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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

  

Activision Blizzard Results, More WoW Subs Lost

Activision Blizzard announces better-than-expected first quarter 2013 financial results, reporting GAAP net revenues of $1.32 billion (compared with $1.17 billion for the first quarter of 2012). The company's non-GAAP net revenues were $804 million ($587 million for the first quarter of 2012). As for earnings: "For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.40, as compared with $0.33 for the first quarter of 2012. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s earnings per diluted share were $0.17, as compared with $0.06 for the first quarter of 2012." This includes word that WoW has lost another 1.3 million subscribers ("mainly from the East, but in the West as well") along the way. Here are their selected business highlights:

  • As of March 31, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with 8.3 million subscribers.²
  • For the first quarter, Blizzard Entertainment had two top-10 PC titles in both North America and Europe with Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Diablo® III.¹
  • As of March 31, 2013, in North America and Europe combined, Activision Publishing was the #1 publisher overall for the quarter, including accessory packs and figures, with the #1 and #2 best-selling franchises – Skylanders and Call of Duty®.³
  • In both North America and Europe, including accessory packs and figures, Activision Publishing’s Skylanders Giants™ was the #1 best-selling game overall in dollars for the first quarter of 2013.³
  • For the quarter, in North America and Europe combined, Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the #2 best-selling title in dollars.¹
  • During the quarter, non-GAAP digital revenues from Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty franchise increased more than 100% year over year.²
  • On May 1, 2013, Activision Publishing announced that it will release its new Call of Duty game, Call of Duty: Ghosts, on November 5, 2013.
  • On April 29, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment announced that it will release Diablo III for the Sony PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system later this year. As announced previously, Blizzard also plans to adapt the game for the Sony PlayStation 4.
  • On March 22, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment announced Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™, a new cross-platform free-to-play game for Windows®, Macintosh®, and iPad®.
  • On March 12, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment launched StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. As of the end of its first two days of sales, Heart of the Swarm had sold through approximately 1.1 million copies worldwide, including both retail and digital sales.²
  • On February 5, 2013, Activision Publishing announced Skylanders SWAP Force™, the newest installment in the popular Skylanders franchise.

EA 10% Layoff Report Confirmed

During a conference call with investors following its financial reporting, EA confirmed having cut its workforce by 10%, reports Joystiq, saying that is approximately 900 workers. An Organizational Update posted by EA last month revealed the cuts without specifying the number of effected jobs, but at the time Kotaku reported a couple of sources told them it was 10%, so this confirms that. Joystiq says this cost EA $16 million in severance payments.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Single-Player Only

A video preview on GameSpot.com features a writer's impressions of Wolfenstein: The New Order, though this does not offer gameplay footage of the alternate-history shooter (though they do have a clip from the original Wolfenstein 3D). There are bits of developer interview footage and glances at concept art, and impressions of gameplay, weapons, enemies, game mechanics like sliding and leaning. There's also news, as word is this will be a single-player game with no multiplayer support.

Diablo III Economy Follow-up

A user blog on Gamasutra goes into detail on the impact of the gold dupe bug in Diablo III. The blog makes it clear that this flooded the economy in a staggering way, showing a single user having generated 420 billion in gold, and making the claim this impacted "relatively few players" seem dubious at best, as the Diablo III Forums are filled with posts about how broken the economy is, with countless posts demanding a rollback.

MMO TCG Kickstarter

This Kickstarter is for HEX: Shards of Fate, an MMO/trading card game from Cryptozoic Entertainment, creators of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Here's their pitch for $300K to complete the game: "HEX combines the compelling collectible and strategic game play of a trading card game (TCG) with amazing community and storytelling aspects of a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) to create an entirely new gaming experience: the MMO/TCG. We've come so far in pairing these two genres together, and we're asking for your help to take us across the finish line."

Rise of Prussia Gold Released

Matrix Games announces the release of Rise of Prussia Gold, a newly polished edition of AGEOD's turn-based grand strategy game with fixes, improvements, new features, and three new scenarios. In addition to the full game, they are selling a USD $4.99 Upgrade Kit for the original game, and offer help on how to manually install this for the Steam edition, since there is not a version of this available on Steam yet.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

EA's Battlefield Domain Spree

Electronic Arts has registered a bunch of new domains for the Battlefield series, reports Fusible, saying they have picked up everything from Battlefield13.com to Battlefield20.com, and now own all the relevant domains beginning at Battlefield2.com except Battlefield10-Battlefield12. The eight year span between the release of Battlefield 2 and the upcoming release of Battlefield 4 would place a Battlefield 20 release somewhere around the year 2077, but Joystiq sagely points out that this would nicely accommodate annual releases with a yearly numbering scheme, a la the Madden series. This would also explain their willingness to buy up those domains without owning the ones in the middle covering previous years.

Diablo III Auction House Foul-up

The Diablo III Website has details on a screw-up in the Diablo III auction house following yesterday's new patch for Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. In spite of a month of playtesting of version 1.0.8, it included a bug that refunded double a player's gold if a player cancelled a gold auction, putting the auction house's natural tendency to continually inflate the game's economy into overdrive (a good trick in what is already the Weimar Republic of video games). They shut down auctions until closing off the exploit, and while there was a discussion of a rollback to undo the impact of this, but they say they have ultimately decided to focus on addressing individual accounts of the "relatively few players" who used it.

Capcom Financials

Capcom's annual fiscal reporting is now available, reports Gamasutra, showing the downturn predicted in their recent profit warning. Word is: "For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, Capcom posted revenues of 94.1 billion yen ($951.7 million), up 14.6 percent year-over-year, and profits of 3.0 billion yen ($30.1 million), down 55.8 percent year-over-year." Looking forward, they say: "Looking to the current fiscal year, Capcom believes it can produce a large profit through mobile games, and digital PC titles. Monster Hunter 4 and Lost Planet 3 are two titles in particular that the company hopes will help it turn things around."

EA and FIFA Extend Deal

EA Sports and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announce an extension of their exclusive agreement for the FIFA brand through the end of the year 2022, by which time the deal will be thirty years old. Word is: "Under the terms of the agreement, EA SPORTS maintains exclusive rights to release FIFA-branded action and management videogames. In addition, EA SPORTS also holds exclusive rights to release the official FIFA World Cup™ videogame, as well as retaining its status as a Presenting Partner of the FIFA Interactive World Cup."

UFO Online Open Beta

UFO Online is now in open beta testing, offering the chance to sample gamigo's tactical MMO browser game and help protect the Earth from extraterrestrials. Here's word on the game:

A mixture of flash technology and a Unity Engine ensures for crisp detail 3D graphics sets the scene well for both the soldiers as well as the Skum. Graphical improvements were also undertaken for effects, for example with the weapons. Performance was once again optimized, especially regarding the flash part of the game. Users can also look forward to an improved interface with expanded functions like drag and drop and keyboard shortcuts.

In the turn-based, tactical battles the people who win are those who find the right mix between tactics and research. In the long run it's all about achieving world domination with one of the three factions.

Hellraid Trailer

Here's an official teaser trailer for Hellraid, Techland's upcoming hack-and-slash game that began as a Dead Island modification and was once promoted under the title Project Hell. The game is expected for release this year, and the video offers a look at some actual gameplay. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy birthday WalterEgo, as today is my baby brother's birthday (I'll invoke the baby part just to make myself feel younger about the proposition). Today I found out I should actually be jealous of the date of his birthday, as I learned it is also the birthday of the James Bond movie franchise, since Dr. No was released fifty years ago today. So there's that: Happy birthday bro, please have a martini on my tab to celebrate, shaken, not stirred.

R.I.P.: Rest in Peace Seung-Hyun “Go)Space” Park.

Celebratory Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Unfreeze Me 2.
Links: 50 Years Of James Bond.
6 Hidden Glitches That Make Famous Video Games Way Better.
Stories: ‘The plane’ from ‘70s TV used to smuggle drugs?
Dennis Rodman asks Kim Jong Un to let Korean-American go. Thanks brother19.
Air Force sidelines 17 ICBM officers.
Science: A Remote-Controlled Robot the Size of a Fly. Thanks j.c.f.
Media: Honest Trailers - Star Trek (2009).
Leonard Nimoy Vs. Zachary Quinto - Old School Vs. New School.
Kiss Cam Breakup May 3, 2013. Thanks reddit.



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