MMO Business Roundup: Netmarble’s new CEO, Riot Tabletop, and Epic Games Store’s 2019 numbers

    
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Welcome back to another roundup of MMO industry news that was mildly interesting but not enough to make anyone wanna do it as a standalone post. Just being honest!

Up first, meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss… at Netmarble. This week the Korean corporation announced that Chief Global Officer Seungwon Lee will be taking over as co-CEO of the company with an official appointment in February. Current CEO Young-sig Kwon will apparently stay on as co-CEO. “Kwon will focus primarily on Netmarble’s game business, and Lee will head the company’s overall management and global operations,” says the company, noting that the expansion of global operations is one of its core goals.

Riot Games is likewise continuing its expansion into not-entirely-League-of-Legends territory, most recently the tabletop industry. Riot Tabletop is the company’s new dedicated tabletop division, and its flag ship game will apparently be called Tellstones: King’s Gambit, “a bluffing game with perfect information for 2 or 4 players” characterized as a “Demacian variant of a game played across Runeterra.”

Finally, if you were one of the people who really wanted no challengers for Steam to ever do well, you’re going to be disappointed to learn that the Epic Games Store is doing it in spite of your weird stanning. This week, it announced it’s racked up 108 million users, and though it handed out $23 million in discounts, it also pulled in $680 million over 2019. That’s chump change to Epic Games, of course, but it was always clear that taking on Steam wasn’t an overnight endeavor. Steam, by comparison, counted a billion accounts with 90 million active users last year.

Spy any interesting news you want us to cover? Drop us a note!

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Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I am glad seeing Epic games store having so many users. Unlike most people who complained about this company, I am not selfish and I am glad that it gives developers more choice and better revenue share and it is always up to developer to decide whether to take deal provided by Epic or use other ways so the “exclusivity is bad” complain is invalid when it is being applied to Epic. Of course I am also the kind of person who bought PS4 just because I wanted to play games not available on other platforms and to support developers who make those great games so they would make more great games in future ;-)
Unlike some people I also did not have much issues with the Epic client. Yes, it is still very basic and yes, there are some annoyances like having to redownload whole game library after swapping my SSD but honestly I did not use clients like Steam for anything except downloading and playing games, for all my social needs there is program like Discord which is objectively superior compared to things like Steam friends list or forums since it allows you to find gaming friends and communicate with them across all digital distribution stores.

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Arktouros

Supporting anti-consumer exclusivity deals is actually probably the most selfish thing you could do you. It’s done entirely to remove consumer choice from the equation and eliminate competition. The only reason to purchase into it is because you selfishly wanted to play the game regardless of what impact supporting such business strategies might have on the games industry. That’s perfectly fine, many people do the same thing, but it’s pretty much the definition of being selfish.

Also it’s not up to the developers to decide. In fact it’s been documented previously that turning down an exclusivity deal can lead to Epic Games not offering your game for sale on their platform at all. So it’s either doing business on their terms or not at all. That’s really the main argument people have against Epic Games, the misinformation campaign people are waging on it’s behalf is frankly bizarre in face of the facts of the matter.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Of course it is always up to developer to decide – if Epic refuses to sell your game for any reason then use other store, problem solved.

As for general “exclusivity” BS – I do not know if you read it, but this is an official statement by Epic:

I do not see anything wrong with intentionally providing an OPTION for exclusivity to developers, which Epic say they will eliminate forever if other digital stores will provide developers with bigger revenue share, if it helps the developers to earn more money either way. But once again, I am not selfish and I do like to support developers any way I can if their product is good ;-)

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I’m with almost the same opinion. I’ve enjoyed the free games and even purchased one timed exclusive from them. Also it looks like it’s finally making Valve move forward again, so that’s a bonus.

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Legend Of Vinny T

Finally, if you were one of the people who really wanted no challengers for Steam to ever do well, you’re going to be disappointed to learn that the Epic Games Store is doing it in spite of your weird stanning.

Don’t you think this is a cheap shot at those of us who had expressed our opposition to Epic’s consumer-hostile policies responsibly and mindfully?

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Armsbend

what are the consumer hostile policies?

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Arktouros

I would love for there to be a competitor to steam. Will you let me know when a company actually shows up that is interested in creating a competitive market?

So far Epic has built it’s game store on the back of exclusivity deals. Exclusivity deals are factually not competitive by their very nature. Exclusive by definition means it is only on one platform and therefore two stores can’t compete for sales.

Also Epic does this by buying out exclusives for games by paying game companies for X amount of upfront copies as “guaranteed sales” that they in turn pocket any actual sales for until that amount is paid. So my real question for that “pulled in 680 million for 2019” is does that number include the expenses they paid for game exclusives on their platform? Can’t imagine Borderlands 3 exclusivity was exactly cheap.

Epic Game Store is best described as one billionaire’s hatred project against digital storefronts that want a cut of the action. I’m still waiting on him to create Epic Mobile Store cause Google won’t give his game an exemption either.

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Armsbend

No, that is gross revenue. It could very well be a negative net.

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Greaterdivinity

Like it or hate it, those are impressive numbers for their store. 100M users, even if they were giving away free games, is solid as hell. And while it likely pales compared to Fortnite revenue, over half a BILLION in revenue ain’t bad for their first year either and likely gives them confidence in the stores longterm revenue potential.

Now they’ve got 3 revenue streams – Fortnite (because sadly, Epic doesn’t really make much else anymore), UE licensing, and EGS sales. They’re sitting comfortable, and seem to have more than made up for their earlier stumbles with Paragon etc. All it took was having a mega-hit flooding them with money : P