Microsoft Eyes Third Party Publishers
When Microsoft needs something they do not mobilise their extensive resources in order to create it, they instead reach for their checkbook. This is why Microsoft brings absolutely nothing of value to the gaming industry, or to society at large. Their money goes towards buying something which already exists, and then they move to limit their competitors access to it. They create literally nothing of value.
So Microsoft’s Xbone is trailing well behind the PS4 and Switch in sales, and the console is suffering from a severe deficit in Exclusive content. Microsoft did this to themselves by under-investing in any exclusive content that is not branded as Halo or Forza, and now they are left with nothing. So to remedy this self-imposed bullet wound to the foot Microsoft are not going to invest in their first and second party stuff as they should, but rather are looking to outright buy a major AAA publisher. The names being bandied about are Valve, EA, and PUBG Corp – so let us go through each to determine what kind of sense it would make.
PUBG Corp does not really do much in the short term. PUBG has already released on Xbone [replete with a treasure trove of glitches], and Microsoft has already secured timed exclusivity, so Sony is definitely not going to benefit from that title. Buying PUBG Corp would guarantee Microsoft access to similar content in the future, and the company is obnoxious and anti-consumer enough to be a good fit for Microsoft – so that is something.
If Microsoft is looking to bolster their exclusive content then obviously the most beneficial target acquisition would be EA. Moreover EA’s poisonous corporate culture would fit seamlessly with Microsoft, even more so than with PUBG Corp. The problem with buying EA is that they are one of the most expensive third party publishers operating within the market, and they are currently making the bulk of their revenues on platforms which are not Microsoft’s Xbone. If Microsoft buy them in order to turn all of their content into exclusives for the Xbox, then in a single stroke they will have obliterated the greater part of EA’s earning potential, which in turn means that Microsoft will have paid top dollar for a publisher which suddenly is not worth all that much anymore. This is why Microsoft did not make Minecraft an Xbox exclusive. Further, much of EA’s biggest selling franchises are made using external licenses – Madden, Fifa, Star Wars – if EA goes Microsoft exclusive then those licenses are going straight to Activision, and then what are Microsoft left with?
Finally, the most stupidly unlikely prospect of all: Valve! Gaben used to work for Microsoft, and is in no hurry to do so again. He deliberately avoided floating Valve on the stock exchange in order to prevent any outsiders from interfering with his business – this means that Microsoft could only purchase Valve with Gaben’s consent. He is unlikely to give that consent given how vocally he has rubbished Microsoft’s every failed attempt to muscle in on PC gaming.
Steam is essentially THE PC gaming platform, and so Microsoft buying them would be a lot like Microsoft just buying Nintendo. Microsoft has over 100 billion dollars in the bank, but even that may not be enough for them to buy Valve. That is probably the only reason that one has not already completely freaked out at the prospect of Microsoft owning his entire PC game collection. Microsoft would dearly love to have Valve, as it would finally allow them total domination of the PC. That being said, everything that Gabe has ever said leads one to believe that he hates Microsoft, and very much enjoys his current meme status among gamers.
The bottom line is that Microsoft should use their money to build multiple new first party studios from the ground up, and give them a mandate to create new IP. This will cost less than purchasing established studios, and eventually they will strike silver [if not gold]. Microsoft is too impatient for this though. And so they will continue to waste their money without creating anything of value for gamers.
Nintendo’s Online Service Dated
Nintendo’s Switch has been on the market for almost a year – with less than a month to go until it reaches that milestone. Some might have thought that Nintendo would have been ready to go from day one, though that is obviously not the case – especially when it comes to their online infrastructure. Nintendo has not as yet even figured out how to properly implement voice chat!
So this week Nintendo announced the launch date for their paid online service – and it is not until September! Over a year and a half since launch! By extension this probably also means that we will not have access to the Switch Virtual Console for at least another seven months – which is fucking bullshit when one considers that the Nintendo Virtual Console is already available on the Nvidia Shield TV over in China! Switch owners do not get to be part of that though!
To further highlight the absurdity of this; the Nintendo Switch was hacked this week. The PS4 was recently hacked after four years on the market, but the Switch has been available for just eleven months! Now people who have hacked their firmware have access to retro emulation – from SNES, to Sega Saturn, to even Atari Jaguar – but Nintendo customers with official firmware continue to play the waiting game. Such an attentive company!
EA #5th Most Hated Company in America
USA Today ran their list of the twenty most hated companies in America, and EA is back at the forefront of the negativity. EA came in fifth place, and while that might not sound so bad, they were up against some really strong competition this year.
Sex Pest Harvey Weinstein’s efforts in forcing Women to watch as he ejaculated into a ficus plant only managed to secure The Weinstein Company the twentieth place on the list. United Airlines who brutally assaulted one of their passengers until he was bruised and bloody only placed nineteenth on the list. Getting a little closer Foxconn, who regularly works employees to the point of suicide, placed at sixth on the list. But EA placed at fifth on the list, for their year of unprecedented avarice, where they have closed talented studios and attempted to fleece consumers at every turn. Nice going shitheads!
“Electronic Arts, or EA, has been making highly successful video games for decades. EA has produced dozens of wildly successful franchises, including “The Sims,” “Battlefield,” and “Need for Speed,” and the annually-sold, fervently-purchased sports titles, Madden and FIFA. While it has helped shape the face of gaming, EA has also unfortunately earned a reputation as the industry’s evil empire. There are many examples of EA buying up smaller studios or operations for a specific game and then either stripping the game of its originality or running the studio into the ground.”
Those Star Wars soybois really know how to hold a grudge, eh?
At the time of the Battlefront II debacle many people worried that the consequences would not stick for EA, yet as more time passes it is becoming increasingly clear that they have. Battlefront II sold half the number of copies of the previous game in the series. More than that, they had to disable their gambling loot box transactions, which meant that they had nothing to compensate for the super expensive DLC which accompanied the previous game. All of this has culminated in EA this week revealing that they posted a 186 million dollar loss for the quarter! Sometimes bad things really do happen to the people who deserve it!