The serious business of making games

Sure. If one of them shows up and literally steals a stage light.

I haven’t been to an E3 since, um, like, 2000? 2001? Something like that. I have dim memories of very loud exhibit halls, vaguely desperate attempts to garner attention with scantily-clad showgirls and cheap give aways (and booze), and amongst it all the occasional interesting interaction (like watching Richard Garriott frantically putting some last-minute touches on the code for the demo of UO he was presenting, or listening to Warren Spector discuss Deus Ex or something like that).

Mostly though I remember sitting in a glass cube in the middle of the damn show floor trying to write and sometimes HTLM-code a bajillion web articles for the magazine in real-time. All day long. Effin’g sucked.

Pretty much the same, except with fewer booth babes now.

Also not as crowded.

Embracer Group just sold (update: leased) their ‘Tomb Raider’ rights to Amazon for a deal that we can exclusively reveal as being approximately a 600 Million overall package making it Amazon’s second biggest commitment after purchasing the television rights for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’. Therefore, this puts into perspective the cost and (updated) commitments that Embracer maybe looking for.

(Note: Embracer paid $300m for Squenix’s western studios and IPs combined.)

How is that worth 600 million? Because people sort of know the name? Because “kinda like Indiana Jones, but instead of an attractive man, it’s an attractive woman”?

Or are they getting a game out of it too?

Games, movies and Prime show.

The original source of the $600M figure was describing a total investment by Amazon in Tomb Raider projects, not just the fee they are paying Embracer. It includes the budget for the new game, movie and TV show.

Kind of wide ranging article looking at EA originals and how it has changed in the last 3 years.

Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two has confirmed a “cost reduction program” to cut $50m of annual spending after a string of high-profile launches failed to find an audience.

Speaking to investors, Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick said recent releases such as the excellent but overlooked Marvel’s Midnight Suns, plus PGA Tour 2K23 and New Tales of the Borderlands, had all been received well but sold poorly.

“We’re seeing softness in the overall market,” Zelnick subsequently told "Our titles are performing, we’ve gotten great review scores, we’ve gotten terrific critical acclaim. And one after another, we’ve been delivering hits into the current market.

“However, we are seeing softness in terms of consumer demand, particularly for console products and recurrent consumer spending related to console products.”

Take-Two’s upcoming cost-cutting drive will impact “personnel, processes, infrastructure, and other areas, particularly in our publishing and corporate functions,” Zelnick continued. It comes on top of an already-announced $100m round of cost synergies expected from its recent acquistion of Zynga.

Will Take-Two be the next company to announce mass layoffs, akin to Microsoft and Google? For now, Zelnick seemed to suggest nothing quite of that scale.

“We don’t expect any kind of broad-based reduction in force,” Zelnick said of possible layoffs. “We are going department by department and trying to drive efficiency.”

Despite the license, maybe its time to acknowledge that to the greater public tactical strategy games are a niche?

It seems like the XCOM games did well for them, though.

Yeah, they expected it to do as well as the XCOM games. I saw another interview where he blames the poor release window, and there might be something to that. They missed Black Friday, and released in December. That’s usually a poor release window.

Right, but I think the difference was the internal expectations were set correctly. Heck, one of the marketing bits for XCOM was Jake haranguing people at a GameStop about how niche the game is. I suspect the projections for Midnight Suns were higher.

I think most people who love XCOM are probably not that much into Marvel stuff, and people who are into Marvel stuff are not generally into games like XCOM.
It was a stupid idea to combine the two.

New Tales from Borderlands - without the original characters and creators behind this, my enthusiasm is pretty much at zero.

raises hand

And people who were into XCOM who checked this out probably saw that it actually didn’t seem like it was going to be like XCOM at all. I think the broader population is probably a little exhausted of Marvel stuff at this point too, I know I am. Haven’t seen a bunch of the films from the last couple of years and the only Marvel game I’ve played outside of a brief try of Snap was Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ll probably buy Midnight Suns some day when it’s deeply discounted. I’m sure I’d buy XCOM 3 at full price on day one unless they went a really unfortunate direction with the game.

Why in the world would you think that? Unless, Marvel is for the geek poseurs while XCom is for true geek connoisseurs?

I could get behind that. Anything to poke at the geek poseurs.

Oh yay, gatekeeping!

I, for one, like both Marvel and Xcom so there

I’m posing as somebody who is posing as a geek poseur. Does that make me a geek poseur or geek connoisseur or none of the above?

Yes exactly, nailed it

(I think if people who love XCOM, of whom there are a lot, also loved Marvel stuff, they would be buying Midnight Suns in droves, because it would be dream come true. But the game sold poorly, apparently, so the crossover/overlap does not seem to be too significant).