GFI Capital takes majority stake in James Hotel in $110M deal

first_imgShare via Shortlink Tagsgfi capital resources groupHotel Market GFI Capital CEO Allen Gross and the James Hotel at 22 East 29th Street (Google Maps)New York’s hotel market appears ripe for opportunity investors, as Allen Gross’ GFI Capital has upped its stake in the 337-key James Hotel in NoMad for what seems like a big discount.GFI has picked up an additional 61-percent stake in the luxury hotel from a partner in a $110.5 million deal, the firm said in a Sunday disclosure to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The cost of the deal includes the assumption of existing debt on the property, plus $14.5 million in cash. After having previously sold off a portion of its 30 percent stake in the property, GFI now controls around 80 percent of the hotel at 22 East 29th Street.Although the identity of the seller is unknown, prior disclosures describe the former majority stakeholder as “a private real estate investment fund.”The seller proposed the deal, which GFI said “presented an opportunity to purchase its stake on favorable terms.” It also required GFI “to protect its invested capital in the hotel from a transfer of the property by the capital partner to the lender,” the latest disclosure said.GFI expects the favorable terms of the deal to have a positive impact on the company’s finances, though it is still examining the accounting implications with its advisers. The hotel was valued at $296.5 million in GFI’s latest annual report, while the buyout price implies a total property value of just $181 million.Additionally, GFI notes in the document that it is negotiating with “an American institutional investor” for a $20 million preferred equity investment in the hotel, which it expects to close within the next three months.A representative for GFI did not respond to a request for comment.GFI and its partners acquired the boutique hotel — formerly known as the Carlton — from the Wolfson Group for $162.1 million in 2015, and reopened the 12-story property as New York City’s second James Hotel two years later.Management company Denihan Hospitality Group had also held a minority stake in the hotel, according to disclosures at the time of the acquisition.Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance funded the 2015 acquisition with $138 million in senior debt, according to property records, as well as about $20 million in subordinate debt according to Apollo’s SEC disclosures.Read moreGFI buys Carlton Hotel for $162MGFI to convert NoMad’s Carlton Hotel to James brandAllen Gross, owner of Ace and Beekman hotels, expecting $12M PPP loancenter_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Why Google bet $450M on ADT

first_imgTagsgooglehome securityreal estate tech Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img ADT CEO Jim DeVries and Google CEO Sundar Pichai (ADT; Pichai by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images; Nest via wallpaperflare)Google and ADT are teaming up to go after the burgeoning smart-home market.In a partnership announced Monday, Google said it will invest $450 million for a 6.6 percent stake in the security giant. In exchange, Google will receive access to about 6.5 million of ADT’s customers to drive sales of Nest products. ADT, meanwhile, will get the backing of a Silicon Valley heavyweight as it competes against tech-driven security solutions.Although the companies said they’re focusing on residential and small-business customers first, CEO Jim DeVries said the partnership comes with a “long list” of opportunities. “Their investment demonstrates skin in the game,” he said during an investor presentation Monday.Wall Street looked at the deal favorably – ADT’s stock closed at $13.48 per share, up 56.6 percent from its closing price of $8.61 on July 31. Trading volume on Monday topped 187.1 million, compared to an average of 4.8 million.Here’s what else you should know about the deal:1. The most basic part of the deal combines Nest hardware with ADT’s installation and monitoring. ADT will offer Google devices to customers starting this year.2. ADT and Google are also each planning to invest another $150 million to market and develop new products. The first $50 million is “coming soon,” said DeVries. The next two tranches are based on “milestones that we’re confident we’ll be achieving.”3. Why now? The global smart home market is massive, with some estimates projecting it will grow from $78.3 billion in 2020 to $135.3 billion by 2025. In March, SmartRent, which develops smart home software and hardware for multifamily landlords, raised $60 million.4. Smart homes is an area that 145-year-old ADT has been chasing. Last year, for example, it acquired I-View Now, a video verification company, for an undisclosed sum.5. ADT also has a joint product with Amazon — dubbed Alexa Guard — which links the cloud-based voice assistant to ADT’s security system. Basically, Alexa is able to listen for things like breaking glass and smoke alarms. DeVries said that the relationship “will continue,” and that ADT would still integrate the two systems “when customers request it.”6. Some background on Google Nest: Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in cash in 2014. In addition to its flagship thermostat device, Nest also makes smart speakers, smoke detectors and security systems (including doorbells, cameras and locks).7. For ADT, the Google deal has another key upside. ADT will use the $450 million to fuel growth and pay debt. After being bought (and later taken public) by Apollo Global Management, ADT has more than $10 billion in debt, according to its most recent annual report.last_img read more

“Slowly marching to our graves”: Restaurants, landlords fear winter will bring chill to open-air dining

first_imgTagsBill de BlasioCoronavirusNYC Restaurants Share via Shortlink The city may extend “Open Restaurants” into winter, but owners and landlords fear business will sink along with the temperature (Image: iStock)Since opening ilili in 2008, restaurateur Philippe Massoud had expanded his upscale Lebanese eatery to three locations around Manhattan. But Covid cut deeply into his business — as it did with thousands of others across the city — forcing Massoud to close two locations and exit those leases. He has managed to keep his Flatiron District venue alive after spending nearly $20,000 on pricey umbrellas, planters, tables and chairs to take advantage of the city’s outdoor dining program.But with winter in the distance and unanswered questions about how open-air dining will operate in frigid temperatures, Massoud was apprehensive and a bit poetic about the future.ilili’s outdoor setup, tailored for the warm months (Courtesy of ilili)“We are first of all partners with Mother Earth and the weather,” Massoud said. But he added, if city officials “don’t want the real estate market to crash, and they don’t want a 1929-style cataclysmic depression, they better come up with something, because we are slowly marching to our graves.”The city’s Open Restaurants program, which began in June, has eased outdoor dining regulations on businesses. With indoor dining still prohibited in the five boroughs and no word on when it may return, Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the program through Oct. 31 — it was originally to end on Labor Day — with the possibility it could last into winter. But that potential has so far come without new guidance for restaurants whose outdoor spaces — on sidewalks and streets — cannot have a fixed roof.“Ambiguity makes life challenging for restaurant operators,” said Taylor Mondshein, executive search consultant at the Elliot Group.The same goes for landlords who are already grappling with tenants unable to pay their full rent and many others who have bailed out entirely.According to the New York City Hospitality Alliance’s July survey, 71 percent of restaurant and bar owners said landlords have not waived any of their rent, and about 60 percent said landlords had not deferred rent or renegotiated their lease.Out in the coldFew industry pros interviewed saw long-term viability in outdoor dining, especially when the cold weather comes.“I think that people are expecting there to be some form of indoor dining by [the winter],” said Alex Victor, a partner in the law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, which represents over 100 bars and restaurants in New York. Outside the city, New York restaurants have for weeks been serving diners indoors at 50 percent of capacity and the Covid infection rate has continued to ebb.Under city regulations, sidewalk cafes can install portable natural gas heaters only after receiving approval from both the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department. Only two different models of heaters and one type of gas hose are approved for use.Current guidelines show approval can take at least 25 business days and entail nearly $200 in fees.That’s in addition to the heaters themselves, which can run anywhere from $150 to $1,000 each, according to Jennifer Carpenter, a principal at Verona Carpenter Architects.“In New York, the only way people will come sit outside in the winter [is] if they are comfortable,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to be something that’s necessary. The bigger question is the economics of, ‘even if I pack my outdoor cafe [with heaters], can I stay open?’”Roughly 9,000 restaurants have been approved for the city’s Open Restaurants program, keeping an estimated 80,000 people employed, city officials said.But many of those restaurant owners are struggling to pay the bills. Last month, 83 percent of eateries did not pay full rent and 37 percent paid no rent at all, according to the Hospitality Alliance’s survey of nearly 500 restaurant and bar owners.Paul Ficalora, a restaurant broker and real estate agent, said whatever the city does to ease outdoor dining in the winter likely won’t be enough for many restaurant owners to pay the bills and the rent.“There are city people that are walking away,” he said, “and looking for opportunities north of the city.”Contact Sasha Jones at [email protected]center_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

“There were no rules…we made them up as we went along”

first_img“There were no rules…we made them up as we went along”Sex & Drugs and Video Games: Tim Chaney’s book on the industry of the ’90sDan PearsonMonday 2nd November 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareWhat were you doing in the ’90s? How sharp are your memories of 20 years ago? If you were working in certain sections of the games industry, either marvelling at the excesses of your colleagues or practicing a little indulgence yourself, then a forthcoming memoir from the ex managing director of Virgin Interactive, Tim Chaney, might jog a few of those hazy memories. Chaney’s book, Sex and Drugs and Video Games, promises to contain some interesting reminiscences. As the head of a major player in the final decade of the last century, with money to spare and bosses who had little interest in or knowledge of the industry he was helping to shape, Chaney was part of a world that was changing more rapidly than almost anybody could keep up with. To hear him tell it, he also had an unprecedented level of freedom in a world of vice, excess and irresponsibility.But how much can really have been going on behind the closed doors of the company which brought you Command & Conquer, The 7th Guest and The Lion King? Were drugs really regularly posted out to reviewers along with review code? Were there hookers at every launch party? Did a PA really crash a Range Rover into the lobby of a hotel during a crucial meeting with a Japanese publisher, partially collapsing part of the building? According to Tim, at least one those is true…”I think it’s a time capsule. It’s a time that will never come again. Nothing like it could ever come again, ever” GamesIndustry.biz: This was all before my time, and it sounds like a very different industry to the one I’ve known for the last ten years. What was different then?Tim Chaney: “Well I can only really see it from my perspective. Perhaps several perspectives, but mine for this purpose. We were a company that really didn’t have any rules. We wanted to shock, we wanted to offend, we wanted to try things that nobody had done before. I think we had an attitude, or at least I did, of try anything, but if it doesn’t work don’t do it again. With that kind of attitude, and as you quite rightly said, without that boardroom influence, no approvals to do or say anything, you can go pretty bonkers. “If you remember the ’90s, it was things like Loaded, Britpop, Girl Power, all these things that empowered this sort of laddy, blokey, sex, drugs, party, fall over and sleep in the gutter attitude. As I said in my notes on the campaign, really the ’90s was the permissive ’60s. The ’60s was mostly guys in bowler hats – 99 per cent. The people who wore flowers in their hair were insignificant compared to the movement of the ’90s when people really let go after the miserable ’70s and the Thatcher ’80s. I’m pro-Thatcher, so I’m not saying anything horrible about that, but it was a period of time when England really changed. “In terms of us, we had some great products and some terrible products, like every publisher had. You use the strong ones to pull the weak ones – use them for power with retailers and to attract other developers. The other thing we did was to go direct in France, direct in Germany, direct in Spain, before EA, before any of the other big publishers of the time – Ocean or US Gold – although I decimated that business by taking Woody and Bob and LucasArts, Access – we kind of took apart that business.We were lucky insomuch that, at the beginning we were at Virgin, under Richard (Branson) and Robert Deveraux – they weren’t going to say ‘don’t use an ad with this or that on it,’ or ‘don’t say that word.’ They didn’t do that. Then we were sold to Blockbuster, who put us under Spelling Entertainment – Love Boat, Dynasty, all that lot. They didn’t know what the hell we were doing, basically, so they couldn’t tell us much. Then Viacom bought Blockbuster and got us and for at least a year didn’t even notice us – they were busy trying to integrate Blockbuster into Paramount and other big things. So we had a few years, seven years, where we were doing whatever we wanted. Nobody in EA could do that, nobody in 99 per cent of American companies could do that at the time, unless you were an indie. We were like a massive indie.” GamesIndustry.biz: You were working under Branson then, who has been pretty open about his own excesses in the past. Did he keep his distance from what was happening?”We were a company that really didn’t have any rules. We wanted to shock, we wanted to offend, we wanted to try things that nobody had done before” Tim Chaney: “In those days his principle interest was the airline. I met him a few times. You go to his house, you sit opposite him on a sofa, all very casual and informal as you’d expect. Women would be bringing documents in for him to sign, you’d be talking about the business and how it was going. But sometimes there’d be a lightbulb go off above his head – if you said something where he thought, ‘I can use that on aeroplanes.’ Like, playing games on planes. In ’92, you didn’t play games on planes. ‘Games, games, games. Whatever. Oh, games on planes? Tell me about it!’ It was that kind of meeting. I knew him personally, I went to his house in Kidlington, I played tennis with him. He was a decent guy. A typical entrepreneur insomuch that he had to hear a lot of pitches, he never made any notes. He’d just memorise all the bits that fitted into the wider scheme of things at the time. “When I first went to see him, I remember saying to Robert Deveraux, who was his brother-in-law and my boss, ‘What should I tell him? What’s the spin? What do you want me to say?’ And he said, ‘Just tell him the truth, whatever it is, good or bad.’ It was refreshing. If you were going to meet a chairman of a company now, someone would be prepping you for 24 hours on what to say and what not to say. Certainly, when we went to see Viacom, or they came to see us at E3, Sumner Redstone – who was the chairman, worth $25 billion or something – it just wasn’t spontaneous, it was very planned. Going from Richard to Sumner, things changed a lot. At the time, Viacom had just written off $100 million on Viacom new media, the last thing they wanted was another games company. We spent a year schlepping around trying to sell ourselves to someone so they could make a load of money out of it. In the end, they didn’t. That will all come to the fore when we get towards the end of the decade.”GamesIndustry.biz: It sounds like there’s plenty to come out in the wash. Are you going to be protecting those involved?Tim Chaney: It’s a strange animal. Some people who were there have supported it, some haven’t. It was 20 years ago, they’ve got kids now. I don’t know if they want their kids to read this. Even then, though, I would change the names of anybody I was going to implicate in anything whatsoever. I can’t just say some guy did this, snorted that, fucked that, then went home to his wife. I can’t do that, it’s not going to happen like that. GamesIndustry.biz: And what about your own stories? You can’t really anonymise yourself…Tim Chaney: “It’s all going to be me really. It’s about the games, the games that made us great, but underneath that there’s a massive layer of vignettes that people will think is fiction. ‘There’s no way this PA got out of her head, drove his Range Rover into the lobby of a hotel and collapsed it whilst I was upstairs meeting Capcom. That’s just one story out of fifty. It’s not a business book, in the same way Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t. It’s about the big games: 7th Guest, Resident Evil, Archer McLean’s games, Lion King, Aladdin. It’s about that, but underneath that, these sorts of things were happening – sometimes daily. I think it peaked around ’95 when we just lost it completely. I think it’ll be fun to write. I am going to change names, though. It’ll be read by a lawyer before anyone. I don’t want to offend my friends and acquaintances that were there, either. You either need to give them anonymity or make it dull as dishwater, and nobody wants to read that.””Some people who were there have supported [the book], some haven’t. It was 20 years ago. I don’t know if they want their kids to read this” GamesIndustry.biz: Some of these stories amount to open bribery of reviewers, are you concerned about adding any fuel to the fire of GamerGate? Of tarnishing anyone’s reputations or that of the industry as a whole?Tim Chaney: “It was 20 years ago. I can only talk about my own sensitivities and I’m pretty insensitive to it. It’s a different world, a different life. Think about what’s happened to you in the last 20 years. I don’t think it’s fuel on that fire, I think it’s a time capsule. It’s a time that will never come again. Nothing like it could ever come again, ever. It was a cottage industry in the early ’80s, into a more stable business, more mature. We invented the games business back at US Gold and Ocean, really. There were no rules because we were making them up as we went along.”Tim Chaney’s book is currently on Kickstarter. Find out more about it hereCelebrating 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 storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 9 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Nintendo’s profits drop 30% year-on-year

first_img 5 years ago MonoGame isn’t on any Nintendo platform yet? I think the MonoGameTeam gave up. 5 years ago They mentioned VR because it came up as the new thing. And of course they’re looking at itThey do not have the engineers to implement it, their console cannot handle it. What is awesome tech, but will questionably even attain “fad” status with the public will be long gone before they’d be ready for it. The man talked about it because it needed to be addressed, but Mario VR is coming out the twelfth of never barring The very unlikely event they are acquired by someone. Nintendo’s profits drop 30% year-on-yearSplatoon sells 4 million, but no news on company’s first smartphone game [UPDATE: Nintendo looking at VR]Dan PearsonTuesday 2nd February 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoNintendo’s finances took a dip in the company’s third quarter report for FY 2015 – sales stayed relatively stable with just 3.9 per cent shrinkage to 427.7 billion Yen ($3.5bn), but profits dropped by 32 per cent year-on-year to 40.5 billion Yen ($336m). Although the bottom line failed to excite, plenty of familiar faces performed well for the publisher’s software arm, as well as a few new names. Top seller was Child friendly Wii U shooter Splatoon, shifting over four million units. Super Mario maker wasn’t far behind on 3.34 million, whilst Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer reached 2.93 million. Collectively the 3DS family sold 5.88 million units of hardware and 38.87 million games. The Wii U totalled 3.06 million consoles and 22.62 million pieces of software. 20.50 million Amiibo figures were sold, and approximately 21.50 million Amiibo cards. Those eagerly awaiting news of either the new NX system or the company’s first smartphone game will be disappointed – neither was mentioned in the company’s forward looking statements. Instead, the publisher focused on relatively known quantities.”For Nintendo 3DS, we will globally release a special edition hardware pre-installed with Pokémon title(s) from the originalPokémon series on February 27 which marks the 20th year since the original Pokémon series release,2 read the accompanying statement. 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 “Furthermore, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and key titles from third-party publishers are scheduled for release. For Wii U, we will strive to maintain the attention level of Splatoon and Super Mario Maker, which are continuing to show steady sales, while introducing new titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Meanwhile, for Amiibo, we will continue to expand the product lineup in order to maintain momentum. At the same time, we will aim to further expand sales by offering new gaming experiences with the use of Amiibo. In addition, the first application for smart devices, Miitomo, is scheduled for release.”The company has maintained its full year target of 35 billion Yen in profit.Update: According to Dr. Serkan Toto, Nintendo said it’s also “looking at VR,” but no further details were given. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Mario and company are at least examining the possibility of getting into VR, but that doesn’t mean a platform will come from Nintendo any time soon. There no doubt will be years of R&D and executives will undoubtedly want to see how the market for VR shakes out before diving in headfirst.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 storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 6 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments (2)Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyCurtis Turner Game Developer – Monsters of Warlast_img read more

Maximum Games acquires Avanquest Software Publishing

first_imgMaximum Games acquires Avanquest Software Publishing”The most effective way to broaden the reach of our video games”Rachel WeberSenior EditorMonday 4th April 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet SharePublisher Maximum Games has acquired Avanquest Software Publishing.”Becoming part of the Maximum Games family is a perfect fit for us,” said Avanquest MD Steve Powell. 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 “Maximum Games has experienced exceptional growth and has an ethos and long-term vision that’s shared by us.”Avanquest will operate solely under the Maximum Games name. Maximum Games will keep its headquarters in Walnut Creek, CA.”We look at this exciting next step as the most effective way to broaden the reach of our video games, offering our studio partners the same focus and attention in Europe as we currently offer here in North and South America,” said Christina Seelye, CEO of Maximum Games. 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 storiesCEO says Paradox “can do better” as Q1 profits plummet”We are not satisfied with the quarter,” CEO Ebba Ljungerud saidBy Marie Dealessandri 17 hours agoStarbreeze’s Q1 losses shrink 95% to $505,000New CEO Tobias Sjögren says “the road ahead is clear” as Payday 3 is fully funded By James Batchelor 17 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

The Red Flag of Passion

first_imgThe Red Flag of PassionHow a seemingly harmless word is used to put a happy face on some of the industry’s biggest problemsBrendan SinclairManaging EditorWednesday 25th April 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNaughty DogNeocoreQuantic DreamLast week, NeoCoreGames delayed the final release of its latest game, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, by about three weeks. In announcing the delay, the Hungarian studio proposed a very unusual barter with its fanbase.”Again, sorry for this as we kindly ask for your further patience and hopefully it won’t be a deal breaker for any of you,” NeoCoreGames producer Zoltán Pozsonyi said in an update to the game’s Steam community. “In return, we promise we’ll push this extra three weeks in 90+ hours per week so it’ll be very-very useful for Martyr.”So if the fans don’t riot over a three-week delay, the developer promises it will spend the entirety of those three weeks working themselves to the bone.To their credit, the game’s fans by and large rejected the offer. Most of the comments on the NeoCore update were something along the lines of “Please don’t, that’s absurd. Take your time and we’ll enjoy a better game later.”In the grim darkness of the future, there is only crunchOutside the fanbase, the offer was not so positively received, with many people excoriating the studio for embracing extreme crunch in this way. The studio quickly edited its update to remove the specific promise of crunch, and later claimed it was a joke about how passionate the developers are.”Over time, ‘passionate’ has become a synonym for ‘unreasonable'” If there’s one thing in this industry overworked more than NeoCoreGames developers*, it’s the word “passion.” There’s nothing really wrong with the word in and of itself. It accurately describes a certain level of dedication and drive common in the industry, the idea that people in the field are not doing what they do for a paycheck. They are doing it for love of the game. In general, that’s fine. But over time, “passionate” has become a synonym for “unreasonable.” It’s a one-size-fits-most code word to put a happy face on some of the industry’s worst tendencies.A studio that relies on extreme, prolonged crunch game-in and game-out isn’t mis-managing projects or exploiting developers; it simply “has a passionate studio culture.”Would-be auteurs who make a habit of yelling at people in the workplace and count fear and intimidation among their management tools aren’t abusive employers; they’re “passionate creators.”Gamers that angrily demand to be pandered to, hurl death threats at developers, and dump hateful sewage into public chat channels aren’t vile, entitled brats actively hurting the games they say they love; they’re just a “passionate community.”If it seems like these excuses are pulled right from a games industry PR crisis management playbook, it’s not that far from the truth. When three different outlets collaborated on reports about Quantic Dream’s toxic studio culture, the studio released a statement strenuously objecting to the accusation:On closer examination, Quantic Dream’s denial of workplace abuses was lacking in humanity”Inappropriate conduct or practices have no place at Quantic Dream. We have taken and always will take such grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Quantic Dream. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games.”On its face, that’s a pretty solid denial. It speaks to the values and priorities that people upset about the allegations would care about. The focus is not on the accusations, but on Quantic Dream and its positive qualities, its collective passion for creating games. From a PR standpoint, it’s a pretty shrewd and effective move. Or at least, it would have been if it weren’t basically stolen.Let’s contrast Quantic Dream’s remarks with the statement Naughty Dog released just three months earlier, when it offered its own strenuous objection to a former employee’s story about being sexually harassed by a lead and reporting it to HR, who promptly fired him.”Harassment and inappropriate conduct have no place at Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. We have taken and always will take reports of sexual harassment and other workplace grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Naughty Dog and Sony interactive Entertainment. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe, productive workplace environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making games.””If there is no common PR crisis playbook people are working from, then at least we can add plagiarism to the litany of accusations against Quantic Dream” Clearly, passion’s not the only thing they share. It’s possible Sony Interactive Entertainment lent its development partner Quantic Dream a hand with the statement, but one would think the PR experts who crafted the Naughty Dog statement would realize how sleazy, insincere, and damning it would be to take a moment when honesty and transparency (or at least the appearance of such) are key, and to be caught cut-and-pasting the same statement someone in the same field used just a few months earlier about awfully similar allegations. And if there is no common PR crisis playbook people are working from, then at least we can add plagiarism to the litany of accusations against Quantic Dream.As for Naughty Dog, even if its statement was original, it deserves a good long mention in any editorial about how the industry uses “passion” to hand-wave away significant problems. After all, NeoCore faced backlash for the idea of its developers crunching for a few weeks, when Naughty Dog is willing to crunch them for a decade or more.Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig worked at Naughty Dog for more than 10 years before jumping to Electronic Arts in 2014. A couple years after her departure, she talked about the studio’s “notorious” crunch culture, saying she worked more than 80 hours a week the entire time she was there.”There’s people who never go home and see their families. They have children who are growing up without seeing them,” Hennig said. “I didn’t have my own kids. I chose my career in lots of ways, and I could be single-minded like that. When I was making sacrifices, did it affect my family? Yes, but it was primarily affecting me and I could make that choice. But when I look at other people… I mean, my health really declined, and I had to take care of myself, because it was, like, bad. And there were people who, y’know, collapsed, or had to go and check themselves in somewhere when one of these games were done. Or they got divorced. That’s not okay, any of that. None of this is worth that.””We have to get our act figured out as an industry, and the problem is that the ante keeps getting upped… It’s an arms race that is unwinnable and is destroying people.”There may be a reason Naughty Dog thinks pushing Drake past the limits of human endurance makes him a relateable everymanGetting back to NeoCore, the company claimed its promise to work 90+-hour work weeks was a joke, but as with the Quantic Dream and Naughty Dog invocations of passion, a closer look suggests the studio was instead using it as a shield.In December, when NeoCore delayed an update, it pledged to have it out on January 10.”Seriously – we’ll release this patch even if the whole company has to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the office,” Pozsonyi said in the Steam community update.Last month, when NeoCore said there would be no more new Steam builds until launch because it had to buckle down and crunch to make the then-planned May 11 release date, it emphasized the team’s passion (as measured by its willingness to crunch) once again.”Of course, we still have tons of work to do, and many of us are already pulling 80+ hour weeks, as it usually goes during crunch time,” Pozsonyi said.Considering jokes aren’t known for getting funnier the more you tell them, this looks much more like a calculated strategy to mollify the more “passionate” elements of the studio’s fanbase whenever NeoCore has the mildest of bad news to break.Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr has been playable for eight months in Early Access. NeoCore was delaying the final launch for just over three weeks, in order for the PC version to “launch” at the same time as its console counterparts. While a blood sacrifice is very on-brand for Warhammer–Khorne would no doubt approve–it’s clearly not called for here, nor is pledging to work your employees into the ground “in return for” something that would be hard to rank as even a minor inconvenience.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 worrying part is that NeoCore’s tactic has essentially worked. As mentioned above, player reaction to the promise of overtime was largely civil and understanding. I don’t know if that’s because NeoCore has just fostered a mostly healthy, reasonable community for Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, or if it just adapted to the caustic nature of modern fandom and the most effective way to curb the players’ toxic passion is to make a show of one’s own, pledging to sacrifice developers’ health to placate the angry hordes.And if that’s where we are as an industry, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the way we talk about passion as an unqualified good. Passion is great within reason, but too often what we’re actually celebrating is obsession.*That was a joke. Did it not seem like a joke? Weird. Definitely a joke, though. Definitely.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 storiesCourt overturns ruling against Quantic Dream over unfair dismissalQuantic Dream also shared a statement to “set the record straight,” dismissing all allegations of toxic cultureBy Marie Dealessandri 30 days agoThe Last of US Part 2 secures a record 13 BAFTA nominationsNaughty Dog’s game leads a big haul for Sony, with PlayStation exclusives accounting for 41 nominations overallBy Matthew Handrahan 2 months agoLatest comments (1)Nathan Fouts President, Mommy’s Best Games3 years ago …and the game they’re crunching on is called Martyr! **speaking of bad jokes 🙂 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Apple brings Everyone Can Code to schools for blind and deaf students

first_imgApple brings Everyone Can Code to schools for blind and deaf studentsInitial launch in eight schools will tailor lessons to students’ needs with accessibility resourcesRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterFriday 18th May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleAppleIt’s been an exciting week for accessibility in gaming and tech. Microsoft announced a new accesibility-minded Xbox controller, and Apple followed up today by announcing it is partnering with leading educators to bring its education program, Everyone Can Code, to schools for students with hearing, vision, or other accessibility needs.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 “Partnering with Apple, we are excited to help even more people learn how to code,” said Julie Tye, president and CEO of the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which is one of eight initial partner schools for the program. “Whether for fun or future employment, learning the language of technology can offer tremendous opportunity to everyone.”Everyone Can Code was first demonstrated at the end of March as an education curriculum for teaching both children and adults to code in Apple’s programing language, Swift. It includes an introductory, kid-friendly app called Swift Playgrounds, as well as third-party apps, teacher guides, lesson plans, and a focus on helping students visualize both what the code is doing and what practical uses they can put it to, such as programming robots. The program goes all the way through college, eventually graduating students to coding on Mac and developing iOS apps.For this latest initiative, Apple and its educational partners tailored the program’s curriculum for accessibility, including additional resources and tools such as tactile maps, FaceTime gesture and facial capture, Type to Siri, closed captioning, iPhone hearing aids, and VoiceOver, a gesture-based screen reader. Physical motor accessibility has also been taken into account through Switch Control, a built-in iPad feature that allows devices such as joysticks to be used for screen control.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 storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 12 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 15 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Fire Emblem Heroes summer revenue up 34 per cent over 2017

first_imgFire Emblem Heroes summer revenue up 34 per cent over 2017Sensor Tower data shows Nintendo’s hit mobile game earning $63 million in July and AugustMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefThursday 6th September 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoFire Emblem Heroes remains in rude health, according to data from Sensor Tower, with Nintendo’s breakout mobile hit earning 34 per cent more this summer than in summer 2017.Despite being drawn from a less popular IP than Super Mario Run or Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes has emerged as the most successful of Nintendo’s mobile 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 According to Sensor Tower, the game’s players spent $63 million in July and August this year, equivalent to 34 per cent more than the $47 million spent in the same period in 2017.Fire Emblem Heroes launched in February 2017, and Sensor Tower puts its lifetime earnings at $417 million. This means that, in July and August this year, it earned 15 per cent of its lifetime revenue in 11 per cent of the time it has been available.By contrast, it took the highly anticipated Super Mario Run two years to reach just $60 million in revenue. Nintendo has been open about its disappointment in that return, and its subsequent mobile games more fully embraced free-to-play monetisation systems.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

PlayStation is the third most-recognized brand in the UK

first_imgPlayStation is the third most-recognized brand in the UKNintendo and Xbox at 11 and 17, respectively; Apple takes top spotRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterFriday 14th September 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareProphet’s Brand Relevance Index for 2018 has just been published, revealing that PlayStation has jumped six places from its spot at #9 last year to be the third most-relevant brand in the UK. It was beaten only by Apple at #1 and Lego at #2.Brand and marketing consultancy Prophet surveyed 11,500 consumers in the UK about 240 brands across 27 categories to come up with its relevancy rankings. PlayStation’s third-place spot puts it as the only gaming-focused company in the top 10, though other companies with video game-related initiatives scored highly, including Apple in the top spot and other companies such as Google (#4), Amazon (#8), and Android (#10).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 Nintendo ranked at #11, two spots higher than last year with the continued success of the Nintendo Switch. Xbox, meanwhile, dropped six spots to #17 as PlayStation has continued to pile on new console-exclusive announcements and releases.”Our ‘For The Players’ customer centric focus means we continue to develop award-winning content such as Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War, all of which are only available on PlayStation,” said Usama Al-Qassab, PlayStation VP of marketing. “Exclusive content is married with investment in innovative new ways to play such as 4K HDR, VR, PlayLink, PS Now – our streaming platform – and our community, PS Plus. This enables players to compete or co-operate with one another and enjoy a unique, instant and immersive experience every day so PlayStation can remain the best place to play.”The results of brands in the US have also been published, though gaming had a much more muted presence in that list. In a survey of 12,694 customers on 299 brands, Apple still took the #1 spot. However, the first console brand is PlayStation at #13, and Xbox is down at #25. Nintendo is not listed in the US survey result, though Electronic Arts is at #34.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 storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more