Microsoft Studios Announces Acquisitions of Obsidian and inXile


On a day filled with a plethora of announcements within the Xbox ecosystem, arguably the biggest comes at the tail end of the X018 FanFest, where Microsoft Studios officially announced the long rumored acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment.


“As part of our commitment to brining a steady stream of new, exclusive games to our fans, I’m excited to announce Microsoft’s intent to acquire two new game development studios – Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment”, Corporate VP of Microsoft Studios, Matt Booty stated in a press release right after the announcement. “It was important for us to find studio partners who have strong creative visions, a mastery of their medium and are expert world-builders. Obsidian and inXile embody all of these qualities while also bringing expertise on the PC platform and a unique RPG focus to the table”.

Obsidian Entertainment, best known for its development of Fallout: New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: the Sith Lords, has over 15 years of experience crafting unique and genre defining RPGs to both the console and PC market. More recently, the studio has also developed South Park: the Stick of Truth and Pillars of Eternity, two multi-platform titles that have received positive reviews.

inXile Entertainment, whose two teams in Newport Beach and New Orleans, have primarily focused on heavy RPG experiences on PC, bring a multitude of resources and industry veterans to the Microsoft family. They are best known for such titles as Wasteland 2, Torment:Tides of Numenera, Bard’s Tale IV and Wasteland 3 (which is currently in development).

The acquisition now brings a total of seven new studios to Microsoft Studios since June 2018, and the overall total to 13 studios under the company’s umbrella. Booty reiterated the common message of first party, exclusive commitment that the Xbox team has been striving to bring fans over the year. “We are committed to expanding the MicrosoftStudios franchises players already love, and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of game.”

No specific games were announced for either developer, but Obsidian’s Twitter bio does state the company is currently working on an “unannounced RPG” with publisher Private Division. No confirmation was made if the game is intended for the Xbox One or not at the time of this writing.

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Sony’s Revenue Increased 40% Year Over Year, Highest Among Top Gaming Companies


In a console generation dominated by the Sony’s forth home console, the PlayStation 4, it doesn’t come as a shock to learn that the Japanese tech giant has continued to increase revenue consistently; but the new financial findings reveal they are having one of their best years to date currently.

According to a market analysis done on the gaming industry, Sony’s revenue has increased 40% year over year, with the company generating a estimated $6.1 billion this fiscal year comparative to $4.4 billion in 2017. This gives them to highest percentage in revenue growth out of the top 10 gaming companies listed.

With their continued ability to lock in large AAA third party games to exclusive marketing and timed content right (such as the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption 2), it is easy to see how Sony and the PlayStation brand are able to continue to appeal to a broad casual audience; not to mention the continuous wave of exclusive first party hits that have landed in 2018, including Game of the Year front runner in many critics’ eyes, God of War.

While Sony may be the front runner in terms of greatest growth, its competitors have found great financial success over the last year as well. Nintendo, riding a stellar wave of critical and financial success due to their newest home hybrid console, Nintendo Switch, increased revenue by 20%, from $1.2 billion in 2017 $1.5 billion in 2018. Nintendo has rarely discounted both their first party games and hardware over the past year, which would result in a higher revenue per unit sold.

Microsoft also saw success from 2017 to 2018, including the release of their mid-generation console iteration, the Xbox One X, which helped in increasing their revenue an estimated 30% ($3.7 billion in 2017 to $4.4 billion in 2018). On top of that, their staple Xbox Live service, the new game service Game Pass, and continued strong sales of third party titles, the American based company continues to make strides to position themselves well for the future.

The Chinese gaming publisher and developer, Tencent, led all of gaming, due to their increasing stranglehold over the Chinese gaming market, along with a multitude of other investments in different sects of media. Tencent increased their revenue nearly 20%, from $8.5 billion in 2017, to a staggering 10.2 billion in 2018.


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Nintendo President Believes Not Realistic to Expect All Major Titles on Switch


With every big AAA game announcement, more and more gamers have started to expect Nintendo’s popular hybrid home console, the Nintendo Switch, to be included within the platforms supporting the game; and while that is becoming more and more a reality as the systems continues to sell astronomically well, publishers have tried to temper fans expectations for some titles making their way to the Switch. Now, Nintendo is joins the conversation themselves, solidifying those views that publishers and developers share.

In a Q&A session during the Nintendo’s most recent financial briefing for the first six months of their fiscal year (ending in March 2019), president and CEO Shuntaro Furukawa expressed happiness over fan’s passion for the system, but to have realistic expectations. When asked about how the company is addressing concerns of major third party titles missing from the console’s lineup, Furukawa stated “We believe that giving consumers a wide selection of software is an extremely important part of operating our platforms. Thats is why we welcome the introduction of a variety of titles from many different software publishers. Even so, I do not think it is realistic to expect that every major title will become available on Nintendo Switch.”

While support from third party developers has increased since Nintendo’s previous home console, the Wii U, many titles either have been skipped over on the console, or are released at a later date than other systems. Factually, the system’s hardware is not as powerful as its competitor’s (i.e. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC etc.), providing at times an uphill battle for developers to create lesser versions of said games.

At the same time, Nintendo continues to explore different avenues to address console limitations, including gaming streaming. In May of this year, Nintendo released a cloud-based version of Capcom’s hit title “Resident Evil 7” in Japan, in which user would stream the game to their console via a dedicated cloud-based server. The company then followed this trend by partnering with continuous third party supporter Ubisoft by release a cloud-based version of the newest entry into the Assassin’s Creed series, “Odyssey”, same day and date release as the traditional versions.

Furukawa elaborated on the topic more, stating “We are speaking with publishers about them actively putting titles on Nintendo Switch that would be an especially good fit for its unique features as a home console system you can carry around, including handheld mode and the availability to bring systems together for local multiplayer.”

The company’s newly appointed president, hired in June 2018, expressed positivity for the future of the console moving forward. “Given the strong publisher support Nintendo Switch has, I would expect the number of titles on it will increase a lot more. That is what really keeps the Nintendo Switch business on the right track.”

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Pokémon Go Made $73 Million in October, Continues Year to Year Growth

pokemon go

Since its release in 2016, Pokémon Go has continuously been one of the most popular and profitable games in the mobile gaming ecosystem (even arguably in all of gaming), and that success continues to grow year over year.

According to data compiled by Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, the augmented reality game pulled in an $73 million in gross revenue worldwide, between both the Apple Store and Google Play storefronts. This astonishing number estimates to be 67% great YTD compared to October 2017, when the app generated an estimated $43.6 million across all markets.

pokemon go items

Developer and publisher Niantic released a line of ghost-type Pokémon themed items in-game, that players can purchase for their characters to wear (pictured above). Items include multiple shirts, hats and backpacks, featuring popular Pokémon such as Gengar and Drifloon. Purchases of items like these were enough to also place the mobile game at #8 in terms of revenue generated among all apps featured on both store fronts, along with #7 overall for mobile games (one spot greater than Epic Games’ smash hit battle royale game, Fortnite).

In terms of performance in specific markets, the Japanese market slightly ousted the United States in terms of market share spending, at 33.2% and 32.9% respectively. For storefronts, Google Play’s users led the charge with 54% of all spending being generated from them.

Released in July 2016, Pokémon Go lets players catch the massively popular creature throughout the physical world via the power of augmented reality technology. The game has maintained popularity since launch, and continues to gain more positive reviews from fans and critics alike, due to the constant updates to the game over its lifespan. Two spinoff games for the Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! & Let’s Go Eevee! are currently being set to release next week, on November 16th, 2018.

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Fortnite Reaches 8.3 Million Concurrent Players Worldwide


Fortnite continues to be the most popular game in the world, and the team at Epic Games have another feather they can tout in their hat now. The massively successful battle royale-centered game now has 8.3 million concurrent players worldwide.

Epic Games’ coveted golden goose saw its release in South Korea this week, home to one of the biggest PC gaming markets in the world. Players flooded PC Bang cafes (similar to LAN centers in the US), to compete in specialty challenges that can only be unlocked at the specialty cafes. These cafes are quite common in Asia and even some European countries, leading to PC gaming have a huge spike in participation compared to the US.

Speaking to Korean media outlet Inven, Sung Chul Park, a spokesperson for Epic Games Korea, stated that Fortnite now succeed in having 8.3 million concurrent players. Thats right, 8.3 million players, all playing at one time. To say that is an unfathomable amount might be an understatement. This number has been confirmed by multiple outlets, including who first broke the news.

The free-to-play battle-royale mode of the game, which launched in September of last year, has dominated the gaming ecosystem in every aspect. Now on its 6th season of content, the popularity of the game has crossed a multitude of boundaries, taking over aspects of mainstream culture, including a tie-in with Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War earlier this year and recently a line of NFL-themed player skins. It continues to dominate multiple game streaming platforms, and has launched multiple streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins into the same stratosphere. From children to adults, hardcore gamers to newcomers, streamers to mobile players, the game has become a pop culture phenomenon; and now that the game is everywhere, including the Korean markets, it has no plans of slowing down.

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