Tag - gaming industry

SAG-AFTRA on Strike Against Video Game Industry


LOS ANGELES (Oct. 21, 2016) — After nearly two years of unsuccessful negotiations, SAG-AFTRA has called a strike against certain video game producers, effective at 12:01 a.m. PT today.

SAG-AFTRA is striking the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike covers all games made by these companies that went into production after Feb. 17, 2015.

SAG-AFTRA members will picket Electronic Arts in Playa Vista, CA at 10:30 a.m. PT, Monday, Oct. 24.

For additional strike details, click here.

Razer Acquires THX


IRVINE, Calif. – Razer™, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today confirmed it acquired the majority of the assets of THX Ltd. and have brought onboard the management and employees of the company. Financial details of the transaction, which closed earlier this month, were not disclosed.

“Razer has a vision for innovation at every level of entertainment, a vision which THX has championed since its inception more than 30 years ago,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “This acquisition will allow us to reinforce Razer’s leadership in gaming and extend the brand into broader areas of entertainment, while at the same time empowering THX to develop into a global powerhouse, independently.”

THX will operate as an independent startup under its own management and apart from the ongoing business of its parent company. Further to the point, the audio technology business will have discretion to seek agreements with other product makers, service providers and financial partners apart from Razer.

“For over 30 years, THX has maintained a proud legacy of being one of the leaders in audio technology and certification worldwide,” said Laurie Fincham, Sr. Vice President of Audio Research and Development at THX. “With their focus on quality, design and innovation, Razer supports our vision to optimize and deliver the best audiovisual experiences to audiences worldwide.”

Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO of THX, says: “Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs. As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers.”

According to Tan, “The value of THX rests in its bedrock competencies with certification, optimization of audio and intellectual property development. We expect Ty, Laurie, and the executive team and employees of THX, who we have also retained, to continue leading the world in innovations and technology in the audiovisual space.”

Nordic Games is Now THQ Nordic


VIENNA, Austria (Aug. 12, 2016) – This is not your standard press release. Instead, we would like to make this corporate statement regarding our company Nordic Games reincorporating to THQ Nordic.

Obligatory Flashback Part (in only 2 paragraphs):

It all started out in Sweden in 2008 as a mini-venture to self-publish such illustrious titles likeDance Party Club Hits, Kart Racer and Truck Racer (just to name a few) on PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii. The following year, we landed We Sing, a million-plus selling karaoke franchise for Nintendo Wii. In 2011, with our first of many acquisitions to come, Nordic Games began its transformation from small scale, two-platform games publisher to a multi-platform, multi-genre global player.

One could say the most defining moment for our company happened in 2013, grabbing headlines like; “Who the FUCK is Nordic Games?”, “Darksiders Gets Bought By…Nordic Games?”, and “Nordic Games explains who the f they are, plans for THQ assets”. Funny enough, back then, this was so true. Until that point, we had been a low profile publisher uttering expletives of our own along the way, and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the international gaming media spotlight. We knew then, with great certainty, that we’d just made the best deal in our company´s history.

Nordic Games By The Numbers:
Since our formation in 2008, we proudly look back on 8 years of continuous growth on all (!) aspects of our business, not just the bottom-line. During that time, 16 individual IPs and franchise acquisitions were concluded, resulting in a catalogue of more than 250 actively sold games, over 60 trademarks, hundreds of web domains and a few patents for hardware and software.

61 game development projects were initiated and have launched, and most importantly, we have created 82 jobs (if you include external development teams this number amounts to 325) and pride ourselves on our very, very, very low staff fluctuation, which basically amounts to zero.

Two development studios were setup – one located in Phoenix, Arizona (let’s hope Donald Trump reads this), the other one in Munich, Germany, and we have managed to grow our group wide team size from 2 in 2008 to 84 team members today.

Introducing THQ Nordic (the KISS part):
Whilst we take great pride in our Swedish roots and accomplished a great deal under the Nordic Games masthead, we decided it was time to incorporate the THQ name. Those key brands will continue to shape our business in a meaningful way going forward, and THQ Nordicrepresents a core approach of doing much more than “owning” a highly competitive portfolio of IPs. We cherish them, and align them with the very best development resources to expand upon them with the level of experience that communities and established fan bases expect and deserve. Side note – another upside to this whole rebrand thing is we don’t get asked about the Nordic Game parties at Gamescom anymore – it was the other guys who threw them.

With this rebrand we are entering the next phase in our company’s evolution.

As of now we have 23 game projects in development, 13 thereof have not yet been publicly announced, but are sure to be in the next months. Needless to say, the majority of these projects are based on former THQ owned IPs and franchises.

As far as the logo design is concerned, Lars Wingefors, founder and owner of THQ Nordic (formerly known as Nordic Games) would like to say this:

“As for the new logo design, we literally stumbled across it when browsing some art files, after we bought the THQ trademark and figured: why not? We hope the reception from our partners is less ambivalent but we’re OK either way. We invite you to our Gamescom booth to play our games and see the logo in large-scale format.”

Please visit us in Cologne and stop by our booth to take a look at our current projects and also some of our upcoming games. If you’re not interested at all, you can still pop by to charge your mobile phones, hunt Pokémons, or just hang out and chat with us.

THQ Nordic at Gamescom 2016:
Entertainment area: Hall 8, C20
Business area: Hall 4.1, D21

Nordic Games + THQ = THQ Nordic from now on, due to numerous reasons explained in a bit more detail in the text.

Paramount Television Options Rights for Battlefield


LOS ANGELES, CA (July 11, 2016) – Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to one of the most successful and dynamic videogames, Battlefield™, from DICE, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio. Michael Sugar, 2016 Academy Award winner, and Ashley Zalta from Anonymous Content will serve as executive producers.

The Battlefield series has consistently been praised by critics for its world-class multiplayer gameplay, and is recognized for delivering the premier all-out war experience across land, sea and air. The award-winning Battlefield franchise has amassed more than 60 million players worldwide since debuting in 2002, and the franchise continues to boast highly-engaged audiences across its catalogue titles.

“Paramount TV actively seeks smart content from all sectors that will resonate with audiences and translate to compelling programming,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount TV. “EA’s Battlefield has an incredibly dynamic narrative, coupled with a loyal fan base, which will allow us to bring this exciting and unique property to the small screen. We look forward to working with EA and Anonymous Content and thank Michael Sugar for his tenacity in bringing us this exciting project.”

“Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation,” said Michael Sugar, partner, Anonymous Content. “Together with EA and Paramount TV, we’ll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly fifteen years.”

“Battlefield is one of the most loved properties among our players,” said Patrick Söderlund, Executive Vice President, EA. “We are thrilled that Anonymous Content and Paramount TV will look to introduce fans to Battlefield through a new medium.”

Battlefield continues the partnership between Anonymous Content and Paramount TV, which have a first-look production deal for scripted television programming across broadcast, premium cable, cable and online audiences. This marks the organizations’ entrée into content based on a videogame franchise.

“Michael’s track record speaks for itself,” added Patrick O’Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment. “Combined with his passion for Battlefield, we cannot imagine a better team than Anonymous Content and Paramount for this project.”

Watch the Battlefield 1 Official Reveal Trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nRTF2SowQ

E3 2016 Photo Gallery


Another Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone. E3 2016 was a fun event where I got the chance to see a lot of upcoming titles from a variety of publishers and developers. Still, there was a strange sense of emptiness while on the show floor – and no matter how large booths became, that emptiness hung in the air like a bad smell. Was it the big companies that pulled out of the show that caused this or simply a lack of some “killer apps” on the horizon? I do not know. What I do know is that E3 is still the premiere industry gaming show in the United States and there is so much of the media spotlight to be had, I don’t see where it is going anywhere anytime soon. The big game houses seem to do this mass exodus every so many years – but history has shown that they always come back soon after.

Here is my photo gallery from around the expo, enjoy!

Photo Gallery

E3 2016 Attendance Facts and E3 2017 Dates Revealed

E3 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo

Los Angeles – June 16, 2016 The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that more than 70,000 people participated in the week’s events, including 50,300 video game professionals, analysts, journalists, and enthusiasts attended this week’s trade show, and 20,000 fans attended E3 Live. The premier global video game event displayed more than 1,600 products from more than 250 exhibitors.

ESA also revealed that E3 will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“Gamers were the winners at E3 this year. The advancements in technology unveiled at E3 will redefine entertainment for the world,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry and owner of E3. “The innovation and creativity on display will propel our industry to new heights and expand opportunities for remarkable growth.”

E3 broke records for social media numbers across all channels, with more than seven million posts on Twitter alone. Instagram had more than 500,000 likes on E3-related posts this month. In addition, more than 42 million gamers watched E3 content on Twitch, the official streaming partner of E3. The Twitch viewership was the highest of any video game convention broadcast on the network.

Also announced during E3, a blue-ribbon panel of industry professionals and experts selected Savannah College of Art and Design as winner of the 2016 E3 College Game Competition with its winning video game, Brobot Beatdown.

E3 is the world’s premier trade show for computer and video games and related products. The show is owned by the ESA, the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies, publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.

For more information, please visit www.E3Expo.com or follow E3 on Twitter: @E3.

Ubisoft Closes Casablanca Studio


Paris June 9, 2016 Today, Ubisoft announced it will close its Casablanca studio. The studio will cease production on June 13. Employees were informed last week, and Ubisoft is providing transfer opportunities to other studios or assistance for those whose will no longer work for the company.

“Ubisoft Casablanca has been part of Ubisoft for 18 years, and contributed to a lot of memorable games over the years, especially on portable consoles,” said Jean-Michel Detoc, Executive Director, Ubisoft Mobile. “Unfortunately, as the video game market evolved in the past few years, we didn’t find a sustainable formula for the studio within our broader network. We thank the Casablanca team for their hard work throughout the years.”

The decision to close Ubisoft Casablanca was taken as part of Ubisoft’s constant efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its cross-collaboration studio model. Ubisoft has 29 studios in 17 countries, with 5 fully dedicated to mobile game development.

For more about Ubisoft, please visit www.ubisoft.com

Kalypso Games Celebrates 10th Anniversary


Ridgewood, NJ – June 7, 2016“There is no future in video games.” Those were the words spoken by a German bank when they sent Kalypso Media founder Simon Hellwig away, declining his application for a loan to start his own video games publishing company. Now, 10 years and 220 SKUs later, Kalypso Media is proud to announce a one year run of special events, giveaways and promotions in celebration of its first decade in business. The 10 Years Kalypso campaign begins with the launch of a specially dedicated microsite, which details the history of Kalypso complete with important milestones, behind-the-scenes insights and interesting facts about the company’s history and its games portfolio.

Visit the 10 Years Kalypso microsite here

As well as the new microsite, Kalypso Media is also excited to offer an unbelievable discount promotion, with select PC titles reduced to just 10% of their asking price – that’s right, a 90% discount! The first game to receive this special offer will be the classic adventure game Ceville, from Kalypso’s own Realmforge Studios, reduced to just $0.99 / €0.99 / £0.79. This special price will be available on Steam from June 6 to June 13, 2016.

If that wasn’t enough, Kalypso is also rewarding its most dedicated fans by giving away free games to all newsletter subscribers exclusively, starting with Imperium Romanum Gold! Further giveaways will follow periodically in the months to come, so be sure to sign up to the newsletter here to be kept up-to-date with all the goings on at Kalypso.

“As well as reminiscing about over the past, Kalypso Media is also keeping an eye towards the future, with many more exciting new product announcements to be made later this year,” said Simon Hellwig, Global Managing Director of Kalypso Media. “We’re looking forward to sharing more news with our fans in the near future, but in the meantime we hope you will join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary – here’s to the next 10 years and beyond!”

For more information, please visit www.kalypsomedia.com.

Techland Moves Into Global Publishing


June 2nd , 2016 – Wroclaw, Poland/ Techland, the Poland-based company best known as the developer of many fan-favorite games including Dying Light, Dead Island, and the Call of Juarez series, is proud to announce its move into the international publishing market.
With over twenty years of experience not only as a developer but also video game distributor and publisher in Central and Eastern Europe, Techland has decided to go global as Techland Publishing.

Techland’s CEO Paweł Marchewka:
“As a developer, we have worked with many renowned publishers in the past so we know first-hand what makes these kinds of collaborations efficient and satisfying for both parties. After the successful promotional campaigns for Dying Light and Dying Light: The Following, led by our own dedicated team, we believe this is the perfect time to use everything we’ve learned and help other developers.

We believe in a flexible and open publishing philosophy, based on respect for the players. We will encourage and financially support developers through investing in bold, unconventional games with great entertainment value.

Our goal is to release 2 major multiplatform titles, and 4 in digital distribution each year. We’re already scanning the market for opportunities and we’ll announce the first game to be released under Techland Publishing soon.”

Starbreeze Acquires PAYDAY Franchise for $30 Million


STOCKHOLM (May 30, 2016) – Starbreeze AB, an independent creator, publisher and distributor of high quality entertainment products, today announced its agreement with 505 Games to acquire the full rights to the PAYDAY-franchise. The consideration for the acquisition amounts to 10.9 million B-shares in Starbreeze, equivalent to 30 MUSD (approx. 249 MSEK).

After the transaction Starbreeze will own the full rights to the PAYDAY-franchise for any future developments or commercialization, including PAYDAY 2 and PAYDAY for mobile platforms. Starbreeze will retain full net revenue from PAYDAY 2 on the Steam platform starting retroactively from May 1st, 2016. Revenue generated by the console game PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition will continue to be split between the companies as before, and 505 Games will continue to publish the title.

Furthermore, 505 Games will retain a 33% revenue share of Starbreeze’s net revenues from future sales of PAYDAY 3 capped at 40 MUSD, and after Starbreeze has fully recouped its development and marketing costs.

It’s Starbreeze assessment that the price of 30 MUSD will be matched by corresponding revenues on the Payday franchise until such time Payday 3 is released in the future. Given the strategic value for Starbreeze to control its hit franchise it is both in the short and long term a sound investment.

“PAYDAY is very close to my heart, and has laid the foundation for Starbreeze success in recent years. We’re very excited to bring our heisters home to the safe house,” said Bo Andersson Klint, Starbreeze CEO. “To start with, we believe in the continued success of PAYDAY 2 and will support it for at least another 18 months continuing expanding the game.”

The 10 934 211 million new B shares will, post transaction, represent 4.3% of shares and 1.4% of votes and will be issued under authority from the AGM. After the issue, the total number of B-shares in Starbreeze is 196 832 410 and the total number of shares in Starbreeze 254 298 338.

First launched in 2011, PAYDAY is a cooperative first-person shooter computer and video game franchise with more than 14 million players on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, XboxOne and SteamOS platforms.