business news Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Xbox Keystone… the business news of the week
Sales data, studio acquisitions, financial statements, developer transfer window, investments… if these topics interest you, you’ve come to the right place. We bring you an update on last week’s economic news.
US charts: Modern Warfare 2 and PS5 dominated in October
NPD group unveiled assessment of the video game market in the United States for the month of October. Total player spend reached $4.3 billion, exactly the same amount as in October 2021. A result that seems disappointing, given that this month benefited from the launch of Call of Duty Modern Wafare 2, while Call of Duty Vanguard had landed in November 2021.
The spectacular performance of the latest CoD has already been mentioned several times (1 billion dollars generated worldwide in ten days), and the game naturally takes the lead in the United States, its main market. It also becomes the second best seller of 2022 behind Elden Ring.
Nice start too Gotham Knights, which also calls itself in the top 20 of the year and occupies the 2nd place in the monthly ranking. The Switch is well represented thanks to two important novelties, Mario + The Rabbids Sparks of Hope (6th) and Bayonetta 3 (9th), not to mention the return of NieR Automata (19th), just ported to the Nintendo console. Persona 5 (7th) is also making a strong comeback thanks to its release on Steam, Switch and Xbox.
Other novelties of the month, Star Ocean The Divine Force (14th) and Dragon Ball The Breakers (16th) have managed to settle in the second half of the ranking, just like Grounded which has just been released in version 1.0. As always this time of year, sports games are doing well, with FIFA 23 (3rd), NFL 23 (4th), NBA 2K23 (8th), PGA Tour 2K23 (17th).
On the console side, NPD Group reports this PS5 and Xbox Series sales increased in October. It was the PS5 that dominated both in volume (number of sales) and value (money generated from sales), ahead of its competitor Microsoft. Switch is therefore on the last step of the podium.
Xbox Keystone: The dedicated cloud console has not yet been released due to its price
During an interview with The limit, Phil Spencer returned to the “Keystone” project. The popular console designed exclusively to run Xbox Cloud Gaming games was seen in prototype form last month in a video posted by the Xbox boss. Although it is already functional, the American company has preferred to set it aside for the moment. The reason: a sale price that would not have been attractive enough.
“I don’t want to announce a specific price, but I think it would have to be between $99 and $129 for it to make sense. We weren’t in that range considering the controller. The reason the Keystone is on my shelf is that the team has tucked in he rolled up his sleeves and built this thing in nine months, a few of us took it home and it worked it worked really, really well it worked”explains Phil Spencer.
Since we know that an Xbox Series S costs only $299, it seems necessary for such a device to show a much lower price. Keystone cannot download or run games natively, it can only play those from Xbox Cloud Gaming, which require an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (except Fortnite which is accessible for free).
While waiting to reach the right price, Microsoft has been working on partnerships to offer Xbox Cloud Gaming on Samsung connected TVs or even on the Meta Quest 2 VR viewer.
After mixed results from Saints Row, Volition switches from Deep Silver to Gearbox
Connected to the Austrian company Deep Silver since 2013, the Volition studio will now evolve under the direction of Gearbox. An internal transfer therefore, since they are branches of the Swedish giant Embracer. As indicated by Press releasethe company believes that Gearbox “has all the tools, including an experienced management team in the US, to create Volition’s future success”. We are told this is the “first internal group transfer, where we transfer a major study between operational groups, but it’s not necessarily the last”.
The deal comes three months after the launch of Saints Row (2022). A new time, Embracer Group reported that the game “didn’t live up to all expectations and wasn’t unanimous with the fans”. On the other hand, its commercial performance “met management expectations”. We take this opportunity to point out that the game has just welcomed the “Bright Future” update.which notably fixes more than 200 bugs.
Another announcement of the week from Embracer Group: the release of Dead Island 2 is delayed from February 3 to April 28, 2023. “We are only 12 weeks late and development is now in the final stretch; we will take our time to ensure the release of a game we are proud of. For those of you who have been waiting for years, thank you for standing by we”, commented Deep Silver.
Krafton buys Neon Giant studio (The Ascent)
Krafton continues to expand his family of studios. Driven by the success of PUBG and PUBG Mobile, the Korean company will acquire Neon Giant for an unspecified sum. The Swedish studio will thus join a group made up of several teams such as PUBG Studios, Bluehole Studio, RisingWings, Striking Distance Studios, Dreamotion, Unknown Worlds and 5minlab.
Founded in 2018 by veterans of Bulletstorm, Gears of War and Wolfenstein, Neon Giant released its first game, The Ascent in 2021. Change of style for their next project since it’s not an isometric shooter, but a Open world first person shooter not yet disclosed.
Simultaneously with this acquisition, Krafton announced the imminent opening of a major studio in Canada to oversee the development of “The Bird that Drinks Tears,” a game based on a series of fantasy novels inspired by Korean mythology. .
“The company has a number of high-quality console and PC titles in active development across various genres, including Project Black Budget (hardcore PvPvE shooter), Project Roam (multiplayer PvPvE shooter), and upcoming game Subnautica (adventure )”indicates the Kraton press release. In the near future, the company will release the long-awaited survival-horror The Callisto Protocol, developed by Striking Distance Studios and scheduled for December 2nd.
Briefly in the economic news of the week
- Ace Combat 7 has passed the milestone of 4 million sales.
- I study Jumpship, which just released its first Somerville game, has been acquired by Thunderfula Swedish group that brings together the teams behind the games Lost in Random, SteamWorld, The Gunk and Fe.
- Blizzard and NetEase will end their distribution partnership in China from World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft III: Reforged, Overwatch, StarCraft II, Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm. The games in question will no longer be available from January 23, 2023 on Chinese territory.