Intel Wants Gamers to Buy Alchemist | PlayStation Takes Activision Fight Public

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Arc Alchemist
Source: Intel

Intel Wants Gamers to Buy Alchemist Are generous bundles a long-term investment or fire sale? 

Intel is planning to offer substantial software bundles to sweeten the appeal of its lukewarmly received Arc Alchemist graphics cards, according to leaks. While not an unusual tactic, the size of Intel's bundle offer raises the question: Is this part of long-term strategy or a fire sale?

You Get a Game!
The added $370 average value Intel is offering applies to laptops and (upcoming) desktops with both an Arc GPU and non-entry level 12th gen Intel CPU.

  • ~$190 worth of games
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II ($69.99), Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed ($39.99), Gotham Knights ($59.99), & Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt ($20)
  • Three of five professional programs
    • PowerDirector 365 ($69.99), D5 Render ($114), MAGIX Video Pro X14 ($60), Topaz Gigapixel AI ($99), & XSplit Premium Suite ($60)
For comparison, Nvidia is offering just one title with the purchase of its ultra-premium RTX 3080 or higher cards and systems, and AMD is including up to three games.

Modern Warfare 2

Source: Activision-Blizzard

To Be or Not to Be

"We're not going anywhere on our discrete business. And our discrete business is the basic technology development that goes both into the data center and integrated GPUs." Intel’s Tom Petersen.
Intel has spent billions to break into a now cooling market with uncompetitive and buggy products, just as Nvidia & AMD are about to launch a new generation of GPUs. The good news is Intel is at least acting like it wants to stick it out. 
  • Reinforcements: The company is promising that the top end of the Alchemist stack is arriving soon. If these cards perform adequately, it might partly salvage the reputation of Intel GPUs.
  • Moving On: Intel claims it's shifted most of its resources to development of the next generation, Battlemage.
  • Self-Awareness: Intel refreshingly has admitted its launch dates were overly optimistic, the weaknesses of Alchemist, and that launching the bottom of its product stack first backfired.
  • Professional Uses: The inclusion of creative software programs might appeal to professionals not turned off by poor gaming performance.
But on the other hand, Intel’s recent moves do not bode well
  • The company wrote off its floundering Optane memory business
  • CEO Pat Gelsinger recently hinted that the company will be exiting more segments to focus on core products

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Source: Activision-Blizzard
Source: Activision-Blizzard

PlayStation Takes Activision Fight Public Company rejects Xbox’s Call of Duty promises

PlayStation is taking its (to date) mostly behind-closed-doors objections to Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision-Blizzard public. Since announced in January, Microsoft’s deal has been winding its way through various regulatory reviews. These surprisingly blunt comments from PlayStation’s CEO, however, may be too little, too late.

It Depends on Your Definition of “Several”
Much of the debate over Activision-Blizzard’s sale centered around whether Microsoft would make Call of Duty (COD) a Microsoft exclusive.

  • Xbox head Phil Spencer told The Verge last week that Microsoft offered Sony “at least several more years” of Call of Duty on PlayStation
    • Xbox also announced that it will bring Call of Duty and other Activision titles to Game Pass — and potentially Xbox Cloud Gaming
  • PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan labeled the offer “inadequate on many levels” in a statement to
    • Sony claims Microsoft only offered three years
    • Implied that Microsoft inappropriately aired corporate laundry

Call of Duty

Source: Activision-Blizzard

The Next Battlefield
UK authorities signaled last week that Microsoft’s purchase will be further scrutinized. It raised multiple issues.

  • Microsoft would potentially deny Activision-Blizzard games to rivals or add onerous terms
  • Microsoft’s ownership of Xbox, Azure cloud computing, and Windows, combined with Activision-Blizzard games, could “damage competition in the nascent market for cloud gaming services”
What are PlayStation’s Chances?
If Sony is hoping to torpedo the deal over Call of Duty, it’s unlikely to succeed. Trying to shift the public narrative by talking Call of Duty exclusivity eight months after the deal was inked is too late. Sony’s focus on console exclusivity is also misplaced. 
  • Exclusives Are Common: Sony’s PS4 dominance was built off of exclusive first-party games.
  • Exclusivity Doesn't Make Cents: The real money in a game like COD is microtransactions, particularly from the free-to-play Warzone spinoff. Exclusivity would mean giving up a huge chunk of that money.
  • Endangered Exclusivity: Whether it’s crossplay or subscription services, console exclusives are becoming less important.
Looking Up
The cloud gaming angle raised by UK regulators is what Sony – and the industry – should be watching. Aside from being a new medium that could be the future of gaming, it raises broader tech issues more likely to appeal to regulators, and more importantly, publishers and developers interested in cloud gaming.

Supply Drop: Games & Players

Upcoming Games (September 9 - 15)

Betrayal At Club Low - PC
Blind Fate: Edo no Yami - PC, PlayStation, XboxSwitch
Broken Pieces - PC
Catmaze - PlayStation, XboxSwitch
Despot's Game: Dystopian Army Builder - PlayStation, XboxSwitch
Fractured Online - PC
Little Orpheus - PC, PlayStation, XboxSwitch
Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2 - PC
Metal: Hellsinger - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
NBA 2K23 - PlayStation, Xbox
Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary - PC, Xbox
SCP: Secret Files - PC
Splatoon 3 - Switch
Sunday Gold - PC
Ultimechs - PC (VR)
Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden - PC, PlayStationSwitch
Wayward Strand - PC, PlayStation, XboxSwitch
WW1 Isonzo - PC, PlayStation, Xbox
XIII Remake - Switch
You Suck At Parking - PC, Xbox

Most Anticipated: NBA 2K23. Originally released in 1999, the first NBA 2K title aimed to bring "jaw-dropping player likeness and detail" - at least as well as any game created in 1999 could. The franchise has spawned an updated version every year since (yes, the two years when ESPN took over branding still count), incorporating real life star athletes along the way.

The latest addition, NBA 2K23, boasts a number of new improvements from the developer, including refined player movements, new in-game mechanics, AI tweaks, and a new gen badge system. The most buzzworthy improvements are to its open-world mode known as The City, where players can traverse a virtual playground to join pickup games, complete quests, and discover new locations.


Comms: Social Campaigns

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

The Tap: News to Go

  • Software: Snap Inc is putting its plans for games on pause after it laid off about 20% of its workforce. It will, however, continue to focus on augmented reality as one of its three pillars.
  • Game Engines: Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty indicated that Microsoft is considering Epic Games' Unreal Engine for future titles. Potentially outsourcing its game engine when it has multiple in-house engines to pick from (with Activision-Blizzard bringing even more) would be a big shift in industry trends.
  • Hardware: Component costs for SSDs could drop by 30-35%, according to a new TrendForce report. The industry currently finds itself with more supply than demand as the market adjusts to post-pandemic conditions.
  • Peripherals: Longtime peripheral brand HyperX is turning 20 years old and celebrating with a social media campaign, giveaways, and discounts. The HP-owned brand, which made its name with headsets and keyboards, recently announced a new product line, gaming monitors.
  • Community: Unity partnered with Yale researchers to produce a survey on what US gamers think of climate change. It found, among other things, that seven out of 10 are “somewhat” or “very worried.”
  • Community: Popular gaming energy drink company G Fuel is in hot water over allegations of a toxic workplace. Several managers have resigned, with multiple sponsored partners cutting ties.