- The Power-Up
- New layoffs at Embracer Group
New layoffs at Embracer Group
PS Portal 4th in sales, The Last of Us Online is canceled, Hogwarts Legacy is the best selling game in US and Netflix has 90 games in development
When I’m playing, it’s my escape, my fun, almost 50 years of playing video games and I still love them – Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming
🎉 But we have so much more:
Hogwarts Legacy is the best selling game in the US.
The Playstation Portal is 4th in sales.
Phil Spencer really enjoys playing games and A24 will adapt Death Stranding into a movie.
But before we start: Stephen Totilo, the author of Axios Gaming newsletter and editor-in-chief at Kotaku for 12 years before Axios, has gone independent and launched Game File, a reader-supported website and newsletter focused on video games. Stephen is one of our favorite gaming journalists, so we hope Game File will be a massive hit!
Welcome to The Power-Up #51
⚖️ Valve has filed a lawsuit against the law firm Zaiger, accusing it of using "targeted extortion" tactics by threatening mass arbitration cases for alleged antitrust violations involving 50,000 Steam users.
📉 In November, the US gaming industry saw a 7% decline in total game spending, totaling $5.87 billion, largely due to a 24% drop in hardware sales and weaker console software spending compared to last year's releases like God of War and Pokémon.
💰 MyGamez, a Finnish/Chinese mobile game publisher specializing in the Chinese market, has raised $1.6 million with support from key industry figures like Supercell co-founder Mikko Kodisoja.
💰 Barnyard Games, backed by a team of industry veterans, has raised $3.4 million to create games for Fortnite, starting with their debut project, Mega Golf Fun Zone, on the Unreal Engine Fortnite platform.
🤑 In 2023, Asia and the MENA region are projected to spend $78.5 billion on in-game purchases, making up 87.8% of the $89.4 billion gaming market in these areas, according to a report by Niko Partners. While premium games contribute $7.8 billion, the report highlights the significant role of microtransactions and subscriptions in the gaming market.
😣 Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, is set to cut nearly 1,100 jobs, adding to the 800 layoffs already executed, as a response to stronger and more persistent market challenges than expected.
🤝 Midwest Games has bolstered its team with key appointments, including Alyssa Walles (ex Disney, PlayStation) as Chief Operating Officer and Gina Joseph (ex VentureBeat) as Chief Strategy Officer.
👋 Agostino Simonetta, Chief Games Officer at Thunderful Group, is departing the company amidst a leadership reshuffle led by new CEO Martin Walfisz. To strengthen its executive team, Thunderful has appointed Claire Boissiere, Harriet Hughes, Kathrin Strangfeld, and Sue Smith to key roles.
😔 Embracer Group has reportedly conducted layoffs at its subsidiaries 3D Realms and Slipgate Entertainment, affecting at least half of the combined staff.
🏆 Hogwarts Legacy is poised to break the 15-year dominance of Rockstar and Call of Duty titles as the best-selling game in the US for 2023 (so far), challenging the long-standing trend.
😭 The newly released God of War DLC, Valhalla, features an epilogue to Ragnarok's story within a roguelite structure, including an endgame challenge so difficult that even the dev team hasn't completed it on “Show Me Mastery” difficulty.
😅 Phil Spencer remarkably spent 917 hours playing Xbox across 82 different games in 2023, equivalent to 23 work weeks, while managing a demanding executive role. His top-played games: Starfield, Diablo IV and Pillars of Eternity: Hero Edition.
🎮 The PlayStation Portal debuted as the fourth best-selling hardware platform in the US for November 2023, achieving this success despite limited launch quantities and being tracked as a console rather than an accessory by Circana.
🎥 Netflix launched 40 games in 2023, including high-profile titles like the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, and plans to expand its portfolio to 86 games by year's end, all included in its membership without extra fees or in-app purchases. It also has 90 additional games in development.
☠️ Kojima Productions has announced a partnership with A24 to produce a live-action film adaptation of Death Stranding, aiming to create a unique cinematic experience beyond a direct translation of the game.
📈 In November 2023, PS5 sales in Europe surged by 376% compared to the previous year, topping the region's hardware sales charts, partly due to the Black Friday sales boost.
🛑 Naughty Dog has canceled the development of The Last of Us Online to concentrate on creating future single-player games. The studio realized that dedicating all its resources to post-launch content for the online game would significantly hinder their ability to develop new single-player narratives.
⚽️ EA's 2023 report reveals immense player engagement in its games, with The Sims 4 leading at 1.8 billion hours played, EA Sports FC emerging as the year's most popular franchise and games like Madden NFL 24 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor expanding their fan base.
🕸️ Insomniac Games has delayed the release of Spider-Man 2's New Game Plus mode and other eagerly awaited features to "early" 2024 for additional testing.
📄 Leaked documents from a ransomware attack suggest that Insomniac Games might be developing a Spider-Verse video game. While details remain unclear, fan speculation is rife, especially considering Insomniac's confirmed work on a multiplayer game and hints of the Spider-Verse in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
🚎 Bethesda is developing "new ways of traveling" for its space RPG Starfield, in response to player feedback about the game's limited traversal options.
🥷 Preorders for the PS5-exclusive Rise of the Ronin are now open, offering two editions: standard and Digital Deluxe, with a release date set for March 22, 2024. Preordering either edition grants early access to exclusive in-game content.
🗡️ We have a gameplay trailer for Prince of Perisa: The Lost Crown. The game will launch on January 18 on all platforms, and a demo will be available starting January 11.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Stay powered-up until next time.
Bobby & Andrei
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