Posts Tagged ‘#business’

HitRecord’s claim that it’s community collaboration, not spec work for Beyond Good & Evil 2 rings hollow

Putting the squeeze on artist's wallets

There’s a dark cloud looming over Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil 2, and I’m not just talking about the one in the stunning E3 trailer. Alongside a lot of good things at the E3 showing of the game was a section on how Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord was going to be handling the inclusion of community-created art and assets for the game. While creators will be paid if their work is used, it still sounds like high-risk speculative work to me (spend time/money making stuff now, hope someone pays later), despite Gordon-Levitt’s woolly claim otherwise, posted on Medium here.

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Telltale and Netflix trade Minecraft for Stranger Things

Stranger Things

Minecraft and Stranger Things have gone hand-in-hand before, as seen in the official crossover skin pack above, but this deal between streaming megalith Netflix and adventure game studio Telltale (as reported by Techradar) seems a little more direct. Telltale will be adapting their Minecraft: Story Mode games into an interactive, streaming video series for kids on Netflix, while Netflix will be granting the studio the Stranger Things license, presumably to create yet another series of their episodic choose-your-own-adventure games.

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Microsoft buy Forza Horizon and Hellblade studios, and more

Microsoft have gone on a spending spree, buying four studios and opening a new one of their own. During their E3 pressblast tonight, Microsoft announced that they’ve picked up Forza Horizon developers Playground Games, Hellblade developers Ninja Theory, State Of Decay developers Undead Labs, and We Happy Few developers Compulsion Games. They’ve also opened The Initiative, a new studio in Santa Monica with a name like a faction of WWE heels. Read the rest of this entry »

Valve take a stand against taking a stand on Steam rules

Steam just got a whole lot wilder.

Good news: Creators of raunchy visual novels and other such things on the fringes of Steam’s content rules can now probably breathe easy, despite Valve’s worrying and unpredictable behaviour recently.

Less good news: In a lengthy and jaw-dropping Steam blog post, Valve’s Erik Johnson has effectively abdicated all responsibility for what is sold on Steam, stating that:

“-we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling”.

Alright, deep breath… Let’s take a look at this and try to pick apart some of the implications.

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Paradox buying BattleTech studio Harebrained Schemes

Paradox Interactive have announced they are buying Harebrained Schemes, expanding their power as the heavyweight champ of traditional PC gaming. Y’know, Paradox, the Swedish mob who make games including Crusader Kings II and Stellaris as well as publishing loads more. And y’know, Harebrained Schemes, the American studio behind Shadowrun and BattleTech – and which was co-founded by a fella who helped create those tabletop worlds, Jordan Weisman. Paradox published BattleTech and evidently they got on so well they want to tie the knot. It sounds like the plan is for Harebrained to continue as before, including making more BattleTech, only now with more security. Read the rest of this entry »

PUBG Corp to sue Epic Games over Fortnite similarities

Whoever wins, we lose.

A courtroom battle royale is brewing as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds developers PUBG Corp have filed a copyright suit against Fortnite Battle Royale studio Epic Games, The Korea Times reports. PUBG Corp claim that Fortnite Battle Royale violates their copyright. While the finer points of the Korean case have not yet been made public record, this could be the ‘further action’ contemplated by PUBG Corp’s parent company Bluehole last September.

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Tencent grab majority stake in Path Of Exile devs

Changes are afoot at Path Of Exile developers Grinding Gear Games, as Chinese publishers Tencent have bought a controlling stake in the Kiwi studio. Grinding Gear say that Tencent will help them grow and improve their action-RPG, with multiple expansions currently in the pipeline, and insist that the free-to-play game won’t become ‘pay-to-win’.

“We will remain an independent company and there won’t be any big changes to how we operate,” they say. Hmm! Path Of Exile is a corker, going from strength to strength across updates, so it’ll be interesting to see how this develops. Read the rest of this entry »

Bigben buying Styx & Blood Bowl devs Cyanide Studio

French publishers Bigben Interactive are buying French developers Cyanide Studio, the mob behind games including Styx sneak ’em ups, the Blood Bowl adaptation, and the Game Of Thrones RPG. Cyanide’s games tend not to quite come together while being interesting or admirable in their ambition, mid-budget games of a sort we don’t see much any more – I’m always interested to see what they’re up to. Bigben are glad to be getting a development studio of their own, while Cyanide say this will help them expand and make better games. Read the rest of this entry »

Turtle Beach credit battle royale for selling headsets

Once upon a time, Myst got many to buy a CD-ROM drive. Quake was the reason to own a 3D accelerator. The question asked of new PCs for years was “Will it run Crysis?” And, er, cryptocurrencies are devouring new graphics cards. Now, it seems multiplayer battle royale shooters are boosting sales of headsets.

Once-struggling audio hardware company Turtle Beach have credited the mega-popularity of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale with a large role in reversing their fortunes. It seems many people are finding themselves in want of a decent headset to ask “Where we dropping, lads?”, to sing Chelsea Dagger, and to hear footsteps too I guess. Read the rest of this entry »

Vivendi officially abandon their Ubisoft takeover plans

The shareholders meeting probably looked a little bit like this

We can at least breathe a small sigh of relief today. For the first time in what seems like an age, two already-massive corporate entities have failed to become one, a move that would surely crush yet more fragile human hopes and dreams between their colliding financial bodies. We’ve previously covered Vivendi’s increasingly aggressive attempt to buy out Ubisoft, and today we’re relieved to report that Vivendi has officially thrown in the towel after several years of snapping up shares.

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Ubisoft buy Brawlhalla makers Blue Mammoth Games

Ubisoft today announced they have bought Blue Mammoth Games, the American studio who make free-to-play platform fighter Brawlhalla. Ubi seem chuffed about now owning Brawlhalla–as they should be, because it’s a popular little Super Smash Bros. ’em up with a gentle F2P model–and also gab about happily scooping up the team with all their experience. Blue Mammoth say they will continue to run and expand Brawlhalla under Ubi, and that they had instigated the sale by searching for a company who could help them grow further. Read the rest of this entry »

EVE: Valkyrie studio joins Sumo Digital

Here’s a little good news to start the year: CCP Newcastle, the studio behind EVE Online’s spin-off shooter EVE: Valkyrie, have found a buyer. Their fate had seemed uncertain since October 2017, when CCP announced they would try to sell the Newcastle studio as part of stepping away from making VR games. But the news sounds good, as the Newcastle mob are being picked up by Sumo Digital, the UK-based studio behind games including Snake Pass and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Read the rest of this entry »

THQ Nordic buy the studio making Biomutant

The cutesy Biomutant raised a few eyebrows after its announcement during Gamescom in August, enough that THQ Nordic have gone ahead and bought the studio making it. THQ Nordic were already publishing Biomutant, and now they own both the post-apocalyptic open-world action-RPG and developers Experiment 101 too. Read the rest of this entry »

IO Interactive is now independent, keeps Hitman

Hitman studio IO Interactive is now independent again, after thirteen years of being owned by Eidos then Square Enix, and they’re getting to keep Hitman. The fate of both the Danish studio and their flagship series has been in question since May, when Square Enix announced they were cutting IO loose. While we’d heard that IO might be able to continue Hitman, things looked a bit grim when they laid off some staff shortly after. Now it’s a bit more sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Read the rest of this entry »

Shambling: Eador studio pull Zombiest Adventures

As attempts to get a struggling studio back on track go, publishing “a silly (and trashy at times) game that had LGBT pirates, forced transgender striptease and a Nobel laureate in literature as a game character” is a surprising move. That’s precisely what Eador creators Snowbird Games did though, releasing The Zombiest Adventures In The Perverted Age of Enlightenment With a Pinch of Woodpunk [Steam page], only to pull it from sale six days later.

The last few months have been difficult for Snowbird. Before reaching The Perverted Age of Enlightenment, they lost most of their dev team in March, and have been looking for ways to revitalise the company ever since.

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Miss: Square Enix try to sell Hitman devs IO Interactive

Square Enix are pulling out of IO Interactive, leaving the future of the Danish studio (and their sandbox murder simulator series Hitman) uncertain as they try to find new investors. Squeenix bought IO in 2009 and, only eight years later, want rid of them for reasons of both business and pleasure — “to maximize player satisfaction”, in their words. It’s a bit of a bummer, not least of all because the first season of the episodic new Hitman was great once it got rolling. Read the rest of this entry »

Mad Catz files for bankruptcy

Mad Catz, the controller company known for their plastic guitars and mice which look like cars from a cyberpunk anime, has filed for voluntary bankruptcy. The company has ceased operations, its directors and officers have resigned, and they’re starting liquidation. Mad Catz have been in financial trouble for a fair while and tried to turn it around, including selling their Saitek flight sim line to Logitech in September, but this looks like the end. Read the rest of this entry »

Humble launches own publishing label with solid lineup

It’s still weird to me that the Humble empire was spawned by folks who started out (and quickly returned to) making games about kicking rabbits in the face. Humble is becoming even bigger now, this week announcing the launching of an initiative to fund and publish games. They’ve announced an initial lineup of seven games, including ooh! Scorn! That FPS-adventure where everything’s guts and gristle. The one where Pip chatted with the devs about its look. Grand. I’m glad to hear that’s still coming. The rest of the lineup is interesting and varied too. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychonauts 2 peeks at pretty plants, picks up publisher

You like rocks? I’ll show you nice rocks. You like trees? I’ll show you nice trees. You like squirrels? I’ll show you nice squirrels. All these and more are in a new Psychonauts [official site] dev video showing an art test of a quarry environment. It’s not a finished level, just Double Fine feeling out the game’s style, but some pretty stuff is in there.

Over in the world of #business, Double Fine have announced that Psychonauts 2 will be published by Starbreeze, the Brothers and Payday mob. But first, look at these rocks. Read the rest of this entry »

Vivendi continue to skulk toward an Ubisoft takeover

Vivendi, the French-run media colossus that owns Universal Music Group, has announced that it now owns over 25% of Ubisoft shares. While that doesn’t mean anything in itself, it does suggest that the giant is set on getting the necessary stock to make a takeover bid of the publisher, which it is obliged to do by French law once it owns 30% of the company’s shares. In short, Vivendi are continuing to creep towards Ubisoft with a chloroform cloth. How such a takeover would effect y’all, we don’t know. But Ubisoft say it’s not what they want. Read the rest of this entry »