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

Sony Uses Bungie to Expand Presence in Live Service Gaming

After purchasing Bungie for $3.6 billion in February, Sony Interactive Entertainment is aiming to grow its live gaming services from one to 12 by the end of 2025. SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan detailed a plan to funnel 49 percent of the company’s PlayStation Studios development budget into live games this year, increasing the number to 55 percent by 2025. Sony wants to move to a model of launching and continually updating online franchises, much like Epic Games has done with “Fortnite” or Bungie with “Destiny.” SIE didn’t specify which titles would be part of its new live game network. Continue reading Sony Uses Bungie to Expand Presence in Live Service Gaming

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

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

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

Microsoft Believes Activision Purchase Is ‘Key’ to Metaverse

Microsoft has made a nearly $70 billion offer to buy Activision Blizzard in a move that will bolster its Game Pass franchise, instantly expand its reach in mobile gaming, and create a content platform for the consumer virtual worlds that are expected to be big business in coming years. Statista estimates the global gaming market generated just over $178 billion in revenue in 2021, more than PwC projections for video streaming (almost $59 billion) and box office ($23 billion) combined. When the transaction closes, Microsoft says it will be the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. Continue reading Microsoft Believes Activision Purchase Is ‘Key’ to Metaverse

SEC Is Investigating Workplace Conduct at Activision Blizzard

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into Activision Blizzard examining how the gaming company handled information related to workplace discrimination and sexual misconduct. Senior executives including CEO Bobby Kotick have been subpoenaed along with former and current employees. The SEC asked for Kotick’s internal communications and minutes from Activision board meetings dating from 2019. The publisher of “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush” must also provide the agency with personnel files and 2021 separation agreements. Continue reading SEC Is Investigating Workplace Conduct at Activision Blizzard

App Annie Reports Growth in Mobile Game and App Spending

App Annie predicted that mobile game and app spending will have grown 25 percent to $112 billion in 2020. Director of market insights Amir Ghodrati added that the company will likely revise these numbers upwards at the end of December. Both iOS and Android showed record-breaking growth, with 65 percent of spending going to the former and almost 30 percent to the latter. Apple iOS and Google mobile app and game downloads are expected to reach 130 billion in 2020, up 10 percent from 2019. Continue reading App Annie Reports Growth in Mobile Game and App Spending

Facebook Provides Early Global Access to eSports Feature

Facebook Gaming is introducing worldwide early access to tournaments for eSports amateurs. Though the feature had been in development for some time, said Facebook Gaming head engineer Mina Abouseif, the company released it early to help people shut-in due to the coronavirus pandemic cope better with the isolation. The tournaments feature was originally designed for live gaming events, but Facebook shifted it to one that will help people stay connected to friends, family and communities via “friendly competition.” Continue reading Facebook Provides Early Global Access to eSports Feature

Even eSports Leagues Adapt to Online During the Pandemic

Video-game competitions are filling the void for many viewers who would ordinarily watch major professional sports. But even as traditional sports have had to go on hiatus, eSports leagues have also had to adapt and emphasize their “digital-first” nature. Every major eSports league, including the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), Call of Duty League (CDL), Overwatch League and ESL Pro League among others, have moved their competitions entirely online. Meanwhile, FOX Sports recently teamed with NASCAR for virtual racing and aired the celebrity Madden NFL Invitational tournament on Sunday. Continue reading Even eSports Leagues Adapt to Online During the Pandemic

YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

Google’s YouTube will exclusively stream Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports, which had previously been on the Twitch streaming platform. The news came just before the Call of Duty League’s inaugural match. In 2018, Twitch inked exclusive Overwatch League streaming rights for a reported $90 million. Additionally, Google Cloud will host Activision Blizzard’s library of games. YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt reported that talks over the rights had been ongoing since last year. Continue reading YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

ByteDance Building a Gaming Division to Take On Tencent

ByteDance has quickly built up a gaming division to enter a mobile arena currently dominated by Tencent Holdings. The company purchased gaming studios and exclusive rights to title distribution as well as building a team of 1,000 people by hiring and poaching talent. Its first two games will be released this spring to a global market. ByteDance first debuted Toutiao, a Chinese news aggregation app and launched TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin. Via the latter app, ByteDance has access to 400 million daily active users. Continue reading ByteDance Building a Gaming Division to Take On Tencent

Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Mobile games and home entertainment were big in 2019. Sensor Tower reported that Android and iOS mobile game players spent about $61.7 billion in 2019, up 12.8 percent from 2018’s $54.7 billion total. Mobile gaming also represented 74 percent of mobile spending for 2019. That year, home entertainment grew 8.4 percent to $25.2 billion, a record-breaking number. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the greatest areas of growth were digital, subscription streaming, and digital movie sales and rentals. Continue reading Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

CES Panel: The Evolution of Cloud-Streaming Games with 5G

GameSpot editor-in-chief Randolph Ramsay moderated a panel of game industry experts discussing how 5G will change that industry. “5G’s high speed and low latency will be the next big disruption,” he said. Blade Group platform evangelist Bill Rehbock spoke about his company’s Shadow PC streaming service, which provides a complete Windows 10 PC to users. “5G picks up with a minimum of where 4G left off,” he said. “5G makes hand-over [from tower to tower] so robust it will be an enabling technology.” Continue reading CES Panel: The Evolution of Cloud-Streaming Games with 5G