This Week in Business is a collection of stats and quotes from our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that sheds light on console sales, new trends, and more. Check back every Friday for a new entry!
Any games journalists hoping to use a slow December to clear through a backlog of interviews and maybe tackle year-end coverage at a leisurely pace were disappointed this week as 2019 refuses to go quietly. That’s right, I was disappointed. 2019 either needs to be longer so I can get all of this stuff done, or shorter so I can more quickly close the book on this bizarre fun house mirror year.
This is ridiculous. This week, we got our first look at the new Xbox (the boxiest one yet!), everyone’s talking about the console transition, Sony is going to make Xbox and Switch games, 2K has given a new studio the difficult assignment of figuring out where the BioShock series should go next, and EA has yet another Star Wars game in the hopper at Motive.
But there’s still one more week left before we sign off for the year. Maybe next week will be slow. Or fast. Either one, I don’t even know what I’m rooting for at this point.
QUOTE | “Our naming convention has been around what we think the capabilities are.” – In an interview with Stevivor, Xbox head Phil Spencer teases that the name of its next-gen console, then known as Project Scarlett, will be related to what it does.
QUOTE | “Xbox Series X” – The actual name of Project Scarlett, as revealed during The Game Awards. This is only speculation, but from the name, we can guess that it will play Xbox games.
QUOTE | “This is not uniquely a GameStop issue. This is a console issue, and consoles are the trigger point for our industry.” – GameStop CEO George Sherman said the company’s rough financial shape has more to do with consumers waiting for a new generation of consoles than its position as a seller of physical media in an increasingly digital industry.
STAT | 300 – The number of GameStop stores that will have closed by the end of the year, with many coming from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as the company withdraws from the Nordic countries entirely. (Not sure why you’d withdraw from four entire countries if the bad results are just a quirk of the console generation cycle and things will be better in a year, but oh well…)
QUOTE | “In addition, the historic expansion of the long-standing partnership will bring MLB The Show, for the first time ever, to additional console platforms beyond PlayStation platforms as early as 2021.” – Sony and Major League Baseball jointly announce that the PlayStation maker will publish games on other platforms.
QUOTE | “Making the next BioShock game is a responsibility that does not fall lightly on any of us. What’s great is [that] there are many directions we can consider. Listening to everyone’s thoughts—including those of our fans—will continue to be important as we shape our vision for this game.” – Kelley Gilmore, global studio head of Cloud Chamber talks about the studio’s first project. The just-announced studio is split between Montreal and Novato, California (home of dissolved BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin).
QUOTE | “What differentiates Voodoo compared to the other publishers is that when others start to do publishing, they try to detect games that work and then do a copy of that existing game.” – Voodoo.io CEO Alexandre Yazdi talks about the company’s strategy after its acquisition of London-based mobile developer Gumbug.
QUOTE | “Hey all. Didn’t think it was possible, but there’s a clone of my upcoming game Donut County on the app store called hole.io. You may have seen ads for it. It’s published by Voodoo.io, who publish cheap F2P versions of indie games such as Ridiculous Fishing, Desert Golfing, etc. Presently it’s #1 on the free app charts.” – Donut County developer Ben Esposito talks on Twitter about having his game idea cribbed by Voodoo.io last year.
QUOTE | “We have to have the faith that if we focus on quality, on player experience, test and prove our hypothesis regularly—move away from the mindset of one creative genius having a vision for the game and the whole team executing—it’s working as a team, trying out different things and then testing it and iterating based on that.” – EA Motive GM Patrick Klaus didn’t disparage former Motive studio head Jade Raymond in this interview, but it’s clear he wants to take the studio in a different direction as it works on “a very unique Star Wars experience” and a new IP.
STAT | 13 – The number of Valve employees who moderate Steam’s forums, many of them with obligations far beyond community management. As of this writing, that’s less than 1 moderator per 1 million people actively using Steam. We pulled those numbers after German media regulators got on Valve’s case about all the illegal Nazi stuff it allowed on Steam.
QUOTE | “Epic Games files preemptive lawsuit against Dancing Pumpkin Man” – An actual GamesIndustry.biz headline, because 2019 continues to be the dumbest and I don’t know how much dumber it can get there are only a couple weeks left please just let it go by without anything else stupid happening oh please oh please