Picture of a gaming controller.
Nov 22, 2021

Axios Gaming

Welcome back to Axios Gaming, and a blissfully short week, with Megan.

Today's edition is 914 words ... 3½ minutes.

1 big thing: New York game state

Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

New York City's game development scene is steadily growing, especially in the indie sector.

Driving the news: According to a new study from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, New York "serves as an incubator" for the growth of creative game communities.

  • The games sector in New York accounts for 7,600 jobs, $762 million in total wages and $2 billion in economic output.
  • The industry has "roughly tripled in size" since 2008 and is home to more than 160 developers, as well as educational institutions like the NYU Game Center.
  • The results of the study "underscore our objectives to support current and future game developers and develop initiatives that propel NYC on its way to becoming a global game development center."

Yes, but: According to the study, half of the developers in New York are indies.

  • Independent developers tend to gravitate to Brooklyn, the study says, as it's cheaper for studio spaces; cost is a major issue when it comes to a developer setting up shop for indie to mid-size studios.

The big picture: In terms of U.S. placement, the games industry has a stronger AAA presence on the West Coast.

  • Cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco are hubs for developers such as Riot Games, Naughty Dog, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Valve, Sucker Punch and more.

What’s next: The study makes a number of suggestions for expanding the New York gaming scene: instituting state tax credit programs; promoting gaming events; and supporting the city's independent gaming communities through efforts such as marketing campaigns.

  • “A production-based tax credit incentivizing local talent hiring and game development within the city would not only attract larger studios to New York City, but also enable existing studios to stay in the city,” the study says.
2. Kotick considers leaving

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick would reportedly consider leaving the company if its ongoing issues cannot be fixed "with speed," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Calls for Kotick's resignation continue to mount, as industry figures criticize Activision Blizzard's leadership and employees engage in collective action.

  • Kotick has been with the company for roughly 30 years in a leadership role.
  • As noted by Stephen, a stock analyst at Jefferies still puts Activision Blizzard stock as a buy "on the assumption of change... we do believe the long-term valuation of the stock will benefit from a leadership change. Too much trust has been lost."

Catch up quick: The Wall Street Journal's recent exposé about Kotick alleges that the CEO knew about sexual misconduct at the company, despite claiming otherwise.

  • A petition to remove Kotick as CEO currently has more than 1,700 signatures from employees.

Yes, but: Even if Kotick leaves, he'll do so with a golden parachute.

  • Upon termination or change of control, he stands to make more than $250 million in severance and equity awards.
3. You ask, we answer

Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

Megan here with some reader Q&A. Got questions? Send 'em our way.

Q: A question about the joy con drift on Switch: we know Nintendo has always provided quality materials for its hardware and has a policy of tests and quality control. How is it possible they let this drift happen to literally every Switch player at one (pain) point?

A: The hard answer is that Joy-Con drift (where the control's joystick acts as though it's moving when it's not, for anyone wondering) — might be an issue that's never fully solved.

  • In October, as part of an Ask The Developer segment, Nintendo executive Ko Shiota pointed to inevitable wear and tear: "For example car tires wear out as the car moves, as they are in constant friction with the ground to rotate."
  • "So with that same premise, we asked ourselves how we can improve durability, and not only that, but how can both operability and durability coexist?" he continued. "It’s something we are continuously tackling."
  • Nintendo's Doug Bowser recently told The Verge that the company is "making continuous improvements overall to the Joy-Con, including the analog stick."
  • The company does offer free repair for Joy-Con drift, for when the seemingly inevitable happens.
4. Need to know

🎬 "Death Stranding" developer Kojima Productions has launched an LA-based division focusing on TV, film and music.

🎙 The Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley is hosting a four-episode podcast on Spotify about the event called "Inside The Game Awards." Spotify will also act as the event's audio streaming partner when it takes place in December.

💰 Riot Games' animated Netflix series "Arcane" has been renewed for a second season.

5. Worthy of your attention
  • Warhammer developer Games Workshop to hate groups: ‘We don’t want your money’ (Cass Marshall, Polygon)
The post is a strong statement from one of the largest gaming companies in the world and reads, in part: “If you come to a Games Workshop event or store and behave to the contrary, including wearing the symbols of real-world hate groups, you will be asked to leave. We won’t let you participate. We don’t want your money. We don’t want you in the Warhammer community.”
6. Never ending story

Image courtesy of Cloud Imperium

"Star Citizen," a game I have been writing about since at least 2014, has now raised over $400 million in funding.

  • Cloud Imperium's ambitious multiplayer space sim was announced in 2012 and has yet to fully launch. It's still unclear when that might happen.

I'll leave you with this quote from my 2014 interview with developer Chris Roberts: "I just want to build the coolest, biggest universe possible. I'm quite happy if I get more money, because I can put another ship in, or another system."

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🐦 Find us on Twitter: @megan_nicolett / @stephentotilo.

As I like to tell my editor: It'll be done when it's done.