In The News
One analyst is predicting “the first industry downturn in a quarter century,” Bloomberg’s Yuji Nakamura writes. “Video game revenue is headed for the first decline since 1995, with sales expected to fall by 1 percent to $136.5 billion this year, according to Pelham Smithers, owner of an eponymous London-based research firm. He blames China’s stricter approach to game approvals, a shortage of big console hits, and fatigue among players for battle-royale titles like Fortnite.”
Digital spending fell 2% in December to $9 billion, Taylor reports. That was “driven primarily by a 21% fall in the premium PC market according to SuperData.”
Sony is moving its European headquarters to the Netherlands due to Brexit, the BBC reports. “Sony won’t shift personnel and operations from the existing UK operations. It is the latest Japanese company to flag a move to the continent in response to Brexit.”
PlayStation Now will soon be available in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. The public beta starts in February, according to a blog post.
Epic has acquired 3Lateral, “a startup that makes tools that makes crafting digital humans easier,” VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi reports.
Epic snapped up “Agog Labs for an undisclosed price. The deal — the second in a day for Epic — will add new tools talent and give developers a strong community-supported plugin for Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 platform,” Takahashi reports.
Cyberpunk 2077 creative director Sebastian Stępień has left CD Projekt Red to join Blizzard, Game Informer’s Imran Khan reports. “Stępień’s LinkedIn profile now mentions that he has joined Blizzard as creative director of an unnamed project.”
Philip and Andrew Oliver are “leaving Rebellion to form their own video game consultancy business,” GI.biz’s Haydn Taylor reports.
Network Next raised $4.4 million “in seed funding to create the ‘internet fast lane for online games and other interactive content,’” Takahashi writes.
Tencent and NetEase are finally feeling the love. “Chinese regulators approved two games from Tencent and one from NetEase on Thursday, ending a nearly yearlong freeze on the two gaming giants,” Variety’s Rebecca Davis writes.
CBS News did a video on “Esports: The price of the grind.”
Extra Esports News:
Esports Entertainment Group joined the ESIC, Esports Insider’s Adam Fitch writes. “ESIC is an independent, not-for-profit association that aims to stop cheating – such as match-fixing – and safeguarding those that occupy the industry.”
Partnerships & Sponsorships:
Virtus.pro and Mr. Cat are partnering, TEO’s Jack Stewart reports. “The company partnered with Virtus.pro back in 2017 before extending the deal until March 2019. As part of the partnership, Mr. Cat will appear on the jerseys of Virtus.pro’s teams.”
Betway is sponsoring BIG. “The two-year agreement includes jersey branding and access to players for branded content. Other Betway endorsers include Made in Brazil, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Invictus Gaming,” TEO’s Max Miceli reports.
IN: Lindsey Eckhouse and Sabrina Ratih, formerly of the NFL and Red Bull, respectively, have joined G2 Esports. “G2 Esports welcomes Commercial Director, Lindsey Eckhouse, and Partnership Executive, Sabrina Ratih, to the senior management team,” according to the press release.
OUT: Josh “Watson” Watson retired from Call of Duty.
Happy birthday Benjamin “DeMusliM” Baker!