Here we are at the second to the last Tuesday of the year, which means this is our last look at the news from the business side of the games industry. Next week we’ll have an article that looks back at the biggest stories of the year so keep an eye out for that. For now, though we have Blizzard to discuss along with the Zenimax vs Oculus lawsuit, esports, and Arena of Valor’s success on the Nintendo Switch.
Blizzard Kills Heroes of the Storm Esports
There have been a lot of unpopular things going on with Blizzard recently that are leaving lifelong fans wondering what has happened to the beloved brand. Most recently Blizzard took a chainsaw to Heroes of the Storm. They put an end to the competitive esports scene saying that the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm won’t be returning in 2019. This very sudden change has put a lot of people out of jobs. Stars who left college to pursue esports, team managers wondering what to do next, and many others from all aspects of the esports scene.
At the same time, Blizzard says that they will continue developing the game, though the cadence of releases will change. In other words, they will be releasing content less often. Blizzard also moved some developers, though they didn’t say how many, from the Heroes of the Storm development team to other teams. While they aren’t giving up on Heroes of the Storm completely it certainly sounds like this is the beginning of the end for the game, which would be just another unpopular move on Blizzard’s part. That really breaks all of this to one final question….is Blizzard working on a Battle Royale game? Only time will tell, but based on the decisions they’ve been making recently it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
Source: Official Site
Arena of Valor Downloaded 1 Million Times on Switch
In China, Tencent has seen massive success with Honour of Kings. It’s been at the top of the mobile charts every month in terms of revenue for the entire year. However, when they released it as Arena of Valor in the West it wasn’t a massive success at all. At least that is until it was released on the Nintendo Switch. Since Arena of Valor launched on the Switch at the end of September it has been downloaded 1 million times and the United States was the biggest market. While Arena of Valor hasn’t been performing as well in the West as it has in China it hasn’t all been bad news for the game. In September the MOBA reached the $15 million milestone in player spending between the App Store and Google Play. At that time the game also experienced 49% growth month over month in comparison to August. So even almost a year after launching it was still growing in a big way.
Arena of Valor is Tencent’s first console game, but with results like this, it almost certainly won’t be the last. This is especially true as the company has to try to claw back from the really quite awful year they’ve had.
Source: Games Industry
Intel and ESL Announce $100m Esports Investment
Blizzard might be taking a step back from the Heroes of the Storm esports scene but in other corners of the esports world, things are looking good. Intel and ESL have announced that they will be continuing their partnership to 2021 and more than $100 million in investments in the industry will be made. The partnership between the two companies is 18 years old, making it the longest standing partnership in all of esports. The deal will help to drive growth in new regions which includes a focus on hosting and large-scale events within some Asia-Pacific countries.
“ESL and Intel have worked side by side on growing esports for nearly two decades,” said Ralf Reichert, ESL founder and co-CEO. “We built a number of cornerstones of this industry together and helped many gamers in becoming legends of the sport. The long-term extended partnership with Intel opens even more opportunities for us to take our efforts to a whole different level on a global scale.”
The Vice President and General Manager of VR, Gaming, and Esports at Intel had this to say, “This joint investment with ESL into the ecosystem means that the esports growth and innovation that we’ve led over the past two decades will continue. This partnership will advance the rapid evolution of esports, and Intel is committed to ushering in this new era with technology solutions that place the gaming community and fans first.”
If you’re wondering how the esports industry is doing, on the whole, we’ll have more on esports in the coming weeks as we take a look back at 2018 from a business point of view. So be sure to keep an eye out for that.
Source: Games Industry
Zenimax and Oculus Settle Their VR Lawsuit
It might feel like Zenimax and Oculus have been involved in a lawsuit over the Oculus VR system forever. It all started in 2014, which certainly feels like an eternity ago. In 2017, Zenimax was awarded $500 million by a judge, but that was later cut in half upon appeal. That then led to even more appeals, though those have now been dropped. The two companies reached a settlement outside of court through the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals mediation program. The terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed and they likely never will be.
Both sides seem to be quite pleased with the outcome, and Zenimax Chairman and CEO Robert Altman said, “We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome. While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties.”
A representative for Facebook, who own Oculus said, “We’re pleased to put this behind us and continue building the future of VR.”
It’s nice to see this story finally put to rest.
Source: Games Industry