MMO Business Roundup: Activision’s Netflix lawsuit, Tolkien’s house, Roblox in China, and more

    
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Welcome back to another quick spin through MMO and MMO-adjacent industry news!

Fortnite – It doesn’t look as if gaming companies are feeling too hopeful about their in-person prospects in 2021. Epic Games announced that it will not be holding in-person events even next year, meaning the Fortnite World Cup will once again be hosted virtually.

SuperData – Black Friday wasn’t as big as anticipated for games market. SuperData says PC spending was up 6% compared to Black Friday weekend last year, but there was a 13% decline in console earnings. The firm attributes that to “unmet demand for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S” as well as funds funneling toward sub services like Xbox Game Pass. “Despite the lower numbers on Black Friday through Cyber Monday, spending on digital games is growing significantly this holiday season,” SuperData says.

Netflix and Blizz – Remember when Activision-Blizzard CFO Spencer Neumann left the company a few years back and immediately jumped to Netflix? Activision is now suing Netflix for poaching Neumann, arguing that Netflix’s actions put him in violation of his contract. Apparently, this has become kind of a thing for Netflix, as two other companies have accused it of doing the exact same thing.

Roblox – According to the South China Morning Post, Roblox will be launching in China under the Tencent banner, having secured a pair of licenses from the government to operate in the region. That oughta boost the IPO.

My.Games – Russian company My.Games has been busy this year; most recently, it’s bought minority stakes in three mobile companies, all based in Belarus: Appyfurious, Purple Games, and AppLife. That’s in addition to the mobile studios it bought stakes in earlier this year. My.Games, of course, is best-known around these part for its stewardship of multiple MMORPGs, including Skyforge and Allods Online.

Momocon – The organizers of Atlanta-based Momocon are running a three-day charity event this week to provide half a million meals to needy folks across the country, including families in Atlana via the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The event will star no less than Cyberpunk 2077’s Director and the Voice Actress of V on the Saturday stream.

Tolkien – Finally, this is on the far edge of our wheelhouse thanks to Lord of the Rings Online, but LOTR fans will want to know that there’s a big push to save J.R.R. Tolkien’s home in Oxford, England. Project Northmoor is raising money to buy the house and establish it as a literary center in his memory. The project has attracted no less than the likes of Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, and Martin Freeman in support. Update: MOP reader PrincessQuill points out that the Tolkien Society has cast some shade on the efforts of Project Northmoor, suggesting that the home wasn’t in need of saving and that the proposed plan would actually close to the building to the public. Maybe hold on to your coin on this one to see how it shakes out.

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PrincessQuill

Just a heads up, Project Northmoor has been raising some eyebrows. Here’s an official statement from the Tolkien Society, who declined to participate in the project and explains why here. https://www.tolkiensociety.org/2020/12/statement-on-project-northmoor/

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Bryan Correll

Looking at the details on Northmoor’s website there are a number of red flags.

From the FAQ

If we are successful in establishing the centre, Tolkien fans will be able to book onto courses and for other short stays at the house. As the house will also be home to those staying there for creative courses and retreats, entry will be by appointment only.

From their fundraising goals:

£4.6m ($6.2MM USD) (For another £100 000) – we could establish a fund for bursaries to help those from a low-income background come to the house for one of the creative courses or special events.

TL;DR – Our courses and events are going to be hella expensive to attend.

£ 4.7m ($6.3MM USD) (For another £200 000) – we could build a hobbit house at the end of the garden.

£4.8m ($6.45 MM USD) (For another £200 000) – we could build a flet in Tolkien’s tree and Smaug’s lair for pipe smokers.

Hobbit house? “Smaug’s lair” for smoking? Now you’re not even pretending to be interested in actual preservation.

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Loyal Patron
George Wilson III

Thanks for the info on the Tolkien house. I will surely donate for that great cause.