Share via Shortlink (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)A group of investors have filed a class action lawsuit against WeWork — the latest of a series of disputes stemming from the company’s failed public offering.In a complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco’s federal court, the investors claimed WeWork executives overhyped the company’s business plan in order to sell stock, Bloomberg reports.Further, they said the executives minimized losses as “strategic investment spending that would lay the foundation for profitability.”“As would later be revealed, WeWork was engaged in profligate spending in a reckless bid for growth at all costs — not in a manner designed to sustainably grow its business, but rather to induce capital raises from investors at ever higher valuations,” the complaint said.WeWork has reportedly not commented on the suit.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreWeWork execs face first lawsuit over botched IPOWeWork’s valuation drops to $2.9BWeWork’s IPO filing sheds light on a startup posting massive losses, while issuing huge loans to execs Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink SoftBank, which is also named as a defendant, was recently hit with a lawsuit from WeWork’s founder, Adam Neumann, after SoftBank pulled out of a deal to buy $3 billion worth of WeWork shares from investors — a potential windfall for Neumann.SoftBank said that it was scrapping the deal because of “multiple, new and significant pending criminal and civil investigations,” which changed conditions ahead of the deal’s April 1 closing date. But Neumann rejected that, claiming that Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son had been “secretly taking actions to undermine” the agreement for some time.Neumann said in the suit that he “put his trust in [SoftBank and the Vision Fund] to be stewards of WeWork, which he — and thousands of others — had worked so hard to build.” Neumann alleged that he, unlike SoftBank, had “upheld [his] end of the bargain.”[Bloomberg] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan TagsIPOsoftbankWeWork
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink 348 Court Street (Google Maps, Twitter/FDNY)A three-story building at 348 Court Street in Brooklyn collapsed Wednesday evening.The New York City Fire Department received reports of the crumbled structure at 5 p.m., according to a spokesperson for the department. One person was inside the Carroll Gardens building just before it collapsed and suffered minor injuries, according to Council member Brad Lander.Property records indicate that the building is owned by Union & Court Realty Corp., an entity tied to Kihyo Park. Body Elite Gym is one of the building’s tenants. Park could not immediately be reached for comment.A partial stop-work order was issued last month at the property, at the corner of Union Street, because a brick wall was “dangerously bulging” over the sidewalk, according to the Department of Buildings’ website, which says construction workers were performing demolition work on the facade. The agency also issued violations related to cracks in the building’s facade in November 2019. Agency inspectors and engineers are on site investigating the cause of the property’s destruction.ADVERTISEMENTTwo and a half blocks away, almost eight years ago to the day, another building collapse rocked the quiet neighborhood. That incident, at 241 Carroll Street, was thought to be caused by rotted wood. A four-unit condominium was then constructed at the address in 2014.The city has cracked down on facade violations over the last few months on buildings taller than six stories, following the December death of a pedestrian who was struck by debris that fell from 729 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. In cases where conditions at a property are deemed “immediately hazardous,” the DOB is required to perform follow-up inspections. If the issue is left uncorrected after 60 days, the agency is supposed to install protective equipment at the owner’s expense.Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected] Tagsbuilding collapseConstructionfacade
TagsstartupsTechnologyWeWork Adam Neumann and “Billion Dollar Loser” (Getty; Amazon)Real estate executives had their doubts about WeWork, but many weren’t willing to risk missing out on its success. They and others who kept their criticism to themselves helped enable and then felled the co-working giant once it became clear that its crash would be just as extraordinary as its ascent.“They couldn’t explain WeWork’s valuation, but they were fearful that Adam [Neumann] might achieve his ambitions — nothing had stopped him thus far — and become more powerful,” journalist Reeves Wiedeman writes in “Billion Dollar Loser,” his new book about WeWork’s rise and fall. “No one wanted to be on his bad side.”“Billion Dollar Loser” is more recap than a revelation, a breezy blow-by-blow of how WeWork grew from a business plan thrown together in one night to a juggernaut valued at $47 billion. The book is rich with details that help paint a fuller picture of ousted CEO Adam Neumann and those who surrounded — and enabled — him.It also provides the kinds of colorful scenes we’ve come to expect from WeWork: Deals finalized with tequila shots, a questionable investment in a wave pool company, corporate retreats featuring Super Soakers filled with vodka. Wiedeman details how the company cycled through young employees, at first thrilled by WeWork’s energy but gradually disillusioned by its culture, lack of commitment to diversity and aversion to work-life balance. “Many of those who left described their departure as if they escaped Jonestown or Waco,” Wiedeman writes.Read moreThe REInterview: Reeves Wiedeman on the manic rise and fall of Adam Neumann and WeWorkWeWork insiders slam Neumann and his enablers: “They created the monster”WeWork’s turnaround star will need a new script Full Name* Email Address* The landlords that partnered with WeWork — as well as its naysayers — are largely on the periphery of “Billion Dollar Loser.” Wiedeman recounts how Brooklyn developer Joel Schreiber helped introduce Neumann to New York City landlords, and lent credibility to WeWork’s early business propositions by being an early investor. It notes that Bill Rudin reached out to Neumann after Hurricane Sandy devastated 110 Wall Street, which ultimately sparked a major partnership. And Vornado Realty Trust’s Steve Roth makes a brief cameo to jokingly call Neumann an asshole.Aside from some early-days negotiations, the book lacks behind-the-scenes conversations or details on how WeWork won over some landlords, but failed to do so with others. The “cult of personality” surrounding Neumann is fascinating, but the real estate industry’s role in WeWork’s rise, and how its fall might shape commercial real estate going forward, is largely missing.“The real estate world had grown fat and lazy and was upset that WeWork had disrupted a comfortable system,” Wiedeman writes, referring to how Neumann framed the public reaction to his company’s planned IPO. “They were happy to take WeWork’s money when the company was riding high, but now that everyone smelled blood, they were on the attack, hoping things would go back to the way they were.”Stories of the failed unicorn share a similar slow-burning horror film quality. You find yourself thinking: Don’t go in there! Can’t you see that there is no tech?! Watch out, that charming character pledging to save the world is actually a megalomaniac!What makes these tales truly terrifying is as cautionary as they may seem, they inspire little confidence that they won’t be replicated. As recently noted by The Atlantic, entrepreneurs are bound to follow in Neumann’s (bare) footsteps. “The most important lesson in the rise and fall of WeWork has less to do with Neumann than with the ecosystem that nurtured him,” Vauhini Vara wrote in her review of the book.There were so many red flags leading up to WeWork’s failed IPO: rapid growth, rising costs, a lack of meaningful tech and no clear plan for future profitability. Yet investors kept throwing money at the company, eager to collect another unicorn. Even Fidelity and SoftBank, which had initially dismissed WeWork, were won over after others bet on the company, ultimately dazzled by a big number and Neumann’s outsized personality.Roughly one year after WeWork announced that it was backing out of going public, the company is now embarking on a new chapter. Neumann once presciently told an audience at a coworking conference, “If WeWork, God forbid, wouldn’t work out, I’m holding leases that are worth tens of millions,” Wiedeman writes. Neumann’s vision of WeWork didn’t pan out, and so with new leaders at the helm, the company is doubling down on its core business: Office leasing.Last week, the company changed its name from the We Company back to WeWork. The former signaled the startup’s entanglement in various business ventures, as well as a lofty worldview that, at times, directly clashed with the company’s actions. Having weathered a crisis of its own making, WeWork is now tested by a global economic disaster, one in which the future of its core business is uncertain.But Neumann, though “temporarily neutralized” by a pandemic that prevents him from holding court with a captivated audience, will almost certainly return. He’s already dipped his toes back in the water with a $30 million investment in a startup that provides services in apartment buildings. Wiedman writes that “unless the ironclad forces of capitalism had truly been broken,” someone will likely be willing to bet on Neumann once again.Contact Kathryn Brenzel Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Message*
Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink TagsalbanyReal Estate and Politics Even if Republicans win a few Senate seats, their chances of recapturing the chamber in 2022 remain slim. In that election and the four that follow, new district lines will give Democrats an even greater election advantage than they have now.Today’s districts were drawn by the Republicans who controlled the Senate in 2011, yet the GOP still loses most of the races. New York is now so deeply blue that Democrats can overcome even extreme gerrymandering.Under a reform passed a few years ago, the 2022 districts will be drawn by either a nonpartisan commission or by Democrats. Either result would cement a Democratic Senate majority in place, leaving Senate Republicans powerless to affect legislation.That raises the crucial question of how hostile to real estate Senate Democrats will be. The industry’s worst-case scenario is a Democratic conference dominated by New York City members, who tend to favor tenants and taxing the rich and are afraid of losing their seats to far-left challengers, notably those backed by the Democratic Socialists of America.It’s not paranoia. Progressive and socialist challengers have in the past two years unseated a slew of moderate, even liberal New York City Democrats, including Joe Lentol, Felix Ortiz, Walter Mosley, Aravella Simotas, Michael DenDekker, Mike Miller, Martin Dilan, Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel. Some had been in office for decades, a period during which legislators typically stayed in office until they retired, died or were convicted.As a result, some Democratic office holders pacify the far left to avoid becoming targets, critics say. They point to Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris as a prime example. Real estate once counted him as a friend, but in recent years he has pushed bills that landlords hate and has opposed major developments, including Amazon’s HQ2.When Simotas — whom Gianaris had hand-picked to succeed him in the Assembly years ago — was challenged this year by DSA-backed Zohran Mamdani, Gianaris stood by as she went down in flames.“That tells you he’s scared,” one political strategist said, speaking anonymously to protect professional relationships. “Desperately and deeply scared.”Gianaris has maintained he is doing what he believes is best for New York.When Senate Democrats meet to shape their agenda, it helps real estate to have some moderate voices in the room. Democrats representing Long Island and upstate typically fit that bill. One Democratic consultant said that’s why it made little sense for police unions — upset about bail reform — to run attack ads against Nassau and Suffolk Democrats this year.“If the PBA wins, all they did was take out the people they could actually talk to,” the consultant said, referring to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.The real estate industry understands that: It supports moderate Senate Democrats. But the PBA’s ads highlighted the danger for the majority conference when their suburban members are forced to take public positions on issues such as bail reform that challengers can use against them.“A lot of the electioneering in these contested races, in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, centered on votes these candidates took that were seen as out of the mainstream for their districts,” noted one real estate industry source.To protect those members, Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins might bottle up the “good cause eviction” bill, which would essentially impose rent control statewide.“The thrashing that Democrats took on Long Island will mean there’s going to be a little more pressure on Andrea to hold the line on some stuff,” the strategist said. “There will be more pressure on Andrea to cater to the centrists.”That will upset some city members of her conference, but as the strategist noted, “They’re probably not going to coup Andrea.” Stewart-Cousins shattered a glass ceiling as Albany’s first female, Black majority leader and has strong relationships with key members of her conference, the source explained.On the Assembly side, newly elected socialists and progressives are expected to band together. “They’re going to form their own caucus and they’re going to wreak havoc,” the strategist predicted. “While they’ve struggled in the Senate, they’re going to be emergent in the Assembly in a big way.”Having failed to cancel rent, their top goal will be to raise taxes to minimize service cuts. Although billions of dollars in federal aid for New York is seen as more likely with a Biden administration on the way, it is not expected to be nearly enough to balance the state’s budget.Real estate is on high alert for taxes, such as a recurring levy on second homes. “The big discussion next year is going to be tax policy,” the real estate industry source said. “The Biden stimulus is not going to be a cure-all.”One thing working in real estate’s favor — politically, at least — is the terrible state of the economy.“Everyone’s going to have to find common ground with the real estate industry because it has the ability to create a lot of jobs,” said Greenberg Traurig’s Jonathan Bing, a lobbyist and former Assembly member from Manhattan.He called Cuomo a firewall against bills that diminish that power. “We’re in a tremendous economic crisis right now,” Bing said. “The governor would be very concerned about legislation that would have a major effect on an industry in a crisis.”Another observer agreed, adding that the governor is well positioned to stop such bills.“Real estate is always going to have Andrew,” the strategist said. “Andrew has their back. And he has the highest approval rating he’s ever had.”Contact Erik Engquist Full Name* Email Address* Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Getty, iStock)“The voters have spoken,” Republican Mike Martucci said, declaring victory in one of the New York state Senate races that real estate players are watching closely.Martucci’s claim, like President Donald Trump’s last weekend, was premature. Although New York’s voters have spoken, we don’t yet know what many of them said.While the nation was gripped by the counting of mail-in ballots that clinched the presidency Saturday for Joe Biden, more than 1 million sat untouched in New York. Tallying only began Monday and it could be weeks before some races, including Martucci’s in Sullivan County, are called.The results will affect the landscape for the real estate industry, albeit more subtly than in 2018, when Republicans lost control of the Senate. Several Democratic senators could lose, which would affect key real estate issues, especially taxes and rent regulation.The vote count from Election Day shows Democrats trailing in seven of their Senate seats but picking up three Republican seats — two in the Rochester area and one in Buffalo. That would leave them with a 36-27 advantage in the upper chamber.But as the presidential election showed, Democrats have a huge advantage in mail-in ballots. They figure to catch up in at least two of the seven races that they are losing and quite possibly others. When the smoke clears, Democrats could have 38 to 40 seats and have an outside shot at one or two more.That sounds like bad news for real estate. It might not be. Here’s why.Read moreNo more developer-in-chief: Biden to become 46th US presidentReal estate donors backing Biden over TrumpFive ways Biden could change the game for real estate Message*
TagscompassIPOsResidential Real EstateRobert Reffkin Compass has been quietly preparing to go public for months, bringing on new board members and executives, and tapping Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as underwriters just before Thanksgiving.The brokerage has raised $1.5 billion since 2012 from investors including Fidelity, Dragoneer and SoftBank. The involvement of the latter, famous for driving private-market valuations to stunning heights, has prompted venture capitalists and Compass’ competitors to scrutinize similarities to SoftBank’s infamous unicorn, WeWork, which nearly imploded in the aftermath of its IPO attempt last fall. Compass denied any parallels both internally and externally at the time.Regardless, the idea of Compass’ IPO — and the public filings the process requires — is generating intense interest from critics and fans alike. And Reffkin appears enthusiastic to move forward.“I am more excited than ever before about the future,” the CEO wrote in his sign off.Contact Erin Hudson Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Message* Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty)More and more Compass agents are wondering what’s in store for them as telltale signs that the brokerage is planning an initial public offering pile up.And for the first time, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin acknowledged the brokerage’s looming IPO plans in a message to its agents, a copy of which was obtained by The Real Deal.“Many of you have asked what the benefits are to Compass agents of being a public company,” Reffkin wrote. “Being public will allow Compass to raise capital that we can invest in more tools and more support to help you.”His memo touched on four main points on how the IPO would help Compass and its agents, including greater brand recognition, public trust, more technology and employees. He also made a sweeping promise to pour funds into “anything” that serves its agents’ businesses.“We will be able to invest more in building towards the Compass Northstar: Anything an agent needs, Compass provides,” Reffkin wrote.Reffkin emphasized that he could not comment on the timing of the IPO. Compass declined to comment.Read moreWhy Compass is going public now — and the obstacles it facesCompass eyes IPO in 2021Like WeWork, Compass touts tech and culture. Are the companies different enough? Email Address* Full Name*
Drinkbox’s 10 biggest f—upsGuacamelee developers offer simple advice inspired by their biggest mistakesBrendan SinclairManaging EditorThursday 17th March 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleDrinkBox StudiosIt’s not uncommon at the Game Developers Conference for successful developers to give talks sharing all the things they think they did right on the way to success. It’s less common to see a talk like Drinkbox Studios designer Chris McQuinn and co-founder/producer Graham Smith gave Wednesday, with developers from a successful studio sharing a list of their “10 Biggest F—Ups.”The Toronto-based studio has enjoyed success with games like Guacamelee and Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, and is finishing up work on its PS Vita-exclusive Severed. As good as those games were or will be, McQuinn said they also bred some of the studio’s biggest mistakes, which is what inspired the pair to share tips with their fellow developers in the hopes they can make smarter decisions earlier.1. Always Get ReferralsSmith said one of the first big mistakes happened when they were applying for a scientific research tax credit in Canada. They employed a consultant to help apply for the benefit, but didn’t do much research on him beforehand. He advised them to claim all of their employees’ salaries under the tax credit, and they deferred to his expertise. Within a few weeks of filing taxes, the studio received word it was being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency. It would have been a trivial amount of legwork to find a more reputable consultant, but they skipped that step and instead spent a huge amount of time trying to clean up the mess after the fact.2. Workplace Comfort is ImportantMcQuinn said you want to save money where you can as a small developer, so you often get “affordable” dev spaces without central AC, or places that have radiator heating that doesn’t work and they don’t have control over. In the summer, temperatures in Drinkbox’s working space would get as high as 102 Fahrenheit in the office, and in the winter, it would get below 24 Fahrenheit. They got small AC units and space heaters, but it didn’t do the job. Eventually spent the money for industrial size AC/heating units and blinds that actually addressed the problem, but McQuinn said they tried to work around it for far too long.There was also an issue with a slow toilet. Because they didn’t have anyone on staff for maintenance, the problem got worse and worse until it clogged completely. Eventually they just wound up walking down to the local Starbucks every time they needed to use the bathroom, wasting hours of work time before they finally called a plumber and got the toilet fixed.”We learned the hard way that a key to our success is ensuring the atmosphere is decent at work so people can be happy, motivated, and creative,” Smith said.3. Plan Your Launch Date CarefullySmith said for the first game, About a Blob, they announced their launch date through press release and only found out later about other games coming out on that date, including the first free PlayStation Plus game, Stacked. They stuck to the date figuring that they had already committed, but they had little name recognition or marketing, and the game’s sales flatlined on launch. Now they’re being more flexible. They had planned to launch Severed on May 10, but when Uncharted 4 was pushed to that date recently, they moved it again.4. Use a PR CompanyIn 2010 and 2011, Drinkbox went to PAX Prime, but figured they were too small and indie for a professional PR company to be worth the expenditure. But when they divided the money they spent on the trip by the number of resulting articles online from media, the average cost per article was about $1,000. They asked other exhibitors who seemed to have more media come through their booths what they were doing and the answer was simply that they had employed PR companies. In future shows, they used a PR company and the price per article came down drastically. Now that the company is a bit more established, they might not need to spend as much on a PR company, but at the time, the cost of hiring a company was easily made up for by the additional coverage–and subsequent sales–of their games.5. Choose Your Ports WiselyMutant Blobs Attack was the company’s PS Vita launch title. It did well, but they wanted to get the biggest possible return on it, so they brought it to PC and consoles. Unfortunately, the game was designed around the touch screen and tilt-sensitive Vita hardware, so it wasn’t well suited to the other interfaces and relied on sub-optimal control implementations. The Metacritic scores for the ports were indicative of this, and while they were a little profitable, Smith said it might not have been worth the damage to the company’s reputation and average Metacritic score. When Guacamelee came out, they got plenty of offers to adapt it to mobile, but turned them down because they didn’t think it would work, and the extra money wasn’t worth damaging trust in the studio’s name.6. Buffer Time for Your Buffer TimeMcQuinn talked about a PAX Prime in Seattle where they planned to arrive the day before the show by flying through Calgary. Unfortunately, they missed their connection and the next flight they could get wouldn’t arrive until two days into the show. So they rented a car and drove overnight to reach Seattle at 8:30 a.m., just in time for their first interview appointment. The upside was they discovered the sunrise in Montana is lovely, but the much larger downsides included being attacked by wild dogs at a rest stop and being exhausted heading into the first day of the show. Now they show up a full business day ahead of time for any such shows so they can start fresh.7. Handle Side Projects CarefullyWhen Drinkbox started in 2008, Smith said the studio used a boilerplate contract with a standard clause that said something along the lines of anything people work on while employed is property of Drinkbox. But people on the team wanted to pursue side projects and new hires already had things in the works. They figured there were benefits to letting people work on things outside of work, so they decided to allow employees to have those side projects. Unfortunately, that led to conflicts of interest for those employees. People were calling in sick because to crunch on their side games for an IGF deadline, saving ideas for their project instead of Drinkbox’s, or competing against Drinkbox for some of the same government grants. Some people even worked on their side projects at Drinkbox during work hours. Ultimately the studio decided they hadn’t been keeping close enough tabs on the side projects, and the developers didn’t understand exactly what expectations the company had for them in terms of their side projects. So now their employment contract includes a clause that says the board of directors has to sign off on the project. They also spell out expectations better, which has helped avoid further problems.8. Beware of Hidden CostsGoing to shows requires spending on extra equipment, and renting from show organizers is pretty expensive. After a while, they found an external rental company for a show and found cheaper equipment, but got a $2,400 charge in dryage fees. As Smith explained, dryage fees are when you bring your equipment to the hall, then union workers take it the final yards to the booth and charge an arm and a leg for it. Now they buy their equipment wherever they go, and sometimes just give it away at the end of the show because it’s cheaper to buy the stuff outright instead of rent it at outrageous costs. Every dollar counts, but you can’t waste too much time trying to save money, because that costs money itself, McQuinn said.9. QA Patches ThoroughlyShortly after Guacamelee’s launch, Drinkbox planned a patch that would let players change costumes in the game. They released it and immediately saw on Twitter that there was an issue where players would get turned into a chicken and be unable to change back, effectively halting progress in the game. They had to pull the patch urgently, but the affected people had to wait a few weeks for a patch to get through certification (or start the game over, which also wasn’t ideal). It was a simple fix, but because they didn’t QA the patch thoroughly they caused big problems for hundreds of users. They’re much more careful now, and expect QA on patches to be potentially more difficult than the original release.10. Stay CoolThree or four years ago, Drinkbox tipped off a handful of media with a confidential email about how they were looking to make an updated version of Guacamelee. Unfortunately, it wasn’t especially clear that the email was intended to be confidential and an IGN writer posted it on the site as a news story. They contacted the site, which pulled the article, but the news was already out. Another “very, very large media outlet” got in touch to ask for info, and McQuinn asked them to ignore it. They wrote back and said they were going to post about it anyway.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “So at this point you get kind of angry and pissed,” McQuinn said. “You say to yourself, if they post this information, they are jeopardizing our business and potentially making us lose sales.”But rather than go nuts and burn their bridge with the large unnamed site, McQuinn said they struck a deal where the site would report on the new Guacamelee, but not Severed, which had also been mentioned in the email. It was an acceptable solution and they still have a good working relationship with the site to this day.”A lot of these were small problems, that had we just dealt with them immediately or put a bit of time into the initial issue, it wouldn’t have transformed into this monster problem,” McQuinn said.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesDrinkbox cuts through the noiseSevered studio founders reflect on eight years in business, mid-gen console upgrades, the already crowded VR market, and the problem of relying on popularity to solve discoverabilityBy Brendan Sinclair 5 years agoPS Vita doesn’t deserve bad reputation – DrinkboxGuacamelee studio’s Chris McQuinn on why Sony’s handheld gets short shrift, fear of mobile market, and the importance of staying smallBy Brendan Sinclair 7 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Sony confirms PSN name change featureLong-requested ability to change PlayStation Network IDs will roll out early next year, will cause problems with some gamesBrendan SinclairManaging EditorWednesday 10th October 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleSonyAfter years of fan demand, Sony plans to let PlayStation Network users change their online handles. The company today announced that it will roll out the ability for participants in the PlayStation Preview Program soon, with the feature made available to all early next year.As with Microsoft’s Gamertag change service, Sony will be using the feature as a revenue stream. PSN users will be allowed to change their name the first time for free, but will be charged $10 USD/CAD for each subsequent change. PlayStation Plus subscribers will get a break on the fee, being able to change handles for $5 USD/CAD. Users will also have the option to display their older ID alongside their new one so friends can identify them, but they must make that call at the time of the change and won’t be able to reverse it later.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Sony’s announcement of the feature also included a suggestion that some still-unsolved technical issues have been to blame for the feature’s belated arrival.”This feature is compatible with PS4 games originally published after April 1, 2018, and a large majority of the most-played PS4 games that were released before this date,” Sony said. “However, please note not all games and applications for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita systems are guaranteed to support the online ID change, and users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games.”If players run into problems, Sony’s suggestion is to revert their PSN ID back to the original name (which they may do for free once), saying that will resolve “most” issues players run into.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesReturnal | Critical ConsensusCritics praise Housemarque’s roguelike shooter for fast-paced combat and unforgiving, gorgeous world, but say it misses the mark on some key aspectsBy Marie Dealessandri 9 days agoSony testing PlayStation Plus film and TV offeringPlayStation Plus Video Pass will be available for a limited time in PolandBy Marie Dealessandri 19 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Snail Games launches indie publishing labelChinese outfit establishes Wandering Wizard to bring Western indie titles to the market, starting with Virtual Basement’s Outlaws of the Old WestBrendan SinclairManaging EditorMonday 25th February 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleSnail GamesIndependent developers have yet another publishing partner to consider, as Snail Games today announced the launch of its indie publishing label Wandering Wizard.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The Chinese gaming outfit has worked in hardware and software publishing and development for nearly two decades and established a US branch in 2010, but Wandering Wizard is explicitly targeting North American and European indie developers in a way the company hasn’t previously.”Wandering Wizard was established to work with Western developers whose games might not have been a fit that risk averse portfolio,” the company said on its official site. “Pixels or polys, if we can see the vision (and of course the bottom line) and you’re happy, we’re happy.”The first project from Wandering Wizard is Outlaws of the Old West, a sandbox survival game set to debut on Steam Early Access tomorrow. It is being executive produced by Tim Hesse, who has also been given the title of “Archmage” for the Wandering Wizard label. The game is being developed by Virtual Basement, an international team of developers who previously self-published The Mean Greens – Plastic Warfare and also worked on Ark: Survival Evolved.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 4 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Tencent and NetEase’s combined non-China mobile revenues leap 505% to $472mIHS Markit says Chinese publishers’s efforts overseas helped weather game freeze, let by NetEase’s battle royale Knives OutJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefFriday 22nd February 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleIHSOverseas mobile revenue dramatically improved for both Tencent and NetEase last year, helping to offset the impact of China’s months-long freeze on new game approvals.A new report by IHS Markit shows that combined non-China takings from the App Store and Google Play for the two publishers amounted to $472 million in 2018 — that’s a 505% improvement on the $78 million taken the year before.IHS notes that a majority of this growth can be directly attributed to NetEase’s Knives Out, a PUBG-like battle royale title. In particular, the game has proven to be very popular in Japan.Meanwhile, Tencent’s biggest hits have been Arena of Valor — the non-China version of flagship title Honor of Kings — and PUBG Mobile. While the former has “failed to ignite western audiences”, the mobile version of PUBG has outperformed it in select markets and often appears in the Top 50 highest-grossing iOS apps in the US. That said, IHS notes that PUBG Mobile only represented 2% of Tencent’s overall mobile games business in Q3 2018. Tencent also fares well in the analyst firm’s rankings for the top performing titles worldwide. In 2018, Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor was the sixth highest-grossing title, with net revenues of $463 million. Tencent also took a share of the $1.03 billion generated by the top title, Candy Crush Saga, thanks to publishing deals.Meanwhile PUBG Mobile was the second most downloaded game of 2018, with 274 million installs — beaten only by Voodoo’s hyper-casual hit Helix Jump and its 380 million downloads.These successes outside their home market of China have helped NetEase and Tencent weather the problems caused by the government’s nine-month freeze on new game approvals while it reorganised the regulatory body responsible for them.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The approvals process restarted in December, with three batches released so far, although Tencent and NetEase were left out of the first two.There were reports yesterday that China has once again frozen approvals while it catches up with the backlog of submissions but NetEase claims this is not the case.Overall, IHS Markit reports that combined mobile games net revenue from Google Play and the App Store grew 5% year-on-year to $34.3 billion. This growth is slower than in previous years due to a myriad of factors — not the least of which has been the China freeze.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesUK video game sales drop for the first time since 2012Physical sales plunge as digital growth slowsBy Christopher Dring A year agoNintendo expected to overtake Microsoft in 2018IHS Markit’s 2017 full-year figures also show console market enjoyed biggest growth in six yearsBy James Batchelor 3 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Discord Game Store refocuses on Nitro subscription, devs can now sell games directlyStudios can now set up their own store pages and news channels on their own verified serversJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefThursday 14th March 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleDiscord GamesDiscord seems to be downscaling its efforts to run its own digital games marketplace, instead shifting game sales to developers’ own servers.The chat platform is introducing a new version of its verified servers, which will allow studios to create a dedicated store channel within their own server where players can purchase their titles.Discord will be replacing its own store tab with its Nitro subscription offering — a library of games ranging from indie hits like Limbo and Super Meat Boy to higher-end back catalogue titles like BioShock and Metro 2033.In a Medium post, Discord attributed the changes to feedback and learnings from the beta for its own game store, adding that developers “want more agency over their monetisation and less friction between their community and their commerce.”It’s likely growing competition in the PC digital games space — most notably from the Epic Games Store — was also a factor.In addition to the ability to create a store channel, developers will also have access to expanded analytics that show just where their revenue is coming from.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Studios using Discord to communicate with communities will also be able to set up news channels as a clear destination for new announcements.As was previously announced, 90% of the revenue from games sold through verified servers will go to the developer, with Discord taking just 10% as its cut.Developers will also be able to use their servers to sell early access versions of their game, as well as post-launch content and in-app purchases.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesMicrosoft among suitors for Discord in reported $10b dealMultiple reports suggest chat startup is in talks for a potential saleBy Matthew Handrahan A month agoDiscord pulls free games from NitroChat service pulls feature from subscription offering because “vast majority of Nitro subscribers didn’t play them”By Brendan Sinclair A year agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.