Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to Force Publishers to Disclose Loot Box Drop Rates

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TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to force publishers to disclose loot box drop rates; TaxWatch alleges Activision Blizzard moves €5bn (£4.61bn) to avoid tax; and Animoca Brands posts record quarterly revenue of AUD$8.7m (£4.82m).

Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to force publishers to disclose loot box drop rates

Leading console makers Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have announced that publishers releasing games on their platforms will be forced to disclose drop rates for loot boxes, following an initiative led by The Entertainment Software Association (ESA). A series of publishers have also agreed to disclose item drop probability by 2020 at the latest, including Activision Blizzard, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, and Ubisoft. However at this stage it is not clear whether this initiative will only apply to the US, or whether publishers and console makers will roll it out worldwide.

In a statement on the ESA’s website, the trade body stated: “We commend our members for their continued efforts to listen to their customers and provide consumers with information to make more informed choices for their gameplay. As the video game industry evolves and new features appear, we welcome an open dialogue among our community.”

TaxWatch alleges Activision Blizzard moves €5bn (£4.61bn) to avoid tax

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Independent watchdog TaxWatch, who previously revealed Rockstar has failed to pay corporation tax for the last decade, has alleged that Activision Blizzard moved €5bn (£4.61bn) to subsidiaries in tax havens such as Malta, Barbados and Bermuda in an effort to avoid tax. The gaming giant, which has a market cap of USD$37bn (£30.44bn), has already been under scrutiny for its tax practices, having recently settled a transfer pricing dispute with US authorities for USD$343m (£282.1m).

In a statement to the Sunday Times, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said, “We have proactively engaged with, and continue to fully collaborate with, both HMRC and other tax administrations globally to agree to the proper amount of tax due in each jurisdiction during a period of changing policies and rules[...] We are a committed employer in the UK and look forward to reaching a final conclusion on the allocation of our taxable income around the world.”

Animoca Brands posts record quarterly revenue of AUD$8.7m (£4.82m)

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Mobile publisher Animoca brands has posted company-record quarterly revenue figures of AUD$8.7m (£4.82m) for the second quarter of 2019, largely attributed a quarter-on-quarter increase of 117% in customer receipts. The increased sales for the Hong Kong-based firm have been driven by a series of partnerships made in the previous year, such as a USD$8.9m contract with iClick to resell its ad inventory in China.

Animoca Brands has also made a series of acquisitions and investments within the past 12 months, including Stryking Entertainment (100% acquired), Skytree Digital Limited (75% stake), Experimental Group Limited (seed round funding), Brinc Limited (mutual investment of USD$750,000/£617,000), Leade.rs (100% acquired) and Gamma Innovations Inc. (100% acquired).