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EA Hints at Return to Steam; Sony Examining Sale of PlayStation Vue

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: EA hints at return to Steam; Sony examining sale of PlayStation Vue; and Ubisoft share price plummets following profit warning.

EA hints at return to Steam

EA has hinted that the company’s titles will be returning to Steam, ending an eight year period of exclusivity on the Origin storefront. The firms appear to have reached a compromise, whereby titles will be available to purchase on Steam but will open the Origin client when launched, similar to the existing arrangement between Steam and Ubisoft’s Uplay. Further evidence pointing towards the potential relisting of EA titles on Steam comes from @RobotBrush, who identified a test application on Steam integrating with the Origin executable.

The move by EA to offer its titles on Steam is against the increasing trend of storefronts demanding exclusivity for its titles, with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney having been forced to defend the practice of paying developers large sums in return for listing their titles exclusively on the Epic Game Store.

Sony examining sale of PlayStation Vue

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Sony is exploring the sale of its loss-making OTT streaming service PlayStation Vue, according to reports initially published in The Information. The service, which currently has approximately 500,000 subscribers in the United States, offers a catalogue of programming from cable broadcasters and has continually operated at a loss since it was launched in 2015. Bank of America division Merrill Lynch was reportedly approached to facilitate a potential sale some months previously. The move would seemingly reflect shareholder pressure on Sony to restructure the business away from imaging and non-core areas to focus on the gaming, music and film sectors.

Speaking to The Information, Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at eMarketer, questioned the viability of similar so-called ‘skinny cable bundles’. “I think we will see some of these offerings go away eventually, he said, “The same forces that are affecting the traditional TV bundles are affecting these skinny bundles—particularly increased carriage fees—since they are essentially the same product.”

Ubisoft share price plummets following profit warning

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Ubisoft (UBI) share price fell by more than 27% from €56.10 (£48.42) to €40.50 (£34.95) per share following the release of a profit warning on Friday, which forecast a 89.6%-95.8% reduction in non-IFRS operating income from €480m (£414.3m) to €20m-€50m (£17.3m-£43.2m). However the price is undergoing somewhat of a recovery, climbing above €49.10 (£42.38) per share at the time of publication. The forecast decline in revenue and operating income was attributed to the delay of three titles, namely Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Watch Dogs: Legion, as well as the poor performance of The Division 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

In a statement released at the time, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said, “We have not capitalised on the potential of our latest two AAA releases. For Ghost Recon Breakpoint, while the game’s quality appeared on track – based on E3, Gamescom, previews and our latest internal playtests –, critical reception and sales during the game’s first weeks were very disappointing. As we have done with past titles, we will continue to support the game and listen to the community in order to deliver the necessary improvements.”