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

Gamesindustry.biz 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: feb. 5

In this week’s TPoI, Google is working on a game streaming service, the ESL acquires a minority stake in Indian publisher Nazara Technologies, and Quantic Dreams faces allegations of promoting an unhealthy work environment.

Google to Build a Subscription-Based Game Streaming Service

An exclusive article on The Information Wednesday revealed that Google is planning to release a service, codenamed Yeti, that would stream games to the company’s chromecast devices or potentially to a Google-made console. PC World noted that Google jumping into the games market could cause a significant change to the industry and compared the event to Microsoft’s unveiling of the Xbox in 2001. Ars Technica speculated that Google’s decision to hire Phil Harrison, former executive of Sony’s Playstation division and Microsoft’s Xbox division, may have been inspired by the company’s plans to develop a gaming console.

ESL Acquires Minority Stake in Nazara Technologies

In a bid to expand the reach of their esports operation, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) has acquired a minority stake in the Indian gaming firm, Nazara Technologies. According to The Hindu Business Line, the agreement is worth an undisclosed amount and includes a license agreement with Nodwin Gaming, an Indian esports association which is part of the Nazara brand. Gamesindustry.biz featured a quote from Ralf Reichert, ESL’s CEO, which says, “We believe that Nazara, one of the leading mobile games companies will help us in expanding our ESL operations through strategic local partnerships.” Nazara has been working to expand esports events and coverage in India, and have developed a $20 million initiative to help grow the ecosystem.

Game Development Studio Quantic Dreams Faces Claims of Toxic Work Environment

The developers of the upcoming game Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream, have been facing claims of a toxic studio environment since the start of the year and have just recently been hit with another allegation that is damaging the studio’s reputation. Eurogamer featured a statement from the company which claims that these allegations are baseless, even though three separate accounts of homophobic and sexist behavior have come out since the start of 2018. TSA reports that the Paris Council has opened an investigation into the studio and issued a statement which confirms that the council may rescind any tax credits and funding if they claims are true.                

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: Jan.22

In this week’s TPoI, Tencent takes $100 million minority stake in Skydance Media, Twitch wins $1.3m lawsuit against a view bot maker, and GPU prices skyrocket due to a swell in cryptocurrency popularity.

Tencent Acquires Minority Stake in Skydance Media

Shenzhen-based social media giant Tencent Holdings announced on Thursday morning that the company has acquired a minority stake in Skydance Media, a Los Angeles-based production company best known for their work on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The Los Angeles Times speculates that this move will help Tencent break into the Chinese movie industry, which is the second largest cinema market in the world. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the stake, while just under a 10% share of the company, is still a huge transaction worth over $100 million. Gamesindustry.biz featured a statement from Tencent chief strategy officer James Mitchell noting that the partnership should help both companies expand in their respective markets.

Twitch Wins Lawsuit Against View Bot Makers

Since early 2016, the livestreaming platform Twitch has been fighting legal battles against seven of the most popular distributors of view bots, software that artificially inflate the view counts of Twitch channels, which has finally led a California judge to rule in their favor. According to Kotaku, a California judge has ordered bot makers Michael and Katherine Anjomi to shutter their view bot service and pay Twitch a total of $1,371,139 in damages. Gamesindustry.biz notes that this case will give the company legal precedence to fight off competing services in upcoming legal battles. PC Gamer speculates that this legal win will help the company legitimize the industry of professional livestreaming.

Graphics Card Prices Skyrocket due to Cryptocurrency

While cryptocurrencies have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, a swell in value has caused consumers to start buying up high end gaming equipment in hopes to generate more of the virtual money, making it harder for gamers to buy the video cards they need to run games at high refresh rates. GameSpot reports that this surge in interest has led high end GPUs to either go out of stock or rise in prices With the surge, cards that typically cost $200 now cost over $500 at respected retail stores. Forbes notes that many online retailers are trying to offer deals or added value bundles to offset the inflated prices, but that these do not fully make up for the price increase . Gamesindustry.biz speculates that this increased market for video cards may not last, with more companies like Steam cutting support for cryptocurrencies due to their unstable value.

Triplepoints of Interest: Jan.15

In this week’s TPoI, Epic Games’ Fortnite Battle Royale receives 40 million downloads, Bungie issues an apology for throttling progression in Destiny 2, and the Nintendo 3DS 2017 sales recap is made public.  

Fortnite Battle Royale Downloaded Over 40 Million Times

Epic Games recently revealed that more than 40 million players have downloaded Fortnite, which means that over 10 million players have started to play the game since their last playerbase update in December. Glixel highlights the game’s runaway success but also notes that the success comes mainly from the addition of the Battle Royale mode, which is a far cry from the game’s original theme of zombie survival and resource management. While the game’s success has certainly helped Epic Games, Kotaku notes that the development of Fortnite has become a major focus for the studio and that it has hurt the development of their other games including Paragon and Unreal Tournament. Forbes speculates that the game’s free-to-play and multi platform release helped the game outstretch it’s competitor PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which currently has sold over 30 million units on PC and Xbox One.

Bungie Issues Apology after Destiny 2 Progression Throttling

In a blog post published Thursday, Bungie apologized for issues which have stopped players from actively participating in Destiny 2’s latest Faction Rally, a regular event in which players accumulate points for one of the game’s three factions. The blog post explains that Bungie’s development team added a hard cap to the amount of tokens a player can earn during the event, which has frustrated players who had played through content multiple times without seeing any rewards. GameSpot reports that the studio plans to make changes to the system before the next Faction Rally, but will not be extending this week’s event. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier broke down the recent Faction Rally issues and berates Bungie for not addressing the problem quickly. WCCFTech notes that this apology follows a series of similar incidents which have frustrated the Destiny fanbase.      

Nintendo 3DS Sells Well During Holiday Season

Nintendo surprised analysts on Wednesday by announcing that the Nintendo 3DS sold more than 750,000 systems last month, making December 2017 the best sales month for the device since December 2014. VentureBeat notes Nintendo’s hardware and software releases have been performing well throughout the holiday season, with games like Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe being part of the top five most purchased games of the season. Polygon speculates that the system’s huge backlog and current 2018 lineup is still a strong motivator for Nintendo fans, as the system has sold more than 69 million units worldwide. The Verge reports that the system may see a drop off in sales after this year, as Nintendo shifts development towards new titles on the Nintendo Switch.

Triplepoints of Interest: Jan. 8

Week of January 8th

In this week’s TPoI, Activision-Blizzard’s Overwatch League kicks off, Japanese console market sees profit increase for the first time in 11 years, and new gaming innovations are announced at the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show.   

Overwatch League Season One Debuts Exclusively on Twitch

The inaugural season for Blizzard’s Overwatch League Kicked off on Wednesday afternoon at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles. Forbes reports that the English stream for the tournament, which was broadcast exclusively on Twitch, had an average of nearly 300,000 concurrent viewers throughout the first night of matches. Gamespot featured the league’s first week schedule, which see’s each of the league’s 12 team’s playing at least once between Wednesday and Saturday. PC Gamer called the tournament a colossal undertaking which may help mainstream audiences see professional esports matches as legitimate spectator events.

Japanese Console Market See’s First Profit Increase in 11 Years

2017 was a great year for gaming as a whole, but also a spectacular year for the Japanese console market, with hardware sales increasing 73% over last year. Gamesindustry.biz reports that a key driver in growth was the Nintendo Switch, which sold over 3.3 million units in its first year on the market. Metro reports that exclusive launches like Splatoon 2, which was the first console title to hit 2 million sales in Japan this decade, pushed Japanese gamers to pick up new console hardware. Metro also speculates that the Japanese Console Market will continue to see positive growth with the launch of more Nintendo Switch and Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive releases throughout 2018.

New Virtual Reality Tech and Gaming Innovations Unveiled at CES 2018

Companies including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Nvidia have been showcasing new products at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, all week. Some of the most exciting gaming news includes HTC announcing their latest VR headset, the Vive Pro, which Verdict praised for its increased resolution and wireless functionality through an additional adapter. The Verge also featured Sennheiser’s new Game Zero Headset, which includes features like pressure sensitive materials and suede ear cuffs. Outlets are speculating that more gaming related announcements will be published before the event concludes this weekend, with press excited to see more gaming focused products from companies like Nvidia, who have so far only shown off a new lineup of large format monitors.

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. 18

In this week’s TPoI, Apple changes guidelines for lootboxes, China blocks Steam Community features, and Facebook announces support for rival VR hardware.  

Apple Requires Game Developers Disclose Loot Box Odds

Apple made revisions to their App Store Review Guidelines earlier this week, stating that game developers who incorporate loot boxes and randomized reward systems into their games will have to disclose the odds to winning items if they want to be approved for distribution on Apple platforms. BGR report that this regulation comes after a set of controversies which hit the games industry this year, with the most recent one involving Electronic Arts’ Star Wars Battlefront II. TechRadar featured the newly added clause regarding the randomized systems which state that this rule affects not only rare items in loot boxes, but every type of loot box drop. Engadget reports that many countries are looking to enforce similar ideas federally, following China’s decision to force transparency earlier in the year.

Chinese Government Blocks Steam Community Features

Early Tuesday morning, Chinese Netizens started to report being unable to access Steam’s community features. Gamesindustry.biz reports that this blockage mirrors the Chinese government to restrict access to foreign gaming services in the past, this decision follows the government’s March decision to ban Korean made games from being published in the region. PC Gamer reports that Chinese users still have access to the store components of Steam but are unable to communicate through the platforms chat and forum services. VG 24/7 reports that this decision may have been influenced by the competition between Chinese companies like Tencent, who are trying to break into the established market in which Valve’s platform dominates.       

Facebook Supports Rival VR Hardware

Announced in a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook made the decision to add cross platform support to their VR hangout app Spaces, with the HTC Vive version of the app being available now. The Verge reports that Spaces, which debuted at Oculus Connect 3 last October, has transitioned from an Oculus Rift exclusive to a multi-platform system which Facebook is hoping will attract a wider user base. TechRadar speculates that Facebook will probably try to add support to lower end hardware soon, maybe adding support to devices like Sony’s PlayStation VR and Samsung’s Gear VR. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the HTC Vive version has a similar feature set to the Oculus version and that Vive users can use the app to make video calls, play around with a 3D art tool, or broadcast their session on Facebook.

     

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.

Content Creator Gift Guide 2017

It’s that time of year again; it’s getting darker earlier and the temperature is dropping. What does that mean? It’s time to start thinking about gifts! Don’t worry, I’ve got a gift guide for you and the content creator in your life. One of the great things about streaming is the low barrier to entry; people can start with a pretty low-budget setup. What makes it even better is the amount of impact that each new piece of hardware can make on the quality of the production.

 

Microphones

 

One area where a creator can have a massive impact on the quality of their videos from a single purchase is microphones. Starting off with your gaming headset’s built-in mic is fine, but people will notice the extra buzz or your breathing. A creator can spend hours using third-party programs to try to smooth out the audio. Eventually, though, it is time for an upgrade. This year we’re going with three price points.

CAD U1 Dynamic Microphone

 

First up is the mic I use, the CAD U1. It is a very cheap upgrade option, usually going for $20 – $25. Additionally, I bought and continue to suggest this mic because it is a dynamic mic and not a condenser like most other microphones used by creators. This immediately cuts down on environmental noise and, with the $3 foam cover, cuts way down on breathing noises.

 

Blue Snowball USB Microphone
 

Next up is a great middle-of-the-road option and happens to be a condenser mic. Many a creator started their journey with the Blue Snowball USB microphone. It will generally run you between $50 – $60 and because it is a condenser mic you’ll have to contend with a bit more background noise but with some tweaking it makes a great choice.
 

Rode NT-USB

 
 

If you want to really give them a treat (or treat yourself!) I highly suggest considering the Rode NT-USB. At $170, it is 6x as expensive as the CAD and is also a condenser style of microphone, but provides a lot more options. Additionally, it has a clarity and fullness of sound that other mics just cannot touch. You will need a couple of additional accessories to make full use of the NT-USB but their stream will thank you.
 
 
 

 

Webcams

 

Another area where a huge impact on video quality can be made, especially during those full-screen face-cam moments, are webcams. While a laptop’s built-in camera or the old Logitech eyeball camera they dug out of their parent’s closet might work, it is not going to look good. Let’s get rid of that pixelated mess and help them step up their game.

Logitech c922x USB Webcam

 

The first camera is the newest version of Logitech’s legendary C920 line, the Logitech C922X. The C920 line has long been the choice for content creators. It will give you a (nearly) flawless 720p or 1080p signal. The newest one even has 60fps support (at 720p) and background replacement software built-in. The C922x costs $100 but is often on sale for much less.
 

 

Next, if you want to offer them something a bit different, is the Razer Kiyo which will run you around $100. This camera offers a built in ring light that can be activated with a twist. Great for content creators who are always on the go and don’t want to carry extra lights with them. It supports 720p at 60fps or 30fps and 1080p at 30fps.
 
 

Elgato Cam Link

Lastly, we have an option for a truly top tier webcam experience, the Elgato Cam Link at $129. The camlink takes any HDMI signal from a compatible camcorder or dSLR and makes it appear to Windows, Linux and MacOS as though it were a USB webcam. This is obviously a costlier solution as they’ll need a compatible camera (such as a Canon HF R800 for $200), but you could get them one of those as well.

 

Accessories

 

There are many miscellaneous items that can contribute to a great setup, some super-obvious and others a bit more “out there.” Let’s look at some other items you can get the content creator on your gifting list to really make their holiday.

softboxes

 

Lights are an important component, but one of the hardest to match to a good brand. A majority of them are of the same quality and will last them a number of years if they treat them right. The best thing is to find a decent deal on a two softbox combo. A quick search on Amazon brought up a pair that are cheaper than the recommended Cowboy Studios from Fancierstudio. Whichever you go with, good lighting is a must. Be prepared to spend around $100.

Elgato Green Screen

 
 

Another favorite among video content creators is, of course, a green screen. You can buy them a $30 – $50 green screen kit that will come with the fabric and rigid stand, but many don’t have room for such a setup to be permanent. An elegant solution is the Elgato Green Screen: while pricier at $150, it comes in a compact carrying case and is quick to deploy. Generally just the right size to sit behind a streamer and small enough when collapsed to put under a desk or bed.
 
 
 

VR Headsets

Virtual Reality has shown it is here to stay. It used to have a rather high barrier to entry but the prices have dropped significantly. The Oculus Rift will run you about $400, and the HTC Vive runs around $600. Another option, if they already own a PS4, is the PSVR for $350. No matter which one you gift, it will add a whole new dimension to the content they produce.

 

Elgato Stream Deck

Part of the complication of creating content is the management of different scenes, graphics, sounds etc that are a part of a creator’s show. This year Elgato introduced the Stream Deck, for $150, to help simplify the production of both live and pre-recorded content. It comes with 15 LCD backed keys that can be assigned to do a multitude of things using their provided software. From switching to the latest meme scene at the push of a button or quickly muting a mic to cough, the Stream Deck is sure to make life way easier.
 

Elgato HD60s

If they’re starting to explore the idea of a two-computer setup, or want to capture console footage, you can help them by giving them a capture card. There are a lot of options out there but the most popular among streamers is the Elgato HD60s. They will have to have a fairly modern computer because this device uses USB3.0, but it will be well worth it, offering real-time 1080p 60fps recording for just $170.

 

Extras

 

Finally, if you’ve looked through this list and wondered where the reasonably priced gift idea was, giving a Steam Gift Card of any amount is a great way to support your favorite content creator. One of their largest expenses, year after year, are the games they have to purchase in order to continue to produce up-to-date content. Giving them Steam credit means they will have the funds they need the next time a game launches.

As of this year, Twitch is offering the ability to gift channel subscriptions to other viewers. If you’re savvy and involved with the creator’s community, consider gifting a few $5 subscriptions to their viewers who haven’t already subscribed. Obviously this only applies if they are a Partner or Affiliate, but doing so will potentially unlock the ability for Partners to get more emotes and hopefully prompt the user who was gifted a subscription to continue it for themselves. Not only will the creator receive their cut of the subscription money but you may help convert more viewers into hardcore fans.

These are all great options but they certainly don’t cover the full spectrum of possible gifts. Content creators are constantly upgrading, whether it is various internal computer components, trying out new web services, or even switching out their chairs in hopes that it will improve their content and allow them to keep making a great show. No matter what you get your favorite content creator (yes, even that ugly sweater), hopefully they are thankful that you thought of them this holiday season.

 

Disclosure: Elgato is a current client of TriplePoint

Triplepoints of Interest – Nov. 13

In this week’s TPoI, The Xbox One X sells 80,000 units in the UK during its first week, EA DICE receives community backlash over microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Hasbro makes buyout offer on rival company Mattel.

Xbox One X Sells 80,000 Units in the UK During Launch Week

Microsoft’s head of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron Greenberg, announced in a tweet on Monday that the Xbox One X has sold incredibly well in the United Kingdom. VG 24/7 reports that the system was able to sell almost 80,000 units in the UK over its first week alone. Gamesindustry.biz highlighted this number as similar to the Nintendo Switch’s first week of UK sales and much higher than the PS4 Pro’s initial sales numbers in the UK. Forbes speculated that the Xbox One X’s high resolution output and 4k ready titles are driving consumers to pick up the system over competing products despite it’s higher price point.

EA DICE Remove Battlefront Microtransactions After Community Backlash

A day before the game’s release on Friday, Electronic Arts announced that they will temporarily disable microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront II until they land on a method with which fans are happy to purchase additional gzed their complaints to the developers. Kotaku reports that the EA DICE team first tried to remedy the solution by cutting the progression currency needed to unlock characters but have decided to completely rework the system following even more community dissatisfaction. GameRant speculates that EA received pressure from Disney after the game received negative complaints from countries with strict gambling laws due to the use of in-game loot boxes. The company stated they are currently researching how consumers would rather be served content and how they can adapt the system to work better for gamers.

Hasbro Makes Takeover Offer for Mattel

The popular toy company Hasbro Inc has reportedly made a takeover offer for their rival company Mattel Inc, which would have the makers of Barbie and G.I. Joe toys working together for the first time. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hasbro made the offer in early November and that the terms of the possible deal haven’t been made known to the public as of yet. While Reuters reports that Mattel has rejected the initial offer Hasbro made, the outlet featured a statement from Mattel’s CEO Margaret Georgiadis, who said the company is looking to pursue further negotiations before entirely rejecting the proposal. USA Today reports that the merger of these two iconic companies may be in response to the rise of tech-oriented toys and the decline of major toy retailers like Toys R Us, which recently filed for bankruptcy.