Microsoft Q4 financials, FF14 free trial expanding, more

JULY 23, 2020

Daily Gaming Update

How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here and welcome back to The Gaming Observer for Thursday, July 23rd. We’ve got a tremendous amount of news here ahead of the Xbox event happening later today, so let’s go ahead and start with Microsoft.
Yes, Microsoft reported on their Q4, and of course that includes their gaming division, which is up 64% year over year in large thanks to the pandemic. We know that because they were actually down in previous quarters, so to shoot up to 64% is really s omething. Of that whole division, hardware specifically was up 49%, which was simply attributed to more consoles being sold. Not only did they do well with revenue, but engagement is higher than ever for things like the Xbox Game Pass and in-game monetization. Minecraft in particular was a big driver for them, bringing in 132 million monthly active users. As I mentioned, Xbox is going to have its Series X showcase later today, the 23rd. They’ve been teasing it with some Halo Infinite stuff, hopefully its a going to be a great show. If you’re not able to catch it, I will be doing a full recap show which you can take a listen to on the podcast host of your choice, or on the Youtube channel. That’ll go up on Friday.

Final Fantasy XIV is going to be shaking things up once again. First of all, they did recently announce that they have surpassed 20 million registered users, which is pretty cool. More importantly though is that they are reworking the new player experience, and are greatly extending the reach of the free trial. So you might know this is an MMO that you have to pay monthly for, it’s like $15 per month, plus the upfront cost of the starter edition, plus any expansions you might want. It’s a pricey game, but they’ve now brought the free trial to include all the content from A Realm Reborn and the first expansion Heavensward. Based on what I’m reading, this could easily be 100 hours of free content that you can mostly play solo. Obviously Square Enix is banking on you really loving that experience, and wanting to purchase more of it, but ultimately this is a solid chunk of the game that you can sink your teeth into. That goes into effect on August 11th, if you are so inclined to check it out.
Alright so here is an interesting story. There is an interactive romance novel game called Lovestruck, it’s a really popular app on phones. They’ve got dozens of stories and characters to choose from, people love it. Well, some time last week, just over 20 writers for the game basically went on strike, and decided to organize against the development company Voltage Entertainment. Here’s what the writers specifically said, “All of the Lovestruck writers are members of marginalized genders and/or sexualities…We have been given an invaluable foot in the door to the industry and a platform to tell stories that represent our voices…However, not only are we paid less than half the industry standard rate, we are asked to meet extremely tight deadlines and produce enormous amounts of content without protections or benefits.” Voltage responded this basically saying “hey, you’re not a union, you don’t get to collectively bargain, we have to do this individually.” Well, the writers denied their offers, and now Voltage is looking for new writers. The writers were surprised to hear that because none of their contracts had been terminated, so I’m not sure what that’s about, but nonetheless, super sucky situation all around, and hopefully things get resolved, or at the very least those writers are able to find work.
Final story for today, I’ve reminded you a few times at just how gigantic the game Roblox is, but I’ve got another story here that is going to amaze you. So, according to figured shared by Roblox with the Verge, we now know that over 50% of kids under the age 16 in the United States play Roblox. Over half of the country! That’s insanity. This has bolstered a number of development companies which have spawned out of creating content for the game. For example, there’s a popular minigame called Adopt Me, which has 50 million active players, with a development team of 100 people, and tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Folks, when you talk about the most popular games in the world, never forget to include Roblox, you’d be making a big mistake.