GamesIndustry

Nacon exec says industry's problem is "too many games"

4 months 2 weeks ago

The industry is starting 2024 in much the same way as it spent most of 2023, with news of layoffs and "for sale" signs and closures arriving alongside charts showing modest sales growth for the industry.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz before the holiday break, Nacon head of publishing Benoit Clerc acknowledges the frequency of setbacks coming alongside less-than-dire news for the industry, and points to a specific culprit for the seeming mismatch in events.

"There are too many games currently on the market," Clerc says. "We're seeing today the results of investment made after [COVID] when the market was bursting, and every game was making a lot of money so there were a lot of investments being made. This is two or three years after that, so the games we're seeing now on the market were financed in that time and there are simply too many for customers to be able to play them.

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Author
Brendan Sinclair

Esports Wales receives £50,000 in funding

4 months 2 weeks ago

Esports Wales has secured an investment of up to £50,000 as part of Media Cymru's Development Fund initiative.

As reported by Esports Insider, Wales' governing Esports body is one of 24 businesses and freelancers receiving funds to further develop and innovate projects.

Esports Wales will use the investment to develop and support the national Welsh Esports League, which was introduced last year, and official clubs across the country.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Steam's revised policy to allow "the vast majority of games" using AI

4 months 2 weeks ago

Valve has adjusted its review policy for AI content on Steam, saying it will "release the vast majority of games that use it."

However, the company is introducing new rules it described in a blog post, such as the need for developers to disclose how AI was used throughout the development of the game.

Valve split AI content into two categories:

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Author
Marie Dealessandri

Twitch reportedly laying off 35% of staff

4 months 2 weeks ago

Twitch is laying off 500 employees this month, according to a Bloomberg report.

This is according to sources "familiar with the plans," which the outlet said may be officially announced today.

Bloomberg suggested that the cuts are a result of "concerns over losses" and the departure of a number of executives.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

How Unreal Engine for Fortnite can make your game development dreams come true

4 months 2 weeks ago

It's hard to believe it now, but Dylan "TheBoyDilly" Johnson – CEO and founder of the wildly successful Good Gamers – didn't ever plan to be a game developer.

Back in early 2020, Johnson was one of millions of health workers at the forefront of the fight against COVID. After an exhausting year caring for unwell patients day after day, Johnson turned to his wife and said he had to take a break from nursing.

He had no idea that he would never be going back.

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Sponsored Article

How can Nintendo Switch 2 surpass its predecessor? | Opinion

4 months 2 weeks ago

We all thought Nintendo Switch would be a disaster.

I've told this story before, but I enjoy telling it. Nintendo fully revealed the console almost exactly seven years ago. It held an event at Hammersmith in London to showcase the product to media, retail and assorted industry people and celebrities. A group of us convened in a pub afterwards and the view was unanimous: this might be Nintendo's last console.

There was reasoning behind this analysis. Nintendo's previous machine, the Wii U, was a flop. As a home console, Switch didn't seem to offer anything over what the PS4 and Xbox One could do. As a handheld, it was more compelling, but handheld gaming appeared to be in terminal decline. 3DS sales were respectable, but mostly in Japan and it sold half what its predecessor managed. Meanwhile, PlayStation Vita had lost all momentum. The belief was that mobile gaming had killed the portable games machine, and Nintendo's own push into smartphone games was further proof of that.

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Author
Christopher Dring

Second Dinner raises $100m in Series B funding round

4 months 2 weeks ago

Second Dinner has secured $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Griffin Gaming Partners.

The Marvel Snap developer has partnered with the investment firm, and will continue to operate independently.

It will use the investment to develop new titles, incubate an original IP, and continue growth.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Unity restructuring results in largest round of layoffs

4 months 3 weeks ago

Unity has announced another round of layoffs as part of its restructuring efforts, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs.

As reported by The Verge, the layoffs were confirmed in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, in which Unity cited "restructures and refocuses on its core business" and "to position itself for long-term and profitable growth" as reasons for its decision.

"Unity has made the difficult decision to implement a workforce reduction, targeting approximately 25% of our total workforce across all teams," said Kelly Ekins, Unity's director of PR.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Netflix reportedly considering in-game purchases and ads

4 months 3 weeks ago

Netflix is reportedly considering different avenues to generate income from their games division.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there have been internal discussions between executives as to how it can generate more revenue from its gaming sector.

Netflix games are currently free to subscribers, but sources suggest executives are considering an introduction of in-app purchases as a way to generate revenue, or in-game ads for subscribers across the ad-supported tier.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Video games is no longer the biggest entertainment medium in the UK

4 months 3 weeks ago

The the first time in over ten years, video games is not the UK's biggest entertainment medium.

ERA, which is the UK trade body representing video, music and games retailers, says that revenue made by video games in the UK reached £4.74 billion, a rise of 2.9% over the year before. That includes sales of digital and physical video games, covering PC, mobile and consoles.

However, revenue from video-based content grew 10% to £4.9bn, driven by subscription services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Apple TV. Subscription revenue is worth 89% of the video market, ERA says.

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Author
Christopher Dring

UK PC and console sales grew 2.6% in 2023 | UK Annual Report

4 months 3 weeks ago

38 million video games were sold in the UK during 2023, the latest GSD figures reveal.

It's a slight increase of 2.6% over the year before, with EA Sports FC 24 continuing where FIFA left off as the UK's best-selling video game.

Sales for the rebranded series are down 8.4% over the year before to 2.39 million units sold. It's worth noting that FIFA 23 benefitted from the FIFA World Cup, which ran over December 2022.

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Author
Christopher Dring

More AI, fewer risky bets, and finding footing in a changing industry: 2024 predictions

4 months 3 weeks ago

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2024 is in its early days as to what's in store for the games industry. 2023 proved to be eventful, with Activision Blizzard joining Microsoft officially and the sector losing thousands of people through waves of job cuts.

It's anyone's guess what trends, stories, and topics will become the narrative of the new year. GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to publishers, developers, and games professionals about their predictions for 2024.

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Author
Jeffrey Rousseau

Layoffs and AI debates kick off 2024 | Microcast

4 months 3 weeks ago

Chris Dring and James Batchelor return with our weekly dive into the biggest news stories from the business of video games.

2024 has barely started and the ongoing trend of layoffs across the games industry continues. We discuss some of the wider factors that are driving this, and what else we can expect in the year ahead.

We also discuss recent stories about the use of generative AI in promotional art, including an ID@Xbox image that was published before the holidays, and the recent report of a former Activision exec suing the Call of Duty publisher for discrimination against "old white guys."

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Author
James Batchelor

EA Sports FC 24 and PS5 delivered December growth | UK Monthly Charts

4 months 3 weeks ago

6.9 million digital and physical games were sold in the UK during December, an increase of 2% over the same period in 2022.

This is based on GSD data, which tracks all physical game sales plus digital game sales from most major publishers.

It's a strong result when you consider November and December didn't feature too many big new releases. EA Sports FC 24 reclaimed No.1 for the month, and was boosted by some pre-Christmas sales activity.

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Author
Christopher Dring

Last of US TV series sweeps 2023 Creative Arts Emmy Awards

4 months 3 weeks ago

HBO's The Last of Us scooped up eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2023 last night.

The Creative Emmys focuses on technical achievements and behind-the-scenes work, in addition to accolades for actors.

Nick Offerman won Outstanding Guest Actor for his portrayal of Bill in the episode 'Long, Long Time', while Storm Reid took home Outstanding Guest Actress for her role as Riley Abel.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Ex-Activision exec accuses publisher of discriminating against "old white guys"

4 months 3 weeks ago

A former Activision executive has sued the publisher in California state court accusing the company of age discrimination and violating the state's whistleblower protection law, as reported by Law360.

The suit was filed earlier this week by a 57-year-old former tech executive who worked for the company from 2014 until being laid off as part of a restructuring in the Activision Blizzard's Central Tech department last August.

The lawsuit gives several examples to establish that Activision Blizzard discriminated against him, starting with statements Bobby Kotick allegedly made at a leadership conference that the "problem" with Activision Blizzard is that "there are too many old white guys." (The suit doesn't say exactly when the conference was.)

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Author
Brendan Sinclair

TinyBuild shut down Versus Evil on the last day before Christmas | This Week in Business

4 months 3 weeks ago

This Week in Business is our weekly recap column, a collection of stats and quotes from recent stories presented with a dash of opinion (sometimes more than a dash) and intended to shed light on various trends. Check every Friday for a new entry.

Our top story this week is that TinyBuild announced that it was shutting down Versus Evil, the indie publisher it acquired in 2021.

It might have been an easy bit of news to miss, what with it being announced on Friday, December 22, the last working day before Christmas, when much of the industry had already set their out-of-office auto-replies and unplugged to spend some time relaxing with family and friends.

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Author
Brendan Sinclair

Getting the most out of a games incubator

4 months 3 weeks ago

The early stages of running a new business is difficult, and this is no less true for game developers. Fortunately, there are programs and initiatives out there that can help give you and your new studio a leg up when it comes to overcoming the initial hurdles.

Incubators are one such initiative. As opposed to accelerators, which are focused on quickly growing established businesses with a minimum viable product, incubators tend to offer support over a longer period – often several months – as well as mentorship. Some even offer a co-working space, while others cater to remote studios, such as the upcoming Tentacle Zone incubator (applications for which close on January 11, 2023).

Regardless of the benefits an incubator offers, simply being part of the program does not guarantee success for your studio. Instead, it's about maximising the opportunities these programs offer you, and in this article, we'll explore the best ways to get the most out of an incubator with some of the alumni from previous Tentacle Zone cohorts.

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Author
James Batchelor

Baldur's Gate 3 leads New York Games Awards 2024 nominations

4 months 3 weeks ago

The nominees for the New York Game Awards 2024 were announced yesterday, with Baldur's Gate 3 taking six nominations.

Larian Studios' title was nominated in five categories, including Best Game of the Year, Best Writing, Best World, and Best Music. The game received two nominations in the Best Acting category, for Amelia Tyler as the Narrator and Neil Newbon as Astarion.

Remedy Entertainment's Alan Wake 2 saw nominations across the same five categories, with Melanie Liburd receiving a nomination for her performance as Saga Anderson.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Bossa Studios lays off one third of its staff

4 months 3 weeks ago

UK developer Bossa Studios has laid off around one third of its staff, GamesIndustry.biz has learned.

Sources shared a list of 19 people that were affected by the redundancies, mostly in QA and production roles as well as non-UK employees.

Bossa Studios has confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that it did dismiss a number of staff at the end of 2023, and that 40 people remain in the studio.

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Author
James Batchelor

Study finds most social media ads ignore loot box label requirements

4 months 3 weeks ago

Loot box researcher Leon Xiao has released the results of his latest study into loot box advertising, which found that ads for games on social media routinely run afoul of UK and EU regulations when it comes to disclosing the presence of loot boxes, or even in-game purchases of any kind.

Using a list of games known to have loot boxes that he had prepared for a previous study, Xiao combed through Meta's ad library (covering its Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger platforms) and found 188 ads for 63 different games featuring loot boxes.

Only 11% of those ads properly gave notice that the game contained in-game purchases, and just 7% noted that the game contained loot boxes. What's more, games were often inconsistent in making such disclosures. Only one game, Elder Scrolls Online, disclosed both in-game purchases and loot boxes in every ad it ran.

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Author
Brendan Sinclair

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood shutting down this April

4 months 3 weeks ago

Glu's mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is shutting down on April 8, 2024.

The title has since been removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Those who installed it before it was taken down will see a notice in-game referring to the shutdown date.

In-app purchases within Kim Kardashian: Hollywood have been disabled, but players can use in-game currency up until the closing date.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

How digital showcases helped make A Little To The Left an indie hit

4 months 3 weeks ago

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A Little To The Left did have a small following before its appearance during a Wholesome Direct.

The cozy puzzle game about organising household items was created by Max Inferno, a development team consisting of Anne Macmillan (art and animation) and Lukas Steinman (design and programming). It started as a game jam concept that was expanded upon and added to Itch.io, where it frequently found itself at the top of the charts. Back then it was more a vertical slice, with ten puzzles that were playable in the browser. You can read more about the vision for the game in our interview last year.

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Author
Christopher Dring

Nexon fined $8.9m for misleading MapleStory players

4 months 3 weeks ago

Nexon has been fined ₩11.6 million ($8.9 million) by the Korea Fair Trade Commission for allegedly neglecting to inform customers about probability changes to in-game items in MapleStory.

As The Korea Economic Daily reported, this is the highest amount imposed for a company violating the Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce in South Korea.

The South Korean antitrust body alleged Nexon lowered the probability of drawing in-game items known as Cubes, which players pay an estimated ₩2,000 ($1.50) to draw, without informing players of the change.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

New hardware, more layoffs, AI in game dev: Analyst predictions for 2024

4 months 3 weeks ago

Every year, we turn to a panel of trusted analysts to ask them what they see coming down the road, and ask them to assess their predictions from the previous year.

This year we've got all of last year's participants returning: Niko Partners' Lisa Cosmas Hanson, Midia Research's Karol Severin (offering the firm's take alongside Perry Gresham), Kantan Games' Dr. Serkan Toto, and Ampere Analysis' Piers Harding-Rolls.

We've also got one newcomer in Newzoo's lead analyst for games Tom Wijman, who will be assessing 2023 predictions made a year ago in a three-part series on the company's blog.

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Author
Brendan Sinclair

Xbox accused of using AI art to promote indie games

4 months 3 weeks ago

ID@Xbox has been accused of using AI art to promote indie games.

On December 27, ID@Xbox shared a post asking its followers what their favourite indie games of 2023 were, accompanied by an image of a wintery scene.

The post was subsequently removed following a poor reception, but the post was screenshotted and shared by other users to highlight the suspected use of AI.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Game dev coworking space The Gaming Hub opens in Portugal

4 months 3 weeks ago

Tech startup Unicorn Factory Lisboa has launched a new coworking space in Portugal's capital, in partnership with Fortis Games.

Known as The Gaming Hub, the building is divided on two floors with 13 private rooms and 12 coworking spaces, as reported by GamesBeat.

Fortis Games will occupy one floor, and is accompanied by other studios including OnTop Studios, GameDev Técnico (composed of 50 university students), and 18 virtual staff members from Volt Games, Infinity Games, and Didimo.

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Author
Sophie McEvoy

Chinese regulators approved 1,000 games in 2023

4 months 3 weeks ago

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China approved more games for release in 2023 than in the previous two years, with over 1,000 titles granted a publishing licence during the past year.

As reported yesterday, 105 games were approved in December, with South China Morning Post reporting that this was the highest monthly total since July 2022.

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Author
James Batchelor