Majesco Entertainment announced that it is effectively handing off its retail publishing business to someone else. All of the publisher’s packaged products retail distribution business in North America will be handled by U&I Entertainment LLC going forward. Majesco said that it would continue to publish and distribute its own digital game products.
Sony announced from the bowels of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (where it revealed details on new features and a release window for its Project Morpheus VR headset for PS4 earlier in the week) that it has sold 20.2 million PlayStation 4 consoles to consumers worldwide. That figure tabulates sales all the way up to March 1, and is up from the 18.5 million PS4s it claims it sold back in January. The PlayStation 4 has been released in 123 countries and regions worldwide.
Markus "Notch" Persson, co-founder of Mojang and the creator of Minecraft, has managed to make the Forbes Billionaires List. Persson generated his current holdings when he sold off the company he co-founded and the Minecraft franchise to Microsoft in September of last year for around $2.5 billion. Persson owned 70 percent of Mojang, giving him a pretty hefty payday when the company was sold to Microsoft. Persson left the company shortly thereafter.
Tencent has taken a minority stake in Robot Entertainment, the company best known for developing the Orcs Must Die! games. This investment follows a majority stake investment in mobile developer Miniclip earlier in the month. Tencent leverages its investments in a number of companies to license big franchises for the lucrative Chinese games market where it is a major player.
Yoyo Games and Playtech issued a joint statement today assuring current GameMaker developers that the future of the development tools is bright and full of sunshine. Earlier this week Playtech announced that it had purchased Yoyo games and its GameMaker technology for $16.4 million. One of the biggest concerns for users of the development software after the announcement was pricing, but "for now" the current pricing model will stay in place according to both companies.
Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile developer Tri-Ace has been acquired by Japanese mobile gaming company Nepro Japan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fans of these and other Tri-Ace games are concerned that these franchises might be seriously hurt - particularly when it comes to future titles being proliferated on other platforms that aren't mobile in nature.
Sega's mobile arm Sega Networks announced today that it has acquired independent developer Demiurge Studios. Sega says that this purchase is part of series of investments in the "Western market." Sega Network also announced that it has taken a major stake in San Francisco start-up Ignited Artists and London-based Space Ape Games.
Sega did not reveal financial details on any of these deals.
It's been a year and a half since former EA CEO Don Mattrick took the reins at social games giant Zynga. In that time the company has continued to struggle in its transition from the social gaming scene to the mobile gaming space. At least one analyst seems to have had enough of Mattrick's performance.
Ubisoft reported its fiscal third quarter earnings today, recording sales of approximately $923.5 million, up 55.8 percent year-over-year. Clearly it was a brisk holiday sales season for the Paris-based publisher, despite some serious technical issues and bugs associated with several of its top franchises.
Sega's big gamble on console games and more spending on marketing did not pay off. The publisher announced its results the nine months between April and December, revealing that a 27 percent increase in game development costs and 53 percent increase in advertising did not help move product. During the nine month period, Sega said that it spent $210 million on games development and $73 million on advertising, and expects about 50 games released for the total fiscal year which ends in March.
Last night Take-Two Interactive revealed that - to no one's surprise - that wholly owned studio Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V has now reached 45 million unit sales since its launch. Take-Two also revealed that around 10 million of those sales come from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sales, with the rest coming from the last generation PS3 and Xbox 360. The PC version is currently in development and is set for a release in March after a delay in January.
In a surprising an unexpected move, New York-based investment firm Columbus Nova announced that it has acquired MMO maker and operator Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) for an undisclosed amount of money. Sony Online Entertainment is best known for creating EverQuest, PlanetSide 2, DC Universe Online, H1Z1, Landmark, and the upcoming EverQuest Next.
The company has been renamed Daybreak Game Company and - for the time being at least - John Smedley remains its president.
Chinese electronics powerhouse Xiaomi has acquired an estimated three percent of China-based software and technology firm Kingsoft's stock for roughly $68 million, reports GamesIndustry International. The company purchased 35,298,057 ordinary shares - around 2.98 percent of the company - from Tencent, which will hold on to its 9.6 percent share in Kingsoft after the sale is finalized at the end of the month.
A group of Verizon investors are publicly criticizing the mobile and broadband provider for its position on net neutrality, according to this Ars Technica report. They say that the company's position on the issue could ultimately harm its reputation and future commercial success.
Square Enix has shut down the mobile studio Smileworks in Indonesia - a mere 18 months after it opened its doors. The company confirmed in a statement to GII that all 14 of the people the small studio employed are now out of work as well. Square Enix opened the Surabaya, Java-based Smileworks studio 18 months ago in hopes of developing mobile game content for Indonesia. Apparently the studio did not live up to Square Enix's expectations.
Mobile game publisher Kabam has acquired Los Angeles-based studios Magic Pixel Games and TapZen, the company announced today. TapZen and Magic Pixel are best known for their collaboration on the iOS game This Means War. Magic Pixel's credits include iOS titles Outcast Odyssey and Stick to It, and the PS 3 game Carnival Island. TapZen founder and former Zynga chief creative officer Mike Verdu has also joined the company.
Dish Networks is trying its hand at cutting itself loose from satellite and taking a straight run at customers with a new service designed for the Internet called Sling TV. For $20 a month consumers with Internet access can get 12 premium cable channels including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family, and CNN. Obviously the new service is aimed at cord cutters who don't necessarily have a cable package but do have broadband Internet access.
Parent company Bandai Namco Holdings has changed the name of Bandai Namco Games again - even if the change is ever so slight compared to the last time the company rebranded itself. The company's board of directors voted and approved a name change from Bandai Namco Games to Bandai Namco Entertainment. The change will take place officially on April 1, 2015, with 20 subsidiaries rebranded from under the new moniker.
China-based Perfect World Entertainment reported a decline in profits for the third quarter, citing poorly performing North American properties. During the three-month period ended September 30, 2014, Perfect World earned ¥974 billion ($158.7 million) in revenue, up by around 5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The five percent growth was attributed to the ongoing success of DOTA2 in China, which the company operates for Valve and the successful launch of mobile games CrossGate Mobile and Forsaken World.
Activision Blizzard has settled its lawsuit filed by shareholders after the company bought back a controlling interest in the former majority stakeholder Vivendi in 2013.
In a press release announcing the settlement, which still requires the approval of the Delaware court where the class action lawsuit was filed, the board of directors said the following:
According to this Gamasutra report, Majesco and its indie publishing label Midnight City are in serious financial trouble. According to sources "inside and outside the company" and several SEC filings by the company in the last week, Majesco is having financial trouble and has laid off some of its staff.
According to a Game Informer report, Warner Bros. is making company-wide layoffs - and those layoffs will begin this week. A memo obtained by GI attributed to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara sent to employees reveals that layoffs are going to happen until the first quarter of 2015 in all divisions of the company.
Activision Blizzard reported record third-quarter earnings, with year-over-year increases in revenues and income based on sales of its hit franchise Destiny and continued growth with World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. On a GAAP basis, the company reported sales of $753 million, way up from the $691 million from the same periods a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported net revenues of $1.17 billion, way up from $657 million in the same period a year ago.
Sweden-based eSports leader Dreamhack has fired its CEO Robert Ohlén a month before the organization's annual winter event. Dreamhack started in Sweden in 1997, and it now organizes two annual events. The firing was confirmed by The Daily Dot, who spoke to Fredrik Nystrom, DreamHack's head of PR. Nystrom didn't offer comment beyond that confirmation, but The Daily Dot described the situation as an "internal power struggle" concerning the "public face of the company."