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The MS-Activision $68.7 billion deal is UK-approved

Team17 is facing major layoffs, India is Asia's fastest-growing video game market and Rocket League si removing player to player trading

We’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates - Bobby Kotick

Hey there!

Finally, it seems the Microsoft - Activision/Blizzard deal can go through.

Sony is launching cloud streaming for PS Plus Premium subscribers. Elden Ring’s DLC, Shadow of the Erdtreee, could come next year, but it is just a rumor. And another rumor is that Naughty Dog may have canceled the TLOU multiplayer for good. That would be sad.

Lord of the Fallen has launched today on multiple platforms, so we have something new to play this weekend.

Let’s hit the start button:

Welcome to The Power-Up #24

Biz Reel

💰 Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved by UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after transferring cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft.

👎 However, the deal still encounter opposition from the US Federal Trade Commission - but the FTC doesn’t have the power to block it. 

🧐 On a not too surprising development, there are rumours that AppLovin might try to buy Unity again.

😑 Just a week after its launch, Paradox Interactive labeled "The Lamplighters League" a commercial failure, leading to a $22.7m USD write-down.

💰 Space Rock Games secured $900,000 in a funding round led by Hillfarrance Venture Capital, raising their total investments to $1.2 million. The New Zealand-based studio, founded in 2020, will use the funds to expand its team and further develop their debut co-op multiplayer adventure, "Criminals Within".

🤝 Xsolla has acquired content creation and distribution tools Lightstream, Rainmaker, and API.stream from parent company Videndum.

🤝 Swedish publisher Fragbite Group has acquired indie developer Fall Damage for $1.8 million, aiming to capitalize on the studio's upcoming free-to-play shooter, Alara Prime, for multiple revenue streams.

📈 Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) has stimulated over £2.4 billion in UK economic growth, with £1.1 billion disbursed to game studios, since its introduction in 2014. The initiative has led to the creation and protection of approximately 18,000 development jobs and 32,000 supply chain positions, boosting the UK gaming sector's competitiveness globally.

🚀 India's video games market is rapidly growing, with revenues expected to reach $868 million in 2023 and gamer numbers hitting 444 million. The country's gamer population is projected to surge to 641.2 million by 2027, making it the fastest growing video games market in Asia.

🤑 And Sony Ventures wants to invest $10M in African startups, via new fund.

Industry Level-Up

🏣 Implicit Conversions establishes a new Canadian headquarters, with Bill Litshauer named as its president. The game emulation company, known for collaborating with big names like Sony, Capcom, and Bandai Namco, aims to bring classic games to modern consoles for both nostalgic and new players.

😱 Team17 (Worms series) is facing significant layoffs, potentially losing one-third of its staff, affecting up to 91 employees.


☁️ Sony is launching PlayStation Plus Premium's PS5 cloud streaming feature, allowing users to play PS5 Game Catalogue titles, trials, and their digital purchases via cloud. The full launch is scheduled for 23rd October in Europe and 30th October in the US, with a range of resolutions and audio capabilities supported.

🖲️ Sony has also detailed its upcoming accessibility-focused Access controller for the PS5, which is modular and customizable to fit individual player needs. Additionally, in collaboration with Logitech, an Adaptive Gaming Kit will be available, offering further customization options for disabled gamers.

🎸 During an all-hands employee meeting, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was interviewed by James Corden (yes, that one…) about the Microsoft acquisition, future technology, and Guitar Hero. Kotick hinted at the potential revival of Guitar Hero, leveraging Microsoft's resources once the acquisition is finalized.

❤️‍🩹 Bungie mistakenly banned some Destiny 2 players and has since apologized, offering them 5,000 Silver (approximately $45) as compensation.

🎞️ Rockstar's recent 60 FPS update for Red Dead Redemption remake on PS5 brought back approximately 16% of players, highlighting the significance of enhanced frame rates for player engagement. The reason for its initial absence remains unclear.

📈 Netflix game downloads are over 80 million now, with mostly story driven games in top.

🚫 Epic Games plans to remove player-to-player trading in Rocket League to align with its policies, causing significant player backlash.

Game Central

💍 FromSoftware is rumored to present the much-expected Elden Ring DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, at The Game Awards 2023, with a speculated release date of February 5, 2024.

📈 Ubisoft declared Assassin’s Creed Mirage as its largest new-gen launch in unit sales, with player counts similar to prior hits like Origins and Odyssey. During the game’s first week, players have spent 479 collective years parkouring the rooftops of Baghdad and taken 60 million Leaps of Faith.

🙅‍♂️ Rumors suggest Naughty Dog has canceled its multiplayer game set in The Last Of Us universe, with plans to integrate its best aspects into The Last Of Us Part III. This speculation gained traction following news of key personnel departures and previous project direction "re-evaluations".

🥷 Tekken 8's release was delayed by six months to avoid clashing with Street Fighter 6's launch. Despite this change, Tekken 8's upcoming beta has faced issues with early leaks and potential unfair advantages for some players.

🚀 Lords of the Fallen is launching today on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S and X and PC.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Stay powered-up until next time.

Bobby & Andrei

Did you know?

Guitar Hero is a series of music rhythm game video games first released in 2005 on PS2, in which players use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing primarily lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous songs.

The series has made a significant cultural impact, becoming a "cultural phenomenon"and has helped to rekindle music education in children, influenced changes in both the video game and music industry, has found use in health and treatment of recovering patients, and has become part of the popular culture vernacular.

The Guitar Hero series has sold more than 25 million units worldwide, earning US$2 billion at retail.