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Najeeb's Gaming Report - Issue #8

This is my weekly newsletter focusing on major developments within the Gaming industry. Sincere apolo

Najib El Kihel

May 22 · Issue #8 · 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.
Sincere apology for the lack of newsletter last week. I had an incredibly busy week at work.
You can follow me on Twitter here.

Issue #8 - 22 May 2017
Issue #8 - 22 May 2017
Industry News
It would be yet another big Nintendo franchise to land on mobile - after Pokemon (co-owned), Super Mario, Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing (to be released within the next few months). Three questions I have: 
- What monetisation model for Zelda mobile (free-to-play vs premium)?
- What type of gameplay will we have, knowing the difficulty to translate third-person titles on mobile?
- Will there be any interaction between Zelda mobile and Breath of the Wild on Switch?
I really have mixed feelings about Destiny 2 on PC. On one hand, Destiny really feels like a perfect FPS for console, with a pace, gameplay and even business model (with regular releases of paid add-ons) that seem designed for console gamers. There’s also plenty of competition on PC for MMOFPSs. On the other hand, positive feedback on Destiny 2’ PC demo gives hope that this new episode will have meaningful PvP modes (on PC at least), which felt like an afterthought on the first Destiny.
No surprise here, all major VR hardware manufacturer are most likely working on their own standalone headset. Standalone HMDs are a good compromise between smartphones not being ‘powerful’ enough and the comfort issue that VR has on PC with the heavy set up and cables. I do feel however that standalone hardware will not necessarily push VR towards mainstream adoption, unlike 'mobile VR’ that could turn millions of smartphones into VR HMDs.
*HMD: Head Mounted Display.
When I wrote my latest blog post about Facebook and content creation for its VR platform, I used a screenshot of the late (not so) great PlayStation Home. Often innovation is about reviving something from the past that makes more sense in the current context due to other technological progresses (VR in the case of virtual social spaces). I guess it could be time for Sony to revive Home for the PSVR.
I mentioned the change of strategy in a previous issue - less AAA titles, stronger content support to drive engagement. Results for FY ending March 31 2017 indicate that this new strategy has paid off with increased sales driven by increased digital downloads and an increased MAUs*. I am curious to see the content and online strategy for the new instalment of the Assassin’s Creed series, which symbolised Ubi’s previous strategy of more frequent release of AAA titles.
*MAU: Monthly Active Users.
It goes under the radar for the general public but Dev Support is often a deciding factor in a 'war’ between platform providers. The latest GDC State of the Game Industry survey indicated a dev shift from Oculus towards Vive. This revamp from Oculus is part of a general improvement of dev support - which in the past was not necessarily on par with competition (Steam in particular) - in hope to retain and attract more developers to Oculus.
I always struggle to assess that type of statement. I understand Tim Sweeney and his dream of a decentralised Metaverse, but on the other hand, if a company decides to build a Metaverse:
- Is it necessarily bad?
- Is it fair to expect complete openness?
I tend to find Sweeney’s vision too dark: A platform provider ultimately has to achieve balance between platform openness and what it wants to get out of the platform - attracting users & content providers and generating revenues. Is it wise for a platform provider to allow any type of content at the risk that it might put some its users off? Is it wise for a platform provider to have so much control that it makes users & content providers feel uneasy? What if a ’Metaverse provider’ gets competition from another Metaverse provider? I do not buy into the idea that a non-decentralised Metaverse would necessarily be bad.
Blog Posts
After their latest funding round and partnership with Jagex, we’ll most likely hear more and more about Improbable, one of the most intriguing startups in gaming. In the context of a Metaverse, a lot of potential with SpatialOS in solving the scalability issue.
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