This week in gaming: the Federal government finally invests in Australian game development, it’s Epic Games vs. Apple in the court, PlayStation snuggles up with Discord, 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!
The Federal government finally starts supporting Australian game development
After years of lobbying from the likes of local game developers and the IGEA alike, the Australian government this week announced that it will introduce a 30% “Digital Games Tax Offset” to encourage investment into Australian game development as part of its 2021-2022 budget.
To be eligible for the tax offset, companies will need to spend at least AU$500,000 on “qualifying Australian games expenditure” but cannot invest in games that contain “gambling elements” or that are refused classification.
The government also noted that it will meet “with industry in mid-2021” to further develop the criteria for eligibility and expects the new scheme to finally “make Australia an attractive destination for digital talent”.
This is HUGE news for the Australian game development scene, as it should encourage more foreign investment in the immense talent that our beautiful country has to offer the world!
The major revelations from Epic Games vs. Apple’s first week in court
The Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit’s court proceedings promptly kicked off this week, with some interesting details emerging from both sides of the courtroom.
According to Epic’s documents (via The Verge), Fortnite brought in approximately US$5.477 billion and US$3.709 billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively for a combined total revenue of US$9.186 billion. When speaking under oath, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney testified that his company earned more than US$5 billion 2020.
Microsoft VP of Xbox Business Development Lori Wright testified that her company hasn’t made a profit from a single Xbox console sale since the original system’s launch in 2001. The company later told The Verge that, while the platform hold sells hardware at a loss, it does aim to recoup costs through selling games and online subscriptions.
“The gaming business is a profitable and high-growth business for Microsoft,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “The console gaming business is traditionally a hardware subsidy model. Game companies sell consoles at a loss to attract new customers. Profits are generated in game sales and online service subscriptions.”
In related news, The Verge found court documents revealing that Epic Games VP of Business Development Joe Kreiner emailed former PlayStation Senior Director of Developer Relations Gio Corsi with a proposal to implement cross-play on PlayStation 4 just months before it was officially supported.
In court, Sweeney later confirmed that PlayStation is the only console platform holder that requires companies to pay compensation if players predominantly play a cross-play title on a PlayStation title and pay for that game’s content on a non-PlayStation system.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s Creative Director leaves CD Projekt RED
According to a Bloomberg report, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Creative Director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz has left developer CD Projekt RED in the wake of an investigation into his alleged misconduct at the Polish company.
While the investigation found Tomaszkiewicz not guilty, he told staff in an email that he opted to step down because several employees were still “feeling fear, stress or discomfort when working with [him]” and apologised “for all the bad blood [he had] caused.”
While Tomaszkiewicz confirmed his departure to Bloomberg, CD Projekt RED itself declined to respond to the outlet’s request for a comment.
2020 was Nintendo was Nintendo’s most profitable year
According to Nintendo’s financial documents for the year ending March 31, the Japanese gaming giant enjoyed its most profitable year ever with more than JP¥480 billion (AU$5.6 billion) in net profit earned from JP¥1.76 trillion (AU$20.5 billion) in total revenue.
During the same period, Nintendo sold through 20.85 million copies of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, 10.62 million copies of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 9.01 million copies of Super Mario 3D All-Stars selling through, and 7.38 million copies of Ring Fit Adventure.
The company also announced that it has now shipped more than 84.59 million Nintendo Switch systems but expects sales to slow down if production issues due to COVID-19 continue.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition (PC)
Resident Evil Village (PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
Game Builder Garage — Announcement Trailer
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