MMO Business Roundup: EA’s executive compensation, Facebook’s Oculus shenanigans, KRAFTON’s IPO

Plus more on MY.GAMES, Battlefield 4, Tencent, and The Cycle

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

Electronic Arts is still awful: Remember how EA shareholders voted against its compensation plan – by a large majority – in 2020? It’s responded with a new compensation plan, which lowers pay for some executives, though not for CEO Andrew Wilson, who will actually make almost $40M this year, almost twice what he made last year. This is why we can’t have nice things. EA shareholders – who, again, supported last year’s excesses at only a 26% rate – will vote on this proposal in August. Good luck with that.

Facebook is also still awful: Facebook announced this week that it’s testing in-headset ads in its VR devices based on users’ data, basically exactly what everyone said would happen when it began forcing Oculus customers to use Facebook accounts. It was set to partner with Resolution Games and its shooter Blaston, but after the blowback, Resolution Games pulled Blaston out of the test, offering a different free-to-play title instead.

MY.GAMES and mental health: MY.GAMES has announced partnership with mental health charity Safe In Our World. “MY.GAMES was keen to pitch in to help the charity with its long-term objective; eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health to make it a natural topic of discussion and to promote the dialogue surrounding mental health so people are not afraid to reach out for help if they need to.”

Tencent owns everything: Tencent picked up a majority stake in German studio YAGER, which our readers will recall is the company behind the PvPvE shooter The Cycle. Tencent says YAGER will maintain its independence and structure.

Battlefield 4 burgeoning: Well, E3 2021 wasn’t a total dud for one game. Battlefield 4 is apparently experiencing such an influx of players thanks to the reveal of Battlefield 2042 that the game is getting expanded server capacity to help with the new queues.

KRAFTON is weird and rich: Finally, we come to KRAFTON, whose founder, Chang Byung-gyu, is apparently set to be worth almost $3.5B US thanks to the planned IPO debut in July. That’s largely thanks to PUBG, which just released another game promotional episode of Mysteries Unknown – that’s the bizarre faux-documentary starring Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes.

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Greaterdivinity

The BF4 news amused the hell outta me. Saw a lot of the usual snark about BF2042, yet despite folks hating on it we once again have them flocking back to BF4 to prep for the hype.

Reminds me of the old CoD:MW2 image of the boycott group on steam almost all playing it on launch day. Or the CoD: Advanced Warfare trailer from E3 some years back where chat was massively hyped for this sweet looking space game…until the first person combat started and it became immediately apparent it was CoD. The 180 on that one still causes me neck issues from the whiplash.

And that Oculus ad nonsense is exactly why, if I ever do dive into VR, I’ll be getting an “anything except Oculus” headset. But that’s still a ways off for me, the tech has improved by leaps and bounds over the past handful of years but it’s not quite where I’m ready/excited to dive headfirst in yet.

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Arktouros

Most of us pretty much knew that soon as Facebook bought Occulus this was in the inevitable outcome. It was just a matter of time and sure enough a few years later here we are.

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cursedseishi

Yeah, if not for all the… Facebook crap, I might have been tempted to snag the Quest headset myself recently since they’re seen as one of the best VR sets at that pricepoint. But since it was announced way back that Facebook bought them out?

… Yeah, color my unsurprised with this move.

I’m more concerned about developers though, especially smaller ones whose Facebook’s promise of ‘new sources of revenue’ might be rather tempting and needed for. This wouldn’t be the first time Facebook has promised a ‘fresh’ source of income and success and greater reach for companies. And it definitely wouldn’t be the first time they’ve blatantly and knowingly lied and inflated such numbers to make them seem worth it. There’s been lawsuits over inflated #s for ad revenue and reach, there’s been issues with other portions of Facebook’s programs in those same veins (I swear I’ve read about a small group or two having to close shop because of it, but no luck on finding sources for it)…
So I can’t help but worry for those smaller devs who will need that bit of propping up coming in, hearing promises of ‘100k+ Outreach and $-minimums per click’ and what not all ‘practically guaranteed’… only to get less than a tenth of that at their very best for a hot second before it drops sharply off and be ruined because of it.

Because God knows Facebook won’t have any protections or guarantees in case those games under-perform themselves 20 miles into the Earth’s Mantle.