In The News
ATVI laid off 8% of its workforce — approximately 775 employees — Tuesday in a wave far larger than most were expecting. “Activision called the move a de-prioritizing of initiatives that didn’t meet expectations. CEO Bobby Kotick said that the cuts would come from support staff while the company consolidates its commercial operations and reorganizes its marketing initiatives,” Variety’s Michael Futter reports. “The company added it would be increasing development resources by 20 percent in 2019 on those franchises it is now focusing on.”
Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack posted a message to staff after the layoffs came down yesterday. King, parent company Activision Blizzard, is shutting down its Seattle mobile game studio, Z2Live. The closure amounts to 78 lost jobs, VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi reports.
Industry outreach was nearly instantaneous, with many developers, companies and industry leaders flooding Twitter with job opportunities and support.
While the fourth quarter was better than expected, “the company’s revenue and its first-quarter guidance missed the mark in its quarterly report,” Investor Place’s Karl Utermohlen reports. “Its last period of 2018 raked in revenue of $2.84 billion, about $200 million below the $3.04 billion that the Wall Street consensus estimate called for.”
It was also announced “that the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy has sold-in over 10 million units since its launch in July of 2017,” GI.biz’s Rebekah Valentine reports.
Activision COO Coddy Johnson clarified why Activision and Bungie parted ways, citing 3 reasons: “First, as you know, we didn’t own the underlying Destiny IP … [Second] it was not meeting our financial expectations” and third, “Activision’s scarcest resource is developer talent” and Bungie was using up too much, PC Gamer’s Christopher Livingston writes.
Johnson also confirmed “Diablo’s development headcount will grow substantially as the teams work on several projects underway for the franchise, as well as the global launch for Diablo Immortal,” PC Gamer’s Wes Fenlon reports.
As for Call of Duty? The 2019 game will have a campaign. Activision President Bob Kostich “mentioned that the game would still have the traditional multiplayer modes in addition to a ‘new’ co-op mode,” Game Informer’s Imran Khan writes.
City-based franchising was confirmed for Call of Duty World League. It will most likely occur with the next upcoming title, Dot Esports’ Jamie Villanueva writes.
Wrestler Booker T. Huffman is suing Activision “for allegedly putting his comic book character ‘G.I. Bro’ in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,” The Verge’s Adi Robertson reports. “Huffman’s lawsuit seems based essentially on visual similarities between G.I. Bro and Prophet.”
Acquired Warhorse Studios. “The deal is worth $37.53 million on a cash and debt free basis,” VentureBeat’s Mike Minotti reports.
“For the 12 months ended December 31, the company reports net sales of $447.6 million, up an impressive 713% year-on-year,” GI.biz’s James Batchelor reports. “EBITDA rose by 257% to $105.7 million, while operational EBIT rose 139% to $52.5 million.”
Nexon “released its Q4 2018 and full-year 2018 financials, reporting record-high revenue, operating income, and net income,” Valentine reports. “Nexon reports revenue of ¥253.7 billion ($2.3 billion), up 8% year-over-year, and operating income of ¥98.4 billion ($890 million), up 9% year-over-year. Net income was ¥107.7 billion ($975 million), up 90% year-over-year.”
All aboard the Sony cross-platform train? Not yet, Khan reports. While SIE’s Shawn Layden said they’re “open for business” on cross-play, “the CEO of Chucklefish, developer of games like Wargroove and former publisher of Stardew Valley, made a post on the ResetEra forums disputing Layden’s account that all a developer or publisher has to do is ask.”
SuperAwesome raised $13 million “in investment as it looks to launch a new ads-based video on demand service aimed at young audiences,” PocketGamer.biz’s Craig Chapple reports.
Dark Slope acquired “$1.5 million in seed funding, which will support the launch of its first location-based VR game Scarygirl Mission Maybee,” Road To VR’s Scott Hayden reports.
Mozilla and Ubisoft are partnering “to develop Clever-Commit, an AI coding assistant,” VentureBeat’s Emil Protalinski writes.
EA, BioWare and director Neill Blomkamp are partnering to produce “Conviction, an original live-action short-film based on BioWare’s Anthem™.”
Konami has stopped selling in-game currency for Belgian players, according to a press release.
Novaquark opened a studio in Montreal.
Twenty-year Rockstar Games veteran Jeronimo Barrera has left the company, Variety’s Brian Crecente reports.
Twitch laid off “longtime PR director Chase and will be utilizing fortyseven communications,” Rod “Slasher” Breslau reports.
Russ Pitts, “Take This co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Escapist Magazine … announced yesterday that he will be stepping down from all roles at the former and taking a hiatus from the latter following the publication of a controversial article,” Valentine writes.
Twitch banned Deadmau5 for “hate speech,” and boy did Deadmau5 clap back with the announcement of no more collaboration or use of the platform.
Interviews: ESA’s Stanley Pierre-Louis (GI.biz).
Extra Esports News:
Newzoo is out with its 2019 Global Esports Market Report, and it is predicting global esports revenue will increase to $1.1 billion in 2019.
Several esports players made it onto Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Sports & Games.”
ESL and Facebook’s broadcast deal is no longer exclusive to Facebook Gaming, Unikrn’s Dustin Steiner writes. “All of ESL’s programming, including the upcoming CS:GO IEM Katowice Major, will appear on Facebook Gaming alongside the other usual platforms they are broadcast on.”
NBA 2K League:
Is partnering with Champion, TEO’s Trent Murray writes. “Champion will provide apparel and uniforms for all 21 teams in the league.”
Magic Gaming “has announced a partnership that will see Orlando Health become its official medical team,” Esports Insider’s Adam Fitch reports.
Betway and ESL extended their sponsorship agreement through 2019, Fitch reports.
Windigo CEO Maksym “GuunaR” Bednarskyi has been suspended on Twitter after he “posted a death threat ‘meme’, which originated from INTZ Esports player Vito ‘kNgV-‘ Giuseppe,” Dexerto’s Calum Patterson reports.
IN: 100 Thieves is looking for “players and content creators to join 100 Thieves Apex Legends.”
OUT: Dota 2 player Carlo “Kuku” Palad is banned from entering Chongqing.
Happy birthday Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan!