MTG to Review Gaming Portfolio; 22 Million App Reviews Removed from Apple App Store

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: MTG to review gaming portfolio; 22 million app reviews removed from Apple App Store; and Capcom profit increases by 33.2%.

MTG to review gaming portfolio

Modern Times Group MTG AB (MTG) has announced that it has launched a strategic review into its gaming portfolio, which could see the firm entering a joint venture partnership for its properties, or pivot to focus solely on the esports market. As part of the process, Stockholm-based MTG is considering whether to enter a secondary stock listing in the US. Staff layoffs are also being mooted though an "operational efficiency program to ensure a right sized and more efficient headquarter organisation". Once the review is completed, MTG executives are envisaging savings of SEK 50m (£4.02m), with approximately 75% of this figure being realised in 2020, with the remainder reached in the following year. At the time of writing, MTG share price has risen by 7% to SEK79.14 (£6.36) following the announcement.

In a statement, MTG president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said, “We have the opportunity to establish MTG as a global leader in the esport industry and we will accelerate value creation by further combining and extracting synergies in our ownership of the two strongest esport brands globally, aided by our solid financial position and commercial operational expertise. Through the strategic review, we will consider all options for our gaming vertical to crystalise and create maximum shareholder value, and at the same time evaluate the potential for MTG as a global pure play esport company.”

22 million app reviews removed from Apple App Store

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Over 22 million app reviews have been deleted from the Apple App Store, a figure which constitutes a total of 35% of the total ratings on the platform, according to data released by Appfigures. Both game and non-game apps were affected in a seemingly global sweep, with the US worst affected with a loss of 10 million reviews. On average affected apps lost 50% of their reviews, however extreme cases include Hulu, which lost 95% of its reviews in the US, and Ibotta, which lost nearly 99% of its ratings. It is unclear at this stage whether the move is an error, similar to one which occurred in December 2018, or an intentional move by Apple.

Both one- and five-star reviews were the least affected, with respective drops of 30% and 35%, compared to declines of 40% and 41% for three/four-star reviews. This would indicate that, if the move was intentional, it is not likely to be a systematic effort to remove fake reviews, as these typically lie on the more extreme ends of the scale.

Capcom profit increases by 33.2%

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Capcom has released its results statement for the first half of the 2019-2020 financial year, with net revenue falling 14% year-on-year to JP¥37.27bn (£267m). Despite this, operating income increased by 33% to reach JP¥14.0bn (£100m). The fall in revenue has been attributed to "promoting the shift from physical package sales to digital sales", as well as increased input of resources into esports.

The strong rise in profit has been put down to the strong performance of the firm's flagship game Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, which has sold 2.8 million units worldwide since its launch last month. The Osaka-based company also continued success for its Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 titles. Following the release of the statement, Capcom share price rose by 2.97% to JP¥2,882 (£20.62) per share.