Week 42

GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 42

Highlights

Consumer spending on mobile games hit $20 billion in Q3 2020 (link)

  • Mobile consumers spent $20 billion on games throughout Q3 2020 according to data provided by App Annie

  • Both the App Store and Google Play experienced great growth, given consumer spending on games was up 5% quarter-on-quarter. In terms of genre, RPGs proved to be the most lucrative, as did the strategy category

  • More specifically, Pokemon Go led the charge for RPGs – unsurprising given it is nearing $4 billion in lifetime revenue – while Strategy was led by Rise of Kingdoms. Meanwhile, the sports genre and core simulation led by Professional Baseball Spirits A and Disney: Twisted-Wonderland, respectively

September is 2020’s biggest month so far for game industry TV ad spend(link)

  • The TV advertising spree for gaming brands continued in September with a 76.35% increase in estimated spend, up to $39.5 million from August’s $22.4 million

  • PlayStation commanded nearly 46% of the industry’s budget. Overall, 13 brands aired 51 spots over 6,500 times, generating nearly 1.6 billion TV ad impressions. Sports, and in particular the NFL and NBA, were big drivers of impressions for gaming brands

Newzoo downgrades esports 2020 revenue forecast for third time to $950.3 million (link)

  • The revision is only slightly down from the previous forecast of $973.9 million, which Newzoo predicted back in July. In April, it revised its earlier estimate to $1.059 billion, and back in February — before the pandemic — the forecast was $1.1 billion for 2020 revenues

  • In past years, physical venue revenues, from such streams as event ticket sales and merchandise, were a big part of esports revenues. And while digital events produced huge viewer numbers, the revenues associated with digital events tended to be smaller

Epic Games and Apple are heading to court in May 2021 (link)

  • The legal battle between Epic Games and Apple will go to court in May 2021

  • As detailed in the case scheduling and pretrial order, there are several reasons that the selected date was chosen

  • Namely, the backlog that has been created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, the fact that both Epic and Apple chose to have a bench trial, rather than a trial by jury also impacted the date that the companies would appear in court

  • Epic loses court bid to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite in the App Store (link)

Microsoft is looking at a web-based xCloud app for iOS devices (link)

  • As reported by Business Insider, Xbox's Phil Spencer told his staff that the company is currently looking at a "direct browser-based solution" to get its cloud gaming service on to Apple devices
  • Should Microsoft pursue the web-based route, it would be totally separate from the App Store which prevents it from breaching any rules and regulations set for the storefront

N3twork launches Funko Pop! Blitz on Android and iOS (link)

  • The match-three puzzler was published and developed through a collaboration with Tic Toc Games and features the Funk Pop! versions of different characters from a variety of franchises

  • At launch, the game will feature Back to the Future, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Furthermore, various characters from DreamWorks will also feature. Namely, those found in Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon

Voodoo's titles are launching in China through The9 (link)

  • Two of Voodoo's titles launch in China via Shanghai-based developer and publisher The9

  • The Chinese firm has purchased two licenses to bring Voodoo's games to China, with potential for a third, though it is currently unknown as to which titles it will release

  • Currently, The9 runs and operates a variety of games in China, including Planetside 2 and Ragnarok Online 2

IBM teams up with Activision Blizzard to manage tech for the Overwatch League (link)

  • In a multi-year deal, IBM is teaming up with Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest players in the game industry

  • IBM will provide cloud, Watson AI, and machine learning for the Overwatch League and become a presenting partner of the Overwatch League Grand Finals

  • The technology company will help run interactive and analytical content for the league, which is one of the powerhouses of the $950 million esports industry

Xbox Game Studios has a record year heading into console launch (link)

  • Microsoft said its Xbox Game Studios has so far enjoyed a record year in terms of the number of games it has launched ahead of the November debut of the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles

  • Games marketing general manager Aaron Greenberg said in a blog that Microsoft’s internal game studios have launched 15 games so far this year, 10 of which are brand-new titles
  • Including Bethesda, Microsoft has 23 game studios, with close to 5,000 developers, compared to 15 studios before the acquisition

M&A and Capital Raising

Tilting Point acquires TerraGenesis, a sim game from Edgeworks Entertainment (link)

  • Tilting Point has acquired the popular terraforming simulator TerraGenesis from Edgeworks Entertainment, continuing a strategy of acquiring popular games and making them even bigger through user acquisition techniques
  • Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Tilting Point president Samir El Agili said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company paid multiple millions of dollars to buy the game from Edgeworks

My.Games buys control of Deus Craft for up to $49.1 million (link)

  • The deal gives My.Games, the gaming division of Russia’s Mail.ru Group, control of 51.1% shares of Deus Craft. It includes an upfront, payment of $14.1 million and a deferred payment of up to $35 million payable in April 2021
  • The payout will go through only if the studio reaches monthly revenue of $15 million by the end of the first quarter of 2021, but the transaction is expected to be completed this month

Thunderful Group acquires Shadow Point developer Coatsink (link)

  • The Sunderland-based indie games specialist has been purchased for £23 million ($29.8 million). However, £11.5 million ($14.9 million) will be provided in cash, while the remaining £11.5 ($14.9 million) million will come in the form of Thunderful shares
  • However, there is also an earn-out component to the deal, which makes it worth up to £65.5 million ($85 million). At a cap of £42.5 million ($55.1 million), the consideration is subject to Coatsink's financial performances in 2021 and 2022
  • Currently, the developer has five announced and unannounced projects, including Jurassic World Aftermath and Transformers Battlegrounds. Coatsink will continue to operate as an independent studio

JetSynthesys acquires Real Cricket developer Nautilus Mobile (link)

  • Based in Pune, India, Nautilus is best known for its Real Cricket franchise, which has racked up more than 100 million downloads and 10 million monthly active users

Donut Lab raises $1.6 million for Kids vs Zombies mobile game (link)

  • Game studio Donut Lab has raised $1.6 million to finish making its Kids vs Zombies multiplayer shooter mobile game. The game is an example of taking something potentially violent and serious and transforming it with cartoon art so that it’s suitable for young folks to play

Others

Call of Duty: Mobile nears $500 million in revenue (link)

  • Activision's Call of Duty: Mobile has generated around $480 million in revenue within its first year of release, according to Sensor Tower

  • Given the shooter is already an established franchise with a healthy player base on PC and console, it was bound to be popular on mobile devices. This was proven to be true very early on, as Call of Duty: Mobile accumulated 100 million downloads, which after eight months, increased to 250 million installs

Jam City is the first mobile games firm to partner with McDonalds (link)

  • The partnership is with the Canadian chain of the fast-food giant, and will involve prizes being given as part of the monopoly game across more than 1,400 restaurants

  • The game developer will give away over $300,000 through virtual giveaways for its match-3 puzzler Cookie Jam, which has racked up more than 150 million downloads

Mortal Kombat 11 gets its first next-gen blood November 17 with Rambo (link)

  • Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the most successful fighting games in recent history, and Warner Bros. Games has announced Mortal Kombat XI Ultimate, which is coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X on November 17
  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is also coming to Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on November 17

Gaming Public Multiples

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