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Book of Cats by BGaming rewards player with $550K+ – European Gaming Industry News

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1. MENA-3 games market revenue will surpass $2 billion in 2022

Niko Partners initiated coverage on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt for the first time in 2022. We call this region MENA-3 in our reports and expect combined games revenue across all platforms to surpass $2 billion this year. Growth will be driven by higher spending per user, additional government support across games and esports, and more gamers entering the market.

2. India will have over 400 million gamers in 2022 

We predict India will surpass 400 million gamers this year, accounting for over ¼ of total gamers in Asia. We also believe that India, the fastest growing market in Asia, will be the next market to reach $1 billion. Niko Partners has often talked about how the ITV markets, referring to Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, would be the next billion-dollar games markets. These three markets have surpassed $1 billion individually over the past two years.

3. Game approvals in China will restart in early 2022 

China’s video game regulator has not approved any new titles since July 22, 2021. There were only 755 titles approved in 2021, compared to 1,411 in 2020. With the roll out of the national anti-addiction and real name identification system now complete, we expect approvals to restart in early 2022.

4. China’s regulatory approach will shift from reform to enforcement

China’s video game regulator introduced new policies in 2021, primarily aimed at curbing gaming addiction among minors. We expect the regulator to shift away from policy reform in 2022, as it looks to ensure compliance with current regulations. We are already starting to see a crackdown on companies that are curbing regulations and we have upgraded the risk of a Steam International ban in China to high.

5. Game companies in China will increase focus on exports 

Chinese game companies have dominated their home market and found success overseas with mobile games. With increased investment in AAA game development, local indie studios and the ongoing regulatory risk at home, we expect Chinese game companies to start finding success on all platforms overseas in 2022 and beyond.

6. Esports will become more legitimate in 2022

In 2017 the International Olympic Committee recognized esports as a sport, in 2018 esports was a demonstration event at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia and in 2022 Esports will be a medal event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. This will lead to more investment in esports player pipelines and player development. 2022 will enjoy an increase in esports training, education, subsidies aimed at esports management, player development.

7. Cross Platform and Cross Play will be a staple of new titles in 2022

The success of multi-platform titles such as Genshin Impact, the widespread adoption of scalable game engines such as Unreal Engine and Unity as well as the demand for interoperability between devices has led to players valuing cross platform experiences with cross play. We expect some of the largest game studios in China, South Korea, and Japan to introduce titles that run across PC, Console, Mobile and Cloud with cross play enabled.

8. 5G will be available across all 14 markets we cover in 2022 

5G has been rolling out across numerous markets in Asia since South Korea launched 5G services in April 2019. This has led to increased download speeds, lower latency and helped enable cloud gaming on the go. Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Egypt are the four markets we cover that have yet to roll out 5G. We expect them to start their roll out by the end of the year.

9. M&A / Investments / IPOs will continue to play an important role  

2021 was a record year for game related investments, especially in China where the number of transactions doubled compared to the prior year. Tencent alone invested in or acquired more than 100 game related companies last year. We expect M&A / Investments to continue playing a notable role in 2022 and beyond as the value of IP, development talent and new technologies become more important. While there may be a lower number of deals closed in 2022, we believe the overall value will continue to remain high.

10. Gaming companies will capitalize on the metaverse trend better than tech companies, but it’s still too early for the concept

Metaverse became a hot word in 2021 with numerous tech and gaming companies embracing the concept. Niko Partners believes that live service video games have been building towards the metaverse concept for several years and that companies with experience in both video game development and social media platform operation will have an advantage when entering this space. We expect game focused companies to see the initial benefits of the metaverse trend while tech first companies will struggle to offer value to users. However, we don’t expect to see a true metaverse experience in 2022 based on the currently accepted definitions.

11. The convergence of video games and the entertainment industry further engages gamers 

The video game industry is building on the concepts of metaverse, pan-entertainment and transmedia which is leading to a convergence between games and entertainment. We expect to see more traditional brands, entertainment properties and artists take advantage of live service games in 2022. On the flip side, we expect to see more collaboration between video game IP holders and traditional entertainment such as movies, TV, and comics. This bi-directional approach will further engage gamers in the future.

12. Blockchain game adoption increases, but the space remains experimental 

Blockchain based games made headlines in 2021 and VCs have invested billions in them. The past year has seen the rise of blockchain based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in games and the exploration of the Play to Earn (P2E) model. We expect to see new innovative game projects in 2022 and increased adoption of blockchain games. However, the numerous barriers to entry, lack of regulation and questions around sustainability will keep the space experimental in 2022.

13. The local game development scene will grow in developing markets 

Of the 14 markets we cover, Japan, South Korea, and China are considered game development powerhouses due to the hit titles released by domestic developers. The success of Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis (publisher of Axie Infinity) and a 2x increase in local game development studios in India since 2019 shows there is growing talent in these emerging markets. We expect to see the release of a hit game ($100m+ revenue) released by a studio from Southeast Asia or India in 2022.

14. The conversation regarding app store take rates will extend into 2022

The Epic v Apple case made headlines in 2021 and it indirectly led to Apple and Google reducing take rates for developers that earn less than $1m per year. In South Korea, a new bill required Apple and Google to offer alternative in app payment options. In China, TapTap made headlines for offering a 0% take rate and numerous developers have invested in direct distribution to avoid app store fees. As pressure continues to build, we expect platform holders to make further concessions in 2022.

15. Increasing government support towards local game development across SEA

In 2021, governments became increasingly supportive of the video game sector. Vietnam’s government took an active role in the creation of Vietnam Online Game Developers and Publishers Alliance (which will be formally established in 2022), Indonesia’s government showed support towards local game developers through fundings and infrastructure support, and Malaysia’s government continue to allocate specific national budget for gaming and esports. We anticipate more of this in 2022.

16. Korea and Japan to continue deregulation of the gaming and esports industry

Following Korea’s abolishment of the 10-year-old Shutdown Law and looking at Japan’s increasing interest in esports, we expect that both countries will continue to ease regulations or even move towards deregulation of certain laws or ordinances that hamper the growth of the gaming and esports industry. While an overhaul of the regulatory environment might not be feasible, small changes will be possible to occur in 2022.

Check our 2021 predictions accuracy here. All our predictions came true, except for #7 as a freeze on game approvals in China led to a lower number of import games being approved in 2021 vs 2020.

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PS Plus Games For December Announced

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The PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) games for December 2022 have been announced, and it’s a nice mix of offerings that include action and role-playing games. Mass Effect: Legendary, Biomutant, and Divine Knockout: Founder’s edition.

The Mass Effect titles are some of the most beloved in video history, Biomutant is a great RPG alternative set in a post-apocalyptic world, and Divine Knockout is an entirely new title that’s being launched through the PS Plus service.

mass-effect-legendary

Image Credit | EA Games

1. Mass Effect: Legendary

The original Mass Effect trilogy is considered one of the greatest trilogies in the seventh generation of video games, and the Mass Effect: Legendary edition repackages all of them in one title.

This role-playing game (RPG) follows the sci-fi adventures of Commander Shepard and his band of misfits on immersive intergalactic missions. The games are still widely loved, and they’ve never looked better than in the Mass Effect: Legendary version.

The narrative revolves around a distant future where planets and civilizations have been colonized using an ancient technology. There’s also a sense of mystery that governs the title with this ancient civilization looking to make a return. Most of the sci-fi tropes that have come to define the genre are included here, and this is enhanced by memorable characters, action-packed missions, and some devastating consequences.

To most video game enthusiasts, Mass Effect remains Bioware’s greatest accomplishment and a high-point for epic sci-fi video games. Over 100 hours can be spent learning about this fictional world, and the side missions are also considered some of the best video games have ever offered. The game will only be available to PlayStation 4 users.

2. Biomutant

Biomutant is another RPG title. This game is set in an open post-apocalyptic world, and follows a kung-fu centric world from the perspective of a mammalian warrior. The archetypal ‘Tree of Life’ observed in many mythologies and religions is the source from which the world and narrative are constructed. Like the Mass Effect series, players can design their own character.

The game is known for its fascinating combat system, which includes melee and long-range shooting attacks. Another interesting aspect of this game is the weapon-building system, and the range of abilities offered to the player.

There are lots of interesting side-quests, and like Mass Effect, the game has a karma system – the story will develop according to the previous actions undertaken by the player. If Mass Effect feels a bit too familiar, Biomutant is a great quirky alternative. The game will be available on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.

ps-plus-biomutant

Image Credit | THQ Nordic

3. Divine Knockout

Divine Knockout is a PS Plus launch title, and offers something entirely unique. Divine Knockout works as a third-person side scroller, platformer, and fighter game. Players can put themselves into the shoes of mythological figures like Thor, Susano, King Arthur, and Hercules to jump, smash, and dash their way to glory.

Fans of mythology will have a feast with this – it’s not often that fans of mythology get to see all their favorite figures from these timeless stories interact with one another. The god-like figures have adorable designs, which adds to its appeal. The game also serves as a great way for kids to get into mythology.

The game is full of color, and has great replay value. Players can play 1v1, 2v2, or multiplayer mode. This game will suit players of all ages, and has the makings of a cult classic. This game is also available on the PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.

PS Plus Titles From The Previous Month Will Be Available Till December 5

The December selection will be made available to PS Plus subscribers from December 6 to January 2. Users looking to download the PS Plus games for November can do the same until December 5, after which the games will be unavailable.

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CDL announces broadcast information, and YouTube is conspicuously missing

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No longer will you watch Call of Duty League on YouTube. You’ll have to find it elsewhere, as the streaming platform isn’t listed among the accessible websites for the upcoming 2023 season.

The CDL starts on Dec. 2, with Boston Breach against Atlanta FaZe, but fans won’t have the luxury of instantly clicking onto YouTube to get their CoD fix for the evening. Call of Duty posted a Tweet regarding the commencement of the league; however, fans noticed a key streaming player missing from the accessible streams.

For this season of the CDL, fans can head to either Twitch or the Call of Duty website to watch all the CoD they could dream of. 

The tweet said “The season starts tomorrow, here’s where to watch,” leaving its usual streaming service of the last few years out of the mix. Interestingly, no broadcast rights have been announced for the CDL this year as of yet.

YouTube’s partnership with Activision Blizzard to broadcast the company’s two major esports leagues came to an end after their three-year deal finished earlier this year. The deal commenced in 2020 with the beginning of the Overwatch League’s third season, leaving years of Call of Duty on YouTube alongside it for the next couple of years.

The league’s deal with YouTube was worth $160 million, but there’s now concern over Twitch and YouTube’s willingness to place money in a title with “less-than-stellar viewership statistics.”

Either way, the CDL will be available to stream on Twitch as soon as it commences, so gear up and prepare for the season ahead.

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US Army planned on targeting Twitch viewers for recruitment through Call of Duty

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The U.S. Army uses billions of dollars to bolster its already massive military, also spending on advertising and sponsorship in gaming in the effort to bring more soldiers into the fold. Sponsoring events like ESL’s CS:GO tournaments doesn’t seem to be the last step for the U.S. military in the gaming sphere, however, as streamers were the next choice for the front line of the army’s advertising. 

According to Vice, “internal Army documents” shared by Motherboard disclose that the U.S. military planned on sponsoring Call of Duty events, but after recent sexual harassment allegations within Activision, they decided against the sponsorships.

The documents shared the military’s target audience, with a primary “focus on the growth target of females, Black & Hispanics” and people aged 18 to 24.

$3.8 million was spread across several different organizations, with WWE, Twitch, the Call of Duty League, and the Paramount Plus Halo television series acquiring large portions of the funds provided.

Image via Vice

IGN was at the upper end of the allocated funds, with $600,000 being dedicated to the gaming news publication. 

OpTic Chicago and Texas were also on the list of names associated with the funding. A total of $600,000 was allocated from Dec. 1, 2021, to Nov. 30, 2022 for Chicago, and from February to late September 2022 for Texas. 

Stonemountain64, a Warzone 2 streamer with 2.32 million subscribers on YouTube, was allocated $150,000. Other streamers like Swagg and Alex Zedra were also mentioned in the documents. Next to Zedra and Swagg’s names was an asterisk, highlighting that their allocated funds were “based on conversations” with the streamers. 

While this amount of funding seems like a large sum of money, it’s merely a $3 million drop in the $773 billion U.S. defense budget for 2022.

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