Triplepoints of Interest: Jan.29

In this week’s TPoI, GDC withdraws award for Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Ubisoft cancels Rainbow Six Siege price hike, and EA CEO Andrew Wilson defends the company’s current games lineup.   

GDC Rescinds Pioneer Award for Nolan Bushnell Due to Past Sexual Misconduct  

The Game Developers Conference announced in a blog post on Tuesday the recipients for the special awards at the event, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail, Double Fine Founder Tim Schafer, and Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell’s nomination for the award drew a huge amount of criticism from members of the industry, which The Verge collected and featured in an article which detailed reports of Nolan harassing and sexually exploiting women. Glixel reports that GDC acknowledged the feedback and has decided to rescind his Pioneer Award nomination. Nolan Bushnell also came out with a message on his Twitter account praising the conference’s decision to rescind the award and has apologized for his past transgressions.  

Ubisoft Withdraws Rainbow Six Siege Price Hike In Response to Community Backlash

Ubisoft’s tactical first person shooter Rainbow Six Siege has built up a large community over the last 3 years, with the game receiving regular updates and re releases throughout the game’s lifespan. While fans have generally enjoyed the updates that Ubisoft have brought to the game, a recent price increase announcement drew criticism from the community. Gamesindustry.biz explained that the price increase would affect all retail copies and would raise the price of the base game from $40 to $60. Paste Magazine reports that the developers have retracted their decision and are now offering rewards for player who play before the next content expansion as a way to give back to the community.

EA CEO Defends Company Line Up

During the company’s quarterly earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson reportedly defended the studio’s recent releases, praising his employees for their hard work and the diversity of content they have put out. Kotaku reports that while critical reviews of Electronic Arts recent releases haven’t been overwhelmingly positive and some titles have underperformed, EA’s stock as continued to rise and the company plans to continue developing new titles while employing the same design strategies. Variety recently covered the company’s decision to reintroduce microtransactions into the controversial title Star Wars: Battlefront II so that it aligns with their current design strategy. While the company has prospered and generated lots of revenue due to big budget launches and microtransaction sales, this has come at the cost of their image, with Comicbook.com reporting that EA was named one of the worst companies in the world in Wall Street’s newest ranked lists, which cross references customer satisfaction surveys, employee reviews, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index to find out which companies are disliked the most.  

Triplepoints of Interest: Dec. 25

Happy Holidays from everyone at TriplePoint! In this week’s TPoI, the Nintendo Switch sets a new first year sales milestone, Apple apologizes for slowing down iOS devices, and a gaming-related swatting incident leads to fatal shooting.  

Nintendo Switch Breaks First Year Sales Record

Data from Media Create’s recent gaming market survey indicates that the Nintendo Switch has become the fastest selling console in the Japanese market, even outstripping Sony’s Playstation 2, which sold 200,000 less units than the Switch in its first year. IGN reports that these numbers were helped by the recent holiday season, where over 221,000 units were purchased from major Japanese retailers. My Nintendo News reports that the Nintendo Switch has now outsold Nintendo’s previous Wii U console, which sold 3.3 million units throughout its lifespan. Polygon speculates that these high sales numbers indicate the consoles cultural appeal and expect the console to sell well in the future.

Apple Apologizes for Slowing Down iOS Devices

In a lengthy blog post posted to the company’s website Thursday morning, Apple gave an in-depth explanation of why recent updates to iOS devices have been slowing them down. CNN reports that the updates purposely slowed down older devices in hopes to extend their battery life. The Verge praised Apple for temporarily discounting the price of battery replacements on older devices from $79 to $29 while nothing that Apple’s decision to slow down devices greatly impacted the performance of devices for heavy tasks like app use and gaming. Business Insider reports that Apple will be adding new features to indicate battery health and increase performance, which should help consumers decide if they want to upgrade or fix their current device.

“Swatting” Incident Leads to Fatal Shooting   

Swatting, the act of calling in a fake threat of violence to the police which has seen a rise in popularity in the gaming and live streaming community due to an increase in internet trolling and doxing, may have led to the deadly police shooting of Kansas man earlier this week. The Wichita Eagle reports that the false story reported to the police may have been made by a disgruntled gamer who lost a small bet while playing Call of Duty with a friend. The Verge reports that Andrew Finch, the victim of the fatal incident, opened the door for the SWAT team and was shot down in response. The Chicago Tribune featured a statement from Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston who said that they had reason to believe that the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage and that the police force is investigating the incident and hope to find the instigator soon.    

Triplepoints of Interest – Dec. 4

In this week’s TPoI, Sony’s PlayStation 4 sells over 70 million units worldwide, Ubisoft delays their 2018 lineup, and EA reevaluates monetization strategies for Battlefront II.

PlayStation 4 Sells Over 70 Million Worldwide
Early Thursday morning, Sony announced that over 70.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold worldwide since the system’s launch in November 2013. The Nikkei reports that Sony, which expects to log it’s first record profit in over two decades, has benefited greatly from the PlayStation 4’s record sales as well as the success of games and other media built for the platform. Polygon reports that the console’s continued success has pushed Sony to revise their sales goal for the 2017 fiscal year from 18 million units to 19 million units. Forbes speculates that the PlayStation 4 is on track to outperform last generations PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 but it may not outperform the PlayStation 2, which sold over 155 million units over its lifetime.

Ubisoft Delays 2018 Lineup
In an effort to develop more engaging and higher quality experiences, Ubisoft has delayed 3 of their upcoming titles including Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, and a currently unannounced game. Eurogamer speculates that this announcement comes as a result of Assassin’s Creed Origins achieving critical acclaim after the game was delayed to improve the gameplay experience. Forbes featured the new release dates for Ubisoft’s upcoming games, which have been shifted between a month to a quarter from their originally planned dates.

EA Rethinks Star Wars Battlefront II Microtransactions
Only a week after launching to mixed reviews and a sharp backlash from fans, EA has annouced that they are considering alternative microtransaction methods for Star Wars Battlefront II. Seeking Alpha reports that EA projected revenues have fallen to $1,149 million. Glixel speculates that EA and Dice may have been pushed to pursue alternative strategies not only due to community feedback, but also due to government pushback as the US government evaluates the legality of microtransactions in games. While PC Gamer note that while the developers have made progress in updating the game’s character progression system, the community is still upset and hope that the game will improve in the near future.

Triplepoints of Interest – Nov. 27

In this week’s TPoI, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gets a mobile port in China, Destiny 2 fans are upset by dishonest XP system, and the Nintendo Switch tops sales charts over the Black Friday weekend.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Goes Mobile

The PUBG Corporation released a cinematic trailer on Thursday showcasing two new mobile versions of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which will launch first in China. Polygon confirms that the two games, Army Attack by Timi Studios and Battlefield by Tencent, will try to bring the PUBG experience to the Chinese audience by adapting the games to better fit the Chinese mobile space. Comicbook.com reports that PUBG Corp has partnered with Tencent and Timi to adapt the game for the Chinese region by porting it to a more accessible platform and incorporating “socialist values” into core gameplay. PC Gamer featured the newly released trailer and highlighted new features including attack helicopters, large squad-based matches, and a large naval destroyer.

Destiny 2 Fans Upset Over Experience Scaling Issues

Bungie received negative backlash from fans this week after the discovery of an experience scaling system which some believe was created to encourage players to purchase microtransactions. GameSpot reports that the system, which limited the amount of XP which players can earn during a play session, was meant to restrict the rewards which a player can receive by leveling up. PC Gamer featured a blog post from Bungie which confirms that the developers will be removing the system, but also doubling the amount of XP required to level up, which also upset the fanbase community. True Achievement reports that head game designers Luke Smith and Chris Barrett are aware of the community’s criticism and are actively adjusting the system to match the expectations of their fanbase.

The Nintendo Switch Tops Console Sales Charts During Thanksgiving Weekend

Despite the fact that the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro were on deep discounts during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, data from Adobe’s Digital Insights Initiatives system shows that the Nintendo Switch was the highest selling console of the weekend. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the Nintendo Switch was able to secure the highest selling spot during the period without receiving major discounts at any big-box retail store. VG 24/7 notes that these numbers are not surprising after the system approaches its 4th month as the highest selling console in the United States but that the continued sales should help the platform reach a large audience in the west. IGN reports that Nintendo’s recent success is reflected in the company’s stock, which has gone up 88.5% in the last year alone.

Triplepoints of Interest – Nov. 6

In this week’s TPoI, EA acquires Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, third-party publishers scramble to develop Nintendo Switch titles, and Telltale Games lays off 25% of workforce during company restructure.

EA Acquires Respawn Entertainment

Electronic Arts Inc. announced on Thursday that they have acquired the developers of the popular shooter Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment. Eurogamer confirmed that EA has agreed to pay over $150 million to acquire the company and is set to pay up to $164 million in long term equity. Ars Techinca featured excerpts from EA’s statement which confirm that the studio is set to develop a new Titanfall game and a new Star Wars VR title with the help of EA. VentureBeat reports that previous titles produced by Respawn Entertainment have been financially successful due to the skill and pedigree of the developers, who previously worked for Infinity Ward before leaving to develop their own games.

Third-Party Developers Scramble to Develop Nintendo Switch Titles

The consistent success and high sales numbers of Nintendo Switch titles seems to have influenced several developers to bump up their production of Switch-exclusive games. Gamesindustry.biz reports that developers like Square Enix, Ubisoft and Bandai Namco are all planning to release multiple games for the device in 2018. This support, which SegmentNext references as a great example of the Switch’s success, shows that developers are confident with the sales numbers they can achieve with Nintendo Switch games. Express features a quote from Square Enix’s earnings report which says that the company would be interested to publish multiplatform games on the Switch as well.

Telltale Games Lays Off 25% of Workforce

Telltale Games announced on Tuesday that the company will lay off 90 employees and restructuring their workforce in an effort to create higher quality games. GameSpot commented that Telltale Games has been struggling to develop engaging titles due to the aging game engine the company uses and the large portfolio of games they are currently developing. PC Gamer reports that the company plans to focus on the quality of their projects and not quantity after their current projects are completed. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the restructuring should not have any impact on any of the developer’s previously announced projects.

Triplepoints of Interest – September 4

In this week’s TPoI, esports tournament DreamHack lifts ban on Counter Strike: Global Offensive match fixer, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS sells 10 million copies, and GamesBeat reporter Dean Takahashi receives backlash after difficult Cuphead demo.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS Sells Over 10 Million Copies Worldwide

Bluehole Softwares’ hit game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has become the most played game on Steam in the past few months and the developers just announced that the Early Access game has now sold over 10 million copies worldwide. GameSpot reports that the game has now topped Steam’s highest peak concurrent user mark after the PUBG Invitational Tournament at Gamescom last month, topping out at over 1 million players all playing at once. Destructoid reports that the team’s plans to release the final version of the game before the end of the year hasn’t changed and that the XBOX one port will release in early 2018. Gamesindustry.biz featured a quote from Bluehole’s Vice President Chang Han Kim which highlights the team’s enthusiasm and appreciation of their fanbase – “It is amazing and gratifying to see the love and support the passionate fans have shown to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”

DreamHack Lifts Ban on Counter Strike: Global Offensive Match Fixer

Earlier this week, the esports tournament organization DreamHack joined ESL and adopted a new ruleset which complies with ESL standards and lifts lifetime bans for competitive players that have been caught cheating or fixing matches. Dot Esports clarified that this change affects players that received lifetime bans prior to February 25, 2015 and that returning players will not be able to compete in any Valve run tournaments such as the American or European Majors. Compete reports that the decision to remove lifetime bans follows the ESL allowing banned players to return to their tournaments in July of last year. Critical Hit reports that the new ruleset will allow many players to return to the game professionally including iBUYPOWER’s entire North American lineup, who were found guilty of match fixing last year.

GamesBeat Lead Writer Dean Takahashi Criticized Over Cuphead Demo Footage

During Gamescom last month, GamesBeat Lead writer Dean Takahashi played through the first level of the upcoming platformer Cuphead and footage from the event has drawn criticism from many members of the gaming community. Gamers took to forums and social media and criticized Takahashi for not being able to learn the mechanics of the game quickly and used his gameplay as an example of games journalists not being competent enough to take seriously. Since then, outlets like Geek Reply and GameRevolution have posted opinion articles about the skill level required to be part of the games media, with many writers coming out in support of Takahashi. Takahashi posted an article on VentureBeat responding to the controversy and explained that platforming games like Cuphead aren’t his favorite genre but that unskilled gameplay is still valuable for the games industry as a whole.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – AUGUST 7

In this week’s TPoI, VoIP service Discord adds video chat and screen sharing, studies show that games affect the brain differently depending on mechanics and genre, and the International Olympic Committee is considering esports for the 2024 Paris summer games.

Gaming-Focused VoIP Service Discord adds Video Chat and Screen Sharing

Discord announced early Thursday morning that they will be testing new video chatting and screen sharing services with 5% of their active userbase. Since it’s initial launch in 2015, the gaming focused Voice over Internet Protocol service has grown to be the most popular voice solution for gamers around the world. TechCrunch reports that users with access to the service will be able to chat with up to ten of their friends with resolutions up to 720p at 30 frames per second, twice the framerate that their main competitor Skype provides. Engadget provided images and gif of the video feed in use and shows that users can move video feeds around their screen for easier visibility as well as allowing users to view video feeds on top of their games. Although the service is being rolled out over time, Destructoid notes that video calls may be turned off during the testing period due to bandwidth restrictions.

University of Montreal Study Shows that Video Games Affect the Brain Differently

New studies by the University of Montreal show that different games have varying effects on the brain. NPR columnist Courtney Columbus interviewed scientists from the University of Montreal that said that playing puzzle games like Super Mario can lead to the growth of the hippocampus. SYFY Wire notes that the study also shows that first person experiences like shooters can lead to the reduction of the same brain region and that lower levels of gray matter in the hippocampus can lead to elevated depression, Alzheimer’s and a higher risk of PTSD. The Telegraph reports that the study was conducted with the help of 51 men and 46 women that were asked to play a variety of games for a total of 90 hours each.

International Olympic Committee Considers esports for 2024 Paris Summer Games

The Guardian reports that the International Olympic Committee is considering esports medal events for the 2024 summer games as the sport genre has raised in popularity. The esports industry has increased in popularity dramatically, with CNN reporting that the global audience rose to over 292 million viewers in 2016. The Washington Post reports that there are still barriers before esports is accepted however, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach disapproving of the medal events. The Asian Games will debut esports as an exhibition event to test if there is an audience for future esports events at international competitions.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 13

This week in TPoI, we covered several important industry news stories outside of E3, including Gawker’s bankruptcy, Overwatch’s first major tournament, and Michael Bay’s journey into VR gaming. Additionally, if you’d like to hear about some of the top announcements at E3 this year, please check out our roundup on the TriplePoint blog, hereContinue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 13

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of May 23


Calling all agents: Overwatch has finally launched this week — and we’re not the only ones excited about it! The game has been getting rave reviews and the hype train shows no signs of stopping. In other news, Tencent could soon be the proud owner of Clash of Clans, and the company behind Rolling Stone will be adding a new site devoted to gamers.

Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of May 23

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of September 14

Who’s looking forward to getting that new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus? This week, we read opinions on iOS 9 and take a look at the biggest news out of Tokyo Game Show! Also, who misses the days of going to the arcade to meet your friends? One company wants to bring that experience to today’s kids.

iOS over 9,000!

Apple rolled out iOS 9 this week in advance of its upcoming iPhone 6S and 6S Plus launch. Fortune has rounded up reviews on the software from top sites like Wall Street Journal who praised it for fixing a long-standing issue of smartphone users: battery life. CNBC reported some users had difficulties downloading the software, but Fortune’s roundup reveals sentiments among press were mostly positive.

Persona 5 is so close yet so far

Tokyo Game Show kicked off this week and Polygon has a roundup of the biggest stories coming out of the event. Probably the most hard-hitting piece of news making ripples stateside is the announcement that Persona 5 is delayed, coupled with a beautiful new trailer as a consolation prize.

Video game arcades are back in movie theaters, but not how you’d envision it!

Remember the days when gamers used to congregate at arcades to not only beat the neighborhood kids at their favorite game, but also spend time with friends? COO of Super League Gaming, Brett Morris, noticed that today’s kids don’t have that thanks to online gaming giving kids getting less face time. According to Variety, Mr. Morris started Super League Gaming in order to convert today’s movie theaters into arenas for competitive gaming leagues. Super League Gaming will invite kids to bring their laptops to Cinemark theaters at over 30 locations nationwide starting October 5, turning the traditional movie theater into a modern-day video game arcade.

PC Gamer goes Pro

PC Gamer announced a new section of the site, PC Gamer Pro, which will be a dedicated section for eSports and competitive gaming. Chris Thursten, PC Gamer’s Deputy Editor of the UK magazine, will head the editorial department for this new domain.

Photo from Gizmodo

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of April 27

It’s quite the understatement to say a lot went on this week. Here is a collection of the top news and hot button topics from the week! But above all else, I think we can conclude that video games are indeed good for you!

Are eSports “real sports?” *drops 10 foot pole*

ESPN aired Blizzard’s collegiate championships for Heroes of the Storm, generating mixed opinions from its viewer base. Eric Johnson of Re/code cited the reaction as a reason against forcing eSports into the category of “real sports.” He says game developers pushing for their games to be recognized as physical sports puts games on the defensive and creates an “inferiority complex” that will hurt the genre in the long run and give naysayers further reasons to reject video games as a medium.

ESPN radio host, Colin Cowherd, stated he would rather retire than cover eSports, causing a negative reaction from games and sports media. SB Nation called Mr. Cowherd’s statement “dumb but expected.” Polygon’s Owen Good pointed out that this statement contradicts Mr. Cowherd’s past positive coverage of video games on ESPN like Madden NFL, accusing him of fabricating outrage to boost ratings.

Silent Hills goes silent until further notice

Konami cancels the much-anticipated Silent Hills, which included a collaboration with famed movie director, Guillermo Del Toro. Kotaku speculates the cancellation was due in large part to Hideo Kojima allegedly parting ways with the company. Polygon reports that Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the game’s cancellation was announced.

Video games make you smart?

Good news! Video games make stronger brains! According to Daily Dot, an open-access study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the brains of 27 professional-level League of Legends and Dota 2 players against 30 non-gamers. They found the pro gamers had more connections between the brain cells and a part of the brain called in insula, leading to better hand-eye coordination and attention. What the study doesn’t reveal, however, is if the higher connectivity is a result of playing video games or are pre-existing in professional video gamers.

Tencent loves League of Legends…and Kim Kardashian!

China’s Tencent, known for its massive stake in Riot Games and thus, League of Legends, just announced it purchased a 15% stake in Glu Mobile for $126 million. Glu Mobile is most famous for their hit mobile game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and is now reportedly worth $863 million, according to VentureBeat. Glu has more celebrity-endorsed games in the works about the lives of Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and others.

Buy Ouya?

After failing to restructure its debt, Ouya is now looking for a buyer, says Fortune. There is no word yet on the asking price. With Ouya’s success in 2013 raising $15 million in Series A funding and its extensive Android content library for TVs, CEO Julie Uhrman expressed her confidence a buyer will show interest quickly.

Photo from Slashgear

What Working at a Steakhouse Taught Me about Media Relations

The summer of 2007, I volunteered as a marketing intern at my hometown radio station. My job was to attend local movie premieres (the kindof events you can win tickets for if you’re the fifth caller to the station), check tickets, and hand out swag. I’d even get to watch the film afterward. While watching the best of 2007’s summer movies was a good way to escape the heat, it didn’t pay my college tuition, so I took a part-time job waitressing at a steakhouse.

After a summer in the hot kitchens and a few years working with journalists, it occurred to me that a few months with wood-polished tables and Surf ‘n’ Turf specials prepared me as much for media relations as my more formal training. Beyond learning a few tricks for getting grease stains out of Oxford shirts, my time at the steakhouse allowed me to work with a variety of different people in an environment where each request was time-sensitive. The relationships between customers, restaurant management, and chefs are not unlike those of a journalist, PR staff, and a brand.

Continue reading What Working at a Steakhouse Taught Me about Media Relations