MMO Business Roundup: Apple’s Steam subpoena, CCP on the cheap, and Valheim’s 4M


Welcome back to yet another MMO and MMO-adjacent business news roundup – it’s the season for these shenanigans, you know.

Valve and Apple: Remember earlier this month when Apple attempted to draw Valve into the Epic Games legal battle by subpoenaing barrels of data from the Steam giant, including annual app sales and IAP? Obviously, Valve wanted to part of this game and even argued that it was too small a team to dedicate employees to organizing the requested data (good grief), but the judge has ruled in Apple’s favor here. According to Law360 (via Macrumors), the judge has said Valve must turn over the data Apple seeks – but only back to 2017. Apparently, Steam wasn’t the only company under fire here, as the judge quipped that Apple “salted the earth with subpoenas” and that it wasn’t just Valve affected. Huh. (Cheers, Ark!)

CCP Games and Pearl Abyss: We reported on Pearl Abyss’ fourth-quarter revenues earlier this week, noting that the company’s operating revenue was down, partly due to dips in revenue from Black Desert Mobile and EVE Online. The Nosy Gamer dug further, pointing out that these figures actually portend much more for CCP Games than we initially thought, and that’s because Pearl Abyss purchased CCP Games conditionally – the additional $200M (on top of the base $225M) would be paid out only on the condition of CCP’s performance, and CCP did not deliver. It wasn’t so much that EVE Online dropped the ball; it was that CCP released only one of the multiple games in its pipeline over the last few years, and Pearl Abyss would’ve been counting on several others that didn’t make it to market (including Project Nova). All of this is to say that by Nosy Gamer’s reckoning (and we concur), Pearl Abyss got CCP for a song. But what Pearl Abyss (and its now-grumpy investors) really wanted was a big release in 2020 to tide it over until Crimson Desert. (Thanks, Wilhelm!)

Valheim: Finally, the Valheim train just keeps chugging along. The multiplayer game has now sold 4,000,000 copies and racked up over 80,000 positive reviews. My guildies have now set up a server and damn near everyone I know has been sucked into this game. Halp.

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