It has been a week of results, with many of the major names reporting, and most have seen a encouraging performance in recent months. We also found out that despite having to lay off earlier this year, Take-Two interactive actually doubled its exec pay for FY22 up to US$72.3m. It might be a bitter pill to swallow for some, given it was still reporting a net loss for the year, but its upcoming 1Q24 results might justify the expense if clear progress can be seen.
News of the week
The battle for console control
The PlayStation 5 saw a 75% jump in sales as Sony introduced a temporary price cut in the UK and Europe, with the console down from £479 to £399, so not a bad time to get one if you haven’t already! For any US-based readers, the expectation is that a similar cut will come to America in the near future. It confirms Sony’s stranglehold over this generation of consoles and it seems unlikely that even with a raft of big Xbox-only releases, such as Starfield, that they will make indents into the Sony lead (c.40m units vs c.21m). However, it is worth noting that the Nintendo Switch, boosted by Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, is nearing 130m lifetime sales, though at roughly half the price of the PS5 and Xbox X. Source: tech4gamers.com
The growing problem of clone games
We are sure many of you have heard of The Last of Us and Call of Duty, but how many have heard of their more sinister twins The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival and World War: Battle Heroes Field Armies Call of Prison Duty Simulator. It might sound like a tragic joke, but the firm West Connection Limited has a business model that comes from creating terribly poor games and putting as many buzz words into the title in the hope gamers mistakenly purchase their game over the real thing. Nintendo finally took action this week to remove The Last Hope from its store after a complaint from Sony, but many of these games slip through the net. It’s the epitome of lazy developing and one cannot help but wonder if these types of games might become more prevalent as AI becomes more commonplace, it would be simple for it to create a rip-off game based on a legitimate one. Hopefully games stores will tighten the net if this becomes a more serious problem. Source: eurogamer.net
More layoffs underline continuing challenges
Following on from CD Project’s 100 layoffs last week, the creators of Callisto Protocol, Striking Distance Studios, has now confirmed it is reducing their headcount by 32. This comes as the sales for Callisto failed to meet the expectations of the published Krafton, and we believe the heads were lost across, design, art, production and potentially QA. CD Project believed it had become overstaffed, as it cut 9% of its workforce, but both firms believe this is necessary from a strategic perspective and to help keep the firm agile. Another profit warning from Devolver this week reminds us that there is still some weakness in the market, even if the largest players are managing to negotiate it unscathed. Source: gamedeveloper.com
In other news...
• Roblox’s Meta Quest beta hits over 1 million users in a week
• New Twitch policy to forbid streamers from promoting gambling sites
• Gem Capital unveils US$50m investment
• Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to be brought to last-generation consoles.