Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Square Enix … this week’s business news

business news Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Square Enix … this week’s business news

Sales figures, student acquisitions, accounts, developer transfer window, investments … if these topics interest you, you have come to the right place. We offer you an update on the latest week’s business news.

Activision-Blizzard: Bobby Kotick remains CEO, but shareholders are putting pressure

We are entering a calmer period for the industry, after the order attached to the publication of financial results and major announcements of what is still called the “E3 period”. That does not mean that nothing happens. Let’s start this weekly report with two announcements related to Activision-Blizzard. As in other societies, shareholders’ meeting took place, and although most of the decisions are anecdotal, two of them caught my eye.

Let us first consider the matter of Bobby Kotick, hampered by recent affairs discrimination, harassment, aggression and abuse in the workplace. Many employees called for his resignation, a strike took place, Raven Software workers formed a trade unionall in conjunction with Microsoft’s acquisition. Suffice it to say that things are complicated and that the future of Bobby Kotick as CEO is uncertain. However, 533,703,580 shareholders voted for the current CEO retains its place for the next 12 monthstogether with the nine other members of the Board of Directors.

A reasonably logical decision despite the problems raised, because nothing should stand in the way of Microsoft’s takeover process. A transition at that time, if desired, would create instability as much could worries the market strongly. Moreover, it would be very expensive for the company to get rid of Bobby Kotick now, and one can imagine that the shareholders who are dissatisfied with his action prefer expect that Microsoft is taking care of the file, which in turn is questionable.

Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Square Enix ... this week's business news

That does not mean shareholders gave a blank check to Bobby Kotick when the latter approved detailed reports on the company’s efforts in relation to inclusion, combating discrimination, harassment and any other reprehensible conduct be created. Last February, the state of New York suggested through the voice of Thomas DiNapoli that the American publishing house could actually be more transparent in the future. A proposal rejected by Activision-Blizzard, which, however, was forced to put it on the table during the meeting. And surprise, shareholders voted in favor of reporting annually, consisting of figures and detailed data:

  • the total number of pending complaints of sexual abuse, harassment or discrimination that the company seeks to resolve through internal processes;
  • details of the company’s progress in reducing the average time it takes to resolve complaints of sexual abuse, harassment or discrimination;
  • amounts spent on resolving disputes related to sexual abuse, harassment or discrimination
  • consolidated data on wages and working hours.

Shareholders voted in favor of the non-binding shareholder proposal to prepare a statement of the company’s workplace efforts. In line with our ongoing commitments, we will carefully consider the proposal to improve our future publication. Activision Blizzard remains deeply committed to a respectful and welcoming workplace for all its employees.

Ubisoft: Yves Guillemot lowers his salary and the company takes stock status

Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Square Enix ... this week's business news

Ubisoft was also the target of a major study that led to upon departure of several important persons in the organization chart, including Serge Hascoët and Yannis Mallat. A wide reorientation of the creative pole was implemented and the company has announced that it has strengthened its anti-discrimination measures and states that it is working to be more transparent about the results. In a document published in 2021, Ubisoft indicated that the cases revealed to the public had influenced the company’s image and that there were a “high risk” of losing talent. These risks are always emphasized and are particularly associated with a potential lack of attractiveness.

(…) damage to the group’s reputation and image or to the working environment can also affect its attractiveness and retention of talent

Also in 2021, Ubisoft would have hosted more than 600 people who had already collaborated with the company, and who was convinced to come back. On the side of hiring women, a major problem for most companies in the sector, we also had figures:

Women now make up 25% of our total workforce and have accounted for a third of the total recruitment over the past 12 months. In addition, we have a strong representation of women at management level with 42% and 45% for the Executive Board and the Board of Directors, respectively. We have ambitious plans to continue to build a more diverse and inclusive organization. And while attrition has been a challenge over the past 12 months, the steps we have taken to retain talent are beginning to pay off.

Overall, in 2022, 25.45% of Ubisoft’s employees are women. In 2019, they represented only 19.9% ​​of the workforce. At the same time Yves Guillemot gave up 30% of his salary for the year 2022, as a result of the company’s failure to meet the economic targets announced for the markets. Ubisoft has confirmed to Axios that this is one decision taken by the CEO himself. In total, Yves Guillemot will waive 310,607 euros, which corresponded to a variable linked to performance. Logically, he should earn € 624,824 during the current year.

Square Enix invests in France for cloud games

Cloud gaming, which consists of playing a game using your connection and a remote machine, does part of the major areas of development By the industry. Very high speed becomes more democratic in the main markets, and makes it possible to offer titles without players having to invest in dedicated and often expensive devices. The Xbox has long started the process, followed by Sony and even Nintendo.

Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Square Enix ... this week's business news

Square Enix is ​​also looking into the matter and recently announced a stake in Blacknut, a Rennes start-up which specializes in cloud-related technologies. Currently, Blacknut offers a subscription for 15 euros a month, which gives access to about 500 games on several media including connected televisions. The most important Blacknut partnerships in particular have been entered into Deep Silver, Nacon, Focus Entertainment, Daedalic, Team17 and SNK.

We are very proud to welcome Square Enix, a company whose many successes and franchises, true signatures, have always reinvented themselves by seducing players, generation after generation. The Japanese company’s decision to invest in Blacknut is a confirmation: our vision, our technology and our approach to the market. As players continue to shift away from physical formats, Square Enix has seen the potential in Cloud Gaming, which offers unprecedented gaming experiences through streaming, said Olivier Avaro, CEO of Blacknut.

Blacknut is a groundbreaking cloud gaming company with a unique blend of technical expertise and a true vision for the gaming of the future. We are excited about the potential of Cloud Gaming, and this partnership will not only allow us to stay at the forefront of new developments in the field, but also accelerate our future growth, said Hideaki Uehara, Director of Business Development at Square.Enix.

Square Enix continues to invest in the cloud following an initial failure in 2014. That year, the publisher set up a subsidiary called Shinra Technologies, which closed after one year of creation. a loss of DKK 14 million Euro. But at the beginning of last year, Square Enix, like others, invested in Ubitus, which in particular allows Control or Hitman 3 to run on the Switch.

Map in this week’s business news

  • Cities Skylines sold 12 million units, a milestone celebrated by the developers along with the community.
  • Diablo Immortal’s launch in China has been pushed back to an unknown date 72 hours before launch. The developers mention optimizations, but analysts are talking about a consequence of the blocking of the game’s Weibo account: 15 million players had pre-registered.
  • In the week from June 6 to 12, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football dominates sales in value in France, according to SELL. It is followed by Nintendo Switch Sports, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Quarry (PS4) and Minecraft (Switch).
  • Like Nintendo, Activision-Blizzard, Take-Two and Wargaming, Sony PlayStation will not be present at gamescom August 24-28. Therefore, it is not expected to be announced during Opening Night Live on the 23rd at.
  • Supply problems also affect joysticks. Xbox said it is aware of stock shortages in France, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany.
  • The movie Sonic 2 has passed $ 400 million at the box office global.

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