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Are the Big Three Going to Own Every Gaming Studio?

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Last week’s announcement of Turtle Rock Studios being acquired by Tencent got me thinking. Are we someday soon going to be looking at a world where all gaming studios outside of smaller independents are owned by the big three? The big three being Microsoft, Tencent, and Sony of course.

Microsoft has led the way with acquisitions in recent years bringing Bethesda, Id, Arkane, and MachineGames among others under the Xbox Game Studios banner. For a complete list of studios owned by Microsoft you can see one here.

Sony also has been on a bit of a buying spree. Bringing Firesprite Games, Blue Point Games, and Valkyrie Entertainment to its already impressive lineup under PlayStation Studios. For a list of Sony’s acquisitions look here.

Tencent has been very aggressive in building its already large portfolio of game studios.  According to a report by Niko Partners Tencent invested in over one hundred gaming relating companies in 2021. Nearly thirty percent of which were outside of China. Tencent already owns or has stakes in some very big names in the industry. Including Riot Games, Supercell, Funcom, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft. Tencent has been steadily buying and investing in gaming studios in recent years. They are very quickly becoming a gaming global superpower.

This brings me back to my original thought. Will we someday soon be looking at a gaming landscape where all the notable studios are owned by these three giants? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Let’s look at the positives first. Studios owned by the big three would have the resources to create amazing games one would think. Which would be great for gamers. They would also hopefully have the resources to hire as many employees as needed or outsource work to a sister studio. Which would avoid the horrific stories of crunch time we’ve all read about. With people having to work long hours to meet deadlines. Being owned by one of these three giants could also bring some much-needed human resources oversight. We have all read the terrible accounts of how employees have been harassed, discriminated against, and abused. Having an ownership entities HR department to go to could hopefully prevent or at least halt those things from happening.

Now, what are some negatives to these studios being owned by either Microsoft, Sony, or Tencent? Possible loss of autonomy for one. Being owned and financially backed by a larger company could mean having to get new projects or marketing campaigns approved. This could mean that some great ideas that the studio could have just run with before now may never see the light of day. If the ownership doesn’t approve, they could squash them. I know we’ve all read he rosy promises that these studios will be allowed to operate just as they have been etc. However, let’s be realistic. A triple A title is a huge investment to develop, publish, and market. Do you honestly believe that the executives at the big three will be completely hands off when it comes time to fork over big money?

Projects that are currently in production are most likely safe from any interference oversight. So, we may not see the long-term effects that this plethora of gaming studio acquisitions has for many years to come. My fear is that with possibly less freedom to create as they wish. We, as gamers won’t see as many new innovations in games being released. Competition breeds new ideas and causes people to push the envelope. If we end up with just three corporate giants owning all the major studios. That could mean instead of dozens of studios creating and competing against each other. We end up with just what amounts to three gargantuan studios. In my opinion that would be bad for the industry, and ultimately bad for gamers.

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Twitter’s Roll Out of NFT Profile Pictures Leads to Theft

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Twitter recently rolled out a brand new feature for it’s millions of users: officially verified NFT profile pictures that were intended for owners to show off their work, but it’s already being compromised by those who are opting to steal the work and use it as their own.

NFT owners can now stand out on Twitter with hexagon-shaped profile pictures, and are only available to NFT owners. It allows a user to change the standard circle picture on Twitter to an actual NFT, one that is minted on the Ethereum blockchain only.

Then, once you link your crypto wallet to Twitter via Twitter Blue and/or iOS devices (for the time being), you would be good to go! The following crypto wallets are currently supported by Twitter:

  • Argent
  • Coinbase Wallet
  • Ledger Live
  • MetaMask
  • Rainbow
  • Trust Wallet

 

However, now owners are worrying about a much more severe issue of theft, as an issue has popped up where people can right-click-save and image and attempt to use it as their own verified NFT profile picture.

There’s actually a MAJOR PROBLEM with the new Twitter PFP feature” NFT specialist Adam Hollander tweeted. “It appears to work for ANY NFT in your collection. Not just verified collections. That means someone can just right-click-save any NFT, mint it, and then use it as their PFP  You were so close Twitter. Why”

Justin Taylor, Head of Consumer Product Marketing for Twitter, responded:

“We don’t want to limit this to just verified collections, that would be wrong, and non supportive of the broader nft movement. Anyone SHOULD be able to mint anything and make it their nft. We do show if a collection is verified in the detail page though!”

The conversation continued, with Hollander stating:

All due respect, that’s not good enough. Part of what makes this feature important to #NFTs is the ability to prove ownership at a glance. You’ve created a system that still allows people to right-click-save & benefit. Verified collections need to be marked ON the hexagon.”

Twitter certainly has an issue on it’s hands, and with the new implementation of NFT profile picture impacting the platform, it is fair to question how it impacts the artists, brands, businesses, and related NFT SEO campaigns surrounding them that operate on the platform.

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Microsoft after Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Will Keep Call of Duty on PlayStation!

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Previously, it was announced that Microsoft announced they are acquiring Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion all-cash deal, inclusive of the company’s net cash. This will be the largest deal ever in the tech industry. Once the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

The deal is expected to close in the fiscal year 2023. The acquisition still needs to go through the hurdle of getting approval from the government, which could take a long process before they get the approval of the acquisition.

Current CEO of Xbox Phil Spencer has confirmed via Twitter, “Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony. I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship”

Activision Blizzard, has been embroiled with a lawsuit and sexual misconduct allegations that were occurring in the workforce. CEO and Owner, Kotick knew about these allegations, but he refused to do anything about them. The acquisition could possibly be a reason due to investors placing pressure on Kotick.

Microsoft, made an agreement with Kotick, that if the workforce conditions can show proof of a change, they would go ahead with their agreement of acquiring Activision. Microsoft stated that Activision was showing evidence of change, so decided to go ahead with the acquisition. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is reportedly planning on stepping down after Microsoft completes the acquisition. Kotick has been facing pressure to resign over the company’s workplace misconduct scandal since last November.

Bobby Kotick stated, “What I told Microsoft is that I care so much about this company, that whatever role they want me to have, in making sure that we integrate the business and we get a proper and smooth transition, I’m willing to do,” Kotick said. “However much time that takes, if it’s a month after the close, if it’s a year after that, I just care that the transition goes well.” “is just staying CEO and running the business,” but that reporting to Spencer “is an easy thing to do.”

Follow Gamactica Portals, to stay up to date about Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard!

 

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Facebook, Instagram Exploring Plans to Make, Showcase, and Sell NFTs

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Ready of not, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are becoming a bigger, and far more integrated part of social media, and two of the biggest social media platforms (albeit the same company) are looking to potentially dive in with the launch of Meta.

According to the Financial Times (h/t The Verge), Meta is exploring plans to let users create, showcase, and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, which, if it does come to fruition, would easily be the biggest mainstream statement supporting the somewhat controversial assets within the digital universe.

However, the plans are “at an early stage and could yet change”, and teams at both Facebook and Instagram are reportedly “readying” a feature that will let users display NFTs as their profile pictures.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The social media giants are also working on a prototype to let users mint new NFTs, and there are discussions at Meta regarding “launching a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs.”

Meta aims to be a groundbreaking shift from Facebook, with a foundation steeped in the technology of today and the future, so exploring NFTs and a potential implementation, makes a ton of sense.

Social media platforms aren’t the only brands either exploring or operating in NFTs.

Ubisoft’s Quartz is, what the company described as: “a new experience for our players, built upon our vision of creating an ever-greater connection between you and the game worlds you love. It aims at offering you more autonomy and agency when interacting with the in-game items that help you craft your own story. This is the place where you can acquire Digits, the first Ubisoft NFTs (non-fungible tokens), playable in a HD game and relying on an energy-efficient technology.”

Back in December, Apex Legends senior character artist Liz Edwards, seemed to have discovered that Ubisoft had, at the time, sold a total of 15 NFTs between the two marketplaces it is utilizing, Objikt and Rarible.

Wherever you stand on NFTs, there is no denying the momentum that the assets are building in the mainstream marketplace, and with more and more companies integrating them, in some form or fashion, and even focusing NFT SEO marketing strategies to leverage the trends, it doesn’t appear as if NFTs will be going away anytime soon.

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