CWA Launches Campaign for Video Game Unionisation; Square Enix Focusing on Cloud Gaming

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TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: CWA launches campaign for video game unionisation; Square Enix focusing on cloud gaming; and Anzu.io partners with Vivid Games.

CWA launches campaign for video game unionisation

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union has launched the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE), which will focus on the unionisation of US companies within the video game and technology industries. The campaign was established in cooperation with Game Workers Unite (GWU), with GWU co-founder Emma Kinema joining CWA to help spearhead unionisation efforts.

CODE will focus jointly on promoting better working conditions for professionals within the video game industry and championing corporate ethics. Improper working conditions within gaming have been under scrutiny for some time, with companies falling under fire for crunch culture, lack of guarantees for full-time employees, and gender discrimination. In terms of addressing corporate culture, CWA refers to the recent walkouts at Activision Blizzard for its actions against Hearthstone player Blitzchung, along with Microsoft protests following the awarding of a USD$10bn (£7.6bn) contract from the US Department of Defense, as indicators that enforcing proper corporate ethics is of importance to workers.

Speaking to the LA Times, Tom Smith, lead organizer at CWA, said, “I think it’s a false dichotomy to frame the activism of a lot of tech workers around the impact that the work they do has on society as something other than a fundamental working condition,” Smith said. “For a lot of folks, that’s what led them to do this work in the first place, and people are feeling a disconnect between their personal values and what they’re seeing every day in their working lives.”

Square Enix focusing on cloud gaming

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Square Enix has identified the rise of cloud gaming as one of the defining trends for the next five years, and will be actively planning to leverage such streaming platforms to drive growth. In an open letter penned by president Yosuje Matsuda, cloud gaming was highlighted as potentially driving a "significant change" in core business models, such as the greater adoption of subscription services. The global roll-out of 5G has been cited as the main driver for future growth in game streaming services, with Square Enix executives hopeful such platforms can drive market growth in regions such as South America and India.

The letter reads, "We believe that new gaming experiences that would have been impossible on traditional game consoles will be a major driver of cloud gaming adoption. Our efforts to develop cloud-native or cloud-centric titles are already underway, and we will strive to create new gaming experiences. We naturally face a mountain of challenges, including technological hurdles that must be overcome and issues with telecommunications costs. However, we have no doubt that cloud gaming will represent a major trend over the next five years as we enter the age of 5G and that our strategies for flexibly responding to that trend will be key."

Anzu.io partners with Vivid Games

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In-game programmatic advertising platform Anzu.io has announced a partnership with Vivid Games, which will see Anzu integrate its video and banner ad serving technology with the Bydgoszcz, Poland-based mobile developer's Real Boxing 2 and Gravity Rider Zero titles.

The tie-up marks the latest collaboration for the Tel Aviv-based firm, which has recently partnered with ELEAGUE, Toplitz Productions, and Tru Optik, having raised USD$6.5m (£4.9m) in August 2019. Following the announcement, Vivid Games (WSE:VVD) share price rose by 1.6% to PLN1.25 (£0.25).

In a statement announcing the partnership, Itamar Benedy, CEO and co-founder of Anzu.io, said, “As we welcome 2020, I can confidently state that gaming is at the forefront of pop culture. That’s why I’m so excited to partner with Vivid Games to employ our innovative approach in Real Boxing 2 and Gravity Rider Zero, two games pushing the edge of what’s possible for mobile, to enhance the gaming experience for its millions of players. It’s also an exciting time for brands as they will have the opportunity to speak directly to Real Boxing 2 and Gravity Rider Zero gamers through this new paradigm in in-game advertising.”