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#30 - Gaming VC investments and M&A going down

$45 Billion: Gaming industry's cash reserves, META VR lost billions and Alan Wake 2 is out today

Our long-term vision is clear: one engineer, one artist, one designer, multiple AIs – all culminating in a singular game experience.- Volkan Ediz, Harmony Games

📣 If you only read one piece of news today 📣

In Q3 2023, gaming's Venture Capital funding declined by 9% to $454 million with most being early-stage investments, according to Konvoy Ventures.

According to the same report, gaming companies hold $45 billion in cash and equivalents, with Activision singled out as the richest company with $13.2 billion in assets. This was followed by Nintendo ($8.9 billion) and Sea Group ($3.5 billion).

Moreover, M&A deal count in the space has dramatically fallen since 2022: 60%, per Drake Star report.

🎉 But we have so much more:

After 13 years of waiting, the Alan Wake sequel is finally here and 2 expansions are already on the way.

A new Embracer studio is hit by layoffs and Star Wars Outlaws seems to be already delayed

Let’s play. 

Welcome to The Power-Up #30

Biz Reel

📱 The global hyper casual gaming market is expected to hit $25B by 2029, according to a new report.

💰 Neon Machine has secured $20M in funding led by Polychain Capital to advance its groundbreaking blockchain-based Call of Duty competitor ‘Shrapnel’.

💰 Harmony Games secures $3m in seed funding led by Griffin Gaming Partners to bolster its AI-assisted mobile gaming presence.

📈 Ubisoft reported a record first half for the 2023-2024 fiscal year with Q2 earnings of $584.07 million, largely due to successful launches of Assassin's Creed Mirage and The Crew Motorfest.

📉 Meta's overall Q3 revenue grew to $34 billion with net income at $11.6 billion, while its VR division, Reality Labs, saw a 26% decline in revenue and an operating loss of $3.74 billion.

Industry Level-Up (or Down)

😔 Embracer’s Digic Pictures, renowned for game cinematics like Rainbow Six Siege and Elden Ring, laid off 35 employees during a summer reorganization, amounting to roughly 10% of its workforce.

🇸🇦 Artisan Studios has opened a major game development branch in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment support. Despite potential criticisms regarding human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, CEO Mario Rizzo believes the country is "deeply misunderstood" and aims to foster local talent for global impact in gaming.

🤝 Microsoft integrates ZeniMax leaders into its Xbox team, continuing its gaming sector expansion following the Activision Blizzard acquisition. As part of the reshuffle, Sarah Bond is named president of the games division, while Matt Booty oversees Bethesda/ZeniMax studios, with ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard leaders reporting to corresponding Microsoft counterparts.

📝 You can read here the entire memo Phil Spencer wrote regarding these leadership changes.


☁️ Sony introduces a new icon on the PS5 dashboard to signify streamable games for PS Plus Premium subscribers. The feature, supporting 4K video output and up to 60fps, has begun its staggered roll-out in Europe and the US.

✅ And, by the way, here is a list of PS5 games compatible with cloud streaming. The list is subject to change and may also vary by region.

🛜 PlayStation 5's detachable disc drive needs an online connection for initial setup with the Slim version of the console.

📈 The Outer Worlds (one of my favorite games, which I think is very underrated) has surpassed 5 million units sold, as announced by publisher Private Division and developer Obsidian Entertainment.

🏷️ Lords of the Fallen had a total estimated budget of around $66.6 million, encompassing development, marketing and manufacturing costs. The game sold over one million copies within its first ten days of release.

📈 Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the fastest-selling Super Mario game ever in Europe, according to Nintendo. The game received acclaim for its innovative gameplay and fresh take on the side-scrolling genre.

🚀 Valve has officially launched the SteamVR 2.0 update, introducing an overhauled VR storefront and features like Steam Chat integration.

Game Central

🤖 RoboCop: Rogue City is the next game I can’t wait for. The game will launch next week, on November 2, and here is everything we need to know about it. 

💫 Slitherine Games releases a free PC demo for Stargate: Timekeepers and announces a December 12 release date. The real-time tactics game, celebrating the Stargate franchise's 29th anniversary, features various characters and spans two parts, with Part 2 coming in early 2024.

🏴‍☠️ Skull and Bones faces its sixth delay, now aiming for a Q1 2024 release. Originally announced in 2017, the game's prolonged development might struggle to compete with titles like Sea of Thieves that have since captured the multiplayer pirate market.

🫸 Ubisoft has postponed the release of a major game, believed to be Star Wars Outlaws, from its initial March 2024 target to the next fiscal year, ending March 2025.

🚀 Alan Wake 2 was launched today. Remedy will  release New Game+ sometime post launch, which will also include an alternative narrative, a new difficulty level called Nightmare, new Manuscript pages and new video content. 

2️⃣ The game will also receive two expansions in 2024: Night Springs, set for spring but with a flexible release window, and The Lakehouse, which awaits a release date. Both expansions dive deeper into the Alan Wake universe, exploring fictional TV shows and mysterious government facilities.

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

Bobby & Andrei

Did you know?

RoboCop is an American cyberpunk action media franchise that began in 1987 with the film RoboCop. RoboCop 2 followed in 1990, and RoboCop 3 in 1993.

There have also been various television series, video game and comic book tie-ins. The franchise has made over US$100 million worldwide and a remake serving as a reboot titled RoboCop was released in February 2014.

Peter Weller played RoboCop / Alex Murphy in the first 2 movies, in 1987 and 1990 (you know, that was in the last century). He's reprising his iconic role in the RoboCop: Rogue City video game.