business news Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Square Enix, Shiro Games… 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.
- Activision-Blizzard takeover: UK less enthusiastic than Brazil
- After the takeover, Square Enix Montreal changes its name and reveals its new identity
- 2K Games confirms data breach and hacking
- Short in the week’s business news
- Our other business articles of the week
Activision-Blizzard takeover: UK less enthusiastic than Brazil
Last week we learned that the Brazilian competition authority had approved the purchase of Activision Blizzard King by Microsoft. Brazil had also taken the opportunity to discreetly put Sony in its place, indicating that the decisions made are in relation to the public, and not in favor of “special interests of direct competitors”. Microsoft obviously welcomed it, and released some interesting information about Game Pass. According to the published documents, the Xbox subscription would have 25 million subscribersto an income of DKK 2.9 billion which does not take into account the PC. But redemption is still very far from certain, and has even just taken lead in the wing before the EU’s first judgment on 8 November.
The Competitive Markets Authority in the United Kingdom has indeed expressedhe reserves the right to the redemption. The CMA fears that this takeover, of Microsoft’s global power (Windows, cloud, consoles, studios), does not limit competing options, be it Sony, existing rivals or new players looking to enter the market. Microsoft responded immediately, saying that these arguments did not justify a second phase investigation because “PlayStation’s player base will always be significantly larger than Xbox’s”, and that the Japanese rival released 280 exclusives, 5 times more than Microsoft. Eventually, Microsoft adds it Sony “vastly” exaggerates the importance of Call of Duty.
Consumer use of cloud gaming remains low. Harming or degrading rival services will significantly dampen the adoption of this technology – thereby protecting market-leading incumbents (ie Sony on console, Apple and Google on mobile as well as Steam on PC). Xbox, as the platform that ranks last in consoles, seventh in PCs and no place in mobile game distribution globally, has no interest in doing so. (…) we could read this week.
Microsoft therefore only has to wait for the verdict from this second phase, which it should be delivered in January with a final decision in March. Until then, there is no doubt that the communication battle will continue, with everyone trying to defend their positions and influence decisions.
After the takeover, Square Enix Montreal changes its name and reveals its new identity
On May 2, Square Enix formalized his withdrawal from Western video games by reselling Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal to Embracer for approx 300 million dollars. Square Enix has also resold around fifty licenses, i.a Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain, Thief or even Tomb Raider. In less than three months, the deal was closed and the takeover was formalized at the end of August by Embracer, who in the meantime offered Midgård companies and therefore the rights to Lord of the Rings. Before we get back to Square Enix Montreal, let’s remember that a new game has been in development for a while at Crystal Dynamics, and that Embracer has the ability to do whatever it wants with the license.
Already owner of THQ Nordic, Plaion (formerly Koch Media), Sabre, Amplifier Game Invest, DECA, Gearbox, Asmodee, Easybrain and Coffee Stain, the sprawling Embracer has therefore opened new studios. But Square Enix Montreal can’t keep being called that, a new identity had to be found for it. A team was therefore set up for the occasion, which submitted more than 165 proposals. ultimately, Square Enix Montreal has become Onoma, which means “hang on” in Greek, and which can be pronounced in English or French without difficulty. In the published press release, we learn that Onoma will have the role of a brand, which will bring together “products, programs and initiatives each with their own personality”. So far we do not know how the studio was reorganized.
2K Games confirms data breach and hacking
First there was the attack on Rockstar Games, which resulted in the leak of over a hundred videos of Grand Theft Auto VI in a working version. The news naturally caused a stir, although players’ enthusiasm was quickly tempered by the fact that the videos cannot in any way represent the final aspect of the long-awaited game. The industry has also responded, with studios and developers sharing plenty of alpha and concept build videos to put things into context. But soon after, Take Two Interactive announced it 2K Games had also been the victim of an attackwithout being able to tell what was stolen or not.
In recent days, we have had news about the case, and they are not good. The attack not only allowed hackers to break into the 2K Games studio network through a vendor, but also to steal a number of customers’ personal data. Even worse, this data has apparently been resold online! Players were therefore warned about the risk of receiving fraudulent emails and not to click on the links. Over the past few days, 2K has contacted players who have been victims of data theft and resale.
The unauthorized third party accessed and retrieved certain personal data about you (…), including your email address, help desk ID number, gamertag and console details.
people are asked to change their passwordseven if they didn’t click on the malicious link, let alone click.
=Shiro Games (Northgard, Wartales, Dune: Spice Wars) collects several tens of millions of euros=
The Bordeaux video game continues to have wind in its sails. Between Motion Twin, Asobo, Ubisoft Bordeaux (which develops Assassin’s Creed Mirage) and Shiro Games, the city attracts more and more developers for games whose success only grows. Motion Twin has established Dead Cells as an excellent rogue-lite, Asobo is about to release A Plague Tale: Requiem after working on Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Shiro Games, already very successful thanks to Northgard in 2018, has impressed with Dune Spice Wars.
Celebrating 10 years, the studio that is considered a rising star has decided to step up the gear by organizing a fundraising, handed over to Cathay CapitaI. With around sixty employees, Shiro Games has successfully raised funds 50 million euros, bringing the company’s valuation to 150 million euros. Behind this fundraising we find in particular Cedric Lagarrigueformer head of Focus Entertainment, who advised Cathay Capital for investment. In Les Echos, the former CEO of the French publishing house, now consultant for the investment bank Alantrasay:
(Shiro Games is) one of the most promising independent video game companies in Europe” due to its rare ability to “multiply successes in very different genres and universes.
The funds collected will be used for strengthen teams to support new ambitions from Shiro Games, which i.a two titles to be released in 2024 and the development of the editorial department Shiro Unlimited (Decarnation / Abyssals).
Short in the week’s business news
- 10 million players for FIFA 23, which signs the biggest launch of the franchise
- Saints Row (2022), the soft reboot of the license, exceeded one million of players. A major update is expected for November.
- Sony spent $3.5 million to bring ARK: Survival Evolved to PlayStation Plus in March 2022.
- MMO Final Fantasy XIV has never been better, and Square Enix proudly announces that the title has 27 million registered players.
- Franchise Mortal Kombat is now 79 million copies sold in the world. The first opus also celebrated its 30th anniversary on 8 October.
- Lulu Cheng Meserveymember of Activision Blizzard’s board of directors, served as executive vice president of corporate affairs and chief communications officer
- Atari has secured the Rollercoaster Tycoon license in the next 10 years.