Weekly Business Report: Nexon’s Internal Restructuring, Ninja’s Leaving Twitch, and More

MMOGames Business Weekly Report is back to take a look at mobile gamer preferences for free to play games in China, the latest news from Nexon, Ninja leaving Twitch, and a few other topics relevant to the business side of making online games.

 

Automaton Games Shuts Down

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Automaton Games, the folks who were behind the unreleased 1,000 man Battle Royale Mavericks: Proving Grounds, has shut down and in the process the game has died. In the announcement on their website, they cited a lack of funding as the reason for their sudden closure. Thankfully Improbable, the makers of SpatialOS, have said they will be trying to find places for Automaton employees in their company. Mavericks: Proving Grounds is actually the second SpatialOS game to meet its end in recent months leaving some to speculate that SpatialOS falling out with Unity earlier this year may have played a role. If that’s true, this might only be the beginning of SpatialOS related sunsets. MMOGames staff will be watching and will continue to bring updates in our weekly business report.

 

Source: MMOGames

 

Chinese Consumer Preferences

According to recently released research, over half of Chinese consumers prefer free to play or ad monetized games over premium titles. In fact, the research found that 61% of people prefer non-premium games. 85% reported they spend money on mobile games with 3% spending more than $50 (¥330) a month. In contrast, the average spending is just $5.80 a month. Those interviewed between the ages of 26 and 30 had the highest average spending at $10 a month.

The research also showed there is a high level of brand loyalty. 92% of respondents said they stick with a game for more than a week and 87% say they’ve played fewer than 5 different games in the previous month.

One challenge that developers face is how well divided the market’s stores are. In China, 30% of the market is using the App Store, 29% are using Tencent’s MyApp, and 26% use the Huawei app store. In the West we really only have Google Play or the App Store for mobile games.

It would be really interesting to see this same research completed in a few different Western countries to see how our views differ. I would personally much prefer to pay for a game or even pay a subscription for a game over being nickel and dimed to death by an in-game shop.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

Nexon Internal Merger Incoming

The last few months have been a wild ride for Nexon. First, their founder and CEO was putting the family’s stake in the business up for sale, worth between 9 to 11 billion dollars. After months of speculation that everyone from Disney to EA were interested in buying, it seems Kim Jung-ju may have simply decided not to sell. Of course, I’m sure a decision like that wasn’t made lightly. Following the release of this rumor, Nexon’s stock dropped resulting in a loss of up to 5%. Now we know that Nexon is reorganizing and merging their two core business units. No jobs are going to be lost in this internal restructuring, but the company is looking at getting rid of projects with low commercial value. They also hope that the restructuring will improve the company’s operating profits and increase its stock value. News of this restructuring started out as a rumor but was quickly confirmed by Nexon. It is set to take place sometime in August.

 

Source: MMOCulture

 

Ninja Leaves Twitch for Mixer

Ninja Fortnite

Ninja has announced that he will no longer be streaming on Twitch and is instead switching over to Microsoft’s Mixer platform. The specifics on this particular deal haven’t been released but last year he was making $500,000 a month streaming Fortnite on Twitch and a paid promotion deal with EA for Apex Legends got him $1 million, so it is safe to assume he got a pretty sweet deal. This marks a major shift for Twitch which has been seeing its growth slow over the last year.

Mixer has always been playing third fiddle to Twitch and Youtube but has also seen consistent growth. Last quarter it saw 119 million hours watched, an increase of 37% year on year. Ninja’s move to Mixer might be exactly the sort of push the platform needs to catch up to its two bigger competitors. However, Fortnite’s popularity, especially in streaming, has been on the decline. It is also possible that many of Ninja’s fans wont follow him to this different platform because they prefer Twitch. We can see an example of this in the industry already looking at people who refuse to play a game that hasn’t been released on Steam. Only time will tell how this transition actually goes.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

 

Zynga Eyes China

At one point in time just a few years ago Zynga was dominating the games industry. They were all we ever talked about it seemed like. Of course the days of Facebook games are long gone now, but that doesn’t mean Zynga is gone or that they’ve even slowed down. Zynga has been transitioning to a mobile game developer and having great success with it. They recently released Empires and Puzzles in Japan and Korea, the beginning of their strategy for expansion into the Asian market. Now they’re eyeing China.

In a call with GamesIndustry.biz Zynga COO Matt Bromberg said, “We are beginning to look at China for Empires & Puzzles as well, and as our portfolio continues to develop we have both Star Wars and the Harry Potter game on our slate for the future. When there are big global pieces of IP like that, which we think will resonate across Asia, we’re hopeful that will also help us expand there. We’re trying to take a measured approach to it, and learn as we go and make sure we have the right match of game and personnel on the ground and marketing strategy. When you get those lined up it can be terrific, but it is a complicated market and we’re still in learning mode.”

A complicated market is putting it lightly. Still, if they are successful in their push into China, they’ll be tapping into a mobile games industry with an estimated 586 million gamers.

 

Source: Games Industry

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Mavericks: Proving Grounds Canceled as Studio Shuts Down

Developer Automaton Games has shut down leaving their Battle Royale title Mavericks: Proving Grounds canceled and employees looking for new jobs. Thankfully, Improbable, the makers of SpatialOS which Maverick: Proving Grounds was using has said that they would be trying to place Automaton employees in their company, according to a statement they made to GamesIndustry.biz. “Automaton’s closure and the ceasing of development on Mavericks is sad news,” said an Improbable spokesman. “Mavericks was a hugely ambitious project, and we were glad to support it with the networking technology that made its large world and innovative approach to multiplayer possible. Unfortunately, Automaton was unable to find further investment to support their ambitious development plans. Automaton Games is a talented team, and we will look to match any former Automaton employees to roles that we are looking to fill at Improbable.”

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

A statement on the official site for the developer reads, “Paul Cooper and Paul Appleton were appointed joint administrators of Automaton Games Limited on 30th July 2019. They are managing the affairs, business and property of the company… Please be advised that due to insufficient funding, the development of the Mavericks: Proving Grounds game has now ceased.”

It really is a shame, of the entire Battle Royale genre Mavericks: Proving Grounds sounded like it had the most potential to be something really unique and interesting. With 1,000 players on the map that really could have revolutionized the genre. A genre that does seem to be losing steam.

We hope that everyone at Automaton Games gets back on their feet quickly.

 

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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Battle Royale Weekly: Totally Accurate Battlegrounds Will Go F2P

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds will go F2P. Islands of Nyne will have a tournament with real money prizes during their F2P weekend. Fortnite has 200 million players, but PUBG is outperforming them on mobile. This week we’re also seeing a couple of high profile Battle Royale games we’ve been waiting for move into a playable state. Plus there’s a whole lot more in this week’s Battle Royale Weekly.

 

Fortnite Brings in 200 Million Players

In June it was reported that Fortnite had 125 million players and now it has reached that ever so impressive mark of 200 million. It also has 8.3 million concurrent players on a regular basis. Most games hope for that many players in their lifetime.

But while Fortnite has more players than ever Twitch viewership is down and revenue has remained pretty flat despite the growth. At the same time though they’re working with the NFL and Marvel. They’ve got Fortnite branded Monopoly, Nerf guns, and who knows what else they’ve got lined up.

 

Source: Forbes

 

Islands of Nyne Open Tournament Announced

Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

Islands of Nyne has announced they’re holding a tournament with a $2,500 prize pool. The event will be held on December 2nd and sign-ups are open now. It will be held during the F2P weekend and it is open to all, including those just trying the game out for the weekend. Further details are given once you register to take part.

The tournament has received a bit of backlash from fans as it is coming at a time when player population is at an all-time low. They also accuse the devs of abandoning the game without improving it. Will the tournament have the impact they’re hoping for? We’ll just have to wait and see what the numbers are like over the weekend.

 

Source: Steam

 

Mavericks: Proving Grounds Starts Testing

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

As you may recall Mavericks: Proving Grounds isn’t doing traditional testing like you’re used to seeing. Instead, they have something called The Forge, a sort of beta server where they test the game and new updates they’re introducing. Well, for the first time The Forge is opening for a limited number of players. During The Forge up to 1000 concurrent players will be able to take part in a free for all fight. If you don’t get picked to take part, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to hear more about the game. There is an NDA in place though as they continue development this will change.

 

Source: MMORPG

 

PUBG Mobile Revenue Grows 166% in One Week

For the first time, PUBG outperformed Fortnite on IOS as it enjoys a 166% growth in one week. Player spending went from $4.5 million to $12 million just on mobile. PUBG mobile only started monetizing in April, which makes that $12 million all the more impressive. Each day last week there was about a half a million dollar difference in the earnings for PUBG Mobile and Fortnite on just iOS. PUBG Mobile brought in $1.7 million a day while Fortnite brought in $1.2 million daily on iOS. Will we continue to see these numbers beyond the long holiday week? We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Source: SensorTower

 

Rapture Rejects Enters Early Access

Rapture Rejects

The hilarious and blasphemous Rapture Rejects is now in Early Access on Steam. It is one of those that you have to pay to get into. As of the time of writing this, we’re still waiting for the trailer to drop along with any welcome messages/patch notes/whatever else we might get. Hopefully, more information will come out before this article goes live, but, if you’re reading this then it didn’t. Live with it.

 

Source: Steam

 

Realm Royale Console Beta is Go

Realm Royale seemed to lose some steam on PC which is one of the reasons Hi-Rez is finally bringing the game to consoles. This may very well be the game’s saving grace. If you’re interested in trying it out they have been giving keys away on their social media. So if you don’t already follow them there, you should.

 

Source: Realm Royale Twitter

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Battle Royale Mode

With the release of Red Dead Online, we’ve seen several new multiplayer modes. Since Battle Royale is the big genre everyone loves right now is it really any wonder that one of those modes is Battle Royal? Make it Count is what Red Dead is calling their Battle Royale mode.

Make it Count has two versions. In the first players are given a bow and a handful of arrows. To get more arrows you have to loot them off the corpses of the dead. The second version is quite similar but involves throwing knives instead of a bow and arrows.

At the moment Red Dead Online is only available to those who played Red Dead Redemption between October 26th and 29th, and Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition owners. Though it will be open to all Red Dead Redemption 2 owners from tomorrow, so you don’t have to wait long.

 

Source: Gamespot

 

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds Will Go F2P

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds

After a recent community test of the new brawl mode Totally Accurate Battlegrounds announced on Steam that they would be going F2P in the future. But, before they can do that they have to finish the brawl mode, get some cosmetics made, and work on optimizing the game for streaming.

They have been quite honest about their reasons for going F2P. It can be quite difficult to get 50 players together for a match. The other reason is that server costs are, in their words “very high.” The move to F2P not only opens them up to the potential for more players to join in it also gives them the opportunity to sell various things in a cash shop.

There isn’t any word yet on when Totally Accurate Battlegrounds will go F2P. Developers recommend you follow them on social media to stay up to date. At the moment it sounds like they’ve got quite a bit on their plate before they’re ready to dedicate to this F2P transition. I personally wouldn’t expect to see it before Valentine’s Day.

 

Source: Steam

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Battle Royale Weekly: News from Gaming’s Current Trend

Right now Battle Royale games are at the top of the gaming industry. They’re the latest trend being embraced by studios and as a result, we’re seeing more and more of them being announced every day. It can be difficult to follow them all though. Currently, we’re keeping track of more than 30 Battle Royale titles and expecting that list to grow all the time. To help you keep up with the genre we’re launching Battle Royale Weekly, a weekly look at Battle Royale games and the genre as a whole. So if you’re looking for the latest Battle Royale news you’re in the right place.

 

Battlefield V

Battlefield V is having another round of alpha testing beginning today. This one, just like the last will be for PC only. The playtest is based on the previous one, which means there won’t be anything new but they are looking to test player progression. They also made improvements to matchmaking and fixed issues with joining squads. You’ll be able to test a 64-player Conquest map along with Grand Operations day 1 and 2. The alpha will be available in many European countries and North America, but it is invite-only. Invitation codes are being sent out to a small group of Battlefield players. If you were lucky enough to take part in the last alpha test you’re automatically invited to this one as well. The test will be running for a limited time, though no end date has been announced yet.

Source: EA

 

Battlerite Royale

Just a few days ago Battlerite Royale became a standalone game and it will be going into Early Access next month. It was originally intended to launch this summer but thanks to the massive interest in the game and the constraints by some of the game’s systems, the developers have decided to go big. A roadmap for the development of the game has also recently gone live with details for the rest of 2018’s content updates, so be sure to go give that a look.

Source: Official Site

 

Crazy Justice

Crazy Justice is a Battle Royale title that doesn’t get a lot of mention at the moment, mostly because it isn’t actually playable yet. The game has a 100-player PvP mode in which you get to play one of dozens of heroes. What makes it stand out is that there are two modes of Battle Royale. In the normal Battle Royale, you’re playing without any abilities, or you can play Skill Royale mode which will give you access to your hero’s game-changing special skill. The game is planning on having cross-play between PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The map is 6km2 with hidden areas, underwater areas, and hidden loot. According to their official site, they’re planning on entering Early Access sometime in August.

Source: Official Site

 

Cuisine Royale

What started out as an April Fools Day joke is indeed a full-fledged game. If you aren’t familiar with Cuisine Royale just know that your armor consists of colanders, woks, and waffle irons. The game is currently in Early Access on Steam. It is a game that is in active development getting new updates every few days. The most recent one landed today which introduced leaderboards. They’re separated by which of the three modes you’re playing in. To be shown on the boards, you need to take part in at least 20 battles with at least one victory in Duo/Squad. You can sort them by win or kill rating.

Source: Patch Notes

 

The Darwin Project

Today, The Darwin Project is holding a technical playtest for a couple of hours. In particular, they’re looking for feedback on the new Tile and new Tool, but you’ll be able to share your thoughts on all aspects of the game in a post playtest survey. The test will be running from 4 PM to 8 PM Eastern time. You can take part by completing the following steps on Steam:

  1. Go to your Steam library
    2. Right-click on Darwin Project and select Properties
    3. Go to the Beta tab and enter the playtest code: playtest73423482
    4. Click Check Code, then select Playtest from the drop-down menu
    5. Restart Steam and launch Darwin Project

Streamers will be able to stream the playtest, so even if you can’t take part you can still take a look and see how the game is doing right now.

Source: Official Site

 

Dying Light: Bad Blood

Dying Light: Bad Blood is another title that hasn’t been playable yet but by all accounts will be playable very soon. On the official site, you can sign up for global testing which is said to be coming soon. These global tests will run for a few days at a time on Steam. In this game, you’re fighting for a seat out of a zombie-infested area. You’ll have to fight off zombies as well as fellow players. To earn your seat out, you not only have to be the last one standing you also have to harvest blood from the infected.

Source: Official Site

 

Egress

Closed Beta testing for Egress started on August 1st, however a number of problems were uncovered during testing and as a result, they aren’t currently accepting more testers. On their official site, they say that the game needs a lot of improvement before they can invite even more players. The good news is that they’re already hard at work on improving the game. So hopefully it won’t be too long until more people can jump in.

 

Fear the Wolves

Fear The Wolves

Last month Fear the Wolves announced that they would be pushing back their Early Access by a few weeks. Since then there hasn’t been any word on when Early Access would begin or anything else really. On social media, they’re inviting more people to take part in beta testing which suggests that it may still be some time before we see the game start Early Access.

Source: Official Site

 

Fortnite

Fortnite is obviously one of the most talked about games at the moment as it is taking the world by storm. Because of this, we won’t be focusing on Fortnite unless the news is really big. Right now everyone is talking about streamer Ninja who recently said he won’t work with female gamers. This got a lot of backlash from gamers across the spectrum.

Source: Everyone is talking about it.

 

Fractured Lands

Fractured Lands has now been in Early Access for 3 weeks. On Steam it has mixed reviews, with a lot of people saying that it has potential. At the moment it seems as though they’re patching the game once a week, adding to it and improving what is already in place.

Source: Steam

 

H1Z1

Most recently H1Z1 launched on the Playstation 4 after having spent a few months in open beta. Since it launched there has already been a hotfix to take care of client performance, crashes, and other issues. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the game though.

Source: Official Site

 

Knives Out

Knives Out isn’t currently supported in English but it is a massive hit for NetEase. In June, the game was number one on the iOS charts in Japan. This was part of a fantastic second quarter for the publishers who are shifting away from MMORPGs and embracing a wider variety of games, admittedly mostly mobile games. There aren’t any signs of Knives Out being released for Western audiences but we will continue to watch the game anyway in the hopes that something might change.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

 

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Mavericks has announced that they’re ditching the idea of Early Access, Closed Beta, Alpha, and all of that and instead just doing testing. There will be weekly updates to the game and you will be able to play at any time. Since E3, thousands of people have signed up to test the game. While we now don’t know when testing will begin, we at least know that once it does it will be staying on.

Source: Official Site

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Just like Fortnite, we aren’t going to be covering PUBG in too much detail. The game already gets talked about quite a bit in the industry. With that being said though, there is some interesting testing going on in the game. If you play on Xbox One you can test out some highly sought after additions to the game. They are dynamic weather and limb penetration. The patch notes for this are massive and well worth a read if you plan on taking part.

Source: Official Site

 

Rapture Rejects

What was possibly the most amusing game to come out of E3, Rapture Rejects hasn’t really been heard from much since then. But thanks to a recent interview with Tinybuild’s CEO Alex Nichiporchik we now have a few more details. This summer they’re planning on having a closed alpha and based on the results of that closed alpha they’ll decide where to go next. Exactly when it is going to start wasn’t stated, but summer is quickly coming to an end. If you’re lucky enough to be attending PAX West you’ll be able to be one of the first members of the public to try out the game. It will be playable at the Tinybuild booth.

Source: Geekwire Interview

 

SOS

SOS

For a while, SOS was enjoying some moderate success for an indie game on Steam. But some changes were made to the game that suddenly made it massively unpopular. So, in an effort to bring players back they’ve released SOS: Classic. This classic version of the game won’t be developed and no new content will be added. So the game will exist exactly as it did before the game mode was changed. It’s also going to be free to play.

Source: Steam

 

The CullingThe Culling

Development on The Culling has started again now that the studio is refocusing their efforts on the game. Part of that refocus means a day one server that takes players all the way back to the beginning of The Culling in March of 2016. During the process of focusing on The Culling again, they’re going to be putting out surveys to their players to find out how they would like to see certain things go. The current survey is about Health Stations.

Source: Steam

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