“Fortnite” maker Epic Games said Tuesday it is acquiring Tonic Games Group, maker of the hit videogame “Fall Guys,” putting two of the most popular videogame titles under one roof.
Prices were not disclosed. In a statement, Epic told “Fall Guys” fans that “your gameplay hasn’t changed and Epic will continue to invest in making the game a great experience for players across platforms”.
“Fall Guys” was released last summer and was an immediate hit, driven in part by people trapped indoors because of coronavirus restrictions. The game is similar to the “Fortnite” battle royales, where the game starts with dozens of players and ends with one winner.
“It’s our big win for ‘Fall Guys,'” said Tonic in a blog post. “Joining Epic will accelerate our plans to improve the game and bring ‘Fall Guys’ to as many players as possible, while continuing to support the community.”
According to Epic, “Fall Guys” will still be playable on PC and Sony SNE, -2.14%
PlayStation console, and soon expanded to Microsoft MSFT, -1.30%
Change console, and it can still be downloaded on Steam. The game will still cost $ 19.99 and there are no plans to launch a free-to-play version, Tonic said.
This step is done in the middle of a wavefromconsolidationin the videogame industry, because gaming companies are looking for a wider audience. “It’s no secret that Epic is investing in building the metaverse and the Tonic Games share this goal,” Epic founder and Chief Executive Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who knows how to create great games, content and experiences.”
Privately owned Epic is one of the largest video game companies in the world, thanks to the immense popularity of “Fortnite”. Currently suing Apple Inc. AAPL, -2.09%
CANBERRA, Australia – Seven West Media has become Australia’s largest news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism in a partnership announced Monday before the country’s Parliament considers a bill that forces digital giants to pay for news.
Google and public broadcast television, print and online publishing companies jointly announced that they had agreed a “long-term partnership” after weekend discussions by Australian government ministers with media executive Facebook. FB, + 0.04%
CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, + 0.30%
Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which has 21 publications, thanked the Australian government and competition regulators for their proposals.
“Their exceptional leadership in implementing the proposed news media bargaining code has allowed us to conclude negotiations that yield fair payouts and ensure our digital future,” Stokes said in a statement.
“The negotiations with Google recognize the value of quality and genuine journalism across the country and, in particular, in the region,” added Stokes.
The deal was reached under Google’s own model, the News Showcase. Google has reached payment agreements with more than 450 publications globally since the News Showcase launched in October.
Google announced two weeks ago that it had started paying for seven much smaller Australian websites under the News Showcase.
Google regional director Mel Silva said: “We are proud to support genuine, trusted and quality journalism and are delighted to welcome Seven West Media today as Australia’s premier publishing partner to join the Google News Showcase.”
The partnership is a big investment for Google in journalism not only in metro areas but also in smaller communities, he added.
Neither Google nor Seven West Media said how much the deal was worth. Rival media company Nine Entertainment reported, citing unnamed industry sources, that it was worth more than 30 million Australian dollars ($ 23 million) a year.
Prior to the announcement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Google and Facebook were close to reaching a commercial agreement, “which could be of great benefit to the domestic media landscape and see journalists being rewarded financially for producing original content, as it should be.”
Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Frydenberg’s discussions with their leaders.
Google has stepped up its campaign against the proposed law, telling the Senate committee researching it that the platform will likely make search engines unavailable in Australia if the code is introduced.
Facebook threatened to block Australians from sharing news if the platform was forced to pay for news.
Although the digital giants can bear the potential costs of paying for the Australian news they link to, they are concerned about the international precedent Australia could set.
Google has faced pressure from authorities elsewhere to pay for news. Last month, they signed a deal with a group of French publishers, paving the way for companies to make digital copyright payments. Under the agreement, Google will negotiate individual licensing deals with newspapers, with payments based on factors such as the amount of internet site traffic published daily and monthly.
In Australia, the platform is able to enter into payment agreements with media businesses before the code is promulgated.
The law will create an arbitration panel to make binding decisions on payments if the news platform and business cannot agree on a price for news.
Panels will usually receive the best deals from platforms or publishers, and rarely set prices in between.
This should prevent news platforms and businesses from making unrealistic requests.
DoorDash Inc. has purchased Chowbotics, a maker of food-preparation robots, as part of its efforts to help merchants grow their businesses, the delivery app company announced Monday.
Hayward, California-based Robot Chowbotics makes customizable salads, grain and stir bowls, parfaits, cereals, and snacks and can be found at grocery stores, hospitals and other locations. DoorDash thought that the machine could be used to automate some food preparation in restaurants.
did not disclose how much was paid for the company, which said on its LinkedIn profile that it had deployed more than 100 of its robots. The deal was finalized late last year, said a DoorDash spokesman.
“Bringing Chowbotics technology to the DoorDash platform provides us with new opportunities to help merchants expand their current menu offerings and reach new customers in new markets,” said DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang in a statement.
As the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the delivery of food and other goods to record levels, DoorDash is the top food delivery app in the US, with a 50% market share, according to Edison Trends.
The venture-backed Chowbotic raised $ 20.8 million, according to Crunchbase, and was valued by PrivCo for $ 50 million to $ 100 million in 2018.
Rick Wilmer, Chowbotics chief executive, said in a statement that the deal would allow his 7-year-old company to take advantage of DoorDash’s lead in US food delivery.
“DoorDash has unmatched reach and expertise to help us develop and apply our technology more broadly, so together, we can make fresh, nutritious food easy for more people, says Wilmer.
DoorDash shares closed at $ 177.43, a 2.1% decline, on Monday. The company’s shares are up more than 24% so far this year.
The company’s acquisition of Chowbotics is not the first step in automation. In 2019, it bought Scotty Labs, which works on technology to remotely operate vehicles. The fair value of the purchase is $ 5 million, according to DoorDash’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The sudden crisis threatens to wipe out most of the $ 17 billion that companies and franchisees make in annual dinner sales at all KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in more than 150 countries. Mr. Gibbs, a 31-year Yum veteran who became CEO a year ago, went from advancing the company’s expansion strategy to competing with thousands of closed restaurants.
Since then, many large fast food companies mostly recovered from the early pandemic close, and Yum’s comparable US sales rose in the third quarter from a year ago. But Mr. Gibbs said he was rethinking how Yum – which has more than 50,000 restaurants, more than any other fast food chain – could serve and deliver more food to carry over the long term.
He’s planning a future where pre-ordering fried chicken online is routine, and Pizza Hut customers can get their orders placed in their suitcases without having to walk into the restaurant.
Meanwhile, hundreds of his US Pizza Hut locations, most of which do dine-in businesses, have permanently closed.
The 57-year-old Gibb spoke to The Wall Street Journal via video from Yum’s largely vacant office in Plano, Texas. Below is an edited excerpt.
WSJ: What mistakes did Yum make at the start of the pandemic and how do you learn from them?
Mr. Gibbs: If I look back before the pandemic, I wish we had moved faster for Pizza Hut to be more delivery, run business and less dependent on on-site dining. We’ve talked about it for years. Sometimes large organizations can become bureaucratic. But I think we may be impressed even with ourselves in how fast we’ve spun.
“ I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment. ‘ “
Mr. Gibbs: We’re working on a design that has multiple drive-throughs. The Australian business began building several test units with five drive-throughs in one building.
But the other part of the story is the roadside execution. You see it not only in the restaurant industry, but also in retail. This is good because of our peak drive-through constraints. No matter how hard you ride, you can still fit only X cars in a row.
Mr. Gibbs: We are very excited about this vaccine. When it’s my turn, I’ll be in line to get it. We hope all our employees get it. But we do know that there are others, such as frontline healthcare workers, who are ahead of us in the queue.
WSJ: Once a vaccine is more universally available, will you ask employees to get it or have your franchisor consider it?
Mr. Gibbs: We are studying the matter right now and haven’t made any decisions yet. It is important to remember that 98% of our stores are run by these franchisees. So it’s more complex than we just mandating that every store needs to get a vaccine.
WSJ: Even when vaccines start rolling out, it’s unclear when life will begin to return to normal. When did you anticipate this to happen in fast food?
Mr. Gibbs: I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment.
WSJ: What management actions have you taken that will survive the pandemic?
Mr. Gibbs: One of the biggest lessons I learned is the power of authentic communication versus the formal written memos someone might send. We bring together various groups of franchisees, corporate teams from around the world in video calls. We get hundreds of questions via the chat function – real time, without filters. We learn from that.
WSJ: Do you support a $ 15 minimum wage at the federal level and for your employer and franchisees?
Mr. Gibbs: We support the national minimum wage, and we will work under whatever minimum wage the government makes.
WSJ: How do you expect the dynamics between the CEO and the White House to shift in the new government?
Mr. Gibbs: We are excited to work with the Biden government and share their goal of building back better especially on the economy and fighting inequality. We have been in more than a hundred countries around the world for decades – we have operated in any political environment.
WSJ: The pandemic’s theme is menu simplification, but some customers say Taco Bell went too far in removing options. Were you surprised by the commotion when Taco Bell removed Mexican Pizza?
Mr. Gibbs: I’ve never been surprised by the passion our customers – especially Taco Bell – have for our iconic products. We can always bring back the Mexican Pizza at some point if the request is there.
WSJ: What is your pandemic tranquillizer?
Mr. Gibbs: I often pass through Taco Bell drive-throughs. We introduced grilled cheese burritos during a pandemic, and that’s the definition of a product that was so coveted for me and my college son.
SYDNEY – The trade dispute between Australia and China has contributed to one global wine maker putting up a cork in plans to release a luxury wine brand that is highly valued by collectors and can sell for thousands of dollars a bottle.
Treasury Wine Estates Ltd said Thursday it froze plans to register its Penfolds business separately, a day after the company said it had learned that China’s industry association had asked Beijing to impose retrospective tariffs on Australian wines.