MMO Business Roundup: ESA’s PAC, mail criming, Steam by the numbers, and Blizzard charity

    
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Welcome back to another quick roundup of MMO- and MMO-adjacent industry news in our first MMO Business Roundup of 2021!

The ESA: The Entertainment Software Association has joined multiple high-profile business and organizations in the US who’ve pulled their funding of political contributions following last week’s Capitol attack spurred on by politicians and pundits. “Given the events and actions that led to the violence at the US Capitol, we are pausing contributions from the ESA PAC as we reflect on the tragedy and our path forward,” the ESA’s statement says. GIbiz identified a slate of Republicans who’d voted in a failed attempt to overturn the Presidential election results and who’d previously received donations from the ESA’s PAC, though the moratorium on donations will apparently affect politicians on the other side of the aisle as well.

USPS: File this one under “comeuppance,” as the US Postal Service employee who spent last spring stealing packages – and gaming consoles – shipped through the mail has been sentenced. The Connecticut US Attorney’s Office announced that the embezzler, who’d already lost his job, will pay $20,000 in fines and serve three years of probation, nine months of that in home confinement. (via Polygon)

Blizzard: Activision-Blizzard raised a few eyebrows yesterday when it announced it had donated over $1.6M US to charity through its Holiday Giving Initiative, “which provided each Activision Blizzard employee with $200 USD (or local equivalent) to donate to a charity of his/her/their choice.” As phrased, it could be taken as a bonus being withheld from employees and redirected to charity, but nope – the employees simply got to decide where Blizzard’s money was donated. Acti-Blizz implies another $3M was donated by Bobby Kotick and the company to other charities.

Steam: Finally, Valve released its annual recap of Steam’s year last night, which probably won’t surprise most of you since we’ve been living with a pandemic for the last year. Gaming time was up by 50%, with 2.6M new folks buying stuff every month. With over 120M monthly active users on the platform, Steam far surpasses PlayStation and Xbox Live. In 2021, the company is working on its Chinese launch, UX improvements, the mobile app, Steam points, Linux, and more.

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And less than a month into 2021 Steam already broke its own concurrent players record with over 25M people simultaneously playing a game on Steam.