Unity adjusts fee policy

Valve holds Steam Deck 2, Microsoft's Activision acquisition gets provisional approval in UK and Cyberpunk gets 650% player spike

Most AAA publishers are riding the success of franchises created 10+ years ago - Phil Spencer

Hey there!

A lot of studios raised a lot of money last week, and this is always good news. Nacon will launch a drift-less controller for PS and PC. And Jim Ryan believes – or at least believed – that Xbox Game Pass is “damaging the industry”.

And Cyberpunk's single DLC, Phantom Liberty, launches tomorrow (I can’t wait for it!) but… did you know how it all started?

Let’s play

Welcome to The Power-Up #16

Round-up of the day

🎮 Valve has clarified that it doesn't plan on releasing a performance upgrade for the Steam Deck for "the next couple of years," considering the current model a "sweet spot" in terms of performance and power efficiency.

Photo by Midjourney

🎮 Nacon is set to release the Revolution 5 Pro Controller, compatible with PS5, PS4, and PC, promising to eliminate the common stick drift issue through new magnetic hall effect technology. Launching in October at €230/$245.

📈 Cyberpunk 2077 has seen a 650% spike in player count on Steam ahead of the release of its Phantom Liberty DLC, reaching 151,000 players in the last 24 hours from a previous high of 20-30,000.

😍 From one CD Projekt… well, project, to another: GOG is celebrating 15 years with a big sale and free adventure game for all users.

😡 During a Q&A session with analysts, back in 2022, Jim Ryan stated that publishers unanimously dislike Xbox Game Pass, seeing it as damaging to the industry's value. That was revealed via leaked FTC vs Microsoft court case documents.

🔥 In the same Q&A session, Jim Ryan also said that “narrative-rich” titles will remain a “bedrock” of PlayStation’s first party efforts.

Biz Reel

💰 The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally approved Microsoft's restructured acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which includes transferring Activision's cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft for 15 years to address exclusivity concerns. Microsoft aims to conclude the merger by October 18.

🤑 After backlash from developers, Unity has amended its recently announced Runtime Fee policy, ensuring it will no longer apply to games built on Unity’s entry-level service model and will only affect games made with the Unity version launching in 2024. Despite the adjustments, the initial policy announcement and the subsequent change have raised trust concerns among developers regarding Unity's future projects and business practices.

😍 One consequence of Unity’s mistakes is Godot being seen as a true gaming engine alternative, as they just hit $50,000 monthly funding on their platform. 

😔 Roblox just announced downsizing the talent acquisition team by firing 30 people. The “talent acquisition team” is basically their HR department.

💰 On the other hand, Spotify just acquired Speechly, a Finnish AI voice moderation start-up.

💶 Wicked Saints secured $3.5m in seed funding, co-led by Riot Games and Oregon Venture Fund, for their location-based game "World Reborn," aiming to blend storytelling with real-world activism for Gen Z players, targeting a 2025 launch.

💰 Web3 gaming firm Proof of Play, founded by industry veterans (ex - Epic Games, Zynga and Activision), raised $33 million from a16z's Chris Dixon and venture capital firm Greenoaks, aiming to develop blockchain-backed, enduring games and addressing the pitfalls faced by traditional games like Farmville.

💰 Social gaming and live streaming platform Eloelo has secured $22 million in a pre-Series B funding round led by Courtside Ventures and Griffin Gaming Partners, with plans to invest in talent, AI, AR tools, and user revenue initiatives. The platform is experiencing rapid growth, boasting over 37 million users.

💰 Reykjavik-based Rocky Road Games has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Luminar Ventures, with participation from Crowberry Capital, Sisu Ventures and notable angel investors, to develop a social gaming network focusing on fostering real-world connections.

Game Central

🕹️ Wētā Workshop is developing a "cozy" and "heart-warming" Lord of the Rings game titled "Tales of the Shire," set to launch in 2024 on PC and potentially on consoles, with more details to be revealed next year. Published by Private Division, this title promises a glimpse into "Hobbit life."

🕹️ Resident Evil Village is scheduled for release on select Apple devices on 30th October 2023, with an initial free download and additional costs to unlock the full game and expansion, while the availability in European App Stores remains uncertain.

🕹️ Cameron Monaghan has confirmed the development of Star Wars Jedi 3 at the Ocala Comic Con panel, despite the recent departure of the series' director, Stig Asmussen, from Respawn Entertainment. This confirmation aligns with earlier indications of the game’s development through a job listing by Respawn Entertainment.

😍 Some of the games launching this week:

  • September 25: Project Planet – Earth Vs Humanity (PC), LunarLux (PC)

  • September 26: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty (PS5, Xbox S/X, PC), My Time at Sandrock (PC), Truck Driver: The American Dream (PS5, Xbox S/X), Paleo Pines (PC, PS4/5, Xbox, Switch)

  • September 28: Diluvian Ultra: Chapter One (PC), Disney Speedstorm (PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Switch), Wildmender (PS5, Xbox S/X, PC), Firefighting Simulator – The Squad (Switch), Wildmender (PS5, Xbox X, PC)

  • September 29 - Cocoon (PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Switch), EA Sports FC 24 (PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Switch), Cypher 007 (Apple Arcade)

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

Bobby & Andrei

Did you know?

Cyberpunk 2077 was adapted from Mike Pondsmith's Cyberpunk series, initiated with the release of "Cyberpunk The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future" in 1988, followed by several expansions and editions, including Cyberpunk 2020 and Cybergeneration.

The series, inspired by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, has amassed approximately 5 million players, with its expansive universe featured in various forms, including collectible card games like Netrunner.

The series' influence extended to other games and editions, with different companies like Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight Games licensing and building upon the Cyberpunk concept.