Dazzle Rocks Raises USD$6.8m; MTX Driving EA & Activision Blizzard Bookings

Dazzle RocksDazzle Rocks

TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the prevalent business stories in gaming. In today’s news: Dazzle Rocks raises USD$6.8m (£5.5m); MTX driving EA and Activision Blizzard bookings; and THQ Nordic and Koch Media swap IPs.

Dazzle Rocks raises USD$6.8m (£5.5m)

Mobile developer Dazzle Rocks has announced that it has closed a Series A funding round worth USD$6.8m (£5.5m), which will be used to support the launch of its cooperative sandbox MMO title, due to enter open beta in Western markets in the coming months. Shortly afterwards, the Helsinki-based studio plans to release the as-yet unnamed title in Asian markets, prioritising China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The round was led by Galaxy Interactive's Galaxy EOS VC vehicle, with support from Spintop Ventures, byFounders, Modern Times Group (MTG), Sisu Game Ventures, and previous investors. Dazzle Rocks was founded in 2014, and received seed funding from Intel Capital in 2015.

Richard Kim, Partner at Galaxy Interactive, commented, "With our digital identities becoming a critical component of how we define who we are, we were excited to discover in Dazzle Rocks a mission-driven team seeking to drive meaningful connection and engagement through social play. Leveraging this team’s deep understanding of mobile markets across the East and West, we are excited about their potential to unlock creative communities at global scale.

MTX driving EA and Activision Blizzard bookings

EA Activision Blizzard

Microtransactions (MTX) are driving growth for gaming giants Electronic Arts (EA) and Activision Blizzard, according to their respective earnings reports. Net bookings for Activision Blizzard during the quarter ended 31st March increased 21% year-on-year to USD$1.52bn (£1.22bn), of which USD$956m (£768m) can be attributed to in-game spend, a 20% hike from the same period last year. The Call of Duty franchise has been cited as driving the increase in MTX revenue, with Modern Warfare, the free-to-play battle royale title Warzone, and Call of Duty: Mobile all contributing.

Meanwhile, EA reported net bookings of USD$1.22bn (£980m) during the quarter, up by 14% from 2019. This was in turn driven by its live services sector, which includes MTX (excluding mobile), which generated USD$832m (£668m), a rise of 17%.

At the time of writing, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) share price is up 4.33% at USD$71.50 (£57.41) in pre-market trading. Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) is down 3.44% at USD$119.61 (£96.04) per share.

Detailed briefings of EA and Activision Blizzard earnings for the quarter ended March 31st 2020 will shortly be available in TheGamingEconomy March & April 2020 Financial Results summary.

THQ Nordic and Koch Media swap IPs

THQ Koch

Embracer Group subsidiaries THQ Nordic and Koch Media have announced they have internally traded a series of IP, in a move aimed at refreshing the respective franchises and placing each title closer to its original development team. Namely, THQ Nordic transferred Red Faction and Painkiller to Koch Media, in return obtaining the rights to Risen, Rush for Berlin, Sacred, Second Sight, and Singles: Flirt Up Your Life. THQ Nordic acquired Risen developer Piranha Bytes in May 2019, while the original studio behind Red Faction, Volition, is owned by Koch Media through its Deep Silver division.

A brief statement from THQ Nordic reads, "Evaluations on remasters, ports, potential sequels & new content etc. will start right away. We have something in mind already."