Your Latest Game Industry News Round-up #25

Scope out a few of the game industry news stories from the last week below, hand-picked from across the world of games. It’s been a very busy week, with talk about 2021 versions of events like SXSW or BlizzCon(line). Also, Microsoft, Bethesda, and Playco have been a few companies who’ve been very busy. But when the business is done, maybe one way to kick back is to watch a documentary like Console Wars. The only way to know for sure is to read up on all the details below!

 

Index:

 

BlizzConline to Bring Canceled Con Back to Life in February 2021
Source: The Verge

BlizzConline logo and date information

BlizzConline “Save the Date” (Image: Blizzard Entertainment)

Following months of uncertainty for fans whether (or if) they might host their annual fanfest, BlizzCon, Blizzard addressed the question about the immediate future of their event. The Verge has the update:

“Blizzard Entertainment was forced to cancel its annual BlizzCon fan convention earlier this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the company has announced new plans for an online-only version of the show. BlizzConline will take place on February 19th–20th, 2021.

BlizzCon — which is usually held in November as an in-person fan event — is where Blizzard typically makes some of the biggest announcements for its stable of popular franchises, including World of WarcraftOverwatchStarcraftHearthstone, and Diablo. The moved event will likely provide the company a chance to offer updates on some of its previously announced titles from last year’s events, including Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4.”

 


SXSW Organizers May Attempt to Create Online and Physical Event in 2021
Source: austin360

SXSW 2021 logo on abstract art background

SXSW 2021 (Image: SXSW, LLC.)

In 2021, some event organizers are hosting physical events, others hybrid (both live and virtual), and some others will be digital — continuing the trend seen through most of 2020. Austin, Texas-based SXSW organizers are hedging their bets by starting with a digital program:

“South by Southwest announced Tuesday that it will launch online programming as part of its 2021 event, while still leaving open the possibility of in-person festival and conference activities.

SXSW Online “will feature conference keynotes and sessions, screenings, showcases, networking, and exhibitions,” according to an announcement from the sprawling annual music, film and interactive conference and festivals. Organizers added that “SXSW is working with the City of Austin and public health authorities on plans for a 2021 physical event.”


Microsoft Acquires ZeniMax, Parent Company of Bethesda Softworks
Source: NPR

Xbox and Bethesda logos against a backdrop of Bethesda game characters

Xbox and Bethesda (Image: Microsoft)

This was a big week for the game industry if for no other reason than this AAA-level acquisition story, which NPR wrote about:

“In what is set to be one of the largest ever acquisitions in the video game industry, Microsoft announced Monday that it has reached a deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of popular video game publisher Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion.

Once the deal is finalized, Bethesda properties including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Quake, Starfield and DOOM will be owned by Microsoft. These series will be added to the Xbox Game Pass, a subscription-based cloud gaming service which has topped 15 million subscribers.

The Bethesda deal is expected to be finalized in the second half of fiscal year 2021.”

 


Amazon Announces New Cloud Gaming Service
Source: the Verge

amazon Luna logo and text

Amazon Luna (Image: Amazon)

Online retail and technology company, Amazon, has had a rollercoaster ride with the game industry over the years, but Amazon is looking to make a fresh impact in cloud gaming, after a reveal this week:

“At its 2020 hardware event (Editor: this week), Amazon announced a cloud gaming platform called Luna. The news isn’t too surprising: the service has been rumored since last year, previously codenamed “Tempo,” while an Amazon-made game controller leaked out just ahead of today’s event.

It’s not clear when Luna will launch widely, but it will initially be available on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and iPhone and iPad (via web apps), with an Android version planned for after launch. Amazon says that interested users in the US can request early access to the service starting today. There’s no word on international availability.”

 


The Trouble With Ordering the Hottest Gaming and Tech Goods Lately
Source: The Verge

An upset young man sitting before a computer

When online shopping gets frustrating (Image: Sebastian Herrmann via Unsplash)

If you’ve been in the market for, say, a new NVIDIA GPU, an Xbox Series X, a Playstation 5, you may have encountered the frustration of finding there wasn’t any inventory to purchase just about anywhere. Why? The Verge explores the “why” behind it:

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S preorders went live on Tuesday, capping a rough week of product rollouts that included similarly messy situations for preordering Sony’s PlayStation 5 and buying Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics card. The next two months are, without a doubt, the most pivotal hardware launch season the video game industry has seen in almost a decade. But for some reason, the biggest names in interactive entertainment can’t seem to solve the simple task of giving consumers an easy and straightforward way to exchange their money for a product.”

 


Japanese Mobile Games Startup Receives $100M Investment
Source: Nikkei

Playco logo and branding on yellow background

Playco (Image: Playco)

Besides the massive Microsoft/Bethesda acquisition, tthere’s been plenty of other deals-and-investments money changing hands lately in and around games deals and investment. One of the biggest is this one this week, as reported by Nikkei.

“Playco, a mobile gaming startup based in Tokyo, has raised $100 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital and angel investor Josh Buckley, according to a company statement.

The investment values the company at $1 billion.”


Console Wars: The 90’s Sega Vs. Nintendo Documentary Is out and Reviews Are In

Source: Inverse

CBS’ All Access has launched the much-anticipated Console Wars documentary this week. Reviews are coming in are are mixed, but it’s a rule of thumb that the best way to determine that is to be the judge of it yourself.

“You only need to look at your own struggles to pre-order the new Xbox or PlayStation to understand Console Wars. With the dawn of gaming’s next generation around the corner, the CBS All Access documentary Console Wars, streaming now, is a breezy overview of the fabled 1990s rivalry between Sega and Nintendo, a clash of the capitalist titans that set the stage for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo in 2020.”

Do you have interesting news to share, or something coming up that would also fit into this regular feature? Let us know!