Netflix Hesitant to Enter Gaming; Epic Acquires Quixel

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Netflix hesitant to enter gaming; Epic acquires Quixel; and Hitmarker raises £200,000.

Netflix hesitant to enter gaming

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has reiterated that the video streaming giant is not contemplating a move into the gaming industry in the near future. Speaking at the New York Times Dealbook conference, Hastings referred to the line in the letter to shareholder's following the firm's Q4 2018 results: "We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO" which generated speculation that Netflix was entering the gaming space, with concurrent rumours that Amazon is planning on launching a cloud gaming service helping to fuel this hypothesis.

However, Hastings quashed this by stating that Netflix does not have the expertise in gaming at this time to enter the industry. "The original quote was we compete with Fortnite more than HBO, meaning that Fortnite gets a lot more hours of viewing and ultimately it's about competing for those hours of viewing, he stated, "but we don't compete with Fortnite better by doing something like that because we're not very good at that. We compete by doing the most amazing TV shows you've ever seen so you down Fortnite and come to watch our show because lots of people watch a mix." While Netflix will seemingly not be developing titles or launching a gaming platform, it will still be involved in TV and film content for the industry, such as broadcasting the upcoming 'The Cuphead Show!'

Epic acquires Quixel

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Epic Games has acquired Quixel, the firm behind the photogrammetry asset library Megascans, for an undisclosed sum. Following the acquisition, Quixel is making Megascans free to use on Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 , with the asset library's companion applications Bridge 2020 and Mixer 2020 also becoming available at no charge. Quixel was established in 2011 and is based in Stockholm, with over 100 staff members spread across the company's six offices. Aside from video gaming, the Quixel library of over 10,000 assets has also been used in film production, with notable examples including The Lion King, Black Panther, and Pacific Rim: Uprising.

“Building photorealistic 3D content is an expensive endeavor in game development and film production. By coming together with Quixel to make Megascans free for all use in Unreal Engine, this level of artistry is now available to everyone from triple-A studios to indies,” said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

In further news from Epic, the Cary, North Carolina-based firm has filed a lawsuit against a Montreal-based game tester for damages exceeding USD$85,000 (£66,150), alleging that they leaked the game's new map ahead of launch.

Hitmarker raises £200,000

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Dedicated esports jobs platform Hitmarker has raised £200,000 through crowdfunding on Crowdcube, which will be exchanged for 9.43% of the company's equity. The firm, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, surpassed its initial target of £80,000 within one week, with the funding being used to double staff numbers from its current six employees and expand beyond esports into the wider video games job market.

In a statement announcing the funding raise, Phil Huggan, founder of Hitmarker, commented, "Before we launched our crowdfunding campaign, we created cash flow forecasts based on the different amounts we thought we could raise, and £200,000 was accounted for in these. We’ll use the extra £120,000 wisely, by increasing our marketing spend and paying more competitive salaries with the view of dominating the video game industry’s hiring landscape, just as we’ve done in esports. We expect this to increase the number of jobs on our platform five-fold and lead to a similar surge in the number of users we have.”