Saudi Arabia, Tencent, E3 and Ubisoft… 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.

Summary

  • Saudi Arabia ready to invest crazy sums in video games
  • Ubisoft: the communication failure that makes noise
  • E3: the show’s return in 2023 is getting clearer!
  • Tencent: The troll is hungry!
  • Short in business news
  • Our other business articles of the week

Saudi Arabia ready to invest crazy sums in video games

There are many points of criticism of the Saudi regime and its leaders, as is evident the withdrawal of Riot Games from a partnership due to player pressure. But there is no doubt that the kingdom will be counted on in the coming years. The world’s largest exporter of crude oil, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, begins a transition to other sectors, including video games. Through its sovereign wealth fund, the country has already invested in EA, Take-Two, Activision and Nintendo, but has also acquired ESL/FACEIT then SNK.

Recently, Savvy announced his intention to invest 1 billion in Embracer. According to Axios, The Savvy Gaming Group, an investment fund led by Brian Ward but 100% owned by Saudi Arabia, will invest DKK 37.8 billion in the video game. Of this amount, 13 billion be dedicated to “acquisition and development of a leading game publisher as a strategic development partner”.

At the moment we don’t know who is the publisher we are talking about, but in a context of market concentration we are talking about buyouts for EA or even Ubisoft. 18 billion allocated to miscellaneous and minority investments. In total, these expenses should enable the creation of 250 companies and 39,000 jobs according to the news agency. Obviously, these upcoming investments are creating a lot of talk.

Many observers see it a bleaching potential money, others believe that the regime is trying to make people forget the controversies surrounding respect for human rights, repression and support for the war in Yemen. Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince, prime minister and engine of the country’s economic transformation, is also suspected by the CIA of murdering a journalist at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. charges denied of the kingdom.

Ubisoft: the communication failure that makes noise

Saudi Arabia, Tencent, E3 and Ubisoft... This week's business news

A world-class French publisher, Ubisoft holds huge licenses the image of Assassin’s Creed, whose future was mapped out in a special event in early September, Rainbow Six, Anno, Rayman, Rabbids and Ghost Recon. As you also know, the company was hit by a major investigation which highlighted toxic behavior, instances of harassment or even discrimination. Several people, including ex-number 2, has left the ship and the shipping company announced that it has taken several measures to improve the situation.

Recently, Yves Guillemot gave interviews to several media where the issue of working conditions and employee well-being was addressed. The CEO acknowledges that the company was not sufficiently organized previously to deal with these problems, but that things are moving forward. But very recently, in the Quebec newspaper La Presse, the CEO did a statement that immediately provoked strong reactions :

We are really moving at a good pace. We talk less about it, us, in the company. We have systems in place to resolve any issues that may arise. We go very far to ensure that life in the company is what everyone wants. We have an independent structure that allows us to speak up when something is wrong.

Techniques must be introduced to ensure that everyone succeeds in finding their place. To create, you need a little friction, because everyone has to succeed in getting their idea through. It’s a job that offers many rewards when successful, but it’s difficult.

The first reactions focused on “we talk less about it”before you go towards “it requires a little friction”. A clumsiness that implied that the cases of harassment or mistreatment in the workplace were required to develop a game. Visibly aware of the statement’s ambiguity, ‘Yves Guillemot wanted to clarify things with our colleagues from Kotaku:

I want to be clear. As I said before, there is absolutely no place for toxicity at Ubisoft or in our industry. When I mentioned that there was sometimes friction, I was thinking of the creative tension that is common and essential in innovative companies like ours, where people have the freedom to challenge ideas and have heated but healthy debates. To prevent this tension from turning negative, or to resolve it if it does, this is where strong corresponding policies, values ​​and procedures are essential.

Over the past two and a half years, we’ve made great strides on this front to deliver safe and great experiences for all of our teams. Healthy and respectful work environments are our top priority, and we’re pleased to say that according to our latest surveys, our team members are confident that we’re on the right track.

E3: the show’s return in 2023 is getting clearer!

In decline, E3 has been gradually abandoned by some of the biggest players in video games, Sony PlayStation. While we wondered whether the show, organized by ESA, would succeed in reinventing itself, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Canceled in 2020, external in 2021E3 skipped 2022 to prepare for its real comeback in 2023. The show returns to the physical from 13 to 16 June 2023, organized by Reedpop (PAX, New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, Minecraft Festival), with the ambition of become the inevitable event again it was.

Saudi Arabia, Tencent, E3 and Ubisoft... This week's business news

I must say the multiplication of events instead, the show was only moderately compelling, with only Geoff Keighley managing to pull himself out of the game as a “third party” with Summer game party. A few years ago, and to renew itself, E3 opened its doors to the public. The show, previously reserved for professionals, was visited by developers, publishers, journalists, but also by the general public, who did not hesitate to put their hands in their pockets to be part of the party. In 2023, and on the occasion of the show’s return, the public will still be welcome, but the formula has been redesigned.

To put it simply, the digital events start on June 11, after which the professionals will be invited to come to the Convention Center from 13 to 15 June. After that, from 15 to 16 June it is open to the public to exploit it. A good way to give everyone the opportunity to get the most out of it without cluttering the aisles. After being criticized by both the industry and the public, E3 seems to be missed by some gamerswho expressed on social networks that they appreciated this “week” where the announcements were gathered in one place. At E3 to convince developers and publishers to come and make their announcements and present their games.

Tencent: The troll is hungry!

When we pay attention to the names of the publishers, to the different labels or even to the news from the industry, it has become very hard to avoid Tencent. The Chinese tech giant, the world leader in video games by revenue, has invested heavily in recent years with shares in Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Krafton, PlatinumGames, FromSoftware or Marvelous Inc. and many others.

Saudi Arabia, Tencent, E3 and Ubisoft... This week's business news

Tencent also owns 40% from Epic Gamesas well as all shares in Riot Games, Splash Damage, Turtle Rock, Sumo or Funcom. Until then, Tencent’s strategy was essentially to take minority stakes in companies and use them as growth levers outside the Chinese market.

Because in China, despite the size of the market, growth slows down because of the many restrictions imposed by the government on younger players, but also because of the approval of games, slowly, when it is simply not frozen. But this “soft” strategy will soon be history. According to Reuters, the company will become much more aggressive, with an emphasis on direct redemption studios and publishers outside of China.

Tencent therefore plans to take direct control of companies especially by acquiring majority shares In Europe. However, the giant told Reuters that investments had started well before the implementation of the new rules and that it was looking for “innovative companies with skilled management teams”.

Short in business news

  • Take-Two and People Can Fly (Outriders) announced collapse of their partnership about Project Dagger. The game is still in development.
  • Aaron Greenberg was promoted to Xbox, formerly General Manager of Xbox Games Marketing, he is now vice president.
  • The alleged perpetrator of the Rockstar hack (Grand Theft Auto VI pleaded not guilty at the court in London.
  • Splatoon 3 has established itself at the top of physical sales and in value in the French market in week 37. It is ahead of the unstoppable Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, NBA 2K23 (PS4), NBA 2K23 (PS5) and Horizon: Forbidden West ( PS5)
  • Nintendo: A former QA tester reported having asked about the trend towards unionization in January and to have been fired February in retaliation.

Our other business articles of the week

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