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A tradition that has outlasted E3 itself is the practice of identifying winners and losers from the event. This evaluative process is widely distributed and highly subjective, often leading to both misguided and insightful judgments that influence the competitive outlook for the upcoming year. Despite the numerous failings that ultimately led to E3's downfall, its timing in the calendar was intentional. Positioned strategically in early June, the period aligns with companies finalizing their holiday release schedules and beginning to focus on major titles for the following year. With or without a trade show, early June remains a pivotal moment for game companies. It offers an opportunity to gauge the industry's leading players and anticipate trends for the next 12 to 18 months
Astro Bot has emerged as the leading game from the summer showcases, boasting the highest number of wishlists among all titles revealed in the past two weeks. According to data from IGN Playlist, a web and mobile app that tracks game backlogs and play activity, the rankings are based on purchase intent from more than 43,000 gamers. This data accounts for new wishlists added between May 30, the day of the PlayStation State of Play conference, and June 12
Numerous headlines on various platforms have dubbed this year's line-up of showcases as 'The Year of the Indie' — and the claim holds merit. The array of titles presented at events like Guerrilla Collective, Wholesome Direct, and Day of the Devs were exceptional. Indie games also made their mark during Summer Game Fest and the Xbox Games Showcase. Throughout the week, countless titles from smaller or independent developers showcased original, innovative ideas, explored stories from underrepresented cultures, or simply injected a unique sense of fun and imagination which many AAA titles, focused on realism or intense action, often miss. Following last year’s tradition, the GamesIndustry.biz team aimed to spotlight some standout titles that merit more attention, considering the majority usually gravitates towards new releases from well-known developers and franchises. Below are our selections from the 2024 summer games showcases
The South Korean company Com2uS is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Summoners War: Sky Arena, which was globally released in June 2014. In honor of the game's birthday, the developers announced that the MMORPG's revenue has exceeded $3 billion.
"Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door" led the sales charts in Japan for May, with 115,649 units sold in the three days following its release on May 23. This nearly mirrored the original GameCube version's debut in 2004, which sold 138,000 copies, based on the latest figures from Famitsu. It is important to note that the digital sales through Nintendo eShop are not included in these numbers. The second-best selling game for the month was "Stellar Blade," which sold 46,424 units, while "Endless Ocean Luminous," a new entry that launched on May 2, recorded sales of 42,847 copies.
John Hight has departed from Blizzard Entertainment after more than ten years with the firm. Hight, who became part of Blizzard in 2011, revealed the news on social media, expressing his enthusiasm for "new opportunities." "After 12 amazing years at Blizzard, I've chosen to move on and embark on a new adventure," Hight wrote. "It was a difficult choice, but I believe the timing is right: Warcraft is thriving as the universe marks its 30th anniversary. It has been a privilege to serve all the heroes of Azeroth"
The acquisition process for Keywords Studios has encountered a delay as the timeframe for its potential buyer to submit an offer has been extended. According to information from last month, a private equity firm under the EQT Group is contemplating a cash offer priced at £25.50 per share for the games development services firm. Keywords confirmed through a regulatory notice that they are in advanced negotiations with the prospective buyer. Originally, EQT was required to either present a formal offer or declare an intention not to proceed by 5 pm on June 15. Keywords sought an extension to this deadline, which has now been granted by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers
Supercell has established itself as a trailblazer in the mobile gaming industry, a notable achievement considering it has launched just five games prior to its latest release. On May 29, the Finnish firm debuted its sixth game, Squad Busters, which has rapidly gained popularity. The game garnered $1.1 million on its launch day and surpassed 30 million downloads in short order. According to Eino Joas, the game lead, this represents "by far the biggest launch that we've had," as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. It is also worth mentioning that, unofficial sources indicate, within two days, the game had already covered the costs of its high-profile live-action trailer featuring celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Christina Ricci, and Ken Jeong. While Rob Lowe, a marketing executive at Supercell, does not explicitly confirm this, he does note that the game is "quickly getting toward profitability." The introduction of Squad Busters marks a significant milestone for Supercell, which has globally released only six games in its 14-year history. The company is well-known for halting the development of numerous games, even those that progress to public beta or soft launch phases. A spokesperson for Supercell revealed that six games, tested in public beta or soft launches since the 2018 release of Brawl Stars, were eventually scrapped. Thus, the release of Squad Busters suggests it possesses unique qualities that saved it from being discontinued
It has now been eight months since SAG-AFTRA members voted to authorize a strike in the gaming sector, prompted by stalled negotiations concerning the Interactive Media Agreement. Discussions, which have been ongoing since October 2022, involve companies such as Activision, EA, Epic Games, Insomniac, WB Games, and others that collaborate with actors for voice and motion capture performances in video games. Although SAG-AFTRA has not yet initiated a strike, talks came to a significant impasse shortly after the strike authorization was approved, and an agreement remains elusive. There has been some progress in other areas, such as with Replica Studios on the ethical use of AI voice work, but negotiations over the Interactive Media Agreement appear to be at a near standstill despite multiple bargaining rounds
Epic Games has revealed plans to launch the Epic Games Store and Fortnite on iOS devices in Japan by late 2025. This development comes in response to new legislation in Japan, akin to the European Union's Digital Markets Act, which permits third-party app stores on Apple's App Store. According to a report from Apple Insider, this law was initially proposed by a government panel in June and is slated to take effect sometime next year.
Vampire survival game V Rising successfully transitioned from Early Access, climbing to the top of UK charts in May. The PC title garnered favorable reviews at launch, with a PlayStation 5 version set for release on June 11. Despite this, it was a tepid month for game sales overall, with 1.85 million units sold, reflecting a 21% decline compared to May 2023. The previous year’s market had gained momentum from the releases of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Hogwarts Legacy on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
The South Korean studio Shift Up has encountered difficulties in going public. They have postponed the collection of preliminary stock applications from early June to the end of the month. The developers made this decision after financial authorities pointed out that Shift Up's business is too dependent on Goddess of Victory: Nikke.
Valve's Steam platform is contending with a £656 million collective action lawsuit, initiated by digital rights advocate Vicki Shotbolt. The claim alleges that Valve has exploited its dominant market position to impose excessive charges on 14 million UK consumers. This legal action was submitted to the Competition Appeal Tribunal on June 5. "Valve is manipulating the market and exploiting UK gamers," Shotbolt commented to BBC News.
The Japanese authorities have passed a law prohibiting tech giants like Apple and Google from restricting the distribution of apps on their platforms. In compliance with this law, Apple will have to allow third-party app stores on iOS devices in the country.
The British company Sumo Group, whose portfolio includes Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Team Sonic Racing, and many other games, is preparing to carry out significant layoffs. The company announced plans to dismiss up to 15% of its employees in Canada, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Czech Republic, and India.
Mike Verdu, who currently serves as Netflix's Vice President of Games, is set to transition into a new role within the organization as it intensifies its focus on the video game industry. Verdu, who has previously held executive roles at Facebook and Electronic Arts, became part of the Netflix team in 2021, just before the company revealed its strategy to enter the mobile gaming market. While the specifics of Verdu's new position have not been disclosed, sources from GamesIndustry.biz suggest it will be centered around 'innovation in game development.'
The past week was eventful for the gaming industry, featuring numerous live shows and events, with more expected later this month. Among the most prominent were Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest, which aired on Friday, and the Xbox Games Showcase, which went live on Sunday. Both events promised significant announcements and new previews of upcoming games. Notably, Geoff Keighley set the stage for his Summer Game Fest during a Twitch Q&A by clarifying that this year's show would emphasize previously announced titles rather than major premieres. In retrospect, this was a prudent decision, as the overall reception was mixed. According to a poll conducted by Keighley on X, more than 40% of over 250,000 gamers rated the event with a D grade, while less than 10% gave it an A grade.
Astrocade AI has successfully secured $12 million in seed funding. This capital will be directed towards its generative AI social gaming platform, a project that is presently undergoing closed alpha testing. This platform enables users to design and alter games according to their preferences. Key investors in this funding round include AME Cloud Ventures, NVIDIA Ventures, and the Venture Reality Fund.
Voodoo has purchased the social media platform BeReal for €500 million. Established in 2019, BeReal prompts its users to capture and share photos of their activities within a two-minute notification window, with posts vanishing after 24 hours. Voodoo plans to bolster BeReal with enhancements in product strategy, user growth, and infrastructure while committing to investments aimed at fostering innovative new features.
Mock reviews are a common practice in the gaming industry, but due to the confidential nature of this work, they remain largely unexamined compared to areas like Quality Assurance (QA) and player testing. Given that most mock reviews and game assessments are bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), it's understandable why this aspect of the feedback process is seldom discussed. By leveraging insights from experts in publishing, public relations, and game consultancy—alongside my own experience as a freelance consultant and mock reviewer—this article seeks to shed light on the mock review process and its role in providing valuable feedback at various stages of game development. Essentially, a mock review emulates the kind of review you might find published by gaming media. It is a written analysis that discusses a game's strengths and weaknesses, designed to replicate the external critique a game is likely to encounter upon release. Typically, publishers or marketing agencies commission these reviews, which are often penned by individuals with a background in games journalism
On June 12, 2023, it has been reported that Sumo Group has closed Timbre Games. This development comes just a day after Sumo announced plans to cut its workforce by 15%, potentially affecting around 250 employees. While the closure was not part of the official announcement, staff members took to social media to reveal the news of the studio's shutdown
League of Geeks, the studio behind Armello, has revealed that it will be taking an indefinite hiatus. In a blog entry authored by co-founders Ty Carey, Trent Kusters, and Blake Mizzi, the company disclosed plans for an "extended time off," citing economic challenges in the gaming sector as the reason for uncertainty about the future of their projects. Despite the success of Solium Infernum, which launched to critical praise in February, the game will only receive ongoing bug fixes and minor content updates, as its sales revenue is insufficient to support continued active development or DLC, they explained
Sumo Group has revealed plans to reduce expenses by as much as 15%, potentially affecting around 250 employees. The company explained that it faces significant challenges within the games industry and must restructure to "navigate upcoming challenges". Known for its work-for-hire and co-development projects, Sumo Group has collaborated with major players such as PlayStation, Microsoft, and Sega. The company also runs an indie publishing division named Secret Mode and maintains offices in Europe, India, and Canada
The announcement of Lego Horizon Adventures was anticipated. Prior to major launches, it is common for hints and details to emerge, and this case was no exception. What caught many off guard, however, was not the release on PlayStation 5 and PC, but also the game's arrival on the Nintendo Switch. This marks a notable instance of a PlayStation-owned IP making its way to a Nintendo platform
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has lodged Unfair Labor Practice charges against Lionbridge Technologies, a company collaborating with Microsoft on quality assurance for Activision projects. The CWA submitted the complaint to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that Lionbridge infringed upon the rights of its Boise, Idaho team. According to the filing, Lionbridge terminated the entire team following their collective actions concerning workplace conditions
The latest installment of the GI Microcast is now accessible on any podcasting platform or available to watch below, featuring an in-depth discussion on the major headlines of the past week. In this episode, Christopher Dring is reporting from Los Angeles to provide insights into the recent showcases. He joins James Batchelor to analyze significant announcements from Xbox and the Summer Game Fest, along with the diverse array of games presented at various digital events. The conversation also covers the growth of the physical aspects of these events and their potential future developments, as well as the reasons behind PlayStation's Lego Horizon Adventures making its way to the Nintendo Switch
Apple has unveiled a complimentary update for its Gaming Porting Toolkit for Sequoia OS on Mac, resulting in numerous games receiving official ports for the platform. The announcement was made at its Worldwide Development Conference on June 10. Gaming Porting Toolkit 2 features support for Intel’s Advanced Vector Extensions 2, ray tracing, enhanced Windows game compatibility, and new shader debugging tools, according to Apple's blog. This update has expanded the availability of games on Mac, including the launch of Assassin's Creed Shadows, as well as older titles like Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, Dead Island 2, and Control: Ultimate Edition
Take-Two Interactive has decided to sell bonds for a substantial amount. The company plans to raise $600 million from the sale of securities for "general corporate purposes."