What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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EA’s ‘Dead Space’ remake out this week

“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 Square Enix’s (SQNXF) action role-playing game “Forspoken,” which launches for PC and PlayStation 5 (SONY) on January 24. Also out this week Electronic Arts’ (EA) horror game “Dead Space,” a remake of the 2008 game of the same name. The title launches January 27 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S (MSFT).

MICROSOFT LAYOFFS: 

Last week, Microsoft announced that, in response to macroeconomic conditions and “changing customer priorities,” it will lay off roughly 10,000 employees by the end of the third fiscal quarter of 2023. Other actions include changes to its hardware portfolio and lease consolidation. Collectively these actions will result in a charge of $1.2B in the second quarter of its 2023 fiscal year, representing a 12c negative impact to diluted earnings per share, the company added.

Following the announcement, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported that the job cuts will extend to Microsoft’s video game business, including the developers of Xbox games such as “Halo Infinite” and the upcoming role-playing game “Starfield.” Some people at Bethesda Game Studios, which is developing “Starfield” and is known for “Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout,” as well as “Halo” developer 343 Industries, were affected in the mass layoffs, and some of the people in the game studios who lost employment were veterans who had been with Xbox for over a decade, Schreier noted.

ROBLOX: 

Last Wednesday, David Baszucki, the founder and CEO of Roblox (RBLX), said in a blog post: “2022 was a great year for Roblox. We are optimistically driving our vision to reimagine the way people come together, and we’re realizing it by enabling deeper forms of expression, communication, and immersion. The investments we are making to expand the engagement of Roblox across geographies and age groups are paying off. Our community grew by 23% this year to more than 56 million daily global users. And our users spent over 49.3 billion hours coming together to create, play, explore, learn, and connect. Today, more than half of the people on Roblox are 13 and older, demonstrating our platform’s appeal to a broad range of audiences… In 2022, our community visited more than 15 million experiences on the platform, and developers and creators published more than 15,000 experiences every single day.”

Baszucki added that “Using natural language processing models, we’ve evolved our systems to not just flag prohibited language but to understand context and act accordingly. In 2022, we used these models to power automated moderation features in English, as well as in Spanish, German, Portuguese and more, and we will continue to roll them out globally in 2023… Looking ahead to 2023, I’m excited to see how creativity and invention continue to fuel growth at Roblox. At every level, we’re seeing new opportunities to connect a billion people with optimism and civility.”

Click here to check out recent Media Buzz Sentiment on Roblox as measured by TipRanks.

EUROPE GAME SALES: 

PC and console video game sales struggled across Europe in December, as 27.4M tracked games were sold across European markets during the month, a drop of 13% year-over-year, Gamesindustry.biz’s Christopher Dring reported last week, citing GSD data. 11.4M of the games sold were digital, with nearly 16M being physical sales, the author noted. EA’s “FIFA 23” was comfortably the top-selling game in Europe in December, ahead of Activision’s (ATVI) “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” Dring said, noting that if Nintendo’s (NTDOY) “Pokemon Violet” and “Pokemon Scarlet” sales were combined, it would have been in second place.

Meanwhile, Dring later reported that Nintendo’s latest Switch exclusive “Fire Emblem Engage” was the top-selling physical video game in the U.K. in its launch week. The strategy game’s launch sales are 31% lower than its predecessor, namely 2019’s “Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” yet still is the second biggest launch for the franchise in the U.K.. Meanwhile, Sony’s “The Last of Us Part 1” for the PlayStation 5 returned to the charts following its September 2022 release, seeing a 238% spike in sales week-on-week, Dring said, noting that the game’s sales have been boosted by the HBO (WBD) series adaptation that is currently airing. Other top sellers for the week ending January 21, 2023 in the U.K. include “FIFA 23,” Sony’s “God of War Ragnarok,” Nintendo’s “Pokemon Scarlet/Violet” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”

  • Nintendo plans to increase Switch production next fiscal year to meet demand, Bloomberg reports [more]
  • Square Enix’s live services title “Marvel’s Avengers” will lose all support and future development on September 30, 2023 [more]
  • “Word of Warcraft Classic” lead Brian Birmingham left Blizzard in protest of staff ranking system, Bloomberg says [more]
  • Microsoft’s 343 Industries said it will continue to develop the “Halo” franchise amid rumors future “Halo” content would be developed by other studios [more]
  • Sony said the PC port of 2021 PlayStation 5 exclusive “Returnal” will launch February 15 [more]
  • HBO’s “The Last of Us,” an adaptation of the PlayStation game franchise, drew 4.7M viewers in its debut, according to Deadline [more]

Originally Posted January 24, 2023 – What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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