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Is E3 Getting Old? What Does the Future Hold?

High costs and more effective ways for game companies to spread the word about major announcements could be killing E3. The video game industry is maturing and these events may become a thing of the past.

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Press events like E3, Gamescom, and PAX play a major role in the video game industry. It’s the time of year where even casual gamers spend a little time tuning in to these highly produced conferences to see what’s on the horizon. Events like E3 are a time for gaming companies to make their major reveals, new console announcements or showing off a highly anticipated or completely secret title. However, companies like Sony and Activision have turned to other means to share their news with the gaming community. Nintendo never takes to the main E3 stage and instead holds a Nintendo Direct. E3 is an exciting time for gamers, but the cost and effective alternatives to a massive press conference are becoming more attractive.

E3, or Any Game Conference is Costly

It isn’t cheap for a company to attend E3. In 2017, a large scale E3 booth cost around $6,600 per day and that’s the low end according to Gameindustry.biz. Booth space is only the beginning. At the Game Developers Conference in 2017, a pre-cut 10ft x 10ft carpet cost $191, a simple plastic chair runs $60, and GDC charges $118 per day for electricity (10 Amp/1000 Watts). These were the prices in 2017. As with any event, product, or service, expenses increase over time.

All the prices listed above only include the bare minimum, just a carpet, a chair, and electricity. It still requires a tremendous amount of money to ship equipment or a booth to a conference. Shipping 1,000 pounds of freight through UPS Air Freight can cost upwards of $6,500. Now it’s time to think about hotel rooms for staff, travel, and all the marketing materials adds up quickly. An E3 conference could cost as much as a house. Companies are beginning to question whether the cost is justifiable.

E3 2019 wasn’t quite the same without some of the massive names in gaming. Both Sony and Activision were a no show. Instead, they decided to host streams rather than physically attend the conference. Blogs, social media, YouTube, there are multiple avenues for Sony and Activision to inform their fans. These massive companies were both able to get their announcements out and at the same time avoid the monstrous expense that comes along with attending E3 2019.

Phil Spencer Misses His Friends

Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft came out after E3 2019 and expressed concern about the future for this staple of the gaming industry. He made the point to state that E3 isn’t just about the new releases and company announcements, it’s about the perception of the industry. The World Health Organization classified Gaming Disorder as a recognized disease and E3 is a time to show gaming is beyond just the anti-social kid in the basement. Spencer does have a vested interest in how E3 performs. He currently sits on the board of directors at the Entertainment Software Association, the group responsible for hosting E3 every year.

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As the video game industry continues gravitating toward streaming as a way to communicate with the community, an E3 kind of conference begins to look less and less worth the expense. Nintendo crushed it with their Nintendo Direct. Streaming news costs a mere fraction of a ticket to E3. Of course, smaller companies are at a massive disadvantage. Sony, Activision, Nintendo; these organizations have a pile of money to throw at advertising and already have a huge community.

E3 2019 was always a time to gather around and watch the highly produced press conferences. It’s unclear how long this will last but it’s unimaginable to think E3 and similar events will disappear altogether. Instead, it’s much more likely for big name companies to take a back seat when it comes to attending these conferences. This would leave room for smaller game companies to use the main stage to build their notoriety.

Only time will tell what the future holds for E3 and other large scale gaming conferences. There’s no word about Sony or Activision regretting their decision to sit out of E3 2019. If this trend continues, it may leave room for smaller companies to take their place and reach a worldwide audience. As the video game industry continues to evolve, GigamaxGames.com will continue to watch and report. Be sure to keep checking back for all the latest news, reviews, and gameplay and to stay up-to-date with this ever-changing community and industry.

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Sony Has No Plans To Stop Making Narrative Driven Games

Since the release of live-service games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, many have worried that publishers would start steering away from narrative heavy/story-driven games. This is definitely not the plan for Sony according to Sony Interactive Entertainment president, Jim Ryan.

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Speaking in an interview with CNET, Ryan said that Sony was enjoying the huge success of games like Spider-Man, God of War, and Days Gone. He followed up by saying that fans can expect more of these story heavy games.

Keep the Story Coming

"We've never had greater success with our own narrative-driven, story-based games than we're having right now," he said. "We feel good about that, and it's certainly not a genre of gaming we'll ever walk away from."

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Ryan also acknowledged the rapid growth of live-service games and their contribution to the overall gaming economy, but he pointed out the difficulty in producing one of these titles.

"If you're going to do this you have to do it really well," he said about live service games. "It's a form of entertainment that has to be built incrementally, you can't sort of plunge in and build one of these live service games and get it right from day one. It's got to be evolved and iterated and it's not easy. It's really not easy."

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The next big story game planned for Sony is The Last of Us: Part II, but with Sony not attending E3 this year, it may be some time before fans hear anything about the title.

We here at Gigamax are huge fans of single player story based games and can't wait to see what Sony has planned for the future of the genre. We'll be sure to have plenty of stories covering Sony's plans for the future so be sure to check back with us here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest developments.

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Netflix Teases Appearances at E3 2019

On May 13th Netflix’s Sci-Fi account, @NXonNetflix, posted a Tweet asking E3 for an invitation to the world-renowned gaming conference this year. After being asked what the panel will be called, Netflix responded with “Bringing Your Favorite Shows to Life: Developing Netflix Originals into Video Games”. It’s not yet clear which titles Netflix has plans of adapting into video games but they did ensure there will be more than just the Strangers Things game expected to release alongside Season 3.

Netflix Comes to E3 2019


Shortly after this exchange between E3 and Netflix, Geoff Keighley made the official announcement on his Twitter. Not only did this add fuel to the rumor fire, but it also gave both Netflix fans and the video game community even more reason to anticipate the event beginning on June 11th. Find the full post, below.


Netflix Enters the E3 Coliseum

Netflix will be taking to the E3 Coliseum, the main stage presentation located at LA Live, next to the LA Convention Center. It will be hosted by Geoff Keighley and is a part of ESA and E3’s attempt to bring E3 closer to the public. Netflix is a perfect partner to be involved in the ESA and E3 initiative. Netflix provides entertainment to millions around the world and their appearance at the E3 Coliseum is expected to be just another way of reaching millions more.

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Even though it will be the first appearance for Netflix at E3, this is not their first time creating a video game. They have two unique approaches to making games. The first is a narrative-driven experience like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the second is games for consoles and mobile devices like the Stranger Things games. Knowing Netflix dabbled in both mediums, their E3 2019 appearance can go in a variety of different directions.

Whatever Netflix has planned for the Coliseum, the community will be listening intently. Netflix upended the way people consume movies and television. However, the question remains what they truly have planned for the video game industry in the future.

More news on Netflix’s E3 2019 performance is expected to leak out closer to the event itself. Be sure to stop by GigamaxGames.com leading up to E3 and throughout the event to keep up with all the latest announcements.

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Publisher Behind Payday 2 Starbreeze May Not Last Another Year

The publisher of Overkill's The Walking Dead and Payday 2 may not make it another year according to its Q1 2019 financial report. The report details the company's gross profit as well as its operating profit losses.

Starbrezze

Starbreeze Facing Financial Pressure

As reported by the UK based trade magazine MCV, Starbreeze did not try to hide that they were in a challenging situation. It was revealed that the company would have a liquidity shortfall before the middle of the year if no further funding was secured. This means that Starbreeze would not have enough money to keep the company running.

According to the in-depth look at their Q1 2019 financial results, it showed that their net sales totaled SEK 47.8 million ($4.9 million USD), with Payday 2 making up for SEK 26.7 million ($2.7 million USD), which was an increase from last quarter. Although, Starbreeze's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization showed a loss of SEK 106.7 million ($11.1 million USD), which accounts for more than double the loss experienced in Q1 of 2018.

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The company attributes their decreased earnings "due primarily to lower net sales, higher administrative costs related to the reconstruction and the negative accounting effect of the sale of System Shock 3” amounting to SEK 68.1m ($7.1 million USD).

As for the company's plans to avoid a complete shutdown, the acting CEO Mikael Nermark indicated that his main goal is to secure funding for Starbreeze to avoid this devastating situation.

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“My main task is to secure financing for the company’s future operations,” Nermak said. “This involves both long-term financing we can use to build the Starbreeze of the future, but also making sure that the assets we have determined are unrelated to the core business are managed in a commercially viable way. Once this financing has been secured, we will be able to look ahead and present a more detailed strategy for the future.”

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Posts Impressive Sales Numbers

The latest unforgiving entry made by From Software, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, appears to be a critical and economic success. Activision, the publisher of the title revealed the sales numbers for the game so far, showing that Sekiro has already sold over two million copies.

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Over 2 Million People Love To Torture Themselves

This news is pulled from a post on Activision's website that reveals Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice sold two million copies across all of its platforms including Xbox One, PC, and PS4 in only 10 days. The announcement was also quick to note that the game was sitting at a 90 Metacritic rating across all platforms as well.

Sekiro Pulls an Audience

Sekiro was a massive hit on Twitch as well. It brought in 631 million minutes watched on its launch weekend. In only a week the title went on to be viewed for 1.1 billion minutes.

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Activision's VP of Product Management and Marketing, Michelle Fonseca, was impressed by players love of the game. "The fans have made Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice one of the most incredible game launches of 2019 thus far," Fonseca said. "The game has performed well on all platforms including PC and we’re excited by the continued support from gamers and critics alike. It has been gratifying to see the enjoyment from fans when they overcome each challenge."

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is currently out on Xbox One, PC, and PS4. If you're in the mood for a challenging but rewarding game we highly recommend you check it out! For all the latest on all things From Software be sure to keep checking back with us here at GigamaxGames.com.

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New Tool Will Help Valve Address Steam Review Bombing

Valve has revealed that it's going to reassess user reviews on its digital game market, Steam, in order to ensure developers products are not being review bombed. In a post on the Steam blog, Valve stated that it will now "identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score."

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"We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score," Valve continued. The company admits there's still a bit of a grey area with this definition, so it's developed a tool that "identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible."

After the new tool finds reviews that pose a problem, it will alert Valve who then will launch their own investigation into the matter. If Valve then finds the user reviews are malicious and not real, the developer of the title will be notified that every review within the time period of the review bomb will be removed from the game's overall score on Steam. After all of this, the developer will have to go through the reviews and decide which ones will be deleted.

Steam

Unfortunately, the new tool is unable to make the distinction between a good and bad review so even the real ones will be deleted in this new process. "But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period," Valve wrote on the blog. Negative comments that pertain to DRM or EULA changes will be considered off-topic review bombings.

If developers don't want their game included in the new algorithm, they are able to opt out of the process when putting their game on the Steam Store. The company is also working on a number of new updates for User Reviews but those won't be revealed until a later date.

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Creator of Left 4 Dead Announces New Zombie Survival Title Back 4 Blood

The developer behind Left 4 Dead and Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios, has announced a new zombie co-op shooter that's set to be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Back 4 Blood is said to be a premium Triple A title that utilizes the studios talent at making similar titles while also leveraging new tech to create a better experience on current gen systems.

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Left 4 Dead 2 Screenshot

Have Questions About Back 4 Blood?

Turtle Rock released a faqs page that has some extra details about the game. Although, it never mentions post-launch content or microtransactions, and reinforces that Back 4 Blood is a brand new IP that has nothing to do with Left 4 Dead. It also states that the game will contain a campaign and PVP, but points out that it is not a Battle Royale title.

Some information can be gathered from the way key individuals are talking about the project. The Creative Direct, Phil Robb, said the studio is adding talent to the team and is using knowledge from previous titles on Back 4 Blood. While the Design Director, Chris Ashton, explained that this project has been on the team's mind for quite some time.

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Left 4 Dead 2 Screenshot

"It's hard to overstate what an awesome opportunity this is," Ashton said. "We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over 10 years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains. We also have some of the best teammates in the business at WBIE, who understand our development process and are equally committed to our player-first mentality. We love being able to announce, so we can start working with the community right away."

After making Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock made Evolve which borrowed ideas from the aforementioned title but added a fifth player that took the role of a monster trying to murder their human counterparts. Recently the studio was allegedly working on a new fantasy game for Perfect World, but according to the faqs page that project has stopped development.

Be sure to stick around Gigamax Games as more details become available!

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Nintendo Japan Reveals Typical Employee Salary

Nintendo, a company that has become increasingly transparent with fans over the past couple years, recently offered an inside look into its Japanese workforce. Spotted by industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, the Nintendo of Japan recruitment page delivers some interesting statistics about their employees including average age, salary, length of employment, and more.

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Closer Look at Nintendo Japan

Nintendo of Japan employs more than 2,000 people, and the average age of the staff is 38.6. The typical employee of Nintendo makes $80,000 per year, and has worked for the company an average of 13.5 years. Another interesting statistic is that a typical work day for an Nintendo employee is 7 hours and 45 minutes.


As mentioned above, this information only relates to Nintendo of Japan. The famous company behind Mario, Zelda, and Metroid has subsidiaries around the world including Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe.

It's always interesting to get an inside look at the inner workings of a company, especially for those that are interested in a career working for a major video game developer. Although, it is important to remember that these numbers are simply averages and of course there will be some outliers.

For more news relating to the corporate side of the video game industry, be sure to keep checking back with us here at GigamaxGames.com.

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Farming Simulator 19 Breaks Franchise Sales Record

While it hasn't been for out long, Farming Simulator 19 is already proving to be the most successful game in the franchise. 1 million copies of the game have been sold, counting both digital and physical sales. The press release that announced this big achievement also pointed out that Farming Simulator 19 was released on November 20th, around the same time many major titles were also dropped. 

Farming Simulator: 1 Million Copies, 10 Days

1 million copies sold in 10 days represents a new sales record for the series according to the CEO of Giant's Software, Christian Amman. "It's incredible to see the impact of the team's hard work. Farming Simulator 19 offers so many new opportunities and our players are thrilled about them. Never before has a Farming Simulator game reached the one million mark so quickly and we are proud and happy that so many players join us on this amazing journey," Amman stated.

John Bert, COO of Focus Home Interactive, the publisher for Farming Simulator 19,  added that the company is very proud of Giants Software and their commitment to providing fans of their series top notch quality. One look at various score aggregators around the web reveals that the game is being well received by critics. 

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Farming Simulator 19 features a completely overhauled graphics engine that delivers the best graphics the series has ever seen. John Deere has also been added to the game as a new major license. Along with John Deere's precense, gamers will find new locations across America and Europe to start your farming operation, along with a variety of horses to ride around your property. 

It is great to see a game find its niche and really succeed in providing fans exactly what they want. Farming Simulator may not be for everyone, but its sales numbers and reviews show the impact of this unique game. 

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Fallout 76 & Black Ops 4 Did Not Meet GameStop Sales Projections

Fallout 76 & Black Ops 4 Did Not Meet GameStop Sales Projections

The latest GameStop earning report revealed that two of the year's biggest releases failed to meet the company's sales projections. Both Fallout 76 and Black Ops 4 did not sell as well as the major video game retailer expected and Gamestop had some answers on why that could be.

CFO of GameStop, Rob Lloyd said that Black Ops 4 was "Not as successful as we had hoped." As for Fallout 76, the executive attributed the poor sales to the negative review scores the open world RPG received. "Obviously, you can see in the market what the Metacritic scores are around Fallout 76, and that's impacted its sell-through. I'll probably just leave it at that."

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Some of the big name sports games that were released also failed to meet the company's expectations in regards to sales. While Lloyd didn't mention any names, Madden NFL 19, Fifa 19, NBA 2K19, and NHL 19 were all released between August and September of this year.

It's Not All Bad...

Not all of the news from the earnings report was negative, though. According to the CEO, both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man PS4 were GameStop's highest selling games. Even though Black Ops 4 did not meet their sales expectations, the game releasing in October instead of November helped boost Gamestop's overall games sales for the quarter by 10%.

GameStop's total global sales which include hardware, software, accessories, and more, rose by 4.8% to $2.1 billion for the quarter, which ended on November 3rd. New hardware sales rose 12.8% due to increased sales from PS4 and Xbox One. Games sales had a massive jump of 10.9% and accessories sales had the biggest gain of 32.6%. Despite these sizable increases, pre-owned sales dropped by 13.4%.

The company posted a loss of $488.6 million for the quarter, which compares to a profit of $59.4 million in the same quarter last year. GameStop says that this loss was attributed to an impairment charge that was worth $587.5 million that it paid as a result of the "sustained decline in the company's share price."

What's Next?

It seems as if the trend in gaming from physical to digital purchases is impacting GameStop in a big way. Physical sales and reselling were once the money maker for the games retailer, but now the company must focus on finding new ways of generating revenue in online markets. We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the future of GameStop, so be sure to keep checking back with GigamaxGames.com for all the latest information.

Source: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4225543-gamestop-corp-gme-ceo-shane-kim-q3-2018-results-earnings-call-transcript

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