TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the prevalent business stories in gaming. In today’s news: Survios raises USD$16.7m (£12.9m); quarter of Ubisoft employees experienced misconduct; game streaming retains momentum.
Survios raises USD$16.7m (£12.9m)
Los Angeles-based VR developer Survios has raised USD$16.7m (£12.9m) in a venture funding round led by SeAH Group’s investment vehicle Irongrey and supported by Woori Technology Investment; KNET Venture Fund; Seoul Investment Partners; Shasta Ventures; Lux Capital; and Samsung Next. The investment will be used for recruitment and to support the development of titles for next-generation VR devices, including Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2. Survios has seen success in recent years through the release of titles tied in to existing IP in film and television, such as Westworld: Awakening, Creed: Rise to Glory, and recently-launched The Walking Dead: Onslaught. Since being founded in 2013, Survios has raised USD$70.9m to-date from four funding rounds, with previous backers including MGM Studios; Felicis Ventures; Dentsu Ventures; and Cherry Tree Investments.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Surivios CEO Seth Gerson commented, “This is really a ‘Survios grows up’ round. We have new capital, and we’re adding new talent. The exciting thing is to create some really amazing cross-play experiences using everything we have learned so far in VR[…] The units are increasing, and you can really drive a real business now. The opportunity to ship more than a million units of a game is there now, with maybe eight million units in the market. That’s been happening while we kept hearing about the trough of disillusionment. You don’t have to be an economics major to know that demand is outstripping supply.”
Quarter of Ubisoft employees experienced misconduct
Ubisoft has undertaken an anonymised survey of 14,000 employees following a series of misconduct allegations against senior staff members, with the results suggesting that a quarter (25%) have either witnessed or experienced misconduct within the previous two years. Moreover, 20% of surveyed Ubisoft employees have stated that they do not believe that they are “fully respected or safe” in the work environment. Women and non-binary staff members were also more likely to experience or witness misconduct than male employees.
The allegations have led to the resignation or removal of several executive team members, including Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat, VP of Editorial Maxime Béland, and VP of Editorial and Creative Services Tommy François. A range of abusive and threatening behaviours has been alleged, including racism, homophobia, emotional manipulation, and sexual assault.
In a letter to employees, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot concluded, “Everyone at Ubisoft should be able to feel confident and have the same opportunities, regardless of their gender, skin colour, religion, age, or other individual traits.”
Game streaming retains momentum
Video game streaming has retained momentum from earlier in the year despite the return of traditional sporting activities, with average weekly hours watched in Q3 standing at approximately 500 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 73%. According to a report published by Engine Media subsidiary Stream Hatchet, the leading streaming platforms in Western markets reached a total of 7.4 billion hours watched over the quarter, with Twitch retaining its position as the market leader with 4.7 billion hours watched. However, this figure represents a decrease of 375 million hours compared to Q2 for the Amazon-owned platform, with Facebook Gaming surpassing one billion hours watched through a quarter for the first time. The increase for the latter’s viewership likely demonstrates that it has benefitted from the shutdown of Microsoft-owned Mixer in July, with accounts transitioned to Facebook Gaming in return for promotion of Xbox gaming solutions on the social media network.
In a statement commenting on the report, Engine Media Co-CEO Darren Cox wrote, “The latest report from Stream Hatchet again highlights the massive increase enjoyed by esports during the shutdown earlier this year. But rather than it being a blip on the radar, esports streaming has continued to enjoy massive popularity even with the return of regular sports programming. The numbers remain massively up compared to last year and we believe many new viewers started watching gaming live streams in Q2 and that popularity has continued into Q3. Those new viewers have now discovered the great entertainment value that these streamers are providing.”