TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: JULY 29

In this week’s gaming news breakdown, Ninja announces his departure from Twitch, Rockstar Games is in hot water for dodging UK corporation taxes, and GameStop let go of 50 regional managers.

Famous Fortnite streamer, Ninja, swaps Twitch for Mixer
Tyler Blevins, known as “Ninja” to the gaming community, has announced that he is leaving Amazon’s Twitch and will be streaming exclusively on Microsoft’s Mixer. In a series of tweets, Ninja expressed his excitement to be streaming on Mixer and noted that nothing about the content of his streams will change. The New York Times shared a statement from Ninja’s management company explaining that despite popular belief, Ninja made the decision to hop platforms not for the monetary value but instead to better reach his core audience of console-based players. The Verge, CNN, and WIRED reported that there were no hard feelings from either party regarding the split.

Rockstar North accused of 10-year tax avoidance in the UK
Edinburgh-based studio Rockstar North, a subsidiary of Rockstar Games, was accused of tax avoidance this week. According to a study conducted by TaxWatch UK, the studio has neglected to pay corporation taxes for 10 years, despite accumulating billions of dollars in revenue from parent company Take-Two Interactive and claiming more than £42M in tax relief. The company is now facing widespread criticism for its actions, and TaxWatch is calling for the UK tax office to investigate the country’s current tax relief system to stop similar situations such as this from happening again. Rockstar Games is known for the popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Red Dead franchises. The Guardian, GameSpot, PC Gamer, Screen Rant, and more reported the news. 

GameStop lays off 50 regional managers amidst brand restructuring
This week, GameStop quietly let go of 50 regional, district, and loss prevention managers. The news comes after the company experienced half a billion dollars worth of losses in 2018. IGN reports that GameStop’s corporate headquarters sent an email to the managers being let go explaining the decision was part of the company’s “realignment” strategy. Game Rant speculated that the layoffs and restructuring will play a part in the success of the company’s latest reimagined store concepts. GameSpot, Kotaku, and more covered the news.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: JUNE 24

In this week’s gaming news breakdown, U.S. tariffs on video game consoles expected to cause problems during the holiday season, Newzoo reported that the global games market will see a large uptick in growth in 2019, and the developers at id Software, famous for the first-person shooter Doom, will be getting a documentary based on the studio’s development history.

Continue reading TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: JUNE 24

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: MAY 20

This week, the new “Playdate” console was announced, Tencent and Riot Games revealed plans to bring League of Legends to mobile, and Microsoft is creating a new mobile AR title called Minecraft Earth.

New “Playdate” console coming in 2020

Panic, the studio behind the game Firewatch, will release a new handheld console in 2020. Dubbed the Playdate, this Gameboy-inspired device will feature a black-and-white screen, a directional pad, two buttons, and a hand crank. Instead of purchasing individual titles for the device, players will receive a “season” of indie games with the purchase of the console, which will release directly to the console each week. The press were positive about the news, with Engadget stating, “…this is one of the few times you can say that a console maker is trying something truly different. Even if you don’t get many more games beyond the initial roster, the device will at least be memorable.” Playdate is currently available for pre-order for $149. The news was also reported by The Verge, VG247, TechSpot and more.

Tencent and Riot Games bringing League of Legends to mobile

Tencent and Riot Games are expanding the reach of League of Legends by releasing it for mobile. The mobile version will maintain the look that LoL is known for, though there will be different items and runes available, and fewer characters to choose from. While there is currently no release date, HYPEBEAST speculated the game could enter the market at the end of this year. Sentiment from the press was positive. GameSpot said, “Bringing League of Legends to mobile, a game with 10 years of history under its belt, would bode well for both Riot and Tencent.” Reuters, Kotaku, and more also reported the news.

Microsoft to release Minecraft Earth AR mobile title

Microsoft is developing Minecraft Earth, a free-to-play AR mobile title. By utilizing Microsoft’s HoloLens, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore software, Minecraft Earth will enable players to collect blocks and materials from real locations to create their own customized buildings and structures. Though the game can be played solo, Microsoft hopes players will collaborate with friends to build large-scale structures in the game. There is no confirmed release date, but an open beta will launch this summer. Outlets were optimistic about the game’s potential, with Polygon going as far as saying, “It’s a lot like Pokémon Go, except deeper, richer, more ambitious and more technically advanced.” The news was reported by CNET, The Verge, Variety, and more.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: MAY 13

This week, Rockstar Games acquired Dhruva Interactive, PUBG Mobile released a gameplay management update, and a new gaming study provided an overview of the current gaming demographics.

Rockstar Games acquires Dhruva Interactive

Dhruva Interactive, India’s oldest game development studio, was acquired by Rockstar Games this week for $7.9M. Dhruva Interactive specializes in art and design, and have contributed to games like Forza Horizon, Prey, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Sea of Thieves, Days Gone, and many more. The studio will become a part of Rockstar India and, according to Variety, this is the best course of action for the company after Starbreeze Studios revealed they would no longer be able to financially support them. Rock Paper Shotgun was not surprised about the news, stating, “Lord knows Rockstar have an insatiable need for art to flesh out their open worlds.” Outlets such as GameSpot, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, and more also reported on the news.

PUBG Mobile implements new gameplay management system to promote “healthy gaming”

This week, PUBG mobile released a new update in India and the Middle East that requires players under the age of 18 to confirm their age and acknowledge a gaming advisory before playing. Between matches, the new gameplay management system will prompt underage players to take a break from the game depending on how much time they have spent playing. The purpose of the update is to educate young players on healthy gaming habits and prevent addiction. The update will later be expanded, but specifics have yet to be revealed. Sentiment from the press was mixed to neutral, with Eurogamer stating, “Personally I find it useful when games nudge me to take a breather.” GameSpot, Dot Esports, Android Authority, and more weighed in on the news.

New research provides insight into the evolving demographic of gamers

A recent gamer demographics study by Newzoo, a gaming and esports analytics firm, found that over 46% of gaming enthusiasts are female. Additionally, the study claims that there are eight unique gamer profiles, unlike the traditional designations of “hardcore” or “casual” gamer. The Gaming Economy explained, “While it might still linger in popular culture, the never-that-accurate stereotype of the teenage boy with a furious devotion to big-budget console games as the near-entirely dominant gaming demographic is entirely out of date.” The authors of the study refer to the shift in the gaming landscape as a “demographic jigsaw puzzle” and encourage game developers and content creators to explore the market for the best ways to reach their evolving audiences. The news was also reported on by The Media News, PC Gamer, TechSpot, and more.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: MAY 6

This week, Riot Games employees walked out in protest of the company’s arbitration policy, Tencent swapped PUBG Mobile for a patriotic alternative, and EA announced plans to bring Apex Legends to mobile and Chinese markets.

Riot Games sees employee walkout in wake of arbitration policy

Upwards of 150 employees walked out of Riot Games this week to protest the company’s current forced arbitration policy. If upheld, the policy would force two of five current and former female employees who filed gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits against the company to go through a private legal system. While sentiment surrounding the company’s actions were negative, press were optimistic about the results of the walkout. The Verge stated, “There is a strong and recent precedent that these demonstrations have worked in tech. Last year, tens of thousands of employees at Google participated in a walkout to protest the company’s culture of sexism and shielding of harassers. In February, Google said it would end its policy of forced arbitration.” Forbes, Kotaku, GameSpot, and more weighed in on the news.

Tencent swaps PUBG Mobile in China for patriotic alternative

Tencent has removed PUBG from China’s mobile market after China’s State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP) prohibited in-app purchases, eliminating the opportunity for the company to collect revenue from the game. In lieu of the popular title, Tencent released Game for Peace, a similar game that has patriotic themes and does not depict blood, gore, or corpses. Engadget was optimistic, stating, “Whether this will hold the same appeal remains to be seen, but it may come as some relief to hardcore PUBG players that once they update the game they’ll be returned to the same level they left off.” Outlets such as CNET, Variety, and PCGamesN reported on the news.

EA announces plans to bring Apex Legends to Mobile and China

In a recent statement, EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson confirmed that Apex Legends will soon be available on mobile devices and in China. Currently, Apex Legends is EA’s fastest growing game with over 50 million registered players since its launch in February. The company claims that 30% of registered gamers are new to the company altogether, and expanding the game’s reach to mobile and Chinese markets will keep the momentum going. GameSpot was neutral regarding the news, saying, “Apex Legends coming to mobile is no big surprise, as the mobile game market is massive and represents another way for EA to make money from the game.” The news was reported by CNET, The Verge, VentureBeat, and more.