Electronic Arts has found itself on the business end of a class action lawsuit related to the numerous bugs, glitches, and technical problems related to Battlefield 4. The game, which launched in November on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One has suffered numerous problems since launch, and while EA and developer DICE have tried to get a handle on things, apparently some investors (not players, surprisingly enough) are so upset that they have decided to take the fight to a court room.
In a meeting with investors today (as detailed by Bloomberg) Sony CEO Kaz Hirai acknowledged that the company is looking to make $250 million worth of cuts in its entertainment business, but gently rejected a plan by its biggest shareholder to sell off its media business.
The Walt Disney Company is reorganizing its video games and media groups under the auspices of Disney Interactive, according to a GII report. The company will merge the two group together and current co-president Jimmy Pitaro will take charge of the division. Co-President John Pleasants will be leaving his current post, but he will reportedly work closely with Pitaro "to ensure a smooth transition and serve as a strategic consultant to the business."
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has partnership with South Korean publisher Daum Communications to bring the massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) PlanetSide 2 to the region. SOE and Daum will showcase PlanetSide 2 at the G-STAR Global Game Exhibition in Busan, South Korea on November 14-16, 2013.
Daum has secured the exclusive publishing rights to the game, including dedicated servers, local customer support and payment gateways for South Korea. PlanetSide 2 will launch in the region as a free-to-play game.
Video and video game rental giant Blockbuster is not going to exist by the end of January 2014. Parent company Dish Network announced today that it will shut down its retail and by-mail rental distribution operations by early January 2014. The 300 remaining retail stores in the United States and distribution centers will also be closed.
"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," Dish CEO Joseph P. Clayton said in a statement.
While Red Bull is the number one brand on YouTube (mostly because it sponsors so many interesting sporting and gaming events worldwide), "PlayStation" is also pretty popular, according to data collected by Statista and Mashable.
Sony reported a net loss of $197 million, or ¥19.3 billion in the second quarter of its current fiscal year. Despite a boost in revenue from positive currency exchange rates and decent smartphone sales, the company saw a 24.5 increase in net losses. As a result, the company has lowered net revenue expectations by about 40 percent to ¥30 billion, or $305 million, due to what it calls lowered expectations for sales of "certain electronic products."
Nintendo says that it sold 460,000 Wii U units worldwide in the six month period that ended on September 30. The figure was revealed as part of the company's financial results for the last three months. In this quarter the company only sold 300,000, despite knocking $50 off the price tag of the system a few months ago. The company also had a number of high profile releases to go alongside that price cut including Pikmin 3 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
With the new deal between Supercell, GungHo Online, and Soft Bank, the video game sector has surpassed $5 billion dollars related to mergers and acquisitions in 2013. This is according to data from Digi-Capital, who notes that much of the investment comes from investors in Korea, China, and Japan. Some of the deals contributing to the $5.2 billion number including the 51 percent stake taken by Soft Bank and GungHo's in mobile and social game developer Supercell and Ourpalm's recent acquisitions of China's Playcrab and Shanggames.
Softbank and GungHo Online are making a substantial investment in Finnish free-to-play and mobile gaming juggernaut Supercell. The company is selling a 51 percent stake for $1.53 billion to Japan’s SoftBank and game developer GungHo Online Entertainment. The strategic investment will make Supercell a subsidiary of Softbank, with the funds being used to fuel Supercell’s global expansion.
Ubisoft has changed the release window for three titles today. First, the good news: Ubisoft announced that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will launch globally on October 29 for Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, an improvement on its previous target date of Nov. 1 in Europe and Oct. 31 release in Australia. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will still get the game at launch on Nov. 15 (Nov. 29 in Europe) and Nov. 22 in Australia. The PC version of the game was originally scheduled to release alongside the current-gen versions, but was pushed back to the next-gen release.
Activision Blizzard has closed a deal to buy back shares from France-based conglomerate Vivendi a day after a Delaware Supreme Court judge lifted an injunction on the plan put on the deal by a lower court judge in response to several shareholder lawsuits.
With the deal complete Activision Blizzard now has a controlling interest in itself. Activision Blizzard now owns $5.83 billion of stock, with CEO Bobby Kotick and his partners owning $2.34 billion. Vivendi's stake has been reduced significantly to 12 percent.
The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that put a temporary injunction on Activision Blizzard‘s plan to buy back most of Vivendi’s stake in the video game maker for $8.2 billion.
With the injunction lifted, Activision Blizzard can move forward with the plan. In a hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for Activision Blizzard argued that the provision was inapplicable, since it applied only to a merger, while the company’s plan was a stock repurchase.
Nintendo expects sales of more than 5 million of its 3DS handheld console units in Japan this year, according to this Bloomberg report. Speaking at a Capcom event today in Tokyo, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata also said that the company sold more than 5.5 million units of its 3DS last year. Nintendo expects global 3DS sales of around 18 million this fiscal year, up from 13.95 million last year.
In a memo sent to employees today, Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen announced that the company is laying off 49 employees in its Seattle office and shutting down its office in Vancouver. Projects in the Vancouver office would be moved to Seattle.
In an email sent to Zynga staff and published on the company's official blog, CEO Don Mattrick revealed that three more executives have left the social game maker for greener pastures. The three departing executives are Cadir Lee, Colleen McCreary, and David Ko, who are leaving the company "to pursue other interests," according to Mattrick.
Seth and Timothy Peterson have come up with an interesting business idea for California: an arcade game rental service that charges a monthly fee to get classic arcade game cabinets in the hands of classic arcade gaming aficionados. The San Francisco-based company is called "All You Can Arcade," and lets customers rent such arcade classics as Tron, Ms. Pac Man, and Donkey Kong for $75 a month. The brothers launched the service last month.
On the same day that Trion Worlds, makers of the Defiance MMO, announced that Scott Hartsman was the new CEO, it shut down its San Diego office. The lion's share of the work being done at the San Diego office was related to Defiance. Trion Worlds confirmed the shutdown of the studio and that development on Defiance would be moved to its Redwood City office.
The Sony board has rejected a proposal by Third Point LLC CEO Daniel Loeb - one of Sony's largest investors - that would have spun off 20 percent of its entertainment divisions into a separate entity. The board's rejection of the idea was unanimous. A letter to Third Point from Sony expressed that the company sees value in owning entertainment content in this connected, digital age. Sony also told Third Point in its letter that maintaining total ownership of its divisions encourages "internal collaboration and efficiency."
Social game giant Zynga will close OMGPOP.com despite the fact that the original team behind it offered to buy the games portal in hopes of retaining its userbase and content. According to Eurogamer, several former OMGPOP staff members offered Zynga an undisclosed amount of money in order to keep it open, but Zynga rebuffed those offers.
Sega is one of twenty companies interested in buying out Atlus from Japanese parent company Index Holdings, according to a Blomberg Japan report (by way of CVG). Index Holdings purchased Atlus in 2006, but last month was forced to file for bankruptcy in the Tokyo District Court for over millions of dollars in debts it faced.