Welcome to The Gaming Street Podcast, hosted by Steven Wong and Olivia Da Silva, where we discuss the business of video games. This week’s episode dives deep into the evolution of Riot Games, the crowdfunding scene, and how loot boxes may be going out of style.

Riot Games aims to rock Blizzard Entertainment

Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends

After a decade of being known as a single-game company, League of Legends creator Riot Games surprised the world by announcing several new games. The upcoming titles will extend the League universe across multiple genres, including a first-person shooter, a collectible card game, and a Diablo-like action role-playing game. The move is an obvious challenge to Blizzard Entertainment, which is still recovering from the controversy surrounding a suspended Grandmaster Hearthstone player ahead of its annual BlizzCon fan convention. We take a close look at how Riot could become the next Blizzard, and how the iconic game company might respond to the challenge.

Fig changes up the crowdfunding scene

Credit: Fig, Portfolio Shares investing program

The current crowdfunding model, popularized by platforms such as Kickstarter, sets game developers up to fail. As a whole, enthusiasm for investing into game development is in decline, but there is a way to win it back. Fig CEO (and former COO at Double Fine Productions) Justin Bailey sits down with us to discuss how its Open Access and Portfolio Shares programs are changing the way investors back projects.

Call of Duty ditches loot boxes, season passes, and DLC

Credit: Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) generated over $4 billion in revenue last year from microtransactions across its PC, console, and mobile games. But loot box mechanics – which offer random in-game items and benefits – are coming under increased scrutiny by governments worldwide as a form of gambling. That prompted the company to change the monetization model for the highly-anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, switching to a Battle Pass system established by games such as Fortnite. How will this change impact the longstanding franchise?

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Steven Wong
Steven has covered the video game industry for over a decade, including development, marketing, and emerging technologies. He has written for companies and publications such as AOL, AListDaily, and more.

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