business news NFT, Activision-Blizzard, Focus Entertainment… The business news of the week
Sales figures, studio buyouts, financial statements, developer transfer window, investments… if these topics interest you, you’ve come to the right place. We offer you an update on the business news of the past week.
- NFT: Ubisoft backs down, Square Enix makes it happen
- Takeover of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft: the United Kingdom and the European Union are getting involved
- Halo: 343 Industries loses its founder and director
- Focus Entertainment buys BlackMill Games (WW1)
- Briefly in the business news of the week
NFT: Ubisoft backs down, Square Enix makes it happen
To say that Ubisoft reacted by launching its Quartz platform, centered on NFTs and blockchain, is an understatement. Between total rejection and excitement on the part of the public, the initiative did not leave anyone indifferent. Launched in 2021, Quartz has, for the moment in any case, only sold items related to Ghost Recon Breakpoint. We felt that it was a trial run, but everything suggested that this first step would be followed by others fairly quickly. Ubisoft also seemed very confident, Nicolas Poulard, vice-president of the strategic innovations laboratory, indicating that people who reject NFTs did not understand what advantages they represented. But the future of NFTs at Ubisoft doesn’t seem so certain anymore. During an exchange with Eurogamer, Yves Guillemot finally explained that Quartz and NFTs were just a “test” :
We really look at all the new technologies. We are very much on the cloud, on the new generation of voxels, and we are looking at all the capabilities of Web3. We recently tested a few things that give us more information on how it can be used and what we should do with it in the world of video games. So we’re testing games that… We’ll see if they really meet the players’ needs, and then they come to market. But we are still in research mode, I would say. (…) We should have said that we are working on it, and that when we have something that will bring you a real advantage, we will bring it to you. (…)
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always to make sure that we can bring a new experience to the players that will be innovative and interesting. The goal of business is always to create the best experience, and new technologies are always good for that because there is less competition and people are more interested in trying new things on new technologies. .
This change in the discourse may appear as a reversal, which echoes the statements from former data analystsquestioned by our colleagues from Gamekult last July, as well as at 96 successful transactions on Quartz according to Ars Technica:
We did a little study where we siphoned off a few things on Reddit with summaries of the positions of gamers who were talking about NFTs, it was very negative. Obviously, we weren’t going to have people throwing up their hands and saying, “yeah, give us NFTs in Ghost Recon”. In fact, it’s a study that was done in a bit of a rush because we didn’t have a lot of time to try to tell Yves Guillemot not to do that.
If you know a bit about the character of Yves, he was thoroughly. As soon as it’s bullshit marketing that can bring in money, it’s gone. So he asks our department if we have any information on NFTs. The director then asks a team leader, who will in turn ask someone from my team, who will launch an analysis for her by collecting data from social networks and cross-referencing it with other data. He gives his analysis to the team leader who then retorts: “Oh no, we can’t say that to Yves”. That’s it, end of story.
On his side, Square Enix has long expressed interest for the blockchain and NFTs, but we were still waiting to know how all this would materialize. This week, the Japanese publisher announced that it had joins the Oasys blockchain with a launch by the end of the year holidays. The project is followed by about twenty other companies, which, like Square Enix, will validate the nodes. Like others, Oasys presents itself as environmentally friendly, while the publisher sees it as a way exploit user contributions. In short, and despite the vagueness that currently surrounds Web3 and cryptocurrencies, Square Enix concretizes his intentions.
Takeover of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft: the United Kingdom and the European Union are getting involved
We suspected it, but the takeover of Activision-Blizzard-King by Microsoft will not pass like a letter to La Poste. Estimated at nearly $70 billionthe operation is scrutinized very closely by the financial authorities, as well as by the competition, Sony in the lead. The PS5 manufacturer tells anyone who will listen that Microsoft’s takeover of licenses such as Call of Duty would have a major negative impact on consumers, but Microsoft responded by stating that removing Call of Duty from PlayStation players would be commercial nonsense.
The takeover has already been validated by Saudi Arabia, and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is expected to decide for the United States. This could deepen the investigation, as this should be the case in Western Europe. Indeed, the UK’s Competition Markets Authority announced last week that consideration of such an agreement could possibly be extended.
Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals. in multi-game subscription services and cloud games.
An idea what could the European Union follow according to the Financial Times, with statements showing great caution from the authorities:
Regulators and other parties involved in the deal expect a prolonged EU investigation when Microsoft formally files its case in Brussels in the coming weeks. People familiar with the EU thinking said regulators would take their time reviewing the deal because of its size, the nature of the buyer and growing concerns from rivals, including Sony.
Halo: 343 Industries loses its founder and director
15 years after founding 343 Industries, Bonnie Ross, founder and director of the studio, has announced that she will be leaving the company. The situation of Halo Infinite obviously has nothing to do with this departure, the interested party indicating that she was leaving in order to manage a medical concern within her family. It is therefore with regret that she announced her departure on Twitter through a press release.
While I was hoping to take care of Halo until the Winter Update is released, I am letting you know that I will be leaving 343 (Industries) and dealing with a family medical issue. I’m incredibly proud of the work everyone at 343 Industries has done with Halo Infinite, the Master Chief Collection, the Halo TV series, and so much more. It has been an honor to serve alongside the team for the past 15 years and to be part of a world that I love. Thanks to everyone in the Halo community for their support. Halo’s future is bright. I can’t wait to show you what we have in store and cheer you on, as a fan, during the Halo World Championship in October!
A departure which should cause change in the studio, since she will leave her post to three people. Pierre Hintze, studio veteran, immediately takes over the management of the latter while leading the roadmap for Halo Infinite and The Master Chief Collection, as well as future productions. Elizabeth Van Wyck will oversee business and operations commercial, while Bryan Koscki will take charge of the franchises.
Focus Entertainment buys BlackMill Games (WW1)
Created in 1996 under the name of Focus Home Interactive, the French publisher has, for several years, begun a gentle but sensitive change. The editor change of president in 2018passing from Cédric Lagarrigue to Jurgen Goeldner, and gradually offers Deck13 (The Surge), Douze Dixièmes, DotEmu or Leikir Studio. Accompanied acquisitions in 2021 from a name changewith a publisher that must now be named Focus Entertainment.
Ambition is still the key word at the publisher, which retains its niche, namely the production of double A, medium / high budget games. A desire for growth which very recently continued with the acquisition of a majority stake in BlackMill Games. Focus Entertainment bought out M2H’s stake, and now owns 66.6% of the shares from the studio. Jos Hoebe, founder and creative director of the studio, retains the rest of the capital of the company as well as the management. To make things easier, M2H will ensure the transition:
We know the WW1 Game Series is in the capable hands of Jos and Focus Entertainment and we’re confident that together they can make the series bigger than ever. While we can’t wait to start working on an exciting new project, we’ll be sure to pass on our knowledge and expertise over the coming year to ensure a smooth transition. We can’t wait to see what the new owners bring to the WW1 Game Series,” said Matt Hergaarden, co-founder of M2H.
Briefly in the business news of the week
- 3.45 million copies in three days is the score of Splatoon 3 in Japan! A resounding success for Nintendo’s new production. To situate, in five years, Splatoon 2 has sold 13.3 million copies.
- Roblox will launch in-game ads next year
- Activision has banned over half a million Call of Duty accounts.
- THQ Nordic has officially opened its new studio, referred to as Campfire Cabal. The latter is intended to develop RPGs.
- Garena (Free Fire) is said to have laid off 15% of its workforce in Shanghai as part of a global restructuring.
- From August 29 to September 4, 2022, The Last of Us Part I on PS5 dominated the physical sales market in value in France according to SELL. It is followed by Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.