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E57: Take-Two doubles down on mobile games.
Good morning gamers. We hope that everyone is doing their best to stay warm.
Take-Two Interactive announced a massive acquisition last week, alongside the release of their financial projections. Respawn Entertainment has a new AAA game in the works but it’s not what you think. To top it all off, developers are learning from the past.
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All Eyes are on Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive acquired all outstanding shares of mobile social game developer Zynga for $12.7 billion this week. This acquisition is the gaming industry's biggest ever deal (surpassing Microsoft’s $7.5b acquisition of Bethesda and Tencent’s $8.6b investment in SuperCell). Zynga now joins Take-Two’s portfolio of studios alongside Rockstar Games, 2K and T2 Mobile Games. Finalization of the deal is only expected to happen in the latter half of 2023 but Take-Two wants to make a stronger foray into the mobile gaming scene and they believe that the expertise of Zynga will help them achieve those goals.
All eyes now point to Rockstar Games, Take-Two’s largest studio and home to some of the most beloved franchises in gaming, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Financial analysts believe that Take-Two Interactive have just revealed that their projected Grand Theft Auto 6 release window will be in early 2024. During their Zynga acquisition announcement, Take-Two revealed their financial guidance plans (the company’s estimates of future earnings) for Fiscal Year 2024 (April 2023 to March 2024) which showed projections of $9 billion in consumer spending - pointing to some sort of massive game release. A Jefferies analyst noted that, “There are only a handful of titles that can … provide management with the confidence to put out such a strong guidance”.
Grand Theft Auto 6 rumours have been circulating for a few years and despite the silence by Rockstar Games, fans and analysts seem convinced that the game is in development. The current news is that Rockstar is gearing to announce their next major title in 2022.
Respawn Entertainment - New AAA Game
Respawn Entertainment is working on a new AAA single-player first person shooter game. Unfortunately, the game is not Titanfall 3 but the design team is focused on style and mobility. The studio will reportedly spend 2022 trying out new concepts for the game and Electronic Arts expects it to launch in either 2024 or 2025.
The departure of Creative Director Mohammed Alavi will not put an end to the project. Alavi spent 18 years at Infinity Ward and Respawn Entertainment where he worked on Titanfall and Apex Legends. The creator of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s mission “No Russian” says it’s the end of an era and he is onto his next adventure.
The focus of Respawn Entertainment is the maintenance and development of Apex Legends, the creation of the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel and this new third project. According to Jeff Grubb, the reveal of their third project will not be for a while. Despite the fact that the new game is not Titanfall 3, rest assured that Respawn insists Titanfall is part of their DNA.
Ready to Rock!
2022 is looking to be a major year for esports and there’s already been a ton of news coming from various tournament organizers and game developers. With the 2022 esports season at the brink of starting, here are some of last week's new developments.
Valve canceled Dota’s Winter Tour Major (the first major event of the season) due to rising health concerns over the worldwide Omicron outbreak. Participating teams from different regions have been struggling to secure safe travel to the LAN event for their players and staff. There is no plan to reschedule the Major and Valve has already announced the redistribution of points for the second and third Major events.
The ESL has announced that IEM Katowice 2022 (CS:GO and Starcraft) will feature a $1.5 million prize pool and an in-person live audience. Both the CS:GO and Starcraft events will take place in the Spodek Arena and the ESL is planning some special commemoration events for the majors 10th anniversary.
The BLAST Premier 2022 Season (CS:GO) has been announced and it includes a change to the tournament structure in order to have a more complete circuit and to help promote inclusiveness. The season will feature 7 total events split between Spring and Fall Circuits (3 events in each) and will conclude with the BLAST Premier World Final featuring an $11 million total prize pool.
Twitter Loves Esports
Twitter is one of the world's biggest social media platforms and one that the entire esports industry heavily relies on. As per usual, the team over at Twitter Gaming released their annual “Gaming on Twitter” review blog post and the results were quite interesting.
The Valorant esports account had the most consistent presence achieving top 5 in followers gained, total video views and most talked about esports leagues. Other heavy hitters included the ESL, the CDL and League of Legends Esports.
Brazil was amongst the top 5 countries that tweeted most about gaming. Within that, LOUD Gaming was the most tweeted about esports team globally (with paiN Gaming and Furia also cracking the top 10) as well as the esports team with the most followers gained. The Brazilian League of Legends Circuit was the most tweeted about esports league and Free Fire star “Nobru” was in the top 10 most tweeted about esports athletes.
FaZe Clan had a very strong Twitter presence being the second most tweeted about esports team, the team with the most video views, the second most followers gained and their star Fortnite player Mongraal was 2021s most tweeted about esports athlete.
Fortnite had a surprisingly powerful year on Twitter with their Fortnite Competitive Series account being the esports league with the most followers gained. Fortnite star players FaZe Mongraal, Bugha and BenjyFishy were also the three most tweeted about esports athletes of the year.
Game Review - God of War (PC)
God of War is undoubtedly one of the best video games of all time. Prior to this week, Santa Monica’s 2018 instalment has selfishly only been enjoyed by PlayStation players - but now, it has finally made its way to PC, and as expected, the PC version of God of War is an absolute masterpiece. The PC port greatly improves the games visual fidelity and it almost feels like they’ve given the game the honor it deserves by finally allowing an entirely new player-base the luxury of joining Kratos and Atreus on their journey to escape their past and start a new life together in Midgard. To be clear, the game was already beautiful on PlayStation but using the PCs ultra settings unlocks a whole new visual experience with this gorgeous game. There’s not much more to say other than if you haven’t yet played God of War and you own a PC, this will be one of the greatest games you will ever play. We are excited to give the God of War PC port a score of A+.
PlayStation released the “PlayStation Store’s Top Downloads of 2021” and in second place, for both North America and Europe, is Call of Duty: Vanguard. Sports games still reigned supreme across both regions (NBA, FIFA and Madden), followed by Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales in North America.
According to Tom Henderson, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II will be revealed this summer and the game may release in October. Henderson also says Warzone will be getting a post-launch update.
HITMAN 3 - Year 2 will begin on January 20th, which includes Elusive Target Arcade (New Game Mode), VR on PC and other technology improvements. Also, starting next week, the HITMAN Trilogy collection will be available on console and PC.
The release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl has been officially delayed to December 8th, 2022. The additional seven months of development will be used to achieve the desired state of the game.
Microsoft has officially ended the manufacturing of all versions of the Xbox One console to focus on the Xbox Series X|S. The Halo 3 servers for the Xbox 360 were shut down, as 343 Industries has shifted their focus to newer Halo games.
According to VGC, Firesprite Studio has taken over Lucid Games’ unannounced Twisted Metal reboot after poaching their Game Director, Matt Southern. It is expected that Sony will release the game in 2023 alongside the live-action TV series.
PUBG: Battlegrounds has transitioned to a free-to-play game model. Players who purchased the game before the transition will be compensated with a PUBG - Commemorative pack, special upgrades and other in-game rewards.
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