Games Industry News Roundup- February 20th, 2024

In the modern era, how information is presented is key. The masses clamor for that which is “bite-sized.” Folks are too busy to take in a story like a fine meal, savoring every moment. Our calendars are full, we gotta pick up kids from soccer practice, all we got time for is a couple of bites of the good stuff from that five star meal before we hit the road. 

Here at Goonhammer, we have trained Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson to think only in that which is bite-sized and quickly digestible. Sure, thinking of everything only in terms of bite-sized turns out has some pretty wild consequences, but hey. It makes reporting out on the top five stories from the games industry and related media pretty easy!

Hasbro Releases Q4 Investor Report

Credit: Hasbro

Last week, Hasbro released its Q4 2023 investor report, giving us a better look at the financials of what was a disastrous year for the parent company of Wizards of the Coast.

What’s apparent is that while Hasbro suffered a devastating financial year, reporting a net loss of $1.6 billion, Wizards of the Coast was the bright spot in Hasbro’s portfolio. While it’s old news that Wizards has been the silver lining to Hasbro’s stormy weather in 2023, the exact numbers here are an official confirmation. Wizards had a revenue growth of 10% in 2023, with Baldur’s Gate 3 being the driving force behind its success. Wizards tabletop division saw a revenue increase of 1%, driven by the Universes Beyond: Lord of the Rings set. While the LotR set was the best-selling set in Magic history, the increased royalty payments from this set heavily factored into a 2% operating profit decline for Wizards for the fiscal year.

Going into 2024, Hasbro expects the growth of Wizards to cool, predicting only a 3-5% revenue increase for Wizards this year as Baldur’s Gate 3 sales slow down. With the sale of eOne Entertainment to Lionsgate finalizing in December of 2023, Hasbro is now free of the massive money sink that formed the largest chunk of its financial troubles last year. In 2024, Hasbro’s financial plan outside of Wizards appears to be to step back and lick its wounds, reinvesting in core business and paying down the company debt.     

Asmodee Finds Success While Embracer Group Deals with Financial Woes

Credit: Asmodee

Embracer Group has been catching flak in the headlines this past week after releasing its Q3 financial statement. In this report, Embracer details the full scope of the company-wide restructuring effort that has been ongoing since summer of 2023. This restructuring is an effort to reduce operating costs, laying off nearly 1,400 employees from the various developers owned by Embracer Group as well cancelling 29 games, including the in-progress Deus Ex sequel.

While Embracer has been catching heat for these layoffs in the press, the financial report has less grim things to say about the tabletop sector of Embracer group. The tabletop sector for Embracer Group saw an increase in net sales in Q3, driven by Asmodee. Asmodee is the owner of a number of subsidiary tabletop studios, including Days of Wonder, Fantasy Flight Games, Atomic Mass Games, and Catan Studio. The CEO of Embracer Group, Lars Wingefors, writes in the financial report that, “For the calendar year, the tabletop mass market saw a slight growth, confirming the industry’s resilience, with Asmodee’s strong position key to its robust growth.” 

With the release of the Star Wars: Unlimited card game on March 8th, Embracer Group continues to expect strong sales growth from Asmodee in Q4.  

CMON Games Leaves Kickstarter for Another Crowdfunding Platform

Credit: CMON Games

CMON Games announced on Monday that it would be cutting ties with the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. 

CMON Games, the company behind the Zombicide board games as well as the A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game, found great success with crowdfunding through Kickstarter, launching 60 campaigns on the website that raised a total $100 million. Despite all of this success, CMON Games is moving on from Kickstarter, and announced an exclusive collaboration for all future projects through the crowdfunding platform Gamefound.

Gamefound, a crowdfunding site focused exclusively on tabletop games, has already been home to two successful crowdfunding campaigns for CMON. Masters of the Universe: Battle for Eternia and A Song of Ice and Fire: Tactics have raised $719,000 and $1,000,000 respectively on Gamefound. Future campaigns for tabletop games, such as the previously announced God of War board game, will be launched exclusively on Gamefound.

Regarding the partnership, CMON COO David Preti writes, “Gamefound has a number of excellent features that our fans have been asking for, and we feel their platform is a great fit for us as we move into the future.  We want the consumer experience to be as smooth as possible, and Gamefound gives us the tools we need so we can focus on creating great games.” 

As for Kickstarter, the loss of CMON will do little to damage its status as the biggest player on the crowdfunding block, but this deal makes Gamefound a serious competitor in the space for tabletop developers looking for a place to raise money for their game. 

Helldivers 2 Struggles with Server Issues Following Surprise Success

Credit: Arrowhead Games

Arrowhead Games has found its newest release, Helldivers 2, to be one of the first surprise smash hits of 2024, and now Arrowhead Games is suffering from success as it struggles to keep up with player demand.

Helldivers 2, a co-op sci-fi shooter heavily inspired by the Starship Troopers movie, released on February 8th. While the first entry in the series found modest success, its sequel has been a runaway hit, reaching a peak concurrent player count of over 400,000, making it the 23rd highest all time concurrent player count on steam as of this writing. 

While it’s hard to be upset about a game reaching this level of unexpected popularity, the surge of players caused serious strain on Arrowhead’s servers. This led to matched play being plagued with disconnections, latency issues, and errors in receiving mission rewards. As an apology for the issues and to make up for lost progression, Arrowhead announced that the weekend of February 17th-19th would be a double XP weekend. This only compounded the server strain as players flocked to earn extra rewards.

Eventually, Arrowhead was forced to put a cap on player population in order to stabilize the servers. In an announcement on the official fan discord, Arrowhead said it would be limiting concurrent player count to 450,000. After that number, players would need to wait their turn in a log in queue to play. Even with the queue, reports have sprung up of players staying logged in indefinitely to avoid the log in wait, further clogging the servers. Arrowhead CEO stated on Twitter/X plans to address AFK players with a timeout in the future.     

Until Arrowhead can get more servers and increase server capacity, putting a hard player limit is the only way to make sure the game is stable. 

Warhammer 40,000’s Crossover with Powerwash Simulator Gets an Official Release Date and Trailer

Credit: FuturLab Games

Well, it looks like we have a winner for the strangest Warhammer crossover yet.

As a part of IGN Fan Fest on Monday, FuturLab released a trailer for the highly anticipated Powerwash Simulator crossover with the world of Warhammer 40,000. In this trailer, a dutiful Skitarii uses a piece of archeotech cleaning equipment to blast the dirt and grime off of several iconic models from the tabletop game, including a Redemptor Dreadnaught, an Imperial Knight, and a Thunderhawk Gunship. The end of the trailer reveals that we can expect this content to drop on February 27th, 2024.

The mood of the trailer is refreshingly tongue and cheek for a Warhammer game, it’s hard not to chuckle with the melodramatic choir chanting over gameplay of making stuff clean. It’s a strange collaboration, showing off digital reproductions of tabletop models feels very Warhammer at its core, and it shows Games Workshops willingness to grow the Warhammer brand with its digital partnerships.

And that wraps it up for our Games Industry News Roundup this week! Join us again next week for more news about the tabletop games industry and related media.

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