This Week in Business is a collection of stats and quotes from our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that sheds light on console sales, new trends, and more. Check back every Friday for a new entry!
When Sony and Microsoft first started talking about their next-gen systems, they each did so with a handful of features to let gamers know what to expect. For example, both companies were quick to promise backwards compatibility, solid-state drives to cut down on load time, and support for 8K resolution. To see just what players actually cared about, GamesIndustry.biz worked with ISFE and Ipsos Mori's GameTrack consumer survey to poll some 8,000 gamers across the UK, Germany, Spain and France and Italy.
The results arrived this week, and ran the gamut from expected—people want better graphics—to surprisin— less than half of people felt playing physical media was important. As for those early features already announced, backwards compatibility and shorter load times appeared to be particularly compelling to the survey respondents, while the appeal of 8K resolution was a bit fuzzy. There were also some interesting but not entirely enlightening results. For example, Germans were generally less likely to consider features important almost across the board. They were particularly harsh on VR compatibility (only 30% of Germans found it important) and having a Switch-like handheld mode (which mattered to a measly 24% of Germans).
As the next-gen push ramps up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see what the companies push as the killer features, particularly when so much of what's been revealed already seems the same at first glance between the two systems.
STAT | 37% - The percentage of European gamers in a ChartTrack survey who believed VR compatibility was an important feature for next-gen consoles. No feature seemed less essential for the survey respondents, although having a handheld mode (important to 38%) and support for 8K resolutions (important to 40%) weren't far off.
QUOTE | "Let's hope the evergreen console titles out there can get evergreen-er or else it could be quite a bumpy 1H." - NPD analyst Mat Piscatella responds to Techland's delay of Dying Light 2, the latest in a string of anticipated games to be pushed back into the back half of 2020 or later, including Marvel's Avengers, Cyberpunk 2077, Gods and Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Watch Dogs: Legion. Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Last of Us Part II have also been delayed from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter.
STAT | $390 million - The difference between the $10 million preliminary settlement Riot Games reached with plaintiffs in a class-action suit over the way it treated the women it employed and the $400 million California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing believes they were entitled to. The DFEH and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement have both argued the preliminary settlement should be thrown out, with the DLSE asking the judge in the case for permission to intervene.
QUOTE | "DFEH filed the objection to provide information to the court and unrepresented employees and former employees because the parties did not and—continue to not—adequately explain why their proposed settlement was reasonable." - A DFEH representative explains why the group thinks there may have been collusion or a side deal between Riot Games and the lawyer representing the women who sued the company.
STAT | 28% - Percentage of developers responding to GDC's State of the Industry survey who said their studio had put no focus on diversity or inclusion initiatives in the past year.
QUOTE | "We sell a fantasy where we don't want to see the things of the real world from today oozing inside this virtual world. You don't expect to see political things in a Star Wars movie. That doesn't make sense." - Novaquark founder Jean-Christoph Baillie explains that the studio's user-generated content-driven MMO is set 10,000 years in the future so it won't allow people to put Donald Trump or real-world religions in the game. (500-foot-tall statues of Garfield and Notre Dame Cathedral are somehow OK, though.)
QUOTE | "Crytek should not be allowed to aim its car at [Cloud Imperium Games'] storefront window, stomp the accelerator, smash through, do doughtnuts for years, then back out and drive away to maybe circle around and crash CIG another day. Crytek richly deserves having its keys taken away for all time, so that CIG can conduct responsible business without further interference from Crytek or its series of lawyers." - Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games commits to the metaphor in a legal filing objecting to Crytek's attempt to dismiss its lawsuit against Cloud Imperium alleging Star Citizen's improper use of Crytek technology so that it may file the same complaint again once the game has launched.
QUOTE | "Africa is the only region in the world where the youth population is increasing. By 2050 Africa's young population, i.e., those aged between 0 and 24 years old, will increase by nearly 50 percent. Africa will have the largest number of young people. Africa's youth are key to the continent's future when it comes to mobile and gaming as a whole, which will be further boosted any significant investment in the education space." - Games Industry Africa's Vic Bassey lays out seven trends to watch for the continent's emerging development scene in the year ahead.
QUOTE | "Frankly no company should be setting up kids for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end." - Britain's NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch urged the industry to ban loot boxes in games played by children and impose spending limits on players, among other measures.
QUOTE | "Previously our traditional investment sectors were mostly focused on video games content and frontiers of science and technology. However, with the development of Tencent's WeChat mini-app ecosystem and payment platform, we will pay more attention to smart retail and payment platforms in future." - In a conference presentation last week, Tencent president Martin Lau suggests the Chinese tech giant is pulling back from its aggressive gaming acquisition strategy.
QUOTE | "We are impressed by Funcom's strengths as a developer of open-world multiplayer, action and survival games. Funcom has a strong track-record in developing new titles with long life-span." - Tencent senior VP Steven Ma explains why the studio acquired game developer Funcom on Wednesday.