MMO Business Roundup: Stadia’s bungle, Axie Infinity’s $1.5M in-game property

Plus: DOTA anime, E3 concerns, Habbo's Unity debacle, and Xbox accessibility

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

Stadia: The Google mess just gets thicker, as apparently, developers on Stadia’s internal video games were told things were just peachy right before Google closed the whole thing down and laid everyone off as of last week. “[Stadia] has made great progress building a diverse and talented team and establishing a strong lineup of Stadia exclusive games,” Google VP Phil Harrison told staff in a January memo obtained by Kotaku. But less than a week later, Harrison admitted that Stadia Games head Jade Raymond was out and that Google was pulling the plug on funding. According to Kotaku’s reporting on the company Q&A, Harrison knew the bad news was coming even as he implied otherwise the week before; the blame for the decision has been placed on a range of reasons, from Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethsoft to COVID-19.

Axie Infinity: Your first reaction to “crypto MMO” is probably to make a skeptical face, but this one landed on our radar because of just how much property in the game is going for. According to developer Sky Mavis (via Decrypt), the Pokémon-inspired MMO just saw the sale of a chunk of property for 888 Etherium, which has a value of around $1.5M. It looks like a cute game if you’re into cryptocurrency, anyway.

E3: Former Nintendo boss Reggie Fils-Aimé landed some painful punches on the ESA this week, specifically on its plans for a digital E3. Fils-Aimé specifically calls out the lack of hands-on experiences with debut games, saying it wasn’t “all that compelling.” He also pointed out that if the ESA doesn’t fill the summer gap with E3, someone else – like Geoff Keighley – will.

Netflix: DOTA is apparently the next video game getting an anime TV show thanks to a partnership between Valve and Netflix. It’s called DOTA: Dragon’s Blood and focuses on Davion, the Dragon Knight; expect it to launch March 25th.

Habbo Hotel: Habbo, once a punchline in the MMO industry, has been surfacing quite a bit in headlines the last few months thanks to the demise of Flash and studio Sulake’s attempt to bring the game to Unity. It went so poorly that players protested the messy, slimmed-down, and fee-laden new version, even staging in-game boycotts and walkouts until the studio brought the Flash version back as a downloadable client. Sulake told GIbiz the new client simply wasn’t “ready enough” and addmited that “the last month left a bruise on [its] community.”

Xbox: Finally, Microsoft penned a letter to the industry this week talking up its plans for the future of game accessibility on the platform. “Developers now have the option to send Microsoft their Xbox or PC title and have it analyzed and validated against the recommendations provided in the [updates Xbox Accessibility Guidelines],” the company says, noting that it drew from expert and gamer feedback to form the new guidelines.

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