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January 24th, 2022, 22:49
Found an interesting graphic about most mainstream game studios and IPs, and who owns who.

It's surprisingly centralized.
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January 25th, 2022, 01:04
Nice catch! That's a lot of money in that picture

How much time before Amazon join the big guys and dwarves a few of those names?
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January 25th, 2022, 01:18
One of the things I find interesting is that corporations like Amazon and Google, with plenty of cash but little experience, make such feeble and half-arsed attempts to break into the games market. I think it might take a lot longer for some of those behemoths to make a splash.
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January 25th, 2022, 02:55
I don't really think Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc, are in the business of, you know, making stuff. They'll just buy developers out. At this point in time, no ones ever really going to make anything and aim to own it. The smart money is make a start-up, sell out, let the giants like MS run it into the ground. Yeah, I don't understand the legal hurdles regarding monopoly shit and anti-trust whatever. I'm just a cynic. But this is pretty much how it goes. No one will ever make a Google competitor that Google won't buy.

The problem is they're gonna buy these IPs focused entirely on profits and just pump out the same game every year, forever. It's sad what success becomes. Innovation is too risky. A new Call of Duty every year is the goal. Then the problem kinda snowballs because all the original devs that make the studio good are creative types who get bored and just leave. Like what happened to Arkane after Bethesda or Zenimax or whatever bought them out. Then their new task is a Dishonoured clone every release. Or just look at what became of Blizzard! I mean, what the fuck does MS even think they're buying? All the original devs bailed ages ago and you're left with a bunch of woke autists with the morale of 700 sexual harassment cases and WoW that will be forced to go F2P in no time to stay relevant in a genre ruled by F2P titles.

Like, look at the story with Infinity Ward who made Call of Duty! Activision says all they're allowed to make now is new CoD. They all decide to bail and start a new studio and make what THEY want. They decide EA is the publisher they need to get enough money for AAA. Titanfall does sort of OK sales, Titanfall 2 flops. They decide to repuropse the Titanfall assets and smash together a Battle Royale game. Success! Now they're locked into Apex forever and the old devs are already starting to leave. RIP Respawn.

MS made games never did very well. They even do stupid things like buy Lionhead and force them to pump out annual Fable games instead of embracing the creativity that was their real strength. Remember when they bought Mechwarrior and did nothing with it? They're pretty shit. Imagine buying Minecraft for 2billion instead of making your own crappy java game, yet it's probably one of their best investments.

Google, I don't even know what they do with gaming. I don't know phone games but they supply an OS. Bet Microsoft feel pretty stupid for getting beaten to that one. I guess they had a go at being first to game streaming with Stadia, but that hasn't gone anywhere.

Amazon, I haven't even played any of their games, but at least they're giving it a go by making a real studio. New World sold alright, even if the player base is dying super fast. They also bought the publishing rights to Lost Ark, which looks like a smart move.

Anyway, just a bit of a jaded rant. Forgive me for not having faith in the industry.

On the bright side, there's more good indie games than ever before! (But also more bad ones…)
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January 25th, 2022, 04:13
Aye, look at how the New Worlds mmo turned out for Amazon. All the money in the world doesn't guarantee quality.
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January 25th, 2022, 10:44
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I don't really think Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc, are in the business of, you know, making stuff. They'll just buy developers out. At this point in time, no ones ever really going to make anything and aim to own it.
Amazon doesn't just buy companies but that can be part of the process or strategic, like any other company. They present new ideas for innovation and if it sounds interesting, either they buy, develop or design, or a combination of that. A few of their products like AWS comes from small R&D groups that started working on an innovative idea which proved to be good enough.

I may misinterpret what you mean by "buy developers out", but they do have their teams of developers, like Google and Microsoft. And quite a lot of them. They do make a lot of products themselves.
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January 25th, 2022, 10:53
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Or just look at what became of Blizzard! I mean, what the fuck does MS even think they're buying?

MS like money . With Actiblizz, they are buying a publisher that went from $4 billion revenue a few years ago to over $8 billion revenue in 2020. That's what they are buying. An extremely successful multi billion dollar company with over 400 million active users per month.
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January 25th, 2022, 14:28
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
One of the things I find interesting is that corporations like Amazon and Google, with plenty of cash but little experience, make such feeble and half-arsed attempts to break into the games market. I think it might take a lot longer for some of those behemoths to make a splash.
I have been wondering this too. An investment such as buying Activision/Blizzard would be pocket money for these giants. Google is trying to break into the game market with Stadia and Amazon with their Prime service. It is difficult to see Stadia growing a lot unless Google really starts putting money in it. It appears that the player base for Stadia is too small for most developers wanting to invest the time to get their games running on Linux or is it more about policy issues? I am not sure which OS Prime or GeForce Now are using…Perhaps the smartest had been to run Microsoft servers for compatibility but then they would need to pay Microsoft.

Seeing how much Microsoft and Sony own, it will be difficult to make exclusives and it seems that exclusives make the platforms wanted. One should remember that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have had 30-years head start into the business. One does not turn that by simply wishing.
Last edited by largh; January 25th, 2022 at 14:36. Reason: Seems like Prime has games already
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January 25th, 2022, 14:36
It's a matter of ROI in an industry they don't have a proper team set up for it.

It's not a matter of just buying a company but running it too.

Also, what's the point of spending 100bn if they aren't going to make it work for them. It needs to be a strategic direction for those companies.
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January 25th, 2022, 14:43
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Also, what's the point of spending 100bn if they aren't going to make it work for them. It needs to be a strategic direction for those companies.
Obviously the strategy would have been to make most possible games available on their platforms and a few wanted exclusives. Then the crowds could have bought Stadia/Prime instead of a new Xbox/Playstation/PC during the ongoing generation shift. Impossible to predict but the component shortage would have benefitted these companies in that strategy. It appears that they are too late, however. Perhaps building up a solid ownership over IPs during this generation and trying to steal the customers during the next shift would still be a reasonable strategy or will VR take over already?
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January 25th, 2022, 23:58
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
I may misinterpret what you mean by "buy developers out", but they do have their teams of developers, like Google and Microsoft. And quite a lot of them. They do make a lot of products themselves.
I'm just trying to think of all the best games and how any of these giants are involved.

Googles best game is …. I can't think of any Google games.
Microsofts best game is probably Age of Empires. AoE 4 was made by Relic, who did Dawn of War. Pretty good choice of developer, but MS has very little to do with the devs.
Amazon, New World. Can't really say much about it as I haven't played it, but they're also pretty new to the industry. I'll keep an eye on them.

I suppose its more about my personal relationship with whatever games they make. Google might have made the most popular phone games but I don't play any of those so I'm really talking less about financial success and more about making stuff I'm interested in.

Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
MS like money . With Actiblizz, they are buying a publisher that went from $4 billion revenue a few years ago to over $8 billion revenue in 2020. That's what they are buying. An extremely successful multi billion dollar company with over 400 million active users per month.
I wasn't even aware they made 8 billion in 2020. I was a huge Blizzard fan and they've pretty much lost me. WoW seems stagnant, but alive. Diablo 4 I'm looking forward to.

I suppose its arrogant to assume that just because they seem like a shadow of their former self and all the original devs have left that they're not still making billions on their titles that failed to interest me. If I "had a phone" I'd probably get Diablo Immortal on it. Is that out, yet?
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January 26th, 2022, 10:41
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I'm just trying to think of all the best games and how any of these giants are involved.

Googles best game is …. I can't think of any Google games.
Microsofts best game is probably Age of Empires. AoE 4 was made by Relic, who did Dawn of War. Pretty good choice of developer, but MS has very little to do with the devs.
Amazon, New World. Can't really say much about it as I haven't played it, but they're also pretty new to the industry. I'll keep an eye on them.

I suppose its more about my personal relationship with whatever games they make. Google might have made the most popular phone games but I don't play any of those so I'm really talking less about financial success and more about making stuff I'm interested in.
To be honest I wasn't thinking games but in general. If you were only talking about games, I think Amazon worked on New World themselves by using (and modifying?) an existing engine, but @Ripper knows more about that. And indeed, it's new to them, I'm curious to see when / if they catch up. They have an interesting approach with Twitch.

I don't know any recent "big" game developed by Google or Microsoft (Xbox Games Studios), but they are software companies at the core and are still developing. A famous game was MS Flight Sim but it was a decade ago, the 2020 version was directed by them but developed by Asobo Studio by some quirk of fate (using MS technology for the map data).
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January 26th, 2022, 13:04
I never thought much of MS Flight Sim. In those days I was all about F/A-18 Interceptor on Amiga.

Anyway, I hear Respawn will be making some Star Wars games and not just working on APEX forever. (Though not neglecting APEX, either, as it made a good 2billion in 2021)

Apparently Blizzard is going to do a survival game. Not sure if it's a new IP.

So, I guess they're not all just pumping out a new CoD every year. At least being jaded allows me to be pleasantly surprised.

Not that I care to play Star Wars or survival games. Though I am interested in seeing this mystery Dune game from Funcom.
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January 26th, 2022, 17:30
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I wasn't even aware they made 8 billion in 2020. I was a huge Blizzard fan and they've pretty much lost me. WoW seems stagnant, but alive. Diablo 4 I'm looking forward to.

Activision Blizzard, not just Blizzard, made those $8bn+ in 2020. In that year, they *doubled* their CoD earnings and WoW revenue was up, too (presumably because of the Classic servers). Another major revenue driver was Candy Crush.

Blizzard, by the way, is the weakest revenue generator within the Activision Blizzard group. The main revenue comes from Activision, then King (Candy Crush makers), then Blizzard.

In 2019 (total revenue was ~$6.5bn that year), for the first time ever, mobile took the no. 1 spot by platform segment. It generated the most revenue in that year, followed by consoles and then PC. In 2020, consoles took the lead again, followed by mobile and then PC.

Activision Blizzard are making tons of money from Call of Duty mobile and games like Candy Crush on mobile devices. The vast majority of their 400 million active users per month are not PC B.net client users but mobile and console users.
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January 26th, 2022, 17:48
Don't forget about Game Pass

This is clearly about the long game - and the timing strikes me as ideal in terms of reversing the current climate for the names involved.

Sure, they could have waited and gotten it cheaper - but by then it might very well have been too late. This is just about the perfect time when combining cost and chance of public image reversal.

While the number seems huge - the fact that it even happened should tell us something about how dire things must have been looking in terms of future projections.

Game Pass clearly seems to be the heart of Microsoft's future gaming strategy for world domination.

Which would seem like a win-win for all of us, though I'm not personally a big fan of that type of service.

Beyond that, it'll force Sony and others to emulate that approach - or they'll almost certainly fall way behind.

That's another win for the consumer.

Well, theoretically.

What's so great about having 25+ million subscribers on such a service?

Well, it's obviously a nice steady golden stream

But it's not just that. The biggest risk of any investor/publisher is directly connected to what product they choose to finance, because of the potential unknowns. Especially with new franchises - which you NEED to have on hand when the crowd gets sick of the endless sequels.

However, if your main source of gaming income is a subscription service - you will be much, much more likely to predict exactly what you're going to make - and even bad risks with bad outcomes won't feel as bad as they would otherwise, because they can only add to the popularity of the larger platform.

As always, there's no predicting the future - but I have a very hard time seeing this be a bad business decision for the long game.

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