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GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 51

Highlights

Roblox Delays IPO Until Next Year (link)

  • The Company has decided to delay its initial public offering until next year, in response to the enthusiastic market reaction for the DoorDash and Airbnb IPOs this past week making it difficult to price shares accurately
  • The Company’s co-founder and chief executive, David Baszucki, announced the decision in a memo to employees on Friday, saying that waiting provided “an opportunity to improve our specific process for employees, shareholders and future investors both big and small.”

Cyberpunk 2077 has already recouped its development costs (link)

  • The game has already achieved high ratings throughout the Gaming industry, however CD Projekt’s stock traded down ~25% in the week leading up to announcement
  • In a memo issued last week, CD Projekt — the parent company of developer CD Projekt Red — said that its revenue from digital pre-order sales alone exceeds all of Cyberpunk 2077’s production costs and all of the Company’s marketing and promotional costs for the game this year
  • In a series of tweets issued on Thursday, CD Projekt announced that Cyberpunk 2077 had been pre-ordered more than 8M times
  • The Company also announced that sales of Cyberpunk 2077 on Steam crossed the $50M mark “over 2 weeks ago,” meaning that from that point forward, it has been receiving 80% royalties from the platform

Mobile game and app spending will grow 25% to $112B in 2020 (link)

  • Mobile game and app spending will grow 25% to $112B in 2020, according to year-end estimates from mobile data and analytics researcher App Annie
  • $0.65 of every dollar spent went to iOS, spend on Google Play will grow close to 30% in 2020
  • In gaming, the standout successes were Among Us, My Talking Tom Friends, Roblox, and Call of Duty: Mobile. My Talking Tom Friends was one of the few new games to penetrate the top-10 lists
  • Roblox also broke into the top 10 apps by consumer spending in 2020. Call of Duty: Mobile surpassed nearly a billion hours on Android phones in the peak month of its first year (October)

Consoles set new records in November Launch (link)

  • PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X launched last month, and they helped set a new November record, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group
  • Despite performance of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch sales have maintained high numbers, selling more than 1.3M units in November
  • Consumers spent a November record $1.4B on new video game hardware, a 58% increase compared to a year ago
  • Growth was driven by the launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. YTD hardware spending reached $4B, 34% higher than a year ago

Minecraft racks up the most views of any game on YouTube in 2020 (link)

  • Mojang's Minecraft was the most-watched game on YouTube this year, with 201B views on the platform in 2020
  • Roblox came in second place with 75B views and Garena Free Fire finished in third with 72B views
  • YouTube Gaming surpassed 100B of hours watched across more than 40M channels dedicated to gaming in 2020

Project xCloud is coming to iOS devices in Spring 2021 (link)

  • Microsoft's Project xCloud, the Company’s cloud gaming service, will enter beta on iOS devices next year
  • Project xCloud was initially available on iOS via the App Store in beta earlier in 2020, but was removed after Apple determined that the application breached App Store policies
  • Microsoft’s cloud gamming service will also enter new markets including Australia, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico in spring 2021

Google releases Stadia in eight European countries, including Poland and Portugal (link)

  • Google has launched its Stadia streaming service in more European countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland
  • In total, Stadia now works in 22 countries

Control has sold over 2M copies (link)

  • Control debuted in August 2019. It is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions are coming in 2021
  • Bigger has a strong profile, with four casual games that have already been downloaded more than 75M times in the past year. These have already made the company profitable
  • In 2019, 60% of Controls sales were digital. In 2020, that skyrocketed up to 90% as social-distancing gamers were happier staying at home and avoiding brick-and-mortar stores

The Last of Us Part II and Among Us win game of the year  (link)

  • The Last of Us Part 2 won game of the year among other categories, including best game direction, narrative, and action & adventure game
  • Other award winners included Final Fantasy VII Remake for best role-playing game and best score and music, with popular lockdown hit Among Us winning best multiplayer and best mobile game

M&A and Capital Raising

According to Sky News, EA has allegedly entered the race to acquire Codemasters alongside Take-Two (link)

  • Electronic Arts, which already owns a UK racing studio in the form of Need for Speed and Burnout developer Criterion, is expected to be revealed as an interested party
  • Take-Two had had already reached an agreement over the terms of the offer, which valued the publicly owned company at $956M
  • EA and Take-Two are the two biggest sports games publishers in the world, and both will be eyeing Codemasters’ hit F1 racing series, which has expanded into esports in recent years and continues to grow in popularity

Modern Times Group acquires mobile studio Hutch (link)

  • Modern Times Group has acquired racing-focused mobile games developer and publisher Hutch in a deal worth up to $375M, implying a ~5.0x revenue multiple and ~21.1x EBIT multiple
  • Consideration for the deal consists of a $275M upfront cash payment and up to $100M of performance-based payments
  • The acquisition has been made through MTG's new holding company GamingGo, which was announced recently alongside increased investment in German games developer InnoGames

Zynga’s Rollic division buys Onnect game for $6M (link)

  • Zynga recently acquired Turkey’s Rollic for $16M, and now Rollic is turning around and buying the matching game Onnect from Chef Game Studio for $6M
  • Onnect has been acquired in full for a closing payment of $6M and a potential future payment of $1M, based on terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties
  • Onnect is a connection-based pair-matching game with challenging levels

Bigger Games raises $6M as Turkey’s startup market heats up (link)

  • Bigger Games has raised $6M to make mobile games as Turkey’s startup market continues to grow
  • Bigger has a strong profile, with four casual games that have already been downloaded more than 75M times in the past year. These have already made the Company profitable
  • The funding comes from Index Ventures, the backer of Roblox, King, Supercell, and Discord. Play Ventures (who backed the company in the pre-seed round), Unity founder David Helgason, and ex-King chief operating officer Stephane Kurgan also participated in this round

Aglet raises $4.5M to make a mobile game out of sneakers (link)

  • The Company, based in Los Angeles and Dusseldorf, Germany, calls itself the developer of a sneaker and culture-focused spatial commerce experience
  • Aglet has now raised $7M since its founding in late 2019
  • Sapphire Sport led the round, with participation from existing investors Lakestar Ventures and Forecast Ventures. Notable angels Matt Miesnieks (6D.ai, Niantic Labs), Nate Mitchell (co-founder Oculus, Mountaintop Studios), and Greg Castle (Anorak Ventures) also participated in the round

Salad Technologies raises $3.2M (link)

  • Salad hopes this plan will position it to define the future of distributed computing at a time when the industry has a voracious appetite for computing power
  • In the past couple of years, Salad has amassed 250,000 computer users, and that user base has generated 1,000 years of compute time. Carthona Capital led the round with additional participation from Kickstart Seed Fund and Royal Street Ventures

New studio Core Loop secures $2.4M (link)

  • Game developer Core Loop has secured $2.4M in funding to create a cross-platform MMO
  • The round featured participation from Galaxy Digital, 1Up Ventures, Initial Capital, Dune Ventures and Sisu Games
  • Core Loop is led by Vincenzo Alagana and Dan Chao
  • Alagana has gained experience on both console and mobile in a career spanning 20 years, and was once the president and CTO of Game of War developer Machine Zone

ForeVR raises $1.5M and unveils VR bowling title (link)

  • The startup has raised $1.5M, and its first game is a VR bowling title
  • The company was founded by industry vets Marcus Segal and Mike Pagano Doom, who both worked at Zynga. They are developing their first game, which is scheduled to be released in early 2021 on Oculus VR headsets

Bombay secures $1M in funding from Lumikai (link)

  • Bangalore-based developer Bombay Play has secured $1M in seed funding from India-based venture capital fund Lumikai
  • Playco and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron joined the board of directors for Bombay Play
  • Bombay Play has already seen 10M downloads for its first multiplayer game, Card Party

Wizard Games secures investment from Tencent (link)

  • Chinese games studio Wizard has secured an undisclosed investment from Tencent
  • With the proceeds raised, Wizard plans to build upon its development team, as well as build its portfolio of online games across all platforms
  • The studio’s leading title, Battle Teams, has accumulated 500M users worldwide, with its sequel, Battle Teams 2, expected to be released in 2021
  • Despite its shooter focus Wizard has created a new sandbox title dubbed Sea of Craft, it is scheduled to be released in 2021

Modern Times Group increases its investment in InnoGames (link)

  • Modern Times Group has increased its controlling stake to 68% in mobile games developer InnoGames
  • Modern Times Group can purchase an additional 17% of the company for $128M
  • In November 2019, the German games studio surpassed $1B in lifetime revenue

Others

Pokémon GO’s February 20 event will celebrate beloved Kanto region (link)

  • Pokémon GO‘s next big online event will take place on February 20 as the company celebrates the game’s fifth anniversary with a return to the Kanto region
  • This is another example of how the publisher is shifting to a hybrid status for its location-based game, where players can play individually in physical spaces while gathering in large groups through online play
  • During the 12-hour virtual event, all 150 Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region will be available as Shiny Pokémon, some for the first time

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands breaks record for biggest PC game launch (link)

  • Blizzard Entertainment announced today that World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Shadowlands, sold over 3.7M copies on its launch day, November 23
  • This breaks the record for biggest launch day for any PC game, beating out the 3.5M copies Blizzard’s own Diablo III managed back in 2012
  • World of Warcraft has been gaining players this year as social distancers have looked for a virtual world to escape to

Halo: Infinite is launching next fall (link)

  • Halo: Infinite isn’t coming in the spring or summer. Developer 343 Industries is now aiming to launch the game in the fall 2021, according to a blog post from director Joseph Staten
  • This is the first time that anyone from Microsoft has given a new release window for the game

JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot launches internal game studio headed by Left 4 Dead creator (link)

  • The entertainment Company run by the Star Wars filmmaker has hired Michael Booth, a veteran game creator behind hits such as Valve’s Left 4 Dead
  • The Santa Monica, California-based Bad Robot Games will now have two different businesses that Sweet will manage
  • It will work on co-development deals with external game partners, and it will also make its own games under the studio headed by Booth, who previously worked at Valve, Blizzard Entertainment, Facebook, and Electronic Arts

Left 4 Dead successor Back 4 Blood launches June 22 (link)

  • Developer Turtle Rock announced that Back 4 Blood, the spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead series, is coming out on June 22
  • An alpha will launch next week, as the studio announced today at The Game Awards
  • Turtle Rock created Left 4 Dead under Valve back in 2008. The game became popular thanks to its four-player cooperative shooting. It had one sequel in 2009, but the series has been dormant since then

Pearl Abyss’ Crimson Desert will debut in the winter of 2021 (link)

  • Pearl Abyss revealed a new gameplay trailer for Crimson Desert at The Game Awards today. The open-world massively multiplayer role-playing game is coming out for PC and consoles in winter 2021

Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to Xbox Series X/S in summer 2021 (link)

  • This means a new audience will get a chance to experience its realistic flight models and lifelike replication of Earth on Xbox Series X and S
  • Asobo is focusing on Xbox Series X/S. That means no plans for Flight Simulator for the Xbox One have been made yet

The Elder Scrolls Online’s next expansion is Gates of Oblivion (link)

  • Bethesda revealed the next expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online during The Game Awards today, and it’s Gates of Oblivion. It will release in 2021
  • Developer ZeniMax Studios Online also announced that a better look at Gates of Oblivion will happen during a premier event on January 21
  • The Elder Scrolls Online debuted in 2014 and has a dedicated following thanks to the release of constant updates and expansions. The last expansion, Greymoor, came out this May

Rovio has cancelled development of its new turn-based RPG Angry Birds Legends (link)

  • Rovio has cancelled development of its new turn-based RPG Angry Birds Legends
  • Rovio confirmed that the previously soft-launched title was not where they wanted it to be and therefore felt a full release was not warranted
  • The Company similarly halted development of Angry Birds Tennis following an unsuccessful soft-launch period in October 2020

2K launches NBA SuperCard globally as WWE SuperCard crosses 21M installs (link)

  • 2K Games has launched NBA SuperCard, a F2P mobile collectable card battle game, on iOS and Android devices globally
  • NBA SuperCard was developed by Cat Daddy Games, and previously developed WWE SuperCard which has reached 21M global downloads since its August 2014 launch
  • Cat Daddy Games has already utilized its NBA license to create NBA 2K Mobile and MyNBA 2K21

Gaming Public Multiples

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