In this week’s news, Microsoft hosts an event to reveal exclusive titles for the Xbox Series X, gaming TV channel G4 teases a return, and Ubisoft faces another wave of sexual assault allegations.
Microsoft shows off next-gen games and Game Pass
Microsoft held its July 23 Xbox Series X games event, and it featured a ton of game news. Unlike the May presentation that was devoted exclusively to third-party games, this event focused heavily on Xbox Series X games from Microsoft’s own studios, including the reveal of gameplay for launch title Halo Infinite, plus announcements for new Forza and Fable games. Every single game shown will be available through Xbox Game Pass, although some outlets, like Gamespot, have questioned whether some–like the aforementioned Fable and Forza games–will be exclusive to Xbox Series X and PC. Polygon and The Verge both added that while they thought many of the game announcements were underwhelming, Game Pass has the potential to change the paradigm for the way games are distributed and played. Both outlets stressed that Game Pass could become “the Netflix of video games” that pundits have predicted for years.
G4 makes an unexpected return
G4, the defunct cable television network that featured tech, gaming, and entertainment programming, is apparently returning in some form in 2021, according to a teaser posted by IGN during Comic-Con@Home, the online replacement for San Diego Comic-Con 2020. The official Twitter accounts for Attack of the Show! and X-Play, G4’s best-known shows, also posted the teaser along with a tagline: “We never stopped playing.” The only other activity currently visible on those accounts is retweets from 2012. The teaser contains few details on how the TV network and/or its signature programming would return. Polygon speculated that the network may be returning as part of NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, while PC Gamer leaned more toward a move to a digital platform like YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook. Comicbook expressed enthusiasm about the announcement, and posted a roundup of tweets showcasing excitement from fans and industry leaders about the announcement.
Ubisoft continues to deal with culture of sexual assault
Over the past few weeks, more than a dozen people have made public claims of sexual harassment and abuse against employees of Ubisoft. The outpouring is part of a broader #MeToo movement taking hold in the game industry, and the Paris-based company has been the most frequent subject of allegations. Interviews by Bloomberg with more than three dozen current or former Ubisoft employees indicate that these claims, and many others that haven’t come to light, were left unaddressed by the company for years. In some instances, Ubisoft took minor action, but for the most part, complaints were ignored, mishandled, or undermined, employees say. Business Insider published a damning long-form feature story, reporting many of the claims and detailing a culture where sexuial assault was tolerated and even encouraged in certain instances. In the following days, Gamesindustry.biz reported on Ubisoft’s decision to let their PR director go over some of the allegations. Additionally, The Verge covered a Ubisoft announcement of a new policy that ties employee bonuses to creating a “positive and inclusive workplace.”