Bonus Level #10: NOV 16-22

Roblox IPO, cloud gaming on iOS in browser, Apple 15%, Embracer Group M&A spree

Major News

Roblox IPO

Roblox files to go public by the end of the year. And the company disclosed numbers about the business:

  • Payouts to devs: increased from $72M (2019) to $209 (2020) in the first 3 quarters.

  • DAU: 32M, increasing from 17M in 2019.

  • Company is not profitable yet: net loss is $203M in the first 3 quarters of 2020, increasing from $46M for the same period.

Interesting that Apple allows Roblox to operate on iOS and sell premium currency outside of iOS, even when it’s really resembles game streaming service with lots of games inside one app. But Apple treats Roblox apps a “reader”.

Roblox grows so big that brands announce the release of a Roblox game in media: meet Hot Wheels Open World a racing game available at Roblox only.

Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is coming to iOS via browser:

My.Games (Mail.ru subsidiary) launches cloud gaming service in beta stage for Russian users. “The service will be integrated into My.Games Store, with subscribers gaining access to the complete games library as well as titles from other gaming stores”.

Also My.Games together with Google launch accelerator program Game Drive for EMEA mobile game developers. Developers with their post soft-launch games can apply for participation until January 8, 2021.

Apple vs. Epic Games

Apple to cut down App Store share to 15% for small developers, who earn less than $1M on IAPs per year. 97.5% of Apple developers fall into this category, but they generate only 5% of the store revenue. So, Tim Sweeney is not amazed by the move. Epic Games even takes Apple to court in Australia for breaching Australian consumer law for preventing competition on iPhone platform.

Also Epic Games brings video chat to Fortnite through Houseparty social app.

Deals

Embracer Group acquires 12 game studios and a PR firm located in Europe, Canada and Argentina. The total amount paid on day one is near $230M, 85% in cash and 15% in shares. Additional payout based on performance can reach up to $210M in the next 5-10 years, 50/50 in cash and equity. Group increases headcount for 1250 people growing to 5700 employees, who work at 58 internal studios in 45 countries. Among new studios 2 Canadian companies, A Thinking Ape and IUGO, develop mobile games. They are joining DECA games subsidiary. Sales report: Embracer Group H1 revenue up 132% to $524M ($361M from games and $163M from films via Koch Media).

Adtech company IronSource is preparing for IPO at $7-8B valuation.

Seattle mobile studio Lightfox nets $3.3M investment to bring debut title Super Battle League to market. It’s a PvE/PvP action with portrait orientation. It’s already soft-launched in selected countries.

Lila Games with home base in Bangalore and American co-founders raises $2.8M for mobile shooter.

Other News

Voodoo announced 3 of 6 winners for its hypercasual competition: Orbital Knight for Force Master (BL #06 Oct 19), Pixel Box with Roof Rails and Inno Studio for Stair Run (BL #03 Sept 28). Each developer got a publishing contract and $100K.

Kongregate takes over liveops of three aging Disney games: Maleficent Free Fall, Inside Out Thought Bubbles, and Where's My Water? 2.

Zynga to open new studio in its Austin office to help with the development of NaturalMotion's Star Wars game. They are looking to hire 25 employees.

Activision Blizzard laying off near 100 employees at Asia-Pacific offices. Company is going to outsource maximum of non-production activities.


Game Releases

Major Game

1.Heroes War: Counterattack by Com2Us. Character collecting RPG in post-apocalyptic fantasy world. Buy heroes of your choice without gacha. Turn-based combat introduces character movements and counterattacks on enemy turn.

Licensed IPs

2.Star Wars: Starfighter Missions by Joymax in Japan, Korea, SEA. Shoot’em up in Star Wars universe from Korean publisher. Looks like the game is licensed for a limited number of countries and won’t be released globally.

3.Transport City: Truck Tycoon by CupGum (Early Access). Send trucks to deliver goods and hire drivers. The game is developed by Hong Kong-registered company, specialized in branded games, for Beyond Infinity, German manufacturer of electrical ride on cars for children.

Medium & New Publishers

4.Project Makeover by Bubblegum Games. Match3 with a fashion inspired narrative meta: “Make Up! Dress up! Renovate!” The title climbed to the 2nd spot in top free games in US App Store, just below Among Us. It’s a debut game by American company registered in Delaware and operating in Palo Alto, California.

5.Hellopet House by Appxplore (iCandy). Pet-themed cooking time manager. Prepare meals and bouquets for dogs and cats, renovate a house and collect pets in meta game.

6.Room Flip: Design Dream Home by Nukebox Studios. Match-3 with a winning formula for meta-game: you are the host of renovation TV show. Developed by Indian studio behind Spongebob Krusty Cook-Off released in partnership with Tilting Point.

Top Downloaded Hypercasuals

1st time entries in top 15 of the US App Store

7.Blade Forge 3D by Kwalee. Create bladed weapons and test them.

Premium Games

8.Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead by ClockStone Software/Headup, $4.99. Construct bridges and traps to escape hordes of zombies and meet chracters from the famous franchise. Simultaneous release on PC and consoles.

9.Moonlighter by 11 bit studios, $11.99 (iOS). Action RPG about shopkeeper, who is adventuring in dungeons by night. Indie hit available on Steam since May 2018 (Very Positive, 7K reviews).

10.The First Tree by David Wehle. 3D exploration adventure game “with two parallel stories: a fox trying to find her missing family, and a son reconnecting with his estranged father in Alaska”. Was released on Steam in September 2017 (Mostly Positive, 2800 reviews).

Apple Arcade

No new games.


Upcoming Games

Announced / Leaked

1.Battlepalooza by nWay Inc. Battle royale shooter with art-direction in Fortnite style, which uses real world maps of San Francisco, Vegas and Paris recreated through Google Maps. The launch is scheduled for December 10.

Soft-Launched

2.Merge Inc. by Gram Games (Zynga). Merging game with drones and base-expanding fantasy. Trailer features stealth minigames in Hunter Assassin style. From Istanbul/London-based studio behind top-grossing Merge Dragons.

3.Garden Days: Match And Grow by Playdots (Take-Two Interactive). Match3 with garden renovation meta. Differentiator: less cartoonish art-direction than in average Gardenscapes follower on the market.

4.Idle Restaurant Tycoon by Kolibri Games (Ubisoft). Idle clicker restaurant manager from German studio dominating idle niche with Idle Miner Tycoon. Soft launched in Australia, Canada, and UK.

5.Lootland by Nitro Games. Co-op PvE shooter with 3rd-person camera and Brawl Stars-like art direction. From Finish company traded on Sweden stock exchange. iOS countries: Canada, Finland, USA. Android countries: Canada, Finland, Ukraine.

Pre-registration started

6.Garage Empire by Fingersoft. Idle cars tycoon with arcade racing. From Finish studio behind hit Hill Climb Racing, which generated over 1B downloads.

7.Legacy of Destiny II: Dark vs Light by UnlockGames. Fantasy MMORPG with 3D graphics and portrait orientation from Chinese publisher.

8.Wasteland Lords by X.D. Global. Post-apocalyptic base builder in Fallout Shelter style and similar cartoonish art direction. From developers registered in Hong Kong.


Research & Market Data

Newzoo: COVID-19 Adds $15B to Games Market in 2020. Games market will grow 19.6% to $175B in 2020, $15B more than in previous forecast. Mobile games will generate $86.3B in 2020, 49% of market revenue.

Niko Partners: Asia top 10 countries (not including China) mobile revenue will be $23.2B in 2020, with Japan taking 62% share. Together China and the Asia-10 represent more than 50% of the world’s mobile games market revenue, and more than 60% of the world’s PC game revenue.

SensorTower: U.S. Mobile Strategy Game Spending Surges by 22% to $2.8B in First 10 Months of 2020. Top game Clash of Clans generated close to $262M.

SuperData: Consumers spent $10.6B on digital games in October 2020, up 14% YOY.

Among Us Hit 295M MAU in October, according to App Annie.

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