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Jill Braff Appointed Head of Studio for ZeniMax Online Studios, Bethesda Game Studios

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Jill Braff has officially been appointed as head of studio for ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda Game Studios, according to The Verge.

Braff’s appointment is part of a litany of leadership changes, which included the recent news of Bobby Koticks’ departure from CEO of Activision Blizzard.

Braff initially joined Microsoft in 2020 as general manager of integration and casual games at Xbox Games Studios. Braff will oversee the development teams at both ZeniMax and Bethesda and will also continue to lead the Microsoft Casual Games division.

“Today we are announcing Jill Braff as Head of the ZeniMax/Bethesda studios. Jill has a wealth of experience in games and entertainment, with previous roles at Nintendo, Sega, Glu Mobile, Home Shopping Network and at Warner Bros. building the online and marketing business for the Ellen DeGeneres Show,” president of game content studios Matt Booty said in the statement.

“She was our leader for the integration work when ZeniMax/Bethesda joined Xbox, and through that work she has come to know many of their teams and leaders well.”

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Microsoft Bringing Four Games to Rival Consoles

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Microsoft has responded to recent reports that there will be changes to it’s first-party strategy and has confirmed that four game titles will be released on rival consoles.

More specifically, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that ‘Starfield’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ will not be among the four titles heading to other platforms. Both games had a number of candidate platforms, per reports, adding that this is “not a change to our fundamental exclusive strategy.”

“We don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that,” Spencer said, according to GamesIndustry.biz.  “Looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond announced that Activision Blizzard games would begin to be added into Game Pass offerings, starting with Diablo 4, which will be added on March 28th.

Additionally, Bond said that Microsoft is still working on hardware for the future and that their focus regarding the future is “delivering the largest technical leap you will ever have seen in a hardware generation.”

 

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Sega’s Revenue See Rise to $27 Billion

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Sega Sammy has released its financial report for the nine-month period that officially concluded on December 31st, 2023, and that report that demonstrated a rise in overall sales and profit despite a decrease in sales for Sega’s new titles.

That decline was offset by growth in pachislot and pachinko machines, however Sega had lowered its sales forecasts for the full financial year.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net sales: ¥349.9 billion ($2.3 billion, up 28.7% year-on-year)
  • Operating income: ¥54.4 billion ($364 million, up 42.4% year-on-year)
  • Ordinary income: ¥57.2 billion ($383 million, up 42.7% year-on-year)
  • Net sales were up 130.3% to ¥120.2 billion ($805 million) in this segment
  • Ordinary income increased by 521.3% at ¥45.7 billion ($306 million).
  • Entertainment Contents segment, which includes video games, net sales were up 4.2% at ¥219.3 billion
  • Profit decreased by 52.5% to ¥19.7 billion ($131.8 million) as a result of weak game sales

You can read a breakdown of the entire report at GamesIndustry.biz here.

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CVC Capital Partners, Haveli Investments Acquire Jagex

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CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have reached an agreement to acquire RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group, according to Sky News.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed publicly, the Sky News report indicates that CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase of Jagex.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor.

CVC Capital Partners has previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex has more than 700 staff worldwide, and is best known for its RuneScape franchise and is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires sometimes in 2024.

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