TagsCoronavirusWeWork A photo illustration of WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani and 149 Madison Avenue (Google Maps, Getty)WeWork is scrapping plans to move into a major Manhattan office it agreed to lease nearly two years ago.The struggling co-working firm was set to move into a 115,000-square-foot spread at Columbia Property Trust’s 149 Madison Avenue in Midtown South this year. Terminating the deal may now cost WeWork millions, Business Insider reported. WeWork had planned to retrofit the office, for which the landlord set aside $15.9 million.Read moreIBM to leave WeWork’s 88 University PlaceWeWork in talks to offer classroom space for NYC private schoolsWeWork may abandon WeLive As the coronavirus spread, offices across the country sat empty for the better part of the last three months, putting pressure on landlords and tenants alike. WeWork has sought to renegotiate rents and lower costs in a bid to turn around its real estate portfolio, as flexible-office space firms struggle to meet their obligations. CEO Sandeep Mathrani said the firm was rethinking nearly 20 percent of its leases.In May, IBM announced it was leaving a 70,000-square-foot space it leases from WeWork at 88 University Place, although the technology company said the move was unrelated to the coronavirus. The IBM deal had marked a milestone for WeWork, as it sought to appeal to mid- to large-sized companies, not just freelancers.In 2019, the Onni Group secured the co-working giant as an anchor tenant following its $628 million acquisition of the Wilshire Courtyard office complex in Los Angeles — but WeWork had not paid rent on its 335,000-square-foot lease as expected in May. The lease ultimately sent Onni into default on the property’s loan this month.Earlier on during the coronavirus outbreak, WeWork faced a backlash from its renters, who called the company’s continued charging of fees during the pandemic “unlawful.” The company said it must keep offices open for those of its users considered essential.Last month, WeWork’s valuation fell to $2.9 billion, a far cry from $47 billion a year ago. [Business Insider] — Georgia Kromrei Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink
US construction spending is up $37.8 billion year-to-date compared to 2019 (iStock)Spending on construction, particularly in the housing sector, plowed ahead in August.Money flowing into construction projects ticked up to $1.4 trillion seasonally adjusted last month, a year-over-year increase of 2.5 percent, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report on construction work done on new and existing structures across public and private sectors.In the first eight months of 2020, $927.7 billion had been spent on construction, compared to $889.9 billion in 2019, according to the report, which has been surveying construction spending monthly since 1964. Construction spending in 2020 has outpaced the same period last year by about $37.8 billion.In August, private homebuilders were once again responsible for the majority of construction costs.Residential construction contributed $589.4 billion seasonally adjusted, or 42 percent, of the total monthly spend. Private nonresidential construction made up 33 percent, while public spending accounted for the remaining quarter. A majority of the public sector projects were either educational structures or highways.August’s report echoes the prior month: In July, construction spending totaled $1,364 trillion, seasonally adjusted. Of that, homebuilders accounted for more than half of the month’s spending with about $547 billion spent on residential projects.Read moreDevelopers bet big on build-for-rent in these uncertain timesUS housing supply reaches nearly 40-year lowIt’s never been more expensive to buy a home in the US National supply of available homes for sale hit a 40-year low last month as continued demand from homebuyers, fueled by low mortgage rates, pushed prices to all-time highs.Homebuilders have responded to demand by ramping up production, including for new single-family homes destined to be rented out.There were 1.2 million homes completed in August while housing starts hit 1.4 million — both figures are seasonally adjusted. The demand to build new housing drove up lumber prices over the summer.Contact Erin Hudson Message* Email Address* Share via Shortlink TagsConstructionDevelopmentHousing Market Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
Fig opens door to unaccredited investorsFunding platform’s next campaign will give gamers chance to buy shares Rachel WeberSenior EditorTuesday 24th November 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareFig has already proved it can attract accredited investors, but for its next campaign in December the site will be able to accept unaccredited investors, allowing gamers the chance to benefit financially if the game they back makes it big. It’s something that funding platform has been talking about since its launch but the JOBS Act Regulation A+ is finally making it a reality. “Title IV is almost like a light IPO but it allows for unaccredited investment, it allows for over $50 million to be raised so what we’ve done is basically put together a filing for that The legal expenses and stuff means it doesn’t really make sense for one developer to do, but you can do something called a shelf offering which allows us to put together a production company,” CEO Justin Bailey told GamesIndustry.bizBailey on 5TH Cell’s unsuccessful campaignExpand ▼”Crowdfunding exists so that creators can take more creative risks, innovate, and get a signal directly from their fans. Sometimes the signal is that fans have always wanted this, sometimes for a variety of reasons, it does not resonate. This is going to be the outcome sometimes, and that’s ok. “What we don’t think is ok with fans is the idea of setting a fundraising goal that you hit, only to find out it’s some massive subset of the budget that’s actually needed to deliver that game. With realistic budgets, games will not always reach their goal.””That production company, as we have titles and developers that run campaigns on our site, can amend that shelf offering with new games and so that production company allows us to basically do unaccredited for crowdfunding.” Fig is currently awaiting the SEC review of its filing but will accept “non-binding reservations from unaccredited investors for $1 million of shares that are being set aside.””We’re going to do our next campaign, it’s going to be a big one, and we’re going to utilise in that up to $1 million of unaccredited [investment],” Bailey explained.”Our focus has always been unaccredited investment. It’s always been about fans being able to invest in those projects. The reality of this thing, and what we’ve always wanted to do, is we just wanted to make it so fans could invest in the videogame projects they support.”For Bailey and Fig it’s all about giving fans the chance to receive more than just a novelty t-shirt for backing a project they love. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Fig launched in August and its first campaign for Mobius Digital’s The Outer Wilds attracted $500,000 from accredited investors by the end of the second day. Fig’s second campaign just closed but couldn’t match the success of the first, 5TH Cell’s Anchors In The Drift ended with just 133 backers and $102,000 raised of the $500,000 goal. “We’ve got a long way to go but where we want this to be, and by us I’m talking about the whole industry, I’m talking about fans and developers and ourselves as a platform, we want to get to the point where people are actually using real budgets. When you go and you look at a lot of the Kickstarter and Indiegogo budgets, the budget has no tie-in anymore, the campaign goal has no correlation to the budget anymore. It actually seems more of a piece of theatre that people are putting up there.”Really what’s going on is the developers are just trying to get as much money as they can. For short term for those developers great, it seems to work out, but for long term it’s very detrimental to the whole ecosystem because fans are smart and they see it and they know they’re being manipulated. We want developers to put the real budget up there.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesCEO says Paradox “can do better” as Q1 profits plummet”We are not satisfied with the quarter,” CEO Ebba Ljungerud saidBy Marie Dealessandri 18 hours agoStarbreeze’s Q1 losses shrink 95% to $505,000New CEO Tobias Sjögren says “the road ahead is clear” as Payday 3 is fully funded By James Batchelor 18 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Watch EA’s E3 2016 livestream hereCatch the latest on Battlefield 1, Mass Effect Andromeda, Titanfall 2, and the publisher’s plans for future Star Wars games this Sunday!Brendan SinclairManaging EditorFriday 10th June 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleElectronic ArtsThis is going to be a very different Electronic Entertainment Expo for Electronic Arts. For one thing, the studio is foregoing its usual booth inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, opting instead to host a pair of EA Play fan events, one next to E3 proper in LA, and another in London. In addition, EA has moved up its press conference from its former middle-of-the-pack Monday afternoon placement to Sunday afternoon, where it will serve as the starter pistol for E3 festivities.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games As for what EA will feature, some of the games are no-brainers. Expect to see a healthy amount of hype for the upcoming World War I shooter Battlefield 1, and some love for Titanfall 2, likely including a glimpse at the franchise’s first single-player campaign. There’s also FIFA 17, which will see the series ditch EA Sports’ Ignite engine after just three years in favor of Frostbite. EA has also said it will provide an update on Mass Effect Andromeda, which was recently pushed back to early 2017.As usual heading into E3, some of the most tantalizing games are the ones we can’t say for sure will even be there. EA has a handful of new Star Wars games in development, Battlefront 2 and Visceral Studios’ action game among them, and we’d expect to see the brand represented prominently at the show. The publisher also recently announced that it signed developer Coldwood to produce a sequel to Unravel starring Yarny, the adorable yarn protagonist who arguably stole the show at EA’s 2015 press conference.Whatever EA unveils, you can watch it as it happens right here, starting at 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. BST.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA acquires Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead SoftwareCanadian studio fills another gap in FIFA publisher’s expanding sports portfolioBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
President Trump blocks $117 billion Qualcomm takeoverSingaporean rival Broadcom prevented from buying US chip firm over “national security” concernsMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 13th March 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleQualcommPresident Donald Trump has blocked a bid to acquire the mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm by its Singaporean rival Broadcom.In a statement released by the White House, President Trump cited security concerns as a key reason for Broadcom’s $117 billion offer for the San Diego-based Qualcomm being blocked. “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Limited… through exercising control of Qualcomm Incorporated…might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” the statement read.President Trump has advised that the deal – “and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover” – be prohibited, and that Broadcom’s 15 candidates for election to the Qualcomm board also be prevented from joining. Both Broadcom and Qualcomm must “certify in writing” that the takeover bid has been abandoned once all the steps outlined in Trump’s statement have been taken.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games According to The New York Times, Qualcomm had been against the Broadcom bid, but it was due to be voted on by the company’s shareholders – with a hostile takeover a distinct possibility. Broadcom issued a statement indicating its strong disagreement that the, proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns.”This move is another example of protectionist thinking within the Trump administration, which Rob Fahey recently argued poses a greater threat to the games industry than the ongoing debate on gun violence.While Qualcomm has a broad range of business interests, its Snapdragon chips have powered the smartphones that helped mobile to become the single most valuable part of the games market.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNiantic and Qualcomm collaborating on augmented reality glassesMulti-year partnership will see Pokémon Go developer working on hardware and software for new AR platformBy James Batchelor A year agoQualcomm to cut 15 per cent of its workforceLayoffs could reach 5,000 people as chip-maker tries to control costsBy Matthew Handrahan 5 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
God of War: Critical ConsensusSony Santa Monica’s reboot finds the heart beneath Kratos’ anger, and does so without sacrificing any of the series’ visual splendourMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefThursday 12th April 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleSony Interactive EntertainmentGod of War was once the byword for a distinctive brand of action – histrionic in tone, colossal in scale, and with an attention to brutal, bloody detail that verged on the pornographic. At a time when the narrative content of blockbuster games received less scrutiny, Kratos’ endless rage was the driving energy of two of the most electrifying games of the PlayStation 2 era. By the time God of War 3 was released in 2010, however, the sense that Kratos’ anger was as empty as it was endless started to take root. When Ascension launched three years later, God of War looked like a franchise in dire need of new ideas – and perhaps a little introspection.”Fights are infinitely more tense than they ever were in the older games” The AV ClubWith this reboot, that’s precisely what Sony Santa Monica Studio has done, electing not to completely redefine Kratos and his rage, but to place both in a more realistic context, where the character is forced to reckon with the legacy of his actions.As Kotaku notes in its largely glowing review, “much has changed”, but those changes are not limited to the treatment of the protagonist.”The original series was defined by its automatic camera angles, which were carefully hand-placed by the game’s designers to always frame the game’s action in a specific way. What this meant in practice was that any scene in the game, no matter how intense the action, could be shown from a dramatic, exciting angle, often zoomed far back to show the scale of the object (or the monster or the god) that termite-sized Kratos was running on, climbing up, or slicing his chain-blades into.”In the new God of War, this signature look is no more: The camera is positioned over Kratos’ right shoulder, and you control it (and thus his positioning) with the right stick, like so many other third-person action games. While this does work well to enable a more deliberate, less arcadey combat style, it also saps the series’ ability to show off that sort of cinematic spectacle, replacing it with something that looks a lot more like many other triple-A third-person action games.”The AV Club elaborates on the new camera’s impact on combat, specifically in the extra difficulty players now face in keeping track of enemies – which the game’s designers aid through the use of off-screen indicators.”It isn’t immune to cliche, but does well to avoid becoming too saccharine” The Telegraph”This over-the-shoulder sword combat is a pretty unexplored style – strangely enough, the closest comparison is last year’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, also a game based on Norse myth – and it takes a few hours of getting used to, but once you’re settled in, those indicators and the accompanying warnings Atreus shouts are enough to keep you informed in all but the most hectic scrambles. “Even in those cases, getting hit from off-screen doesn’t usually feel unfair or irritating. Maintaining control and being aware of your surroundings is half the battle. That new demand, plus your vantage point on the action and Kratos’ quickly diminished health, make fights infinitely more tense than they ever were in the older games.”The “Atreus” mentioned in The AV Club’s excellent review is another important difference in God of War: this is Kratos’ son, his constant companion throughout the game, and the main reason why he spends so much time looking anguished, ruminating on his bestial past. Atreus also adds a new dimension to the combat, which US Gamer believes has traded a certain amount of the series’ trademark fluidity for a greater emphasis on tactics – much to the benefit of the game overall.”You’re also in control of Atreus with the press of the Square button. (Yep, press Square to Son.) Atreus begins helping Kratos using only his trusty bow and arrow. This can deal minimal damage, but it also stuns enemies a bit and can draw the focus away from Kratos… So while you’re axing enemies to death, you can also hit fliers or delay enemies with the kid’s arrows. And using bare-handed attacks and Atreus’ bow together is more likely to put enemies in a stunned state, allowing you to use God of War’s executions.”However, while anyone playing God of War will spend a lot of time in combat, all of these apparently surface-level changes serve the larger purpose of telling Kratos’ story. In a five-star review, The Telegraph praises the relationship between father and son for being “superbly pitched”, and largely free of heavy-handed moments.”It is a game that, until recently, would have been impossible” The Guardian”Both of them initially struggle to come to terms with their relationship, Kratos struggling with his inner-demons, Atreus with his father’s hitherto absence and fury. It isn’t immune to cliche, but does well to avoid becoming too saccharine. Kratos is a coiled spring and harsh taskmaster that is quick to admonish, with a temper that isn’t always easy to like. But that only manages to make the tender moments more effective. God of War is open about Kratos’ descent into thuggery in previous games, but you buy into his desire for Atreus to avoid repeating his folly without absolving him.”It is not an easy balancing act, particularly for a video game in which you are using an axe to snap the jaw of an ogre, but the central relationship carries the game admirably.”This is greatly helped by another change that, in most other games, would be purely mechanical. Where the previous God of War games were linear, the reboot leans towards a large map that invites the term “open world”. However, while the map does serve the typical agenda of giving players extra content to chew on, Waypoint is more impressed with the “unexpected moments of quiet and silence” it affords.”God of War fills these moments with meaningful, character-building banter between a forcibly bonded father and son. Atreus teases Kratos’ inability to tell a story, Kratos asks Atreus what he misses about his mother. Conversations in previous God of War games have tended to be long preambles before two beasts fight one another, but here, it’s a chance for introspection and reflection, even if it means Atreus is prying it out of Kratos. These tiny details raise the emotional stakes of fights, and the narrative beats that follow.”One aspect of God of War that hasn’t changed is the the level of technical excellence on display, with many of the reviews contributing to its 94 Metacritic average calling it the best looking console game in history. But even here, Sony Santa Monica has found a way to let that visual style feed back into its larger narrative ambitions. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “The game is one continuous shot, with no interruptions,” The Guardian marvels in its five-star review. “Irritating necessities such as loading screens are hidden so effectively that you barely realise they are there. This cinematic commitment to Kratos’ point of view enhances the story’s efforts to humanise him. You walk in his boots, flowing between combat, story scenes and exploration without interruption. “There are abundant moments of outstanding beauty: canoeing beneath the rusting legs of an ancient statue of Thor and on to a lake; traversing the bodies of fallen giants; entering a temple to find cavernous, treasure-packed chambers, resplendent works of virtual architecture. It is among the most visually impressive games made – so much so that rendering it makes the PlayStation 4 sound as if it’s about to expire.”It is rare to play a game so accomplished in everything it sets out to do. God of War is a standard-setter both technologically and narratively. It is a game that, until recently, would have been impossible.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesSony’s cross-play deal seems a smart solution to a complex problem | OpinionThe royalty Sony and Epic agreed to open up cross-play on PlayStation has caused anger – but it’s a nuanced response to the growing complexity of the industry’s revenue modelsBy Rob Fahey 5 days agoSony facing lawsuit over PlayStation Store exclusivityPlatform holder stopped allowing third party stores to sell digital downloads in 2019By Danielle Partis 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
3 years ago I’m scratching my head a bit on everybody tossing around the term “blockchain” these days like a buzzword. It was designed for a very specific purpose (financial transaction register), but now everybody’s wanting to treat it like the savior of the world. That’s gotta be awkward and will kill the performance of anything that doesn’t resemble a financial transaction register.It’s not even that great as a financial transaction register, it turns out. It’s having problems scaling up as volume increases. Anybody who tries out the official Bitcoin client today will discover quickly that it needs to download the entire chain and verify all of the transactions. It takes up massive space on the drive and takes several days to verify the entire thing. It’s become quite unwieldy.The reason why Bitcoin is decentralized is because they designed Bitcoin to use peer-to-peer technology, and because the entire blockchain is copied to any full or archival node. This type of P2P architecture has little to do with the blockchain technology itself, and other types of data structures could be adapted to work this way.In my opinion, most businesses would be better off finding a good data scientist to take the advantages of blockchain and put them into something specialized for your business. Don’t put a square peg into a round hole – make something that fits your business. “We can’t rely on nostalgia to sell”Brian Fargo mines the past with The Bard’s Tale IV, looks to mine the future with blockchain-powered storefront Robot CacheBrendan SinclairManaging EditorThursday 3rd May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleinXile EntertainmentBrian Fargo built his career by creating classic games, and he’s spent the last decade coming full circle, creating sequels and spiritual successors to classics. But speaking with GamesIndustry.biz at the Game Developers Conference this year, Fargo gave little indication that he was stuck in the past. “We can’t rely on nostalgia to sell,” Fargo said. “And nostalgia is a two-edged sword. Because a lot of people’s emotional attachment to the incredible experiences they had playing these games to begin with, were are at a moment in time that can never be recreated.”It was like, ‘I was in a dorm room with all my friends staying up all night and I didn’t have a care in the world.’ That feeling of playing that game? I could never recreate it, because maybe you got bills to pay, kids to feed, and you don’t have that same light-heartedness.”As an example, Fargo said he had recently spoken with a fan who played one of his earlier games in a foreign language, with his grandmother at his side the entire time translating every part of the game for him.”I can’t recreate that. But when they think back, you’re always worried they’ll go, ‘I don’t think the new game’s as good.’ Well, you’re not playing it with your grandmother. So there’s that part of it you always have to be cognizant of. You can’t reproduce that.”This is not you and your grandmother’s Bard’s Tale.That acknowledgement can be seen in Fargo’s approach to his latest revival, The Bard’s Tale IV. While it’s a follow-up to a trilogy of PC role-playing games he created for Electronic Arts in the ’80s, Fargo said it’s not trying to present a time capsule of what a fourth Bard’s Tale game would have been.”I jokingly call it Bard’s Tale 20, because a true Bard’s Tale IV would have looked very different in 1995. So what would have happened if Bard’s Tale had kept going and going and going? This is what we’d have today. Because you don’t want to literally come out with a product as if it were 1995. That’s just not smart. So we tried to take the best parts of the essence of Bard’s Tale, keep them, but give them a new perspective.”Fargo believes a truly faithful recreation of the original experiences could rely on nostalgia to carry it “for about two seconds” before players would get frustrated and fed up with it.”There’s a group of people that if I did a straight-up Bard’s Tale that looked like it was from 1995, they’d love it. But I would go out of business” “There’s a group of people that if I did a straight-up Bard’s Tale that looked like it was from 1995, they’d love it,” Fargo said. “But I would go out of business. So I need to make that core group happy. I’m going to give them their characters, their spells, give them a lot of the locations. We need to build out the world and make it deeper, give them all the stuff they enjoy, but also make it so that somebody’s who’s not heard of it can watch somebody play it on Twitch and go, ‘That looks like a lot of fun. I don’t know what The Bard’s Tale is, but that looks good.'”This is part of the reason Fargo feels prepared to return to franchises like The Bard’s Tale and Wasteland now. Since making those games, he’s learned a lot more about user interface, visual payoff, the speed at which games need to proceed to avoid feeling sluggish. There are quality-of-life touches that can be taken into account, like being able to queue up commands in a turn-based game and watch them unfold instead of pausing everything for each input.But that’s not the only reason to revisit these games. Just as the classic games represented a specific moment in time for their players, so too did they reflect a version of their creators that no longer exists.”Technology aside, I never could have made Wasteland 2 back then,” Fargo said. “I wouldn’t have had all the experiences I had, the good, the bad and the ugly. Or the introspective attitude toward entertainment, pop culture, etc. So Wasteland 2 ended up being much more sophisticated than it would have otherwise.”One thing that hasn’t changed is his desire to innovate in each of his games. Even when he’s treading familiar ground, Fargo said he tries to focus on little things “to push the art form forward.””With Wasteland 2, it’s one of the deepest, most reactive games I’ve ever been involved with,” Fargo said. “We didn’t always do a great job of surfacing the decisions you made and these incredible, complex things that happened because of it. They just happened. If you played it again, you might wonder about a scene, why was it there or why was it not there? Or how did they know I was going to have that person in my party? Well, we didn’t. But we created 40% of the content that you will never see on your first playthrough, because that makes it truly your own experience.”For Bard’s Tale IV, when players load a game they get a scene informing them of what they’ve accomplished and foreshadowing what’s yet to come. It’s unlikely to disrupt game design as we know it, but Fargo said he’s hoping to implement what is a basic storytelling technique of books and films into games in an interesting way.And in case anyone finds that an unconvincing argument that Fargo is not stuck in the past, his forward-looking aspirations are clearly evidenced by Robot Cache, his upcoming blockchain-powered digital storefront. “I love new technology and connecting the dots,” he explained. “I did one of the first VR games. I’m always fascinated by this stuff, but the thing I found interesting about the blockchain was it felt like a disruptive event that could change the way the industry works because the internet’s being securitized, because of the centralization in terms of cost-savings. A lot of people draw up a lot of fancy buzz words, but there are really some major things afoot. And the reason why people are excited and there’s all this money going into the space is because something’s happening. There will be winners and losers, but there’s something happening here.”Fargo believes that the decentralized nature of blockchain implementations and smart contracts lessen the need for middlemen, and the biggest middlemen between game developers and players are digital distribution storefronts. So Robot Cache is trying to use the blockchain to do what Steam, Origin and the like do, but only needing a 5% cut of revenues as opposed to the more standard 30% such stores now charge.”As a publisher and developer, I want to make more per unit,” Fargo said. “That’s why I say, let’s give them 95%. If you’re an indie developer and you only do $100,000 worth of business, that extra $25,000 can go a long way. And of course with the big publishers, it’s big money.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games And then there’s the storefront’s promise of letting users re-sell their digitally distributed games, with the store keeping 5% of the sale and the original publisher receiving 70%. When asked why players would be all that enticed by the idea of re-selling their games and keeping only a quarter of whatever they sell for, Fargo noted that 25% “is still better than 0%,” and said he expects publishers to experiment with giving re-sellers larger cuts of the sale. He thinks it will work like Humble Bundles, where publishers have largely come around on the idea because they seem to be additive to the business.”Every major publisher supports [bundles],” Fargo said. “If by supporting them, it kills your back catalog, it would be over. There’s no way on earth that doesn’t kill the back catalog, but me letting my own users get a higher commission on a resale is going to ruin the back catalog.”The Bard’s Tale IV doesn’t have a release date yet, but Robot Cache was announced to be up and running by the end of Q2.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesWasteland 3 removed “interactive use” of recreational drug for Australian releaseInXile’s game was the only title out of 316 to be denied a certificate by the Australian ratings board in the last fiscal yearBy Matthew Handrahan 6 months agoWasteland 3 delayed due to COVID-19Update: Minecraft Dungeons also delayed into May for the same reasonBy Rebekah Valentine A year agoLatest comments (1)Jeremiah Moss Software Developer 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Dragalia Lost has highest spend per install of any Nintendo mobile titleIn Japan, player spend per download is four times that of Fire Emblem: HeroesHaydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterWednesday 31st October 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoDragalia Lost, the first original mobile IP from Nintendo, has set a record for the publisher for highest consumer spend per download. Since launching in five countries on September 26 Dragalia Lost has grossed $28 million, according to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Looking at just the US and Japan, Nintendo’s two largest markets, the average consumer spend since launch was $18 per install. Consumer spending per download in Japan was four times that of Nintendo’s most successful mobile game, Fire Emblem: Heroes, at an average of $25. In the US, this figure is $8.50.While Fire Emblem: Heroes grossed $48.2 million in its first month in the US and Japan, the average spend per download was just $6. Despite having the lowest-grossing launch of any Nintendo mobile game in the US and Japan, proportionally Dragalia Lost is the second most successful game from the publisher’s catalogue after one month on the market. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Japan and the US accounted 84 per cent of the total, grossing $23.5 million from 1.3 million installs. In terms of first-month revenue in the two countries, Dragalia Lost outshone Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp by 16 per cent and 81 per cent respectively. Writing for GamesIndustry.biz recently, Rob Fahey argued that Dragalia Lost could be a turning point for Nintendo.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Jobs roundup: Codemasters promotes new SVP from withinMeanwhile, Bandai Namco Europe appoints new strategic comms lead and Tapjoy gets a new CEOGamesIndustry StaffTuesday 26th February 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareIt can be difficult keeping track of the various comings and goings in the games industry, which is why we compile them in semi-regular round-ups.If you have new appointments or transitions in your company that belong here, please fill out this form.Codemasters promotes SVP of product development from within Clive Moody has been promoted to senior vice president of product development and joins the executive team. Moody is an 18-year Codemasters veteran specialising in the management and production of multiplatform AAA racing games. During his time at Codemasters Moody has led some of the company’s most successful franchises including DiRT and GRID. He will now manage all of Codemasters’ development teams. Codemasters also confirmed that after two and a half years, vice president of product development Mick Hocking has left the company to pursue other interests.Jeff DrobickTapjoy appoints new CEOJeff Drobick has served as chief product officer of Tapjoy since 2013, driving the company’s overall product vision and strategy while overseeing its product management, design, engineering, dev ops and data science teams. Prior to Tapjoy, Drobick served as CEO of Geeknet Media and also spent nearly 12 years at eBay, where he held technology positions such as vice president of customer service technology and vice president of IMD and product development. Prior to eBay, he spent nearly eight years in Accenture’s global technology practice.Wouter van VugtBandai Namco Europe appoints new strategic comms lead Wouter van Vugt will be overseeing and creating global communications strategies for Bandai Namco Europe titles including The Dark Pictures Anthology, Jump Force, Ace Combat, Tekken, and Dragon Ball. He will also be growing the Western voice of the company over the coming years as it pushes to create, develop and publish half of its titles outside of Japan.Previously head of international communications at 2K, where he had been for the past four years, Vugt has also worked with Sega and Capcom across a 16-year career in the game industry.Ann-Marie HarbourUbiquity6 appoints new head of studios Ann-Marie Harbour was most recently at Magic Leap where she was executive producer of the creative content group before moving to lead key strategic content partnerships. In her tenure there, she built out the company’s studio team and led their strategic partnerships with some of the world’s most talented content teams such as Lucasfilms, Framestore, and Warner Bros.”When I first met with Ubiquity6, I immediately knew there was something special happening at this company,” said Harbour. “After working in the XR industry for the last five years, there is no doubt in my mind that we are moving towards a world where the digital and physical will merge into a single reality.” Jon HowardJon Howard joins Rovio Entertainment as head of communications and PR Formerly lead PR product strategist at Nintendo of Europe, and most recently head of PR and influencer relations at Flaregames, Jon Howard has over a decade of PR experience. He is now based at Rovio’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland.”It’s set to be a very active year and we’ve a lot of stories to tell, not least around the mega milestone that is the Angry Birds 10th anniversary,” said chief marketing officer Ville Heijari. “The challenge for us is to bring everything together under one narrative, which is why we’re delighted to welcome Jon to Rovio. “His deep experience in setting global PR strategy and working with AAA brands is an invaluable asset, as is his thought-leadership and track record in areas such as influencer marketing.”Darren FalcusNew director of business development at SockMonkey Studios Having first started in the industry in the early ’80s, Darren Falcus went on to create, build and manage some of the biggest studios in the North, including Iguana UK, Acclaim Teesside, and Atomic Planet, also helping with studio development at Team17. Over a 35-year period Falucs has worked on more than 150 games across more than 35 different gaming platforms. “I’m delighted to join an exciting and ambitious studio, full of skill and potential,” sad Falcus. “We are looking forward to working together to build something special with SockMonkey and have another great success story in the North East.” Sanjiv AhluwaliaGlobalStep appoints new UK managing directorAs UK managing director Sanjiv Ahluwalia will assume the responsibility for GlobalStep’s UK operations and the expansion of GlobalStep’s service capabilities in the region. During his career at GlobalStep, he has led the Playtest Analytics practice, and has had management rotations in different functions with particular focus on Global Operations. “We are commited to the UK and European Games Industry for the long term,” said GlobalStep CEO Gagan Ahluwalia. “Some of GlobalStep’s very first clients since its inception in 2007 have been in France and the UK. Sanjiv fully embodies our values and our culture and is very well positioned to lead our UK operations in a way that will make a strong contribution to the success of clients.” Metodi ZaburtovLuckbox brings in new head of risk management and operations Metodi Zaburtov previously worked as head of live betting at PartyGaming and head of sportsbook and esports optimization at Ultraplay. “I am excited to join this team of top professionals and be part of something great,” he said. “I want to help in building an industry-leading esportsbook that redefines the norms by being user-friendly, entertaining, heavily segmented and by providing a unique betting service.”I am also passionate about utilising data and driving innovation. We all have big ambitions and goals at Luckbox and we are eager to attract and delivering them to the gaming and betting audience.”GamesRadar appoints new guides coordinatorLeon Hurley has been at GameRadar for a several years having joined as executive news editor from Kotaku UK, and before progressing to senior channel editor. Previously he worked on the Official PlayStation Magazine website and the magazine itself before that. Deeptha VijayanDeeptha Vijayan appointed studio director at Sumo’s India branch Bringing over two decades of production and studio leadership experience, Deeptha Vijayan has joined Sumo Video Games in Pune, India. “It’s an exciting time for Sumo, and for game development in India,” said Vijayan. “There’s so much potential here and, combined with the unparalleled game development services we offer, we’re going to build on the foundation of our teams’ impressive achievements.”Two new hires at G2 Esports Lindsey Eckhouse has come on board as commercial director of G2 Esports, having spent over six years managing and leading international commercial partnerships for the National Football League. During her time with the NFL, she led the team responsible for all European commercial partnership activities. Prior to that, she spent almost four years with IMG Sports and Entertainment, developing brand strategies and leading client accounts where she managed their marketing and entertainment partnerships. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Meanwhile Sabrina Ratih joins the company as a partnership executive with 12 years of experience in sales, partnerships, marketing, sports, media, and account management across a variety of industries. Ratih also founded Value of We, a partnership consulting, education, and brokership company. Prior to that, she spent over five years working in various partnerships positions at Red Bull including creating and managing their first global partnership team.If you have jobs news to share or a new hire you want to shout about, please contact us on [email protected] employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 6 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Amy Hennig: Streaming must be more than “just an invisible console”Real-time streaming will start a revolution in storytelling, Hennig said at Reboot Develop — but new kinds of content will be required to attract a bigger audienceMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefWednesday 24th April 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareThe hit Black Mirror special Bandersnatch points towards a forthcoming, “convergence between traditional linear media and interactive media,” according to former Naughty Dog creative director Any Hennig — but the games industry will need to recognise its own limited breadth of content to take advantage of the huge commercial opportunity it represents.Speaking at the Reboot Develop conference earlier this month, Hennig pointed to Bandersnatch as an early example of a new wave of mass entertainment: the rise of interactivity in traditionally linear narrative forms, made possible by the spread of 5G internet technology. While Bandersnatch was ostensibly a Netflix television special, Hennig noted its use of storytelling techniques more commonly found in game development — techniques that will only become more important as “real-time content” proliferates.”Bandersnatch is the best model for frictionlessly easing non-gamers into interactive content” “I love the fact that it exists, and I enjoyed the experience,” Hennig said, adding that she had ‘played through’ Bandersnatch three times, once holding the controller and twice observing other people do the same. “This is only possible through real-time, and this is where I think the revolution comes.”Hennig deliberately used the term “real-time streaming” instead of “game streaming,” which she considers “too limited” to adequately capture the impact that widespread, high-speed mobile internet will have on narrative entertainment.”We can debate in how many years it’s going to happen,” she said. “Two to five? Depends on who you talk to… But not only is it going to radically change games — it changes our business models, it changes the players in the space, it changes the kind of content we can create — but it also changes the audience.”And that’s why I like the fact that Bandersnatch exists: it is the best model for frictionlessly easing non-gamers into interactive content.”Bandersnatch caused a sensation when it was released on Netflix at the start of this year, and the TV and film industries will have been paying close attention to its success. Indeed, Hennig implied that those industries have been aware of the potential of real-time interactive storytelling for a long time already, and the games industry is now at risk of missing out on an opportunity it has the skills and experience to make its own.”Every studio in TV and in film has an interactive division,” she said. “They’re going to be on this [opportunity], and they don’t actually know how to do what we do. One could argue that in story and character they have a longer track record than we have, and are more adept in some ways. But they don’t understand developing content for a real-time application — why would they? — and they certainly don’t understand interactivity. They don’t have our experience.”As we explored in a pair of articles published in the aftermath of Bandersnatch, a small group of developers is already exploring this territory — but none come close to the reach and resources of a platform like Netflix, or the myriad other huge companies that are now likely following its lead. “We should have the humility to not go, ‘Here’s the games we’ve been making — open wide and become a gamer'” Hennig suggested a venn diagram composed of three sets representing areas of expertise: real-time, interactivity and story; game developers, she said, are closer to the point at which these fields intersect than anyone working in TV and film, and so have an opportunity to, “get in there and define that space for a wider audience, because if we don’t do it, other people are going to.”Since the emergence of smartphone technology, the games industry has tended to see cost of entry as the only obstacle to reaching more people: the price of a console, or a gaming PC, or the $60 tag on a copy of AAA game. This thinking was evident in Google’s announcement of Stadia, a real-time streaming platform that was showcased on the strength of easier access to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed.”I see these announcements and think, ‘This is amazing. Real-time content streamed directly into our homes, into our devices, just like TV and film is now; that’s mind-blowing,'” she said. “But then I see everything being justified as game streaming — and that’s just an invisible console. You’re not pointing it at any bigger audience; it’s just the same people that are already buying your hardware. It comes with benefits, but it just seems like very limited thinking.”Google is talking about how it can 10x the [gaming] audience, because it can reach so many more people. But then the next beat of that conversation has to be about content; not about just having access to [a broader audience]. So we’re just going to shove the content we’ve been making at them? If they were into those experiences, they’d already be paying for them.”Google Stadia has been positioned as ‘an invisible console’ — but real-time streaming promises so much moreIn terms of the Stadia reveal, Assassin’s Creed broadly represented AAA games; the content in which the industry invests the largest amounts of money. However, there are inherent barriers that prevent that kind of product from appealing to those outside of the gaming audience; Hennig mentioned complexity of controls, a reliance on player dexterity and reactions, and the use of failure to define progress. Meanwhile, indie developers have been studiously making experiences that reject, subvert and transcend those traditional values; Hennig mentioned Florence, What Remains of Edith Finch?, and Return of the Obra Dinn as examples of relatively low-budget games that, ironically, may have broader appeal than some of the industry’s most visible brands.”When I think about the potential of this new marketplace, we have to be open to the idea that we can welcome more people into our hobby,” she said. “This potential wider audience, who are not being served by interactive content… This isn’t about trying to convince them that they’re gamers, or converting them and pulling them to where we are. I think it’s incumbent on us to meet them where they are, with what we know how to do.”Can we make content like Uncharted for an audience that wouldn’t buy a PlayStation 4, or pick up that 15-plus button controller?” “We should have the humility to not go, ‘Here’s the games we’ve been making — open wide and become a gamer.’ We really should be crafting experiences for them… We need to widen the way we think about games, to think about them as experience; and that doesn’t require difficulty, competition, mastery, fail-states, setbacks.”Reboot Develop exactly coincided with the debate around difficulty and accessibility sparked by From Software’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Hennig did not comment on that debate directly, but she addressed the evident mistrust held by a certain part of the gamer community, over what appealing to a wider swathe of the public will mean for the medium as a whole.”These games should exist; games that are about competition and difficulty and mastery, even the games I’ve made,” she said. “But that makes them inaccessible to this wider audience, and there may be some in our hobby who would go, ‘Sure, that’s fine’ — this whole ‘git gud’ thing. There is an exclusive attitude about our medium and our hobby that I don’t think is healthy. “We have to be open to the idea that we can create content that isn’t about fail-states and difficulty; it’s about a journey and an experience… And we’re 90% of the way there [with games like Uncharted]. It’s just a matter of adjusting a little bit, to go, ‘Can we make content like this for an audience that wouldn’t buy a PlayStation 4, or pick up that 15-plus button controller?'”Hennig backed up her claim that the industry is already making games that are “90% of the way there” in terms of being accessible to a much larger group of people. In fact, she mentioned a “phenomenon” that is widely known and understood by creators in the games business.Games like Until Dawn draw in non-gamers, but they are still unable to properly engage due to complexities like a 15-button controller”I feel like we’re not giving this audience credit,” Hennig said. “With games like Uncharted — Supermassive’s Until Dawn had the same effect, and I’ve heard stories about people getting it from Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human — non-gamers in the family are just as invested in as the gamer. “We [at Naughty Dog] heard that not just anecdotally, but consistently; a person’s kid or spouse would say, ‘Don’t you play that game without me, I want to see what happens next.’ And they didn’t mean just watch it like a TV show; they were collaborating. It was an interactive experience for them.”When I see that phenomenon, and those people being just as invested in the experience as a gamer, I look at that and go, ‘Why are we not designing for that intentionally, rather than just stumbling into it? And why are we not making content for those people, rather than putting it behind the gates?'”You’re already gonna have to ease them into the idea of it, so let’s not throw obstacles at them like mastery and difficulty.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games While the name Sekiro was mentioned on several occasions during the onstage interview, Hennig was careful to highlight that her views are not, “a critique of what we do.” Indeed, there is no greater proof of that claim than the fact she regards own games as being inaccessible to a wider audience. Hennig called for “sensitivity” towards those who perceive new and more accessible games as a threat to an essential part of their identity — “it’s just human nature” — but in her view, nothing needs to disappear for these new forms to exist.”I’m just looking at what we’re going to have to do to reach this wider audience,” she said. “There will probably be some existential concern that this will be instead of creating games [for traditional gamers]. I don’t believe that — I believe it’s an ‘and’ rather than ‘instead’.”We dismiss the potential market and audience, and what it can do for our art form, if we just batten down the hatches and get tribal about it.”GamesIndustry.biz is a media partner of Reboot Develop. We attended the event with assistance from the organiser.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesActivision no longer working with Call of Duty actor after hateful sexist commentsA video resurfaced on social media showing Jeff Leach making offensive, sexual and threatening remarks targeting women By Marie Dealessandri 2 days agoHow Women in Gaming survived its publisher’s demiseMeagan Marie explains how Crystal Dynamics stepped in after Prima Games, the original publisher of her book, shut down right after launchBy Brendan Sinclair 4 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.