The IPO was first reported last month by the Financial Times.Rocket Companies reported earning $1.8 billion in revenue and $97.7 million in profits from the first three months of the year. During the same period last year, the company disclosed $727 million in revenue and a loss of $299 million.The company plans to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and its ticker symbol will be RKT. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Canada are handling the offering.Billionaire Dan Gilbert, the firm’s founder, will control 79 percent of the votes of common stock. [Bloomberg] — Erin Hudson Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink TagsIPOMortgagesnonbank lendersquicken loans Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert (Getty)The parent company of Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage is officially going public.Rocket Companies filed for an initial public offering on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported. In initial filings, the company disclosed turning an annual profit for the last three years, and its offering size is currently listed as $100 million.Read moreQuicken Loans files for IPOHome loans are getting bigger, even as application volume dropsFast money: Lenders race to close on home mortgages
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty)New York is reverting back to its former coronavirus-imposed restrictions.Any establishment with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, along with gyms, must close at 10 p.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.The statewide restrictions will go into effect Friday.“NYS is taking action to stop the spread in response to rising COVID numbers,” Cuomo said in a tweet.Read moreNail in the coffin: Eatery says Cuomo’s biz-killing curfew treats virus like vampire“25% is a starting point”: Indoor dining returns to NYC todayFive solutions to save restaurants this winter Message* TagsAndrew CuomoCommercial Real EstateRetail Real Estate Full Name* Share via Shortlink Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Covid-19 cases in New York have hit levels not seen since the spring, with the infection rate seven-day average in the city rising above 2 percent, and the statewide infection rate close to 3 percent.Bars and restaurants are currently allowed to operate both indoors and outdoors under 25 percent capacity. A previously imposed midnight curfew was challenged by a lawsuit, which alleged that coronavirus does not “behave as a vampire” and therefore asserted that the restrictions are unnecessary.Contact Sasha Jones
Full Name* Share via Shortlink Message* (iStock)As the holiday season kicked off, buyers and homeowners got hungry for home financing.An index tracking the number of mortgage applications to purchase homes increased 4 percent last week, seasonally adjusted, compared to the prior week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey.It was the second consecutive weekly increase for the metric, known as the purchase index. The index had not grown for seven straight weeks until the second week of November.Refinancing activity was also up: MBA’s index tracking applications to refinance increased 5 percent from the week before.Read moreOver the slump? Home-purchase mortgages jumpHomebuying slump worsens as applications for mortgage loans dropUS home prices surged 6.6% in September Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink TagsHousing MarketMortgage RatesMortgagesResidential Real Estate Joel Kan, MBA’s head of industry forecasting, attributed the jump in home loans to the drop in the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate to 2.92 percent from 2.99 percent. That rate was the lowest in the 30-year history of MBA’s weekly survey.“The decline in rates ignited borrower interest, with applications for both home purchases and refinancing increasing on a weekly and annual basis,” Kan said in a statement.The unadjusted purchase index was up 19 percent year-over-year, while the refinance index was up 79 percent year-over-year. Jumbo purchase rates increased, however, to 3.18 percent from 3.11 the week before. Many lenders are tightening lending criteria for jumbo loans, particularly in densely populated urban markets.Overall, applications for all home loans increased by nearly 4 percent last week. Refinancing requests made up more than 71 percent of home loan applications, according to MBA’s report.The surge in home loans comes as housing prices continue to rise amid record low levels of supply. Last month, there were just 1.42 million properties listed for sale.Contact Erin Hudson
Her Story wins Indiecade 2015 Grand Jury awardBrenda Laurel takes home Trailblazer AwardRachel WeberSenior EditorFriday 23rd October 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareHer Story, developed by Sam Barlow and starring Viva Seifert, has won this year’s IndieCade 2015 Grand Jury Award.The uses FMV and offers players the chance to solve a murder mystery by piecing together a story using video clips. It was released on June 24.OMG https://t.co/g9aLlpEuSX— Sam Barlow (@mrsambarlow) October 23, 2015
Edited 1 times. Last edit by Diana Hsu on 1st June 2016 11:49pm 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (4)Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! Overwatch and the death of the midnight launchOverwatch ships two days ahead of midnight launch, attracts over 7 million players in less than 10 daysMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefFriday 3rd June 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleGameStopGameStop CEO Tony Bartel has praised Activision Blizzard’s decision to break its own street date for Overwatch, describing it as a “very progressive move” that resulted in commercial gain for all parties.Speaking to investors following the publication of GameStop’s Q1 results, Bartel confirmed that the “very strong” launch of Overwatch had “exceeded our expectations.” One of the factors in that high performance was a decision that would have been anathema to a video game retailer only a few years ago.The retail version of Overwatch was scheduled to launch worldwide on May 24, and GameStop was one of several retailers collaborating with Activision Blizzard on a midnight launch. However, according to Bartel, “[Activision Blizzard] looked and saw that there was demand…before the midnight launch to be able to get the physical game.” “We saw a significant increase well beyond their expectations of Overwatch, and I think Activision would say that they saw an increase as well” Tony Bartel, CEOThe reason for that demand is inextricably tied to the ongoing shift to digital sales and distribution, trends that have significantly weakened the position of companies like Gamestop over the last decade. Overwatch, a team-based multiplayer shooter, is designed to be played online, rendering the need to purchase a box containing a disc a legacy act – for those with poor download speeds or a penchant for physical goods. As Bartel told GameStop’s investors, game launches have, “become less about picking up the game at midnight. It’s become more about when do the servers come on.”As such, Activision Blizzard decided to allow sales of the physical version “two full days” before GameStop’s midnight launch events, giving those players time to install the game and be ready to play alongside digital customers. Given that Overwatch couldn’t function before Activision Blizzard turned on its servers anyway, what would once have been a transgressive act became a gesture of goodwill towards those who display the increasingly anachronistic preference for purchasing an online game in a plastic case.To a degree, the fact that Activision Blizzard treated the retail launch of Overwatch as a matter of secondary importance is a bad sign for what has long been GameStop’s core business. Blizzard’s new game is, after all, hardly alone in its focus on connected play. However, Bartel claimed that the decision benefitted all parties in terms of copies sold.”What that did was allow us to have two full days before the servers came on to sell that game,” he said. “We saw a significant increase well beyond their expectations of Overwatch, and I think Activision would say that they saw an increase as well. We’re very happy with the result. “We see that as a very progressive move, and something that we think may take hold in the industry as well.”At the time of writing, no official sales figures for Overwatch had been released, but the number is likely to be big. The game’s open beta attracted almost 10 million players, and its impressive review scores are rivalled only by Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Update: Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that Overwatch has been played by more than 7 million people since it launched worldwide on May 24. That figure applies to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, and was correct as of yesterday.In an email sent to Polygon, Blizzard further clarified the line between “players” and actual sales. The 7 million figure the company quoted is, “unique global player count, which includes anyone who’s played the digital or retail version of the game, as well as those who have played the game in Internet game rooms.”With that in mind, the actual sales figure is likely to be lower than 7 million copies.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesGameStop opening new US east coast fulfillment centerNew 700,000 square-foot Pennsylvania facility opens later this year, intended to support ecommerce “transformation”By Brendan Sinclair 9 days agoGameStop CEO reportedly due to receive $179m windfallOutgoing chief benefits from GameStop stock surgeBy Marie Dealessandri 20 days agoLatest comments (4)Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago Buying a disc isn’t just a legacy act or for people wanting an artifact. I would rather buy everything digitally, several house moves and a house full of kid junk has weakened my love of keeping physical tat, and I struggle to find my discs when the kids take them out and put them in the wrong box. But I look at a store selling a game for £60 which I have seen for £40 or less in a store or Amazon. Sometimes it is still full price digital when it is being sold for £20 on Amazon too.Any disc game I buy is purely down to price. For Steam discs I just use the code, the last disc didn’t work anyway. 4Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyDiana Hsu Product Manager, Free-to-Play, Big Fish Games4 years ago Same — I bought Overwatch as a disk because buying digitally, directly from Blizzard, was $60 while buying online was $45 for the disk plus some fun extras in other Blizzard games.Edit: Oh, and I once bought a physical, new-in-box 3DS game for half of what it cost to buy it digitally through the Nintendo 3DS store. 5Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAndreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London4 years ago That’s very forward thinking of them, and a nice gesture to their customers that still prefer to have a box. Although I agree (and practice) that boxes and discs are really unnecessary these days, I have personally some exceptions towards some collector editions that are dear to me, for example, I started my CE mania with Warcraft III, and from then on I got the Vanilla CE and so forth. Now I’m up to my elbows with World of Warcraft CE’s, but.. I’ve started it, so now I need to finish it, because I would succumb to my OCD if I didn’t (secretly hoping WoW Legion is the last ex. pack they release).Another of my exeptions was Aliens: Colonial Marines (don’t even go there, I know…) and Alien Isolation (kudos to this one!) because, Alien…But other than that, I despise boxes or any type of disc these days. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 4 years ago I’m still very pro physical for a few good reasons despite ‘owning’ a ton of digital content. I’d forgotten my Desura password a while back and tried to reset it, but as no one is minding the store there, or they went under or whatever, guess what? My password requests are unanswered and thise games I don’t have as Steam content are locked away.Also, stuff like Konmai killing P.T. irk the hell out of me because that spiteful ninsense just means no one can show anyone what it was like to PLAY the demo in real time outside a video that’s been archived. BOO.
7Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAlfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago @Andreia.Same happens in a lot of websites this days. The Comunity in Gamespot is strugling agains the growing crew of toxic trolls and aggressive fanboys. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Gawker filing for bankruptcy – ReportKotaku owner chooses Chapter 11 over paying lawsuit judgment, could be sold to IGN parent Ziff-DavisBrendan SinclairManaging EditorFriday 10th June 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareA dispute over a pro wrestler’s sex tape could soon upend the gaming media landscape. Recode is reporting that Gawker Media, parent company of gaming blog Kotaku, is filing for bankruptcy protection today rather than pay out a $140 million judgment in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit brought against it by Hulk Hogan after one of the company’s blogs posted clips of the recording without consent.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games According to the report, Gawker still intends to fight the judgment, but informed its workers that it is accepting offers to buy the company. It has already received an offer from Ziff Davis for less than $100 million, but anticipates that it will receive others as it progresses through the bankruptcy process. (Before the Hulk Hogan trial began, Gawker owner Nick Denton estimated the company to be worth between $250 million and $300 million.) Regardless of the offers, Gawker is not expected to sell until after its debt is restructured or the company successfully fends off the Hogan judgment.In a memo sent to Ziff Davis employees, CEO Vivek Shah indicated that the company would add Kotaku–as well as its employees–to its consumer tech and gaming properties. Beyond Kotaku, Gawker Media owns a variety of blogs, including Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jezebel, and Jalopnik, all of which would also be kept running in the event of a Ziff Davis acquisition. To date, Ziff Davis has been focused on tech, gaming, and men’s lifestyle offerings, including IGN, Geek, Askmen, and PC Magazine.While any such acquisition is still far from certain, the idea of IGN and Kotaku as sibling brands under parent company Ziff Davis would have been nearly unthinkable just seven years ago. Ziff Davis entered a bankruptcy of its own in 2008, leading to it shutting down its long-running magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly and selling the popular web counterpart 1UP Network early the next year. Its fortunes turned in 2012 when it was acquired by j2 Global for $167 million. Months later it purchased IGN off News Corp. for less than $100 million. News Corp. had paid $650 million for the site in 2005.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesActivision no longer working with Call of Duty actor after hateful sexist commentsA video resurfaced on social media showing Jeff Leach making offensive, sexual and threatening remarks targeting women By Marie Dealessandri 2 days agoHow Women in Gaming survived its publisher’s demiseMeagan Marie explains how Crystal Dynamics stepped in after Prima Games, the original publisher of her book, shut down right after launchBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoLatest comments (2)Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London4 years ago I don’t even see this as bad news – apart from any possible staff dismissal – Kotaku is so riddled with trash talk and toxicity, that it needs a serious revamp. Not to mention the constant changes to the website and comments section, for the worst, making it slow to navigate and user unfriendly comment navigation and system. One of the worst UX designs I’ve experienced some years ago. It’s one of the reasons I looked up GamesIndustry.biz.Hopefully no staff will be affected in a negative way if a buyout happens.
Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 18th August 2016 10:50pm 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (8)Jeremiah Moss Software Developer 3Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJulien Cuny Co-Founder, PIXYUL4 years ago” Every year for the last decade some expert or other has claimed it was the last year/generation of consoles. And yet the current generation has outsold the previous ones and is doing very very well.”Well it’s completely different, he’s not saying this is the last generation because console will die (like we heard a lot few years back)….he’s saying this is the last generation because the new console will be from the same generation than the previous one.It’s a software compatibility statement not a Doomsday scenario about consoles not selling anymore. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJon Festinger Faculty & Prof. of Professional Practice (SFU), Centre for Digital Media4 years ago Love how he is just known by his rockstar name as “Greenberg” only. Sort of like “Prince”. 😉 Edited 2 times. Last edit by Julien Cuny on 18th August 2016 4:50pm 11Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAdam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee4 years ago We’ve been tending towards this for a long time, but its finally happening. Consoles are not finished, they’re just changing format and that includes the likely end of any clear generation. The Scorpio is technically *two generations ahead of the Xbox One but it will pretty much play the same games and use the same ecosystem. Its going to feel like a strange transition but it makes sense. This is the last console generation – GreenbergHead of Xbox marketing stresses company’s commitment to compatibility, backtracks on pledge of no exclusives for ScorpioBrendan SinclairManaging EditorThursday 18th August 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleMicrosoftMicrosoft’s head of Xbox games marketing thinks this is the last console generation. Speaking with Engadget this week, Greenberg expanded on comments made earlier this year by Xbox head Phil Spencer, who had suggested foregoing the seven-or-so-year gap between hardware releases in favor of the continuous cadence of PC and smartphone releases.”For us, we think the future is without console generations,” Greenberg said. “We think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware — we’re making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We’re basically saying, ‘This isn’t a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.’ We think of this as a family of devices.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “But we’ll see. We’re going to learn from this, we’re going to see how that goes. So far I’d say, based on the reaction, there appears to be a lot of demand and interest around Project Scorpio, and we think it’s going to be a pretty big success. If the games and the content deliver, which I think they will do, I think it will change the way we think about the future of console gaming.”Greenberg also cleared up some confusion about the possibility of exclusive games for the Scorpio. Microsoft had previously said that all Xbox One games and accessories would work on all versions of the hardware, but has also referenced VR as a feature that would only be enabled by the Scorpio hardware. Greenberg explained the discrepancy as part of the company’s “promise and commitment around compatibility,” which essentially extends only to making sure Project Scorpio is backwards compatible with Xbox One and Xbox One S games or accessories.”The next thing was ‘Are you going to make games exclusively to Project Scorpio?’ And we said we’re not going to have console-exclusive games for Project Scorpio,” Greenberg said. “It’s one ecosystem — whether you have an Xbox One S or Project Scorpio, we don’t want anyone to be left behind, Now, with the power and capabilities we have, we’ll be able to do high-fidelity VR. Now, that space, we don’t think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR, and so with the VR experiences those will be new things that you will get on Project Scorpio.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesApple questions credibility of Xbox testimonyiPhone maker asserts that Microsoft did not produce evidence to back Lori Wright’s claims of unprofitable consolesBy James Batchelor 2 days agoEpic pushed for subscription-free multiplayer on Xbox ahead of Apple battleCEO Tim Sweeney told Xbox boss Phil Spencer that “certain plans for August” would create an “extraordinary opportunity”By James Batchelor 7 days agoLatest comments (8)Michael Werle Senior Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe4 years ago Oh +God not this again. Every year for the last decade some expert or other has claimed it was the last year/generation of consoles. And yet the current generation has outsold the previous ones and is doing very very well.I’ll believe it when I see it. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyPaul Jace Merchandiser 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMichael Werle Senior Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe4 years ago You’re right; I misinterpreted the details. (Well, TBH, I skimmed the article somewhat)Then again, this was done before when the PS2 was launched with (almost) full backward-compatibility with PS1 games.Of course, somewhat easier moving forward now because the current gen (XBone/PS4) is mostly just a repackaged bespoke PC rather than a completely bespoke hardware/software solution. Still console games tend to rely strongly on hardware assumptions so maintaining compatibility while providing significantly improved specs for future games is not going to be that easy. 4 years ago The seven year gap was actually highly unusual – previous generations were actually much faster. 3Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyEric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike4 years ago I do understand the logic driving this concept of “the last console” but I’m not really sure I understand the target audience for this product. The last information I saw regarding the Scorpio was that it would be in the $1,000 range, which puts it pretty much in direct competition with the PC market. Console users are people who want simplicity and affordability in their hardware, most console users that I know would consider changing a video card or processor a fairly complicated process that they wouldn’t want to mess with. And then there is the pricing, consoles have obviously been on a skyward trajectory in terms of pricing, but it seemed like this latest gen being priced at 500 to 600 was really approaching the limits of what people would pay. I know of many console users who are still in the previous generation. And most people would argue if you’re going to spend $1,000 why not just get a PC, an open ended device not just tied to games…Perhaps the spirit of the console will be carried on in the world of handhelds from this point on, which maybe Nintendo already forsaw in the tea leaves as evidenced by their new system.. 4 years ago I agree with Adam in that this is just a natural evolution of console gaming. And to be honest I probably would have preferred for this to have started last gen due to all the games and accessories I acquired.
Pokémon toys and trading card sales spike in Europe€100 million spent on trading cards in 2017 in EuropeChristopher DringHead of Games B2BThursday 1st March 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleThe Pokemon Company InternationalIt may have been the year after the Pokémon Go phenomenon, but Pokémon toys and merchandise continued to be a major hit throughout 2017.Data from NPD, and relayed by The Pokémon Company, states that trading €100 million was spent on the Pokémon Trading Card Game last year, which gave the firm a 82% share of the market (total sales of strategic trading cards sat at €122 million for Europe).The biggest growth area for the Trading Card Game was Italy, with a 644% rise in sales, followed by Spain (56% rise) and then the UK (42%).It wasn’t just the card game that performed strongly, Pokémon toys also performed admirably with a 146% sales increase in Italy, a 54% rise in the UK and a 14% uptake in German. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Pokémon, although always a very strong franchise, has enjoyed a mainstream renaissance following the success of Pokémon Go for smartphones in 2016. The firm is currently working on a Nintendo Switch game, which it hopes to release this year.”We are the number one Strategic Card Game in Europe, and the UK toy industry voted the Pokémon Trading Card Game the top Pocket Money Toy of the Year,” said Simon Benton, VP of Pokémon TCG Sales Europe. “The continued success is testament to the fantastic support of all our retailers and the Pokémon TCG’s huge appeal, and with further expansions and promotions planned, we expect another strong performance in 2018.”Peter Murphy, senior director of marketing at The Pokémon Company International, said: “Wicked Cool Toys’ first Pokémon master toy range has been fantastically well received by retailers and the media at the recent toy fairs in London and Nuremberg. The huge interest in the new toy line is hugely encouraging, and we expect sales to continue to rise when the range launches later this year.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesPokémon Snap | Critical ConsensusLong-awaited successor to N64 classic pleases new and old fans alike, but is let down by persisting repetitionBy Danielle Partis 12 days agoThe next generation of PlayStation VR | PodcastLatest episode available now, also discusses Pokémon Legends and the franchise’s 25th anniversaryBy GamesIndustry Staff 2 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyNeil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments2 years ago If the rumours are right, will be fascinating to see what the smaller model is – if it’s a switch variant, keeping joycons on a smaller main unit; or a portable within an OS ecosystem, running switch games on something physically resembling a 2DS. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. The case for a smaller, more portable Nintendo Switch | OpinionPortables were said to be dead — so why would Nintendo consider releasing a smaller Switch?Ishaan SahdevThursday 28th March 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoEarlier in the week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo plans to release two new variants of its Nintendo Switch console later this year. One variant is suggested to be some sort of updated take on the current Nintendo Switch with, “enhanced features targeted at avid gamers.” The other, according to the report, will be a smaller, more portable, more affordable version of the Switch that is designed to replace the Nintendo 3DS as an entry-level games device. Both devices, the report suggested, could be unveiled as early as this Summer. Now, releasing a new Nintendo Switch model with incremental improvements over the current Switch makes perfect sense. In today’s extremely competitive environment it’s simply the done thing, and all console makers do it with varying degrees of frequency. Nintendo itself has released enhanced variants of its Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS systems in the past, so no surprises there. On the other hand, a smaller Switch variant that’s designed to replace the Nintendo 3DS isn’t quite as easy to understand. The Switch is already a portable games device that does what it’s meant to do wonderfully. Why does it need to be even smaller? What purpose would that serve? “The Switch is already a portable games device that does what it’s meant to do wonderfully. Why does it need to be even smaller?” It’s a fair question. After all, just a few years ago, the games industry as a whole seemed to be calling for an end to smaller, more portable gaming devices in favour of smartphones. It began in 2011, a few months after the Nintendo 3DS had been released. In July of that year, Nintendo reported disappointing Nintendo 3DS sales, and announced that it would drop the price of the device from $250 to $170. There were a number of reasons for the disappointing performance of the 3DS, chief among which was that it was simply too expensive for its target audience. This was further compounded by the fact that it suffered from a weak portfolio of games at launch, leading to soft initial demand. While the 3DS would eventually go on to be a success, with 75 million units shipped — that’s more than the Xbox One, to put things in perspective — it never quite recovered from the damage done early in its life. Despite the number of complex factors involved in that slow start, by late 2011 industry gurus and analysts had boiled it down to one very simple hypothesis: smartphones were the future, and nobody wanted to carry a second portable device around with them.After all, if you were “on-the-go,” how much gaming were you really expecting to do? And if it was simple time-killers you wanted to play on the train, smartphones could provide you with a great many of those for free. Whether or not you agreed with that assessment didn’t matter. Most of the industry had already decided this was an accurate read on the situation, and Western publishers swiftly dropped support for the Nintendo 3DS, looking instead to the microtransaction-driven business model on smartphones, which was opening up new avenues of revenue.Meanwhile, the “hardcore” gaming contingent was also mostly in agreement that portables no longer had a place in the world of games. “Real” games, they reasoned, belonged exclusively on a big screen, with big budgets and big graphics and big explosions. Nobody cared about a game device in the palm of your hand any more, when you could have eye-popping 1080p instead. Everything needed to be bigger and better and more awesome, or there was simply no point.”A more portable Switch actually does make a lot of sense — just not for the audience that likes to debate these topics on the internet” Again, the industry complied. Games got bigger and even more expensive. Open worlds became the norm. The hardware required to support these technological leaps got beefier as well. The support the Nintendo DS and PSP had enjoyed from Western publishers in years past dried up, leaving the Nintendo 3DS to fend for itself, supported primarily by Japanese developers and the occasional indie studio.So why bother? All these years later, why release a smaller, more portable Nintendo Switch when there simply doesn’t seem to any evidence that such a device is even required? The current model serves its purpose just fine. You can carry the thing to bed, or pop it into a bag while travelling. You can take it to a friend’s to play a few games of Mario Kart or Smash. When you’re done, you can hook it back up to your telly at home for some Fortnite or Doom. It works, and it works well. The Switch has already found an excellent balance between the flexibility of a portable and the oomph of a home console. A smaller model — one that you may not even be able to connect to the TV — makes no sense, surely. Therein lies the rub. A more portable Switch actually does make a lot of sense, just not for the audience that likes to debate these topics on the internet.Here’s the thing: there are certain games and certain audiences for whom a smaller, more portable device is simply a better lifestyle fit, and always has been. These are audiences the industry has a tendency to overlook even today, but they’ve historically made up a significant part of Nintendo’s userbase, and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead.Women aged 30 to 40 year-old play Animal Crossing: New Leaf in Japan. It’s an audience not many game developers serve, other than NintendoHere’s an example: the chart above was presented by Nintendo to investors in 2013. It shows you the age and gender bias of consumers in Japan that bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf along with a Nintendo 3DS. At the time the game was released, the 3DS userbase in Japan was 69% male and 31% female. And yet, when Animal Crossing made its way to the 3DS, 56% of the game’s players were female and just 44% male. It actively encouraged more women — especially those in their 20s and 30s — to purchase a Nintendo 3DS and use it. Six years later, Animal Crossing: New Leaf has sold over 12 million units, and has considerably diversified the 3DS userbase in the process. “Animal Crossing: New Leaf actively encouraged more women to purchase a Nintendo 3DS and use it” Animal Crossing isn’t necessarily one-of-a-kind either. There are other Nintendo 3DS games that have helped diversify the 3DS audience, too. The Style Savvy series, where the player runs a fashion boutique and puts together outfits for their customers, is almost squarely aimed at women, and like Animal Crossing has helped the device pull in a greater number of female users. It’s been successful enough that Nintendo has released four separate Style Savvy games on the 3DS alone, with the first having shipped over one million units worldwide by itself.A lot of the people that play games like Animal Crossing and Style Savvy don’t really care to settle into a couch in front of their 50-inch TV to get their game on. They’re precisely the sort that primarily plays games on their smartphones, but are also happy to dabble in the occasional “casual-core” game when the right one comes along. And a smaller, cheaper device that’s lighter and less unwieldy makes more sense for them than the current Switch, which is too pricey and perhaps unnecessarily sophisticated.Next up, you have Pokémon. A lot of school kids and college students play Pokémon gamesEvery major new Pokémon game has sold 16 million units on average since 2002, and while the series has made strides into the realm of online play, it’s still very much a social experience that’s made better when you share it in person with other players. A lot of the people that buy and play Pokémon games are school kids or college students. They carry their Nintendo 3DS with them to school, either to play on the bus or with their peers in between classes, which is something you can’t really do with a device as large or as expensive as the Nintendo Switch. Again, a smaller, more durable, more portable device would facilitate this sort of experience a lot better.Portability aside, a lot of kids that are into Pokémon are also in the habit of playing with their siblings, but in order for that to work you would need to enable the ownership of multiple Switch consoles per household, and that simply isn’t going to happen at a $300 price point. Once again, for this audience, a more affordable variant of the Switch makes far more sense than the current model.Finally, there’s Japan, Nintendo’s home market. Two years in, Switch hardware sales are tracking far behind Nintendo 3DS in JapanPortable game devices have long been king in Japan, with consoles taking a backseat to the convenience of being able to play games on the bus or the train or without the need for a television. A full one-third of Nintendo 3DS hardware sales (about 25 million units) are from Japan, and no other platform since has come close to matching its sales trajectory. Even the Switch, which is currently the best-selling gaming device in Japan, isn’t doing anywhere near the numbers that 3DS was in its first two years (see the graph above, sourced from Media Create), and the only way to address the issue is — you guessed it — to release a more portable, more affordable model that better suits the lifestyle of the average Japanese consumer.With a new Animal Crossing and Pokémon Sword/Shield coming in 2019, it makes a lot of sense for Nintendo to announce a portable Nintendo Switch this year. There’s even been talk from Capcom about a new Monster Hunter for the Switch, and with Monster Hunter: World squarely aimed at the West, one would imagine a Switch game would be more inclusive of the Japanese market, where the games typically sell around four million units apiece. In Japan, Monster Hunter is largely treated as a local co-op game where each player has access to their own screen, making a portable Switch the perfect platform. With all these major pieces of software starting to fall into place, the time for a more appropriate accompanying Switch model feels right. “A full one-third of Nintendo 3DS hardware sales are from Japan, and no other platform since has come close to matching its sales trajectory” And really, reports of a smaller variant of the Switch aren’t surprising in the slightest — not just because it makes sense, but also because variants are something Nintendo has been planning since before the Nintendo Switch was even announced. It was in 2013 that the company first merged its home console and portable hardware development groups, with the idea that all future Nintendo devices would share operating systems, built-in software, and even software toolkits — just like smartphones and tablets. This would allow Nintendo to create multiple hardware devices running off the same OS with relative ease.In fact, the goal wasn’t just for all devices within a single hardware generation to be running off the same OS and architecture, but all future Nintendo devices, so porting games between them could be made easier, too. This, Nintendo felt, would also help alleviate software droughts when launching new devices.”Currently it requires a huge amount of effort to port Wii software to Nintendo 3DS because not only their resolutions but also the methods of software development are entirely different,” former president Satoru Iwata said at the time. “The same thing happens when we try to port Nintendo 3DS software to Wii U. If the transition of software from platform to platform can be made simpler, this will help solve the problem of game shortages in the launch periods of new platforms.”Iwata later elaborated: “To cite a specific case, Apple is able to release smart devices with various form factors one after another because there is one way of programming adopted by all platforms. Apple has a common platform called iOS. Another example is Android. Though there are various models, Android does not face software shortages because there is one common way of programming on the Android platform that works with various models. Nintendo platforms should be like those two examples.”If Nintendo were to pursue this line of thinking, it would make a hypothetical “Switch Mini” a relatively easy product to put out, and even a “Switch Pro” as suggested by reports.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Couple that with some of the comments Nintendo have made recently about growing Switch sales, and there’s a rather compelling case to be made for different Switch models serving different purposes. Case in point: speaking with investors in January, current Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa stated that one of the next steps in expanding the Switch’s userbase is to create demand for multiple Nintendo Switch consoles being owned within a household.”In a survey of households asking how many family members use Nintendo Switch, we found that, while a certain number of households have multiple family members who play on a single console, some households have already purchased multiple consoles,” Furukawa said. “Going forward, we aim to generate such demand among consumers as they feel like ‘I want to have my own Nintendo Switch console’ through measures such as software offerings, not necessarily so that each person will have one, but so that each household will have multiple Nintendo Switch consoles.”While Furukawa cites “software offerings” as the key to accomplishing this, that is very likely not the full story. A single household owning and using multiple versions of the same home console is a relatively rare occurrence, no matter what kind of software you release for it. But multiple portable devices? That’s been a thing since the original Game Boy, and a “Switch Mini” type of device would be no different.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments (2)Bob Johnson Studying graphics design, Northern Arizona University2 years ago Yeah it’s all about making a more affordable model.
Edited 1 times. Last edit by Charlie Cleveland on 14th January 2020 10:36pm 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Giant Games’ wagers: Premium mobile models, and Western marketsCEO Bill Wang explains why Giant Network’s new publishing arm is focused on bringing Chinese games to global audiencesRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterTuesday 14th January 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet Share11 years ago, Bill Wang was working with Perfect World to bring its MMO of the same name to international audiences. At the time, he says, it was easy to launch a free-to-play game in the West.”Back then, there wasn’t as much competition in the market,” he says. “Free-to-play was new to many Western developers. So by launching our high-quality, free-to-play game Perfect World internationally, we were able to crack the market and grow from there. With a strong cashflow, were able to acquire and invest in more developers in the US. Back then, there was not much competition. But today, [you have] Tencent here, NetEase here, Epic, all actively investing in developers and acquiring content. So the market is very competitive.”It isn’t just the market that’s changed. Wang isn’t with Perfect World anymore, having accepted a new role just over a year ago as head of Shanghai-based Giant Network’s new US business: Giant Games. While the parent company has been around since 2004 and has about 2000 employees, Giant Games is a much smaller endeavor of around ten people based in the Bay Area. Its focus for now is on global launches of games made by Giant Network’s existing Chinese partners, including Night of the Full Moon, Undying, and an upcoming premium mobile title called Pascal’s Wager.Why start a Western business after all these years? Wang says it’s in large part due to increased Chinese government restrictions on game approvals in recent years.”For most Chinese publishers and developers, it’s very hard to launch new titles in the local market,” he says. “They are forced to go overseas. Giant Network has been looking into Western markets since 2017.”Pascal’s Wager is a particularly good example of Giant Games’ business strategy. Developed by Chinese studio TipsWorks, the game’s iOS release and promotion overseas effectively represents two different gambles being made by its publisher: one on the potential for Chinese-developed games overseas, and another on the potential for premium mobile titles worldwide.Bill WangWang says that while the premium mobile model has historically struggled against the dominant free-to-play model in China, Giant Network saw potential in what TipsWorks had to offer, and acquired the studio in early 2018 to support it in finishing the game.”When we saw Pascal’s Wager in late 2017, we were pretty impressed by the quality,” he says. “The development team pitched Pascal’s Wager to most of the publishers in China, but nobody thought a premium single-player mobile game had any future. But we were impressed with the team. The founder of the studio, TipsWorks, got sick with a kidney issue and had to go through dialysis three times a week, but he was still focused 100% on development and put all his money in development. He had no money to get a new kidney. We were pretty impressed by his dedication to Pascal’s Wager, which is one of the reasons we decided to invest in the team.”I ask Wang later to clarify if this meant Giant Games took sacrificing personal health to make a game as a positive when considering developers to support.”The founder’s health wasn’t a plus when we considered this opportunity,” he replies. “However, this issue didn’t deter us from acquiring the studio as we were impressed by the talent there and the founder’s dedication to this project.”(TipsWorks founder, Yang Yang, did get a new kidney last year.)”People used to think there was a big quality gap between mobile games and console games. But today, the gap has gotten much smaller” Wang returns multiple times during our chat to the importance of quality, and the high bar that Pascal’s Wager strives for. That, he says, is the other reason why Giant was willing to support the game where other publishers would not. Despite the state of the premium mobile market, Wang thinks that a mix of more powerful mobile technology drawing “hardcore” gamers to mobile and a promise to eventually bring the game cross-platform will ensure Pascal’s Wager’s success, regardless of its business model.”There were concerns from Chinese publishers when they saw the game,” Wang says. “They said the game quality was good, but there was not much potential from the revenue and profit perspective. We think about it in a different way. We think that today, going cross-platform is the approach to take, similar to PUBG or Fortnite, which have proven that when you go multi-platform, you can create a bigger userbase. For Pascal’s Wager, we saw potential in going multi-platform from mobile to PC and console, and also for mobile players.”People used to think there was a big quality gap between mobile games and console games. But today, the gap has gotten much smaller. We want to be one of the first ones to launch console-quality mobile games. We think it’s a niche market, and that hardcore gamers want to play high-quality games. They don’t think about price. They don’t worry about paying $6.99 — it’s not a big burden for them. So we want to target those users. There might not be 100 million users there. But if we can sell, for example, one million or two million, that’d be great.”$6.99, incidentally, is the amount Pascal’s Wager will cost at its iOS-exclusive launch this month, with paid DLC planned for later. It will come to Android sometime later, and PC and console after that with enhancements to graphics and control adjustments to fit it to the latter two platforms.”The userbase for iPhone has bigger spending power, generally speaking, than Android users,” Wang says when I ask him why they opted for an iOS-exclusive launch. “For premium games, it’s easier to succeed on iPhone than on Android devices. If you have free-to-play games, definitely do both from the beginning. But we want to target high-end users with cutting-edge graphics, and the iPhone 11 is the perfect platform.””The userbase for iPhone has bigger spending power, generally speaking, than Android users. For premium games, it’s easier to succeed on iPhone than on Android devices” So why did it make sense to show off a new premium game on iOS at the same event as news about a subscription service being sold as an answer to the struggles of premium mobile titles?”We were offered to publish games on Apple Arcade,” he replies. “We decided not to do that, because our quality will stand out among other mobile games. We want this game to be a long-lasting franchise. We have a title for Apple Arcade in the future, but for Pascal’s Wager, we wanted to make sure it succeeded by itself.”I press him on why premium was the best choice for a game like this, with so many developers opting out of this business model in favor of, if not models like Apple Arcade, then simply free-to-play titles with microtransactions. Wang disagrees, pointing at an increase in “hardcore gamers” playing on mobile, and preferring to pay for games outright over what he calls “pay to win” models or paying for cosmetics.”We see more and more people playing on mobile phones, even hardcore gamers. Today, most successful franchises, including Call of Duty, have mobile games. We think people will play games at different locations. They can play at home in front of the TV, on the road on their phone, and hardcore gamers play games across different devices. I don’t think that’s a restriction anymore. You don’t only target hardcore gamers on console and PC.””Today, most successful franchises, including Call of Duty, have mobile games…I don’t think that’s a restriction anymore. You don’t only target hardcore gamers on console and PC” Once a handful of Giant Network titles are successfully launched in the West, Wang says Giant Games will begin seeking partnerships with other North American and European developers to invest in, acquire, and publish their games worldwide.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Wang adds that his and Giant’s willingness to support these games should be seen as part of a broader philosophy to support high-quality content regardless of the business model behind it.”I met Unknown Worlds in San Francisco [in Wang’s previous job working with Perfect World],” he says. “They made a premium, multiplayer game called Natural Selection 2. It did okay, but I was really impressed by the founders, Charlie [Cleveland] and Max [McGuire]. Later, they decided to work on an underwater, single-player exploration game. When my colleagues from China came to the studio, they told me, ‘No chance this game can succeed. No one wants to play a single-player, underwater exploration game. No chance.’ But I trusted Charlie and Max. So when they launched Subnautica, the game became a huge success. Sold over two million copies across PC and console. That’s a studio I invested in almost six years ago, and when they made a single-player game, no one from [Perfect World] thought they had a chance.”So same story. Many people don’t believe [Pascal’s Wager] will do well, but we believe in quality. That’s my belief from past experience working with developers like Unknown Worlds, Runic, Double Damage. You can create great content no matter what kind of business model you use. It’s not about business model, it’s about content.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair An hour agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 5 hours agoLatest comments (1)Charlie Cleveland Game Director/Founder, Unknown WorldsA year ago Thanks for all your help, Bill. Subnautica is now at over 5M copies!Can’t wait to see what you do with Giant.