Cause for Concern
E86: Sony expressed their concerns about Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard
Good morning gamers! In January, Microsoft shocked the gaming industry by announcing their intentions to acquire Activision Blizzard King in a deal worth $68.7 billion. As the deal makes its way through various regulatory boards for approval, the Brazil government recently published some key findings from their investigation revealing that Sony is very skeptical about the deal, while other companies are indifferent. Sony said,
No company can replicate the success of Call of Duty, or rival it, because the resources required are absurdly high (money, time and developers).
Call of Duty is so popular that it “influences users’ choice of console” and any potential rival cannot sway fans away, even if they have the resources.
Only a handful of developers/publishers outside of Activision can create long-standing AAA games such as EA (FIFA), Take-Two/Rockstar (GTA) and Epic Games (Fortnite).
Subscription services compete with games purchased for a one-time fee, and that subscription services (like Game Pass) could be anti-competitive in terms of allowing publishers to recoup their investment. They also think this could harm consumers by reducing game quality over time.
Game Pass has captured 60% to 70% of the global subscription services market.
Call of Duty is one of Sony’s biggest sources of revenue from third party partners.
Dozens of other tech giants faced the same level of questions, all varying in opinions.
Google, Amazon, Meta and Apple were mostly indifferent about the deal.
Warner Bros., Bandai Namco, Ubisoft and Riot Games were also all okay with the deal, and generally don’t consider any of Activision Blizzard King games too unique (all listing their own competitors in the genres).
Microsoft insists that Activision Blizzard King doesn’t make any unique or “must have” games.
Electronic Arts - Earnings Call
Last Tuesday, Electronic Arts held an earnings call to discuss their Q1 2023 fiscal year results. Andrew Wilson, the Chief Executive Officer kicked off the call by saying they delivered a strong Q1 performance thanks to their broad IPs, amazing talent and their network of players.
EA Sports remains a strong point for the company with EA Sports FIFA engagement in the FUT game mode growing 40% year over year. Wilson also mentioned that Madden NFL 23 will be releasing on August 19th, but it seems he’s most excited about the launch of FIFA 23. Chris Suh, Chief Financial Officer said the Q1 net bookings were $1.3 billion driven by their FIFA franchise and the launch of F1 2022.
Apex Legends leads the way as their top live service game for consoles and PC, alongside the Sims franchise. Wilson also said this about single-player games, “we think it's a really, really important part of the overall portfolio that we deliver in the fulfillment of those core motivations”. EA will not be investing more into Apex Legends Mobile, Laura Miele, Chief Operating Officer says that the mobile business is dynamic and they have multiple ways to evaluate engagement.
Wilson also spoke about the future of EA, saying “I don't think we could be in a stronger position as a stand-alone company”. Wilson’s objective remains to take care of his employees, players and shareholders. Earlier this year, there were rumors circulating that EA was trying to be acquired by a larger company.
🥇Congratulations to the Los Angeles Thieves for winning the Call of Duty League 2022 Championships, to BOOM Esports for winning the Valorant Champions Tour APAC LCQ and to OpTic Gaming for winning the HCS North America Super.
Valve has revealed that the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit format will include three Major Tours (Winter, Spring and Summer) and three Regional League events. One of the biggest differences from the 2022 season is that each regional league will only run for three weeks rather than six, with the Division 1 and Division 2 events happening at completely different times. The 2023 DPC will still take place across six regions, and each region will have eight teams playing in each division.
The 2022 Evolution Championship Series (aka, EVO 2022) is the year's biggest fighting game event. The event was acquired by Sony in 2021 and unfortunately lacks the presence of Super Smash Bros. but has since picked up the newest platform-fighter on the block, MultiVersus. WB Games and Player First Games have decided to ban LeBron James, Iron Giant and the Cromulons stage, all of which are listed as being “experimental”, from the $100,000 tournament.
Tournament organizers ESL Gaming have officially rebranded to the ESL National Championships. This change comes alongside a new visual identity, including logos and patterns that help better align ESLs global branding while also granting freedom to each regional branch to adjust the design to fit their local ecosystem.
Gotham Knights recently showed off 28 Superhero suits in an interview with IGN and confirmed there will be no microtransactions in their game.
Roundhouse Studios is currently working on an unannounced project. The studio is part of Xbox’s Bethesda development team for Redfall.
Pokémon Presents broadcast this week shared that Pokémon Scarlet & Violet will have three story campaigns, playable in any order.
Project L, the upcoming fighting game from Riot Games will be free-to-play. Riot Games will have another update prior to the end of the year.
Dead Island 2 will be revealed again during Q4 2022. Industry insider Tom Henderson says the game could be released by March 31st, 2023.
Halo Infinite’s head of creative Joe Staten says the game was significantly scaled back in comparison to their original plans for the game.
Activision Blizzard and NetEase have canceled a World of Warcraft mobile spin-off game that has been in development for over 3 years.
Iron Man is rumored to be in development at Electronic Arts as a single player game according to industry insider Tom Henderson.
Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to become the largest single shareholder in Ubisoft after acquiring a 5% stake of the company in 2018.
If you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Weekly Recon, please send it to some friends and share it on social media. We strive to be your best source of gaming news.