In this week's Roundtable, the squad kicks off with a deep dive into the Game Awards' staggering 118 million viewers, surpassing even the Super Bowl, and what this means for gaming's place in mainstream culture. We then shift gears to a recent Omdia report revealing VR's struggles, debating why it's floundering and what could turn it around by 2026. The conversation turns to China's proposed new regulations for mobile games, examining the immediate impact on industry giants like Tencent and NetEase, and the broader implications for global gaming markets. Finally, we explore Square Enix's new CEO's pivot in his annual public letter, moving away from web3 and towards a strong emphasis on AI, and what this strategic shift signifies for the future of the company. Join us for all the latest games business news with Dave EltonMatt Dion and host Devin Becker.


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This transcript is machine-generated, and we apologize for any errors.

Devin: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the very first Naavik Round Table episode of 2024.

I am your host, Devin Becker. And with me as always, great panelists. You should recognize these faces by now, if you're a longterm listener with Matt and Dave joining us for the very first. Inaugural episode of the year, because of course, this is going to keep going well into, 2030 and beyond. So this is the first of many of these, but this is the first inaugural one for me.

I'm so excited about starting the year off. How are you guys doing? Happy new year to all the listeners as well. Hopefully you guys are all. Itching with that week we had off last week on podcast episodes for everyone to get some new news going on. We do have a bit of news. There's definitely some things going on here.

We have a couple of different things some stuff touching on things from the end of the year, the beginning of the year around game awards that we've talked about a little bit for some updates on some numbers that are not looking so great for one industry here that we'll dive into. And then China really trying to stir the pot.

We'll dig into a little bit and then Square Enix, their yearly letter. Always fun to talk about what they like to just really poke everyone at. So why don't we just start off with the Game Awards?

Dave: Yeah, the game awards, some of the numbers are out in terms of the audience draw. And I just wanted to take a moment to actually compare, just some compare and contrast game awards.

There was a lot of talk about that. Great show, some interesting product announcements, but we were able to draw 118 million viewers for it. So if you were to compare that to some other award shows, like what are some of the biggest award shows around the world? The Oscars last year drew in 20 million people, the Superbowl last year, which was seen as being able to draw on a huge number of people, 115 million people.

I think. We're always, I think, in, inside the games industry, we always tire the comparisons of games is just for kids. It's just such a niche industry. It's numbers like these that I always like to help pull out and say, look, games is much more than just a niche industry. It's not just basic entertainment.

It's something that is a worldwide phenomenon and destroys award shows for other types of industries. I think you get a. Certainly a lot more interesting takes coming out of the award show for the games side of things, any other form of entertainment. So I think being able to beat the super bowl with just an award show, not an actual live stream of a major event.

It's not a League of Legends event or anything like that. It's just the award show. And you'd be able to pull out nearly 120 million viewers. I think that really. It's a testament to the world of video games.

Devin: Quick question on that then in terms of when you're comparing these two things, the game awards, which platforms is this going across?

Like in terms of the numbers, because you're talking about Superbowl, you're talking about TV, the game awards, I'm assuming you're not talking traditional TV.

Dave: And these numbers are actually across all streaming, so all platforms. When you're talking about the Oscars, you're talking about Superbowl. Those are also, those are the aggregate numbers.

So not just across TV, but any other platforms that they were pulling people across. It is, I think, a fairly apples to apples comparison. Absolutely. The vast majority of viewers for both the Superbowl and for the Oscars certainly were on through a traditional. Broadcasts, television broadcasts, there, there are increasing numbers or people are watching it or consuming that through streaming media.

But yeah, it is all across and it is over a number of days as well. So they are catching people that are watching the content after it actually occurs live.

Matt: What do you make of some of the criticisms that have come along with this success? I think two, two big ones come to mind. One being that it's essentially like a marketing vehicle.

It's a lot of promotions and trailers and, oh, we're launching this game on a new platform. Come check it out. And then the other one. With success with exposure comes more pressure from the audience. And I think one of the things that a lot of people called out was that they made no mention of layoffs in the industry, for example, what do you make of these criticisms?

Dave: It is, I think, a really tough place for the producers of the show to be in starting off with your last point around no mention of the layoffs. I certainly heard that a lot. And I think where the producers wanted to take things was. Focused on what the positives were of the year. It, I think there really could, there, there is the potential always to have some sort of reflection on the year as a whole.

And the layoffs certainly were the biggest story, bigger than Unity, bigger than the leaks at Sony. But I think from the producers perspective, they wanted to focus on the positives because they were there to help celebrate the wins inside the video game industry. The fantastic content that came out this year.

I think that was the direction that they want to stay in. As for advertising. Yeah, it certainly is. But if you look at the thing that the Superbowl is most known For the commercials, how many people are like, I'm going to not pay attention to what's going on because the game's on. And I'm going to pay attention when the commercials come back on.

That's a huge part of the viewership. I'm sure the number of people there just for the commercials. So I don't think it's a case of not being able to shy away from being able to use large events where you've got a huge. Committed audience, people that are fully engaged with the content and using that as an opportunity to sell games.

As the industry moves away from those tentpole conventions, E3 is no more. It's not a case of, we'll see what comes around next year. It's just great. Dawn, that's a huge marketing tent pole. That's gone from the industry. And we're seeing more and more diversification in terms of where people and when people are advertising their games or upcoming games.

And so I think it'll be more around when our opportunities, we can get a bunch of the consumers together, take that as an opportunity to release hopefully more goodness amongst us all.

Devin: I got to wonder the net, what if they next year, for example, didn't have all of those reveals, all those, yeah. Games coming up that all that stuff where people have even watched it as much because there would be maybe less to gain for a viewer.

Oh, cool. I found out who won the award. That's not nearly as exciting as finding out about brand new games. And I don't know how much they promoted that ahead of the awards thing, but now everyone's going to expect that going into the next one, right? Like that, this becomes a big reveal event as well. And so I got to imagine they've got to live up to that next year to keep that viewership going up.

Dave: I think so. I think so. And if you look at the Oscars is not, is actually the opposite of that, right? That is pure awards. They don't use that as a huge platform to release when the next Marvel movie is coming out, the next season of Reacher on Amazon is coming out. They're not using those to tease the big series or the big movies coming out.

They are focused on the celebration of what is going on the previous year. And yeah, I do think that this is a spectacle of what is new coming out. What are the, could be the great experience or the great announcements coming out is going to be definitely part of the draw and will continue to be part of the draw going forward.

We are an entertainment industry and one where, we do like to differentiate ourselves from the other industries, and I think I was having a different types of award show than other award shows is great. It helps. It reflects what we are.

Devin: I got to imagine a different type of entertainment. We could definitely see Oscars or other, some awards show actually like copying that idea though.

And being like, we're losing numbers. We need to have something that's like exciting for people to watch. I can see some potential for them, like copying some of that. I didn't, maybe not the Oscars, maybe something else, but it seems like why not idea, and if this was that successful in terms of the viewership numbers, you're talking about.

Dave: Yeah. And both of the Oscars, the Emmys, all the award, major entertainment award shows outside of video games, certainly have seen a lot of decrease in viewership over the years. I think the Emmys, for example, I think the peaked in 2000 or no, sorry. It was the Oscars that peaked in 2000 in terms of overall viewership.

Emmys is, similar timeline where they've seen their decreasing numbers. Maybe they do take a page from the world of video games. Now, one of the differences is I think from a pure numbers perspective, the number of games that come out every year, are they going to be able to have as many types of announcements for movies or television series as you do for games?

It'll be interesting to see if they're ready to be able to show that. That amount of content that early on, but yeah, it'd be interesting to see if they decide to borrow, especially when they see that the viewership for a games awards is six times the numbers for the Oscars.

Devin: I got to wonder if some of that could be any kind of accuracy difference too, in the sense that if you're talking about traditional TV, if it's like Nielsen rating style stuff, and they're actually getting fully accurate numbers compared to like digital stuff where you're pulling numbers in differently, but there's also room for inaccuracy from things like bots or whatever different ways of viewing it, like Twitch is certainly not.

Known for having accurate viewership numbers, for example, despite the fact that theoretically it could offer more accurate ones, so it'll be interesting to see if that, this sort of. People comparing the size of user viewership becomes a thing where across the different medias, it becomes a competition in a way of like different ways of people looking at it.

Because obviously they're trying to advertisers in the current space. And that's always a big battle, especially in streaming. It seems like streaming stuff has trouble getting advertisers to just based off the few advertisements, whenever you watch anything streaming, it's like the same three. At a time, obviously there's not a huge amount of advertisers.

And so that, that kind of makes me wonder if this stuff starts to then go, Hey, if this was like just pure digital viewership, maybe there's a lot more viewers out there watching this stuff that we maybe we should shift from traditional media. Maybe a little bit more, and maybe this starts to affect that whole broadcast medium as it, as this, the younger generations, or maybe even this is 35 and up watching all these, I would love for them to have demographic information to go with this stuff.

Dave: Yeah, it'll be interesting if we ever get to the day where we talk about the the prices for a commercial on the games award is now at 5 million for a 30 second ad. I really do wonder if part of it is having still old ideas around who the video game consumer is. And is it a case of, do we really just want to advertise to 18 to 34 year old males when in reality the games are the real deal?

Audience is such a much broader demographic than that. And part of that will come down to having a better understanding of who that viewership was and realizing that maybe this is actually a more valuable audience to, to bring advertising to then potentially what older perceptions are of that audiences.

Devin: You can always see a funny transition between that where you had Eminem perform recently in Fortnite, but didn't he just perform in the Super Bowl a year before that, or one of the most recent years? And so it's just like, there is obviously the crossover there, and the attempts to like, maybe the Super Bowl is trying to appeal younger, but then Fortnite's maybe trying to appeal older, because Eminem's not exactly like a hot new young act.

And so it's funny to see this lead over where everyone's trying to figure out like who is the audience anymore as people's lead between these mediums and video games seems to hit there's plenty of people probably well into their 50s 60s super into video games that just started with older ones and never stopped and then going all the way to kids playing roblox super young and stuff like that it's I don't know if there's really like a Core gamer, like demographic, the way we used to have, and now it's just spread across everyone.

And like you said, then that expands the audience pretty drastically. And the people maybe just need to rethink their assumptions around that.

Dave: But yeah, and I do also think part of it is still. I was reading some statistics recently, a large percentage of people that play games still do not consider themselves gamers, do not want to be associated with that term, or don't think that they qualify for that term when in actuality they do, if you look at the across, including all types, all platforms for games, there are more female players and there are male players, and.

I do think part of it is just having a better understanding of what that audience truly does look like. There certainly are some challenges in terms of what platform. The awards are really going after the game awards. Wasn't a huge, true cross platform where mobile was represented the same as console, same as PC.

So there certainly are some audience differences there, but I do think that once advertisers have a better handle on who they could be those commercials to the, that hopefully we'll see more. A more diversified understanding of the gaming audience.

Devin: In terms of maybe a poor understanding of the audience or just numbers, not really matching what we're hoping for, I think it's a good opportunity to start talking about this report regarding VR. Maybe not looking as good as we would like, but I think probably is the realism check that we all need.

Matt: Yeah. We got some new research. From Omdia on the VR market and its outlook for the next several years. And the TLDR is they are not expecting good things next, let's say three to five years for VR.

They attract the install base for VR headsets at around 23 million, 23 and a half million for. 2023, and that is holding steady from the year before. And they're expecting only marginal growth by 2026. In fact, they're expecting the number of headsets sold to continue to drop actually for the next several years, it's going to drop in 24, it's going to drop again in 25 and we won't reach 2023 levels again until 2027, according to Omnia, this is headsets to be clear.

And this is in the context of. Apple is going to be releasing their vision pro supposedly early this year. I don't know that they've confirmed a date just yet, but I've, what I've read, it was early 2024. Some of the prognosticators pumping up VR is this thing. That's going to have a huge resurgence. It may very well, but not in the short term, according to Omnia, at least some of the factors that they're citing here.

As to why VR is seeing this dismal performance is perhaps a reversion from pandemic peaks when headset sales were at their highest in 2021 and 2022. Inflationary pressures impacting consumer spending, underperformance of some of the major headsets, MetaQuest 3, PSVR 2, Pico 4. I think some of those companies have also had layoffs in their VR divisions.

And that's on the headset side. Also on the content side, Omdia is saying that spend on VR content declined to 844 million in 2023 from last year's 900, well, I guess two years ago now, 934 million, so a drop of nearly a hundred million dollars in content. Anecdotal evidence here and there of new games coming out, but probably you have a lot to say here, Devon, on the highlights of VR content and where those are to be found.

But maybe that's just not breaking through to the public. And in somewhat related news, we're seeing some VR content developers. Impacted a long time developer first contact entertainment based here in Los Angeles just shut down citing a lack of support for VR within the games industry more to come.

We'll see how Apple performs with their headset. I think it's probably not going to sell a ton of units. In the beginning, but I don't think that's what they're going for. It's a vision pro. It's not the vision, everyday consumer. So I think they're trying to reach the high end and they're going to build the market from there.

We'll see how that goes, how their longterm vision plays out. What do you think, Devin? I know you have some thoughts here.

Devin: Yeah. I'd be curious to see if they like, obviously this report just came out, but were they able to, for example, capture holiday sales for the MediQuest because the Quest 2 was a huge holiday seller previously.

Obviously, like you said, pandemic spending and like. All the extra money people had, all that stuff, like there's a lot of factors that went into that, but I got to imagine there was at least some. Probably okay sales for the quest three, but yeah, like it does probably feel like it's probably less the quest to even though it's the holidays, but people were a lot more pinched.

I think these holidays and also looking into 2024, I don't think people are like, oh, that's going to turn around suddenly. So I got to imagine they were like, yeah, maybe we don't get that this year because maybe little Jimmy doesn't play with this quest too, as much as he used to know. It's not like the PS4 to PS5 or something.

Clearly. And it's like the jump just isn't there the same way. And the hype isn't there. And it's, I think a lot of this stuff is like marketing combined with just not finding solid use cases combined with just the audience, like not really being super hyped all the time about it because you do get a bit tired.

It even requires more physical. Interaction. Then some people, a lot of gamers are used to just sitting there doing this. That's like the, we was like the most physical interaction. Like a lot of us gamers had seen in a long time. And suddenly you're like, whoa, this is tiring. And you throw a VR into it.

It's not super just play it real quick. And it's like the far opposite end of mobile in a lot of ways. And so I think that's, it's going to be hard. Like just market to push in general and like the lack of real solid competitors to better actually works against it. Because it's like, if you're pretty much, your choices are whatever meta is throwing out there or the Pico, which is honestly just feels not super competitive with that.

And then valve hasn't done much in a while with the vibe stuff. So it's just like, if medic can drive up and just cool, even as the developers, they've mentioned, I think your best outcome you could expect as a VR developer was to get bought by meta. And the FTC pretty much curbed that so much that I think people are just like, that's not going to happen.

And so now it's, you're not going to sell a huge amount of sales for any game, even if you're like the top seller on there. And that's not a great outlook for a game developer, unless you're really small. And it's not like a platform you could just be like indie developer for very easily. It requires like a ton of testing, a ton of handling, all kinds of wacky stuff in there.

And that's the problem. It just, the whole market is a really cool futuristic thing. That's still just so lagged behind where it needs to be to really be a huge hit. And I just, I don't know if we get AR there first, almost with this mixed reality stuff. Meta's pushing almost seems like it had a lot more potential than even the VR stuff, just for potential use cases being a lot more interesting.

Matt: Yeah, I, just to put the numbers into context real quick, and then I'll pass it to you, Dave, like the most optimistic estimates here from Omnia for headset sales way out into 2028 are just under 10 million. And there was, I just did a quick Google here while you were talking, PlayStation 5 has sold 50 million units as of last month.

We're not talking, we're talking not even 1 5th of. PlayStation, so yeah, there's a content problem, but the hardware install base is not that not even going to be that big at the rosiest of estimates 5 years from now.

Dave: Yeah, I do think that we are seeing a bit of the post COVID drag on VR. It's just not immune to it, same as the video game industry as a whole. And unfortunately, I think we're going to see a little bit of the similar timeframe is what we saw or similar time for VR developers, as we saw back when we had the previous little peak, when the HTC headsets came out, the earlier versions of Oculus came out, there's a lot of excitement around the industry then, and a lot of those developers ended up.

Pivoting into business use cases, or in the case of the company I was working at, we did theme park applications, or in some cases reverting back to other platforms inside the games industry. Unfortunately, I think we're going to see a similar situation where people are either reverting back to earlier platforms for those developers or looking at exiting, unfortunately.

I think the industry with the numbers that Matt's talking about there, we're really looking at an industry that can support a few really good developers, but you're not going to be able to support like a huge swath of different types of developers and having those opportunities to get the different types of experiences from your triple A or quadruple A games all the way down to your Indies, it's going to be a lot more difficult.

There certainly are some great developers inside the VR space. I'll always hold up a fellow BC developer, publisher with cloud head. They do some fantastic experiences inside VR and dreams is another case where, you know, and that's actually a case of a developer who does some fantastic VR content ended up selling themselves to a publisher, to another publisher.

So I think it is going to be a tough go for a lot of VR developers and will continue to be for a while. I think people were starting to look to either with a PlayStation VR to. As being a great opportunity for the VR world to continue expanding. And unfortunately, right from the very beginning, we saw the estimates for sales for the PlayStation VR to start off a decent number and then slowly just have and have again, and current install numbers are pretty Unfortunately, really low.

So there are some very talented VR developers out there and some great content, as Matt said, the install base is not there for the, be able to get those games out to you. And I think it's going to continue having a hard time pushing it as a platform that is really going to see that mass adoption for the time being.

Devin: And then another interesting trend I noticed too, like a lot of In terms of like you're mentioning people pivoting away from games a little bit. So I've noticed some of the applications that have even had longterm success starting to pivot out to having their own hardware, like big screen, putting out their own headset sort of thing that was dedicated to big screen, immersed with trying to push out their visor thing as well, which we're talking like a movie watching experience app and a productivity multi monitor.

Work app, not games, right? Trying to find their niche, but also pushing hardware possibly as an opportunity for them to extend that. But of course, these are apps that have been around for a long time, small development teams that have been moderately successful because of that. But again, it's not games, right?

And that's why, because it's a lot more expensive, a lot more difficult to do games.

Dave: Is, but the, some of the things that people are doing with VR right now are incredible, right? From teaching how to do operation, the visualization of mining operations.

Devin: Not to mention of the military always using that stuff.

Dave: Military applications. Absolutely. But even just from the consumer side or other business applications, there are some really fantastic things that people have been able to do inside VR. Just training, be able to train people in situations that are either too dangerous for them to be training.

Otherwise I've never used a, I've never operated a nuclear power plant before. Should we let someone try that on a real thing, or maybe put them through a VR simulation first? No, I think that the training industry certainly has seen the capabilities of what VR can do and be able to truly immerse someone inside an experience and be able to allow people to learn by eye.

By doing as much as you possibly can do by experiencing something as much as you can, without doing the real thing and with dangerous situations, that's an ideal case where you can really train somebody how to be trying out an operation virtually before trying it out on. On a cadaver, then moving on to the real thing.

But yeah, I think it's, we're going to continue seeing some great VR developers trying to find what their niche is, and if it's not in games, it will be in other applications. But I think games is going to be a hard place for that to really. Support a large group of developers. I will see, I will say that I did see that the Quest app did spike up around Christmas time or just after Christmas in terms of a number of installs in the iOS stores there, I think there certainly were a number of Quest 3 sold during Christmas period, but how much that actually translate over the longterm, I don't think we're going to see.

Devin: Yeah, I've probably went to existing Quest users, right? Probably didn't gain a huge amount of people that had never. Used one before maybe that's part of the audience to part of the problem is that it's pretty much like VR enthusiasts, essentially at the moment, more so than the average person jumping in like the opposite of what the, we did, where it was like, it brought in all kinds of people that didn't play games normally, but it's funny how this topic kind of.

Keeps circling around the idea that like may, like we always want games to be the thing that pushes all the new technology, but it keeps seeming like no matter how many times we've tried it, that doesn't seem to be the big pusher of the technology for VR other than pushing some of the tech, but maybe not pushing like the audience use cases more so just because I think we haven't found like.

A compelling enough game experience. That's dude, you have to get VR. Alex was like Half Life. Alex was pretty cool and stuff like that, but none of them were like, why are you playing that stupid old console thing? Like you should be in VR right now. We haven't had that kind of moment.

Dave: I think if you look at opportunities to do experiences where VR is part of the experience, the overall experience.

So going to like a sandbox or I forget the name of the Disney backed one that Ended up going, having some troubles anyways, but going to more of an experience, be that a theme park experience or more of a family entertainment experience where you're able to get more than just sitting or standing with a headset on.

You're able to introduce things like having fans, giving wind blowing is having a sense of actual, yeah. Being able to bring in the other senses and having it as part of a truly immersive experience. I think those are things that you cannot accomplish inside just playing a video game. Yeah. There's certainly a level of immersion with a large screen in front of you.

You've got the controllers in your hand, but honestly, if you can do VR, you. It's hard to match that level of immersion today. It's just that it is so many more things than just a headset. It is, you're either walking through an experience where there's actually physical walls. You're incorporating the other senses into what it is, either the sense of feeling of wind against your skin, feeling physical props inside the space to align with what you're seeing inside the visualization.

And if you're able to incorporate all those things, then. It's a fantastic experience. Just how many people can afford to bring in a three off or a six off motion platform into their house that can move a car or a motorcycle.

Devin: When I went one place where I did see that it seemed like what you're talking about was pretty actually integrated a lot more than what we see in America was in Japan, at least in Tokyo.

Like it seemed like there was a lot more uses, especially in theme park kind of areas because they have a lot of these smaller theme parks as well that tend to use a lot of this tech. Like a lot more to, to be able to have these sort of compact experiences that are like more immersive. Like I did one where you're just like in a wheelchair in this horror experience, but obviously you're just sitting in an actual physical chair, but they're using that sort of sense of immersion to, to play off that.

And then I saw, I think Sega's Joy, like theme park in the mall, looked pretty VR centric and they're the Tokyo red tower stuff. So it just seemed that's one country that seems to be at least pushing it quite a bit in terms of installed stuff. As you said, getting into the home though, that seems to be where there's a lot of problem.

Like I still see VR experiences in mall kiosks or in Dave and Buster's. There's definitely attempts to push it. And I do see occasionally people playing those, but again that's such a different thing, even though it's using the same ones you could use at home, because it's still mostly just vibes and things like that.

It's just not having that same, like people aren't trying to set up a theme park in their bedroom or living room the same way. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah. It's like an arcade model, right? Like you don't want to buy the hardware yourself. So if someone sets up a dedicated area for having all sorts of geo of our era, hopefully we can change this.

Devin: I think we're just, as the report said, though, I think probably realistic to be like, yeah, maybe more like 2026. Unfortunately, I think all of us would like to be like, yeah, we can totally turn this around in 2024. The question is whether or not meta stays the course. I think is that's the real one, because they've just been burning cash left and right, and this whole thing.

And it looks like they're trying to turn around stuff like horizon, like the, their whole weird game experience they're trying to do, but it's, I don't know, it seems like a little bit of a stretch for them in terms of like actually being able to become what they were with Facebook, but with VR, at least anytime soon.

I think all of us here would love to see that happen. I think we're all VR fans here. It's just not happening just yet. So maybe give it another couple of years to cook. Same with some of the AI stuff. I think we'll see similar kind of idea of some of that kind of maybe not panning out as exciting as we were hoping, but it's still like cool stuff happening regardless of whether or not it's fully mainstreamed.

But on the topic of streaming this stuff in other countries, China has been trying to, it seems like anti mainstream gaming as of late, which has been pretty interesting.

Dave: Yeah. So is China going through their unity fees moment? China did release some new guidelines or they're basically floated some new guidelines in terms of including some new spending limits for online players, bans on rewards for things like daily logins or additional bonuses.

for purchases, things that play or that games do and continue to incentivize players spending. Also taking a look at some of the loot box materials gotcha mechanics. There is a long list of items that, that China regulators were looking at either banning or certainly. Curtailing in terms of what the players were, or what the games were able to offer.

This unfortunately had a huge effect as one can imagine on companies like Tencent. Net Tencent shares fell as much as 16 percent net e shares fell as much as 25%. And this actually ended up. Causing the Chinese regulators to take a look at what it was that they had put forward and they decided what they were going to do is take a bit of a step back.

They were going to listen to what it was that the public was saying and what the game developers were saying. But my expectation is that they will not necessarily. Pull everything, but they will make some modifications when word that they were going to take a look at some of those modifications came out, there was some recovery in terms of stock shares in 10 cents, they ended up climbing about 5%.

After having that big drop shares in net ease increased 10%, in both cases, still not recovering from their full drops, but able to at least bring some monies back in terms of, as an example of how much of an effect this is, net ease takes about 80 percent of its revenue. Domestically. So as you can imagine, being handicapped in terms of how they can monetize their games did have a huge effect.

Now, another interesting thing that took place was that when there was that huge effect on the stock market, people were, there was certainly a reaction, but instead of the Chinese government looking at maybe we should replace the people that, We're part of creating these new regulations. What they decided to do is replace the person that announced the regulations.

So I really do think that though these new regulations or a variation of what was announced will go forward, they're going to take a look at what kind of level they can. They can move those regulations too, but they will move forward with them. Now, at the same time, they were trying to buy themselves, I think, a bit of good faith in terms of the number of licenses that they then approved right after the news that there was the largest number of licenses that was approved in one month.

For. A couple of years now, at least I think to help soften the blow some, but there's only approximately a thousand licenses released last year, which obviously was a huge increase of the, I think 89 it was for the previous year, but there still is a limitation on the number of games that are being licensed inside the market.

And when the limitations on the number of licenses were really kicking in, you certainly did see an increase in Tencent and NetEase, especially comparatively NetEase, Tencent had already been looking to diversify their market where they were investing in terms of companies and games in more than North American European spaces, taking huge investment in companies like Supercell, Riot, as well as smaller investments in games and developers.

Net ease started following those lines and it was increasing the number of investments inside North American European companies. I do expect with the, with these new regulations seeming to be taking effect fairly soon. And unfortunately there's still unknown in terms of what the full breadth of those regulations will end up being, but I do expect that they will.

Coming at some point, I think we'll continue to see Tencent NetEase and NetEase even doubling down, tripling down in terms of how can they start increasing the amount of revenue they've got coming in from North America and Europe, losing a huge chunk of 80%. That's a huge blow. And especially since they lost, And World of Warcraft distribution and inside China, it sounds like talks maybe, but yet they're in for some challenging times in terms of where they're going to see their revenue and in China with the sort of the one, two punch of reduced number of licenses and now reduced monetization opportunities.

Devin: In terms of Netease, I actually noticed a couple of things that interesting related to one of their games that just came out somewhat recently. No, related to this called blood strike, which is like similar to like call of duty in that sort of like death match and battle Royale, their first person kind of stuff.

We, the one thing that was interesting is the monetization. We usually see the U S things like that, or China, there's certain countries. We don't usually see like a ton of good monetization coming out of, but it's been interesting to follow that like Mexico and Indonesia and stuff like that have actually been the top countries where they've been monetizing, which is.

Surprising because that's not the usual case, especially for like a semi niche first person shooter. So I thought that was interesting that maybe there are some opportunities in other countries with that have struggled to monetize traditionally. And the other thing is that one of the regulations had to do with that was drafted or ever had to do with if you were selling a loot box or something that you also adopt or offer the opportunity to purchase it individually.

And I noticed they actually happened to do that. In this game, like maybe they're just trying it out, but they had some of the things would have you could very cheaply do the gotcha and have a chance of getting it, which is probably very low chance, or you just buy it outright for a lot more money.

And so it seemed like they were already experimenting in that direction. So I wonder if. NetEase, especially, as you said, they've been looking out there, they see what's going on there, they know which way the wind's blowing and they're starting to prepare. It seems like a little bit, I know, of course that could just be them just doing their own thing and seeming like that.

But I thought that was interesting lining up with just one of their newest releases.

Dave: Yeah, I think that game probably takes on a couple of trends more recently looking at number one monetizing appropriately for different locale locales and not just focusing on monetizing through traditional app store.

So being able to bring in partners such as Xsolla to bring outside of app store monetization for titles as well as. Making sure that you're localizing, not just content, but payment methodologies. Being able to bring in like gift cards or alternate payment plan versions, payment through your cell phone provider is another one that does well.

And I think they also may have decided to take a page out of Free Fires. Playbook and go, you know what? We may not be able to go head to head with Call of Duty and some of the tier one countries, but there are a ton of players in tier two and tier three countries. And we may not be able to make a hundred dollars off of a player.

We may only be able to make 10 off of our large spending players, but. There are a lot of them out there, so you can make it up in terms of volume and set it.

Matt: I wanted to double down on this point about loot boxes and gacha that Devin mentioned as a product guy, this jumps out to me, like the, what they're saying is that they have to allow users.

To be able to purchase the specific item they want directly that is in the loot box. And that's basically antithetical to the design of gotchas. The whole idea is that you're taking your content and you're spreading it out. So it's harder to acquire it directly because there, we all know there are going to be high spenders that come in and just buy the thing they want right away.

Thanks. And if you do that for all the content that you might want as a player, then what's left for you to do in the game, or there's certainly that much less for you to do. And so you reach end of content and you're more likely to churn. This is why it was one of the reasons why gotchas exist and are so prevalent to me.

That's like a huge thing for some of these juggernaut titles like Genshin, like PUBG mobile. I'm sure there's a whole bunch more. I'm forgetting Nikkei. It'd be interesting to see how they adapt to that. I'm sure there are some tricks that will get attempted to try and revitalize the loot box formula.

But if you zoom out, China, what is the biggest or second biggest gaming market in the world? And if they are effectively nerfing loot boxes, they are previously, it was just smaller countries like Belgium, for example. That had this specific legislation against loot boxes, it's much easier for a publisher to exclude a small European market.

That doesn't move the needle too much than it is to exclude China altogether. Now, I'm sure there are some games that are already China specific skews, and it's maybe a little bit easier to do that. But the larger point I'm trying to make here is that given the size of the Chinese market, perhaps we see some more global movement.

Away from loot boxes and gotcha altogether, because this is already something that many fans have wanted. I think a lot of developers are not super comfortable with these also. Maybe we see a larger shift away from it and China is making. One of the biggest steps in that direction to get the ball rolling.

Dave: But I think the, in terms of buying the loot box content outright, I think there'll be actually a little bit more acceptable inside the Chinese market versus some of the Western markets, given that there isn't the same stigma. To buying to win in Chinese games, as there are inside North American and European titles.

So I think from a player's perspective, I'm not sure if there would be that much of a pushback against that. The ones that are able to spend will be the ones going sweet. I can get to where I want to be that much faster. And I think that the audience overall may be a little bit more accepting of that, just.

Given how the audience does typically view those types of things. But yeah, I certainly do agree. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. I think the other part is, are we now going to see many more Chinese games being pushed to North American and European audiences? So games that were originally built for a Chinese market, where they were very happy with the amount of revenue that was coming in for those games domestically.

Will they now be looking at, okay, now, in order for us to reach those revenue targets that we've set, we're going to have to push these games to more of a worldwide market than just a domestic market.

Devin: Yeah. And obviously we've seen, for example, some countries have to do that, like right off the bat with, South Korea and web three games, for example, where they can't even just release them domestically.

So they just right off the bat had to go with the international like style. And even the loot box stuff, it's interesting related to that. But I guess it is a funny example of way where you're saying that with the super cell, where they went away from loot boxes with brawl stars, saw it actually not help so much as you would expect, and then actually started to move a little bit back to some of that.

Then suddenly in clash mini, the latest big pivot for that game went fully into gotchas as the big monetization, which is just a funny, complete pivot. But at the same time, I think it's important for listeners like as well to that, we point out there's an important difference between when we just lump everything into loot box and gotchas in that loot box is generally just considered like.

Just a straight up, like you buy something, you have a chance of getting stuff, whereas gotchas have evolved to be a lot more complex mechanisms with things like pitties, removing gotchas, there's like a whole bunch of different ones that have developed over time, especially in Asia that have made it much more complicated than just a simple loot box table that I think, and I think it's important to, to point that out because that may start to become part of the complexity of a lot of these regulations or the way the law starts looking at it, that there is different regulations.

Aspects that need to be considered, say, for example, the ones where that are pretty common now, even games like call of duty and a lot of other Western games where, you know, the loot boxes or the gotchas where it's removed stuff as you get it. So like maybe 10 different items. And of course your chance of getting like the best one is pretty low early on, but it starts removing items as you spend.

And eventually like you could get that thing. And a lot of times those escalate in prices each time you buy something. And then all these other complex mechanisms, But the point being that there are a whole bunch of different ones that are starting to penetrate the West pretty heavily as well, and starting to overtake loot boxes, partially because they just have a lot of more interesting mechanisms around making the spender feel comfortable with that system.

And also because sometimes they make a lot more money, as you said, Matt, around spend depth is a huge problem. And I think Marvel snaps, a great example of that where they constantly are struggling to find a way to keep that spend depth up without just directly selling cards. They had a gotcha stuff in the beta that they had to throw away the whole nexus event thing that was too gotcha on the nose.

And then they've had to tiptoe back into that territory to try and keep their monetization up. So I think I just want to bring that up. This is, I think, going to be an ongoing topic for 2024 in general. I don't think this is going to be like a short term conversation, whether it be around China or other countries regulating or talking about it.

We touched on it a little bit with the cause unchanged thing, I think was like a good broach into that as well with web three being. Something that will be, I think more to this and maybe with China in general, maybe we see web three become a part of this as well when they're starting to push these regulations around incentivizing users, which is what most of this was.

Like you're, we don't want incentivizing users by daily login rewards. We don't want incentivizing users to spend for this or that. And it's, Hey, we don't want you to incentivize people to spend and what's your business model at that point. And so like the government can be capping a lot of game industry stuff.

It's not. Exclusive to China, right? We see it happening elsewhere as well, as you pointed out. So I think this is a, yeah, this is an important topic. We're going to be touching on a lot, I think, but on that note, moving slightly farther East or slightly farther West of me, Japan and Square Enix with their ever so fun, I don't know what you'd call it at this point.

Maybe it's link bait letters clickbait.

Matt: Yes. The new year's letter from the Square Enix CEO. Some people get excited about the supercell annual letter. I personally get excited about the Square Enix new year's letter from the CEO. Maybe that's just cause I'm a bit of a fan boy for the company, but.

I've written about them previously. I'll touch on this in a little bit, but the headline here is that the new CEO Takashi Kiryu has published his first new year's letter. He took over last June, I believe for the outgoing CEO. And this letter takes a slightly different direction from those of previous years.

So to start things off, just to quickly summarize, he reflected on 2023 and pointed to a couple of areas of new growth. One ironically, given the previous discussion was XR. So VR and AR as an area of new growth. He referenced some fields like architecture and real world experiences as driving some of the adoption.

So harkening back to what we were saying earlier, but of course, he also mentioned AI as a major growth area. And he sees this as a big growth area. Opportunity for Square Enix moving forward. So he talks a little bit about how he sees the company evolving in 2024. And a lot of talk about increasing efficiencies, knowledge sharing, both on the development and the publishing side, all things that you should be doing as a quality company, then he.

Returns to the topic of AI, and I'm going to quote here, we also intend to be aggressive in applying AI and other cutting edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions. So he's talking about in the short term, this will be more of increasing productivity. Factor, but in the longterm, the hope is that AI and other technologies will help them create brand new forms of content, which I think aligns with a lot of prognostications we've heard from people in the industry, myself included, so that they really see this as an area of growth and business opportunity for the company moving forward.

And then the other thing, maybe the other sort of topic du jour is transmedia. Kiryu talks about, Some squares, let's say smaller businesses, comics, and amusement, and seeing those have some synergies with their gaming business, their digital entertainment business, they call it. And they want to take a quote, multifaceted approach to leveraging our IP, including via film and animation adaptations.

So they see this as an area of growth moving forward as well. And they plan to continue to focus on that. So those are the primary focus areas. And then the last thing I'll mention before turning it over here. Was what wasn't mentioned, which was a blockchain and web three. So they, there was literally only one mentioned a blockchain in the entire letter, previous couple of years have discussed it at length.

Did we take this to be a pivot here? Are they just maybe afraid of the public backlash? I personally, I don't think they're moving away from it. They're just talking about new stuff. Again, this is a public facing letter for public. So I have to speak to some of the things that are on the minds of investors.

Yeah, I'll pause there. What do you make of this new focus on AI and do you read anything into the lack of discussion on web three?

Dave: I think I, I actually put more weight on the fact that web three is not there. Like they do use these letters as setting the public direction for the company. And the fact that web three was not there, I think does actually speak pretty high volume.

It's a loud message. It's I think it's pretty loud and clear saying, look, in the past, we were focused on web three, we're going to pull back from that. I think our efforts can be more in these areas. I do expect that they'll have some continuing work inside. Blockchain, but I do think that they are publicly setting the direction for the company and are saying that the future isn't as much blockchain moving forward.

I do think that in terms of what the transmedia probably looks like for Square is most likely leveraging their IP and bringing that into more traditional. Media be that animation series, movies, rather than many other types of transmedia. But it will be, I think it will be interesting to see how Square approaches that.

As you said, that's transmedia is certainly one of the buzzwords these days. A lot of people are looking at how can they take full advantage of what their IP is and bring across as many platforms as they can. AI. Yeah, I think it's, I think in reality, I think AI is a little bit of the, let's take advantage of the buzzwords that everyone's talking about and ensure that the, Our stock is maintained because we are able to incorporate some of the hottest, latest technology inside Insider Development Pipelines, how much it truly is incorporated into their production pipelines will certainly be interesting to see.

And what elements do they actually. Utilize AI for, I think they're one of the companies that has a huge library out of assets that they can use to help train any sort of AI in order to be able to help generate content for production pipelines. So I think they can take a look at it from more of an ethical AI usage and that there'll be doing any training on their own content rather than content from other, Developers, but how much actually gets utilized in a full actual production pipelines would be interesting to see.

Devin: Yeah, I have to push back a little bit on the web three side of things, only because a couple of reasons. One, when this new guy came in, there was a big discussion about that. And he was just like, the kind of guy that was like, I'm not going to be super gung ho public web three, but I'm also not against it kind of thing where it's clear that he's, it's not his priority.

But that at the same time, he's fine with it and like interested in it. And I think it's more just like, Hey, we're not going to consider that our main opportunity this year, but we consider these other things to be a main opportunity. What Matt was saying was this is more just, this is what we're excited about this year because you're talking about just a scope of a year, right?

And games don't work on the scope of a year unless you're, Making hypercasual games don't exist on a yearly schedule or a call of duty. If you consider that to be yearly schedule. So it's just not really the thing. And so they, they already have stuff out in web three. Now, obviously they baby stepped into it very slow trickle into it.

But the other reason I push back is Asia in general is still very gung ho about it in a lot of ways. Doesn't mean it will always be like this huge. Forefront thing is going to be stops and starts companies, trying things, failing some of the companies, copying it, finding some success. It'll be a mixed bag.

Like it's definitely not going to be a salt thing, but it's not just Japan. It's Japan and South Korea and whoever else decides to jump in. But those two countries alone. Bet pretty big on web3 becoming a norm, not a special thing to be calling out. And that's also part of it is that if they're considering it to be part of the norm of the future, you don't need to be talking about it in a CEO letter.

It's just like, Hey, we're going to continue to learn from what's useful in that space and use it. But we're excited about this year because this is what's new. That we can use because there's not a lot new in blockchain right now to talk about.

Matt: Yeah, I think I tend to agree with Devin here. Maybe I'm somewhere in the middle.

As I alluded to earlier, I wrote about Square Enix for Naavik digest last year, late summer, early fall, I think. And the one of the things I looked into was the new CEO and yes, he's stepping into this new role, but he was the head of strategy before. So it's not like he was uninvolved in their decisions about web three.

And blockchain previously, but the other side of the coin here, as Devin mentioned, this is not like publishers don't think about things on a one year timeline necessarily. And so some additional context worth considering here this quarter right now, up to March 24 is the final quarter of Square Enix's.

Previous what they call medium term plan, which is a three year sort of business strategy for how they approach their business. And so we should expect to see a new plan coming out early in the spring. And it's very possible that. If you rewind three years, that's what 2021. So that was at the height of blockchain bull run.

Maybe they decide we're going to ease off the gas a little bit. They'll still continue to invest because their prior stance was they wanted to be leaders in this space. They want to aggressively adopt new technologies. And to be clear, they mentioned in the letter, they're going to continue working on it, but maybe they ease off the gas a little bit and they shift towards AI or shift their priorities in some other direction with this new plan coming up.

We'll see what sort of signaling we get there and their earnings calls. They're going to unveil that at some point this year. So early this year. So I think that will give us some more insight, hopefully in the coming months. Yeah,

Dave: I a hundred percent agree when I was at Capcom for mobile games, I was meant to keep a rolling five year plan.

So if you can think how much things change inside mobile, but still expected to have a five year plan, they certainly, especially Japanese companies certainly do to have a good understanding of what their product roadmap is going to look like for a long term. For console games, even longer than console and PC games space, certainly more than the five years, five years is probably just the bare minimum.

But what we're talking about though, here, this is a public facing letter. And I do think that they use this letter to help energize the market. This is a part of those reasons for this letter is to ensure that the market's really excited. They're going to go buy Square Enix stock. And with the changes that they've gone through recently in terms of the divestiture of a bunch of their titles, selling those off to Embracer, there certainly are looking at what are the things that are going to help get people excited about the company.

And I do think that it is interesting that. Blockchain was one of those things where they don't think that's, what's going to get people excited about the stock today. So yes, product roadmaps, many years length, getting people excited about their stock is much more short term. And I think that's why this particular letter is a little bit more focused on.

AI transmedia. XR versus blockchain. But I do think that they are still looking at me personally. I do think that they'll be pulling back some from blockchain.

Devin: Yeah. You don't see Disney talking about it publicly all the time, but they're still starting new projects constantly in that space. And it's one of those things where it's, yeah, of course we're going to hedge our bets and be involved.

We just don't have to tout it all the time and make a big deal out of it. If people aren't. Super excited about it. As you said, if it's about driving excitement, people aren't excited about that right now. Yeah. You're not going to talk about that. You're just going to either do something that's exciting and hopefully drive interest down the road on that.

Or you're just not. And I think it's just funny to like contrast though, if you're talking about a company whose value is in its IP around stuff like final fantasy, AI is actually the opposite of a good play for IP. Whereas. Web3 is actually a very strong play for capitalizing on IP when it comes to like NFTs and things like that.

And we've seen like a number of IPs attempt to even be built out of web3. Whereas AI doesn't necessarily, obviously if you've got some cool ideas of how that would work, great. But I don't see a lot of value in IP for AI because all you're doing is diluting your IP when you're having AI involved in producing content for that, because you're starting to dilute the strength you have.

In the authoritativeness you have of your IP. And so I don't see that being like a big help in that area. And obviously they could be pushing new IPs or new pipelines or new lots of different avenues for how they could be using AI, but as far as what they're strong for it, like there's strong writing and fiction, like they tried to capitalize with in web three.

That's not really helped by AI. You get very generic fiction and very generic writing out of AI. So unless they're trying to like, again, dilute their quality. That doesn't seem like a big help. So I wonder if they pivot off this by the end of the year, unless they find like a serious foothold, but you talk about like the long term plans and all that, but what is the big advantage of AI for them unless they find like a, some niche areas in their pipeline, or if it's part of a consumer facing thing, we'll say allowing characters to adapt to player actions or other things that might be.

A little bit more interesting that are still playing off their strengths, but finding like a consumer facing side of it that works because I don't, again, I don't see this being like a big use case for them internally, unless they have something that they have in mind already.

Matt: I don't know. I push back on that.

I think I can streamline the production process tremendously. It's not just writing and narrative. It's coding. It's art development. It's ideation and content creation. It's QA. It's like localization. There's so many different areas that you can apply this to. And I'm not going to claim that they have solved it yet.

This is something that the entire industry is figuring out. But I don't think it's fair to say that. It won't help them. So I think there are plenty of opportunities for them to implement it in game development and seeking to make their processes more streamlined. And that's something I talked about in the letter in the longterm.

Sure. I'm with you. Like they're going to try and find more interesting applications that are more player facing that will create new forms of content. And that's like the blue sky that everyone is hoping for that no one has proven yet, but. I'm certainly optimistic about it. We'll see if we actually get there, but that's, I think it's reasonable.

Let's say, I don't think it's too aggressive to like optimistic, the claims that they are making.

Devin: I think it's, it'll depend on what happens with AI this year, because a lot right now, it's very like, AI is great with early draft stuff with ideation, with coding at a very intro level, like meaning like you're not going to be putting a super mature code base into AI, those kinds of things.

And this is a company that. Has a lot of that stuff. The words, I just find it difficult for them to find a good place to plug this in because I feel like the leverage with this stuff is much more on small developers than on big developers right now. I like you mentioned, obviously there's ways of training AI on your content and all that stuff, but I don't think you're necessarily going to produce better content.

You just produce it faster, but I don't know. I don't feel like that's a value aligned with what this company. Produces, but that's my outside perspective. They may have a very different one internally and how they see it. I just don't see this being for this particular company, a huge help in the current state of AI.

That could obviously change drastically throughout 2024. If we see some bigger steps in what AI is capable of doing at like the medium to higher level of quality and production pipeline, they may find.

Dave: If they start looking at doing more MMOs, they may find more use cases inside there as well. As you look at being able to generate a huge swath of characters for players to engage with, being able to treat, to create large landscapes through the, through AI generation.

Of forest worlds, places for them to, for players to, to commute through. You still have the developers, the game designers going in and building out what are those encounters that happen inside those places and such, but utilizing AI to help flesh out those speeches or the speech that you're having with your NPCs, building out the train stuff.

I think there's certainly areas inside there that, that. Can help build the overall immersion of, especially if something like an MMO is right up generative AI's alley, so to speak, to accept it.

Devin: That sounds like a very Bethesda kind of play where they're all about, like they would create these games that are huge worlds full of tons and tons of mediocre content and Starfield certainly didn't disprove that.

And I don't, again, like I, I'm not saying it's not viable. Absolutely. Square Enix could go wild with this stuff and use it a ton. It just seems like it lowers the quality of what they do versus this sort of authorship that they have now. Unless again, they like are needing to really expand out the content beyond what they're capable of or to try and do it on shorter timelines.

I just don't see a better, I see a Bethesda level product coming out of that.

Matt: I don't know. I disagree. I don't think the quality bar will change at all. I think it's about, it's more about the timeline as you say, and that's really important for a company that has struggled to get its mainline releases out the door in a reasonable amount of time.

I think the last couple of Final Fantasy titles have been 6, 7, 8 years in development before they finally hit shelves. If you take a company with thousands of employees and you make them 1 percent more efficient, like that compounds over time. I'm not saying it's going to last. Pump out a bunch of like low quality mass produced garbage.

It's going to be on the edges where they're like seeing these gains in efficiency and productivity that will start to compound over time. And as an organization, as you get better at utilizing these tools, I don't think they're going to change their quality bar just because they can shave a few hours off a process.

That's not what these companies do. Square Enix or any other AAA publisher for that matter, the quality bar is Credibly high. And I don't think they're going to move that just to save a few bucks.

Devin: No, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think we agree pretty much that in order for there to be like major gains, they would probably have to shave down the quality bar in order for minor gains, I think it's pretty reasonable.

I just don't know if that's like. Personally, like from a stock perspective enough to be like, this company is going to turn everything around this year because they're going to make a 1 percent gain in efficiency on a game that takes them five years instead of six years. But who knows? Again, like Japan's usually pretty head on stuff and I think they will definitely pioneer a lot.

And I think I'm still optimistic that they will find interesting use cases. I just don't see this being as, as directly applicable as even web three was in a lot of ways where there was like some very obvious. Usage around web three that I think they latched onto, whereas this is they've talked vaguely and I don't really know exactly what they're going to do with it.

And I hope, as you said, like they just start making some of the bigger plans in the near future for the, for this coming year. And I think, I hope we get to hear a bit more detail on what they have in mind and that they aren't just like saying it and hoping they'll figure it out later. And that they actually have some plan.

Cause that would be great to see for the whole game industry to see some actual real solid use cases that we could all apply. But I know sometimes like the Japanese industry doesn't really bleed very well over the Western industry very quickly because of the language barrier, the culture barrier and all that.

So I guess we'll see on that one. But yeah, I'm sure this is a discussion we could have for a long time. And I always a fun one as well, because this is still a very unsolved area and blockchain is as well. Plenty, plenty to still figure out, all of that, trying to make a five year plan off that as Dave was pointing out with mobile.

Good luck trying to plan for more than six months ahead with technology that is fully unsolved at this point. So a lot of cool stuff to come ahead though. We're just starting off 2024 and I think it will be an exciting year. I don't think this is going to be boring at all. I imagine the new stories are going to continue to accelerate as things get extra spicy this year, just around all the different dramatic technologies, shifts in financial situations and ecosystems, and who knows, maybe new consoles or new, other exciting releases that we just didn't see coming.

That would be look forward to, but I look forward to, of course, discussing those with you and all the other panelists here on the podcast, as well as you listeners, making sure you catch all the fun stuff we've got coming up. Stored ahead for again, the foreseeable future to infinity and beyond here with this podcast.

So make sure to stick around for that. And I think you, if you've been listening through 2023 and hopefully you will continue to have it here in 2024, despite the one week break we took. So if you'll forgive us for that, I hope you got great stuff for your holidays. I had a great one, of course. And thanks.

To Matt and Dave for a fantastic discussion that again, we could continue to have for hours here. So we will let you listeners and the panelists get back to what you're doing. But in the meantime, also make sure to email us if you have any feedback, questions, topics, whatever to [email protected].

I know I haven't mentioned it in a while. And I just want to make sure people don't forget about that, that we still are happy to get feedback. Any kind of feedback through that email address and make sure you are subscribing both to the podcast rating it, of course, because we want those five star ratings.

It helps. And then also making sure you're subscribing to the digest because we will continue to have tons and tons of great content coming this year written by people like Matt. Lots of great stuff to come, so make sure you subscribe to that. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and we'll see you guys next week.

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