This week in gaming: Blizzard Entertainment’s President steps down, the PS5 is finally making a profit, Switch sales pass 89 million, and more!
In the spirit of keeping our readers up to date with what’s happening in the video game industry, the Doublejump Digest is a brief collection of the major news stories from the past week. Keep an eye out for the Digest every Sunday night, and head on into the archive for news from weeks gone by!
- In the latest Doublejump Radio episode, John & Abir discussed the ongoing toxic workplace saga at Activision-Blizzard & Ubisoft, the Aussie government’s campaign to lure foreign game investment, and the games shown off at Annapurna Interactive’s first digital showcase.
Blizzard’s President steps down, sponsors distance themselves from Overwatch and Call of Duty tournaments
During the third week of public turmoil at embattled publisher Activision-Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment announced that President J. Allen Brack had stepped down from his role to make way for a more capable leadership team.
Former Microsoft Corporate VP of Gaming and current Blizzard Executive VP Mike Ybarra will now “co-lead” the studio alongside former Vicarious Visions head and current Blizzard Executive VP of Development Jen Oneal.
In further fallout from Activision-Blizzard’s toxic workplace lawsuit, the company has seen major sponsors drop their support for the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League tournaments. Major snackfood company Kellog’s confirmed to Polygon that it pulled its sponsorship of the OWL.
“We find these allegations troubling and inconsistent with our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” spokesperson Kris Bahner wrote to Polygon. “While Activision-Blizzard has announced plans to address the challenging issues it faces, we will not be moving forward with any new programs this year, but will continue to review progress made against [its] plans.”
The State Farm also confirmed to The Washington Post that it wouldn’t run any advertising during this weekend’s matches while it is “reevaluating” its OWL sponsorship. A Coca-Cola spokesperson also told the outlet that it was also reconsidering its partnership with the tournament.
Similarly, Charlie Intel also reported that US mobile provider T-Mobile also started removing all of its branding from both leagues, including from jerseys, commentators’ mugs, and from the official sponsor lists on both the OWL and CODL’s official sites.
Sony is no longer selling standard PS5s at a loss, more stock incoming
Sony CFO Horiki Totoki revealed, in an online Q1 investor briefing last week, that the company is no longer selling the PlayStation 5 consoles at a loss. However, the PS5’s discless Digital Only version, which retails for AU$150 (AU$599 RRP) less than the primary console (AU$749 RRP), continues to sell at a loss. Sony expects this loss to be offset by sales of other devices like the last-gen PlayStation 4 and peripherals.
After selling through 10 million consoles by July 18, Totoki also announced that Sony has secured enough chipsets to manufacture at least 14.8 million PlayStation 5 consoles by the end of its current financial year (which ends on March 31, 2022).
Switch sales pass 89M units as Nintendo’s profits drop
In its latest quarterly earnings report (April-June 2021), the Japanese gaming giant announced that it sold 4.45 million Nintendo Switch systems bringing the console’s lifetime sales to at least 89.04 million. This quarterly sales figure was 21.7% down from the same time last year while software sales were down an equivalent 10.2% to 45.29 units.
Similarly, Nintendo also revealed that its revenue during this past quarter was 9.9% lower at JP¥322.6 billion (AU$3.977 billion) and operating profit was 17.3% lower at JP¥119.6 billion (AU$1.475 billion).
Steam Next Fest demos resulted in 292% more wishlists to sales
Valve has revealed that last year’s inaugural Steam Next Fest, the online event that ran in June 2020 and offered playable demos in the absence of in-person gaming events, resulted in a higher wish list-to-sales conversion rate for participating games that were released since the first event.
There was also a significant increase in wishlist additions for participants during the event, where the median game saw an increase of 421% daily wishlist additions, as well as a 15% increase during the three weeks after the 2020 event’s conclusion. Steam user participation in Steam Next Fest has remained steady, with a higher median number of wishlist additions during 2021’s subsequent Steam Next Fests than last year’s inaugural one.
Steam Next Fest was originally known as the Steam Game Festival, which Valve retroactively renamed in March 2021 in anticipation of this year’s E3 season.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
- The Ramp (PC)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War & Warzone — Season Five Cinematic
The broadcast is live, so it’s time to partaaaay!
FIFA 22 — Official Career Mode Trailer
Sorry PC, PS4, and Xbox One players; this year’s Career Mode improvements are only for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S players.
Fornite — Rift Tour featuring Ariana Grande
The diminutive diva with the dynamic voice is dominating the dazzling disco of destruction that is Fortnite!
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Lady Hellbender Cinematic
Be the wingman or be the bro, it’s up to you.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition — Summer Update 2021
Luke is the first original fighter in a long while.
- Embracer Group’s latest acquisition includes 3D Realms: Kotaku
- Report: Sony showed off the next PSVR behind closed doors: Engadget
- Steve Gaynor has stepped away from Fullbright following recent toxic workplace allegations: Gamasutra
- The Steam Deck may come out in various colours in the future: PC Gamer
- Squad has finally stopped working on Kerbal Space Program: Eurogamer
- Google apparently tried to buy Epic Games to avoid competition: The Verge
- Activision said that it’s not working on a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 remaster: GameSpot
- Bungie is finally going to put more effort into Destiny 2’s Crucible modes: Polygon
- EA reconfirmed that it’s committed to the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order series: GameSpot
- Niantic is reconsidering reverse recent Pokemon GO changes following backlash: Kotaku
- A shareholder is suing Activision-Blizzard: GameSpot
- The new Xbox “night mode” is a novel way to play at night: The Verge
- That torture-defending Activision-Blizzard executive has deleted her Twitter profile: PC Gamer
- Those “SaveTitanfall.com” hacks may have been perpetrated by someone posing as a saviour: Kotaku
- Battlefield might get its regular release schedule back: GameSpot
John Reeves and Abir Chowdhury contributed to this article.
Also published on Medium.