Gazillion is back in the news, for a short time at least. CCP takes a jab at Star Citizen, but it’s all light-hearted fun, and the Pokemon GO Population goes up for the summer. There’s all of that and more in this week’s MMO Money, the weekly gaming business news report.
Trion Buys Gazillion Assets
In an interview with VentureBeat, Trion World’s CEO Scott Hartsman revealed that the company has purchased what remains of Gazillion’s assets. The goal isn’t to revive Marvel Heroes, though fans of the game are hopeful this could happen. They were specifically interested in Gazillion’s tools that will help them with the publishing side of things. In the VentureBeat article, it says
“We‘ve built an amazing ecosystem in support of our games and those we’ve published. We’re excited to add more tools to our library in order to embolden our teams and partners to create truly fantastic games,” said Hartsman. “Our suite of vital technology and experience in publishing and operation at a global scale allows us to provide essential ‘ecosystem as a service’ support, empowering developers from all over the world to create all new AAA online experiences, sustain their studios in very crowded markets, and take more creative risks.”
The article also points out that as part of this asset purchase Trion also got a game engine to make it easier to develop isometric games. This along with all of Gazillion’s trademarks, licenses, patents, and it’s library of games. However, they don’t have the license to bring Marvel Heroes back. They would have to work with Disney for that to happen, and while it doesn’t seem likely that Trion will go this route, it can’t be entirely ruled out either.
Pokemon Go Gets a Summer Boost
Superdata has released its monthly look at the industry and the biggest story of them all is Pokemon GO. The game is enjoying a boost thanks to summer and fantastic weather. In May it generated $104 million, which is up 174% year over year. That boost is only getting bigger thanks to the introduction of trading and giving gifts to friends, something that has been sought after since the launch.
Other news from Superdata shows that Fortnite has reached another all-time high…but it is slowing down. They estimate that Fortnite made $318 million across all platforms in May. That’s up 7% from April.
Bethesda Sues Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. Over Alleged Fallout Shelter Ripoff
Bethesda, of Fallout and Elder Scrolls fame, is suing Behaviour Interactive (Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade) and Warner Bros. because the new Westworld game is very similar to Fallout Shelter. Behaviour Interactive developed for Bethesda, and the two games are so similar that the same bug appears in both games. Bethesda accuses them of using the same design, code, and gameplay for Westworld without being given permission. “The Westworld game is a blatant rip-off of Fallout Shelter. Working with the same copyrighted computer code used by Fallout Shelter, Westworld has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements as Fallout Shelter, all of which are owned by Bethesda.”
What the financial outcome of the lawsuit will be remains to be seen. However, Warner Bros was apparently surprised by the “baseless accusations” in the Westworld lawsuit. They further went on to say that while it is built around a similar concept to Fallout Shelter their game is entirely new and features no code from Behaviour’s work on Fallout Shelter. “Warner Bros. has been assured by the game developer, Behaviour Interactive, that Bethesda’s allegations are untrue and that none of Bethesda’s code was used in the Westworld game. Moreover, contrary to Bethesda’s baseless accusation, Warner Bros. at no time ‘induced’ Behaviour to use the Fallout Shelter code in Westworld.” A pretty bold statement considering the same bug has been found in both games.
EVE Online Pokes Fun at Star Citizen
CCP decided to have a little fun after EVE Online fans pointed out that Star Citizen has, in their words, blatantly ripped off the looks of one of EVE Online’s ships. They introduced a bundle of skins for the Venture ship with a price tag of 120 plex. A jab at the the $120 Vulture ship from Star Citizen that looks just like the Venture. In the official announcement for the skin bundle CCP says, “Just beware of sneaky vultures attempting to swoop in and loot your assets!” Well then! I guess we know how CCP feels about the whole thing. At least they’re having a good sense of humor about the whole thing.
On the Star Citizen subreddit, CCP Falcon made an appearance in the thread saying they were glad the majority of the comments are light-hearted and fun. Ending a long post by saying, “I’m super interested to see what’s next for both Star Citizen and EVE, and contrary to what some of the more vocal fans on both sides of the fence might think, over here in Reykjavík we’ve got nothing but love for our fellow sci-fi developers, and continue to wish Cloud Imperium Games and the Star Citizen community nothing but fair skies and smooth sailing.”
Doesn’t that just warm your heart?
Shroud of the Avatar Suffers Layoffs
In the wake of Shroud of the Avatar launching Portalarium has downsized. This is a fairly common practice in the industry, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. On the official forums, they had this to say about the layoffs.
“Now that we are almost complete fulfilling our Kickstarter promises (brewing coming online in R55, physical rewards shipping very soon, progress being made on castle defense, etc.), we are adjusting our team size to better match our current monthly revenue. This will give us the balance we need to begin work on Episode 2 while ensuring we can support the online service. To do that means having, at least for now, a smaller team. Right now we will shift our focus from creating new content to polishing our existing systems. This means making a stronger new user experience, fixing bugs, reworking the quest system, performance improvements, user interface polish, and more. At the same time, we will continue the Tier adjustments in progress which will rework our existing scenes to more appropriate difficulty levels based on our current player population.”
Valve Turns off Lootboxes in The Netherlands
Valve has temporarily turned off lootboxes for CSGO and Dota 2 players in The Netherlands. This comes after the Dutch Gaming Authority named Valve as one of several companies that needed to change their lootboxes or face prosecution. Valve’s official statement has said that they don’t agree with the DGA’s ruling and that appeals are ongoing. Many people who are against lootboxes hoped that the ruling from the DGA would result in a worldwide shift but it looks like Valve is going to fight it and at the very least find a way around it on a local level. This could mean that in the future game experiences will be different in different countries, which is something nobody wants.Related: Business, Column, Gazillion, Gazillion Entertainment, MMO Money, Pokemon GO