Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

Netflix has made some budgetary cuts recently, but not in gaming. After three acquisitions, the company is building its first game studio from scratch. The new unit will be Netflix’s second gaming outfit in Finland, and the company has hired Zynga’s Marko Lastikka to run it. Earlier this year, the streamer acquired the Helsinki-based Next Games. The company’s mobile games portfolio also includes developers Boss Fight Entertainment in Allen, Texas and Glendale, California’s Night School Studio. Helsinki “is home to some of the best game talent in the world,” according to Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi. Continue reading Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

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

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 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

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

Take-Two to Purchase Mobile Gamer Zynga for $12.7 Billion

New York-based Take-Two Interactive has agreed to buy social game developer Zynga in a deal valued at $12.7 billion in cash and stock. The move is seen as a bid by the company behind “Grand Theft Auto” and “NBA 2K” to boost its mobile portfolio with Zynga assets like “Words With Friends” and “FarmVille.” Take-Two described the acquisition as a “clear path to bring Take-Two’s console/PC games to mobile,” a category the company’s CEO Strauss Zelnick said on an investor call this week holds “tremendous untapped potential,” citing “Zynga’s leading development, publishing, and live operations teams.” Continue reading Take-Two to Purchase Mobile Gamer Zynga for $12.7 Billion

TikTok Tests Whether Users Will Enjoy In-App Mobile Gaming

Game developer Zynga says it will launch the new HTML5-based game “Disco Loco 3D” exclusively on the social app TikTok. The single-player endless-runner game sees players collecting dance moves while avoiding obstacles as they walk down a catwalk, similar to Zynga’s “High Heels.” TikTok says the Zynga pairing aims to test its audience’s general interest for in-app games, and says it’s exploring opportunities with other game companies. Mobile games formatted in HTML5 are an economic way to reach a large audience of global users, including in emerging markets where low-memory devices on 2G and 3G networks are the norm.  Continue reading TikTok Tests Whether Users Will Enjoy In-App Mobile Gaming

EA Acquires Game Developer Glu Mobile in $2.4 Billion Deal

Electronic Arts plans to boost its mobile game business by purchasing game developer Glu Mobile in a deal valued at $2.4 billion, one of the highest prices ever paid for a video game studio. Glu Mobile’s creations include, among others, “Diner DASH,” “Disney Sorcerer’s Arena,” “WWE Universe,” “MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020” and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.” According to Glu Mobile, the company’s games earned $1.32+ billion in bookings last year. EA is particularly interested in Glu Mobile’s experience in sports and casual games. Continue reading EA Acquires Game Developer Glu Mobile in $2.4 Billion Deal

Pandemic Could Have Long-Term Impact on Gaming Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is boosting the multi-billion-dollar video-game industry into the stratosphere, and Big Tech companies predict the trend will endure past the pandemic. Microsoft, for example, plans to acquire the company behind the “Doom” game franchise for $7.5 billion. NPD Group reported that about 244 million people in the U.S. play video games, up 15 percent from a 2018 study. The report added that, “Americans spend an average of 14 hours a week playing video games … compared with 12 hours weekly in 2018.” Continue reading Pandemic Could Have Long-Term Impact on Gaming Industry

Anthill’s Whatifi Offers Interactive Storytelling via Mobile App

Anthill’s latest version of interactive storytelling app Whatifi is now available in the Apple App Store. Founded by Jaanus Juss and Hardi Meybaum, who have been exploring interactive storytelling in their native Estonia via live theater, the startup enables users to “choose their own adventure” in two stories: “As Dead as it Gets” and “Anatomy of a Decision.” The first is a “drunken night with a few bros” that turns into a supernatural fantasy. A character on the verge of death, the viewer must follow the advice of ghosts to return to the land of the living. Whatifi is now based out of Los Angeles and Estonia. Continue reading Anthill’s Whatifi Offers Interactive Storytelling via Mobile App

Mobile, PC and Console Gaming Skyrocket During Pandemic

According to Newzoo, in 2020 the globe’s 2.7 billion gamers will spend $159.3 billion on mobile, PC and console games, representing 9.3 percent growth from 2019. The game market is on track to exceed $200.8 billion in revenue by 2023, with growth of 8.3 percent per year. The COVID-19 shutdown and the release of new consoles by the end of the year are the biggest contributing factors to growth. Some game developers also note that, during the pandemic, older players of casual games are reactivating accounts. Continue reading Mobile, PC and Console Gaming Skyrocket During Pandemic

Mythical Games Blockchain Strategy Gets $19 Million Boost

Los Angeles-based Mythical Games raised $19 million to pursue its mission of creating games with blockchain and allowing players to benefit via ownership. The company, which has dubbed this strategy “player-owned economies,” is at work on its first game. Javelin Venture Partners was the lead investor, joined by new investors Avon Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Hashed. Galaxy Digital, via its Digital EOS VC Fund and Struck Capital, are other current investors. Mythical Games raised $16 million last year in two rounds. Continue reading Mythical Games Blockchain Strategy Gets $19 Million Boost

Snapchat Now Competing in the Multiplayer Gaming Arena

Snap Inc. announced yesterday that its popular Snapchat app now features multiplayer games, starting with “Bitmoji Party” and five other titles. The move is an effort to compete in a new social space dominated by “Fortnite” in which real-time, multiplayer games also serve as online communities. Snap plans to work with game developers such as Zynga and ZeptoLab. The combination of gaming and social networking is on the rise. According to Epic Games, its “Fortnite” had 250 million players as of March, while Netflix recently suggested that it competes with “Fortnite” more than HBO. Continue reading Snapchat Now Competing in the Multiplayer Gaming Arena

Amazon’s Gaming Clout Grows in Era of Multiplayer Games

Amazon is evolving into an indispensable player in the games industry, with AWS providing a cloud-based digital infrastructure for live streaming. Last year, Epic Games went “all in” for AWS, allowing its massively popular game “Fortnite” to achieve global scale. Amazon Game Tech, the company’s services collection that helps game studios get on their feet, has been a mainstay for companies like Square Enix and Zynga. Amazon also owns the game platform Twitch and has developed its own game engine, Lumberyard. Continue reading Amazon’s Gaming Clout Grows in Era of Multiplayer Games

Facebook Gives HTML5 Another Shot for its Instant Games

Although its first experiences with HTML5 were just short of disastrous, Facebook is now using it again to expand Instant Games to developing countries via Facebook Lite and to interest communities via Facebook Groups. Because smartphone processing power and mobile browser app technology have improved, HTML5 is now able to support more complicated games, and Instant Games can launch in a mobile browser or directly into Groups. Currently, 90 million people take part in 270,000 Facebook Groups about gaming each month. Continue reading Facebook Gives HTML5 Another Shot for its Instant Games