Chinese electronics powerhouse Xiaomi has acquired an estimated three percent of China-based software and technology firm Kingsoft's stock for roughly $68 million, reports GamesIndustry International. The company purchased 35,298,057 ordinary shares - around 2.98 percent of the company - from Tencent, which will hold on to its 9.6 percent share in Kingsoft after the sale is finalized at the end of the month.
A group of Verizon investors are publicly criticizing the mobile and broadband provider for its position on net neutrality, according to this Ars Technica report. They say that the company's position on the issue could ultimately harm its reputation and future commercial success.
Square Enix has shut down the mobile studio Smileworks in Indonesia - a mere 18 months after it opened its doors. The company confirmed in a statement to GII that all 14 of the people the small studio employed are now out of work as well. Square Enix opened the Surabaya, Java-based Smileworks studio 18 months ago in hopes of developing mobile game content for Indonesia. Apparently the studio did not live up to Square Enix's expectations.
Mobile game publisher Kabam has acquired Los Angeles-based studios Magic Pixel Games and TapZen, the company announced today. TapZen and Magic Pixel are best known for their collaboration on the iOS game This Means War. Magic Pixel's credits include iOS titles Outcast Odyssey and Stick to It, and the PS 3 game Carnival Island. TapZen founder and former Zynga chief creative officer Mike Verdu has also joined the company.
Dish Networks is trying its hand at cutting itself loose from satellite and taking a straight run at customers with a new service designed for the Internet called Sling TV. For $20 a month consumers with Internet access can get 12 premium cable channels including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family, and CNN. Obviously the new service is aimed at cord cutters who don't necessarily have a cable package but do have broadband Internet access.
Parent company Bandai Namco Holdings has changed the name of Bandai Namco Games again - even if the change is ever so slight compared to the last time the company rebranded itself. The company's board of directors voted and approved a name change from Bandai Namco Games to Bandai Namco Entertainment. The change will take place officially on April 1, 2015, with 20 subsidiaries rebranded from under the new moniker.
China-based Perfect World Entertainment reported a decline in profits for the third quarter, citing poorly performing North American properties. During the three-month period ended September 30, 2014, Perfect World earned ¥974 billion ($158.7 million) in revenue, up by around 5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The five percent growth was attributed to the ongoing success of DOTA2 in China, which the company operates for Valve and the successful launch of mobile games CrossGate Mobile and Forsaken World.
Activision Blizzard has settled its lawsuit filed by shareholders after the company bought back a controlling interest in the former majority stakeholder Vivendi in 2013.
In a press release announcing the settlement, which still requires the approval of the Delaware court where the class action lawsuit was filed, the board of directors said the following:
According to this Gamasutra report, Majesco and its indie publishing label Midnight City are in serious financial trouble. According to sources "inside and outside the company" and several SEC filings by the company in the last week, Majesco is having financial trouble and has laid off some of its staff.
According to a Game Informer report, Warner Bros. is making company-wide layoffs - and those layoffs will begin this week. A memo obtained by GI attributed to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara sent to employees reveals that layoffs are going to happen until the first quarter of 2015 in all divisions of the company.
Activision Blizzard reported record third-quarter earnings, with year-over-year increases in revenues and income based on sales of its hit franchise Destiny and continued growth with World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. On a GAAP basis, the company reported sales of $753 million, way up from the $691 million from the same periods a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported net revenues of $1.17 billion, way up from $657 million in the same period a year ago.
Sweden-based eSports leader Dreamhack has fired its CEO Robert Ohlén a month before the organization's annual winter event. Dreamhack started in Sweden in 1997, and it now organizes two annual events. The firing was confirmed by The Daily Dot, who spoke to Fredrik Nystrom, DreamHack's head of PR. Nystrom didn't offer comment beyond that confirmation, but The Daily Dot described the situation as an "internal power struggle" concerning the "public face of the company."
In a letter to the Unity game development community today, current CEO David Helgason announced that he was resigning and that former EA CEO John Riccitiello would be taking his place. Riccitiello left EA in March of 2013 and joined the Unity board of directors in November 2013. Helgason will remain at Unity, but as its executive vice president in charge of strategy and communications.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is making the rounds in Silicon Valley this week, according to Politico's Morning Tech.
Despite reports that popular game development suite Unity is up for sale, the company says that it currently has no plans on losing its independence.
"We have no plan to sell Unity," said co-founder and CTO Joachim Ante in a new post on the official Unity forums.
Ante's response relates to a rumor that first surfaced on CNET last week.
Alexander Stubb, the Prime Minister of Finland, has publicly accused Apple of taking down two of the country’s largest economic engines: Nokia and the paper industry. Finland saw its sovereign debt rating downgraded from AAA to AA+ by ratings agency Standard & Poor.
Speaking on CNBC, PM Stubb pointed his finger at Apple's iPhone and iPad:
Free-to-play online games company NEXON Co., Ltd. has launched a new division within the company called ‘Nexon XP’ and shuffled some of its top executives. The new division will be dedicated to working with external development talent to bring their free-to-play games into the Nexon free-to-play games portal.
Activision announced today that, of the $500 million in Destiny copies it shipped to retail (announced last week), an estimated $325 million worth of product has been sold through to consumers. The sales data, which is as clear as a murky swamp, comes from an amalgamation of data from UK's Chart-Track, retail customer sell-through data, first parties and internal estimates from Activision Blizzard.
Sony announced today that, despite the PS4 selling so well, it still expects to report a net loss of 230 billion yen, or $2.1 billion, for the current fiscal year ending in March 2015. The scope and size of the net loss is a lot larger than what the company predicted back in July: it previously predicted a net loss of 50 billion yen, or $466m.
Sony is pinning this loss on impairment charges of 180 billion yen or $1.7 billion related to its struggling smartphone business
GII reports that GameStop will no longer be selling games in Spain. The company announced that it has sold off a majority of its retail stores in the region to UK-based retailer GAME Digital Plc. The stores that were not part of the deal will eventually be closed.
"Our strategic decision to exit the Spanish market was not taken lightly," said GameStop executive vice president Michael Mauler.
Swedish game developer SimBin Studios has gone bankrupt, according to what former company COO Christopher Speed has told Develop today. A total of 18 employees are affected by the bankruptcy. But even as SimBin goes into the history books, Speed has launched a brand new company called Sector 3 Studios, which will continue developing RaceRoom Racing Experience.
Activision says that Bungie's Destiny has earned more than $500 million in revenue since the game launched on Tuesday. That figure, according to Activision, comes from retailers buying the game, and "business from first parties." Activision did not disclose any actual sales numbers, nor did it say if sales were related to digital or retail sales, or the PS4 White Destiny bundle deal it has with Sony.
A Bloomberg report citing three individuals with knowledge of the deal, claims that Microsoft is in talks with Marcus Persson to buy Minecraft maker Mojang AB for an estimated $2 billion.
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed has announced plans to leave the company in January 2015, the Wall Street Journal reports. He will reportedly be replaced by Pekka Rantala, a former Nokia executive who joined the company in the early part of this year.
Video game publisher Little Orbit announced that it acquired video game developer Vicious Cycle Software earlier this year. Vicious Cycle Software is best known for creating video game properties based on TV and film licenses such as Ben 10 Omniverse and Ben 10: Alien Force, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, and Flushed Away. The company is also know for creating its own unique game franchises such as Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, and Dead Head Fred.