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Najeeb's Gaming Report - Issue #7

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

Najib El Kihel

May 8 · Issue #7 · 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.
Najeeb

Issue #7 - 08 May 2017
Industry News
Impressive start for Switch software, with Wii-like sales figures for MK8 Deluxe (1st Nintendo console game to top UK charts in 6 years). Nintendo first party titles have traditionally been extremely successful, it will be interesting to monitor sales for third-party software and see if Nintendo can attract gamers that are not part of its core user base.
After announcing 30 million registered players last week, Activision-Blizzard confirmed in its 2017 Q1 results that Overwatch has become its 8th billion dollar franchise in terms of revenues, and caused a 58% spike in total MAU (Monthly Active Users) for the publisher.
King’s acquisition in February 2016 has also enabled A-B to diversify the sources of its revenues, achieving great balance between Consoles, PC and Mobile (36%, 33% & 28% respectively).
While mobile gaming markets in China and Asia will continue to grow, local giants are looking at the rest of the world: Tencent has recently released in Europe its #1 mobile game Honor of Kings (that will include characters from DC Comics), Netmarble is also planning a global release of its mobile MMO Lineage 2 - who made more money in one month in South Korea alone than Pokemon Go worldwide in the same time span.
For many, it’s a buzzword but I have to say it: Games-as-a-Service. What is different about this announcement is that Black Ops 3 is not the latest instalment in the franchise - it’s Infinite Warfare. BO3 was actually released in 2015, Infinite Warfare a year later. 
This type of release did not happen the previous years: while Activision always has a planning of DLC release for CoD games, it’s the first time that a previous instalment gets updated with paid content. There is still a lot of players playing previous instalments, and there is certainly a lot of revenues that can be generated off these games.
Probably the first step in trying to improve its Customer Support service, which has had an awful reputation for years. But with the refund policy and more transparency regarding support, they seem to be going in the right direction.
4 years. The time it took DayZ to go from being an Arma II mod to Beta. I think this game is the perfect example that first mover advantage is not always key for success. Competitors such as H1Z1 or the recently released PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have been able to execute better and certainly learned a lot from issues (performance, glitches) that have plagued DayZ for years. 
That’s one of the biggest questions I’ve always had for VR - especially for hardware manufacturers: how long can you support such a nascent technology? I am not too worried about Facebook, considering its big pockets, but what about the likes of HTC or Sony? The expectation that manufacturers will slowly iterate on the hardware until they get it right does not factor in the huge investments this iteration requires. There is a long way to go for VR to be successful, with many stumbles before we get to mainstream adoption.
Blog Posts
A very interesting piece about the challenge of creating disruptive innovation within big companies. For those interested in learning more about the subject, I highly recommend Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma, simply one of the best books I’ve ever read.
The last two articles offer different perspectives on the face of esport going forward. There are valid arguments to support a structured scene vs a more organic approach to esport competitions but I do feel that the structured approach could be misleading for many developers: League of Legends’ esport ventures are incredibly successful but is this success really due to the competitions’ format? I think having some sort of structure will definitely raise esport’s mainstream appeal but this could also lead certain developers to focus their energy on competition format rather than more important aspects such as game design and community.
AI (Machine Learning specifically) seems to offer plenty of opportunities to lower barriers to entry for developers. There is still the need to feed the neural network with large amount of data in certain cases but one can imagine that “gaming datasets” will one day be available for free.
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