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Take-Two Interactive Revenue up 54%; Blizzard Employees Angered over Pay Disparity

TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the prevalent business stories in gaming. In today’s news: Take-Two Interactive revenue up 54%; Blizzard employees angered over pay disparity; and Ubisoft partners with Parsec.

Take-Two Interactive revenue up 54%

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. has reported company-record results for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 financial year, with GAAP net revenue increasing by 54% to USD$831.3m (£626.2m) and net bookings up 136% to USD$996.2m (£762.4m). Recurrent player spending from in-game purchases within its existing properties including Grand Theft Auto Online, NBA 2K20, and Red Dead Redemption 2, was cited as the main factor for the increase, with this segment now accounting for the majority (58%) of total revenue for the New York-based firm.

In a statement, Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick commented, “With the strongest development pipeline in the history of the Company and our ongoing investment in emerging markets, platforms and business models, Take-Two is exceedingly well positioned to capitalise on the many positive trends in our industry and to generate growth and margin expansion over the long-term.”

At the time of writing, Take-Two Interactive’s share price has climbed by 5.85% in pre-market trading, standing at USD$177.49 (£135.84).

Blizzard employees angered over pay disparity

Blizzard

Staff at Blizzard Entertainment are angered by the findings of an internal salary review by parent Activision-Blizzard according to a report published in Bloomberg, and have begun circulating an anonymised spreadsheet to compare their earnings and recent pay increases. The employees claim that they received raises of less than 10% following the study, significantly lower than expected following consistent company revenue increases, on their near-minimum wage salaries, while some producers saw 20%+ increases on their pay already over USD$100,000 (£76,534). The dispute comes after it was revealed that long-standing CEO Bobby Kotick was compensated to the tune of USD$40m (£30m) through 2019, with junior developers earning substantially less than 0.33% of this figure.

Responding to Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor wrote, “Our goal has always been to ensure we compensate our employees fairly and competitively. We are constantly reviewing compensation philosophies to better recognise the talent of our highest performers and keep us competitive in the industry, all with the aim of rewarding and investing more in top employees.”

Ubisoft partners with Parsec

Ubisoft Parsec

Ubisoft has announced that it has entered a strategic partnership with developer software and remote streaming provider Parsec, which will see the French developer-publisher use Parsec to “advance its game streaming efforts”, while also aiding in-game and event activations. The collaboration comes after New York-based Parsec raised USD$7m (£5.4m) in May this year, while the two companies previously worked together on remote gaming demonstrations as part of Ubisoft’s Forward showcase event.

Stéphanie Perotti, VP Online Services at Ubisoft, commented, “We are delighted to complete this deal with Parsec. The streaming technology they have developed provides the players a new way to discover video games while providing an optimal quality of experience. With this deal, we are strengthening our streaming capabilities for our internal and player-facing platforms.”

In other Ubisoft news, the Montreuil-sous-Bois-based firm has reportedly fired Vice-President of Editorial and Creative Services Tommy François, following an internal investigation into sexual harassment and abusive behaviour. The allegations have led to a series of resignations, including those of Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat, and Vice President of Editorial Maxime Béland.