This Week In The Business: Let's Get Political

Illustration for article titled This Week In The Business: Let's Get Political
Image: Rovio

QUOTE | “The president will meet with a number of stakeholders next week. He’ll also be meeting with members of the video game industry to see what they can do on that front as well. This is going to be an ongoing process, and something that we don’t expect to happen overnight... to make sure that we protect schools across the country.” - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirms President Donald Trump will meet with games industry executives.

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QUOTE | “ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump.” - The Entertainment Software Association confirms its members haven’t heard anything about a meeting with Trump.

QUOTE | “You can play all the Mario Kart you want.” - DuPage County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Anderson prohibited a teenager from playing violent video games after he posted an image of himself playing a violent game on Snapchat with the caption, “Y’all need to shut up about school shootings or I’ll do one.”

QUOTE | “In light of the recent events in Florida and out of respect for the victims and their families, we have removed them from this demo. We regret that we failed to do so in the first place.” - Facebook VP of VR Hugo Barra explains why the company pulled a live demo of the VR shooter Bullet Train from its Oculus booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

QUOTE | “What we learned is that a large majority of parents don’t know what a loot box is, and even those who claim they do don’t really understand what a loot box is. So it’s very important for us to not harp on loot boxes per se, but to make sure we’re capturing loot boxes but also other in-game transactions.” - ESRB president Patricia Vance explains why the rating board settled on a catch-all “In-Game Purchases” label to be placed on packaging rather than a warning more specific to loot boxes.

STAT | £5.11 billion - Total UK consumer spending on video games in 2017, according to trade group UKIE. That’s up 12.4% year-over-year, and represents an all-time high.

QUOTE | “The year 2017 was the best year in Rovio’s history” - Rovio CEO Kati Levoranta tries to reassure investors on the same day the company shuttered its London studio, saw its head of games resign, and just one week after its stock value halved after it said it would miss earnings projections.

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QUOTE | “In 2016, there were 230 million smartphones on the African continent and it’s forecasted to rise to more than 800 million by 2020. That’s a lot of potential, a lot of people to make games for. So we need to plant that seed right now, to grow that interest so that we’re prepared when this boom comes.” - George Ahere, CEO and co-founder of Kenyan studio Weza Interactive Entertainment, sees a large and untapped market for African content.

STAT | 91% - The decline in the H1Z1 player base since July 2017. Developer Daybreak Games insisted the survival shooter’s declining numbers would have no impact on the planned launch of an H1Z1 Pro League in the coming months.

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QUOTE | “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice understands Norse stories in a way maybe no other game does, and in this, it is able to tell a profound and unique personal story.” - Firewatch and Mark of the Ninja designer Nels Anderson gets lost in his love for Ninja Theory’s latest.

QUOTE | “We have to make the base work well. We need lots of competitive players and competitive teams, and from there you can go to the next level; small money prizes, semi-pro tournaments, and you make that strong. It’s like a ladder.” - Veli-Pekka Piirainen, founder of Finnish studio Critical Force, on its strategy for building up a mobile esport from scratch.

DISCUSSION

Every gamer will know that nothing will change after that meeting, if there is a meeting that is scheduled at all.

The ESA is a lobbying group for the biggest of the big companies representing the video game industry, worth 91.5 billion dollars in 2015. To say that there will be a law passed without the ESA’s foresight is unlikely at best.

My biggest question is what Trump’s administration will talk about. No doubt it’s going to be CEOs for big companies who he talks to, but I’m sure he won’t even know what he’s talking about.