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Epic Games Layoffs, Unity CEO Steps Down, Video Game Industry Strike Incoming

Curated news for streamers and content creators

Epic Games Layoffs, Unity CEO Steps Down, Video Game Industry Strike Incoming

A special happy Tuesday streamers,

October has finally arrived, and I couldn't be more excited about it! I tossed all sorts of goodies into this week’s edition of the Dim The Lights newsletter.

Speaking of, this week I had some help writing this edition for reasons I’ll explain in more detail (see below). Huge thank you to VersaVulture24 for covering the top stories. Please check out her Twitch channel for horror game playthroughs, thoughtful conversations around horror movies, and an all around great time!

You Must Now Refer To Me As Daddy Dim

To kick things off, I’ve had quite the busy start to the month. You may have noticed that I didn’t publish a newsletter last Tuesday. That is because last Monday night I was sitting in the Labor & Delivery wing of our hospital awaiting the arrival of my firstborn! That’s right. A week earlier than we expected, the doctors recommended my wife and I race to the hospital. Nearly 48 hours after getting admitted into the hospital, we welcomed the most beautiful baby girl to our family. Over the last week, baby girl has been in the NICU in recovery and we’ve been spending every day sitting beside her awaiting for the doctors to tell us when we can finally take her home. It has been a difficult experience, but my wife and I have leaned on each other through it all. We’re very excited to soon drive home together as a family of three.

Cheers For Fears 2023 Update

If you've been following me on Twitch for a while, you're likely familiar with our annual October extravaganza known as Cheers For Fears. Over the past three years, I've had the pleasure of inviting numerous talented Twitch streamers to join me in a month-long celebration of the Halloween season. During this event, each creator handpicks one or more horror games to play throughout the month, and we also host weekly streams featuring multiple streamers engaged in thrilling multiplayer horror games. While we enjoy our gaming, we unite to raise funds for a worthy charity. Remarkably, we managed to surpass our $1,000 fundraising goal in the last two years, thanks to the incredible collaborative effort of our streamers.

I'm sharing all of this because, ordinarily, I would be announcing my plans for Cheers For Fears 2023 right now. However, due to my new responsibilities as a father, I don't believe I'll have the necessary time and energy to effectively host this month-long event. Nonetheless, I am excited to explore the possibility of organizing something smaller towards the end of the month, and I'll be sure to keep you posted on that front!

In the meantime, please do check out the "Best of Cheers for Fears 2022" compilation on my YouTube channel. If you want Cheers for Fears to return in 2024, please like the video and leave a comment. Stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for your continued support!

We’ve got lots of important updates for you! Check out our top stories and definitely read through all the new feature updates from Twitch.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

Ciao,
Brian

💌Today’s Menu

  • This Week’s Top Stories

  • Weekly Poll

  • Twitch Zone

  • YouTube Zone

  • Creator Headlines

  • Streaming Headlines

  • Gaming Headlines

  • Watch This

  • Tuesday To-Dos

🥇This Week’s Top Stories

Epic Games Layoffs Added To The List Of Video Game Layoffs In 2023

“As we shared earlier, we are laying off around 16% of Epic employees. We're divesting Bandcamp and spinning off most of SuperAwesome.” Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games states in an email to employees.

In an attempt to evolve Epic Games, spending outweighed profit margins. Changes had been made within the company to avoid layoffs, but unfortunately they were not enough. About two-thirds of the layoffs were outside of the core development team.

Those who were among the many that were laid off, are being offered a severance package that includes:

  • Six months of base pay.

  • (US/Canada/Brazil) Six months of Epic-paid healthcare.

  • Acceleration of people’s stock option vesting schedule through the end of 2024 (with an additional 2 years, as of 9/28/2023, to exercise those options.)

  • (US) Vesting of unearned profit sharing from 401k.

  • Benefits like career transition services and visa support.

Because core development hasn’t been affected, Sweeney promises that some developments will remain on schedule while others are under-resourced and will unfortunately not release as scheduled.

Epic’s focus is on the next season of Fortnite and Fortnite Chapter 5, Del Mar, Sparks, and Juno. Because core businesses aren’t affected, games with Fortnite first-party development, Rocket League and Fall Guys, and more are being invested into.

There will be no more layoffs as the only goal was to help with costs. Hirings for critical roles will remain open as they maintain net-zero at their smaller size.

In addition to layoffs, Bandcamp has been sold to a music marketing company, Songtradr.

SuperAwesome will no longer be a part of Epic and will instead become an independent company, with Kate O’Loughlin retaining her position as CEO.

Why It Matters: Layoffs from a company like Epic can evoke emotions like confusion and worry when it comes to the company’s consumers. Fortnite has a large player base with an average of 231 million active players every month. With so many people being let go from the company, consumers can wonder if it’s possible for operations to continue. It is important that Sweeney is open and honest about what teams were affected and how it will affect current projects that are deemed important. If Fortnite Season 5 continues as scheduled, it is meant to release Friday, November 3, 2023.

I believe that it is also necessary to know that those included in the layoffs are being taken care of in some way. Sweeney expresses that there’s action being taken in order to help those affected.

There are many statements on Twitter, surrounding the layoffs. They express sadness and how much they enjoyed their work and the people they worked alongside. They are now forced to find work elsewhere and many people who want to support are doing their best to boost everyone looking for new work.

Video Game Performers Prepare For Strike

34,687 members of SAG-AFTRA have voted on a strike authorization against the Interactive Media Agreement, with 98.32% of those members voting in favor of it. The Interactive Media Agreement covers member’s work on video games. This does not mean that the union is calling for a strike.

Video game companies that have signed the Interactive Media Agreement have been unwilling to offer acceptable terms, in negotiations, to critical issues deemed so by SAG-AFTRA members like:

  • Increased wages to keep up with inflation.

  • Protections around exploitative uses of AI.

  • Basic safety precautions.

As of the release of this newsletter, another bargaining session was set for September 26*28, 2023. There are hopes that companies will feel the need to change their stance on critical issues like the ones stated above.

SAG-AFTRA members have the support of their President (Fran Drescher), the National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator (Duncan Crabtree-Ireland), and the Chief Contracts Officer (Ray Rodriguez). They agree that persons working within the video game industry are unfortunately being underpaid and are facing significant threats with the increased use of AI.

Why This Matters: It isn’t news that big corporations are willing to take money to fill the pockets of their CEOs while paying their employees minimally for the amount of work they put in. This strike is important as workers should advocate for themselves as prices rise. If negotiations don’t go in the right direction to help pay and protect workers, this could affect more than just companies.

Content creators are speaking out about the likelihood that they’ll stop supporting all companies unwilling to work with those who are employed under them. This could affect them especially if they stream or make content for a particular game or company like Riot. A hit in monetization and/or engagement with their content could ensue, but they are choosing to stand with those participating in the strike, should it happen.

📊Weekly Poll📊

Last week, I asked you if you felt Twitch’s SUBtember event positively impacted your channel.

There was no debate during our poll. All who answered felt no impact from the SUBtember event. While there were plenty of creators who did experience success during last month’s special event, I’d like to see Twitch mix things up next year. I think there are plenty of cool ideas to make SUBtember a great month for all streamers.

This week, our focus is on October! I want to know: Do you have annual October traditions? If so, are any of them related to your channel or content creation?

Use the link below to participate in our weekly poll. Leave a comment if you’d like to elaborate on your thoughts!

The Zone

Keeping you in the loop on all things Twitch and YouTube.

Twitch

  • Twitch recently added a new feature to your Ads Manager enabling you to automate ad length and frequency. If you want more control over this function, I encourage you to visit the Ads Manager page and un-toggle the setting. Ads Manager FAQs

  • Twitch is experimenting with a new featured called Auto Snooze that will automatically snooze ads during high engagement times.

  • The latest Twitch Public Access episode featured @Elix and @Jubby and focused on celebrating Hispanic / Latine Heritage Month. You can watch the VOD here.

  • Twitch introduced a new Stream Manager feature combining chat and event feeds to support streamers who engage with their audiences. This feature is currently in Beta and only available to 20% of streamers.

  • In a tweet, Twitch announces its Twitch Rival schedule for TwitchCon Las Vegas 2023 including Minecraft and Apex Legends.

  • Invites for the Stream Together private beta will be rolling out over the next several weeks. This new feature will allow you to stream with 4 other creators live on your own channels.

  • Just before TwitchCon Vegas, Twitch announces another (smaller) round of layoffs.

  • Twitch ANZ shares snippets from PAX Austrailia

  • Twitch Partner Plus Program FAQ page was updated with more information about the program.

YouTube

Limited-Time PC Game Deals on Fanatical

The Quarry Deluxe Edition

$20.99 $69.99 (70% OFF)

Dead Island 2

$40.79 $59.99 (32% OFF)

Little Nightmares II

$8.69 $29.99 (71% OFF)

📰Must-Read Headlines

🔴Streaming News

  • AI-powered photo editing is coming to Meta platforms including Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram. This will allow creators to experiment with AI-generated content like restyling photos and adding backgrounds to photos.

  • According to an AdWeek article, companies are more interested in working with nano influencers because their engagement rate is much higher when compared to macro influencers. Get that bag!

  • Eddie announces new changes coming to Kick including 24/7 chat support for affiliates and new community guidelines.

  • Twitch streamer Gothalion is working with Twitch to find short and long-term solutions to embedded stream viewcount boosting.

  • Discord will be shutting down their Partner Program.

  • Live.Space announced several exciting updates including a site refresh, more accurate view counts, Fourthwall integration, and more!

  • Discord releases its 2023 Q2 Transparency Report shedding light on how Discord is maintaining user safety on the platform.

  • TikTok is testing an ad-free subscription tier

  • Check out the latest update for the CommanderRoot tool

  • SteelSeries announces a suite of high quality gaming microphones.

  • Bandcamp is being sold to Songtradr, owner of Pretzel Rocks.

  • As of this week, TikTok Shop has been live in the U.S. for a month, and creators are starting to share their experiences.

🎙️ Creator News

  • Ludwig donates $13,100 to win the Golden Kappa emote for a year during QTCinderella's Gala for Good. The event raised over $249,000 in total. Watch the video on QT’s channel.

  • Ludwig releases a video announcing the cancellation of Chessboxing stating this is, “…the biggest failure of my career to this date…”.

  • SirGime, a Kick live streamer, is receiving backlash for demonstrating how NOT to show appreciation for gifted subs.

  • Call of Duty streamer Nadia joins Kick.

  • Forbes shares its Top Creators of 2023 including MrBeast, KSI, Charlie D’Amelio, and Markiplier.

🎮 Gaming News

👁️Watch: ARIatHOME vibes with a stream sniper playing the tambourine

✅Tuesday To-Dos

A list of five action items for the coming week, good luck!

  1. Read: the LinkTree 2023 Creator Report detailing everything you need to know about the ‘attention economy’.

  2. Play: Pumpkin Panic, a free cozy farm horror game by Bilalaika. Support indie devs on itch.io

  3. Watch: Colin and Samir interview the CEO of YouTube.

  4. Create: your next YouTube thumbnails with Adobe Express.

  5. Support: the Latin American Games showcase featuring 40 games crafted by Latin American teams across the globe.

Did you enjoy this week’s newsletter? If you did, I’d love if you would take a second to share this newsletter with at least one friend this week. By doing that once, you’d not only be supporting the newsletter, but you’d also help your friend be better informed about everything happening in the gaming / streaming space. Look at you being such a good friend!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you next week!

-Dim

Disclaimer: Some links in this post are affiliate links. I only suggest products I believe in and personally use myself. If you have questions, please ask. Thanks for your support!

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