite. Players are growing tired of the same old formula and doing the same old thing, and Epic hasn’t yet found a way to keep things new and exciting all of the time.

One example of a game that has done this well is Pokemon Go. On the surface, Pokemon Go doesn’t really have a whole lot to it. Catch Pokemon, visit locations out in the real world, and catch more Pokemon. However, Niantic found its footing in 2018 with a constant stream of in-game events that take place at the very least once a month, though usually more often than that thanks to real life holidays and events. The game went from declining to one of the highest earning mobile games on the market thanks to this shift. For Fortnite to continue to enjoy being top dog in the genre it needs to find its footing like Pokemon Go did and work out a way to keep players interested more consistently. Otherwise, it risks losing the interest of players while only enjoying brief moments of popularity after new content releases.

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MMO Money: 6 Percent Drop in Spending Already This Year

If we’re being honest right out of the gate, the news this week isn’t great. The industry is shrinking a bit as was previously predicted and of course, we have to talk about all the layoffs going on in the games industry. There is a little bit of good news in the middle there though so be sure to read the whole way through for your weekly look at the MMO games industry.

 

SuperData Reviews January

While we may be about to enter the third month of 2019 we are now getting our first look at the first month of the year for the business side of gaming and it isn’t looking good so far. We started 2019 with a 6% drop in spending on all platforms year over year. Premium PC gaming had the biggest drop with a 29% decline.

Fortnite revenue dropped 48% month over month in January, but sales are still up year over year. Of course, a drop from December to January is somewhat unsurprising since December would have had the added benefit of the holiday season when people have more time off to play games.

Finally, a game we don’t get to talk about much anymore these days, CSGO, was in the Superdata report. You may recall that the game went free to play in December. While this transition has been great at bringing in new players, 8% growth year over year in January, this hasn’t translated into more revenue. Digital revenue is said to have fallen considerably year over year but exactly how much isn’t stated.

Taking a look at the top 10 grossing titles what is immediately obvious is the drop for Fortnite both in PC and Console. In the December report, Fortnite was in third for PC and first for console. In just one month it has dropped 2 places on PC and one on console. In both cases it isn’t being replaced by a newer game, FIFA 19 is the newest of the games above Fortnite and it came out in September. Meanwhile, what would have previously been considered Fortnite’s biggest competition, PUBG held steady on PC and dropped off the chart entirely for console. It’s also interesting to see DOTA 2 back on the list, having replaced Hearthstone (West) in the tenth position.

These charts will be very interesting to follow throughout 2019 to see if Fortnite continues to drop and if any newer game can climb its way to the top. The way things are looking right now we may well see those predictions of a shrinking gaming industry come to pass.

Source: Superdata

 

 

Tencent and NetEase Non-China Mobile Revenue Up 505%

Knives Out

Right, so bear with us on this one. Tencent and NetEase, two big players in the mobile gaming world saw their combined revenue last year go up 505% outside of China. This is important because it went a long way to helping the two companies get through a period that lasted most of the year when no new games could be released in China. Much of this was driven by one game, NetEase’s Knives Out, a game that has enjoyed massive popularity in Japan. Tencent’s biggest hits were Arena of Valor and PUBG mobile. So, while things looked very concerning for Tencent in 2018 with the 9-month freeze on new games it would appear that the two companies weathered the storm pretty well. With that crisis behind us, we’re sure that Tencent and NetEase will go on to have an amazing year this year. Assuming China keeps approving new games (more on this later).

All of this data came from a report from IHS Markit who also reported that mobile game revenue from Google Play and the App Store grew 5% year over year to $34.3 billion. While this growth is great, it is actually less than we’ve been seeing in previous years. The trouble with China certainly played a role in this but it wasn’t the only factor. The mobile gaming market in established areas has generally reached maturity, as has the adoption of smartphones. Plus, we’ve seen a decline across the industry that has had an impact on every aspect of the gaming industry.

The report also goes in depth about Battle Royale games but that’s something that is better suited for our Battle Royale column. So, expect to see more on this later in the week.

Source: IHS Markit

 

China Stops Game Approvals to Work Through Backlog…Maybe

There have been reports that China has stopped accepting games to be approved while it works through a backlog of games awaiting approval, according to an anonymous gaming executive in China. However, according to statements made by NetEase’s CEO William Ding, this may not actually be the case. During the Q4 2018 earnings call the following was said, “There were market news and rumors yesterday talking about alleged game suspensions. We would like to say that we do not see that. Some provisional and local regulators have modified the format of material submissions, but we do not interpret that as a shut-down of new game approvals.”

So, has there been a stop? The only way to know for sure is to wait and see if any new games are released in China or not.

Source: Games Industry

 

The Layoffs

Finally, we need to talk about the layoffs. Blizzard, Activision, GOG, Razer, ArenaNet…just a few of the names to have big profile layoffs in the last few weeks. Many of these layoffs are happening because of canceled projects, but we here at MMOGames wonder if the projections of decline this year are also having an influence. Are these projects being canceled because it has been projected that the games industry will shrink this year and as a result companies are bracing for the impact? As a result, is that prediction, in fact, a self-fulfilling prophecy? Will the industry shrink because companies that are otherwise very healthy and performing well are holding back? Or is there something more going on behind the scenes that we haven’t seen yet? I’m not saying a government conspiracy…but…something something Area 51, Flat Earth, Illuminati.

For all those who have lost their jobs recently, we hope you find yourself landing on your feet quickly and wish you all the best. We can’t wait to see what projects you get attached to next, but if you do decide to leave the games industry it is completely understandable.

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MMO Money: Analyst Predicts First Video Game Decline in 24 Years

It looks as though Runescape creator Jagex may be for sale in the near future. Facebook released documents that are VERY anti-consumer. We also got a look at the December 2018 revenue chart for games, but the biggest news this week was an analyst who predicts the game industry will actually decline in 2019, the first time since the 90s. Find all of this below in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Jagex Possibly For Sale

Just a few years after acquiring Jagex, Fukong Interactive may be getting ready to put it up for sale. This comes at a time when Jagex is posting its best financial results ever, so the problem isn’t Jagex. In fact, it is Fukong Interactive that is the focus as they’ll be undergoing some restructuring. In a statement issued to GamesIndustry.biz Jagex Director of Communications, Rich Eddy, had the following to say.

“Fukong Interactive has issued a regulatory statement to advise the Chinese financial market that it is planning a major reorganisation and is considering sale of assets, with the partial or full sale of Jagex as a potential option. A sale of assets is one of multiple routes Fukong Interactive has available as it restructures and, by making this initial statement to the market, Fukong can now begin exploring such options.

“Whatever the outcome of Fukong’s restructure, Jagex continues to execute on our short-term and long-term strategies for the RuneScape franchise, which has seen five years of consistent growth, delivered lifetime revenues of $1 billion, and now has player membership at an all-time high driven by our living games approach and a successful first move to mobile with Old School RuneScape.

“Jagex has never been in better shape and the year ahead will see further investment in the organisation as we expand our talent base to create and deliver significant new content for our players, build on our Jagex Partners third-party publishing initiative, in addition to increasing our presence in mobile sector with RuneScape itself.”

Source: GamesIndustry

 

December Charts

SuperData is back with the final monthly game chart report for 2018, and it looks like December was a good month for Blizzard as they once again entered the charts. However, worldwide digital spending dropped 2% to $9 billion. In the mobile chart Pokemon Go continues to hold strong, now second only to the massive Eastern hit Honour of Kings. World of Tanks makes it on the charts for PC. Grand Theft Auto V continues its slow decline on console in the number six position on the chart. While PUBG and Fortnite had massive successes that can’t be ignored CS:GO is worth talking about. It’s now in its second month as a free-to-play game and has hit a new high for monthly active users. SuperData also estimates that the game, as a free to play title, made $49 million between November and December.

Source: SuperData Report

 

Analyst Predicts First Video Game Decline in 24 Years

Notable analyst Pelham Smithers has predicted that the video games industry will see its revenue decline in 2019. While speaking to Bloomberg he stated that his firm has predicted the games industry would decline 1% this year. That may not seem like a lot, but it is certainly noteworthy because it is the first time there has been any decline in the industry since 1995.

While a number of factors will contribute to this decline, Smithers specifically mentioned the ongoing effects of the 9-month freeze on new game approvals in China, which only recently ended. While approvals have started again the pace is slow which will continue the financial woes for the industry.

The mobile games industry is also being impacted by its inability to expand quickly and easily into China. This comes at a time when the industry has plateaued in Japan and the United States. Stagnation in one area means that declines hit even harder.

Declines like those being seen in Fortnite and PUBG. Both games saw the number of active users decline year-over-year as players grow tired of the format. Smithers predicts that this will trigger a slump in PC game revenue in 2019.

Talking about consoles, Smithers predicts that they will be unable to improve on the record-breaking year they had in 2018. Part due to it not being clear what games will be released this year but also that we’re near the end of the current console generation. Smithers observed that if the Playstation 5 doesn’t launch until the end of 2020 the console sector will continue to feel the effects until 2021.

Finally, Smithers warns that this decline could stretch into 2020. However, Bloomberg points out that rival analysts at Goldman Sachs, Nomura Holdings and Morgan Stanley disagree with Smithers and maintain that the video games industry will continue to grow.

Source: Bloomberg

 

Facebook Friendly Fraud Tactics

Farmville Screenshot Epic

Thanks to a recent class-action lawsuit, internal Facebook documents have come out that show Facebook encouraged what they called “friendly fraud” at the height of Facebook gaming’s popularity. Friendly fraud was what they called it when a child would overspend on games using their parent’s bank details. During this time they often refused refund requests and even ignored their own ideas on how to curb the behavior. Their internal documents even show that most often kids didn’t even know they were being charged real money. Facebook did change their stance…in 2016 when the era of Facebook games was all but dead.

Source: MMOGames

 

Keep an eye out later in the week for a special edition of MMO Money that looks back at 2018 with reports from across the games industry.

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MMO Money: September Earnings for Games, Game Deals Reach Record Highs

In this week’s MMO Money we’ve got a look at the September earnings for games, Mergers and Acquisitions in the gaming industry, investments, and more Tencent news. There were a few surprises this week and a few heartstoppers. Find all of that and more below.

 

Destiny 2 Gets Massive September Boost

Superdata has released their list of September earnings for games on PC, Console, and mobile. The big story from September was the success of Destiny 2’s expansion Forsaken which shot it up to the number one spot on console. In fact, over 60% of all Destiny 2 monthly users bought the expansion. Also looking solely at console, Fortnite slipped down to 4th place when in the previous month it held the number one spot. There was a lot of moving around and swapping places in the chart in September thanks to expansions and in-game events. Mobile seems to be pretty stable though. Check out the full list below.

Also, part of that report was the news that digital spending on games is up this year from $912 million to $1.24 billion from the same month last year. This is fantastic news as we head into the holiday season. It also suggests that this holiday season will be stronger than last year’s as well.

Source: Superdata

 

Wild West Online Studio Collapsed, But All is OK Now?

As it turns out, one of the reasons people stopped talking about Wild West Online for a few months there is because the studio stopped making the game. In fact, the studio collapsed altogether because they couldn’t pay their employees. The game got a bit of a helping hand from Free Reign Entertainment who is now helping to develop the game. The new team only includes 3 from the original team so it sounds like they’re going through a bit of a reboot. Another sign of that reboot is the introduction of a Battle Royale mode. The Battle Royale mode will be ready for testing sometime very soon, but will it be a success? We’ve seen many times where games have transitioned to follow the current trend and suffered for it. One such example is SOS, which never recovered from becoming a Battle Royale title and will be shutting down quite soon.

Source: Official Forums

 

Epic Raises $1.25 Billion from Investors

It’s a good time to be Epic. They’ve got one of the most successful, most talked about games in the world at the moment and now they’ve got an additional 1.25 billion dollars to work with. The company is already estimated to be worth between 5 and 8 billion. Tencent and Disney are already invested in Epic and now KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners are joining in. Epic hasn’t laid out any plans for all of that money yet but we’re sure they’re already working on that. CEO Tim Sweeney spoke about the fundraising saying, “We’re excited to partner with the finest minds in the financial, sports, and entertainment communities. This reinforces Epic’s position of leadership in real-time 3D technology, and accelerates our ability to improve the way people play, work, and interact with the world.”

Source: Games Industry

 

Game Deals in 2018 Worth a Record $25 Billion

Digi-Capital has revealed that games deals have already gone past the $25 billion mark in the first 9 months of 2018, making this year a record year. However, previous experience suggests that we may be in for a sharp decline very soon. 2014 was a fantastic year for mergers and acquisitions but immediately following that we saw a sharp decline to the lowest numbers in a decade. MMOs and MOBAs in mobile and PC sectors saw significant investments despite the fact that these genres are in a decline. Much of it came from Tencent who has been quite busy diversifying and throwing money at companies.

While gaming mergers and acquisitions have hit a near record high just one single deal accounted for nearly half of the total. This was when South African based media group Naspers sold 2% of Tencent for more than $10 billion. That’s a 60,000% return on its original investment.

Games IPOs seem to be following a three-year pattern since 2010. They will have a big year followed by two quiet ones and then repeat. 2017 was a record year with $17.1 billion but that number has dropped 90% to just $1.1 billion in 2018. That suggests that 2019 will also not be a very strong year for IPOs. Which raises questions about Green Man Gaming who has delayed their flotation twice now.

Source: Digi-Capital

 

Steam Reaches 90 Million Monthly Users

In just over a year the number of active monthly users of Steam has grown by 23 million according to a new report from Valve. In January they had a peak concurrent users at 18.5 million. This was at the height of PUBG’s popularity. The growth comes, in part like so much of the industries growth this year…from China. In China, the number of people using Steam doubled from 15 million last year to 30 million this year.

What does all of this mean for Valve? More money of course. But, there may also be some complications with their expansion into China as the government cracks down harder every month on games, especially foreign ones.

Source: Steam

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a time machine and invest in Tencent.

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Battle Royale Weekly: Battlefield V Won’t Have Battle Royale Mode Until 2019

PUBG Mobile has made $100 million in player purchases, Battlefield V won’t have battle royale mode until 2019, and a Battle Royale title announces that it will be shutting down. Find all of this and more below in this weeks’ Battle Royale Weekly news update.

 

Battlefield V Won’t Have Battle Royale Mode Until 2019

DICE has released the roadmap for the next few months of development on Battlefield V and it looks like the Battle Royale mode, called Firestorm is being put off until the March 2019 content release. Battlefield V will have phases that will introduce a new content patch every few months. In addition to Firestorm, the March release will include the Greece Theater a Combined Arms mission, and an unnamed multiplayer mode.

Source: Variety

 

Battlerite Royale Brings Out Halloween Event

A Halloween event has been introduced in Battlerite Royale called Curse of the Night. Trick or Treat shrines have popped up all over Talon Island and there are all new in-game items and cosmetics for you to get your hands on.

Source: Steam

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops IV Bans Battlefield V Designer, Then Unbans Him

A Battlefield V developer got his CoD Black Ops IV account banned temporarily shortly after he started playing. Florian ‘Drunkkz3’ Le Bihan took to Twitter to prove his innocence. Though he wasn’t told why his account was banned he operated under the assumption that he was banned because the system thought he was using an aimbot. So, he uploaded a video that proved his innocence. Shortly afterward his account was unbanned and he was able to go back to playing.

Source: Gamesradar

 

Crazy Justice Coming Soon

Crazy Justice

It looks like we’ll be able to play Crazy Justice soon now that the game is on Steam and can be added to Wishlists. It’s currently listed as Coming Soon and it will be in Early Access when it does go live but, this is very exciting news for anyone who has been following the game.egress

Source: Steam

 

Egress Now in Closed Beta, Early Access Coming Soon

Egress

What does Early Access even mean anymore? Nobody knows! But, Egress is now in closed beta. A few thousand beta keys were sent out for this event but if you didn’t get one you still have a chance thanks to their giveaways on Discord. Or you can wait until November 8th when the game will be in Early Access. The choice is yours.

Source: Steam

 

Fear the Wolves Gets a Massive Update

Fear The Wolves

Fear the Wolves got a huge update that introduced new features, new weapons, and more. Now you’ll be able to find secret stashes of high tier loot scattered throughout the map. But, players will need to find treasure maps in the wilderness to unlock them. The wolves that need to be feared have also been given a bit of an update. Their behavior has been improved so keep an eye out for solo ninja (the writer’s words, not official) wolves who will sneak up on players. Packs also have more health and are more aggressive.

Source: Variety

 

Fortnite Developers Opening Australia and New Zealand Office

Fortnite Battle Royale

Tony Reed has stepped down as the CEO of the Game Developers Association of Australia to help establish an Epic Games office in Australia and New Zealand. The details of what will happen in that office haven’t been disclosed yet, but, Reed says that there will be a lot of news about it coming in the near future. MMOGames will be keeping an eye out for this news when it comes.

Source: Games Industry

 

Fractured Lands Season 2 Coming in November

Fractured Lands

Season 2 will be coming to Fractured Lands on November 6th. With it comes semi trucks, a squad battle mode, and new customization options. New players will also be able to try it out for free during a weekend event November 8-11.

Source: Gamespace

 

Islands of Nyne Sees Massive Surge in Negative Reviews

Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

While checking through our list of all the Battle Royale games currently in development we found something rather odd. Islands of Nyne on Steam has seen a huge trend downwards as the recent reviews have been in Steam’s words, Overwhelmingly Negative. In fact, of 281 reviews in the last 30 days, only 6% have been positive. Many of the reviews state that the game has no players and that the developers have abandoned the game. According to Steamspy the average play time in the last two weeks is just 6 minutes. Meanwhile, Steamcharts shows that the last time the game had more than 100 concurrent players was at the end of September. Sadly, it looks like Islands of Nyne may be dead in the water. But, we will, of course, be watching it in the following weeks to see how it performs over the holidays.

Source: Steam, Steamspy, Steam Charts

 

PUBG Mobile Reaches $100 Million, But Only Half as Fast as Fortnite

Thanks to a new report from SensorTower we now know that PUBG Mobile has reached $100 million in revenue. It took 192 days for PUBG Mobile to reach that milestone, one that took Fortnite just 90 days. Knives Out, NetEase’s mobile Battle Royale game reached $100 million in player spending in 118 days. Why was PUBG so slow compared to the others? Well, part of that is down to the fact that in China the game isn’t monetized. China is PUBG Mobile’s biggest player base and without them contributing to the revenue it, of course, took longer for PUBG to reach $100 million.

Source: SensorTower

 

SOS Shutting Down

SOS

SOS has announced that they will be shutting down on November 12th after struggling since they announced they would be following the Battle Royale trend and changing the original game. This move proved to be quite unpopular with players and the game never recovered. Players on Steam are now requesting refunds but so far those pleas have been ignored.

Source: Steam

 

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds Shortens Match Wait Time

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds made a small update to their game to shorten the amount of time you have to wait for a match to start. If 3.5 minutes have passed and no additional players have joined the queue the match will begin. This will sometimes mean smaller matches, but at least you will be able to play.

Source: Steam

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MMO Money: Fortnite on iOS Earns $300 Million in 200 Days

After a brief break, we’re back looking at the gaming business world. This week we have more updates to the ongoing Tencent story, Fortnite on iOS earns $300 million in 200 days, acquisitions, downsizes, and much more. Find all the stories below in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Fortnite on iOS Earns $300 Million in 200 Days

Fortnite on iOS

Fortnite continues to dominate the world of gaming having earned $300 million just on iOS in 200 days, with $20 million of that coming from the week after Season 6 launched. This news comes from a new Sensor Tower report. The last one on Fortnite iOS showed the game had brought in $100 million in 90 days. Quite a big difference between the two. While this is massively impressive, it actually isn’t the fastest game to reach $300 million on iOS, that record goes to Pokemon Go which got there in just 113 days. However, just as Fortnite iOS was able to surpass Clash of Clans, which it had failed to beat at the 90-day mark, it is entirely possible the game will also surpass Pokemon Go at the next milestone. Fortnite’s biggest rival, PUBG Mobile has reached about $47 million on iOS since it started offering in-app purchases on April 15th.

A whopping 65% of the revenue from the 200 days came from the United States. Around the world, players spend an average of $1.5 million per day on just the iOS version of the game, and that number has gone up to $2.5 million since the launch of season 6. On Android, it has been estimated that Fortnite has brought in over $60 million since it started beta in early August.

Source: Sensor Tower

 

Epic Games Acquires Game Security Firm Kamu

Epic Games has acquired a Helsinki based game security and anti-cheating firm named Kamu. They offer publishers a range of services that include multiplayer game management, game security, game telemetry, and anti-cheat technology that is used by 100 million PC players around the world. They’ve been working with Epic on Fortnite to ensure that the multiplayer is fair for all players. The amount Epic acquired Kamu for has remained undisclosed.

Source: Games Industry

 

UK Games Industry Contributes £2.87 Billion to the Economy

A new report on the effect of tax relief in the UK has revealed that the UK games industry contributes £2.87 billion to the economy. It also supports 47,620 full-time equivalent jobs. Games that were part of the tax relief system generated £156 million in tax revenue. This comes from £45 million that was paid out in tax relief, meaning that for every £1 invested by the government in the games industry, another £4 was added to the economy. In many cases, the games never would have been made if it weren’t for the tax relief that the UK offers. The number generated was higher than children’s TV which brought in £2.73 for every £1. It certainly wasn’t the highest however, with animation (£4.44), high-end TV (£6.10), and film (£7.69) bringing in more. Still, the UK has proven that tax relief for video games is incredibly profitable for the people of the United Kingdom. All of these numbers come from 2016 and are likely higher today.

Source: Games Industry

 

Tencent Update

We’ve been following Tencent quite a bit recently as they’ve been massively impacted by the new regulations in China and it is time for yet another update to the story. So far this year, the company has seen $190 billion wiped from its market value.

At the beginning of October, Tencent announced they would be restructuring for the first time in six years. The company has decided to consolidate three content business groups to form a new group for cloud and smart industries. The company said in a statement: “[Tencent will] further explore the integration of social, content and technology that is more suitable for future trends, and promote the upgrade from consumer internet to industrial internet.”

Tencent has also started using facial recognition software to check the age of people playing Honour of Kings in China. Honour of Kings has previously faced backlash for causing addiction in young players. In July last year, Tencent introduced a daily play limit of one hour for children under 12 and two hours for those aged 13 to 18. They also added real-name recognition to the game last month. The trial is limited to thousands of players in Beijing and Shenzhen.

Finally, to round out the Tencent news for this week, the company has announced that they’ve invested $316 million in Bilibili. This will give Tencent a 12.3% share of the company which owns the Overwatch League Hangzhou team. The company itself is a video sharing service but it is also the owner of a League of Legends team. So, while things may be looking somewhat grim for Tencent at the moment they are still investing in other companies, which is always a good sign.

Source: Games Industry, Games Industry, Games Industry

 

Media Company Advance Acquires Majority Stake in Newzoo

Advance, the media company behind Reddit, Conde Nast, Charter Communications, and many others now has a majority stake in game industry analysts Newzoo. Alongside the majority stake purchase, Advance is planning on making a significant investment in the company. With the investment, the company plans to increase its US presence, beginning with the existing office in San Francisco. Newzoo also plans on opening an office in New York, where Advance is located, in the future.

Source: Games Industry

 

South Korean Network OGN Bringing Esports Programming to North America

Esports Network OGN has announced that they’re investing around $100 million to broadcast live esports events in North America, with a part of this beginning with PUBG. They will be broadcasting the debut of the National PUBG League (NPL). The NPL is planned to start in January with a prize pool of $1 million. To house the league, OGN has started construction of a 35,000 square foot arena in Manhattan Beach, California.

Source: CNBC

 

Infinite Esports & Entertainment Lays off 19 Employees

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See - Overwatch Battle Royale

Infinite Esports, a holding company with a number of esports related subsidiaries including the Overwatch League Houston Outlaws team, has laid off 19 employees and replaced their President. The new President of the company has come out and said that they grew too fast. Going forward, 70 employees will remain at the company, including the previous President who will remain involved as co-founder and owner.

Source: Games Industry

 

FIFA 19 Now Gives You the Odds on Packs

For the first time ever, FIFA 19 is disclosing pack odds…and it isn’t great news. The trouble with it lies in the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and the Ones to Watch promotion. The promotion includes 23 of the highest profile and most promising transfers from across the world. Special versions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Riyad Mahrez are included. These highly sought after cards have a less than one percent chance of dropping. The inclusion of the odds comes after EA ran into trouble with the Belgian Gaming Authority with FIFA 18’s lootboxes.

Source: Gamasutra

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Funcom Are Expanding With 40 New Jobs To Fill

It’s been a pretty low week in the games industry, so it’s like a breath of fresh air to being able to report to you that Funcom are expanding, and beginning to look to start some rather interesting new projects.

Yes, that’s right, seemingly in dire straits a couple years back, Funcom are now in the position to expand, and they have more than 40 new job positions to fill in both its Oslo, Norway studio and its North Carolina studio. Celebrating 25 years in the industry in 2018, this is the perfect timing for them. If you’re interested, hop on over to Funcom’s jobs page for more information and the positions available.

Conan Exiles Review

What does this mean for us gamers? Well, we already know that Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden will release December 4th this year, published by Funcom and that one’s looking pretty darn interesting. We also know that Funcom themselves are starting to work on developing a few new projects for PC and console systems following the success of Conan Exiles, including a co-op multiplayer game and a new singleplayer Conan game. These seem to be very early days at this point, they’re looking for people to fill the positions of Producer, Senior Designer, Lead Programmer, QA Lead, and all sorts, but it’s certainly interesting!

Our Thoughts

It’s seriously a delight to see a studio that we were genuinely concerned for just a short time ago pull themselves back from the brink and be able to expand like this, and we are eager to see what is next for Funcom! Especially that singleplayer Conan game… if done right, that is something that could be really, really awesome. If you’re a developer looking for something new, get on that!

Source: Press Release

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New Game Approvals in China Halt During Government Shake-Up

No matter what part of gaming you follow, be it multiplayer, single-player or mobile, China is a huge part of the industry. With that in mind, word of a Chinese game approval freeze that’s currently in place as the country’s government agencies get restructured is certainly big news indeed.

chinese game approval freeze

The halt in approval of game licenses comes as the Chinese government looks to restructure power among departments. The freeze is a result of a consolidation of power by Chinese president Xi Jinping, which was first started in March of this year.

According to anonymous sources close to the matter, the National Radio and Television Administration has not issued licenses for four months and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has tightened registration procedures for games. There has also been some expressed concern with video game violence and gambling according to one source.

This also appears to tie in to a government crackdown of China’s internet sector, which was first alluded to in the case of Monster Hunter World’s removal from Tencent’s WeGame platform.

The freeze has affected game companies of all sizes in the country. Supergiant publisher Tencent has lost over $160 million in market value since its peak in January and seen profits fall for the first time in about a decade, while smaller companies are struggling to survive without new titles to release.

Despite all of this, one analyst believes that these roadblocks will only be temporary, though the freeze will very likely have an impact on the third quarter of most game companies in the region.

Our Thoughts

All politics aside, we do hope that game players in China will get to enjoy new and favorite titles sooner rather than later. They should be allowed to enjoy online games too.

Source: Bloomberg

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