In The News
Nintendo Russia boss Yasha Haddaji received a formal warning, but will not be fired, following “an extensive investigation into his workplace conduct,” Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips reports. “The investigation was sparked last November by the resurfacing of a video which showed Haddaji stomping and swearing during a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe livestream.”
Tabletop games saw success in 2018 on Kickstarter while video games declined, Polygon’s Charlie Hall writes. “Data provided to Polygon by the crowdfunding platform show a nearly 20 percent increase in funds raised by successful tabletop projects over the previous year. Earnings for successful video game projects were down for the third year in a row.”
Forza Horizon 4 removed its Carlton and Floss dances, presumably in a reactive step to the multitude of dance emote lawsuits Epic Games is contending with. “There are currently no reports of any lawsuits against Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games, or publisher Microsoft,” Variety’s Stefanie Fogel reports.
Niantic raised “$245 million in its Series C financing … [it[ now has a valuation of almost $4 billion after its latest funding round,” VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb reports.
The total number of mobile gamers in the U.S. and Canada grew by 5% in 2018, Sensor Tower and The NPD Group report. “Both countries have a combined 283.1 million mobile users, and 210.9 million of them play games. That marks a 5 percent increase over 2017,” VentureBeat’s Mike Minotti reports.
Brawl Stars pulled in “more than $63.4 million since launching globally on December 12,” Sensor Tower writes. “Players spent an average of nearly $2 million per day in the game following its exit from soft-launch.”
Seriously “reported a 65% increase in revenue in 2018, which was its second consecutive year in profit,” GI.biz’s Matthew Handrahan reports.
Artifact continues its steady player base decline, Gaming LYF’s Charles Tyldsley reports. “Artifact hit a new low this morning, according to SteamCharts – at midnight (GMT) earlier today the game reportedly saw its lowest ever player count of 1,639 players.”
Stuart Poole is YoYo Games’ new general manager.
Forgotten Key is shutting down, GI.biz’s Rebekah Valentine writes.
IO Interactive opened “a new studio … in Malmö, Sweden,” GI.biz’s James Batchelor reports.
Roblox launched something called a Digital Civility Initiative, Variety’s Liz Lanier reports. “The initiative will be led by new hire Laura Higgins, who joined Roblox as its director of Digital Civility.”
Just Dance is getting its own movie, Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. reports.
Extra Esports News:
NBA 2K, the NBA and its Players Association have extended their partnership, Game Informer’s Matthew Kato reports. “Terms of the deal were not disclosed other than it’s a multi-year deal.”
BITKRAFT Esports Ventures “raises a $125M USD venture capital fund,” TEO’s Graham Ashton reports.
Call of Duty UK and KFC Gaming announced KFC Royale, a UK-specific Blackout tournament that begins tomorrow.
ESL announced ESL One Mumbai 2019, Mumbai’s first Dota 2 stadium event.
Viva China Sports acquired “esports organization Snake,” TEO’s Hongyu Chen writes.
ESForce sold its majority stake in SK Gaming to “Daimler AG and FC Koeln,” according to a press release.
Partnerships & Sponsorships:
Club Brugge and Bundled are partnering, Esports Insider’s Adam Fitch writes. “Club Brugge’s first esports signee is Geoffrey Megheo, a FIFA player that competes on Xbox.”
Red Bull is sponsoring ENCE, according to a press release.
Happy birthday Christoffer “Namshar” Kolmodin!