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Najeeb's Gaming Report - Issue #1

This is my weekly newsletter focusing on major developments within the Gaming industry. You can follo

Najib El Kihel

March 27 · Issue #1 · View online
Startup and Tech curious, with a focus on #Gaming. Runs a weekly Newsletter on this particular industry.

This is my weekly newsletter focusing on major developments within the Gaming industry.
You can follow me on Twitter here.

Issue #1 - 27 March 2017
Issue #1 - 27 March 2017
My blog post
Industry News
It seems clear that the initial response to Nintendo Switch has been very positive (prompting production ramp up) and momentum could be maintained even longer if Nintendo:
- sticks to its release schedule (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey for this calendar year)
- announces greater third-party support within the next few months.
But even with that - with 100 million Wiis sold - it’s hard to imagine the Switch coming even remotely close to that figure. This comment from GameStop seems like an attempt to reassure investors amid bad news for the giant retailer such as declining sales of physical games or Microsoft & Sony announcing subscription plans for a selection of current gen games to be downloaded (MS) or streamed (PSNow by Sony).
The Chinese behemoth - which has a majority stake in SuperCell and Riot Games - has released its results for FY ending 31 Dec 2016. Figures confirm that Tencent has maintained its position as the world’s #1 public gaming company in terms of revenues - with $10.2B (specifically for its gaming subsidiary). Sony was #2 with $7.8B (excludes revenues from Hardware); Activision Blizzard took the 3rd spot with $6.6B. 

Potentially the biggest IPO in South Korea since 2010. To get an idea of how big Netmarble is in South Korea, their most popular title Lineage2 Revolution - released at the end of 2016 on mobile - generated $100 million. In 17 days. In South Korea alone.
Not necessarily a pure “gaming” move by Facebook (the feature can be used for presentations), but it makes it a lot easier now to stream any gaming content directly into your Friends’ News Feed. This brings Facebook a lot closer to Twitch and YouTube Gaming in terms of streaming possibilities for broadcasters.
Pokémon and Nintendo fans have been wondering for 20 years: “When will we finally see a Pokémon RPG on console?”. Kind of a no brainer now considering the hybrid nature of Nintendo Switch (and Game Freak’s hiring plans obviously). It will be interesting to see if this future Pokémon game on Switch will interact somehow with PokémonGo and bridge the gap between Switch and Smartphones.
But this will not deter Nintendo from charging full price for its future mobile releases, rather than opting for the free-to-play model… which is kind of head-scratching considering that:
- It disregards gaming habits on mobile, where gamers rarely expect to pay full price to enjoy most of a game’s content.
- Nintendo did go for free-to-play with Fire Emblem Heroes.
PS: Super Mario Run was also released on Android last Wednesday.
Vive vs Oculus on the issue of platform exclusivity. Both execs make fair points. Exclusivity might not make sense for such a nascent technology but it can be understood in light of Oculus/Facebook’s ambition, which is to be the leading platform for VR content. Even though Vive has its own store with Viveport, it remains closely associated with Steam - by far the world’s #1 retailer for PC gaming and serious competition for the Oculus Store.
The first episode - heavily criticised for its lack of content at launch and subsequent releases of expensive add-ons - has had a tremendous success nonetheless, with more than 30 million registered accounts. As with most cross platform games on this current generation, the PS4 was leading the way and should welcome Destiny’s 2 beta.
With the next Call of Duty, Destiny 2 should be the main highlight of the year for Activision Blizzard.
Blizzard’s client is still alive and well, but Blizzard thought it was time to consolidate its brand and drop a name - - that I have to admit can be confusing for the non-initiated.
Notable Game Reviews
Mass Effect: Andromeda. Eurogamer, Polygon.
The Mass Effect series was probably the most acclaimed RPG series of the previous generation, which made Andromeda one of the most anticipated games of the current generation. The game has received mostly mixed reviews, with praises for the game’s universe and combat system, and criticism for its technical issues (glitches, poor character animation) and uninspired writing. A bit disappointing compared to the incredible games we’ve had so far in 2017 (Resident Evil 7, Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda, etc).
Blog Posts
Fascinating piece on the legal headache that modding can be for a game developer and how difficult it is to let the modding community create content for your games while ensuring IP protection at the same time. With Gabe Newell indicating recently that Valve could revisit “paid mods” at some point, we could hear more and more about this type of legal issues in the near future.
Great interview with Jason Rubin - VP Content at Oculus - during GDC 2017 and referenced in my blog post listed at the top.
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