61% of Chinese Gamers Prefer FTP or Ad-Funded titles; Immortals Gaming Club Selling Houston Outlaws

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TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the trending stories in gaming. In today’s edition: 61% of Chinese gamers prefer free-to-play or ad-funded titles; Immortals Gaming Club reportedly selling Houston Outlaws for USD$40m (£32.8m); and Ubisoft acquires Green Panda Games.

61% of Chinese gamers prefer free-to-play or ad-funded titles

61% of 1007 surveyed Chinese gamers prefer free-to-play (FTP) or ad-funded titles over premium games, according to research commissioned by Mintegral. 85% of respondents also reported that they had spent money on these titles, however only 3% spent more than RMB¥330 (£39.4), with the majority spending less than RMB¥40 (£4.77). The research, designed to highlight areas where Western developers should focus on when targeting Chinese mobile gamers, also determined that 92% of players in the country play any given title for more than one week.

In a statement accompanying the research, Erick Fang, CEO of Mintegral stated: ““Mobile advertising is about more than just monetisation, as programmatic mobile ads have become the key user acquisition method for any F2P game. Interestingly, in the responses we collected, there was a clear preference for more interactive and engaging ad formats, such as rewarded video, playable ads, and VR and AR content.”

Immortals Gaming Club reportedly selling Houston Outlaws for USD$40m (£32.8m)

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Immortals Gaming Club is reportedly selling its Houston Outlaws outfit to real estate investor Lee Zieben for a figure of around USD$40m (£32.8m), pending Overwatch League approval. The sale had been anticipated following Immortal’s acquisition of Infinite Esports & Entertainment, which owned Houston Outlaws, for a figure of USD$100m (£82.1m) in June this year. Immortals Gaming Club already owns the LA Valiant team, with league rules preventing an owner from holding equity in more than one team.

Immortals Gaming Club has made a series of similar acquisitions in the past few months, having purchased the previously defunct Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team MIBR, and matchmaking platform Gamers Club, which followed a Series B funding round of USD$30m (£24.6m). The spate of acquisitions is bound to raise the enterprise value of Immortals Gaming Club, which was estimated to be USD$100m (£82.1m) in October last year.

Ubisoft acquires Green Panda Games

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Ubisoft has acquired a 70% stake in Paris-based outfit Green Panda for an undisclosed sum, with the possibility of increasing its stake to 100% in the next four years. Green Panda is a prominent publisher of free-to-play casual mobile games, boasting an estimated 85 million downloads of its 55 titles since its formation in 2013.

Speaking on the deal, Jean-Michel Detoc, Executive Director of Ubisoft Mobile, said, “This acquisition strengthens our position in the hyper-casual market, particularly within the idle games segment. Bringing Green Panda Games into the Group fits seamlessly with our aim of offering a diversified and high-quality line-up of mobile games to an ever-wider audience. We are very excited that this talented team is joining Ubisoft’s creative force”.