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GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 30

Highlights

U.S. game-console spending up 25% through first half of 2020 (link)

  • In the United States, the pandemic dictates what our lives can look like. Even as some states attempted to reopen, many are going back on lockdown. The prospect of movie theaters, comedy venues, or concert halls opening up through the end of the year is laughable. So people — at least those who still have work — are turning to video games to find some source of entertainment and social connectivity. That has led to a 25% year-over-year increase in hardware sales through the first half of 2020, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group

June 2020 NPD: The Last of Us Part II has best U.S. launch month of the year (link)

  • The Last of Us Part II was June’s best-selling game and is now the third best-selling game of the year. The Last of Us: Part II now ranks as the No. 8 best-selling game of the 12-month period ending June
  • “June 2020 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards totaled $1.2 billion, gaining 26% when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “This is the highest tracked spend for a June month since $1.3 billion was reached in June 2009.”

China removes Supercell’s Hay Day and 2,500 other games from iOS app store (link)

  • The Chinese government has cracked down on unlicensed mobile games in China’s Apple App Store, removing more than 2,500 in the first week of July, according to measurement firm Sensor Tower
  • Among those removed are Hay Day from Supercell, which launched the farming game back in 2012. Also gone are Nonstop Chuck Norris from Flaregames, Contract Killer Zombies 2 from Glu, ASMR Slicing from Crazy Labs, and Solitaire from Zynga

Ex-Valve luminary Anna Sweet joins J.J. Abrams’ game studio as CEO (link)

  • Anna Sweet is the new chief executive officer of Bad Robot Games. Sweet, who is a games-industry veteran, will oversee efforts to build games in collaboration with the Bad Robot movie studio

Nexon shuts down its Orange County game studio (link)

  • The company said the reason for the shutdown was not based on any Nexon business concerns but was more due to the creative direction and core focus
  • “We deeply appreciate the commitment and output of the OC team, however projects in development there no longer fit with our focus on core creative competencies,” a Nexon spokesperson said in a statement

Ubisoft is launching Brawhalla and Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad on mobile next month (link)

  • French publishing giant Ubisoft is geared up to release Brawlhalla on August 6th for iOS and Android devices
  • The fighting title was first released in 2017 for PC and PlayStation 4 and was later released for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in November 2018. Currently, potential mobile players can pre-register, and those who do will get an exclusive skin upon release

Harmonix, Konami, Supermassive sign up to bring exclusives to Stadia (link)

  • A number of games studios have pledged to bring titles exclusively to Google’s Stadia streaming platform
  • In the latest Stadia Connect event, the search giant revealed that Konami’s Super Bomberman R Online would be launching on its cloud service, while One Hand Clapping from Bad Dream Games would also be launching ‘First on Stadia
  • Meanwhile, Harmonix, Uppercut Games and Supermassive have all committed to bringing exclusive titles to Google Stadia

Zynga adds Noel Watson to its board of directors (link)

  • Zynga has welcomed Noel Watson to its board of directors as an independent director
  • With this new appointment, Watson has become Zynga’s ninth member for its board of directors. Last year, Watson became the CFO for TrueCar, a digital marketplace for car buyers. Before that, he worked as the chief accounting officer for TripAdvisor

Trivia Royale scores over three million downloads in less than a month (link)

  • Teatime Games’ head-to-head quiz battle royale Trivia Royale has surpassed 3.1 million installs since launching on June 17th, according to Sensor Tower data
  • The trivia mobile game that has players facing off against 1,000-plus other contestants to find one overall winner has started off extremely well. The majority of the downloads have originated from the US at 2.2 million installs or 70.9% of the overall figure

M&A and Capital Raising

VGames raises $30 million for game-focused investment fund in Israel (link)

  • VGames has raised more than $30 million for its game-focused investment fund based in Israel. It’s one of dozens of venture capital and investment funds that have been drawn to the game industry in recent years

Tilting Point acquires Plamee Studios and FTX Games assets (link)

  • Tilting Point has acquired all of Plamee Studios and the assets of FTX Games from gambling technology software firm Playtech in Estonia, adding to Tilting Point’s growing portfolio of mobile games
  • The New York-based Tilting Point did not disclose the purchase price. The move is part of a series of acquisitions that Tilting Point has undertaken to become a big mobile game publisher and developer. Typically, this company takes games that are hits and tries to turn them into bigger hits using user acquisition spending and other marketing technology

TinyBuild acquires Hello Neighbor devs and will invest $15 million in franchise (link)

  • Game publisher TinyBuild has acqui-hired the development team behind hit game series Hello Neighbor from Dynamic Pixels and will invest more than $15 million in the franchise
  • The new team will be called Eerie Guest Studios, and will be located be in Hilversum, Netherlands. The company didn’t disclose the deal price, but it is part of the $15 million investment

Huuuge Games acquires interactive ads firm Playable Platform (link)

  • Mobile games developer and publisher Huuuge Games has acquired Dutch advertising start-up Playable Platform
  • The Amsterdam-based ad firm has a focus on interactive and playable ads. As such, it has created AI-driven technology to optimise various forms of creatives, such as interactive videos and playable ads

Animoca Brands acquires social games platform GAMEE (link)

  • Animoca announced that it has paid €4 million ($4.5 million) for the GAMEE platform in shares. However, there are additional earn-out payments of up to €1 million ($1.1 million) in either cash or shares

Carbonated raises $8.5 million for squad-based mobile shooter (link)

  • Carbonated has raised $8.5 million for its mobile game studio. It’s building a squad-based shooter that taps artificial intelligence as a core feature. The company has thought not only about incorporating AI into making mobile gaming easier, but to update these apps even with a small team

Others

Overwatch League’s online-only playoffs start on September 3rd (link)

  • All 20 OWL teams will take part in the playoffs. OWL Vice President Jon Spector told The Washington Post Blizzard decided to include every club to accommodate those teams that were particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic
  • To start, they will play exclusively against other franchises in their region. Blizzard will seed each organization based on how they performed throughout the year. Higher ranked teams will have advantages like first map choice against their lower-seeded peers. After two weeks of play, the top two teams in each region will advance to a global double-elimination bracket

Microsoft to launch xCloud streaming free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in September (link)

  • Microsoft is planning to launch its game streaming service, currently known as Project xCloud, free to its paying Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in September. The xCloud service will allow Xbox players to play games on mobile devices or even start a game on their consoles and resume it on their phone or tablet

NetEase soft-launches strategy card title Marvel Duel (link)

  • NetEase has soft-launched Marvel Duel, a new strategy card mobile game featuring the brand’s iconic superheroes
  • NetEase claims that Marvel Duel features one of the largest rosters of Marvel characters in a mobile game ever, with more than 150 characters available for collection and upgrade

LEGO partners with Monument Valley developer Ustwo for LEGO Super Mario app (link)

  • The LEGO Group has partnered with Monument Valley creator Ustwo on its upcoming LEGO Super Mario app on mobile
  • The app will primarily be used to update the LEGO Mario figure and will need to be installed for anyone purchasing expansion packs for the starter set

Nintendo and LEGO team up for an NES building set (link)

  • The new block building set is aimed at adults, not only does it feature the classic console, but consumers can build a replica NES controller and a 1980s TV set for a true nostalgic trip down memory lane

Clash Royale fights its way through $3 billion in lifetime revenue (link)

  • The milestone has been hit just over four years after the real-time strategy game was released. Unsurprisingly, Clash Royale is one of the highest-grossing mobile titles out there, although it does sit behind Clash of Clans – another Supercell game – which has earned around $7 billion, and experienced its best month for revenue ever in December 2019

Gaming Public Multiples

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