MMO Business Roundup: Lockboxes, Twitch Korea, and the FTC’s latest MS/ABK merger appeal

This is someone else's problem.

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

The FTC vs. Microsoft and ABK – Surely you didn’t think that “signing the final merger deal” earlier this fall would drive a stake through the heart of the FTC! The agency has finally levied its appeal of the Microsoft Activision-Blizzard buyout, arguing before a Ninth Circuit panel that the district judge who denied the appeal in July had applied too-narrow standards when considering the monopoly potential of the deal. Microsoft, for its part, argued that the FTC’s preferred standard would be absurdly low.

Lockboxes around the world – GIbiz has a fabulous piece out on the state of lootboxes aka lockboxes in the industry as of 2023; Leon Y. Xiao examines lockbox gambling regulation across multiple countries and a few US states too – as well as what’s changed over the course of the last few years. It is still the case that Belgium has the most stringent laws about this type of gambling, though Dutch and Austrian authorities are also still debating the precise definitions of the law. Probability disclosures (aka transparent lockboxes) are required in multiple countries, including China, Taiwan, and soon South Korea, which will likely continue to have knock-on effects in other markets. Unfortunately, Xiao notes that many of the civil cases in the US and Canada are likely to fail, even as companies like Epic settle disputes. “This suggests that some companies might want to put the loot box issue to bed and draw a line in the sand, regardless of any merits the legal arguments may have,” he reasons.

Twitch Korea – Finally, MMO Fallout brought to our attention the news that Twitch has pulled out of South Korea, owing to exorbitant network costs. “[O]ur network fees in Korea are still 10 times more expensive than in most other countries,” the company says. “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country.” Noting the country’s esports obsession, Twitch says that it’ll work with Twitch streamers to move their hosting elsewhere within the country.

Previous articleBook of Travels is totally overhauling its combat system (yes, it has a combat system)
Next articleHawked’s early access on PC is underway with a console crossplay beta this weekend

No posts to display