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posted by hubie on Monday April 01, @04:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the embrace-the-suck dept.

Embracer Group has been backing away from its all-encompassing position in the games industry lately. The latest divestment is Gearbox Entertainment, the studio behind the Borderlands series it bought in early 2021 for a deal that could have been worth up to $1.37 billion to Gearbox had it stayed inside the Swedish conglomerate's grasp.

The buyer is Take-Two Interactive Software, which had previously partnered with Gearbox on publishing Borderlands and other titles. Take-Two will issue new shares of its common stock to pay $460 million for Gearbox, to be completed before the end of June this year. Embracer paid $363 million in cash and stock for Gearbox in 2021 but promised up to $1 billion more should the developer hit earnings goals over six years.

[...] Gearbox has studios in Texas, Montreal, and Quebec City, Canada. The firm had 550 employees at the time of its acquisition, but divisions of the company had seen layoffs in January.

[...] Embracer had been acquiring properties in 2021 and 2022 with an understanding that a planned $2 billion investment from the Saudi-government-backed Savvy Games Group would give the new mega-conglomerate some runway.

[...] Once the Saudi deal fell through in May 2023, however, the firm announced that it would undergo a major restructuring through March 2024. That included the shutdown of Volition in August 2023 and deep cuts at Eidos that took an unannounced Deus Ex title with them.

Gearbox and its Borderlands franchise were the biggest get, however. The looter-shooter series, struck through with (often exhausting) "edge-y" humor, has reportedly sold more than 77 million copies and earned more than $1 billion in revenue throughout its run, according to Bloomberg. Take-Two noted that a Borderlands game was "in active development" at Gearbox in its acquisition announcement.

Related Stories

Grand Theft Auto Parent Company Sues BBC 6 comments

A story from ArsTechnica:

It wouldn't be a Grand Theft Auto-related movie without some controversy, but the BBC's upcoming dramatic, 90-minute retelling of the series' genesis has come under fire not from Jack Thompson but from the game's parent company. A Thursday announcement confirmed that Take Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games, has filed a lawsuit against the BBC over its still-in-production TV movie Game Changer.

Rockstar representatives offered a statement to Ars Technica—the same one that was originally reported by IGN. It described Take Two's filing against the BBC as a "trademark infringement" lawsuit over the Grand Theft Auto franchise and insisted that neither Take Two nor Rockstar had anything to do with the film's creation. "Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games," the statement said. "We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property, and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary."

The statement did not clarify where the suit was filed, nor what specific trademarks may have been violated to make the British TV movie production worth filing suit against. A Rockstar representative confirmed that the suit had been filed this morning in London but declined to comment on our other questions.

Indie Developers Pitch How They'd Revive Duke Nukem 35 comments

Gearbox Software ruined one of the best running jokes in software when they brought Duke Nukem Forever to market. At a recent developer conference in Brighton, they talked about working with independent developers to revive the character.

From Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford:

"I did not acquire the franchise merely to make sure we could all experience Duke Nukem Forever," Pitchford said. "That was sort of the toll we had to pay." He then explained that while Gearbox has carried out some concept development for the franchise, they'd need to work with the "correct developer" to make a new game.

One of the pitches:

Sam Barlow (Her Story)

Duke Nukem goes into a Vegas strip club at 4am, and it's kind of empty, and there's only two strippers working. He throws some money at them. Then, because there's no one else around, they sit down and they talk to him, and Duke sits there and he listens to this stripper talk about her life, why she's stripping, her family back home and how they live a state away but she flies into Vegas for two weeks of the month to earn money, then she goes go back and looks after her kids.

Then after an hour of this conversation, of him just listening to the woman talk, she asks Duke about his life, and then it flips. It's the first time anyone's actually asked about him, and he's forced to look inside himself and understand why he does these things, why he feels the need to kick ass, and it's just a lovely moment that they share. He walks away from it feeling like he understands himself a little bit better, but the ending is kind of ambiguous. We see Duke leave the strip club and we don't know what happens next.

What's your pitch, Soylent?

Original Submission

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Sold Over 17 Million Copies Worldwide 8 comments

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Better off... red?

Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold over 17 million copies worldwide

There was a time when westerns were a staple of American pop-culture -- a powerhouse genre for film, television, books and more. That trend kind of died in the 1980s, but maybe it's coming back. Take-Two Interactive, the company that owns Rockstar games reported in its quarterly financials that Red Dead Redemption 2 sold over 17 million copies in just over a week.

It took the original Red Dead Redemption 8 years to sell 15 million copies.

It's a shockingly huge number -- but if you've been keeping track, it might not be that big of a surprise. Just after the game's launch, the company revealed that it made over $725 million in its first few days, the largest opening weekend of any entertainment property ever, according to Rockstar. That's what happens when your game is one of the most anticipated, well-reviewed games in a decade.

Original Submission

Steam Battles Off-Topic Reviews — Flaming Old Games Because of Borderlands 3 Exclusive Deal 35 comments

Off-topic review bombs are something I've really noticed taking place on Steam over the last year. Steam is working on ways to counteract the off-topic reviews, while also trying to let people's opinions be heard. It seems to be working somewhat, but it's far from perfect. Off-topic review bombing isn't helpful in the slightest, when trying to decide whether the current product is any good. Yet, how else should a consumer let others know that a company is going off the rails?

Personally, I would love an option to also rate the developers/corporations behind games as well. Perhaps a second rating for a game is needed? One rating for the game, and one rating for the publisher.

Borderlands review bomb triggers Steam’s “off topic” fix

Original Submission

Take-Two Interactive Acquires Zynga for $12.7 Billion 4 comments

Why Take-Two wants to pay nearly $13 billion for the maker of FarmVille

Take-Two Interactive just announced its intent to buy FarmVille developer Zynga for $12.7 billion in what could be the biggest acquisition in video game history. It's an absolutely massive deal; to put it in perspective, the acquisition would be $5 billion more than Microsoft's $7.5 billion purchase of the parent company of Skyrim maker Bethesda Softworks. You could throw in the money Disney paid for Lucasfilm and still have cash left over.

So what is Take-Two getting for its money? Yes, big Zynga games like FarmVille, Words With Friends, and High Heels! will join Take-Two's own roster of franchises that includes Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Civilization. But perhaps more importantly, Take-Two will now be able to use Zynga's expertise building hugely popular free-to-play mobile titles so it can make new hit games based on its own properties. In fact, Zynga will be the new brand for Take Two's mobile efforts, and current Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau will lead that organization, indicating the potential direction of Take Two's mobile future.

Developers across the industry have been bringing big franchises to mobile and earning a lot of money doing so. PUBG Mobile was the top-grossing mobile game worldwide in November 2021, earning "close to" $254 million, according to Sensor Tower. League of Legends: Wild Rift, the mobile-optimized version of the hit PC MOBA, was in the top ten for App Store revenue that same month. Pokémon Go brought in more than $5 billion in revenue as of its five-year birthday in July, Sensor Tower reported. The Tencent-owned studio that makes Call of Duty: Mobile reportedly earned $10 billion in 2020.

Also at Ars Technica, CNBC, and Wccftech.

Original Submission

Duke Nukem Forever 2001 Build Suddenly Appears With Source Code 23 comments

Two submitted stories talk about new developments in the DNF saga. Both stories are much longer than can be summarized here, but are worth the read (and pictures):

Duke Nukem Forever's 2001 build appears online, may fully leak in June

The game's latest leak, posted to 4chan on Sunday and widely shared by Duke Nukem fansite, appears to be made of original 2001 code and assets. It includes a one-minute video of first-person carnage in a very Duke-appropriate environment of a strip club called "Slick Willy." The sequence was apparently played and captured by the build's leaker.

In addition, the leaker suggested that the build's playable files, source code, and official map editor could be released in June—which would coincide with the E3 trailer's 21st anniversary—and responded to various 4chan doubters by posting additional images based on their requests. These included screengrabs of the build's file and folder lists, along with images from other sections of the game and a higher-res peek at "the redneck from the E3 trailer."

Shortly after the video and its related screencaps made the rounds, former Duke Nukem Forever project lead George Broussard confirmed its apparent authenticity on Twitter, telling fans that "the leak looks real." He said that while it may be playable, it shouldn't be looked at as a game, "just a smattering of barely populated test levels."

We have played the lost Duke Nukem Forever build from 2001

Earlier this week, a retro game leaker teased '90s shooter fans with something they'd never seen before [...] Was this an elaborate fan-made fake of Duke-like content in a dated 3D engine, or would this turn out to be the real deal?

We thought we'd have to wait until June for an answer, as this week's leaker suggested that the build and its source code would be released to coincide with the 21st anniversary of the game's tantalizing E3 2001 trailer. But after this week's tease, the leakers decided to jump the gun. On Tuesday, 1.9GB of Duke Nukem Forever files landed on various file-sharing sites (which we will not link here), and Ars Technica has confirmed that those files are legitimate.

As it turns out, this is a surprisingly playable version of Duke Nukem Forever from October 2001, though with so many bugs and incomplete sections, that's not saying much. Most of this content, which includes moments from the aforementioned E3 trailer, was shelved by the time the game reached a cobbled-together retail state in 2011. So we're finally getting a closer look at how the game could have turned out differently if it had launched closer to 2001.

Now that the code is out, do you think the community can finish the game in a state that will live up to its original promises?

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Monday April 01, @07:23PM

    by Freeman (732) on Monday April 01, @07:23PM (#1351220) Journal

    I think the news to me is that games/game companies are big enough to be noticed by the typical finance vultures. This gamble just didn't pay off. The fortunate/unfortunate news for gamers is that it killed off two studios in the process. Though Gearbox (which is very much alive) seems to still be on the path to Borderlands 4 or something like that.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"