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Kliuless? #10: Epic Dreams & Fortnitemares

Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.

Kenneth Liu, Blogger

November 2, 2018

5 Min Read

Kliuless? Gaming Industry ICYMI #10

Hi, my name is Kenny Liu, and I work in Revenue Strategy at Riot Games. Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.

See more or subscribe at: https://tinyletter.com/kliuless

Epic Dreams & Fortnitemares

  • Epic Games valued at $15bn after securing $1.25bn from multiple investors

  • New Halloween "Fortnitemares" event adds zombie-like monsters

    • [KL: Several weeks ago I discussed Epic's "Fort(nite)ifications" against Blackout from a publishing perspective. "Fortnitemares" is Epic's method of flexing its developer prowess to show that it can match Activision's zombie-infested battle royale in gameplay as well. One of the most powerful traits of the battle royale genre is that so much meaningful gameplay variation can be added by simply changing the rules or items of the virtual sandbox. To date, Epic has capitalized on this strength the most with their impressively rapid iterations and updates. Fortnite's generally more playful aesthetic and gameplay also enable the game to easily experiment with more creative freedom. I wouldn't be surprised to see pirate- or ninja-themed events one day in Fortnite, but it's harder for me to imagine the same for Blackout or PUBG]

    • Related: "A week away from Fortnite feels like forever"

  • Fortnite downloaded onto 'nearly half' (i.e., ~11mm) of all Switch consoles 

  • Fortnite Save The World Free-To-Play Launch Delayed To 2019

Revenue Strategy

  • Great 80-slide deck on growth hacking by a16z partner Andrew Chen

  • The legal status of loot boxes around the world, and what's next in the debate

  • The rising need for game economy designers in freemium mobile games

  • Ubisoft CEO: Cloud gaming can help AAA games grow beyond PC and console

    • "On the topic of monetization, Guillemot says that the company is eyeing a traditional model that lets it sell any streaming titles as a full games, same as buying them at full-price on any other platform, rather than other models that Google's platform might support or the pay-by-playtime model cloud streaming for the Nintendo Switch in Japan has adopted so far"



  • Two more entrants into this year's Game-of-Thrones-like Platform Wars

    • EA unveils its ‘cloud-native gaming’ technology dubbed Project Atlas

      • "We’re busy integrating all of this new functionality, directly into a revolutionary new gaming platform that we’re calling Project Atlas. Project Atlas is designed to seamlessly converge EA’s Frostbite game engine and game services as well as artificial intelligence — giving rise to a new game development platform, optimized for a cloud-enabled world. This will be a fully integrated platform, capable of building the scalable, social, and large-scale experiences of the future. So, while in the past, features like cloud hosting, matchmaking, marketplace, data, AI, achievements, and social were separate from the development tools in the engine, the Project Atlas platform will be able to implement all of these services natively within a unified solution"

    • Kongregate’s Kartridge app store opens with hundreds of indie PC games

      • "As an open platform, Kartridge now allows developers to upload their downloadable PC games starting today. Kartridge offers an effortless content upload process, expanding developer tools and analytics, and the previously announced developer-friendly revenue terms, which entitles developers to 100 percent of revenue earned on their first $10,000 in sales. After that, Kartridge takes a standard 30 percent cut"

  • Roblox's international transformation

    • "We don't do a lot of marketing," he said. "We're a very quiet company. But that's led to us being very large. In March, based on engagement - time spent on our platform - for kids under 13, we were No. 1 and we were considerably bigger than YouTube, and for kids 13-17 we were No. 2, right behind YouTube. The company's really established a very significant position in terms of engagement with young adults"

  • Twitch teams up with Harmonix to develop a streaming karaoke game


  • Bloomberg: Inside Samsung's Bid to Challenge Apple With 5G, Folding Phones

    • Related: Xiaomi's new gaming smartphone comes with a Joy-Con

  • A look at Google Play on its 10th Anniversary

  • Liftoff: Costs to get mobile users from install to IAP are rising quickly despite high engagement

  • Zynga bags Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Star Wars mobile game licences

  • ASO Best Practices: Everything You Should Know About App Icon Tests


  • Custom-made smart glasses pick up where Google Glass left off

  • Oculus founder: "No existing or imminent VR hardware is good enough to go truly mainstream, even at a price of $0.00"


  • Minecraft reaches >50mm players and >150mm downloads in China

  • In China, where you live determines the tech you use [KL: interesting exhibit of lifestyle & taste divergences between different tiers of Chinese cities]

  • How Jin Yong helped turn wuxia into the biggest fantasy genre in Chinese games


  • Esports makes up 9-17% of Twitch's viewership in 2018 so far

  • Piper Jaffray's quarterly survey on teen spending & app usage habits

    • Instagram overtook Snapchat for the first time as the social platform that the highest % of teens use monthly (85% vs. 84%); Facebook lags significantly with only 36% of teens report logging in on a monthly basis

    • Slightly fewer teens are playing games on their phone or tablet (70%) compared to prior years, but spending is up: 28% of those who play use real money to buy virtual goods (vs. 16% in 2013)

  • The dark, ironic, surreal games of Central & Eastern Europe

  • Red Dead Redemption 2: The Kotaku Review

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is shockingly faithful to what Ancient Greece looked like during its golden age

    • Related: Bringing feudal Japan to life in Ghost of Tsushima

  • Netflix released the first trailer for Minecraft: Story Mode, an interactive choose-your-own-adventure style television series developed in partnership with Telltale Games

  • Ubisoft Working on ‘Child of Light,’ ‘Werewolves Within’ TV, Movie Adaptations

  • Talking Tom’ in Development as Live Action-Animated Movie 

See more or subscribe at: https://tinyletter.com/kliuless

Twitter: @kliuless
LinkedIn: @kliuless

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