Investor’s “News of the Week” (March 1st – March 7th)
Billion-dollar acquisitions and more news about GameStop’s Stocks took place in the first week of March.
Don’t miss what happened on the markets between March 1st and 7th.
1) Gamestop Stock Rises Up Again… Boosted by Social Media Bots?
GameStop’s “Stonk” trend hasn’t stopped yet since the r/WallStreetBets controversial event.
This time, the stock surged right after Jim Bell, its Chief Financial Officer, announced he would quit at the end of the month.
The first jump sent the company’s stock up to $400 per share. It went down since then, just to jump to $91.71, a 104% increase over the previous day (February 24).
At least, this is the publicly known story, because cyber-security company PiiQ Media suggests another: bots used on social media platforms are keeping GameStop’s stock higher than usual with memes that encourage shares buying.
The Massachusetts-based noticed a pattern between January 28 and February 18 of bots hyping “memestocks”, slogans like “Hold the Line” and keywords such as “GME”, which is the company’s stock symbol.
The case is still under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
2) “Dream Games” Gets Largest Series A Round for Turkish Company ($50m)
Raising $50 Million in Series A isn’t an easy task, but the Turkish mobile startup Dream Games achieved just that, despite having launched only one game (Royal Match).
High-profile VC firm, Index Ventures, led the investing round as it has done in the past with some of the best-known companies in the industry like King and Supercell. They also took contributions from Balderton Capital and Markers Fund.
The reason behind such confidence from Index Ventures and contributors is the fact that Dream Games lineage with Peak Games, another Turkish video game firm which was acquired by Zynga for $1.8 billion last year.
Dream Games plans to scale from 30 to 70 team members by the end of 2021.
3) Square Enix and Forever Entertainment Deal to Develop Remakes
Forever Entertainment game development studio has signed an agreement to develop and release remakes based on several of Square Enix’s popular titles, which haven’t been revealed yet.
Forever Entertainment will take care of updating the graphic design of these and receive 50% of the generated revenue, but the gameplay and storyline will be kept intact.
Forever Entertainment (Panzer Dragoon Saga remake) has signed a deal with Square Enix to create “several remakes” for them
— Nibel (@Nibellion) March 1, 2021
While FE developed titles aren’t as popular (excluding the fact that they are behind the production of Sega’s The House of the Dead Remake), Square Enix does enjoy having produced series like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts.
4) Trademark Party: BungieCon, Bandai Namco Next, and Chocobo GP
Trademarks are one of those things that are hard to catch up, but videogame journalists and investors have their eyes over the USPTO database to hook up on trends earlier than all.
On this occasion, it was Bungie that recently got approved the trademark of BungieCon, at the same moment they are expanding the company’s Bellevue HQ with hiring sprees.
The same has been discovered with Bandai Namco Next. The trademark filing covers products and services like amusement parks and esports competitions, pointing out to a possible digital game showcase.
Another approved property has the name of “Chocobo GP” which Square Enix fans speculate that might be related to a Chocobo spin-off or successor racing game.
5) The One Ring & JRPG Lucid Soul: Kickstarter Success
Kickstarter is often the go-to platform to fund small-business projects, but Triple-A franchises like the Lord of the Ring also have their spot in there.
The One Ring, a tabletop role-playing game, became one of Kickstarter’s most successful product campaigns in history. The game met its goal ($11,836) in 4 minutes.
Free League Publishing, the company behind other tabletop RPGs like Alien, is pushing another stretch goal of $1.78 million to add solo play mode.
Not in the same scale, but with the same merit, indie horror JRPG Lucid Soul was launched with the inspiration of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Silent Hill.
The project has already reached its funding goal of $50,000 (and went over it) to cover the production and development costs of the game. It is estimated to go out sometime around October 2022 for Steam, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5, and the Xbox Series.
6) Epic vs. Apple In-Person Trial Got a Date: May 3
Apple and Epic Games’ in-person trial case is due to start on May 3 in Northern California, under the help of Judge Yvonne Gonzales.
It will finally be decided whether Apple’s App Store practices are actually monopolistic, as it has been called out. Epic’s hatred over Apple, is for taking a 30% cut of every App Store microtransaction.
Apple lowered the fee to 15% for developers under the $1 million/year mark, which is not the case for Epic Games.
The trial won’t include a jury and is still possible that COVID-19 might change the plans, making it virtual if infection numbers rise once again.
7) Epic Games Buys Mediatonic, Fall Guys Dev Company
Mediatonic, the developer team behind Fall Guys was acquired by Epic Games (Fortnite studio). The plan is to “metaverse” both battle royale games “somehow to grow exponentially, says Tonic Games co-founder.
What does this mean? I’m glad you asked!
— Fall Guys 🤖 4041 🤖 22nd March! (@FallGuysGame) March 2, 2021
Both companies seem optimistic, even if they haven’t announced any details for how this collaboration will actually work, although a crossover between the two wouldn’t be hard to execute, due to their similar styles.
The community speculates that Fall Guys could become free-to-play (it’s currently paid) as it happened with Rocket League (Epic Games bought it from Psyonix).
8) Sony’s Patents Banana-shaped Controller?
Sony Interactive Entertainment US Patent Application submitted on August 1, 2019, got approved and it reads as “System and method for generating user inputs for a video game.”
It seeks to replace game controllers with common objects, anything that comes to your mind, as they draw as an example: a banana with the PlayStation’s button symbols (◯,✖,▲,◼).
This would work by digitizing the 3D image of an object held in the user’s hand, as Microsoft Kinect tried with the user.
Just keep in mind that being a patent, it’s still unlikely that the real product will ever come to life. But who knows, maybe the real next-gen consoles will replace controllers with fruits.
9) Theorycraft Games: New Studio By Valve, Blizzard, Bungie, and Riot Games Veterans
Former employees of studios behind League of Legends, Destiny, Halo, and Team Fortress 2 joined forces to raise $37.5 million for their new studio, Theorycraft Games.
NetEase and other investment firms supported the new venture, with decades of experience behind its back. Simon Zhu, Head of Investment & Partnership, trusts the “strong track record” of the team and looks forward to what they will come up with next.
Based in Seattle and LA, they’ll work on a “community-driven, PvP game available across multiple platforms.” Joe Tung, the CEO, and Founder of the studio feels “pretty damn fortunate for the support of both the like-minded partners.
10) Microsoft’s $7.5 Billion Acquisition of Bethesda Approved by EU
The biggest video game acquisition of the year has been approved by the European Commission: $7.5 billion from Microsoft’s pocket to the founders of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks (Doom and Fallout studio).
Bethesda 23 sub-studios are included in this 10-figure package and Microsoft plans to keep them running separately, as they did with Mojang, LinkedIn, and GitHub.
A “future of gaming” event might take place on March 23rd, which might be an ideal moment for Microsoft to discuss all of the plans they’ve been cooking for a while, including the xCloud / Xbox Game Pass.
Esports Marketer. Marco is the Founder of DFY Gaming. He types for a living but writes awfully on pen and paper.