MMO Business Roundup: Tencent, Ubisoft, Rockstar, energy, Creativerse, and Cold Iron Studios


Welcome back to another roundup of MMO (and MMO-adjacent) industry news!

Tencent: Just before Funcom and Tencent announced the Chinese gaming giant was angling to buy up the Funcom stock it didn’t already own, Tencent was busy telling its other subsidiaries that it was aiming to expand away from “video games content and frontiers of science and technology” and putting investment into other industries, including “smart retail and payment platforms.”

Ubisoft: Remember when Blizzard helped police arrest the jerk who kept DDOSing WoW Classic? Ubisoft is pursuing a similar problem with Rainbow Six: Siege DDOSers. In its California lawsuit, the company argues that SNG.ONE is costing it stacks of money as it scrambles to repair the damage to the game and its own reputation.

Rockstar: Taxwatch UK is back with another report sounding the alarm about Rockstar Games’ gross tax relief abuses. According to the watchdog group, Rockstar represents well over a third of the total claims, scored £37.6M in 2019 and £80M overall, and hasn’t paid corporate tax in four years. Rockstar responded chiefly to say it’s created “over 1,000 highly skilled and long-term jobs.”

Energy consumption: MOP reader Wilhelm tipped us off to a new report from the California Energy Commission with stats on energy usage across the state intended to encourage gaming energy efficiency. Though gaming still consumes far less than refrigeration, lighting, air conditioning, and “miscellaneous,” the report notes that “in 2016, California computer gaming used 4.1 terawatt-hours per year of electricity, representing $700 million of annual energy costs and 1.5 million tons carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, or one-fifth of all residential ‘miscellaneous’ electricity use.” A full two-thirds of the gaming use was for consoles.

Creativerse: You may have read this week that Playful Studios has suffered a serious round of layoffs. The company was surely best known for Super Lucky Tale, but it also ran the MMO-esque Creativerse. It’s not entirely clear how that game will be affected long-term, but we understand the cuts to be significant.

Cold Iron: Finally, readers will recall that Cold Iron – that’s the studio run by former Cryptic developers Craig Zinkievich, Shannon Posniewski, and Matt Highison – was working on some sort of Alien-franchise MMOFPS. Cold Iron itself was owned by FoxNext Games, which was the same company that owned FogBank, the studio run by former SWTOR heads including Daniel Erickson. But as MOP reader Agemyth pointed out to us, FoxNext, which was working in both the Marvel and Avatar franchises, was just sold by Disney to a mobile games company called Scopely. The acquisition does indeed include Cold Iron.

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