GamesIndustry

Square Enix Q1 sales decline by 15%

2 days 20 hours ago

Final Fantasy maker Square Enix released its financial earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2022.

Square Enix’s Digital Entertainment division is broken down into HD Game, MMO, as well as mobile/PC browser sub segments.

The HD Games subsection generated ¥12 billion ($89 million) in net sales, a decrease of 52.2% when compared to the same period last year.

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Is Activision Blizzard in a rough patch or a longer decline? | This Week in Business

3 days 2 hours ago

It's financial earnings season, and as expected, a lot of the news coming out of the industry isn't particularly good.

Last week saw Microsoft and Sony post sales declines from their gaming businesses, even as the platform-holders' other businesses carried both to growth, while Capcom revenues were almost halved on a tough comparison to last year's first fiscal quarter when it launched Resident Evil Village.

This week saw a few more companies offer a mix of results, including Nintendo joining its platform holder peers with fairly "meh" results.

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Sega posts gains on light release slate

3 days 3 hours ago

Sega has released its financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2022, and the publisher's fiscal year appears to be off to a good start.

Sega's first quarter release slate was somewhat muted, led by the retro compilation Sonic Origins, a PC revamp of the 2020 Switch release Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix, and a Switch port of PS4 title 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, which debuted in Japan in 2019.

The publisher did not specify how any of those titles performed individually, but the company as a whole reported selling 5.14 million copies of games over the quarter, down 22% year-over-year.

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Jam City lays off 17% of workforce

3 days 6 hours ago

Developer Jam City has reportedly laid off around 17% of its staff, impacting what is estimated to be hundreds of employees across the company.

As reported by VentureBeat, the layoffs seem to have primarily taken place within subsidiary studio Ludia, the maker of mobile title Jurassic World Alive.

In a statement to the outlet, a spokesperson for Jam City said that the decision to lay off between 150 to 200 people across the firm was a "necessary move to enhance our flexibility and increase operating efficiencies, better positioning Jam City for long-term growth."

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Bandai Namco's game sales up 55% year-on-year during Q1 FY2023

3 days 7 hours ago

Bandai Namco has released its financial results for the first quarter (April to June 2022) of the fiscal year ending in March 2023, reporting healthy growth across the board.

Looking more precisely at Bandai Namco's Digital Business segment, sales for home video games represented ¥40.5 billion ($304 million) during Q1 FY2023, a 54.5% increase year-on-year. However, the company is anticipating to achieve ¥140 billion ($1.05 billion) in sales by the end of the fiscal year, which would represent a 19.7% drop compared to the previous fiscal year.

Bandai Namco sold 11.4 million units across four titles released during the quarter, versus 10 million during the same quarter the year before, across 14 games.

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Study finds that Belgium's loot box ban isn't being enforced

3 days 20 hours ago

A new study reveals that Belgium's ban on loot boxes within games has not been enforced.

In 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission recommended criminal prosecution over illegal loot boxes, but loot box researcher Leon Y. Xiao found that many companies outright ignored the ban, and measures to comply with the law were easily circumvented.

The study noted that among the 100 highest-grossing Belgian iPhone games during May 2021, 82% had loot box features.

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Nier: Automata for the people | Why I Love

4 days 2 hours ago

Why I Love is a series of guest editorials on GamesIndustry.biz intended to showcase the ways in which game developers appreciate each other's work. This entry was contributed by Chen Yamei (Script Planning) and Zou Mengxia (Script Planning) from developer Softstar Beijing, who in partnership with publisher Eastasiasoft are releasing their Chinese mythology-based action RPG Sword and Fairy: Together Forever on PlayStation 4 and 5 on August 4th.

When Nier: Automata was announced, our project team was thrilled, and all of us eagerly looked forward to its release. We had all played and loved Nier: Replicant on the PS3 (Editor's note: Nier: Replicant was originally released in the West simply as Nier), so we trusted that Automata would have a story that was just as incredible as Replicant's.

Our expectations were high, but Nier: Automata exceeded them. In addition to having an even better story, it also featured a vastly improved combat system that was both fluid and impactful, proving that Square Enix had made the right decision in choosing to work with PlatinumGames on Automata.

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Tencent reportedly looking to raise stake in Ubisoft

4 days 3 hours ago

Tencent is looking to acquire a larger piece of Ubisoft and is willing to pay a significant premium for it, according to a Reuters report.

Citing "four sources with direct knowledge of the matter," Reuters says Tencent wants to become the single largest shareholder in the Assassin's Creed publisher, and is willing to pay up to €100 ($102) per share to make it happen.

Ubisoft shares opened today's trading at €42.24 ($43.03), making an offer of that size a 137% premium on the price. After Reuters published its report, Ubisoft shares were trading up 15% to €48.33 ($49.24).

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Koch Media rebrands as Plaion to "acknowledge who we truly are"

4 days 4 hours ago

As of today, Koch Media is no more. Instead, the company will now go by a new moniker: Plaion.

The 28-year-old games publisher unveiled its new logo today, and GamesIndustry.biz spoke to managing director Klemens Kundratitz about the motivations and implications of the overhaul. For starters, he tells us the process originally began as a visual upgrade to modernise Koch's look.

"But the more we thought about it, the more we wanted to go all the way," he told us. "It's more impactful, it's got an external statement but it's also an internal statement to our people. We're opening this new chapter, they're part of this, we're a modern, growing, ambitious, global company, and it's energising people internally.

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Activision Blizzard accused of fighting against Albany union

4 days 5 hours ago

Staff at Blizzard Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions) have accused Activision Blizzard of trying to undermine its efforts to unionise.

According to Albany Game Workers Alliance, the group rallying for better working conditions at the studio, the publisher has re-hired Reed Smith – an organisation that offers union-avoidance services, in order to stall the recognition of a union.

"Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labour neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labour rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm," the group said on Wednesday.

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Navigating early access: legal and practical considerations

4 days 7 hours ago

In recent years we have seen a number of studios continuing to eschew traditional launch in favour of early access: Baldur’s Gate 3 and Valheim were some of last year’s strongest titles, neither of which have yet seen a full launch.

An iterative release through early access is of course nothing new (think Minecraft circa 2009), and the benefits are undoubtedly appealing: developers can soft launch their game and test its viability directly with their target audience, all the while building a community and generating revenue for ongoing development.

However, what are the legal and practical considerations to launching in early access? And to what extent will developers/publishers’ obligations regarding their beta title differ compared to a version 1.0?

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Tencent and Logitech team up for new handheld cloud console

4 days 7 hours ago

Tencent and Logitech have unveiled a partnership to create a handheld cloud gaming console.

The device, slated to release later this year, will support several existing cloud gaming services, including Xbox Cloud Gaming and NVidia GeForce NOW.

As of writing, the console does not have a retail price, and technical specifications and images are yet to be shown.

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Bandai Namco, Sega and Square Enix join GI Live: London 2022

4 days 9 hours ago

Japanese games giants Bandai Namco, Sega and Square Enix are meeting with indie developers at GI Live: London in September.

Bandai Namco will be meeting attendees on the digital-day only (Tuesday, September 20th), while Sega and Square Enix Collective will be connecting with creators in-person.

Also joining the event this year are Curve, ID@Xbox and Valve, with the latter answering questions about Steam via a livestream Q&A at the show.

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DDM: Gaming investments reached $4.8bn during Q2

4 days 20 hours ago

A new report from Digital Development Management (DDM) reveals that video game investments during Q2 2022 reached $4.8 billion.

The video games agency notes that the figure represents an increase of 37% year-over-year at a volume of 217 deals.

Blockchain gaming investments totaled 25% of Q2 2022's value at $1.2 billion.

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Blizzard and NetEase cancel World of Warcraft mobile game

5 days 1 hour ago

Activision Blizzard and NetEase have scrapped an unannounced World of Warcraft mobile spin-off, citing financial problems as the reason for the move.

A Bloomberg report unveiled that the title had been in development for three years, with business disagreements eventually leading to the project’s demise.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, over 100 developers assigned to the game were let go from NetEase, with an unknown number offered internal transfers.

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Supermassive on Nordisk acquisition: “We’re still independent but with more muscle”

5 days 3 hours ago

2022 continues to be the year of shock acquisitions, with Supermassive Games snapped up by Nordisk just last month.

The UK developer already sold a 30% minority ownership stake to Nordisk Games in 2021, and has been working closely with the company for a couple of years. But given the success Supermassive has seen with ongoing horror series The Dark Pictures Anthology and most recent hit The Quarry, why would the studio give up its independence?

“I still consider us to be independent,” managing director Pete Samuels tells GamesIndustry.biz. “It depends how you define 'independent'.

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Royelles: "The future of the metaverse is female"

5 days 4 hours ago

As a parent of two children including an 11-year-old girl, Royelles CEO and founder Múkami Kinoti Kimotho noticed a shift several years ago that will likely be familiar to many parents. Her daughter and her friends transitioned from playing with toys to playing with mobile devices.

"It's how they create, it's how they connect, how they learn, and it's certainly how they have fun," Kimotho tells GamesIndustry.biz. "Mobile gaming is really at the heart of everything they do."

Kimotho had concerns about young girls spending so much of their time playing on mobile devices and in online worlds, and understood how their experiences there could feed into mental health issues, cyber bullying, body shaming, and other problems.

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Unity reportedly looking to separate China unit from main business

5 days 5 hours ago

Unity is reportedly looking to create a separate Chinese unit independent from the rest of the business in order to strengthen operations there, according to people familiar with the matter.

As reported by Reuters, the company hopes to give Unity China more local ownership and autonomy over how it operates, which may improve and inspire relationships with the local government and state-owned partners.

It also allegedly hopes to see its development software used more in the country as a result of the separation. Many of China’s most popular games are developed in Unity — including Tencent’s Honor of Kings and MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact.

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Andrew Wilson: "I don't think we could be in a stronger position as a standalone company"

5 days 6 hours ago

During EA's earnings call yesterday, CEO Andrew Wilson addressed recent rumours that the FIFA company was looking to be acquired.

Reports that EA had acquisition talks with NBCUniversal, Amazon, Apple, and Disney emerged in May, with Wilson asked about it during the Q&A portion of the call (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

First saying that he wouldn't comment on "rumours and speculation from some [little-read] media outlets," he then said that EA was in an "incredible position" and was soon to become "the largest standalone independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment in the world."

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Keywords Studios acquires Mighty Games

5 days 6 hours ago

Outsourcing firm Keywords Studios has acquired mobile development outfit Mighty Games for up to $6.9 million.

The deal is split into an initial cash consideration of $3.3 million and $800k in ordinary shares. A further $2.8 million may be awarded depending on company targets.

Melbourne-based Mighty Games was founded in 2013, and is behind several arcade and adventure titles including Piffle and Disney Crossy Road.

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Games And Online Harassment Hotline launches hate raid protection resource

5 days 7 hours ago

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline has launched a new online resource aimed at content creators so they can protect themselves from hate raids.

The guide can be found on the Hotline's website, and gives a comprehensive overview of what livestreamers can do if they're the victim of a hate raid, but also what measures they can put in place to minimise the risks of it happening, and what steps to take if it has happened already.

Talking to GamesIndustry.biz, the Games and Online Harassment Hotline director Jae Lin commented: "Hate raids have been used to target Black, women, queer, and marginalized streamers for years. With a spike in this tactic over the past year, it's the streamers and community moderators who have created and shared the most effective knowledge and tools for mitigating the harm of hate raids.

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Nintendo Q1 sales fall 4.7% to $2.3bn, Switch sales down 23%

5 days 8 hours ago

Nintendo suffered declines in the first quarter of its financial year, with net sales dropping almost 5% to $2.3 billion – due largely to a decrease in hardware sales.

3.43 million Switch units were sold to retail during the three months ended June 30, 2022. That’s a year-on-year decline of 22.9%, which Nintendo attributed to “the effects of supply shortages in semiconductors and other components among other factors.”

Net sales: ¥307.5 billion ($2.3 billion), down 4.7% year-on-year Operating profit: ¥101.6 billion ($762.7 million), down 15.1% Ordinary profit: ¥166.7 billion ($1.3 billion), up 29.6% Gross profit: ¥184.5 billion ($1.4 billion), down 4.3%

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the biggest Xeno game launch in the UK so far | UK Boxed Charts

5 days 11 hours ago

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was the best-selling boxed video game in the UK last week, according to charts company GfK.

The game very narrowly beat Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to become the biggest launch in the Xeno series so far, according to data shared by GfK boss Dorian Bloch to GamesIndustry.biz.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 beat its predecessor by just a handful of units in terms of week one physical sales. In fact, all three Xenoblade games on the Nintendo Switch sold roughly the same amount of units at launch, with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition the No.3 biggest launch.

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FIFA and F1 drive EA to Q1 growth

5 days 20 hours ago

Despite a downturn in the financial fortunes of many publishers, Electronic Arts continues to show growth thanks in large part to its sporting efforts.

The company today reported results for the first quarter of its fiscal year (three months ended June 30), showing sales and profit growth driven by its F1 and FIFA franchises.

Revenue: $1.77 billion (up 14% year-on-year) Bookings: $1.3 billion (down 3%) Net income: $311 million (up 52%)

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Google Play adds new rules on interstitial ads

6 days 2 hours ago

Google Play has updated its developer program policies with a number of new rules that will be phased in over the coming months, including some new restrictions on how apps use ads.

Beginning September 30, unexpected full-screen interstitial ads that pop up when users have chosen to do something else will not be allowed.

On top of that, users must be able to quit out of full-screen interstitial ads within 15 seconds, unless they specifically opted into it (for an in-game reward, for example) or it doesn't interrupt normal use of the app.

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Creature feature: An expert’s guide to making memorable monsters

6 days 2 hours ago

Video games have brought us an incredible range of memorable and iconic creatures over the decades, from Trico in The Last Guardian, to Creepers in Minecraft, Goombas in the Mario series, Big Daddies from BioShock, Final Fantasy's Chocobos, or Gorons in the Zelda franchise.

In a Develop:Brighton talk entitled 'Bringing Creatures to Life: How to Make Good, Emotionally Appealing Creature Designs', Sam Santala detailed the foundations for making creatures come to life in a way that makes sense for games, whether they're monstrous foes or adorable allies.

Santala has worked as a senior concept artist since 2014, working on games such as Rare's Everwild, Ubisoft's Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians, ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2, or Avatar: Pandora Rising. In 2020, he launched Songhorn, his outsourcing art studio focusing solely on creature design.

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Digital game purchases in Germany rose to 59% in 2021

6 days 4 hours ago

The popularity of game downloads in Germany continued to grow last year, with 59% of all PC and console purchases made digitally.

According to the German games trade body Game, 93% of all PC titles were purchased and downloaded online, while 7% were bought physically.

On the console side however, 36% of game purchases were made digitally, with the majority still preferring to buy boxed copies of games for Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.

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Come and Make: The future of off-road racing games

6 days 7 hours ago

Codemasters is famous the world over for developing high-quality simulation racing games.

Last month, the UK-based developer was in pole position in the charts with its latest smash hit: F1 22. However, the company continues to invest in other racing experiences, and today we turn our attention to another part of the Codemasters business: rally games.

We sit down with Ross Gowing, the senior creative director on the EA Sports Rally team, to discuss life at Codemasters and the future of off-road racing.

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Steam publishes new graphical asset guidelines, restricting text use

6 days 7 hours ago

Steam has updated its guidelines regarding graphical assets on the store, with the goal to make them "as clear and straightforward as possible for customers."

In a blog post detailing the new rules, Valve explained that going forward banner images should be restricted to "game artwork, the game name, and any official subtitle" and should not feature:

This applies to any store graphical assets which Steam said "are the banner images (called ‘Capsules’ in Steamworks) that represent your game throughout the store.”

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Our Machinery scraps game engine, asks developers to delete source code

6 days 7 hours ago

Our Machinery has pulled the plug on its game engine just over a year after it launched.

The company emailed developers to let them know development on its toolset, called The Machinery, has ceased and is even asking them to delete any copies they have installed.

In a message shared with GamesIndustry.biz, the company wrote:

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Valve and Xbox to speak to indie developers at GI Live: London

6 days 9 hours ago

Valve and ID@Xbox are the first major companies who will deliver talks at GI Live: London in September.

Valve will be streaming in from Seattle to answer indie dev questions live at the show, while Xbox will be talking about its ID programme on stage.

The talks will take place over the event's two physical days on Wednesday, September 21st and Thursday, September 22nd. A digital-only meeting day will also take place on Tuesday, September 20th.

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Diablo Immortal launch can't save Activision Blizzard's Q2

6 days 19 hours ago

The June launch of Diablo Immortal was not enough to pull Activision Blizzard out of its recent malaise, as the publisher posted its second quarter results today, showing double-digit declines to revenues, net income, and players.

Revenue: $1.64 billion (down 28% year-on-year) Bookings: $1.64 billion (down 15%) Net income: $280 million (down 68%) Monthly active users: 361 million (down 12% year-over-year and 3% quarter-over-quarter)

The Activision division continued to show declines with revenues down 38% year-over-year to $490 million, and engagement continuing to slide.

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Nintendo of Europe hires Tom Enoki as senior managing director | Jobs Roundup: August 2022

6 days 20 hours ago

It can be difficult keeping track of the various comings and goings in the games industry, which is why we compile them in semi-regular round-ups.

If you have new appointments or transitions in your company that belong here, please send the names of the appointees, new role and company, and prior role and company to newhires@gamesindustry.biz.

Tom Enoki has been appointed as senior managing director and head of corporate planning office at Nintendo of Europe.

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Former Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton joins Kinguin | Jobs Roundup: August 2022

6 days 20 hours ago

It can be difficult keeping track of the various comings and goings in the games industry, which is why we compile them in semi-regular round-ups.

If you have new appointments or transitions in your company that belong here, please send the names of the appointees, new role and company, and prior role and company to newhires@gamesindustry.biz.

Video game retailer Kinguin announced that games industry veteran David Yarnton has been hired as partner and chief of business development.

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Sony says Microsoft’s ownership of Call of Duty could influence console buyers in the future

1 week ago

A new report reveals that Sony believes that Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard may influence future console purchases.

As reported by VGC, the platform holder responded to questions about the acquisition from the Brazilian government alongside other gaming and tech firms.

"[Call of Duty] is synonymous with first-person shooter games and essentially defines that category," it said to regulators.

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Google AdMob adds Pangle as a bidding partner

1 week ago

Google AdMob's app publishers can now access Pangle's exclusive TikTok for Business ad demand.

Pangle, the ad network of TikTok for Business, has joined Google AdMob as a bidding partner, which means mobile app developers and publishers can boost their revenue with exclusive ad demand from TikTok for Business advertisers. Google AdMob is Pangle's newest mediation partner, and joins the likes of MAX, ironSource, DT FairBid, Appodeal, AdMost, Nimbus, TradPlus, and TopOn.

Following a successful beta, the product integration is available to all app publishers from today. Mobile publishers and developers that integrate Pangle with Google AdMob will be able to display ads in various non-intrusive formats, including banner ads, interstitial ads, and rewarded video ads that give app users a choice to watch advertising content in return for in-app incentives.

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Moo Yu on finding the heart in game development

1 week ago

Despite being an accomplished programmer with credits at renowned studios like Insomniac Games and Media Molecule, Moo Yu feels like he’s still finding his feet.

Yu is something of a veteran in the games industry, having started his game development career in Southern California, before relocating to the UK and working on a multitude of mobile and indie projects including the crowdfunded Knights and Bikes.

But his current position – creative director at his own studio, Team Artichoke, working on an unannounced game -- he took up with reluctance.

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MGM loses Tomb Raider film rights, bidding war begins

1 week ago

The movie rights for Tomb Raider are currently up for grabs, after MGM failed to greenlight a sequel.

TheWrap reports that the Hollywood giant had until May 2022 to approve a new Tomb Raider film, but its failure to do so means it has lost the rights to the IP.

Multiple anonymous sources have told the site there are several movie studios now bidding for the property.

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Why InnoGames decided to open up about pay

1 week ago

How much employees are being paid is something that is generally shrouded in mystery.

Much of the time staff are discouraged from discussing their compensation, which – among other things – often hides pay disparity based on gender and race.

As a result, there have been calls for greater transparency when it comes to pay. Not everyone is on board with this, but one company which can clearly see which way the wind is blowing is German mobile games firm InnoGames, which published the salary bands for a number of its departments last month.

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Sony: Revamped PlayStation Plus and increased PS5 supply key to offsetting decline

1 week ago

PlayStation hopes that its recently expanded subscription service and getting more PS5 units into the market will counter the decline in player engagement it’s experiencing this year.

During its latest earnings call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Sony’s executive deputy president and chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki said total gameplay time among PlayStation users was down 15% year-on-year in the three months ended June 30, 2022.

June was reported as a stronger month, up 3% over May but still down 10% when compared to June 2021.

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