Sales figures, studio buyouts, financial reports, developers’ transfer window, investments … if these subjects interest you, you are in the right place. We offer you an update on the business news of the past week.
Com2Us (Summoners War) is also launching into NFTs
It has been many months since publishers evoke NFTs, these digital elements associated with an identification number, and validated by a tamper-proof digital account book: the blockchain. Epic Games, Ubisoft, and even GSC Game World (for a few hours) have announced their intention to invest in the field or launch their platform. This week, it was the turn of Com2uS, which publishes Chromatic Souls, and will publish Summoners War : Chronicles or World of Zenonia. In a press release circulated around the world, the company announced the creation of a portal called C2X, entirely dedicated to blockchain and NFTs.
The idea? Bring together the players who want enjoy games while generating income. To do this, Com2uS has associated with Terraform Labs, with whom he wishes to set up a reliable and stable support of « Play to Earn » (Play to Win), which obviously includes the creation of NFT. In addition, Com2uS ultimately wishes easily connect players so that they can exchange tokens for others or items for tokens. Creations will also be welcome, but their authentication system remains to be determined. All of this will be gradually implemented during the year 2022, notably with the launch of dedicated titles.
Embracer was not done with redemptions!
Last week, the publishing giant Embracer (THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, Coffee Stain, Amplifier, DECA Games, Gearbox, Easybrain) annonçait the acquisition of the board game publisher Asmodee for the tidy sum of 2.75 billion euros. This week Embracer continues to expand its activities by announcing the takeover of Dark Horse, the world’s 3rd largest comic book publisher. There is a close link between the video game and Dark Horse, since it is the publisher that sells many comics, artbook, books and figurines from universes such as The Witcher, Apex Legends, Halo, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Sonic, Dragon Age, Horizon Zero Dawn ou encore The Legend of Zelda.
Au total, Dark Horse has more than 300 licenses, which will therefore enrich Embracer’s colossal catalog. But Dark Horse is not limited to this since a subsidiary (also acquired by Embracer), produced numerous films in the image The Mask, Timecop, Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy, and that more than 40 adaptations are planned. Dark Horse management is not expected to budge, while the 181 employees are expected to stay in their jobs. Founder and CEO of Dark Horse, said:
With this acquisition, Embracer strengthens its transmedia capabilities by gaining expertise in content development, comic book publishing, and film and television production. Dark Horse owns or controls over 300 intellectual properties, many of which are of interest for future transmedia exploitation, including the creation of new video games.
Embracer didn’t stop at Dark Horse, however. The group, through its subsidiary Saber Interactive, has got hold of Shiver Entertainment, which developed Scribblenauts Showdown and supported NetherRealm for Mortal Kombat 11. The firm also acquired Digic, which works on cutscenes, concept arts and trailers des plus gros AAA dont Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Call of Duty : Vanguard, League of Legends ou encore Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
Equally, for $ 125 million, which will be paid in February, Embracer has offered Perfect World Entertainment (PWE) as well as Cryptic Studios et PWE Publishing through Gearbox. We owe them Torchlight, Remnant: From the Ashes, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online and Champions Online. Finally, Embracer concludes its acquisitions with that of Spotfilm Network, specializing in ad-supported video on demand.
An injunction against Micromania-Zing
Micromania-Zing, one of the last brands entirely dedicated to video games and what is roughly called geek culture, was recently pinned by the departmental directorate for the protection of populations in the Alpes Maritimes after a nationwide survey. In a press release published just before the end of the year holidays, we learn that it is reproached Micromania for having failed in its obligations and for having committed infringements in terms of the legal guarantee of conformity and commercial guarantees.
The company was therefore forced to publish a press release detailing the situation on its official website. The purpose of this injunction is to make « stop deceptive marketing practices », which are detailed below. Micromania is therefore invited to cease practices consisting in:
- Present confusing information on the rights of consumers in terms of legal guarantees of conformity and commercial guarantees.
- Falsely present a guarantee called « extended guarantee » as a commercial guarantee offered and sold by Micromania, when it turns out to be an insurance product managed by an insurance broker.
- To restrict the rights of consumers by importing, within the framework of the terms and content of the legal guarantee, obligations not provided for in the legal texts, or even by subordinating the validity of the contract relating to an activation on the site within 15 days of the purchase of it in store.
At this time, Micromania does not wish to comment on this decision, and it is not known when the company must comply with the law.
Team17 and Void Interactive cease their collaboration
Announced in 2017, Ready Or Not is a fairly ambitious tactical FPS, which will invite players to play as members of SWAT. Armed and organized, players will have to accomplish a whole host of objectives, all in an ultra realistic atmosphere. At the start of the year, we learned that development was accelerating, and that the studio responsible for the project, VOID Interactive, had signed a publishing contract with Team17, which publishes Worms, Blasphemous, The Escapists, Hell Let Loose or even Hokko Life. . Unfortunately, (or not, only time will tell), the partnership between the studio and the publisher has come to an end. The reasons for the split are not known, but the studio says it was decided by mutual agreement.
Void Interactive and Team17 have mutually agreed that Team17 will no longer release Ready Or Not. We also want to reassure everyone that we are committed to our vision of Ready Or Not as a hardcore tactical shooter. We are continually analyzing player feedback and will be rolling out frequent fixes / updates over the coming weeks and months.
However, our colleagues from Gamekult indicate that this rupture comes only a few hours after VOID Interactive announced that one of the missions will take place in a school. It remains to be seen whether the two events are indeed linked. Likewise, it is not known whether this break will have an impact on the development of the title, available in early access for a year.
Ubisoft: Axios investigation indicates company has lost a lot of talent
The Axios site recently published a new behind-the-scenes investigation of Ubisoft, with a particular focus on to the issue of staffing, and the consequences of recent cases on those. With more than 20,000 employees, the publisher / developer remains a juggernaut in the industry, but after having collected testimonials from a dozen employees and ex-employees, they relate a « wave of farewells never seen before ». According to Axios, 12 of the 50 most-credited names in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are gone, and 25 of the most-credited developers on Far Cry 6 are said to have packed their bags.
In total, nearly 60 developers have left the offices in Montreal and Toronto. The end-of-production turnover hypothesis has been put on the table, but Axios doubts it. The reasons would be more diverse and would concern « the low wages, the abundance of competitive opportunities, the frustration over the company’s creative direction and the unease over Ubisoft’s handling of a workplace misconduct scandal that erupted in the midst of the year 2020. « On this subject, Anika Grant, new human resources manager, had recently recognized errors in the process and claimed that it was gradually being adapted. One of the developers interviewed would still have said:
They constantly emphasized « getting ahead » and « looking ahead » while ignoring the complaints, concerns and cries of their employees. (…) The company’s reputation was too heavy to bear. It is legitimately embarrassing. (…) There is something about management and creative direction that stick to the bare minimum and that really put me off.
One of the witnesses claims to have had a proposal in which he was offered to triple his salary for the same job. In other words, in recent months, Ubisoft would have been an easy target for the competition. A problem to which Ubisoft would have reacted by increasing salaries to improve retention studios located in Canada, which would have increased retention by 50%. Axios contacted Ubisoft, and Anika Grant herself responded to the request, transmitting attrition rate, a percentage relating the number of departures to the total number of employees. At Ubisoft, it would have been 12% this year, higher than 9% of EA and 8% of Take Two, but lower than Activision-Blizzard (16%)
In the rest of the industry’s business news
- Hot Wheels Unleashed s’est sold a million copies combined in less than three months. The title was released on September 30th.
- Quinn Duffy, Age of Empires IV Design Director for Relic Entertainment, announced he was leaving the studio where he worked since 1998.
- In November, Halo Infinite was the most rated title on Steam (112,889), ahead of Battlefield 2042, Forza Horizon 5, Bright Memory: Infinite and Farming Simulator 22.
- Dead by Daylight now claims 48 million players. A very clear progression, which is certainly based on the addition of the game in the gamepass.
- As of December 20, only 15 NFTs would have been sold on the Ubisoft Quartz platform
- GSC Game World attempted to introduce NFTs in STALKER 2: The Heart of Chernobyl. Faced with the reaction of the players, the studio immediately buried the initiative.
- Might and Delight, the studio behind the MMO Book of Travels, has announced that it has laid off the majority of employees following the failure of the title. The studio therefore goes from 35 to 10 people, with the hope of getting over it. This will affect the production of additional content.
- Bravely Default II has been distributed over a million copies worldwide.