What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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Google shutters cloud gaming service Stadia after three years

“Game On” is The Fly’s weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.

NEW RELEASES: 

This week’s major release is Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) free-to-play hero shooter “Overwatch 2,” the anticipated follow-up to 2016’s “Overwatch.” The game launches October 4 for PC, Nintendo Switch (NTDOY), PlayStation 4 (SONY), PS5, Xbox One (MSFT), and Xbox Series X/S. Also out this week is the Switch port of 2017 Square Enix (SQNXF) title “Nier: Automata.” The port releases October 6.

STADIA SHUTS DOWN: 

In a blog post last Thursday, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) announced that it had decided to start winding down its Stadia game streaming service, which first launched in late 2019. “We’re grateful to the dedicated Stadia players that have been with us from the start. We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store. Players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023 so they can complete final play sessions. We expect to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January, 2023.”

“The underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming,” the company continued. “We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts — as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed. We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators.” The Fly notes that Stadia had experienced struggles for years before the announcement, beginning with the company announcing plans February 2021 to shutter all its original games studios.

Following the shutdown announcement, Ubisoft (UBSFY), many of whose games were available on the service, said it is working to bring the games Stadia users own on the platform to PC through Ubisoft Connect. “We’ll have more to share regarding specific details as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers at a later date,” Ubisoft said.

CD PROJEKT: 

Less than a week after announcing that it had sold over 20M cumulative units of “Cyberpunk 2077,” CD Projekt (OTGLY) unveiled its future development plans. In addition to previously announced releases, including “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” new-gen console edition, scheduled for Q4 2022, and a large expansion for “Cyberpunk 2077” titled “Phantom Liberty,” expected in 2023, the studio has revealed several projects which will be released in later years and which currently carry working titles. Among them is the game codenamed Project Sirius, under development at the Boston-based The Molasses Flood studio, which has previously released indie titles such as “The Flame in the Flood” and “Drake Hollow.”

Another announced project, Polaris, marks the launch of a new Witcher saga. The saga will consist of three games, which CD Projekt Red intends to publish in a six-year period starting with the release of Polaris. The second and third installment will rely on the technological foundation put in place for Polaris, which should streamline development and enable the Studio to focus on achieving its creative vision. The next Witcher-themed release – Canis Majoris – will be a full-fledged production, carried out by an external studio under the supervision of experienced developers who have previously worked on The Witcher games.

Project Orion, which refers to the next Cyberpunk game, is set to fully unleash the potential of the Cyberpunk universe. It will be developed by CD Projekt’s new North American studio. CD Projekt has also announced the beginning of work on an entirely new original IP codenamed Hadar. The company said it also intends to implement the franchise flywheel concept, developing an ecosystem of mutually reinforcing products which exploit the potential of the Group’s respective franchises. To this end, the Studio is opening up to collaboration with external teams.

Meanwhile, CD Projekt co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski said in a separate announcement that he will submit his candidacy for the role of chairman of the supervisory board, leaving behind his joint CEO role. By the end of 2022, Iwinski will hand over his duties to the board.

OTHER STORIES TO WATCH:

  • Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Frances Townsend, who played a central role in the company’s response to sexual-harassment allegations last year, has stepped down from her position [more]
  • Electronic Arts’ (EA) next “Need for Speed” game is on track for a 2022 release, Barron’s says [more]
  • Disney (DIS) wants two “Star Wars” games released each year, Insider Gaming reports [more]
  • Ubisoft delayed the release of pirate game “Skull and Bones” to March 9, 2023 [more]
  • Sony is working on a “Horizon Zero Dawn” PS5 remake, VGC reports [more]
  • Sony is seeking to make 2M PlayStation VR2 units by March 2023, Bloomberg says [more]

Originally Posted October 4, 2022 – What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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