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1 Day, 5 Titles, Game Changing Updates

1 Day, 5 Titles, Game Changing Updates

One summer day shook the world of video games to its core. Yesterday, 7/24/18 didn’t bring along a major release but it did offer game changing updates to major titles and a controversial one as well. No Man’s Sky, Overwatch, Fortnite, GTA Online, and Metal Gear Solid 5 all received impressive, game changing updates, all on the same day.

Some of these games are years old but continue to flourish as game changing updates continue bringing new, fresh content to gamers around the world. The video game industry is changing and now an update can create the same or even more excitement than a brand new video game release.

Fortnite Birthday Patch

Everyone loves cake and now Fortnite players will be able to celebrate Fortnites 1st birthday by finding cakes around the island. Each birthday challenge completed will unlock a “slice” of the birthday cosmetic set. Playground mode is coming back today, Wednesday, July 25th as well. In Playground mode, new team select options are being added so friends can squad up and organize team battles for fun, training or practice. The compact SMG, the newest Battle Royale weapon has also been added. 

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Cake Cake Cake Cake Cake

Save the World mode is receiving a new, #Fortnite1st special in-game quest line. The reward for completing it will be “Birthday Brigade Ramirez”. Players will also be able to find and eat birthday cakes to earn tickets which they can spend on a limited time Birthday Llama. Along with the birthday celebrations, Save the World players will be able to venture into the desert of Canny Valley and explore Thunder Route 99. New story, secrets, and environments await!

No Man’s Sky NEXT

Over two years after its release, No Man’s Sky is much closer to the game the developers first promised.

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No Man’s Sky is back in a big way!

No Man’s Sky NEXT brings with it a variety of game changing updates, including weekly content and community events. They are free for all players and requires no microtransactions. Explorers will take part in these community missions to unlock rewards and customizations. People will also be able to interact with Xbox One Mixer streamers by modifying gameplay. Now, for even more game changers…

  • The previously announced multiplayer features and third-person mode are live.
  • All main resources have been reworked to increase realism.
  • Planetary resources have been expanded. Unique substances and items are determined by the planet’s biome, atmospheric conditions, and stellar classification.
  • Pack up deployable tech in your inventory.
  • Crafting has become more robust, allowing for buildable refineries to convert raw substances into valuable materials.
  • Unique procedurally generated tech to update the Exosuit, Multi-Tool and Starships have been added.
  • Players can excavate buried runes, find hidden treasures and turn salvaged components into raw base parts with the Terrain Manipulator and Blueprint Analyser, respectively.
  • Creatures will take on a more realistic feel and act more natural, herding together, grazing and fleeing from danger.

Overwatch New Character

The 28th hero has been added to the Overwatch roster. Hammond, aka “Wrecking Ball” is now available to play on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. This adorable hamster is a rolling and swinging, ball of death. Overwatch embraced its wackiness with this unique character and the community is loving every second of it. Take a look at what makes this unique character so deadly and adorable in the video below.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain  

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Make some noise for Quiet!

Three years after its release, Metal Gear Solid V releases a brand new patch. The multiplayer mode received its first update in a year. New weapons, gadgets and difficulty missions have been added, too. Fans of the series will also be happy to hear gamers can play as Quiet to infiltrate FOB missions as well as having access to additional difficulties.

GTA Online: After Hours

Rockstar Games brought the world of Grand Theft Auto V, GTA Online: After Hours. The most profitable entertainment product of all time is giving gamers the chance to create their own entertainment for the crime-ridden online world.

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Criminal Clubbing!

  • Run missions to secure bar and security staff, equipment and resident DJ.
  • Acquire your Nightclub Warehouse where players can manage all current businesses and expand your criminal empire.
  • Turf wars take on a new light with Business Battles. This is a first-come-first-serve opportunity for business owners, MCs and Organizations to steal “product” for their personal gain.
  • GTA Online: After Hours is also bringing seven new vehicles to Grand Theft Auto 5.

One day brought game changing updates to five titles. Years after their release, these games continue to be supported by developers, entertaining fans and expanding their universes.

The video game industry has gone through some interesting changes over the past few years. “Games as a service” has dominated the industry and the community is torn over how they feel about the business model. However, one undeniable benefit of this model is that the games people love continue to evolve and that seems to have gamers excited.

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We Happy Few Will Release In Australia

We Happy Few Will Release In Australia

Australia has incredibly strict censorship laws, especially when it comes to video games. We Happy Few was the most recent video game to face the Australian Classification Board (ACB). This game was at risk of becoming unavailable to Australian audiences when it’s released on August 10th, 2018. 

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The ACB released a statement last week announcing that they would reconsider their initial ruling of completely banning the game. News broke yesterday (7/3/18) that We Happy Few would receive an R18+ rating instead of being completely banned from the country. This all comes after their decision in May where the ACB said the game incentivized drug use. A made-up drug called “Joy” is a primary plot point in the game and that was considered to cross a line.

“A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game We Happy Few is classified R18+ (Restricted) with the consumer advice Fantasy violence and interactive drug use,” read the official statement from the Classification Review Board. 

History of Australia’s Video Game Censorship

Banning video games in Australia was a much more common occurrence before 2011. Before then, Australia could only rate video games up to MA15+ (similar to T in the United States). R18+ was reserved only for film, and video games with similar content would be completely banned from the country as the appropriate classification wasn’t available. In July and August of 2011, the Australian Attorneys-General finally opened up the R18+ rating for video games as well.

Some Games Banned In Australia Over The Past 10 Years

  • Dark Sector
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
  • MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
  • NecroVisioN
  • Omega Labyrinth Z
  • Risen
  • Saints Row IV
  • State of Decay
  • Shellshock 2: Blood Trails
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Syndicate
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
  • Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
  • GTA 5

A Close Call for We Happy Few

We Happy Few almost made it on this list above before the ACB came to their senses and awarded this video game an R18+ rating. Australia takes its censorship extremely seriously. There have been many games like the massively popular Left 4 Dead 2 that were initially banned from the country, but only after a highly edited version of the original game was it made available. 

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Since the R18+ rating began covering video games, Australian audiences have been granted access to some of the most popular titles on the global market. This was arguably the most important development in the Australian video game industry in the past 10 years. Especially now, as video games become more realistic, there’s no telling which hits would have never made it to the massive island country. 

Gigamax Games played the alpha of We Happy Few before the substantial updates the game received over the past year. This interesting universe was a colorful world filled with mystery and imagination. Gamers in Australia would have missed out on a potentially incredible adventure if the R18+ rating still didn’t cover video games.

Watch Gameplay of We Happy Few Early In Its Development

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Celebrating 40 years of Space Invaders with Gigamax

Disclaimer: Gigamax Games has no relationship with Taito’s Space Invaders.

Taito’s Space Invaders, the classic arcade game just celebrated its 40th birthday. Releasing in 1978, it influenced countless games and the gaming industry in general since its inception. This was the first game that created its very own world rather than simulating an environment from the real world. It also introduced the concept of a high score and multiple lives.

Celebrating 40 Years of Space Invaders

Space Invaders quickly became the most popular game in arcades worldwide after its global release. 40 years later, it’s hard to find a gamer that hasn’t played or at least heard of the game. A staple of arcade gaming, any fan of this classic title might want to take a trip to Japan to celebrate.

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The publisher is celebrating this momentous occasion in an over the top way. Hosting a limited time event in Japan, Taito created a massive version of the game where up to ten players can work together to fend off the alien threat. Named, Prepare…for Space Invaders Gigamax!, this celebration caught the attention of Gigamax Games for a couple of reasons.

Bigger, Brighter, Gigamax

Huge fans of the game, the Gigamax Games crew was shocked to hear this limited time event was actually named, “Prepare… for Space Invaders Gigamax”. If anyone forgot, the name of this website is GigamaxGames.com.

The event is a limited edition attraction, located southwest of Tokyo at the Laguna Ten Bosch resort in Gamagori, Japan. Each game costs players around $4.50 USD or 500 yen. The massive display will only be available to try through July so if anyone wants to give it a try, the time to book a trip to Japan is now. It is uncertain what the future holds for Space Invaders Gigamax but with any luck, this celebration won’t be the last time gamers see Gigamax on the big screen.

For more information on this special event, an official website is available in Japanese. Google Translate will help but doesn’t translate the pictures. 

Also, have you heard about WoodyPlays? Our friends over at Woodstock Productions created a brand new gaming news site! Take a second to check it out.

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Mid-Tier Summit: Another Step Forward in the World of eSports

Mid-Tier Summit: Another Step Forward in the World of eSports

Long Island, NY’s Mid-Tier Summit is an event organizer which hosts eSports tournaments for a wide variety of games including but not limited to, Super Smash Bros., Dragon Ball FighterZ, Street Fighter V, and Call of Duty WWII. At the beginning of June, the company announced their next step forward into the world of eSports. The company has founded their very own eSports team. President and Lead Tournament Organizer, Alex handpicked each individual that would be taking a spot on the new Mid-Tier Summit eSports team.

Team Members include:

  • AfroThunder
  • Swool Cthulhu
  • Stride – @MTS_Stride
  • Gingy – @MTS_Gingy
  • And President and Lead Tournament Organizer himself, Alex – @Holc55

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CEO of Mid-Tier Summit, Joe had this to say about the company’s new eSports team, “Since the inception of this company, it has been our vision at Mid-Tier Summit not only provide world-class tournaments, but also world class players to challenge the competition. This has been something my business partner Alex has always been exceptionally passionate about, and Alex took the time to hand-select every player that has joined our team. He has really put together a special group of players, and I am really excited to watch them show the world what Mid-Tier Summit is all about.”

Gigamax Games has been following and attending Mid-Tier Summit events since August of 2017. Since then, they have continued to impress the Long Island, NY competitive gaming community. Their events, their prizes, and the company has continued to grow. The future looks bright for the video game tournament organizers and now, eSport team owners.

MTS – Smash at the Cradle (August 2017)

Based in Long Island, NY, Mid-Tier Summit is an event organizer and now eSports team owner. Hosting a variety of tournaments, the company has an exciting year lined up. For more information on Mid-Tier Summit and news about the incredible team, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and keep up with all the action on the Mid-Tier Summit community page on Gigamax Games.

Epic Makes Big Announcement Concerning Competitive Fortnite

Epic Makes Big Announcement Concerning Competitive Fortnite

Epic Games recently showed off their latest plans regarding competitive Fortnite. The developer officially revealed that they will provide $100 million in various prize pools for the 2018-2019 season. They clarified this in a small blog post where they shared their thoughts on making competitive Fortnite along with the overall experience of playing and watching the game more inclusive.

“We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different,” Epic Games explained. “We plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.” (https://bit.ly/2IwOWJM)

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More details on how the tournaments will be structured and the platforms they have planned will be revealed in the weeks ahead. (We will be sure to offer an update whenever the company shares what its plans are.)

That’s Big Money

According to the website E-Sports Earnings, the $100 million that Epic Games plans on dishing out more than doubles the $38 million in total prize money that Valve had given out for all of the Dota 2 tournaments that were held through 2017. Valve’s biggest Dota 2 event, The International, paid out what was once the biggest prize pool in gaming history with an astounding $25 million for the one event. To compare another ultra-popular game, Blizzard’s first Overwatch Tournament only has a prize pool of 3.5 million for its entire season.

Fortnite brings in almost $1 million a day from just the mobile version of the game and according to analysts, the PC and console version both make more money than that in a single day. The game may be free, but the industry is quickly embracing the trend of charging for cosmetics that have no impact on gameplay. Most developers see this as a fair revenue source that makes their game both competitive and profitable.

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Epic Games currently has a competitive Fortnite competition planned for E3 2018, where celebrities and players will play Duos together.

In other news, Fortnite just received another big update that finally added the long-awaited jetpack into the game. This is shortly after the game’s latest limited time mode, Solo Showdown, which was a competitive version of Fortnites’ famous solo mode. For more information on competitive Fortnite, be sure to keep checking back with GigamaxGames.com!

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Indie Game Publisher Devolver Digital Returns to E3

The indie game publisher behind many beloved titles in the indie genre such as Hotline Miami, Enter the Gungeon, Shadow Warrior, and Broforce, will be making their way back to E3 this year. Devolver Digital announced that the company would host another press briefing at E3 2018 and it sounds about as crazy as most of the games that they produce.

Indie Game Publisher Devolver Digital Returns to E3 2018

Devolver’s “Big Fancy Press Conference” as they have taken to calling it, will be broadcast live on Twitch, Sunday, June 10th at 8 PM PT / 11 PM ET. The company claims that the conference will be held in the Dave Lang Memorial Convention Center, which is not an actual venue. The event’s description is very strange, but it befits Devolver’s love of the weird.

“This year’s Big Fancy Press Conference will feature real, actual game reveals and technological innovations from Developer Labs, the research and development arm of Devolver Digital responsible for last year’s Earliest Access program and making ‘throwing money at the screen’ a valid form of payment. There will almost certainly be blood, possibly loss of life.” (https://bit.ly/2kcWcMi)

Devolver Digital

Hotline Miami

Devolver Digital said to expect this year’s briefing to be a complete “Dumpster Fire.” The company added that fans may want to re-watch their insane briefing from last year so that they’re completely up to date on what Devolver has called “Devolver Digital Press Conference Universe (DDPCCU) through the blatant reuse of jokes and vague callbacks to the original. Pray for us.” (https://bit.ly/2rWA519)

E3 2018 Is Almost Here!

E3 2018 is set to take place between June 12th-14th in Los Angeles, California. Although, the first briefing of the conference will take place on June 9th, with a show from Electronic Arts. The conferences will continue through Tuesday with shows from big names like Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and Ubisoft. For a full list of special events and conferences check out the E3 2018 website.

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Indie Developers Feeling The Pressure

Indie Developers Feeling The Pressure

Indie games are rising in popularity but the market is becoming saturated with AAA titles, other indie games, and now even video games in-between these two categories. These indie developers are left scratching their heads, wondering how they can make any kind of impact in an industry that’s overwhelmed by all these games releasing at such an impressive pace.

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In the wake of Cliff Bleszinski’s studio, Boss Key Productions closing their doors after three years, the video game industry is paying close attention to this massive misstep. Boss Key Productions’ independently released, “Radical Heights”, failed to make up for the financial void their previous release, Lawbreakers left behind. When a studio led by such a prominent name in the video game industry can close after three short years because of one major failure, indie developers worry if there is any room left in the market for them.

Both a Blessing and a Curse

Indie developers may face shoestring budgets but this is both a blessing and a curse. Development might take longer and the resources they have are limited but one failed game might not sink an indie studio. Boss Key Productions had 65 employees as of September 2017, whereas Studio MDHR, the developers of the indie hit, Cuphead has 15. These smaller developers have much more room to experiment with ideas, fail and bounce back, and remain agile when compared to larger studios.

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Even with the benefits of being an indie studio, the indie market isn’t immune to over saturation. A recent report from SteamSpy’s Sergey Galyonkin showed there were an incredible 7,696 games released on Steam in 2017, up from 4,207 in 2016. This is making it challenging for indie developers to find a spot for their games and get the recognition some of them deserve. Still, time and time again, an indie game will pop up and make waves worldwide just like Cuphead mentioned above or even Illfonic’s Friday The 13th: The Game. Yet, as the video game industry continues to mature, the fear remains that these independent developers might be pushed out of the market by not only AAA developers, but the massive increase of indie games making their way to both consoles and PC.

The Double-Edged Sword

In a previous article on Gigamax Games titled, “The Best Time For Indie Developers” it took a different view on the current state of the industry. Focused on the technologies available and range of marketing methods at indie developers disposal, on one hand, things are looking up for these creators. Now with a studio like Boss Key Production closing their doors, it’s a stark reminder that even having the resources, technologies, big names, and capabilities to create a game like Lawbreakers or their independently publish Radical Heights at the height of Battle Royales popularity isn’t enough to turn a small studio into a major player within the video game industry.

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One thing is certain, the video game industry in its current form is still relatively new and figuring itself out. The popularity of indie games is growing exponentially but all this uncertainty surrounding the market may steer would-be amazing indie creators away from releasing their games to the world. However, when quality content is released to the world, people will notice. Indie games aren’t going anywhere any time soon as they continue to find their place, but Gigamax Games will be keeping a close eye on the market to see how this sector continues to progress.

Are You an Indie Developer?

Are you an indie developer? Let us know your impression of the current indie game scene and if you have a game, post it in the comments below so the Gigamax Games crew can give it a try!

If you’re an indie developer struggling to break into the market, Woodstock Productions might be able to help!

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EA Reacts to European Regulators Classifying Loot Boxes as Gambling

EA Reacts to European Regulators Classifying Loot Boxes as Gambling

Electronic Arts’ responded to select regulatory bodies in Europe now classifying loot boxes as gambling. The discussion took place during the conference call where EA released Q4 and fiscal year 2018 results. EA is notorious for including, sometimes seemingly malicious, loot boxes in their games. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the most recent loot box controversy that the gigantic game company stirred up and the latest announcement by countries like Belgium could put this relatively new revenue stream for video game developers in jeopardy.

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Belgium had a complete ban on “games of chance” since 1999 until 2010 when illegal games of chance began getting out of control. The Gaming Commission was instituted to regulate any games they considered to be gambling. The Belgian Gaming Commission reviewed a total of four games, Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch, and CS:GO and found all but Star Wars Battlefront 2 were classified as “games of chance”.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 removed their loot boxes during the investigation, which avoided any backlash over the game that brought about so much hate from the entire gaming community.

The Double-Edged Sword

EA’s products weren’t the only games mentioned in the investigation but EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson still felt compelled to make a statement during the call. He stated, “We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards. We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.” https://bit.ly/2rt7dwg

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The company is putting on a strong face for investors as FIFA Ultimate Team is still incredibly profitable. However, losing out to a market like Belgium could have a bit of an impact on their earnings. With a population of a little over 11 million, it can be compared to losing out on a market with the same population as the state of Pensylvania. 

The Battle Isn’t Over

EA has a global reach and isn’t expected to give up without a fight. Gamers and governments all around the world have recently been contemplating if loot boxes are a form of gambling. Before more European countries follow suit and classify loot boxes as gambling, EA will need to aggressively campaign in order to convince global policymakers that what they’re doing is different than a trip to a casino.

Microtransactions and loot boxes are a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are companies like Blizzard that use loot boxes for their massively popular first-person shooter, Overwatch. Blizzard is able to release free DLC’s and consistently support their creation because of the steady revenue generated by their loot boxes. On the other hand, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and their original loot box system that was essentially “Pay to Win” for multiplayer. This blatant money grab threw the gaming community into an uproar, and for a good reason. Gamers don’t want to put their time into a game, only to be trampled online because a person dumped extra money on loot boxes. 

There’s no telling what the future will hold for loot boxes but this is a monumental development for the gaming community around the world. Gigamax Games will keep an eye out for any more news on this battle against loot boxes and what this means for the video game industry as a whole.

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Video Game Hall of Fame Inducts Four More Titles

Video Game Hall of Fame Inducts Four More Titles

The Strong Museum’s “World Video Game Hall of Fame” added four more games to their collection of titles that have made a monumental impact on the industry and have served to influence the games we have today.

An Impressive Start

To start off, Spacewar!, which many consider the first video game ever to be created, is now part of the Video Game Hall of Fame. This title was initially created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was playable on the PDP-1 minicomputer, while Spacewar! was never commercially sold, it moved many to consider using computers to create a new type of game that had never been seen before, according to the Strong Museums’ Jon-Paul Dyson. The other inductees include the classic football game John Madden Football; one of the first action-adventure titles, Tomb Raider; and the JRPG loved by many, Final Fantasy VII.

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These four games came from a pool of various other considerations for the Video Game Hall of Fame. The other games that were up for a spot were Asteroids, Call of Duty, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, King’s Quest, Metroid, Minecraft, and Ms.Pac-Man.

The games are recognized for a number of different criteria, such as icon-status, longevity, geographical reach, impact on design and development of other games, pop culture, and society. A full list of all the different criteria can be found on the Museum’s website.

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This group of games is the fourth installment of inductees that the museum has had. A full list of the existing inductees is available at the bottom of this article. All of the titles are currently on display at The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York.

2018 World Video Game Hall Of Fame Inductees

  • Spacewar!
  • John Madden Football
  • Tomb Raider
  • Final Fantasy VII

Previous World Video Game Hall Of Fame Inductees

  • Donkey Kong
  • DOOM
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Pac-Man
  • Pokemon Red and Green
  • Pong
  • The Sims
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Space Invaders
  • Street Fighter II
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Tetris
  • World of Warcraft
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Ubisoft Fends off Vivendi’s Hostile Takeover

Ubisoft Fends off Vivendi’s Hostile Takeover

The French game publisher Ubisoft,  well known for games like the Assassin’s Creed franchise and the massively popular shooter, Rainbow Six Siege fends off a hostile takeover from Vivendi, integrated content, media, and communications group. Ubisoft and fans are celebrating while Vivendi is forced to address the strategic step back as they pledged to make video games a key pillar of their business.

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Vivendi’s two-year battle against the founders of Ubisoft comes to a close. The media group announced they’re willing to sell its 27.3% stake in the in the French video game publisher. Worth over $2.4 billion, Ubisoft made a call to long-time shareholders and new partners to help the publisher buy back the stocks. However, with an initial investment of 750 million Euros (around $919 million US), Vivendi walked away with a massive profit.

Ubisoft Breathes a Sigh of Relief 

“The evolution in our shareholding is great news for Ubisoft,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. “It was made possible thanks to the outstanding execution of our strategy and the decisive support of Ubisoft talents, players, and shareholders. I would like to warmly thank them all. The investment from new long-term shareholders in Ubisoft demonstrates their trust in our future value creation potential.” http://bit.ly/2ps0QJo

Even though Ubisoft is a butt of a lot of jokes throughout the gaming community, they have progressed in an amazing way. Constantly restructuring and making a point to address community feedback has taken them to new heights. 

New Friends and Money

This decision to end the hostile takeover actually opened up even more opportunities for the publisher. Tencent, Chinese internet conglomerate is one of the major new parties who is helping Ubisoft out of the massive financial void Vivendi left behind. Tencent is well known for their work on major titles including League of Legends, Fortnite, PUBG, and Clash of Clans. They also recently spearheaded the release of the mobile PUBG game that released in China and holds a 48% stake in Epic Games.

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“The new strategic partnership agreement we signed [with Tencent] will enable Ubisoft to accelerate its development in China in the coming years and fully leverage a market with great potential,” Guillemot stated. http://bit.ly/2ps0QJo

The decision to align with such a prominent Chinese internet conglomerate has the potential to open entirely new markets for Ubisoft. Western games have a difficult time reaching the massive Chinese audience because of their strict standards. Having a partner that has experience with bringing western games to the Chinese market could be a huge win for the French publisher.

This is sure not to be the end of the big news coming out of Ubisoft. With their new strategic partnership, there’s no telling what’s next for this extremely successful gaming company. The Gigamax Games crew is excited to see Ubisoft stand their ground. The path the publisher has been on in recent years has gamers of all kinds excited about a future where Ubisoft has the final say about the content they release.

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