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Ex-Hearthstone Developers Open a New Studio and Get the Marvel License for Their First Game  

Second Dinner is a team that’s made up of ex-Blizzard employees, all of whom worked on Hearthstone — including Hearthstone’s former director Ben Brode. They’re currently working on an unannounced Marvel game which the team describes as “a kernel of a fun idea” that they’ve been playtesting an early prototype of.   Second Dinner says they are fully funded to complete the Marvel game and have received a $30 million minority investment from Chinese tech company NetEase.


Bunch Looks to Score with Video Chat for Mobile Games  

Bunch is a group video chat app that makes it easy for people to socialize while playing games on their smartphones.  Here’s how it works: with a couple of taps, a user with the Bunch app on their phone can invite up to eight of their friends into a live hangout session. Then everyone in the session can opt in to play the same game at the same time and interact via voice and video while doing it. Bunch comes bundled with its own native mini-games but also integrates with a sizable catalog of third-party mobile games, including Fortnite, Roblox and HQTrivia. It brings a real-time social dimension to a class of digital games that were once only associated with isolated one-player or asynchronous turn-based experiences.  Bunch is led by a prolific serial entrepreneur, Selcuk Atli, who has created five companies in nine years and has led three of them to successful acquisitions.  


South Korean Mobile Gaming Giant Nexon is Going Up for Sale  

South Korean mobile game publisher Nexon has suddenly announced that it is preparing to put itself on the market. Kim Jung-Ju, who founded the company in the ’90s, is expected to put up just under 99% of the company’s stock, believed to be in the region of nine billion dollars.  Nexon have been in the gaming industry since 1994, coming into their own with titles like Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds, MapleStory and KartRider.   


Japan Bans Graymarket Key Reselling  

Japan is cracking down on unauthorized key reselling. This new legislature significantly impacts companies like the Hong Kong-based G2A who acts as the middleman for people looking to sell spare game keys. The problem is that keys resold on G2A are often initially purchased with stolen credit cards. When the credit card charges are eventually reversed, it’s the game developer who is left without any compensation. In revising its Unfair Competition Protection Act, Japan has outlawed three specific actions: 1) Distributing tools and programs for altering save data; 2) Reselling software product keys online without the creator’s permission; and 3) Offering services that modify save data on the customer’s behalf.