MMO Business Roundup: Funcom financials, NetEase, Improbable’s BioWare roots, and a real-world battle royale

    
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Welcome back to another MMO business roundup! Business business business!

If you’ve been watching Funcom’s financial reports since 2017 or so, you know that the MMO company is working on multiple games. One of them was teased as an Unreal Engine “cooperative online shooter” with a “premium business model” and the Heroic Signatures IP. But a brief press release this week makes it sound like it won’t be the only Heroic Signatures game in development. No, there is another:

“Funcom N.V. and Games Farm s.r.o., a Slovakia-based game developer, have entered into a partnership to create a new game based on an IP held by Heroic Signatures DA. The game will be developed by Games Farm and published by Funcom, with a release planned to happen during 2021. More information about this game will be revealed at a later stage.”

(Our original post implied the Games Farm game was the same as the shooter – but Funcom clarified to us that it’s not.) Incidentally, Funcom released its annual financial report for 2018 today; it’s not dramatically different from the annual notes in the most recent quarterly report, but it does have slides for (some of) its MMOs and mentions for the rest, which it claims are being “actively developed.”

Remember back in March when SpatialOS company Improbable announced it was taking on game development of its own, starting with a new “internal games studio” headed up by former BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn? Game Informer ran a piece last week interviewing Improbable’s Herman Narula and Flynn himself on just what’s going on over there. Flynn says the game has almost 50 devs and has been in development for half a year already, with several other former BioWare, Ubisoft, and Capcom devs on board too.

NetEase has popped up in the news a lot lately, first thanks to its work on Diablo Immortal and then with its investment into Second Dinner, an indie studio heavily made up of former Hearthstone developers. According to a new interview on GIbiz, that’s by design, as NetEase sees itself as a purveyor of quality indies, porting them from west to east. As it turns out, NetEase’s director of investment was a Hearthstone player himself and had worked with the Second Dinner leads when they were still at Blizzard.

Finally, VG247 has a piece up on a real-world battle royale that a rich person is planning to host on a private island. No, it’s not The Most Dangerous Game; it’s basically a 100-man paintball match with £100,000 in prize money – and £45,000 for the “game designer” who can put it all together for a three-day event.

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Pingly

There’s a point where a game company goes from making games to making business.

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ogged451

Well, I uninstalled SWL last Saturday because of that April 4th date they mentioned in the slide. Funcom didn’t manage to advance the main story for a whole year now, so I’m quite convinced SWL is going nowhere from where it is.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“Finally, VG247 has a piece up on a real-world battle royale that a rich person is planning to host on a private island. No, it’s not The Most Dangerous Game; it’s basically a 100-man paintball match with £100,000 in prize money – and £45,000 for the “game designer” who can put it all together for a three-day event.”

And we shall call it the Fyre Island Festival. Ja Rule is going to help put it together!

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Greaterdivinity

Ja Rule is going to be a part of an all-star lineup of shoutcasters including Blink 182 and more top Billboard artists. All booked by 20something year olds who have no idea how to negotiate contracts and end up grossly overpaying.

But don’t worry, they’ll recoup the costs by asking folks to load up thousands on their “Battle Royal Bracelets” to spend on the 4 star food, including a piece of white bread with some sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise.

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Greaterdivinity

That SWL slide is damn depressing : (

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Bruno Brito

Disgraceful would be a better word.