ByteDance escalating rivalry with video game giant Tencent Holdings
ByteDance, owner of the short-video app TikTok, has increased its investment in Roblox competitor Reworld by nearly 100 million yuan (US$15.3 million), according to people familiar with the matter, as the company seeks its own so-called metaverse platform in its escalating rivalry with video game giant Tencent Holdings.
The latest restructuring initiative is a testament to Tencent’s determination to take on Douyin, which recently launched its own mobile payment service to compete against WeChat Pay, in China’s fast-growing online video market segment. Douyin has 600 million daily active users (DAUs), dwarfing those on Weishi, which has fewer than 50 million DAUs.
Moonton is the latest example of an independent Chinese gaming studio whose valuation has skyrocketed on the back of a bitter bidding war between two of China’s biggest internet companies. Beijing-based ByteDance has been aggressively moving into gaming in a bid to further monetise its vast user base, horning in on a market long dominated by Shenzhen-based Tencent, which operates the world’s largest video game business by revenue.
Despite a growing gaming division with more than 3,000 new hires, ByteDance’s search for a flagship game was advancing at a snail’s pace. After a few of its self-developed titles flopped last year, experts said the social media firm needed a headlining purchase to reinspire confidence, according to analysts.
The SAMR launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba’s e-commerce business in late December, and demanded that its marketplaces end their exclusive deals with merchants and aggressive pricing strategies. Complaints from Alibaba’s rivals, including JD.com and Pinduoduo, reportedly sparked that probe.
ByteDance likely wants to spark a similar antitrust probe against Tencent. Douyin currently reaches over 400 million daily active users in China, but it’s still much smaller than WeChat and QQ.
Roblox is focusing on collaborations with schools and educators in the country, according to its Chinese website, where it promotes the platform as a tool for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.
Tencent has been strengthening its short video-sharing and live-streaming features in the past two years, as competition against Douyin intensified.
“These smaller studios know they are coveted goods, and they know that speed in is key for the likes of ByteDance and Tencent now,” Kantan’s Toto said. “This combination of cutthroat competition and super dynamic industry growth will only continue to drive up prices and valuations for potential targets for ByteDance and Tencent going forward.”
Investing legends and Motley Fool Co-founders David and Tom Gardner just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now… and Tencent Holdings Limited wasn’t one of them.
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Make no mistake, even though Diablo Immortal is more of an MMOARPG
One point that came up, again and again, was how the game felt like a “full Diablo game,” even in its alpha release. There were a variety of things for the players to do and places to go, including special and unique “zone events” that ranged from protecting a carriage to fighting a shadowy version of your own character to a PVP free-for-all where you can even then, team up with your friends. In this, and every other facet of Diablo Immortal‘s design, Cheng boasts that the team is giving it their all and not delivering poorer work for a mobile game. This, as argued by Bluddshed, can be felt in the cinematics, the soundtrack, the sheer variety, and the skills.
Another thing that Blizzard didn’t adapt from other popular mobile games is gameplay. Make no mistake, even though Immortal is more of an MMOARPG, it still retains the classic Diablo gameplay that fans know and love, albeit with controls tuned for mobile. Instead of clicking enemies as you would on PC with a mouse, attacking and spellcasting is handled by buttons on the right-hand side.
How does that sound? Okay, it’s no glowing review from trusted and beloved media personalities, but it’s still reassuring to hear that Blizzard hasn’t completely lost the plot, right? Diablo Immortal may not have a release date, but at least we can be assured that Blizzard will keep chipping away at it until this mobile installment shines as brightly as possible. Oh, wait, we already knew that. It’s good to have additional confirmation?
On top of that, Diablo Immortal is now in technical alpha stage and it’s available for testing. However, only a few mobile gamers have access and it’s only in Australia. We have to say that the graphics look phenomenon and very reminiscent of Diablo 3. It’s said that the story takes place between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, as well as being able to play together with your friends online.
As for Diablo Immortal’s future directions, the team promises an upcoming additional testing phase that will be more open and available than the technical alpha. This new phase comes with more content and a new class to play with. Furthermore, while there is plenty of endgame content already available in the alpha, the team teases even more endgame in the full release, as well as a starting level cap of 60, which is 15 levels higher than the alpha’s cap of 45. Lastly, when asked directly about controller support for the mobile title, Arseneaux and Cheng, while remaining noncommittal, explained that they were exploring options and thinking about bringing said controller support to the game. There’s nothing concrete, of course, but it seems there is room to get excited.
Diablo Immortal will release on Android an iOS soon. Currently though, there’s no word yet on a targeted release date. Though as per the developers, expect the rollout to be regional instead of one big global release.
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Crusader Kings 3’s Northern Lords flavour pack is out now
Crusader Kings 3 was one of 2020’s sleeper hits on the PC, capturing players with its mix of medieval warfare, diplomacy, and hereditary conflict. It’s one of two follow ups to 2004’s Crusader Kings; the second in the series came out in 2012. The games have earned praise from players for the unique Middle Ages setting and style of gameplay.
Crusader Kings 3’s Northern Lords flavour pack is out now. It’s a set of Norse and Viking-themed cosmetics and events for Paradox’s grand strategy game, and it’s relatively minor. The free update that comes alongside it however is much larger, and adds winter, an expanded duelling system, and randomly generated poetry.
The corner of the map revamped by Northern Lords is, as the expansion’s name suggests, the bit inhabited by the Norse cultures – aka the Vikings, for people like me who take perverse pleasure in insisting that Frankenstein was the name of the monster. It has been released alongside the free 1.3 “Corvus” patch, which also bears a few new Norse-centric features, but also applies a broader coat of small spruce-ups across the game.
The free update partners nicely Northern Lords’ northern focus, but still forms a substantial set of new features even if you don’t care to buy new ways for your leaders to dress. Winter, for example, is not just a major cosmetic change to the map, but has gameplay ramifications in how the cold will affect your armies and supplies. Paradox detailed winter in blog updates, with other posts covering the new character duels and poet trait.
The most immediately noticeable additions are all visual. Norse characters can pick from an armload of new hairstyles and beards, and wear historically appropriate clothing that even changes if you adopt a different culture or convert to a new religion. The coats of arms, too, reflect whether or not you’ve stayed true to your pagan traditions. The shield for the Kingdom of Sweden, for example, bears a gold Thor’s Hammer if you form it as a pagan, instead of the more familiar coat of arms the Christian Swedish monarchs wore historically. And they’ve added some gorgeous new backgrounds, including a cozy longhouse, to serve as the set for feasting, fighting, and fratricide.
Paradox has meanwhile incorporated a variety of culturally unique units, such as berserkers, shieldmaidens, and traveling mystics. Among new interactions in the Crusader Kings 3 expansion are raising runestones and more family activities, such as snowball fights with children. Snow of course requires winter, and yes, winter is now fully depicted in the game, taking its toll visually and mechanically. One religious interaction includes the ability to hold a Grand Blót, a sacrifice of humans and animals to the Norse gods in exchange for improving piety and reputation with vassals.
In fact, pretty much all of Northern Lords’ content is there to facilitate deeper roleplaying. The Grand Blot, for example, is mechanically very similar to a regular feast with a ritual strangling thrown in for good measure. When you’re fully Norsing it up, however, with Northern Lords’ package of doleful, Scandinavian murder dirges playing in the background, it’s the perfect finisher to the conquering of a hated enemy.
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