Triplepoints of Interest: Feb. 26

In this week’s TPoI, H1Z1 exits Early Access and introduces Auto Royale, the ESRB creates a new label to indicate microtransactions, Bethesda ascends to Metacritic’s highest rated major publisher, and Superdata predicts that consumer augmented reality and mixed reality will eclipse virtual reality in the coming years.

H1Z1 Exits Early Access and Introduces New “Auto Royale” Mode

After two years in Early Access, Daybreak’s H1Z1, the game that is frequently credited as the first mover of the Battle Royale genre, finally “launched” this week. Included in this launch update is a new mode and genre entirely: Auto Royale. IGN reports that this mode pits 30 teams of four in vehicular combat. In the past, H1Z1 has acted defensively about competitors PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite soaking up its playerbase, and the introduction of the Auto Royale genre is a way for the game to both reinvigorate lost players and re-establish itself as Battle Royale innovators.

ESRB To Add Indicator For Microtransactions on Physical Games

Loot boxes have a gained reputation of being morally–and most recently, legally–controversial among consumers. In an effort to inform consumers and parents, the ESRB has announced that they will be taking additional steps to ensure that game covers indicate the option of paid content in a game with a new “In-Game Purchases” label. Polygon, however, notes that the label will not specifically indicate if the purchases are randomized, which is where much of the controversy and legal ambiguity stems from.

Bethesda Is Metacritic’s Top-Rated Big Publisher of 2017

Bethesda is 2017’s highest rated major publisher with an overall Metacritic score of 79.9, beating out Nintendo, Sega and Activision-Blizzard. Metacritic reports that 91 percent of Bethesda’s 2017 products were positively reviewed. Titles that contributed to Bethesda’s success on Metacritic last year include Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Prey, The Evil Within 2, and various releases for the Elder Scrolls series. Additionally, Bethesda has risen up from mid-size publisher to major publisher, a Metacritic ranking based on “distinct releases” that year.

Augmented and Mixed Reality Revenue to Overtake VR by 2021 recently recapped a Superdata report that predicts that augmented and mixed reality revenue is expected to double to $3.2 billion this year. Superdata also last week reported that AR and MR headsets continue to be price-inaccessible for the general population, making it hard to generate significant software revenue within the next few years.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of Jan. 23

In the first TriplePoints of Interest of 2017, the big stories this week center around an Overwatch milestone, Switch prediction, and a new tabletop-focused version of PAX.

It’s 2017. Welcome to the future!

Overwatch Hits 25 million Player Milestone
Overwatch, Blizzard’s competitive team-based shooter that debuted in May 2016, now has more than 25 million players – up an additional 5 million from the 20 million milestone which the company celebrated in October. Thanks to the game’s constant updates, achievements, and new content, Polygon noted that the game has already become a classic.

Analyst Prediction: Nintendo Switch Will Sell 40 Million Units Through 2020
Research firm DFC Intelligence has predicted that the Nintendo Switch will sell 40 million units through 2020. If this forecast is to be true, Nintendo Switch sales in the first four years of the product’s life would account for 40% of Wii U’s lifetime sales (which is a somewhat conservative estimate according to Forbes). Forbes contributor Paul Tassi, is skeptical regarding DFC’s estimated sales, stating that its too early to know whether or not the Switch will be as successful as the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, noting that the product is positioned as a secondary console and is competing against other Nintendo products as well.
PAX Unplugged Announced, Focused on Tabletop Games
AX Unplugged, a new annual event focusing on tabletop games, was announced today at PAX South. The convention is set to debut November 17-19 of this year in Philadelphia. Organizers say the convention will highlight “board, card, and other tabletop games” and the event as a whole will include game reveals, tournaments, panels and special events. IGN says tabletop games will still appear at other PAX events, but Unplugged will focus on stepping away from digital gaming.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of April 18

This week, the Clash Royale-playing contingent of TriplePoint PR is devastated that a former low level colleague of ours has ABANDONED our clan. Something about not donating enough giants…we were all ignoring his near-incessant requests for high level cards anyways.

But, in all seriousness, this week’s TPoI is full of developer outrage, VR eSports, and the continued growth of mobile gaming!

Mobile Games Make Money, Lots of It

According to an industry report from Newzoo BV, mobile games are forecasted to generate more revenue that PC and console games in 2016. The Wall Street Journal reports that this will be the first year that mobile games overtake traditional games in revenue, and that mobile platforms will make for 37% of all software sales world-wide this year.

Games Industry Outrage on the Internet – Developer Edition!

Game industry vet Alex St. John penned a byline in VentureBeat this week shaming game developers’ “wage-slave” attitude and criticizing devs who complain about crunch and being overworked. This sparked much outrage in the games space, with many coming out to challenge his arguments – Rami Ismael of indie studio Vlambeer penned a line-by-line retort, and St. John’s own daughter even described his comments as “vile”. One particularly interesting topic that this has kicked off is that of video game developers potentially unionizing to help promote a healthy work-life balance and avoid the dreaded crunch.

eSports + VR = PlayStation VR?

Writing in Fortune, John Gaudiosi writes that Sony is thinking about virtual reality eSports in advance of the October launch of PlayStation VR. While there are no specific plans for VR eSports content just yet, Sony is starting to talk up the eSports potential for VR games like RIGS, a futuristic mech combat game.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of October 26

The end of another week, another edition of TriplePoints of interest. This week Nintendo’s first mobile game gets a name, PewDiePie squares off against AdBlock,

Nintendo goes mobile in March

Nintendo has this week announced their first mobile game, Miitomo, which will launch in March of 2016. The app appears to be a messaging and communication app that will use Nintendo Mii characters to communicate with other players. has their take: Nintendo is taking a careful and thoughtful approach to mobile.

PewDiePie vs. AdBlock….FIGHT!

Last week, YouTube launched YouTube Red, a subscription service allowing viewers access to their favorite channels and content without having to watch ads. One of the more interesting threads to come of this was many viewers proclaiming that it didn’t matter to them because they use AdBlock, effectively enjoying YouTube ad-free and subscription-free. But cometh the hour, cometh the king – this week PewDiePie took to his blog to explain the pros to YouTube Red and the cons to AdBlock, noting particularly that AdBlock has a hugely negative effect on smaller channels trying to grow.

EA is going to sell so much Star Wars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the beta for Star Wars Battlefront attracted over 9 million players, making it the biggest video game beta in history. Based on this, Electronic Arts now expects to sell more than 13 million copies of the game by March 2016. That’s a lot of Galactic credits!

People on the internet are terrible

SXSW Interactive found itself in the middle of a bit of controversy this week when it cancelled two planned panels focused on online harassment in the video game space in the face of threats of violence on the – you guessed it – internet. In response to the conference’s decision, Vox Media boycotted the event, pulling it’s CEO from a featured speaker slot. SXSW has since apologized and begun building out a larger Online Harassment Summit to feature at the show. Can’t we all just get along on 6th street?

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of October 19

This week in games, tech, and entertainment has been full of Augmented Reality, eSports, drama at Konami, and something called Star Wars…

Has Hideo Kojima actually left Konami?

Konami is in continued crisis mode after it was leaked that the infamous designer Hideo Kojima has left the company, but more recently denied by Konami as merely being on vacation. It’s publicly known that he has a non-compete clause expiring in December, which press are anticipating to be the more formal departure from the publisher. Meanwhile, nobody knows what’s going on outside of those with first-hand knowledge within Konami, and the speculations continue to run rampant. All of this, after the LA-based Kojima Productions was apparently “dissolved” earlier this year.

Magic Leap claims to be manufacturing in the millions

One of the most interesting and mysterious players in the Augmented Reality space, Magic Leap, claimed at this week’s Wall Street Journal Digital Live event that they are preparing to manufacture “millions” of devices. Many have been suspicious of these claims – Magic Leap has secured more than half a billion dollars in funding and talks a big game, but has yet to show any actual product or reveal the technology it is based on. Perhaps to combat this, Magic Leap has also released a teaser demo video this week which it claims was recorded through their tech without any external effects.

Activision Blizzard starts new eSports division

In a move that speaks to the growing popularity and relevance of eSports, GamesIndustry International reports that Activision Blizzard has hired former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, Steve Bornstein, to head up their new eSports division. No word yet on the details of this new division, but we’re sure to find out more in the coming months.

Something, something, dark side

The biggest event in all of entertainment news this week certainly has been the reveal of the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This hype train is certainly moving at top speed, as Forbes reports that ticket presales for opening weekend have crashed ticketing sites and set a new record at Fandango.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of August 31

It was a big week in video games, but for two starkly different reasons. The summer is wrapping up with two major console game launches in Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for, well, everything else. On the other hand, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sparked a controversy with a comedy segment aimed at YouTube’s new gaming channel and the concept of watching people play video games.

Super Mario Maker and Metal Gear See Critical Success

Two major console titles have launched this week to critical acclaim – Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Nintendo’s latest allows players to create and share their own Mario levels and currently has a score of 89 on Metacritic. The latest in the Metal Gear Solid series – with a rating of 94 on Metacritic – represents famed designer Hideo Kojima’s final production for publisher Konami as the two parties continue their acrimonious separation.

Jimmy Kimmel Versus Gamers

Last week, late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment making fun of YouTube’s new Gaming channel and parodying the concept of watching people play video games. This lead to many angry comments and vitriol directed at the host from upset gamers, including death threats, which Jimmy Kimmel shared in not one, but two follow up segments on his show this week. This only continues to grow, with much of the games and tech press covering the controversy, and we expect that this won’t be the last we hear from the talk show host on this. 

Machinima’s Slap on the Wrist

Popular YouTube content network Machinima has come under fire from the FTC for deceptive business practices pertaining to an XBox One launch campaign. According to Kotaku, Machinima paid YouTubers to create positive content around the XBox One while preventing them from disclosing that the videos were paid for by Microsoft. The FTC and Machinima have come to a settlement preventing this type of business practice in the future.

The Most Popular Apps of All Time

App Store analytics firm App Annie released a new report this week on the most popular iPhone and iPad apps of all time. GamesIndustry International reports that, in terms of the highest grossing games on the App Store, Supercell comes out on top with their megahits Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and Boom Beach.

A Console Gamer’s Transition; or, How I Learned to Love PC Gaming

In my last blog post, over a year ago, I wrote about how I learned to love my iPad for the gaming device it is, and about how the gaming experiences I had been having on it were changing my previously narrow-minded stance on what defines a true video game.

I was very much a console – and console only – gamer until jumping into mobile gaming. I still love my iPad for its gaming prowess, and in fact have since then expanded my handheld gaming to a Nintendo 3DS XL. But, while that portion of my gaming habits has not changed, another has: the time I spend on my console (an Xbox 360) has decreased dramatically.

Sometimes an entire week or two will go by without firing up the 360 hidden in my TV stand. The cause of this sea change is the dreaded nemesis of console gaming – a PC. Ever since upgrading to a gaming PC, I have found that the vast majority of my gaming time over the last few months has been spent at a desk in my living room rather than on the couch. This is a situation I would never have imagined a year ago.

The lure of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm was too much for me, and it spurred me to update a hand-me-down gaming rig to modern capacities. From there my wallet and gaming sensibilities were assaulted by Steam.

If a crime was committed here, Steam truly was the villain. I dove into the Steam store, its multitude of games and its many sales. It bewitched me with its treasure trove of games, both past and present, and the ease with which one can go on a shopping spree of immense digital proportions.

The barrier to getting my thumbs on lots of great games became so much lower once I set up a Steam account than had been the case on Xbox Live! What’s this? FTL is on sale for five dollars? Sure! I can get my hands on that Total War: Shogun 2 game I remember from a couple years ago for only $15? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!

My newfound obsession with PC gaming is beyond the deals though. The rise of indie games on Steam has brought some incredible content my way. FTL is outstanding. Rogue Legacy is more addicting than Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Dungeons of Dredmor is roguelike heaven. In this, my views on what it means to be video game worth my time have continued to evolve as well. I may still have a controller in my hand, but it’s hooked up to a PC so I can play a spectacular indie game that I can’t access on my Xbox.

Not only have I found an incredibly stark contrast between Steam and Xbox Live, I’m also perplexed by it. Why isn’t Microsoft more open to open the indie floodgates? Does it really take a new console generation to allow self-publishing on a Microsoft platform?

Whatever the answers are, my newfound PC gaming glory has me seriously doubting my own participation in the next console generation. Only time will tell if I am able to stay strong or if the hype of the upcoming holiday season will turn me toward a big purchase. Whatever the outcome, my gaming horizons continue to expand and, regardless of the cause, my interactive entertainment is better off for it.

Hardcore casual gaming: How I learned to stop worrying and love my iPad

I have a confession to make: I was once a biased, prejudiced gamer. I was a zealot on the front lines of a civil war ravaging the United States of Video Gaming. This war wasn’t about the color of a character’s pixels, nor even the content of that character’s coding – it was over the definition of a video game.

I thought that video games were played on corporate-designed consoles and overclocked PC towers of graphical prowess. I was of the belief that a game had to have hours upon hours of immersive content and require a controller, joystick, or other peripheral.

Then, I bought an iPad. I had just joined TriplePoint PR and would be working to help launch a number of iOS games. With newly acquired iOS device in hand, I started digging into the world of mobile games. My assumption was that I would find a market flooded with cute, cartoony, physics and puzzle-based games that wouldn’t hold my attention for more than 10 or 15 minutes each. Boy, was I wrong. Continue reading Hardcore casual gaming: How I learned to stop worrying and love my iPad