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Doublejump Digest: January 31, 2021


This week in gaming: the Epic Games Store makes massive moula, Tencent invests in DONTNOD, HITMAN 3 is already profitable, 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!


FROM DOUBLEJUMP 


MAJOR NEWS

2020 was a great year for the Epic Games Store

Epic Games recently put out a statement detailing its storefront’s results over the course of 2020, and it was extremely successful. The company noted that “there are now over 160 million Epic Games Store PC users” while “daily active users are up 192 percent to 31.3 million daily active players, with a peak [of] 13 million concurrent players this year (up from 7 million in 2019). Epic also noted that “monthly active users in December rose from 32 million in 2019 to 56 million” in 2020.

Additionally, Epic revealed that EGS users spent more than US$700 million on games throughout 2020, with a matching 70 percent increase in play time – with the most played titles included Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Rocket League, and Satisfactory.

The company also noted that it’s now offering 471 games through its store, and that it shared 103 free games last year. It also confirmed that its weekly free games initiative would continue throughout 2021; which leads us to believe that it’s here to stay.

Looking ahead, Epic noted that it is committed to improving the Wishlist and Achievements features’ functionality, as well as overhauling social features and player profiles. The company is also aiming to increase accessibility by releasing self-publishing tools for developers, with more information coming soon.

DONTNOD funds new project with Tencent money

Life Is Strange developer DONTNOD Entertainment recently announced (via GamesIndustry.biz) that it has raised €40 million in funding – including €30 million from Chinese entertainment conglomerate – to assist in its plans to self-publish its future titles.

“Through this partnership, DONTNOD is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the various growth drivers in the video game industry, in particular in China and on mobile platforms, in cooperation with an industry leader,” DONTNOD CEO Oskar Guilbert said. “The capital increase announced today will enable us to step up and boost the roll-out of our development plan, which aims to capture more value from our original creations by self-publishing more games.”

As part of its investment, Tencent now owns a minority stake in the French developer in addition to a position on its corporate board.

IO Interctive recoups HITMAN 3 production cost, will introduce a new Bond in upcoming game

IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak revealed to GamesIndustry.biz that the Danish studio has recouped the production costs of its first self-published game, HITMAN 3.

“It has been a labor of love between our fans and everyone at the studio. As the developer and publisher, we are immensely proud that we can say HITMAN 3 is already profitable,” he said. “We have recouped the total project costs in less than a week.”

He explained that having its “creative and development teams working closely with publishing and marketing” was central to IO Interactive’s success with HITMAN 3.

In related news, Abrak told the Danish Broadcasting Corporation that his company is planning to cast a new actor to play James Bond in its upcoming Project 007 game.

EA creates new studio to work on Skate

EA has founded a new Vancouver-based studio named Full Circle to handle development of “the next evolution” of the SKATE game series. While neither company offered much detail about the new game, Full Circle promised on its website that the developer “will embrace and build upon everything” that players had “found special about the previous games.”

Netflix is working on an animated Tomb Raider adaptation

According to Variety, Streaming giant Netflix has announced that it is developing an anime adaptation of Tomb Raider that takes place after the most recent trilogy. The Witcher: Blood Origin screenwriter Tasha Huo has signed on to write and executive produce the new show alongside Sonic the Hedgehog movie producer Dmitri M. Johnson, Howard Bliss, and Stephen Bugaj.


NOTABLE GAME RELEASES

  • The Medium (PC and Xbox Series X|S)

VIDEOS AND TRAILERS

The Medium — Official Launch Trailer

Crossing mediums seems to bring hardware to its knees.

BALAN WONDERWORLD — True Happiness is an Adventure

Sonic creator Yuji Naka is at it again!

Apex Legends — Meet Fuse

G’day, cobber!

Apex Legends — Season 8 Gameplay Trailer

Bombed out Kingss Canyon looks dope.

Epic Games — Support-A-Creator 2.0

Existing EGS creators can start moving over to the new Support-A-Creator system.


OTHER NEWS

  • More Aussies have been caught gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Kotaku
  • Valve can finally release Left 4 Dead 2 in Germany: Eurogamer
  • Gears 5 and Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb leads February’s Games with Gold offering: Xbox Wire
  • Bungie is offering new armour for Trials of Osiris participants: GameSpot
  • The BBC interviewed quadraplegic gamers who play games using just their mouths: BBC
  • Rocket League’s upcoming in-game event will celebrate the Super Bowl: Polygon
  • Old School RuneScape is headed to Steam in February: Rock Paper Shotgun
  • Ninja Theory is dropping other projects to focus on Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II: GameSpot
  • SIE has pushed back Housemarque’s Returnal to April: Kotaku
  • One of Resident Evil Village’s actors has passed away: Eurogamer
  • Magic the Gathering’s Diablo-like will go into open beta in March: IGN
  • Sea of Thieves players shouldn’t expect bigger party sizes anytime soon: Polygon

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