business news NFT, Activision-Blizzard, Focus Entertainment… This week’s business news
Sales figures, studio acquisitions, accounts, developer transfer window, investments… if these topics interest you, you’ve come to the right place. We offer you an update on the past week’s business news.
- NFT: Ubisoft backs up, Square Enix makes it happen
- Microsoft takeover of Activision-Blizzard: UK and EU get involved
- Halo: 343 Industries loses its founder and director
- Focus Entertainment acquires BlackMill Games (WW1)
- Short in the week’s business news
NFT: Ubisoft backs up, Square Enix makes it happen
Saying that Ubisoft responded by launching its Quartz platform, centered on NFTs and blockchain, is an understatement. Between total rejection and enthusiasm from the public, the initiative did not leave anyone indifferent. Quartz was launched in 2021 and currently has, in any case, only sold items related to Ghost Recon Breakpoint. We felt it was a trial run, but everything indicated that this first step would be followed by others quite quickly. Ubisoft also seemed very confident, Nicolas Poulard, vice president of the laboratory for strategic innovation, indicating that people who reject NFTs didn’t understand what benefits they represented. But the future of NFTs at Ubisoft doesn’t seem so safe anymore. During an exchange with Eurogamer, Yves Guillemot finally explained that quartz and NFTs were just a “test” :
We really look at all the new technologies. We are very much on the cloud, on the new generation of voxels, and we are looking at all the possibilities in Web3. We recently tested a few things that give us more information about how it can be used and what to do with it in the video game world. So we test games that… We want to see if they really meet the needs of the players and then they come to market. But we are still in research mode, I would say. (…) We should have said that we are working on it and that when we have something that will give you a real advantage, we will bring it to you. (…)
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always to make sure we can bring a new experience to the players that will be innovative and interesting. The goal of business is always to create the best experience and new technologies are always good for that because there is less competition and people are more interested in trying new things on new technologies. .
This change in discourse can appear as a turn which reflects statements from former data analystsasked by our colleagues from Gamekult in July last year, as well as at 96 successful transactions on quartz according to Ars Technica:
We did a little survey where we siphoned off a few things on Reddit with summaries of attitudes of players talking about NFTs, it was very negative. Obviously, we didn’t want people throwing up their hands and saying, “yeah, give us NFTs in Ghost Recon”. In fact, it’s a study that was done in a bit of a hurry because we didn’t have much time to try to tell Yves Guillemot not to do it.
If you know a little about the character of Yves, he was thorough. As soon as it’s bullshit marketing that can bring in money, it’s gone. So he asks our department if we have any information about NFTs. The director then asks a team leader, who in turn will ask someone from my team, who will launch an analysis for her by collecting data from social networks and cross-referencing it with other data. He gives his analysis to the team leader, who then replies: “Oh no, we can’t say that to Yves”. That was it, end of story.
On his side, Square Enix has long expressed interest for blockchain and NFTs, but we were still waiting to know how all this would come to fruition. This week, the Japanese publisher announced that it had joins the Oasys blockchain with a launch before the end of the year. The project is followed by around twenty other companies, which, like Square Enix, must validate the notes. Like others, Oasys presents itself as environmentally friendly, while the publisher sees it as a way utilize user contributions. In short, and despite the vagueness that currently surrounds Web3 and cryptocurrencies, Square Enix concretizes his intentions.
Microsoft takeover of Activision-Blizzard: UK and EU get involved
We suspected it, but Microsoft’s takeover of Activision-Blizzard-King won’t go down like a letter to La Poste. Estimated to almost 70 billion dollarsoperations are very closely scrutinized by the financial authorities, as well as by the competition, Sony in the lead. The PS5 maker is telling anyone who will listen that Microsoft’s takeover of the licenses such as Call of Duty would have a major negative impact on consumers, but Microsoft responded by saying that it would be commercial nonsense to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation players.
The takeover has already been validated by Saudi Arabia, and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is expected to rule for the US. This could deepen the investigation, which this should be the case in Western Europe. In fact, the British Competition Authority announced last week that the consideration of such an agreement possibly extended.
Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals. in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming.
An idea what could the EU follow suit according to the Financial Times, with statements showing great caution on the part of the authorities:
Regulators and other parties involved in the deal expect a lengthy EU investigation when Microsoft formally files its case in Brussels in the coming weeks. People familiar with EU thinking said regulators would take time to review the deal because of its size, the nature of the buyer and growing concerns from rivals including Sony.
Halo: 343 Industries loses its founder and director
15 years after founding 343 Industries, Bonnie Ross, founder and director of the studio, has announced that she will be leaving the company. The situation for Halo Infinite apparently has nothing to do with this departure, with the interested party stating that she left to deal with a medical concern in her family. It is therefore with regret that she announced her departure on Twitter through a press release.
While I was hoping to take care of Halo until the winter update is released, I am telling you that I will be leaving 343 (Industries) and dealing with a family medical issue. I’m incredibly proud of the work everyone at 343 Industries has done on Halo Infinite, the Master Chief Collection, the Halo TV series, and more. It has been an honor to serve with the team for the past 15 years and be a part of a world that I love. Thanks to everyone in the Halo community for their support. Halo’s future is bright. I can’t wait to show you what we have in store and cheer you on as a fan at the Halo World Championship in October!
A departure that should bring about change in the studio, as she leaves her post to three people. Pierre Hintze, studio veteran, immediately takes over the leadership of the latter while leading the roadmap for Halo Infinite and The Master Chief Collection, as well as future productions. Elizabeth Van Wyck will oversee business and operations commercial, while Bryan Koscki will take charge of the franchises.
Focus Entertainment acquires BlackMill Games (WW1)
Founded in 1996 under the name Focus Home Interactive, the French publisher has for several years begun a gentle but sensitive change. The editor change of chairman in 2018that goes from Cédric Lagarrigue to Jurgen Goeldner, gradually offering Deck13 (The Surge), Douze Dixièmes, DotEmu or Leikir Studio. Accompanying acquisitions in 2021 from a name changewith a publishing house that will now be called Focus Entertainment.
Ambition is still the key word at the publisher, which maintains its niche, namely the production of double A, medium/high budget games. A desire for growth, which continued quite recently acquisition of a majority stake in BlackMill Games. Focus Entertainment bought out M2H’s stake, and now owns 66.6% of the shares from the studio. Jos Hoebe, founder and creative director of the studio, retains the rest of the capital in the company as well as the management. To make things easier, M2H will ensure the transition:
We know that the WW1 Game Series is in the capable hands of Jos and Focus Entertainment, and we are confident that together they can make the series bigger than ever. While we can’t wait to start working on an exciting new project, we’ll be sure to pass on our knowledge and expertise over the coming year to ensure a smooth transition. We can’t wait to see what the new owners bring to the WW1 Game Series,” said Matt Hergaarden, co-founder of M2H.
Short in the week’s business news
- 3.45 million copies in three days is the result of Splatoon 3 in Japan! A resounding success for Nintendo’s new production. To place, in five years, Splatoon 2 has sold 13.3 million copies.
- Roblox will launch in-game ads next year
- Activision has banned over half a million Call of Duty accounts.
- THQ Nordic has officially opened its new study, referred to as the Campfire Cabal. The latter is intended for developing RPGs.
- Garena (Free Fire) is said to have laid off 15% of its workforce in Shanghai as part of a global restructuring.
- From August 29 to September 4, 2022, The Last of Us Part I on PS5 dominated the physical sales market by value in France, according to SELL. It is followed by Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.