12 Most Anticipated Games 2023, Apple Won’t Surrender 30%, $2B and $3B Games in 2023, Tim Sweeney: Politicians Should Fear Apple’s Power, Playtika Lays off 610.
Good morning. It’s been a bit since I recorded any original content, but I recently recorded 4 podcasts in the past week or two.
First of all, I was interviewed by Matej Lanceric and his “two & a half gamers” podcast. They are more of a UA/marketing-focused channel; however, we discussed game development.
Also coming up:
- A great talk by John Kelly on player personas and its impact on game economy. I really think you should not miss this talk!
- Game VC outlook on the new environment for gaming startups with 2 super sharp VC partners.
- An interview with a local Indian venture capital firm and their outlook on the environment in India and the games opportunity here.
Stay tuned! More updates on this content will be coming up.
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As 2022 comes to a close, it’s always a great time to think about the exciting new titles that will be released next year!
TIME notes there are a few things to look out for next year:
- E3 will return to an in-person event format in mid-June of next year
- January will see the release of the HBO series The Last of Us adapted from Naughty Dog’s iconic game
- In March, Taron Egerten will star in Tetris, a bio-drama that will focus on the legal battle to obtain the video game rights
- In April, we’ll have the CG animated film The Super Mario Bros Movie starring Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, and Seth Rogen
- We’ll also see a Gran Turismo movie helmed by Neil Blomkamp
Cutting to the chase, here are the 12 games that TIME is most excited about for 2023. Links to trailers are also included below:
- Dead Space Remake (Jan 27)
- Hogwarts Legacy (Feb 10)
- Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (Mar 17)
- Resident Evil 4 Remake (Mar 24)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (May 12)
- Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (May 26)
- Diablo IV (Jun 6)
- Final Fantasy XVI (Jun 22)
- Alan Wake II (TBA)
- Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (TBA)
- Spider-Man 2 (TBA)
- Judas (TBA)
- Apple won’t surrender its 30% without a fight, even if it does allow alternative app stores (MobileGamer.biz)
As reported by Neil Long, although Apple is working on ways for alternative app stores and sideloading on iOS devices, this would only apply to European customers by 2024 and Apple is adding several complications.
First, there’s precedent in South Korea that Apple forces developers to jump through hoops to use an alternative payment provider.
Developers must first submit an entitlement request form for permission to use an alternative payment provider. Then they must submit a new Korea-only binary that contains that functionality using one of four pre-approved payment providers. Using your own payment system requires separate approval.
More details: here
Second, “developers must warn customers – using scary, Apple-mandated language – that they are about to make a transaction not processed or secured by Apple, and refunds may not be possible.”
Finally, and perhaps most troubling:
Apple will charge a 26% commission anyway. Oh, and developers must also submit an additional sales report every month, so that Apple can account for every penny spent using alternative payments.
- 5 Mobile App Forecasts for 2023 (data.ai) | $2B and $3B Mobile Games!
Data.ai released a report discussing several pretty interesting topics, including:
- Where is the mobile industry headed in 2023?
- How has inflation affected mobile consumer spend?
- Will mobile games take a hit for discretionary spending?
- How will the mobile ad market fare?
- Which apps and games will set new revenue records?
Wait, did you say “revenue records”? Hold on there; let’s check this out.
In the report, data.ai forecasts 14 mobile apps (11 games) to hit $2B in life-of-product consumer spend and 7 mobile apps (3 games) to hit $3B.
The 11 games include:
- Call of Duty: Mobile
- State of Survival: Zombie War (Let’s go FunPlus! Hey maybe you guys can push King of Avalon a bit more while you’re at it.)
- Professional Baseball Spirits A
- Uma Musume Pretty Derby
- Onmyogi Mirror Shouyun Returns
- Empire and Puzzles
- Marvel Contest of Champions
- Brawl Stars
- Bingo Blitz
- Clash of Kings
- Lords Online
- Rise of Kingdoms
The Verge notes that:
- Tim Sweeney really wants to see the Open App Markets Act become US law
- The lead sponsors – Senators Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Marsha Blackburn – have suggested they have the votes to pass
- Sweeney believes Apple’s ability to reject apps like Twitter is something “every politician should fear.”
Some choice Sweeney quotes from the interview by The Verge:
- On Apple lobbying to kill the Open App Markets Act: “They certainly brought vast resources to bear onto the problem with their army of lobbyists and trade groups that are opining and lobbying and constantly injecting really false statements of the tradeoffs in the platform into the public discourse.”
- “We know from the Epic v. Apple trial that Apple reviewers spend an average of six minutes of human time looking at each app and that these are app enthusiasts who are not engineers or security analyst analysts. And so, it’s incredibly clear that app review and the monopoly App Store do nothing to improve platform security.”
- “Apple’s monopoly, it truly is strangling the digital economy. They’re strangling the app market, they’re strangling the music market, they’re strangling the TV market. And this has implications in a lot of ways. It’s inflating the prices of all digital goods that Americans purchase.”
- “Every politician should fear the rise of corporate power that Apple is creating. And the risk to America is far, far, far greater, five orders of magnitude greater than the amount of the political donations they’re making. They are really trying to buy off the American political system in a corrupt bargain to protect their marketing power and their ever-increasing profit stream earned at the expense of everybody who builds apps and content that’s consumed digitally.”
- “One hundred percent of all smartphone users that are either outside of China are either governed by Google, which is Android’s terms of service, or Apple’s terms of service. One hundred percent domination by two companies, and they’re largely operating in lockstep. They have some superficial policy differences but they are both doing the same illegal things in the same general illegal ways.”
- Playtika lays off 610 workers, shuts down three online gaming titles amid broader restructure (TechCrunch)
TechCrunch reported that Playtika laid off 15% of its staff: 615 people across Europe, Israel, and the US (from 4,100).
Further, 3 titles will be sunset:
- Ghost Detective
TechCrunch notes that since its IPO in June 2021, debuting at a $27 stock price and a market cap of over $11B.
Playtika has now declined to currently $8.89 stock price and a market cap of $3.6B.
- The larger industry-wide question will be how many more companies will layoff moving into 2023? Further, a huge wave of cost rationalization thinking has been sweeping through Silicon Valley since Elon hacked 70% of Twitter, and it didn’t die.
- Whatever you may think of Elon, his actions have a strong influence in Silicon Valley, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see board and investor pressure to cost rationalize across game studios now and, more generally, in 2023.