Amazon pushes into making video games, not just streaming their play
In a New York Times exclusive, Amazon confirmed that it is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into becoming a leading creator and distributor of video games. The company plans to release a big budget game (a sci-fi shooter called Crucible) in May, and is also developing a cloud based gaming platform called Project Tempo. Amazon has named its gaming wing Relentless Studios, headquartered in Seattle. This is Amazon’s biggest investment in original entertainment since starting to produce streaming series and films.Some outlets such as TheNextWeb and 9to5Google note that this year’s sluggish rollout of Google Stadia puts Amazon in an advantageous position, especially with its powerful cloud infrastructure.
GameStop to close at least 320 stores in 2020
Video game retail outlet GameStop announced plans to close a minimum of 320 stores in 2020. This move is part of a self described “de-densification plan”. GameStop executive V.P. and CFO Jim Bell announced the closures during a recent earnings call, while emphasizing that the closures are a very specific part of their 2020 strategy and unrelated to recent trends in business. This news came a day after GameStop released its full year earnings report for 2019. Coverage comes from Gamasutra, GamesRadar, Kotaku, IGN, Bloomberg, and ScreenRant, and most cite this as yet another desperate and frantic move for GameStop — yet still a necessary move in the right direction.
Borderlands 3 developers not receiving bonuses
Anonymous sources at Gearbox leaked that they will not receive the significant royalty bonuses they expected in 2020. CEO Randy Pitchford announced internally that employees would still receive smaller bonus checks, but nothing close to the amount that most were depending on. According to employees, Gearbox offers its staff below-average salaries, making up for it with a unique profit sharing system. Thanks to this system, employees have received massive checks for previous releases, and were counting on the same results due to record-breaking sales of Borderlands 3. Kotaku notes from six insider conversations that Gearbox has had a rocky history with this policy, and that this is the final straw for many, which could trigger a mass exodus from the company. PC Gamer, Windows Central, GamesIndustry.biz and PCGamesN also covered the story, with the outlook generally negative about these policies in light of CEO Pitchford telling disgruntled workers they were “welcome to quit”.