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Le Monde, one of France's most respected publications, said in a piece published yesterday (full content for subscribers only) about the layoffs at Blizzard Europe and that Diablo 4 was shown to Blizzard employees.
The article focuses mostly on the struggles at Blizzard Europe caused by the process of laying off 30% of the employees, which has apparently not been completed yet. Later in the article, the author starts explaining Blizzard's current situation, with most of its titles reaching the end of their lives or having not performed as expected. The following paragraph then follows about the future of the company.
This translates as:
What about the future? Teams at Blizzard Entertainment have already been presented with the long-awaited Diablo 4 and know that a new Overwatch game is in development. But neither of these two games will be released before 2020, at the very best, and employees at Versailles have no idea if they will still be around when they eventually release. « Activision Blizzard will be making less of a profit, but this will still amount to a lot of profit », says a veteran employee.
In a piece about Blizzard's layoffs in France, Le Monde says that Diablo 4 has been shown to Blizzard employees.
It's Ghost all over again, it seems, as multiple sources have told Kotaku that Blizzard has cancelled project "Ares", apparently a first person shooter that's "like Battlefield in the StarCraft universe". The project was some 2 years along and, depending on which source you ask, was either looking good or that progress was coming along slowly.
As we all remember, StarCraft Ghost had a similar fate, although it made it through 4 years of development before being cancelled. The reported reason this new project was cancelled was so that Blizzard could put more focus into developing Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 (which are both expected to be announced at this year's BlizzCon), and the cancellation came as a "massive shock" to at least one of the developers when it was announced a few weeks ago.
The lead designer on Ares was Dustin Browder (he was also the lead for SC2: Wings of Liberty and Heroes of the Storm) and it began as "an experiment to see what the team could do with StarCraft on the Overwatch engine" There were already prototypes set up where Terran marines could shoot Zerg, and there was even talk of potential playable Zerg as well.
This tweet is almost certainly related to the cancelled project, but the dev here wasn't necessarily one of the ones talking to Kotaku:
Blizzard also had this to say to Kotaku in reference to the cancelled game, but they didn't acknowledge any specifics or even that anything has been cancelled:
You should definitely head on over to the original Kotaku article and read it in full, as there's more detailed info about the whole matter.
Republican Senator Josh Howley has proposed a ban on loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in titles for minors, claiming they are preying on user addiction and exploiting children.
The Chinese government has restricted the number of loot boxes players can open each day and the government of Belgium said they were in violation of its gambling laws, according to BBC.
Numerous countries including Australia, Denmark, Germany, and the UK had determined that loot boxes had nothing to do with gambling.
On the other side of the spectrum, there's a chance loot boxes will be ruled illegal in the US in titles popular with minors.
Republican Senator Howley said of his proposed Protecting Children from Abusive Games Bill:
As a prime example, Howley singled out King's Candy Crush, where players can purchase a $149 bundle that comes with 1,000 units of its in-game currency.
The problem, however, does not only affect Candy Crush. The issue of loot boxes first came into light with Battlefront 2. Currently, a large portion of popular games, including Overwatch, PUBG, and Rocket League, all encourage microtransactions.
The bill first needs to pass the Senate and the House of Representatives, before potentially becoming a law, says Gamespot.
Protecting Children from Abusive Games Bill
The amazing art of Blizzard games we all know and love is getting the fine art treatment, as Dutch online art dealership Cook and Becker has added three Blizzard franchises to their growing videogame collection. Said collection already consists of over 60 titles including Bloodborne, Cyberpunk 2077, Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Fallout, Uncharted and many more.
World of Warcraft already has a collection available and Diablo and StarCraft will be following soon:
About Cook and Becker:
So, for those fine art collectors among you, you may want to look in to one of these, but they will set you back a bit, with all of the pieces going for $100+.
Results for the Q1 2019 Activison Blizzard Earnings Call are here and Blizzard is down to 32 million monthly active users (MAUs), since Q4 2018 when they announced layoffs and got rid of 8% of their non-development employees.
Activision Blizzard Activision Blizzard delivered approximately $800 million of in-game net bookings in Q1 2019. For each of Activision, Blizzard and King, daily time spent per user playing their games increased Y/Y. For Activision Blizzard overall, average daily time spent per user was approximately 50 minutes. Blizzard Blizzard had 32 million MAUs in this quarter (down from 35 million MAUs in Q4 2018 and 37 million MAUs in Q3 2018). Segment revenues were in-line with expectations. ($344million) Segement operating margin of 16% ($55 million) was lower Y/Y due to decline in segment in-game revenues, partially offset by lower costs. Overwatch League The second season of the Overwatch League commenced in February to sell-out crownds at the Blizzard Arena. Viewership hours are over 30% higher than in the first season. Dallas Fuel hosted the league's first home games in front of a sell-out crown of thousands of fans. They have four key areas of focus include which include: Major Content Releases: "We are focused on delivering a strong cadence of major content releases, where we meet the growing demand of the industry's gaming communities and release our high-quality content more frequently." Live Operations: "We continue to grow our live operations capabilities, to deliver great content, services, features, and events that continuously engage our communities and drive in-game revenues." Franchise Expansion onto Mobile: "We are building on our existing mobile leadership as we extend our acclaimed console and PC franchises to the largest and fastest-growing gaming platform." New Engagement Models: "We are expanding the reach, engagement and our monetization of our francihses as we build on early success in esports, in-game advertising, and consumer initiatives." Presentation