EA quarterly financials: Anthem due March 2019, record profits, and lockbox-gambling denialism

EA’s quarterly financial report and investor call turned out to be a doozy this year with quite a bit of useful news. To wit:

BioWare’s Anthem is set to ship “in the last quarter of the year, and in the last month of that quarter,” so if we’re counting by fiscal quarters, that’s March 2019, and no wiggling out of this latest delay, EA. According to PCGN, multiple execs inflated the hype, arguing it’s a “stunning and ambitious” game with a “fundamentally social experience.”

Also, in spite of industry interviews to the contrary, it appears that EA learned basically nothing from the Star Wars Battlefront II fiasco that drove the ancient lockboxes-are-gambling argument out of weary corners of the online gaming market and into mainstream politics. The plan going forward appears to be fighting the perception – now codified in Belgium – that lockboxes are gambling in the first place. “We don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack, and secondly we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money,” CEO Andrew Wilson said during the call.

That said, in spite of SWBF2’s flagging performance and the overall fallout that forced EA to rip out the lockboxes and much of the cash shop at launch, EA still had a record year, with net revenues up 6.2% year over year and up 3.6% quarter over quarter.

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Dread Quixadhal

Stop buying EA’s junkware. You’re helping enable them. They have no reason to focus on producing high quality games, and every reason to milk loot boxes and micro-transactions because YOU won’t stop PAYING THEM!

Your Honor
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Your Honor

The majority of people who buy them are casual gamers who really don’t care/know how evil this monetization system is. That’s why legislating it as gambling is probably the best shot gamers have to get rid of them from games.

xpsync
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xpsync

Nailed it!

Players in the know are such a small percentage, it’s literally like telling the a wall to stop buying EA’s junkware.

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Weilan

I wouldn’t touch anything made by them anymore. EA’s Battlefront games are garbage – lacking depth, no replay value and when they shut the servers down you will be left with a finger up your ass. Because they are greedy bastards who only want people to be able to play the games for as long as they decide, once they have had enough, they will shut the servers down and people won’t be able to play anymore.

Take the original Battlefront – you can still play it today like you could in 2004, simply because the game was made with single player in mind. The only drawback is that the AI is too easy, even on Hard difficulty and there is no real challenge.

I’d say, if you want to play EA games, buy them for free from The Pirate Bay. Those pigs don’t deserve people’s money.

Your Honor
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Your Honor

I really hope Anthem does well, not so much because I want to play it but because I really don’t want to see Bioware go away. So I hope it does well.

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Sally Bowls

I think there were some interesting issues about the future of gaming in the earnings call:
the 85% recurring revenue and the discussions of SaaS, subscription as the majority of the business, some big streaming changes 2-4 years out including device independence.

I mean, at its very core, you’ve heard us talk a lot about subscription plus cloud gaming and the opportunity for those two things to fundamentally disrupt the way people access and enjoy games like nothing before, much in the same way as it’s disrupted enjoyment and engagement in movies and music. And so, we’ve talked about a three to five-year time horizon. We believe that cloud gaming is going to have a meaningful — make a meaningful contribution to the way players engage with games. And of course, what that does mean is it really doesn’t matter what device you’re accessing it by. The experience that you have is governed by the size of the screen and the amount of time you have to play. And so everything we’re building right now, we are thinking about a world where we will not be bound by device. We will not be bound by local compute or memory, but much of these experiences will exist in the cloud, and you’ll access them based on whatever device you have access to at the time.

So, Andrew has talked about the future of play and how the industry will evolve over the next few years, and Blake spoke about how the revenue stream is already looking more SaaS-like. So, my question is, as we start to think about cloud gaming, what does the business model look like? Is it subscription, ads, full price? Is it microtransactions or DLC? And with this cloud gaming offering, is that a stand-alone EA offering, or would you offer your games on a third-party platform, maybe something analogous to the current console paradigm? I just wanted to hear your thoughts as you think about how this industry is evolving.

And so, our expectation is while we will continue to offer the access to content through any and all business models that our players tell us they want to utilize, we expect that consumers, much the way they have in other industries, will move more toward subscription. And that will become a far more meaningful part of our business and maybe even the majority of our business in the years to come. And as we think about that, we also — we’re in a unique position to offer subscription as we’re doing today by virtue of the breadth and depth of our content and our ability to get to a large global player base of diverse cohorts, diverse backgrounds, and diverse geographies.

We also understand and appreciate, however, that even with the size of the portfolio we have, there are other elements of gameplay that will be important to a broader subscriber base as we continue to grow. And what you’re seeing from us now with what we’re doing with our Originals program is bringing new content in. What you’re seeing from us with signing third parties is bringing new and interesting and different content in. You might imagine that frontline content will become an important part of that in the future and that we might work collaboratively with other content creators and developers and publishers to ensure we have a truly robust subscription offering.

And a streaming approach allows — while that technology still is evolving and we know that it could be two to four years away, it allows for the concept that you could play games on many different devices versus on one device typically found in your home. And we may partner with people as well as work on our own technology to help deliver that. And as Andrew said, we think that can be delivered in many different ways. And still, many years from now, we’ll have gaming across consoles, PCs, possibly streaming-enabled TVs or other devices, as well as mobile devices. And that’s the exciting part about the business. We think that continues to help grow the market. It doesn’t bifurcate the market in a negative way.

but I’d just say assume that our subscription strategy, as Andrew said, will be evolving quickly. I think that’s this year and next year, you’ll start to see new things in that subscription program, be it new third-party titles; potentially, at some point, frontline titles. But clearly, we’ll continue to push that. We believe the platform can do all those things. We also want to add more social layers into the platform and more tools, and you’ll continue to see that evolution going on as well through the Origin platform. So, more to come. We’re pretty excited.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

Tomorrow’s Nvidia call is more important/interesting to gaming imho. Now that they are sorting supply issues I expect some VR news.
*disclaimer – i’m vested

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Arktouros

VR going to gobble the fuck outa hardware long term. Like I think we’re still 3-4 card generations out before we see the kinds of cards that solo power a 4k per eye headset giving crazy details in games though. 1080Ti was first card that can reasonably powerful a single 4k monitor with pretty decent FPS (or at least can in my setup without too many low FPS dips). So we’re a ways out.

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Sally Bowls

I am looking for an excuse to get a 4K monitor. But a single graphics card not being able to hit 60Hz was off-putting. Nvidia launched its Pascal gaming line with the GTX 1080, bringing capable 4K PC gaming to the masses. The new Geforce GTX 1080 Ti upgrades that “capable” to “comfortable.”
I just want to be able to set everything to Ultra without thinking about it. Which with my limited reading would seem to be safer on nextgen.

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Brother Maynard

You can already get single graphics cards that easily handle 4k in 60 fps in full details.

I got my 4k setup four years ago and already then many games achieved 60 fps (or close to it). Even demanding games at that time, like Witcher 3 were OK to run in 4k and in max details – I get around 30-40 fps. It’s far from a smooth 60 fps experience, but then again it was running on a four years old HW…

Next gen graphics cards will probably manage 4k with 120+ fps. For 60 the current generation is already good.

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Armsbend

I just bought (like 4 minutes ago) a sub$300 1060 I’m pretty pumped about. I’be never been into, or needed, cutting edge so it should do me just fine.

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Sally Bowls

Yes! And especially whether they can get the AI & worse cryptocurrency people satiated so we can get a new generation of graphics cards for gamers and the supply to make them semi-affordable.

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Armsbend

Nvidia seems to be entering Amazon territory of their innovation is so quick at this time that competitors are likely watching their calls to tell their R/d Depts what to do next. Imho gaming has stagnated over the past few years. It isn’t the software companies moving the stick, it isn’t Facebook owning VR that is moving things. It is what Nvidia is doing under the hood. Amazing company I’m happy to be a tiny part of it.

While I think AMD/Nvda appreciate the extra revenue from crypto – they seem more annoyed by it if you listen to enough interviews. A few more corrections should chase out some of that particular demand. We’ll see.

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Arktouros

This isn’t surprising. Subscription services are very popular in many scenarios because they give you access to a variety of games/products. A singular MMO subscription, where you pay $15/mo to access one game/service is a poor deal when compared to paying $15/mo and suddenly get access to dozens of games, content and other various services. Microsoft is already on this trend and it makes sense. Wouldn’t be hard for them to create some sort of “EA Live” service that you pay X months for and get access to Y content as a result and figure out how to further monetize that even more.

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Sally Bowls

It does seem like a reasonable trend.

There are a lot of reason midsize/AA companies are getting squeezed. But some big companies like EA, ATVI, Microsoft, Sony selling all-you-can-eat buffets seems like it will also be tough on the smaller/medium devs.

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rafael12104

Wilson trying to protect his loot boxes. No shock there.

Nor is it a shock they made their numbers. A good economy means good things for the entertainment business especially games.

But he knows or at least understands that loot boxes are an evil buzzword now. Yeah, they paid lip service to the evils with some changes, but I do think they are changing their spin on loot boxes and we may see less of an emphasis on the boxes until the threat of government intervention simmers down.

But you know what? It won’t simmer down. Why? Because EA’s naked greed Trumps all. And as I have said before, EU countries are falling like dominos. Lest you think it won’t make it to the states, remember that complaints and inquiries are underway here as well.

We, gamers, just need to keep doing what we are doing. Reddit, sites like this one, and others need to keep the spotlight on.

xpsync
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xpsync

First sentence alone was worth a thumb up.

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Sally Bowls

The earnings call had a new Star Wars game and recurring revenue is up to 85%:

EA’s mobile portfolio will continue to grow in FY19. In recent years, our mobile games have been some of the most engaging new games to enter the marketplace. We are doubling down in FY19 with two new titles, Star Wars Rise to Power,

The new Star Wars mobile game, will you still be supporting Galaxy of Heroes? Without a doubt.

We discussed the idea of recurring revenues at our Analyst Day two years ago. At the time, about 75% of our net bookings fit into this category. Since then, we’ve continued to push our business in that direction, and our guidance implies that 85% of our net bookings in fiscal 2019 are expected to be recurring. Our drive to greater recurring revenues and cash flow will be fueled by our investments in subscriptions, live services, eSports, broadcasting, and cloud gaming. These are all components of our Player Network strategy, and we look forward to updating you on our progress as we continue to pioneer their adoption.

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Sally Bowls

I followed a link to CNBC discussing EA earnings and was surprised at how much eSports was mentioned.

xpsync
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xpsync

Oh how i loathe EA, but f’ck they make me allot of money. On one hand i’m cynical about the stupidity of peeps, but on the other hand i’m like “wholly shit! really?” whenever i check my stock, lol. I’m honestly baffled how they do it and with such failures and bad publicity, the stock is always so strong. This is the problem with monopolies, but then i check my stock, and like Hell Yeah i love stupid people and monopolies.

xpsync
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xpsync

crap i can’t edit, meh “stupid people” is too strong and factually incorrect.

The reality is, a large percentage of gamer’s actually don’t give a shit, they could literally care less, they aren’t cynical, bottom line they don’t follow gaming news, they just game. those are the peeps i love… and i strive to be more like them, just game and game hard.

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rafael12104

Meh, I think most of us understood your emotional response. :)

xpsync
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xpsync

Thx man! yea i just write and not think too much, lol.

Xijit
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Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

One of the biggest reasons I cut EA slack, despite being assholes, is that they employ more people than any other video game company in the world …

xpsync
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xpsync

And that is a good thing. Great point! So positive.

I was at their campus in Burnaby, BC, about 2 year ago? ish, whatever can’t remember, as a guest not work related, and omfg! No wonder games are so f’ed up when they ship, who could get any work done at Disney Land 2.0?

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

You loathe EA but you are an owner? ehhh…

EA doesn’t resemble a monopoly.

xpsync
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xpsync

I know, i know, it’s not as messed up as it sounds, i buy into things i know and use. Google, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, EA, Activation, Sony, Domino Pizza, Samsung, Spotify, Apple the list goes on. See the theme though, “i know, i use, i buy”, in return i get my money back when i use all these things. Yes i have some in other sectors but i pretty much focus on what is in my life and i know.

That’s the whole key, KNOW WHAT YOU BUY!!! Yep that simple.

I had at one time was buying into etf’s, and companies that looked right, but i had no idea what they do bla bla bla, lost a chunk, so one day i’m like fuck this shit, dumped it all and took this approach. I use it… just slowly over time build your portfolio, heck i’m still building mine, it’s not huge, but whenever i got some to spare, buy something you use and you know, fuck the wait till it drops BS, just buy it and don’t panic if it drops, it always bounces back and then some.

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Arktouros

I don’t know why anyone expected anything different.

Nothing you say matters. At all. All failures like BF2 are to them are learning opportunities on how to do things even better next time. They’re going to quantify and codify your outrage into an algorithm that tells them how to act in the future to maximize profits.

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dinwitt

EA’s interpretation is in line with how the Netherlands ruled on lockboxes (no way to get the money out so not gambling), and arguably in line with Belgium’s standards (no loss condition because you always get the number of items promised).

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Schmidt.Capela

If it was in line with Belgium’s standards, the Belgium Gambling Commission wouldn’t have explicitly said the way lootboxes work in FIFA 18 amounts to illegal gambling which can be punished by large fines and up to 5 years of jail time (and that doesn’t even take into account the possibility of minors playing; those penalties are doubled if it can be shown that minors play the game).

It’s a bit trickier to talk about the Dutch decision because the 4 games considered illegal haven’t been revealed, but if FIFA 18 is among those — as reports suggest — it would mean EA’s interpretation isn’t in line with the Dutch one either.

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Sally Bowls

IANAL nor European, but I have no idea when the “Belgium Gambling Commission” actually matters. I.e., my expectation in America is there are rules for the executive agency and the regulations for its hearings and deliberations. After an executive agency makes a ruling, then it switches to the purvue of the courts. So if the BGC were to publicly rule on June 1st (And I have no idea whether the BGC is hours or years away from a pronouncement.) that X is illegal, then when as a practical matter would that affect EA? 3 years? 5 years? 1? My expectation is that there would be lawsuits. And typically, but not always, in the US enforcement is stayed while the lawsuit proceeds through the courts. So, IDK, one to three levels of Belgium courts would have to rule on it and then perhaps some more European courts. It seems to me a BGC ruling, while quite important, would be closer to the start rather than the end of a long process.

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Brother Maynard

As a general rule, regulatory bodies such as the Belgian Gaming Commission are empowered to take decisions and impose fines directly, i.e. unless challenged, they do not need to wait for a court to enforce a ruling.

All of their decisions can be challenges by the affected entities in the usual legal way (starting with the court of first instance where the entity is based).

As a result, the actual enforcement of a decision can take a long time if all legal means of redress are used (however, the Belgian law in this case does specify the maximum period of five years after the illegal action took place for the decision to impose a fine – so that would be the hard limit, I suppose).

Speaking specifically about this case here, the Gaming Commission has not taken any decision yet. They merely investigated the gamblebox phenomenon in a couple of video games and prepared a report.

So from a legal point of view, we’re still in a preliminary phase and a formal decision (which would then start the clock for all kinds of legal deadlines and rights for each step of the process) is yet to come. Each affected entity can defend itself in front of the commission and can also take the commission to court, which then suspends the effect of the commission’s decision until the final ruling. The process is described here (starting with article 15.3)

Edit: the Gaming Commission only handles administrative fines; any criminal charges (such as the widely reported 5-year prison sentence) would go through the usual channels – royal prosecutor / court.

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Sally Bowls

TY!

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dinwitt

If it was in line with Belgium’s standards, the Belgium Gambling Commission wouldn’t have explicitly said the way lootboxes work in FIFA 18 amounts to illegal gambling

You are right, they didn’t:
https://www.pcgamer.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-are-gambling-wants-them-banned-in-europe/

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rtbf.be%2Finfo%2Fmedias%2Fdetail_non-la-belgique-n-a-pas-qualifie-star-wars-battlefront-ii-de-jeu-de-hasard%3Fid%3D9769751&edit-text=

We have contacted Etienne Marique, the chairman of the Gaming Commission in the House, who completely denies this statement: no conclusions were reached on the ongoing investigation in Battlefront II and Overwatch.

The whole thing was more of a request for additional funding than an indictment of the listed games.

On the side of the Belgian Gaming Commission, Etienne Marique explains that this link between money and online games is a problem that has been identified for several years, and that the Gaming Commission would like to see its competences enlarged in order to become the Commission of to better analyze these phenomena.

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Brother Maynard

I pointed out two weeks ago that there were inconsistencies between the different press releases and their language versions, resulting in confusion. The widely circulated PR was not the one released by the Gaming Commission itself (which was actually very brief), but by the Belgian minister of justice – who also provided two press releases (French and Dutch) which differ in some important aspects.

Google translate is a good tool to get a general understanding of the article, but should not be used to make firm conclusions. Even in case of the article you linked there are incorrect or misleading bits and some words are missing altogether.

As for the “request for aditional funding”, this is is a bit of an oversimplification. Etienne Marique calls for a re-definition of their role to change from overseeing ‘games of chance’ to ‘games’ in general. Just fyi – all three official Belgian languages refer to the commission as ‘Commission for the games of chance’; only the English translation uses the much broader title “Gaming Commission’.

This change would then obviously include all gaming, including online video games. And since nowadays, the line between video games and gambling is very blurry indeed, it would be a much needed change.

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Brother Maynard

arguably in line with Belgium’s standards (no loss condition because you always get the number of items promised)

That is not how the Belgian law defines a game of chance. The actual wording is far more open and – even though it dates back to 1999 – as a result also covers the current gambleboxes:

“a game of chance is any game whereby a bet of any kind that is placed leads to the loss of this bet by at least one of the players, or a win of any kind for at least one of the players or organisers of the game, and whereby chance may even be a secondary element in the course of the game, indication of the winner or determination of the size of the winnings.”

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dinwitt

“the loss of this bet by at least one of the players” – what is the loss in lootboxes?
“win of any kind for at least one of the players or organisers of the game” – how do players win at loot boxes?
“a game” – are loot boxes even a game? Sure, they’re elements inside a game, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a game in and of themselves.

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Brother Maynard

Win / loss: “If a player pays a certain amount for the purchase of a loot box, then the player’s loss will consist of the value of the wager minus the value of the obtained item. Therefore, even though developers and distributors maintain that the obtained items in loot boxes have no value, the amount of the wager will constitute an integral loss for the player and an integral win for the distributors and game developers.”

Btw, when talking specifically about the findings of the Belgian Gaming Commission: it can be a win of any type. This includes any advantages that you cannot get if you did not buy a gamble box.

Game: “A game activity entails either a competition between multiple players or the achievement of a specific result by a single player. Playing against machines is also eligible here. In this case, the player is playing against the game manufacturer. The result determines the win or loss.”

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dinwitt

Thank you. I assume you are going into the report and finding these and I appreciate that effort.

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Brother Maynard

Correct. The report has been finally published and yesterday the Gaming Commission also published its English translation.

You can find the whole document here, it’s an interesting read.

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dinwitt

Its not loading for me right now, but that’s probably just my work’s network being itself. I’ll take a look at it tonight when I take a break from Dauntless.

A bit of commentary before then, the broadness of their definition of gambling bothers me. Depending on what qualifies as a bet, this could be twisted to apply to all sorts of games. Also, I think that a lot of people have a word other than game for an activity where the players have no chance to win, but that’s a discussion for another topic.

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Schmidt.Capela

“We don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack, and secondly we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money,”

Either he is an idiot or he is willfully trying to mislead investors about the risks of government regulation. The number of items in each lootbox plays no role, at all, in the findings in Belgium and Nederlands that (some) lootboxes are illegal; neither does whether or not items can be cashed out for real money, at least not in Belgium, and apparently also not in the Nederlands (the Nederlands decision appears to be based on whether prizes from lootboxes can be traded among players, regardless of whether they can be exchanged for real money or not).

Also noteworthy is that the Nederlands indicated that even the lootbox schemes that didn’t violate the law were still seen as exploitative and immoral, which suggests there is some political will to further regulate them.

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dinwitt

https://translate.google.com/translate?depth=2&hl=nl&ie=UTF8&nv=1&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=nl&sp=nmt4&tl=en&u=https://nos.nl/artikel/2228041-populaire-games-overtreden-gokregels.html&xid=17259,15700021,15700122,15700124,15700149,15700168,15700173,15700186,15700201

The Dutch Gaming Authority investigated ten popular games with these loot boxes . In four of the games examined, digital prices were sold for euro via external trading places.

Because the prices can be traded, they get an economic value. Players can earn money if they get a rare item. As a result, the games violate the rules of chance.

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Brother Maynard

Either he is an idiot or he is willfully trying to mislead investors about the risks of government regulation.

I’d say he’s using this call as a PR exercise. He knows perfectly well that they can say whatever they want, if their actions make them compliant with law the regulators obviously won’t take any action against them.

So in the end EA will comply with the law where it needs to, while it will publicly stick to their old record hoping it will strengthen – or at least maintain – their position in the rest of the world.

When ESRB or whichever entity it is asks them about lockboxes and gambling, they will simply show a long history of their firm belief that everything is perfectly fine.

Do something (covertly if possible and only where necessary) and claim the opposite, deny everything, etc. – it’s been a cornerstone of politics for millennia.

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Greaterdivinity

And they basically leaked how poorly Xbox One is doing compared to PS4 in sales : / Microsoft needs to up their game in a big way.

I just hope Anthem doesn’t underwhelm and EA doesn’t screw up the monetization. Looking forward to the next Battlefield too, BF1 was great fun and that new gameplay mode (bite sized operations) coming in June looks like it’ll be more good times.

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Jack Pipsam

Yeah I saw that.
I bet Phil Spencer is not happy EA spilled those beans right before E3.

It was always figured by many Xbox One was in the 35-45 million mark roughly, but if it’s truly more around 30-35 then it’s not hard to see why they don’t go giving exact numbers anymore.

Of course for as long as they’re making money then it’s not dire, but it’s certainly a bad look.

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Sally Bowls

re “around 30-35” – especially since EA said “Nintendo Switch is expected to have built an installed base over 30 million by the end of the calendar year.”

Hold on, the call did say “Microsoft and Sony to continue to be strong, with the installed base growing to 130 million consoles by the end of calendar 2018, from 103 million at the end of calendar 2017.” I missed the 30-35; what was that?

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Greaterdivinity

Basically by giving total numbers we can extrapolate the Xbox One sales. We know that Sony has roughly 80M consoles sold based on their own comments, which leaves a little bit over 30M for Xbox Ones to fill that gap.

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Sally Bowls

Thx! I don’t follow the console wars much.

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Greaterdivinity

Console wars are dumb, but the business side of things is interesting…at least I think it is because I’m a nerd and shit.

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Sally Bowls

I agree.

And here there are two interesting sides: On one hand, Sony clearly seems to have won, selling over double the XBox numbers. OTOH, Sony is high on my list of “companies that can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” (I can remember when Sony was the only TV I would buy.) And Microsoft is high on my list of “companies that use vast financial resources to relentlessly, eventually turn bad products into not-great-but-good-enough-to-win products.”

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Jack Pipsam

The outside context of Sony v Microsoft is certainly interesting.

I don’t know if this is still the case, but Sony was in big trouble not long ago. They were losing money hard and for a time PlayStation was the only division in the entire corporation which made a profit. Sony’s growth relied on the success of the PlayStation 4.

Meanwhile the Xbox really doesn’t seem too impact Microsoft that much. If the Xbox is a great success, whatever. If the Xbox is a bit of a disappointment, whatever. There was a period even when Xbox was doing great that there was talk of selling the division off.
But they won’t because what matters to Microsoft is that they have it, they have presence in the space and that it helps boost up their main baby, Windows. Also that they have an entertainment vessel of some kind. An experimentation base, Kinect apparently will live on in some way beyond gaming now.

In an isolated view the PlayStation 4 is dominating and Xbox is struggling. Take a step back and Sony has everything to gain or lose riding on the back of the console while Microsoft doesn’t rely on it at all which removes some of that pressure internally.

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Sally Bowls

I agree. (Well I think a majority of Sony sales were its Japanese insurance company but yes PSx was doing so much better than phones, TVs, etc. Some analysts were valuing Sony’s electronics business at $0.)

Strategically, I think Sony saying you can’t play on PC and Microsoft facilitating it has to help Microsoft. IMO, Sony and Valve are going to find out how powerful the Microsoft (and Facebook for that matter) store is.
http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-store-taking-5-cut-of-all-apps-2018-5
While Video games aren’t eligible for this new rate, Microsoft could change that. Microsoft will soon take only a 5% cut of all revenue from the Microsoft Store, the app store built into Windows 10.Google and Apple typically take 30% on their own app stores.

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Sorenthaz

Xbox One has always been struggling it seems. They’re trying to bank heavily on exclusives like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay, and Crackdown 3 this year via their Xbox Game Pass and are pushing hard for crossplay between Windows 10 and XB1.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, they stumbled out of the gate and never seemed to find their footing, or even seriously try to. Their lack of big exclusives continues to hurt them badly.

Sea of Thieves was mad hype but seems to have landed with a bit of a “thud”. Not a failure, but not a smash hit. State of Decay is looking good too, but it’s not the kind of major first party title that’s going to drive huge unit/hardware sales (it’ll be on PC like Sea of Thieves, too). Crackdown 3…yeah, that’s basically dead in the water given how long it’s languished in development hell. You don’t show a game at E3 for 3+ years and have it end up being a smash hit, usually.

Apparently the next Gear is going to be announced at E3 thanks to a leak from Walmart Canada, but honestly at this point in the generation if they don’t have a ton of hot exclusives deep in development they need to cut their losses and prep for next gen. Anything that starts up won’t be ready until near the end of the generation when it won’t be able to have much of an impact. And I really hope that they do, because I want to see them be a serious competitor/threat to Sony to continue to force Sony to push the envelope. Sony is killing it with their exclusives, but they’re definitely resting on their laurels in other regards.

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Sorenthaz

Sea of Thieves’ biggest problem is that it has an identity issue and people don’t know wtf the game is meant to be. On one hand you’ve got super repetitive/grindy PvE gameplay loops, on the other you’ve got PvP that can easily steamroll everything due to the lack of consequences/risks involved in it. There’s no real reason to be social unless you want to be, so stories of people being friendly/etc. is rather rare. It’s up to the devs to put out more content/systems reflective of what they want this game to be like, because right now it’s pretty much devolved into just another PvP game that’s sort of like a mega-casual DayZ with pirates. That’s pretty much the best way to explain what it’s turned into.

If it’s going to just continue to be a PvP primary game where PvE lures in suckers to give content to PvPers, it’s not going to live very long. That cannibalistic nature is already present in the community and a lot of folks have left in droves because of how toxic/hostile things have devolved to.

State of Decay 2 looks cool for those who enjoyed the first one, but that’s… kind of it. Multiplayer sounds bare bones and like they decided to play super safe with it, which strikes me as odd when this was the company that had aspirations to turn State of Decay into an MMO eventually… it’s basically just “I’m dropping in a character to help out” co-op and it has tethering active. I’m sure it’ll be great for what it is but co-op was supposed to be one of the big new features and instead everyone’s just saying “oh think of it as a singleplayer game and it’s just a new optional thing to play”, ignoring the fact that the reveal trailer made it sound like co-op was one of the biggest new things for it.

Crackdown 3 is sorely needed imo because it’s been a long while since we’ve had any good super-powered sandbox stomping grounds. Saints Row 4 was the last good one iirc, unless a new Infamous game was released on PS4. So hopefully that doesn’t turn out to be a disappointment.