Microsoft Considers xCloud-Exclusive Titles; Global Game Spend Forecast Revised to USD$148.8bn (£115.9bn)

Microsoft

TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Microsoft considers xCloud-exclusive titles; global game spend forecast revised to USD$148.8bn (£115.9bn); Coherance raises USD$2.5m (£1.9m) seed funding; and Misfits launches USD$10m (£7.8m) esports and gaming incubator.

Microsoft considers xCloud-exclusive titles

Microsoft is considering releasing exclusive titles on the upcoming Project xCloud platform, and is actively engaging with third-party developers along with in-house studios, according to an interview with Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president, gaming cloud, published in Stevivor. Choudhry also confirmed APIs have been added to the Xbox SDK to enable developers to add cloud-specific functionality, such as alterations to assets and networking code. Since the interview was released, Microsoft released a statement stating that the firm has “no plans for cloud-exclusive content at this time”, however this would tie in, at least tenuously, with Choudhry’s statement that, “In terms of exclusives[…] we don’t have any announcements to share. New content and IP takes eighteen months to two years.”

A move towards exclusivity would contradict recent statements from Microsoft executives suggesting a move away from the practice into promoting cross-play initiatives. For instance Aaron Greenburg, general manager of games marketing at Xbox, recently stated, “As a gamer, what store you buy the game in should not dictate who you play with. So if we can unite the gaming community across devices and across stores, and we think that’s a possible thing, then that’s a positive thing and a good thing for gamers.”

Global game spend forecast revised to USD$148.8bn (£115.9bn)

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Newzoo has revised its global game spend forecast for 2019 to USD$148.8bn (£115.9bn), a 2.2% reduction from its initial estimates of USD$152.1bn (£118.4bn). The downward adjustment has been attributed to slower-than-expected spending within console gaming, down to USD$45.3bn (£35.3bn) from USD$47.9bn (£37.3bn), as a result of the transition of spend from current consoles to next-generation platforms as well as the increased prevalence of subscription-based and cloud-gaming platforms. While the estimates have been reduced from initial forecasts, console gaming is still set to grow by 7.3% year on year, with global market growth from 2018 set to hit 7.2%.

The alteration from the initial figures published in June is also significant as it means that China will retain its position as the largest individual market. It was thought that the US would overtake China by the close of the year, however the reduced spend in the console gaming has affected the North American region more heavily. The forecasts also indicate that spending on mobile in Japan, North America and South Korea has reached its upper limit, with growth in this segment to be driven by emerging markets such as the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia.

Coherence raises USD$2.5m (£1.9m) seed funding

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Coherence has raised USD$2.5m (£1.9m) in a seed round led by Firstminute Capital, with additional investment from Sisu Game Ventures and Paul Heydon. The funding will be used to expand the startup’s team in Malmö, as well as to potentially open satellite offices in other regions. The Coherence product, due to be launched in 2020, is a platform for game developers to use as a framework when creating multiplayer titles, supporting tasks including automatic scaling and load balancing, which integrates with game engines. The project is led by CEO Dino Patti (Playdead, Jumpship), and supported by Unity co-founder David Helgason and Peter Björklund (formerly EA DICE).

In a statement announcing the seed funding, Patti said, “I don’t feel that game developers are properly led in the right direction at the moment. Too many are looking at the bigger productions for inspiration and that often gets boring – I’d love to see what happens when creatives can think more freely in this space. We want to break the cycle of rehashing the same online game designs over and over due to limited technology. With our platform, we aspire to get out of the developers’ way so they can try out crazy creative ideas with minimal risk.”

Misfits launches USD$10m (£7.8m) esports and gaming incubator

Misfits Gaming Group

Esports outfit Misfits Gaming Group has announced the launch of a USD$10m (£7.8m) global gaming incubator, dubbed MSF.IO. Successful applicants to the programme will recieve USD$250,000 (£194,670) investment through cash and value, free accommodation and meals, access to networking opportunities and optional office space in the firm’s South Florida headquarters.

Announcing the incubator launch, Ben Spoont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming Group, said, “As the first esports and gaming-focused startup incubator and seed fund offering the resources of our caliber in North America, our goal is to create infrastructure for supporting and developing emerging business talent. Although there’s plenty of investment at the highest levels of esports, we believe that entrepreneurs and small businesses in the space often struggle and are overlooked by mainstream opportunities for funding. To grow the industry, it is critical to support these budding entrepreneurs. Esports doesn’t just happen at the highest end. Innovative ideas from smaller companies challenge us all and create tools, services and structures that help our industry stay fresh and competitive. We are tired of waiting for the next big company to emerge in the esports and gaming industries and not be a part of it. We want to help invest in the kind of ideas that will move our industry forward.”