Industry News Weekly – Issue #132

FIFA Football stops selling FIFA points in Belgium, due to regulatory pressure

Starting yesterday, FIFA Football has stopped selling FIFA points, following the Government pressure over loot boxes. As a reminder, back in spring 2018. Belgium’s Gaming Commission determined loot boxes found in FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was an “illegal game of chance”, and thus subject to Belgian gambling laws. While other developers decided to act according to regulator’s guidelines, EA Sports at that time refused to modify FIFA’s randomised card pack loot boxes explaining that it doesn’t believe loot boxes are a form of gambling. But after the criminal investigation started last autumn, it seems that EA Sports finally cracked under pressure. Interestingly, in the UK, the Gambling Commission has so far said it does not believe loot boxes are gambling, but just last week the government asked for views on a raft of subjects around video games, including the links between gaming and gambling. The full story.

Apple could be working on gaming subscription service

Apple could be working on Netflix-like gaming subscription service. If Apple goes ahead and launches such a service, users could pay a monthly subscription fee to access a library of games. It’s still unclear how much it would cost and what would be included in the subscription. The company isn’t going to develop a bunch of games overnight but it could act as a sort of game publisher by promoting and distributing new games in a subscription tier. Not much is known at this point.

Netflix Says Their Biggest Competitor is not HBO but Fortnite

As this article reports: “Netflix has some competition, and we’re not necessarily talking about other television networks. According to a recent shareholders report, published Thursday, the competition comes in many forms but one particular video game was cited. In the U.S., we earn around 10 percent of television screen time and less than that of mobile screen time, the report states, noting a very broad set of competitors. Then comes the line, We compete with (and lose to) Fornite more than HBO.”

PlayerLands is a new plug-in that lets server owners run their own in-game stores

As one of the co-founders Nick Gillet describes it: “PlayerLands is a plug-in that lets server owners monetise their games, whether they’re bedroom coders, small businesses or a global enterprise. But more than that, it will also allow vendors to find and hire influencers through mutual connections and market their games to new players.”

2019 Predictions: AR or rather Location Based Games

“Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”’s launch will probably strengthen Niantic’s top position in the genre, but at what cannibalization of Pokemon Go is yet to be seen. Read more predictions for this genre here.

News around the globe

  • South Korean publisher Netmarble wants to buy one of its biggest local competitors Nexon and is putting together a consortium to make a bid that could be worth as much as $9 billion. South Korea’s Kakao and China’s Tencent are also said to be considering bids. More here.
  • EA has cancelled the development of its new open-world Star Wars game. The new game – which originally started development back in 2017 at the now dissolved Visceral Games – had been in development at EA Vancouver, but has now been abandoned in favour of a “smaller-scale Star Wars project” that would release much sooner than the original open-world game had been slated to go on sale.
  • Unity encourages children and their teachers to make games with Unity Playground – a new project designed to “Unity Playground removes the need to code by providing an array of one-task Components that are easy to use and mix,” says Unity. “By combining them together, you can create physics-based 2D games spanning several game genres. Define your game rules. Build a character controller. Lay down a colourful scene and its collisions, and define YOUR winning conditions. You can make games for one or two players.” Details.
  • A Chinese-American model and YouTuber has called out Tencent for allegedly using her likeness in Ring of Elysium without permission. The game trailer which apparently featured Lynn has since been removed from YouTube by Tencent. Additionally, an image shared by Yan of the in-game store shows an unaltered version of her original photo as the character icon. More.
  • Hothead games launched in January a new publishing division, giving third-party developers access to Hothead Games’ publishing infrastructure in exchange for a revenue-sharing agreement. The entire news.
  • Less than three years after its acquisition, Fukong Interactive has announced it’s considering “the partial or full sale” of UK-based Runescape developer, Jagex. More details.

Notable new releases


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