Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Authentic Brands Group CEO Jamie Salter with Brooks Brothers, J.C. Penney, and Aeropostale stores (Getty)Deep into a marathon set of high-pressure meetings to save bankrupt retailer Aeropostale from being chopped up and sold for parts, Jamie Salter thought some comic relief was in order.Shaquille O’Neal (Getty)The Authentic Brands Group founder and CEO pulled out his phone and called Shaquille O’Neal — his company’s second-largest individual investor — to crack wise with the attorneys and investment bankers who had spent days in a General Motors Building office putting together an 11th-hour, $350 million deal.ADVERTISEMENT“He dialed up Shaq on Facetime and went around turning his phone to everyone in the room to joke around and relieve some of the tension,” James Doak of Miller Buckfire, the investment bank that Aeropostale tapped to navigate a bankruptcy sale, recalled of that summer night four years ago.“Everyone just lost it,” he said.As one of the busiest opportunistic investors of the retail apocalypse, Salter — who earned a reputation as a “dead-celebrity dealmaker” for buying the licensing rights to Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and other famous figures — is redeploying a novel strategy he cooked up in 2016.Simon Property Group CEO David Simon (Getty)To make the Aeropostale deal work, he teamed up with Simon Property Group and General Growth Partners to invest in the struggling retailer, while cutting rents, to help keep about 400 of its stores open. The two landlords had been looking for a way to prevent the mall staple from falling into the hands of private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which had plans to liquidate the casual apparel brand.Four years and many retail bankruptcies later, Salter and his landlord partners are at it again. After buying Nautica in 2018, Authentic Brands and Simon came back to the table earlier this year alongside Brookfield Property Partners — which acquired GGP in 2018 — to buy Forever 21 out of bankruptcy for $81 million.The trio are now in talks to purchase J.C. Penney, while Authentic Brands and Simon also have their eyes on Brooks Brothers.As the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pummels retailers, Salter and his partners have plenty of deals to consider. In some ways, though, it’s an odd coupling.Salter’s 10 year-old firm is designed to make big profits off branding rights. The model is based on finding distressed retailers that, despite their troubles, have value locked in their brands that Salter can strip away and license off. And with companies like J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 filing for bankruptcy due to the pandemic, the list of possible acquisitions is growing bigger by the week.But the existential threat to brick-and-mortar stores remains a huge concern for Simon and Brookfield, who have clear incentives to keep their malls packed with rent-paying tenants. To some, their partnership with Salter is a shotgun marriage.“I would say they’re more partners of convenience or necessity than partners of love,” one attorney, who’s worked across the table from Authentic Brands, said on the condition of anonymity.New playing fieldsSalter, who declined to comment for this article, operates in a niche sector of the investment world that got a big push from private equity after the 2008 financial crisis.Firms looking for an asset-light way to profit off retail quickly found that they could juice their returns by investing in the brands and letting someone else deal with the burdens of store operations.Authentic Brands is now one of a small handful of companies that specialize in buying intellectual property rights and selling them off through licensing agreements and its largest investor is BlackRock. Salter told CNBC in early June that he’s once again on the hunt for opportunistic deals.“My strategy is simple: buy low, sell high,” he said. “We make sure, if we get into retail, that [the company] has a purpose. If it doesn’t have a purpose, we find a purpose.”The fallout from the pandemic presents a unique situation for Authentic Brands and other distress investors, as it propels the number of retailers filing for bankruptcy. At the same time, Salter’s got some deep-pocketed partners. Brookfield Asset Management, one of the world’s largest investment firms, has set aside $5 billion to invest in struggling retailers.Brookfield Property Partners CEO Brian KingstonBrian Kingston, CEO of Brookfield’s publicly traded real estate arm, told The Real Deal in May that the new retail strategy is consistent with the firm’s contrarian investment model.“The $5 billion program is designed to allow us to make investments in what we see as very strong, high-growth businesses at a time when capital is scarce, and we think we’ll be able to generate high returns because we’ll be able to pick and choose,” he said.“There are going to be winners that come out of this, and if we can invest in some of those, it’s good for us, and it’s good for them,” Kingston added.But the future of retail is arguably less certain now that it’s ever been, certainly more so than in 2016 when the trio did the Aero deal or following the 2008 financial crisis when investors feasted on distressed opportunities.Equity Group Investments founder Sam Zell (Getty)“I don’t think there’s any comparison,” Equity Group Investments founder Sam Zell told Bloomberg News in May, referring to the level of uncertainty in the investment world compared to past crises. “I would say retail is probably going to take the biggest hit.”Retail experts question how much upside there will be in backing struggling bricks-and-mortar stores this time around, considering the increased competition from online shopping and the new challenges of in-door shopping while practicing social distancing guidelines.And as the pandemic keeps many stores shuttered, Simon and Brookfield are gearing up to invest in their tenants more heavily than they ever have before. But the two can’t buy up every bankrupt retailer in their malls and some observers say they should let stores fail instead of propping them up.“It can’t work for all stores,” said Miller Buckfire’s Doak, who added that Simon and Brookfield “aren’t here to save stores in other people’s malls.”Doak argued that any survivors in retail will also need to have “intellectual property that people give a darn about.”Brand ambassador?Salter, 57, grew up in Canada and started a snowboarding manufacturing company in 1992 that he took public in just two years.He later co-founded Hilco Consumer Capital, the private equity arm of Hilco Trading, which specializes in liquidating retailers. It was there that he realized he could build a niche business focused on intellectual property rights, and he struck out on his own in 2010 with backing from private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, followed by Lion Capital and General Atlantic.The model relied on a network of big third-party operators that purchased the rights from the branding firms and put them to work. But in recent years some of those operators have consolidated, requiring Salter to tweak his model, according to observers.“There are fewer places for people to go to find operating entities that could support the valuations these brand accumulators are looking to achieve in these deals,” said Andy Postal, a managing partner at the consumer-brands investment bank MMG Advisors.Salter “had to be creative in getting involved in operating businesses simply because he didn’t have a lot of people to do that independently,” Postal added.Doak noted that the playful move with Shaq in 2016, as random as it seemed, was characteristic of Salter’s way of doing business as well as his personality.When it came to the Aeropostale deal, Salter originally came into the process with his former colleagues at Hilco. The idea was that Authentic Brands would buy the IP rights and Hilco would buy the merchandise and sell it off. But Aeropostale’s creditors and landlords, including Simon and GGP, wanted to keep as many of the 700-plus stores open and preserve some 6,000 jobs.It’s not clear who first came up with the idea of the landlords teaming up with Authentic Brands, but there’s no shortage of people claiming they put the creative deal together.“I think you could find four different people who say they suggested it,” said Doak.What’s clear is that Salter’s group asked the investment banker for permission to speak with Simon and GGP, and they hammered out a unique deal in a high-pressure situation.Authentic Brands bought the IP rights to Aeropostale as well as a 25 percent stake in the operation that ran the stores, with Simon and GGP owning the other 75 percent.Simon later restructured its stake so that it owns a piece of Authentic Brands.Bradford Sandler, who worked as an attorney for Aeropostale’s creditors, said he thought the partnership was such a good fit that it would be a model for retail bankruptcies going forward.“I thought it was potentially a new paradigm for retail,” said Sandler, co-chair of the creditors’ committee at the law firm Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones. “You didn’t really see that happen right away but it finally started to click as the retail apocalypse progressed and retailers left and right were filing for bankruptcy.”To those who have watched him action, Salter’s a shrewd dealmaker with a knack for unlocking value. But he’s also gained a reputation for making a big splash.In 2018 he went toe-to-toe with shoe giant DSW in an auction to buy Nine West out of bankruptcy. Salter outbid one of the biggest names in shoes with a winning check of $340 million — about $140 million more than Authentic Brands’ original stalking-horse bid.“From what I’ve seen, when he makes up his mind about something, he’ll overpay like it’s nobody’s business,” said the attorney who has worked across the table from Authentic Brands.Differing propertiesWhile Authentic Brands and its landlord partners remain aligned for now, conflicts of interest could quickly arise if the deals don’t go as planned.Salter’s main line of business is getting the most value from his intellectual property rights, while Simon and Brookfield want tenants that will pay top rents in the long run. With many U.S. malls still shuttered and the country’s retail market in utter chaos, there’s common ground between both sides.But if those partnerships start to go sideways and the stores fail to gain traction, Authentic Brands has strong rights that could allow the company to cancel its licensing agreements, according to retail experts.If Salter feels the licensee isn’t maintaining the brand properly, he can terminate the contract and pull forward future payments owed under the deal, analysts at Moody’s Investor Service pointed out.“With all the pressure these real estate guys are under, it becomes imperative … to figure out ways to keep these brands in their stores,” said MMG’s Postal.“It’s become a very complicated and challenging space,” he noted.Contact Rich Bockmann at [email protected] or 908-415-5229 TagsBrookfield Property Partnersretail bankruptcysimon property group
Only 9 percent of workers had returned to Midtown and 8 percent to Downtown. (iStock)Echo, echo, echo…Although New York office buildings have been allowed to reopen, not even 1 in 10 workers have returned.The world’s largest commercial real estate servicer, CBRE, told the Wall Street Journal that only 9 percent of workers had returned to Midtown and 8 percent to Downtown.William Rudin, whose Rudin Management Company oversees 16 office towers and 10 million square feet of Class A space, told the Journal that “people are being rightfully careful.”Workers’ reemergence varies depending on their industry, with some of the biggest companies looking to reduce their office footprint.Financial firms that rely on technology difficult to replicate at home have been more eager to bring their employees back to the office, although even JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have kept occupancy to about 20 percent.Technology companies, however, have not pushed workers to return, in part because their operations are typically possible from anywhere with broadband.Google just decided to keep its workers remote until July 2021, Microsoft continues to recommend that employees do so, and Twitter has made optional work-from-home permanent.John Vazquez, head of real estate at Verizon Communications, said that whether schools reopen in the fall will be a litmus test for many of its employees.Were schools to reopen for two or three days a week, as New York City is planning, “that’s not enough for working parents,” Vazquez said, suggesting that anything less than a full reopening would keep many of its employees home for longer. [WSJ] — Orion Jones Share via Shortlink TagsCommercial Real EstateRudin Management Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink The Arboretum rendering (Credit: BNP Paribas Real Estate via Bisnow)The worldwide office market is reeling this year, but a trio of institutional investors are betting big on a massive project in Paris. And it’s made of wood.A joint venture that includes Ivanhoé Cambridge and BNP Paribas has put together a $773 million funding package for the 1.4-million-square-foot spec office development, according to Bisnow. Called The Arboretum, it would be the largest spec office development started in Paris in the last 25 years.The complex is planned as seven buildings all built using cross-laminated timber, which would also make it the largest timber-frame development in Europe.The joint venture is well aware of the obstacles to developing a massive spec office project during a pandemic.“It would be a lie to say it was a sure success to raise the funding during the pandemic, but we knew our project was one that would make a lot of sense after Covid,” said BNP Paribas Real Estate’s Thomas Charvet.The French bank is providing debt for the project, alongside Alianz, AEW, and a handful of other firms. Ivanhoé Cambridge and French family office FFP are backing the project with 220 million euros in equity, and will own the development upon completion. The Arboretum is expected to be completed in 2022.In February, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveiled a design for a 35-story mass timber high-rise in Toronto that would be the tallest in the world. That project now might be scrapped https://therealdeal.com/2020/05/07/sidewalk-labs-abandons-toronto-smart-city-megaproject/ along with Sidewalk Labs’ larger waterfront development in Toronto.But other projects are going forward. An affordable developer is planning a 14-story timber apartment building in Downtown Los Angeles. Meanwhile, a nine-story mass timber apartment complex is skyward https://therealdeal.com/2020/05/30/mass-timber-project-in-cleveland-could-be-nations-tallest/ in Cleveland.After cratering in the early days of the pandemic, Timberland real estate is now well into a V-shaped recovery while hotels, malls and office buildings still sit half-empty and retailers shutter stores across the U.S. From July to mid-August, timber REITs posted returns of more than 25 percent, far outpacing even industrial and data center REITs that have held steady for months. [Bisnow] — Dennis Lynch Tagsparis
Share via Shortlink Tags2020 ElectionDonald Trump From left: Jeff Worthe, Joyce Rey, Geoff Palmer, Jaime Lee and Frank Gehry (Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images, Grant Smith/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)The presidential election is still nearly three weeks away but already there is a clear winner when it comes to which Los Angeles real estate player donated the most money.That would be — by far — multifamily developer Geoff Palmer, a longtime supporter of President Trump. Developer Jeff Worthe has given the most amount of cash to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s side.The Real Deal tracked 75 of the biggest L.A. brokers, developers and property owners to see who has donated to either candidate directly or through PACs in 2020. Using Federal Election Commission filings, the results showed that just 18 industry pros made contributions of any dollar amount since Jan. 1. Fifty-seven did not contribute.Just seven of those donors gave $2,000 or more to Biden or Democratic Party PACs. Only Palmer gave to Trump and affiliated Republican PACs.The donation results come as California’s 55 electoral votes are an almost certain lock for Biden. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton captured 73 percent of the L.A. County vote in 2016, compared to Trump’s 22 percent.Of those L.A. real estate players who have donated, nearly all have thrown their support to Biden. The total, however, doesn’t come close to what Palmer has given.The G.H. Palmer Associates head gave $6.4 million to candidates and committees affiliated with either Trump or Republican Party candidates and super PACs. A super PAC can raise unlimited funds from individuals as long as it doesn’t directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.Worthe — of Brentwood-based Worthe Real Estate Group — gave $100,000 to the Biden Victory Fund. The group coordinates between Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee and is not a super PAC. Worthe also gave $35,500 to the DNC itself.Among L.A. residential brokers, Coldwell Banker agent Joyce Rey was the top donor on either side. She gave $5,400 directly to the Biden campaign, according to FEC filings.Those who contributed did not return messages or declined to comment.Trump megadonorAmong Palmer’s contributions was a $4 million donation to America First Action super PAC. Katie Walsh, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, formed the group in 2017, and Palmer is one of its top donors, according to the FEC.His allegiance to Trump is well-established. Besides donating millions of dollars to help get Trump elected in 2016, Palmer has also hosted Trump fundraisers in L.A.Palmer also contributed to Republican Congressional candidates across the country this year. He has cut checks of $10,000 each to Republican Party groups in 24 states.Biden’s backersHudson Pacific Properties CEO Victor Coleman and famed architect Frank Gehry have been among Biden’s biggest industry backers in L.A. Both gave $50,000 each to the Biden Victory Fund.Thomas Safran, chairman of multifamily development company Safran & Associates, has given a total of $45,000 in 2020 to Biden, affiliated organizations and Democratic Party groups. That includes $25,000 to Unite the Country, a Biden super PAC, and $10,000 to the California Democratic Party.Jaime Lee, a top executive at development and investment firm Jamison, gave $2,800 to Biden’s campaign directly. The L.A.-based family firm has become one of the biggest multifamily developers in Koreatown.Rick Caruso, who owns the Grove mall and is a fixture in L.A. politics and business, gave $2,800 to Win the Era. The PAC was started by former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who has become an outspoken Biden supporter. Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
Humble Bundle introduces subscription service$12 a month for “a variety of specially curated games”Rachel WeberSenior EditorThursday 1st October 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleHumble BundleHumble Bundle is introducing a new $12 a month subscription service and the first digital delivery will go out on November 6.”We’re so proud to introduce Humble Monthly to our fans. Our goal when building this service was to provide developers an avenue to promote their newest games while also allowing die hard Humble fans to have a new type of offering outside of our traditional pay-what-you-want bundles,” Robert Bowling, Humble Bundle’s VP and creative director, told GamesIndustry.bizRelated JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “By having a fixed price subscription at $12 per month, it allows us to deliver the same kind of value our users expect from Humble Bundles while also curating an entirely new tier of games from developers and franchises that haven’t been featured in bundles before.”Gamers who sign up for Humble Monthly before the first delivery on November 6 will instantly unlock Legend of Grimrock 2.Humble Bundle will also give 5 per cent of all proceeds to charitable causes.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesHumble Bundle rolls back plans to remove charity slidersStorefront backtracks on decision following feedback from the communityBy Danielle Partis 6 days agoHumble Bundle limits charity donations to 15%Contributions will now have two static options rather than an adjustable sliderBy Danielle Partis 16 days agoLatest comments (1)Michael Harrell Studying CS, University of Utah5 years ago As much as I love, and champion the cause for, Humble Bundle, signing up for an unknown bundle on a subscription basis is a big stretch for me. A major factor for me in regular bundles is that even if I don’t enjoy the games all that much, my contribution goes mostly to charity, and for these secret bundles that contribution will only be 5%, or 60 cents.I’ll have to see what comes in the first few bundles before I can jump on this one. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 2nd December 2015 4:30pm 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years agoDid Nintendo fix?For indiesEasy way to submit, patch, release games on the e-shopOSModular OS with easy upgrade posibilitiesAccount management for e-shop including easy migration from Wii U to Nintendo GXOnline CapabilitiesEasy way to add, interact, chat and play with friendsFor gamersBroad appeal of games so every popular genre has titlesDevelopment CapacityYes Nintendo makes great games but they seriously lack in capacity. Nintendo should be able to release at least 8 – 12 titles per platform (NX, 3DS) even more if you included smaller digital games or rereleased.Hi Rogier. They’ve already addressed some of that or are in the process of it.The indie issue is a night and day difference between Wii and Wii U. That’s why the indie community on Wii U is actually far better than the retail sales of the console suggest it should be.The new OS is already supposed to function across multiple devices. Same with the account system which just launched in Japan a few days ago.Broad range of games…they actually had that at the Wii U launch. Take a look at the launch list. The problem is there was no follow up by 3rd parties.Development capacity is in line with all their consoles since the NES.NES – ~70 games.SNES – ~50 games.N64 – ~50 games.GC – ~50 games.Wii – ~70 (not including Wii Ware)Wii U – 37 so far (56 including eShop titles). 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyBob Johnson Studying graphics design, Northern Arizona University5 years ago Who says the NX replaces the Wii U?Also Nintendo isn’t going to do a clone of the PS4 and X1. The market can’t support a 3rd same console. And trying to jump into the middle of a generation with a very similar console means you’re behind the curve.NX isn’t exactly hardware specific. It’s a development platform that can support different hardware form factors. Iwata said as much if I remember correctly. 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyCarl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide5 years ago As far as 2016 goes.. they will be competing for wallets open to AR and VR all year (hw & sw).. current gen consoles are entrenched.. so good luck with bringing something incredibly intriguing to the mindshare 🙂 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyRichard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes5 years ago Awesome. Based on having absolutely no idea what it is, we predict they”ll surpass the install base of their current machine overnight. Capacity to manufacture (which this HAS to be based on) is not the number that will be built. 5 years ago Let’s try another perspective. Assume you were working at Nintendo’s supplier and a list of components landed on your desk. It could go two ways.In scenario one, you assemble the hardware in your head and it does not make sense at all. Your intuition says “wtf is this?” More often than not, this is your typical reaction to a Nintendo hardware reveal.In scenario two, however, the device you assemble in your head makes sense, because it sounds familiar. Sort of like the Inception bwaaaah in every movie trailer telling you that this the the type of action schlock you regularly watch.Outside of the people having a dev kit, nobody knows what the NX is. But based on the reaction of the supplier, chances are high that the NX makes intuitively sense to potential customers. This might be the one bit of information we take away from this. Which immediately raises the question about NX games from exclusives to third party. 5Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMatthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute5 years ago I know what it is and I’ll be the first in line to buy both of them. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAlfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany5 years ago Eight comments and I’m the first saying the famous sentence: “Shipped” is not the same as “sold” ?In moments like this I miss Bruce. 5 years ago This 10m to 12m number is based on what time frame? The above says 2016 but no TV based console has ever sold through this many units in its first quarter to 6 months (assuming the NX would launch in the last 3 to 6 months of 2016) of its lifecycle. We need more detail before we can start any sales forecasting process that doesn’t depend on historical experience. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (15)Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago Certainly you have to order a reasonable amount of components for manufacturing before launch but that many when no one even knows what the hell it is yet is unheard of.I’m dubious but hopeful. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKlaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyRogier Voet IT Consultant 5 years ago The Wii U hardware was only part of the problem, so good hardware is only part of the solutionDid Nintendo fix?For developersGood development kitEasy acces to knowledgeGood communication lines between Nintendo and DevelopersFor indiesEasy way to submit, patch, release games on the e-shopHardware neededHardware futureproof hardware so at least1 TB of decent storageDecent GPU including at least 4GB of RAMStandard ControllerOSModular OS with easy upgrade posibilitiesAccount management for e-shop including easy migration from Wii U to Nintendo GXOnline CapabilitiesEasy way to add, interact, chat and play with friendsFor gamersBroad appeal of games so every popular genre has titlesDevelopment CapacityYes Nintendo makes great games but they seriously lack in capacity. Nintendo should be able to release at least 8 – 12 titles per platform (NX, 3DS) even more if you included smaller digitall games or rereleasedCall me cynical but it would be a miracle if Nintendo can achieve most of this. The biggest problem of Nintendo that they don’t think as a platform holder. You should make your platform as attractive as possible.spelling errors Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rogier Voet on 2nd December 2015 9:58am 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAdam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee5 years ago The shipping figures are not unrealistic and I’m sure the suppliers are capable of delivering that. The main question is whether or not it will convert to sales, as we don’t really know what it is yet. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyNick Parker Consultant Nintendo NX to ship 10-12 million in 2016 – ReportDigi-Times numbers suggest system could surpass Wii U installed base in first year on shelvesBrendan SinclairManaging EditorTuesday 1st December 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareRelated JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The Nintendo NX may surpass the Wii U’s lifetime installed base in its first year on shelves. According to a Digi-Times report, Nintendo’s upstream component suppliers are expecting to provide the company with enough hardware to ship 10-12 million units in 2016.That would mark a rebound after the Wii U, which through September had put up lifetime sales of a little under 11 million. However, Nintendo may be expecting even more from its next platform; in July, Digi-Times reported that the company was planning to ship 20 million Nintendo NX systems globally in 2016.The report states that Foxconn Electronics will manufacture the NX, with mass production beginning at the end of the first quarter. Foxconn Technology, Macronix, Pixart Imaging, Coxon Precise Industrial, Nishoku Technology, Delta Technology, Lingsen Precision Industries and Jentech are expected to be supplying components for the NX.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesMicrosoft game revenues up 50% in Q3Continued Xbox Series X|S demand pushes hardware sales up 232% as Xbox content and services jump 34%By Brendan Sinclair 14 days agoBlaze Entertainment announces home gaming consoleThe Evercade VS, focused on retro gaming, will be available to pre-order in May before a launch in NovemberBy Marie Dealessandri 19 days agoLatest comments (15)Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments5 years ago This doesn’t seem to fit with it being a straight replacement for the wiiu, unless Nintendo have cause to be very optimistic about year 1 sales? 5 years agoAccount management for e-shop including easy migration from Wii U to Nintendo GXNintendo Account launched in Japan yesterday (link for those well-versed in Japanese: https://topics.nintendo.co.jp/c/article/a5e6bf2e-9197-11e5-b940-0a6d14145cb1.html ), so that’s one off your list. Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 1st December 2015 7:49pm 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJohn Pickford Owner, Zee 35 years ago I’m getting one. 11Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years agoI’m getting one.Well, that’s 2 sales out of the 10-12 million. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Oculus: Our exclusive deals are good for the VR industryHead of Content Jason Rubin also stresses that with the launch of Oculus Touch, “We’re going to do it the right way this time”James BrightmanWednesday 22nd June 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleOculus VRAs you may have seen over the last week, the two major PC VR players – Oculus and Valve – have been sending out mixed messages on what exclusivity means for their platforms and for the VR industry as a whole. While Gabe Newell doesn’t believe that HTC Vive exclusives are a good idea for customers or developers, and stressed that Valve helps developers get funding with “no strings attached,” Oculus Head of Content Jason Rubin told me at E3 that his company’s policy on exclusives is what’s actually going to grow the VR gaming business.For Rubin, Oculus’ role is not only to curate incredible VR games for its audience, but to inject funds into the ecosystem, rather than just let it grow organically over a decade.”If you look at the PC ecosystem, it’s grown over decades. I remember the first games that I was making we were putting in ziplock bags – this would’ve been early ’80s, ’84, and selling for about the same price to handfuls of people. There was certainly national publishing, but if you sold 100,000 units it was a massive hit because there just weren’t that many people playing games. And so you could only spend so much on games, so the games were smaller. And over decades of time, you sold a good game, it made more people interested in gaming, so more people bought PCs to play games, which brought more developers to it, which made better games, and over decades that’s built up to $100 million games. We have these massive games out there now that everybody loves, everybody wants to play, that wouldn’t exist unless that ecosystem had built up over decades. That is a model that we can follow,” he began. “We have put huge amounts of money into the ecosystem, more than any of our competitors” While VR is a very nascent market and developers are still figuring out the language of VR, the problem is that gamers today are very accustomed to high fidelity games on PC and console. They expect a certain level of visual quality. “The average gamer is now aware of $100 million games. And while we certainly cannot build a $100 million game that takes four years, in the year we’ve had dev kits, we can try to get closer to that by funding significant leaps beyond the financial certainty that a developer would need to have to do it on their own. So, in other words, as they look at the market, they may say, ‘I can afford to make a game that costs $500,000.’ Some of that is me not paying myself. Some of that is computer equipment, music rights, whatever it is, lost opportunity for having a job. Vaguely speaking it’s a half a million dollars. Half million dollar games are great. Indie games are great. People love those games. But that isn’t the entire sphere of games that they want to see on a platform. They also want to see games that are more expensive,” Rubin continued. “As a developer looks at a multi-million dollar production in VR right now, they say there’s no way that will earn its money back in any reasonable amount of time, so instead I’ll go make a non-VR PC game of that scale if I want to because that’s a better bet. We don’t like that. We don’t want it to be $500,000 games this year, million dollar games next year, two million dollar…and take decades or at least a decade to build itself to the point where you can afford bigger games. So what Oculus has said is, ‘Why don’t we throw more money into the ecosystem than is justified by the consumer base,’ which will lead to a consumer base that’s larger, which will leave that second generation of developers to say, ‘Hey, let’s go build these games because now the consumers are there, and kick start that decade long process in a much shorter length of time.’ And, to do that, we have put huge amounts of money into the ecosystem, more than any of our competitors.” Insomniac’s spell casting PvP game The UnspokenRubin added that “in no case are we asking to have control of the intellectual property in the long-term,” which is a very important point for the developer who can capitalize on that IP once it’s established. “So if the first game barely makes its money back, the second game can be profitable because the consumer’s there. That’s theirs to do on their own on any platform they want,” Rubin said. “And in a lot of cases, we’re looking at software that’s in process, where the developers are running to the end of their logical stream of cash and they come to us and they say, ‘I want to put this in your store,’ and we say, ‘That’s awesome. However, we can tell it’s kind of unfinished.’ And they’re like, ‘We can’t finish it. We don’t have the money to finish it.’ And we say, ‘Well, how about we give you a little extra to finish it and in exchange you bring it out as an exclusive in our store for a limited amount of time, continue to develop for all platforms, and then put it out on all platforms?’ The better game gets to all consumers in that case. And those are the deals we’re making. And that, to me, makes a lot more sense than just let this thing work itself out over a decade.”Oculus does have games that are true exclusives, funded completely by the company and published under the Oculus Studios label, but even with those games, Rubin noted that there’s potential for the IP to make it onto other platforms in the future.”We look at those as first-party games… Oculus Studios’ [games] are multi-multi-million dollar productions [and] in general, we have gone to the developer and co-developed those with them from, literally, day one. In the case of The Climb, there was no game The Climb. We went to Crytek, I looked at some demos they had put together, one of them was a climbing demo, and I said, ‘We should build a game entirely around that.’ We co-designed it. They, obviously, did all the hard work and they’re the developer, but that game was fully funded and fully conceptualized from the beginning with us. We consider those first-party titles… Having said that, they own The Climb IP. The Climb 2 can come out on any console, any PC, any anything, anywhere. We don’t own that. And that game is out and consumers are seeing this great game. It’s one of our top sellers out there,” Rubin said.”The idea that we’re not doing good for the industry I find completely failing” “Smaller games, indie games that come to us half done – generally, we say to them, here’s a much smaller amount of money just to get you to where you wanted to be, and in exchange, give us a short time in the store exclusive, but then do it for any platform. Those those are the two main situations. There are other cases where we say, ‘We think you could do a little better job,’ or, ‘You’re not quite at the finish line,’ here’s cash. Don’t do anything [exclusive with us]. In fact, as of today, there are games in the Steam store that we have put money into that are not in our store. So the idea that we’re not doing good for the industry I find completely failing,” he stressed. Rubin believes that Oculus is doing what no other company is able to for the VR space, and that ultimately it’s going to be a “pretty good thing for the consumer.” Naturally, having the backing of Facebook and that war chest to tap into is helping things along as well. “If Facebook had wanted VR to work, but hadn’t wanted to put a lot of money into it, it would’ve been a bad bet for them. If nobody was investing in larger games, I believe that VR would be a fringe event for a lot longer time. The other option would be that it’s fringe on PC and Sony does what Sony does and the better titles on PC are the hand downs from the console market where somebody is doing closer to what Oculus is doing on the PC market. And I don’t think that’s good for the PC market either,” he stated.Making sure that Oculus has a steady stream of amazing VR games is now just one component of Rubin’s job. The Head of Content title is actually a recent promotion, and now Rubin oversees far more than Oculus Studios and the publishing group. He’s also responsible for the store, developer relations, story studios, and the Felix & Paul relationship. “It’s basically all content in VR now rolls up to me. So it’s a lot more work. How does this change my day to day living standpoint? It probably means a little less time in the games, which I regret, but it means that I think Oculus will operate a much more well oiled content machine. Not that we’ve had a bad one, but I think that we can improve it,” he said.Facebook definitely understands that turning VR into a mainstream phenomenon will take some time, as Mark Zuckerberg said at the F8 conference, and Rubin noted, “We’re doing everything we can to make VR as mainstream as possible as quickly as possible,” and part of that includes having a large booth presence at E3 and getting demos into Best Buy stores. The next step for Oculus is to launch its Oculus Touch controllers, which feel a bit more natural than the Vive controllers, based on my experience with them at E3. Oculus has already promised 30 games at launch later this year, but the company has yet to announce exactly when Touch will launch or how much it’ll cost. That’s very deliberate, Rubin told me, as the company has learned from its earlier launch mistakes.”We underestimated demand and we underestimated the difficulty of making hardware… What we learned from the last go ’round is don’t make promises you can’t keep” Rubin acknowledged that Oculus and Facebook obviously don’t have prior hardware experience, and Oculus is only 3.5 years old. “We underestimated demand and we underestimated the difficulty of making hardware. Having said that, we’re catching up. Press and consumers have picked up on the fact that we’re ahead of our new scenario and it won’t be long until we’re shipping basically as they’re ordered,” he noted, adding that with Touch, “What we learned from the last go ’round is don’t make promises you can’t keep. So one of the reasons you haven’t heard [a] firm [date] is because we don’t want to make a firm statement, which everybody wants, and then not be able to back it up. So this time we’re going to do it right. We’re launching this year and we’ll make a statement when it’s coming out and everything else everyone wants to know when we have 100% certainty that that information is going to be factual. We’re going to do it the right way this time.”While Rubin, himself, talked about how there isn’t much demand for room-scale VR in the average consumer’s home, with Touch hitting the market this year, Oculus may be taking another look at implementing a solution. And importantly, Touch will be getting even better than it was on the show floor.”I will say we just got the latest revision of Touch hardware back that is not on the show floor, that is not in developers’ hands. They just started coming off the production line and they’re higher quality and better tracking than what you see today. We have the capability to do room-scale and we are still determining what our exact position is with regards to room-scale. Having said that, games like Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption [are] fantastic games. They have said they will support Touch and they have said they will support our current system. So I don’t feel like we’re going to have a lack of content or that that content necessarily requires a [large] room and I think over the next – and, again, we’re not going to promise until we’re absolutely sure that we can deliver on our promise – but it is something we’re discussing,” he said.As the VR market starts building up some steam, it’ll be important to bring well-known franchises into VR. That’s certainly what Sony is doing with Resident Evil VII, Final Fantasy XV and more, but there’s an inherent danger in that approach as well. “First of all, brands matter. We all understand that. We have Minecraft in our ecosystem. We’ve announced Rock Band in our ecosystem. StarTrek with Ubisoft is in our ecosystem… It’s amazing the brands that Sony’s bringing to VR. We’re 100% consistent in our view that the more people spend and the more people invest in VR, the better it is to get the VR community going. So if they announce exclusive massive titles, I am 100% consistent with what I said about Oculus’ stance. I applaud them for doing it. It’s good for the consumer. Eventually these amazing developers that they’ve got signed up doing things are going to invent new ways of handling VR game making that will percolate out to everybody. Whether those titles stay exclusive forever or not, I’m 100% consistent in my message that I applaud Sony for doing it,” he noted.”That off the table, the question with any title is is it going to live up to its gameplay potential? And if you don’t have a large property attached to it and you fail, it was an experiment, and it failed. If you have a large property attached to it, people expect a lot from that large property… The problem with putting brands into something that’s experimental or is not good is that the brand brings with it the weight and you can turn people off by failing much more than you do as an indie developer that’s throwing out a new IP as an idea… I have a huge desire to play a lot of those IP on a personal level. Again, I applaud Sony for everything they’re doing, but the jury’s out until we see what the games actually look like.”Another key issue that VR developers must grapple with is how sensitive some gamers may be to staying in a VR environment for extended periods of time, which is exactly what you’d want to do with a AAA property. Oculus’ own health and safety guidelines actually state, “Take at least a 10 to 15 minute break every 30 minutes, even if you don’t think you need it. Each person is different, so take more frequent and longer breaks if you feel discomfort.”Rubin, however, is not concerned about gameplay session length. Some games like The Climb or more physically demanding Oculus Touch games are naturally going to be shorter since the player is likely to get tired. That said, Oculus does have data on session length, and Rubin said, “there are games with the average session of an hour or longer.” “I see a huge amount of utility in [AR] and a huge amount of opportunity for that, but as a gaming device, I don’t know that it is as compelling [as VR]” He continued, “I recently went from the beginning to the end of Edge of Nowhere in what you could call a speed run… just to play it through in its final form and that took me over three hours and I was in for the entire time. I think the experience again will dictate how comfortable it is for how long. If you’re moving around a lot, if it’s flashing a lot of really bright lights in your eyes, shorter experience. If it’s a more sedate or more seated and/or game pad experience – we’ve got data – those are hour-plus long events and people are not complaining about fatigue in them. They’re probably coming out of them because they’ve got to go to work or something. So I think it will entirely run the gamut depending on what the experience is.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games In the long run, Rubin fully believes in the self-contained, untethered VR experience, but the idea of VR sunglasses, “is way the hell out there.” What he doesn’t believe in is VR as some sort of stepping stone to AR. Long-term, he sees the two technologies coming together anyway.”Generally when you hear that [AR has more potential], you hear that from someone fully invested in AR. AR is technologically very difficult. It’s behind VR. You don’t have shipping products right now in AR… You have some that are $3,000 that are dev kits, but you don’t really have anything that’s shipping. So as part of keeping the hype around the ecosystem, a lot of people have been saying this, that, and the other thing about AR being the end game and everything like that,” he commented. “The truth of the matter is there’s not that much difference between AR and VR. You can have an AR device that blacks out the background entirely and becomes a VR device. You could have a VR device that has some sort of camera and/or the screens are translucent and it becomes an AR device. The difference is the use case. AR you’re out in the real world. AR you’re seeing the real world. I see a huge amount of utility in that and a huge amount of opportunity for that, but as a gaming device, I don’t know that it is as compelling. As a gaming device, as an alternate world device, VR has a huge amount of potential. “As technology progresses, you’re going to want to have one pair of glasses that solve everything. I think, in the future, you’re sitting in some fantasy world running around with elves and your friends are in there and they’re in different places on the planet and you’re talking to them and playing with them and you’re in a totally alternate universe and then a little note pops up that says, ‘You gotta go to work, man,’ and you click the side of your headset and suddenly it’s AR and it points to where your keys are and you go off to work. I think that’s the ultimate end case is that they’re both.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The VR & AR newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesOculus halts headset sales in GermanyFacebook says it’s a temporary move and will continue supporting existing owners in the countryBy Brendan Sinclair 8 months agoSony reportedly increasing PS5 production to 10m units by 2021Meanwhile, Facebook said to be ramping up manufacturing for Oculus devicesBy James Batchelor 9 months agoLatest comments (3)James Berg Games User Researcher 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyLars Simkins Game Developer 4 years ago Interesting article, thanks for the perspective.I found it a little odd that you didn’t take this opportunity to discuss hardware exclusivity, which is the choice that has caused the most friction.Most people are fine with store exclusives – and with Oculus funding those exclusives – as long as there’s no hardware lock-out. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJames Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago Thank you James 🙂 4 years ago Awesome interview Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lars Simkins on 23rd June 2016 1:00am 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds most covered game in December 2017Star Wars Battlefront II knocked from top spot as PUBG enjoys official console and Xbox launch Haydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterThursday 11th January 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareLast month nearly 7,000 articles were written about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the media, making it the most talked about game in December by a considerable margin. The figures, courtesy of ICO Partners consultant Thomas Bidaux, revealed that Destiny 2 was a distant second with 4,692 articles, followed by Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 3,133. Here are the games that had the most online articles mentioning them in December 2017.Standing out for me:- Games covered at the Game Awards/PSX get tons of attention in December- Cuphead still a media darling- PUBG “release” pushed it again strongly- Good perf of Nintendo pic.twitter.com/Lj2hEUvV8o— Thomas Bidaux âœ¨-Working From Home ðŸ¡- (@icotom) January 10, 2018
Unity and Google Cloud announce partnership to create multiplayer development suiteAlliance aims to create server hosting, matchmaking tools to ease multiplayer game development in UnityRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterWednesday 20th June 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleGoogleUnityUnity and Google Cloud have announced a new partnership to make development of multiplayer and online games easier for teams of all sizes. The two companies are working on a suite of open source tools to support creation of connected games.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The goal of the partnership is to help both large and small developers tackle particular challenges involved in developing multiplayer games. The suite will include server hosting and matchmaking features that will be compatible with Unity and will run on Google Cloud. The project will be open source, furthering the project’s stated goal of “democratizing game development,” and will not require extensive knowledge of cloud technology.”We’re proud of the many Unity developers that collectively produce more than half the world’s games,” said Unity CEO John Riccitiello. “Multiplayer games have long been the fastest-growing type of games. Multiplayer games are also the most challenging to create and properly support. Our alliance with Google Cloud will help developers build multiplayer games more easily and operate them more cost-effectively, at a global scale.”In addition, Unity will migrate its infrastructure to Google Cloud.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesSix additional staff leave Stadia to join Haven StudiosFormer Stadia Games and Entertainment GM Sebastien Puel is a co-founder of Jade Raymond’s new ventureBy Danielle Partis 6 days agoStadia head of product has departed GoogleJohn Justice had joined the company in 2019 By Marie Dealessandri 7 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Swarmio to host Gift the Rift tournament for charity$100,000 will be split across four charities in League of Legends competitionRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterTuesday 28th August 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareEsports tournament management platform Swarmio has announced it will host a League of Legends charity tournament entitled “Gift the Rift.” The tournament will feature 20 participants across four teams and see its $100,000 prize pool split across four charities.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The event takes place on September 1, 2018. Four team captains (Pokimane, LilyPichu, xChocobars, Kaypea) have selected the British Columbia Society of Cruelty to Animals, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Hope for Justice, and Last Chance for Animals as the four charities to receive the winnings.$50,000 will be split across the four based on how the teams place. The remaining $50,000 will be distributed by fan voting, with the percentage of votes each team receives determining the percentage of the money that goes to their selected charity.”Gift The Rift is our way of connecting the eSports community and supporting the great charities our players have chosen to represent,” said Swarmio CEO Vijai “We want to put on a tournament that every eSports fan will want to watch and give them the chance to support their favourite streamers and charities in the process.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesGamesAid raises £70,000 for multiple charitiesUK-based games industry charity splits donation among seven organizations By Jeffrey Rousseau 4 days agoHumble Bundle rolls back plans to remove charity slidersStorefront backtracks on decision following feedback from the communityBy Danielle Partis 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.