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GGP Gaming Weekly – Week 46

Highlights

Take-Two’s bookings grew 3% YoY to $985M as GTA V hit 155M units sold in FQ2 2022 (link)

  • Take Two’s stock was up 5% the day after earnings were announced
  • In FY 2022, Take-Two now expects $3,300M – $3,400M of net bookings and $2.75 – $3.00 of GAAP EPS
  • In FQ2 2022, the Company repurchased 1.26M shares of common stock for approximately $200M at an average share price of $158.67
  • Recurrent consumer spending increased 33% and active player audience increased 11%, representing the strongest second quarter on record for both metrics

Activision Blizzard’s net bookings grew 6% YoY to $1.88B in FQ3 2021 (link)

  • Activision Blizzard’s stock was down 14% the day after earnings were announced
  • In FQ3 2021, digital net revenue increased 6% YoY to $1,852M, representing 89% of the total net revenue
  • Segment operating income for Activision, Blizzard, and King were $244M, $188M, and $303M respectively
  • Jen Oneal, Blizzard Co-Head, decided to leave the Company at the end of the year to join a women-in-game development nonprofit
  • The Company announced delays for Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV until 2022

EA’s bookings grew 103% YoY to $1.85B in FQ2 2022 (link)

  • EA’s stock was up 2% the day after earnings were announced
  • Apex Legends Season 9 and Season 10 each set new marks for highest active players since Season 1, and net bookings grew 150% YoY, delivering $1.6B in LTD net bookings
  • EA repurchased 2.3M shares for $325M and paid a $0.17 cash dividend per share in FQ2 2022
  • In FY 2022, EA revised guidance up to $7,625M of net bookings
  • EA surpassed 500M unique active accounts and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes surpassed 100M players LTD

Playtika’s revenue grew 4% YoY to $636M for FQ3 2021 (link)

  • Playtika’s stock was down 23% the day after earnings were announced
  • In FQ3, Playtika reported revenues of $636M, representing 4% YoY growth, while GAAP net income fell from $120M to $81M
  • The Company revised FY 2021 revenue guidance down to $2.57B from $2.6B and revised EBITDA guidance to $980M, down from $998M previously
  • Casino-themed portfolio revenues were down 4% YoY, and account for ~51% of total revenues
  • FQ3 2021 saw the global launch of Switchcraft: The Magical Match 3 and Mystery Story with the soft launch of Merge Stories and a new casual game planned for 2022
  • ARPDAU grew 9% YoY, to $0.67 while DAUs were down 5% YoY to 10.4M

Skillz delivered 23rd Consecutive Quarter of Revenue Outperformance (link)

  • Skillz stock was down 9% the day after earnings were announced
  • Reported FQ3 2021 Revenue of $102M representing a 70% increase YoY and maintained FY 2021 guidance for revenue of $389M
  • FQ3 2021 pMAUs of 510k, up 46% YoY while ARPPU of $66.82, up 16% YoY
  • Officially launched Big Buck Hunter: Marksman, with the game quickly climbing the charts in the App Store to reach the #1 ranking in the Sports category, helping increase MAUs by 11% on a YoY basis
  • Skillz integrated Exit Games’ Photon Engine, accelerating the Company’s ability to support popular FPS and racing games
  • Skillz indicated the Aarki integration will take somewhere between four and eight quarters, and it is currently on track

Netflix launches five games to Android users everywhere (link)

  • The platform will host 5 games to start out: Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game (both developed by BonusXP), Shooting Hoops, Teeter Up (both developed by Frosty Pop), and Card Blast (developed by Amuzo & Rogue Games)
  • The games won’t be available on kids’ profiles, but they are available to anyone else with a Netflix subscription at no additional cost
  • Apple’s current App Store policies will prevent Netflix from making games available from its app, according to Bloomberg tech reporter Mark Gurman (link)

Google Play to allow support for alternative billing systems in South Korea (link)

  • Google indicated it will comply with the new government mandate prohibiting platforms from forcing developers to use in-app billing systems. The Company will provide Android app developers on Google Play the ability to offer alternative payment systems alongside Google’s own
  • Google says developers in South Korea will be able to add an alternative in-app billing system in addition to Google Play’s billing system for their mobile and tablet users in the country

Facebook avoids Apple’s fees with creator subscriptions (link)

  • Facebook introduced a new feature that allows creators to share custom subscription links, giving them a way to collect direct payments from fans and make money from their work
  • Facebook believes that these links are compliant because it’s the creators who are generating the revenue, not Facebook itself
  • Further down the road, Facebook could find a way to capture some of that subscription revenue — either by a cut of the payment itself, or via the payment processing fees with Facebook’s digital wallet platform Novi, or even both

M&A and Capital Raises

Devolver Digital goes public and raises $261M at $950M valuation (link)

  • Devolver Digital has gone public on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM submarket
  • Devolver itself will receive $50M in proceeds, while $211M will go to selling shareholders, which include the management team and investors such as NetEase, which will still hold a stake
  • The Company is rooted in developer-focused game startups Gathering of Developers and Gamecock Media Group
  • Additionally, Devolver Digital acquired Dodge Roll, developer of Enter the Gungeon, Nerial, the studio behind Reigns, and FireFly Studios, the makers of the Stronghold series (link)

Mythical raises $150M at $1.25B valuation for playable NFT game platform (link)

  • Mythical will use the proceeds to further drive mass adoption of ownership in games through playable NFTs with the growth of its first game, Blankos Block Party, expansion to other gaming platforms, and new projects launching later this year and in 2022
  • Andreessen Horowitz led the round with additional participation from D1 Capital, RedBird Capital, Com2Us, and The Raine Group, as well as crypto exchanges Binance Labs and FTX
  • The Company announced it will partner with three game developers to launch games with integrated Mythical economies: One with Abstraction Games, a racing game with Creative Mobile, and a trading card game from CCG Lab (link)

The Sandbox raises $93M (link)

  • The Sandbox has raised $93M in a funding round led by SoftBank to help grow its virtual world based on NFTs
  • The Company will use the proceeds to hire people, develop more creative tools for players, add multiplayer, expand the number of intellectual properties and brands that are part of The Sandbox, grow user acquisition, and build improved infrastructure
  • SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led the round with additional participation from Animoca Brands, True Global Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Kingsway Capital, Blue Pool Capital, LG Technology Ventures, and others

Animoca Brands raises $65M at $2.2B valuation from Ubisoft and others (link)

  • Animoca Brands has raised its third round of funding since May by raising $65M at a $2.2B valuation
  • The Company will use the proceeds to further develop blockchain in gaming and to fulfill its larger ambition of helping build an open metaverse
  • Investors include Ubisoft, which has been supporting blockchain startups in its accelerator, with additional participation from Liberty City Ventures, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital, Com2Us, Kingsway Capital, 10T, and other institutional and individual investors

Faraway raises $21M to make social games with player-driven economies (link)

  • Faraway is a new game studio leveraging blockchain technology to unlock player-driven and decentralized game economies and is set to launch its browser-based flagship title Mini Royale: Nations
  • The multiplayer game already has 300k MAUs, 25k DAUs, and is expected to be available on the Solana blockchain shortly
  • Lightspeed Venture Partners and FTX led the round with additional participation from a16z, Sequoia Capital, Pantera Capital, Jump Capital, and Solana in its two latest rounds

Splash raises $20M to expand Roblox music-making tools (link)

  • Splash offers various AI-based tools for music creation and performance
  • The Company will use the proceeds to expand its existing music creation tools
  • The fundraise was co-led by Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Bitkraft Ventures with additional participation from Khosla Ventures and King River Capital

Upland raises $18M at $300M valuation for NFT-based virtual real estate game (link)

  • Upland overlays virtual digital ownership on the real world and has 60k daily active users
  • Animoca Brands led the investment with additional participation from C3 Management (formerly known as FinLab EOS VC), OneTeam Partners, Block.one, Alumni Ventures Blockchain Fund, Global Founders Capital, and other individual investors

Core Loop raises $12M to develop sandbox MMO with blockchain (link)

  • Core Loop utilizes blockchain technology to develop its game according to its focus on community leadership and user agency
  • The Company is making its game free-to-play for both mobile and PC. In the game, players will be able to go on adventures and kill monsters with the focus on the game itself and not on the tokenization capabilities
  • Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the round with additional participation from Galaxy Digital, Initial Capital, Dune ventures, 1up Ventures, and Sisu Game Ventures

Beamable raises $5M (link)

  • Beamable is a provider of backend technology to free-to-play games. The Company has more than 1,000 developers that use its self-serve platform that enables companies to easily schedule and manage live events, such as tournaments
  • The Company will use the proceeds to expand its business operations for supporting live-service games
  • The funding round was led by Companyon Ventures and GrandBanks Capital, with additional participation from Gutbrain Ventures

Metaverse social app Flickplay raises $5M (link)

  • Flickplay is a social wallet app designed to work with different kinds of digital art and collectibles
  • The Company will use the proceeds to fund a social platform that will allow metaverse users to flex their digital collectibles
  • Investors in this round include Lightspeed Ventures, Abstract VC, Long Journey VC, Warner Co-Founder Vivi Nevo, and King co-founder Sebastian Knutsson

Game creation startup OCP raises $4.3M to develop its first product (link)

  • The Company will use the proceeds to build an accessible game creation platform that offers players the chance to create their own worlds without a huge learning curve
  • The round was led by Upfront Ventures, with additional participation from Eden Chen of Pragma, former Epic Games president Paul Meegan, and Everblue Management

Kek Entertainment raises $3M to make mobile action games (link)

  • The Company will use the proceeds to develop the game studio which will focus on competitive multiplayer games
  • The funding came from The Games Fund (TGF) and Play Ventures

Afterparty raises $3M so creators can share NFT social tokens with fans (link)

  • Afterparty is creating a decentralized platform, using Web3 technologies, to provide creators with the tools to monetize and manage their fan relationships, deliver live virtual experiences, and sell digital merchandise
  • The Company will use proceeds to accelerate product development for its Web3 platform, which provides creators with the tools necessary for direct monetization using NFTs
  • Acrew Capital and TenOneTen Ventures led the round, with additional participation from Palm Tree Crew, Act One Ventures, Hex Capital, Red Light Management, and angel investors

Aim Lab developer Statespace acquires ProGuides training platform (link)

  • Statespace is the parent company behind Aim Lab, which helps gamers learn to aim in first-person games. ProGuides is an esports coaching platform
  • The Company intends to combine the two platforms to make the ultimate gamers’ training program

Other

Sega and Microsoft plan strategic alliance for ‘Super Game’ (link)

  • Sega and Microsoft announced they have agreed in principle to a new partnership that will allow Sega to build games on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform
  • The strategic alliance will allow Sega to explore ways to produce large-scale, global games in a next-gen development environment

Riot Games announces RiotX Arcane event to promote animated series (link)

  • Riot Games announced the launch of the RiotX Arcane event, a multiple-game promotional blitz done on behalf of the upcoming animated series Arcane
  • The promotional efforts will extend across all of Riot’s games, including League of Legends, Wild Rift, Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, and Valorant. Each game will have various Arcane-themed items, skins, and events
  • Riot reported over 180M active users in games set in the League of Legends universe — which includes League of Legends, Wild Rift, Legends of Runeterra, and Teamfight Tactics

Zynga launches FarmVille 3 for Android and iOS (link)

  • FarmVille 3 includes animal breeding and new farmhand characters. FarmVille 3 includes controllable weather patterns, a customizable farm including farmhand outfits, and a social co-op feature for exchanging goods
  • This new iteration of FarmVille aims to introduce the successful franchise, with over 700M downloads, to a new generation of players

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened makes $228M in two months (link)

  • Harry Potter: Magic Awakened generated more revenue in its first month than Hogwarts Mystery and Wizards Unite launches combined, according to data from Sensor Tower
  • The mobile title, published by NetEase, launched in selected Asian territories (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao) on September 9th, and is already the second-highest grossing mobile game using the Harry Potter IP
  • In its first month, Magic Awakened generated $181M. Hogwarts Mystery generated $33M during its launch month, and Wizards Unite made $12M

League of Legends: Wild Rift generates over $150M a year after release (link)

  • Wild Rift is Riot’s most successful mobile title so far, bringing in more in player spending than Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra combined, according to Sensor Tower
  • The United States and Brazil are reported as the top countries where players spend the most on Wild Rift

Bloober Team and Rogue Games team up to develop new game (link)

  • Bloober Team and Rogue Games have announced they are collaborating on a next-gen game, with additional details to be shared at a later date
  • Bloober is the developer behind Layers of Fear, The Medium, and Blair Witch. Rogue Games recently collaborated with Netflix on its first slate of in-app games

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