Netflix Buys Seattle-Based Children’s Game Studio Spry Fox

Netflix continues to build-out its games portfolio, adding a sixth gaming studio, the Seattle-based Spry Fox. Founded in 2010 by Daniel Cook and David Edery, Spry Fox focuses on children’s games, with titles including “Alphabear,” “Triple Town” and “Cozy Grove.” Netflix VP of games studios Amir Rahimi says the new purchase will help accelerate Netflix in a popular genre known as “cozy games.” The announcement comes weeks after Netflix VP of gaming Mike Verdu made public that the company plans to open a new games operation in Southern California and is considering a move into cloud gaming. Continue reading Netflix Buys Seattle-Based Children’s Game Studio Spry Fox

Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Microsoft is reportedly building an Xbox mobile store, challenging Apple and Google. The Redmond company’s pending Activision Blizzard deal is key to successful implementation of its mobile gaming strategy, which was previously hinted at and now comes to light in a filing with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which requested additional information from Microsoft as part of its analysis of the $68.7 billion deal. In its filings, Microsoft says a “next generation” game store that “operates across a range of devices, including mobile” is significant impetus for the acquisition. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

Tencent has invested $297 million in Guillemot Brothers Limited, the company that owns Ubisoft, maker of “Assassin’s Creed.” The Chinese game giant already had a 4.5 percent stake in Ubisoft that it can now increase to 9.99 percent. Tencent gains a 49.9 percent stake with 5 percent voting rights in the parent company. Shares of Ubisoft fell 17 percent last week when it became apparent there was no takeover in the offing. The deal is part of a strategy “to develop immersive game experiences, and to bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile,” said Tencent president and CEO Martin Lau. Continue reading Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

Tencent Revenue Drops 3 Percent in First Decline Since 2004

Tencent’s nearly two-decade growth trajectory came to a halt Wednesday with a 3 percent revenue drop over the same period in 2021. The contraction marked the Chinese video game and social media giant’s first quarterly revenue decline since going public in 2004. Tencent’s April-June revenue fell by about $20 billion, the result of China’s slowing economy and sagging digital advertising revenue, as well as tighter government video game regulations and diminished consumer user spending. Prior to Q4 2021, Tencent had consistently posted double-digit — and sometimes triple-digit — growth since its IPO. Continue reading Tencent Revenue Drops 3 Percent in First Decline Since 2004

Sony Completes Its $3.7B Purchase of Bungie Game Studio

Sony Interactive Entertainment has completed its acquisition of the Bellevue, Washington-based Bungie game studio. In an effort to allay antitrust concerns, the developer of the “Destiny” game series will operate as an independent subsidiary of Sony, its mandate to “continue to independently publish and creatively develop our games,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons wrote in a blog post. Both firms have offered assurances that future game development will not be limited to PlayStation exclusives. Sony valued the developer of “Destiny” and “Destiny 2” at approximately $3.7 billion in a Friday SEC filing. Continue reading Sony Completes Its $3.7B Purchase of Bungie Game Studio

UK Competition Authority Analyzes Microsoft-Activision Deal

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority opened an antitrust investigation last week into Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard takeover, analyzing whether the deal could harm competition “for example, through higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice.” The inquiry was announced the same day the CMA said it is looking into Amazon’s use of data from third-party sellers. In January, Microsoft shared plans to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion — a record-setting price for a tech acquisition — with a planned fiscal 2023 close. The CMA has set September 1 as the deadline for its initial decision. Continue reading UK Competition Authority Analyzes Microsoft-Activision Deal

TikTok Expected to Triple Ad Revenue to $12 Billion in 2022

TikTok had its first official presence at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on the French Riviera, where the ByteDance mobile video platform competed with the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, Spotify, Reddit and Meta Platforms for the attention of the world’s biggest brands and top advertising agencies. Touting its viral appeal and popularity among key demographics including Gen Z, millennials and social influencers, the company hosted a cabana on the beach with dedicated space to make TikTok videos, held meetings in a nearby suite and participated onstage at the Palais des Festivals. Continue reading TikTok Expected to Triple Ad Revenue to $12 Billion in 2022

Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Broadcom announced it will acquire VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at $61 billion. The deal, which expands semiconductor supplier Broadcom into enterprise software, is among the top technology transactions of all time, right behind Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC for $67 billion. Broadcom will also assume $8 billion of VMware debt. The news sent shares of Broadcom up 2 percent and VMware more than 1 percent early Thursday. VMware enterprise products optimize client-side servers as well as cloud servers. Continue reading Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Activision Blizzard has become the first major North American video game company where workers have voted to form a union, the Game Workers Alliance. The vote, which took place over the last few weeks, passed 19 to 3, affecting 28 quality-assurance employees at the company’s Wisconsin-based Raven Software subsidiary, which works on “Call of Duty” game development. Results were tabulated by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. Activision has a week to lodge formal objections. The Communications Workers of America says it hopes the development “serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios.” Continue reading Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Video Games Are Becoming a Hot New Advertising Platform

Video game companies are trying to change gaming’s image and perceptions regarding who plays as part of a plan to convince Madison Avenue that games are a serious advertising vehicle. Some 700 ad execs attended the first annual IAB PlayFronts, April 5 in New York, to hear pitches by Meta, Twitch, Activision Blizzard, Unity, Riot and more. Meanwhile, companies including Comcast’s NBCUniversal and HTC are working on technology to put advertising into cloud-based and streaming video games. Elefund and DIP Capital are among those investing in insertion technology that puts brands directly into the gameplay. Continue reading Video Games Are Becoming a Hot New Advertising Platform

Sony Interactive to Debut New Subscription Gaming Service

Sony Interactive Entertainment is launching a new PlayStation Plus subscription service in June. Combining the existing PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, the new service will first debut in Asia, with Europe, North America and the rest of the world to follow. The company is rolling out an “early look” at the new PlayStation Plus, which will feature “curated content from our exclusive PlayStation Studios team and our third-party partners,” for multiplayer gaming to install or stream. Subscriptions on three tiers of service will be available for monthly, quarterly or annual rates.  Continue reading Sony Interactive to Debut New Subscription Gaming Service

Microsoft Takes Its Case for Activision Purchase to Capitol Hill

Microsoft has begun laying the groundwork to gain regulatory approval for its $68 billion Activision Blizzard bid, assuring D.C. decision-makers the purchase will not improperly advantage its own platforms and services. In an effort at transparency, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith say they’re “sharing where we’re going with members of Congress” and meeting with think tank representatives to compile a best-practices road map to ensure lawmakers and stakeholders the deal presents no threat. Microsoft says it wants Activision’s IP not to dominate existing markets but to help stake its claim in the emerging metaverse. Continue reading Microsoft Takes Its Case for Activision Purchase to Capitol Hill

Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks the metaverse will be transformative. “Just like the first wave of the Internet allowed everybody to build a website, I think the next wave of the Internet will be a more open world where people can build their own metaverse worlds, whether they’re organizations or game developers or anyone else,” Nadella told analysts on an earnings call last week. The remarks follow Nadella’s January 18 statement that Microsoft’s $69 billion bid for Activision Blizzard “will provide building blocks for the metaverse.” Microsoft expects the deal to close in fiscal 2023, which begins July 1. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Sony Interactive to Acquire ‘Destiny 2’ Maker Bungie for $3.6B

Sony Interactive Entertainment is purchasing Bungie, creator of the “Halo” video game franchise and “Destiny 2.” The deal, valued at $3.6 billion, caps a robust month of game company acquisitions that saw Microsoft make a $68.7 billion bid on Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive offer $12.7 billion for Zynga. The Bellevue, Washington-based Bungie will be operated as an independent that continues to make multi-platform games, SIE president Jim Ryan said in an announcement. “Destiny 2” was released for Xbox and PC as well as PlayStation platforms. Continue reading Sony Interactive to Acquire ‘Destiny 2’ Maker Bungie for $3.6B

Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter

Microsoft ended Q2 for fiscal year 2022 on a high note, with sales up 20 percent to $51.7 billion, and net income rising 21 percent to $18.8 billion, beating analysts’ predictions. Cloud revenue grew 32 percent year-over-year, hitting $22.1 billion. Revenue in Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business was $18.3 billion, a 26 percent jump propelled largely by a basically flat 46 percent increase from Azure and cloud services. “Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world’s disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life,” Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in the earnings release. Continue reading Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter