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US Suspends H-1B Visas; Phoenixx Partners with Bandai Namco & Dentsu

United States

TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the prevalent business stories in gaming. In today’s news: US suspends H-1B visas; Phoenixx partners with Bandai Namco and Dentsu; and Treehouse Games raises USD$2.6m (£2.1m).

US suspends H-1B visas

United States President Donald Trump has signed an executive order suspending H-1B skilled worker visas, along with a range of other temporary visas including work-based exchange programmes, which took effect as of yesterday (24th June 2020) and will apply until the close of 2020. The restrictions have ostensibly been imposed to protect jobs for US citizens from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, though they are likely to have a severely deleterious effect on sectors which typically have a significant proportion of overseas workers, such as healthcare, technology, and video gaming. For context, the majority (61%) of video game businesses in the UK rely on international workers.

In a statement responding to the order, the Entertainment Software Association commented, “The nation’s immigration system is inextricably linked to the US economy across numerous sectors, including healthcare, engineering, technology and interactive entertainment. The executive order limiting immigration undermines reasonable solutions to end the current economic crisis, stabilise our economy and help people return to work.”

Phoenixx partners with Bandai Namco and Dentsu

Phoenixx Bandai Dentsu

Japanese indie publisher Phoenixx has formed a new capital business alliance with Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. and Dentsu Group Inc. designed to support independent developers in releasing titles globally. Indies accepted under the programme will receive assistance across visualisation, title production, packaging logistics, retail, and marketing. Notably, partner developers will have also access to IP owned by Bandai Namco and Phoenixx IP for their own titles.

Announcing the partnership, Phoenixx President and CEO Kazunori Sakamoto wrote, “Through the support of various creators, we have been able to expand our business both domestically and internationally, and we want to expand the scope of our development of entertainment content. We’ve been working on that concept for a while now, and together with Bandai Namco Entertainment and Dentsu Group, we are looking forward to taking a more in-depth approach.”

Treehouse Games raises USD$2.6m (£2.1m)

Treehouse

Treehouse Games, a new studio operating out of Los Angeles which focus primarily on collaborative multiplayer titles, has announced that it has raised USD$2.6m (£2.1m) in seed funding from London Venture Partners (LVP). The round was supported by Kristian Segestrale (Super Evil Megacorp) and recently-formed video game investment vehicle Transcend Fund.

Treehouse Games CEO Michael Chu (formerly Riot Games) commented on the studio’s formation, “We’re constantly looking at great real-life experiences for inspiration. We want our games to evoke the camaraderie of a road trip, allow generosity among friends, and celebrate lasting accomplishments. These social players deserve innovative games made just for them. We see tremendous opportunity for cooperative games to enrich our interactions with others and deepen our friendships.”