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Week in Views - From Aristocrat's big gamble to Take 2's big game…

The Pocketgamer.biz team pick their highlights from the headlines this week and deliver the stories behind the stories
Week in Views - From Aristocrat's big gamble to Take 2's big game…
  • The PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week

The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can't let go of…

So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we've created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.

Craig Chapple

Craig Chapple

Head of Content

Aristocrat Leisure eyes potential sale of Plarium and Big Fish Games

$1.5 billion later, Aristocrat Leisure is conducting a strategic review that could see Big Fish Games and Plarium sold.

It was just six years ago that the Australian casino firm splashed $990 million on Big Fish Games in January 2018, and seven years since it acquired Plarium for $500m in August 2017.

But the mobile games market has changed a lot since then (thanks ATT). Now like almost all other companies, Aristocrat wants to refocus its core business of regulated gaming and social casino, and it’s decided to cut out games.

To that end, it plans to keep Big Fish’s social casino titles, but casual and midcore games are out. That includes the highly successful RAID: Shadow Legends, EverMerge and Gummy Drop.

It can almost seem inevitable that a large company looking to diversify has decided games is what needs to go. It’s usually big tech and entertainment companies (Snap, ByteDance, Disney, Google, Facebook and many more) that pull the plug, but in essence, Aristocrat is no different.

Hopefully the teams can find a new home, rather than face any closures or layoffs. Big Fish will certainly be less appealing, however, without its social casino portfolio in tow.

It’s a sign of two major challenges - mobile games isn’t the massive growth market it once was, and macroeconomic factors mean companies are tightening their belts and squeezing profits. 

Daniel Griffiths

Daniel Griffiths

Editor - PocketGamer.biz

Take-Two's mobile bookings make 53% of their total and GTA 6's release date gets locked in

It's been fun to see Take 2's financials ripple across the business wires today as the wealth of numbers and ups and downs get digested and spat out in different combinations. Needless to say it's the mobile angle we're interested in and seeing mobile gently continue to steal share from console and PC both in terms of revenue and bookings isn't surprising, and just another endorsement of how the market continues to swing to mobile.

But while the coverage and opinion has zoomed in on specific aspects of the numbers and drawn specific conclusions, there's been one aspect of the reportage that's frontlined all of Take 2's coverage today – GTA 6 is coming out in "fall 2025". 

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This for me really sums up the industry and the shared passion and enthusiasm of everyone who's lucky enough to work within it. Yeah, sure this number is up, the volume of bookings is moving from this platform to that platform but - wait a minute - is that a GTA 6 launch date in there?

While not a launch date exactly even zoning this game into a single quarter is enough to make headlines beyond any of the other thrills of their quarterly results. I guess it just shows that deep down the entire industry loves a great game and passion and excitement for the GTA franchise remains off the scale after all these years.

From bean counter to developer, marketeer to PR exec it's pretty safe to say which game we'll all be watching carefully next year.

Paige Cook

Paige Cook

Deputy Editor

Epic Games hit with €1.1m fine for unfair commercial practices in Netherlands

Epic has been fined €1.1 million by the Netherlands Authority for Consumer Markets. The fine is said to be due to ‘unfair commercial practices’ regarding players under the age of 18.

The investigation concluded that the Fortnite creator was exploiting children's vulnerabilities through the functionality of their item shop. For example, saying things like ‘buy now’ or ‘get it now’ puts younger people under pressure to get these items. There was also a note on items with timers which would disappear from the store, creating fear of missing out.

Basically, they're saying these advertising tactics are too aggressive, but Epic, of course, is appealing the decision and has made changes to the Netherlands store until they can get this under control.

While the €1.1 million fine may not significantly dent Epic's finances, the real concern lies in the potential ripple effect. If one country has taken a stand against these practices, how long until others follow suit?

While I completely agree that measures need to be in place to protect minors and the importance of responsible advertising, it’s not just Epic and Fortnite that use these tactics. I can think of numerous games with similar stores using the same terminology and timed products.

It makes you wonder where the line will be drawn between what can and can’t be said when so many stores use terms such as ‘buy now’ or have timed deals.  We could be on the cusp of a significant shift in advertising practices across gaming and perhaps other industries too.