Blizzard Criticised for Crowdfunding; AMD Targetting Consoles & Cloud Gaming

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Blizzard criticised for crowdfunding; AMD targetting consoles & cloud gaming; and Team17 raises revenue expectations.

Blizzard criticised for crowdfunding

Blizzard has attracted criticism for ‘deceptive language’ regarding a crowdfunding campaign designed to raise funds for the prize pools for the Arena World Championship and Mythic Dungeon Invitational World of Warcraft esports tournaments. In March, Blizzard stated that the minimum combined prize pool for the tournaments would total USD$500,000 (£386,000), with a crowdfunding campaign through the sale of in-game toys, from which “25% of the proceeds will contribute toward the year’s finals LAN event prize pool”.

Blizzard subsequently informed players in a meeting this week that, as 25% of revenue from the toy sales reached USD$660,000 (£510,000), the company would not be contributing any additional money. The move has been roundly criticised by competitors as the prize pool was only increased by USD$160,000 (£124,000), despite sales from the toys generating USD$2.6m (£2.0m) for the firm. The decision has been contrasted with Dota2 developer Valve’s contribution to the Dota 2 tournament The International, whereby the minimum prize pool of USD$1.6m (£1.24m) is added to the final amount, regardless of how successful crowdfunding efforts are.

AMD targetting consoles & cloud gaming

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Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is targeting the cloud gaming markets and the next generation of consoles as key growth markets, according to an interview with CEO Lisa Su on VentureBeat. Following Q3 2019 results which revealed revenue of USD$1.8bn (£1.4bn), in line with investor expectations, Su stated of AMD’s console business, “We’re going through a product transition at the moment. Most of the energies have turned to the new consoles. But our expectation is that as this generation ramps down, we’ll have a strong ramp to the next generation, particularly as we go into the second half of 2020.”

Su was also bullish on the cloud gaming market, with the potential reduction in high-end GPUs in consumer devices offset by increased need in the commercial datacentres required to power the streaming services. Su stated, “If you look at virtualisation, the overall market looks strong. We’ve had good traction with cloud gaming as one of the important use cases there. As you look at high-performance computing and AI, those are also really good use cases for us. We continue to move forward with our investments in hardware and software in those areas. We view that as a growth market for us over the next couple of years.”

Team17 raises revenue expectations

Team17

Team17 Group plc has today (4th November 2019) released a trading update for the year ending 31st December 2019, stating that both revenue and adjusted EBITDA are expected to surpass initial market expectations. The independent developer and creative partner experienced strong revenue growth of 97% year-on-year for the first half of the year, with the trading update stating that the firm has “continued to experience strong customer traction from both new and established games throughout the second half of the year”, leading to the revised forecast.

Despite the positive financial outlook, Chief Financial Officer Jo Jones is to leave the Wakefield-based firm as of 22nd November to take up a “new challenge”.

At the time of writing, Team17 price on the London Stock Exchange has risen to £3.12 per share, an increase of 5.05% from the previous close.