Epic Games Store is not yet profitable
Unity changes the tune for developers, a GTA VI announcement may be imminent, Embracer’s COO left the company
Our approach to AI is based on three principles: meaningful innovation, empowering people and organizations, and responsibility - Haiyan Zhang, General Manager, Gaming AI @ Xbox
🎉 But we have so much more:
We have a lot of news today, but first of all, we wish all the success and good luck to the newest titles in gaming media, Aftermath and Second Wind. May your stories captivate and your endeavors prosper!
Embracer’s second in command is leaving the company. Ubisoft is laying off people – for the 4th time this year. And we might have a GTA VI announcement this week.
There’s also a lot of new VC investments announced.
Welcome to The Power-Up #35
💰 French mobile publisher TapNation has secured €15 million ($16.1 million) in funding, aiming to diversify its portfolio and enhance growth.
💰 MyDearest, a VR game company, secured $7.8 million in funding to extend its games to more platforms, totaling $16 million in investments.
💰 Istanbul-based SuperGears Games has completed its first investment round at a $10 million valuation. The investment will fund the development of Racing Kingdom.
🏎️ This is nostalgic for The Power-Up because Bobby (one of the owners of this newsletter) tried something similar called.. Racing Kingdom in 2011 and actually owned the domain name previously 😂 Here’s Bobby pitching the game at Startup Bootcamp 2012, before switching to Solitaire games and starting MavenHut.
🤑 GFR Fund has secured $53.5 million to invest in gaming, entertainment and consumer tech.
📈 Square Enix's first half net sales rose by 5% to ¥172 billion ($1.1 billion), with HD Games revenue up 48% due to Final Fantasy releases, despite a 58% plummet in profits to ¥16.6 billion ($110 million).
🤑 Warcraft Rumble has earned nearly $4 million within four days of its global launch, with the U.S. contributing 47% of the revenue, despite not launching in China.
📈 China led global mobile gaming with over $42 billion in user spend in 2023, amidst a broader mobile ad spend projected to reach $362 billion.
🚀 The Nintendo Switch's lifetime sales have reached 132.46 million units. The company now expects an increase in net sales to 1.58 trillion yen ($10.4 billion) and profits of 420 billion ($2.78 billion) yen for the fiscal year.
📉 Stillfront Group's revenue fell by 7% to $153 million in Q3 of 2023, with a 14% drop in EBITDA, although user acquisition increased due to a strong soft-launch portfolio.
Industry Level-Up (or Down)
👋 Embracer Group's COO Egil Strunke has left the company after a challenging year of market changes and industry consolidation, planning to start his own company, Strunke Games.
🤝 Phoenix Games has acquired Canadian developer Sad Panda Studios, creators of the idle dating sim Crush Crush.
😔 100 Thieves is laying off approximately 20% of its workforce, as it plans to refocus on its core esports and apparel businesses.
🚀 Cord Smith, an industry veteran, has established Inevitable Studios and is preparing to introduce their first title, Always in Mind, a narrative-driven action platformer, with a Kickstarter campaign launching soon.
🤕 The Glory Society has halted its operations and ceased the development of its game Revenant Hill due to health issues faced by key team members.
🤝 Kirsty Rigden is now the sole CEO of game developer FuturLab as co-founder James Marsden retires to pursue his passion for music, while continuing to serve on the board.
😔 Ubisoft has confirmed the layoff of 98 employees from its Canadian subsidiaries, including Ubisoft Montreal, as part of a reorganization, with a total of 124 positions to be cut across its IT, administrative, and Hybride special effects teams. This is the fourth wave of layoffs at Ubisoft this year.
🚀 Former Kotaku writers have launched Aftermath, a new worker-owned gaming and culture website offering subscription-based content free of corporate influence. The co-founders are Nathan Grayson, Gita Jackson, Riley MacLeod, and Luke Plunkett.
🚀 Ex-Escapist staffers Nick Calandra and Yahtzee Croshaw have launched a new games media site called Second Wind, promising content similar to what they produced at The Escapist, with video releases starting November 15.
🆇 Sony is set to remove Twitter integration from PS4 and PS5 consoles on November 13th, ending the ability to share content directly to the platform, following similar decisions by Xbox and Blizzard due to Twitter's API fees.
🤖 Microsoft is integrating generative AI design tools to assist Xbox developers in creating quests and narratives.
🪠 Nintendo has revealed that Super Mario Bros Wonder has hit a milestone, selling over 4.3 million copies in just two weeks, marking the most successful launch for a Super Mario title.
🪠 Nintendo is releasing a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate-themed Switch OLED bundle with themed Joy-Con and a Nintendo Switch Online membership on November 19, plus a Super Mario Party Joy-Con set on November 10.
🧊 A Kaspersky report identifies Minecraft players as the primary targets for desktop and mobile gaming cybersecurity threats, with fake distribution pages and illegitimate in-game offers as common tactics.
🚀 The Finals' open beta attracted 7.5 million players, with a peak of 264,874 concurrent players on Steam, while Embark Studios faces criticism for using AI-generated voiceovers.
🎥 A Bloodborne movie is reportedly in development by PlayStation Productions, with Darren Lemke writing the script and Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
🎬 Also, Nintendo has announced a live-action movie adaptation of The Legend of Zelda, directed by Wes Ball and co-financed with Sony Pictures.
🤑 Sony's India Hero Project will unveil its first set of PS5 games developed by Indian studios between February and April 2024, offering local talent financial support, mentoring, and marketing guidance.
😬 Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer aims for Xbox to release a major first-party title or highly anticipated game approximately every quarter over the next few years.
🛸 The Expanse: A Telltale Series is set to release on Steam on November 20th, following its initial launch on the Epic Games Store.
👹 Capcom has announced the Resident Evil 4 Remake for Apple devices, launching on December 20, exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models, as well as iPads and Macs with M1 chips or newer.
🚔 A Bloomberg report suggests the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6 could be announced soon, possibly within the week, with a follow-up trailer expected in December to celebrate Rockstar's 25th anniversary.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Stay powered-up until next time.
Bobby & Andrei