TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Apple AR headset delayed until 2022; Stadia to launch with 12 titles; and Starbreeze submits plan to pay off debts.
Apple AR headset delayed until 2022
Apple is due to release an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2022, followed by a more ergonomic pair of AR glasses in 2023, according to an internal presentation obtained by The Information. The purported release date goes against analyst expectations, with late 2020 being the previous estimate for the launch. While the timing differs from previous reports, the presentation does corroborate last week's leak revealing that Apple are working on developing an AR headset, although the sources have not stated whether Apple is working with Valve, Quanta Computer, and Pegatron, as suggested.
While the delay will prove disappointing to some, sources claim Apple is biding its time in order to further advance the technology beyond currently available versions, with 8K displays and enhanced depth to digital objects. Moreover, executives at the California-based tech giant are reported to be highly bullish at the potential behind its AR offering, telling staff that the later, more streamlined, versions of the glasses could eliminate the need for iPhones "within a decade". Following the leak, Apple share price increased by 0.79% to USD$262.20 (£204.34) per share.
Stadia to launch with 12 titles
Google Stadia is set to launch on November 19th with a catalogue of 12 titles, with a further 14 due to be added before the end of 2019. Of the 26 titles due to feature on the cloud gaming platform in 2019, only one will be exclusive to Stadia, Tequila Works' horror title Gylt, however further exclusives are expected next year, with original games to be produced by Google at their Stadia Games and Entertainment Studio in Montréal. Notably, Doom Eternal, which was used extensively as a demonstration of Stadia's capabilities, to mixed reviews, has not been included in the 2019 launch window, and will instead make its full debut on the platform in 2020.
While many are viewing the initial selection of games available on Stadia as underwhelming, the staggered release of titles on the platform suggests Google executives are aiming for an open beta approach, in order to iron out any flaws in the service prior to the 2020 roll-out of its free tier and USD$9.99 (priced at £8.99 in UK) per month subscription package next year.
Starbreeze submits plan to pay off debts
Starbreeze has submitted its administrator-approved reconstruction plan and petition for composition negotiations to the Swedish District Court, proposing that the troubled Swedish developer will pay off its total debts, amounting to SEK395.7m (£31.76m), in full by the close of 2024. Under the proposals, the majority of creditors can either elect to receive repayment within 364 days with no interest payment, or within a maximum of five years with an interest rate of 5%. Separate proposals have been presented to Nordea and Smilegate, which hold a combined debt from Starbreeze of SEK320m (£25.7m), however it is understood that these debts will also be repaid in full within five years.
The repayment plan is conditional upon the singing of a publishing agreement for PAYDAY 3 and mobile title Payday: Crime War during the first half of 2020. Starbreeze recently split its core business unit into two subsidiaries as part of its ongoing restructuring process, having applied for an extension to its reconstruction period in September. Despite the firm's financial struggles, an independent external accounting firm has valued Starbreeze's assets at SEK1.6bn (£128.4m).