Unreal Engine Raises Prices

Indie Life is HARD, CDPR spent A LOT on Cyberpunk2077 and layoffs continue in the industry

A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad - Shigeru Miyamoto

Hey there!

Phantom Liberty was pretty expensive to make, but it’s a major hit.

Unreal Engine raises prices, but not in gaming. What?

The Last of Us multiplayer it’s not dead yet, but it’s also not alive in any way.

And "Stray Gods" won Game of the Year at the 2023 Australian Game Developer Awards.

Let’s start!

Welcome to The Power-Up #21

Biz Reel

📲 2023 will be the year mobile makes more than half of the money in gaming, being projected to account for 56% of the total revenues.

🤑 Unreal Engine is increasing prices… for devs in the film, TV, automotive industries (and any other industry that is not gaming). I wonder if this is a preview of things to come.

🎴 My gaming company, MavenHut, used to make Solitaire games. So I understand what it means to “embrace the unsexy”. Which Funcraft took to 7 million installs and $15 million in revenues.

💰 Studio Sai raised $7 million in seed funding led by Krafton for its next game. Founded by ex-Riot, Blizzard, and Apple's Jae Hyun Yoo, the studio recently launched its debut title, Eternights.

🚀 Krafton India has launched the Krafton India Gaming Incubator (KIGI) to support and foster domestic talent in the growing gaming market.

🏎️ iRacing has secured the NASCAR simulation-style console racing game license from 704 Games. The studio plans to release a new NASCAR console title in 2025.

🦾 Cyberpunk 2077 sales exceed 25 million copies, bolstered by updates, the Edgerunners anime, and the Phantom Liberty expansion. The recent Phantom Liberty DLC alone has sold over 3 million copies in just one week.

🦿 And CDPR shows us it’s quite expensive to repair games: they spent $63 million for Phantom Liberty development and $21 million for marketing. This after already spending $174 million in development and $142 million in marketing for the original game, with an additional $40 million to bring it to next-gen consoles.

😔 A former HR manager at Bungie, Ingrid Alm, is suing the company for wrongful termination after alleging she was dismissed for reporting racial discrimination concerns.

⚖️ Seven former BioWare employees are suing the company, alleging inadequate severance payment after their layoffs, despite an average tenure of 14 years.

Industry Level-Up

🔫 After Naughty Dog reportedly laid off several contract employees, Anders Howard, the principal monetization designer for the anticipated "The Last Of Us" multiplayer title, has left the studio. Given the recent departures and doubts raised about the game's viability as a long-term service, concerns grow about the future of the multiplayer project.

🐺 Telltale Games has confirmed layoffs after a former cinematic artist claimed that "most of" his team was let go. Despite the job losses, the studio assures that all ongoing projects, including "The Wolf Among Us 2", are still in production.

🚀 Jen Glennon is appointed as the editor in chief of Kotaku, starting Oct. 10.

😔 All unionized QA testers for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf were laid off after unionizing in 2022. The layoffs followed BioWare not extending a contract with Dublin-based developer Keywords Studios, raising concerns over the treatment of unionized workers.


😳 While we talk a lot about big studios, it doesn’t mean being a solo developer is easy: The Hard Life of Solo Developers. There’s also a great reddit thread that you can read here: “How I did not leave my job, made a game in 9 years, and what i learnt about it and about myself

😱 Sega has canceled "Hyenas", allegedly its most expensive game production ever, surpassing the budget of the famed "Shenmue."

🤬 Five former Ubisoft employees, including former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, have been detained over allegations of sexual misconduct. The detentions follow reports from 2020 about a "toxic culture" and misconduct claims within Ubisoft.

🏣 Housemarque plans to transition to a new Helsinki-based studio by the end of 2024, emphasizing sustainability and innovative game development. The developer, acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2021, has a history of exclusive games for PlayStation.

📺 Sony has introduced its movie streaming app for PS4 and PS5, allowing PS Plus Premium and Deluxe subscribers to access up to 100 ad-free Sony Pictures films at no additional cost. However, the PlayStation version currently lacks the high-quality Pure Stream tech found in the app's Bravia and Xperia versions.

🤖 CDPR is collaborating with Anonymous Content to produce a live-action project set in the "Cyberpunk 2077" universe. The nature of the project, whether a show or movie, remains unconfirmed, but it is expected to explore new stories within the game's world.

😡 Sony suffered a cyber breach compromising the personal information of nearly 6,800 current and former employees. The company has offered credit monitoring and identity restoration services to those affected.

Game Central

🧐 Rockstar has introduced a 60fps toggle to Red Dead Redemption remaster on PS5 with the version 1.03 update. The new framerate option comes after fans expressed disappointment with the game's initial performance and pricing on the platform.

🏆 Summerfall Studios' "Stray Gods" won Game of the Year at the 2023 Australian Game Developer Awards and also secured awards for Excellence in Music and Accessibility. PlaySide Studios was recognized as Studio of the Year for its positive workplace culture and mentorship efforts.

😈 Diablo IV will launch on Steam on October 17, 2023, offering full cross-play and cross-progression. The move to Steam enhances integration with Steam Deck and allows users to leave detailed reviews on the platform.

🥷 To celebrate IO Interactive's 25th anniversary, "Hitman Blood Money Reprisal", a remake of the classic game, will be released on Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. Additionally, Hitman: World of Assassination players will receive new skins, challenges, and a timed Elusive Target mission this winter.

💽 Horizon Forbidden West: Complete Edition for PS5 requires 121 GB of storage and will be the first PS5 game to ship on two discs. This edition includes the base game and the Burning Shores expansion, with a PC release set for early 2024.

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

Bobby & Andrei

Did you know?

Shenmue is an action-adventure game series created, produced and directed by Yu Suzuki.

First game was launched in 1999 and it was the most expensive video game ever developed at the time, with an estimated production and marketing cost of US$47 to $70 million, though some of the development also covered Shenmue II.

Shenmue sold 1.2 million copies - however, its sales did not cover its development cost and analysts consider it a major commercial failure.

But it is credited for pioneering game mechanics such as quick time events, large environments, wealth of options and level of detail.