MMO Business Roundup: Prince Harry vs Fortnite, China’s big thaw, Gamigo’s new acquisition, and industry transparency


Welcome back to another edition of the MMO Business Roundup, random bits of industry news that are interesting but probably not worth their own post, let’s be honest.

So we’ll start with Britain’s Prince Harry, who is apparently on a tear to show how out-of-touch he is. At a mental health event where he was rightly “smashing the stigma that surrounds mental health,” he also lit into Fortnite and social media, singling out the game as bad for children and in need of a ban.

Gamigo’s ambitions apparently don’t stop with its buy-up of Trion Worlds last year: Yesterday the company announced it has bought out WildTangent, a games publisher that is probably best known for that annoying games program stashed on your new Dell or HP computer. The exact amount isn’t disclosed; the press release puts it in the “mid-single-digit million US dollar range,” and the company says it’d “expected to contribute to revenues with a mid-single-digit million US dollar amount in the current financial year and to positively contribute to the gamigo group’s EBITDA from the date of acquisition.”

A bit of good news: Niko (via Gamasutra) reports that nearly 1000 video games have been approved in China since the 2018 freeze was lifted. While Q1 2019 saw fewer games making their way through the bureaucracy than Q1 2018, that’s apparently because China is blocking specific genres of games – including poker and mah-jong, i.e., gambling games. The downside is almost all of those approved are from studios in China, so games like Fortnite from overseas companies are still on hold.

Finally, Variety (via PC Gamer) highlighted psychologist Andrew Przybylski’s GDC talk in March in which he asserts out that the ESA’s self-serving, unscientific response to the World Health Organization’s move to recognize “gaming disorder” last year caused a “circle the wagons moment” for the UN committee. Instead, he argues, the ESA should be encouraging far more proactivity and transparency from its member corporations in order to deflect what even he characterizes as “garbage” research on the topic. Here’s Variety quoting Przybylski.

“So now they’re much more convinced that they were right the whole time and you’re all evil,’ he told the room of game developers. ‘I would have warned you not to do this. […] My piece of advice here is I think you probably all should consider bracing for impact.”

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