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.

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 – Oct. 30

In this week’s TPoI, Super Mario Odyssey sells over 2 million units in its launch week, EVE Online developer CCP closes two studios as they exit VR development, Sony reveals more details about its 2018 PlayStation lineup at Paris Games Week, and Bluehole Software announced the release date for the record-breaking PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Xbox One.

Super Mario Odyssey Sells 2 Million Units in a Week

Early Thursday morning, Nintendo announced that Super Mario Odyssey is the fastest-selling game in Super Mario History. This announcement follows reports from Fortune that the game has sold over two million units worldwide and 1.1 million domestically. Since the game’s release last Friday, Super Mario Odyssey has received universal acclaim from fans and press alike, receiving near-perfect marks from outlets like Forbes, IGN GameSpot, and Trusted Reviews. VentureBeat references the game’s high sales numbers as a good indication of the Nintendo Switch’s potential and future.

EVE Online Developer CCP Shutters Studios and Halts VR Game Development

EVE Online studio CCP announced in a statement sent to Gamesindustry.biz that the company will be restructuring their studios worldwide and halting further VR games development. TechCrunch featured statements from company representatives which said that the company will continue to support their previous VR title EVE Valkyrie but will be closing its Atlanta VR development studio and selling off their Newcastle studio in an effort to focus on their main three studios in Reykjavík, Shanghai, and London. Eve Valkyrie was one of the first major virtual reality titles to launch alongside the Oculus Rift and it led to discussions among developers about the state of VR. In the meantime, CCP has announced that no changes have been made to EVE Online’s development schedule and that the company will continue to support their products.

Sony Showcases 2018 PlayStation Lineup at Paris Games Week

During a press conference at Paris Games Week on Tuesday, Sony featured trailers for the 2018 PlayStation games lineup. Outlets including The Verge, GameSpot, and Glixel highlighted some of the best trailers from games like The Last of Us 2, Ghosts of Tsuhima, and Spelunky 2. The press event featured first party titles as well as games made by independent developers which will launch first on Playstation 4 like Star Child and Guacamelee 2. Fans and press seemed to be excited for the announcements, but IGN reported that the trailer for The Last of Us 2 was distasteful and drew additional responses from gamers who disliked the violent content of the video.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Release Date for Xbox One Announced for December

During an announcement at Paris Games Week, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole revealed that the game will arrive on Xbox One early access on December 12. GameSpot reports that the game will retain its $30 price point on Xbox One and that the the 1.0 P.C version is still on track for a late December launch. The Verge has confirmed that the development roadmaps for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will be platform specific and that features may come earlier to PC than to consoles. CNET reports that the game is still selling incredibly well and has sold over 18 million units since its initial launch in March.

Triplepoints of Interest – Oct. 23

In this week’s TPoI, Activision announces the return of Call of Duty World League with a $4.2 million prize pool, Online Forum NeoGAF goes offline following sexual assault allegations, and Microsoft officially discontinues their Kinect webcam.

NeoGAF Briefly Goes Offline Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

The online forum NeoGAF temporarily went offline following sexual assault allegations from Ima Leupp, a film director who worked with NeoGAF owner Tyler Malka. NeoGaf, which Cecilia D’Anastasio of Kotaku wrote, “has had significant influence in the video game industry since its founding in 2004” received criticism from members of the site as well as the general press due to the allegation as well as Malka’s previous behavior. The Verge reports that these allegations made by the producer were shared without her consent and that she intended to make the post as an outlet for her feelings associated with the event. In the follow up to the allegations, The Daily Dot reports that a large portion of the NeoGAF community has moved to a new forum, ResetEra, so that they can no longer support Malka.

Microsoft Discontinues the Kinect

After selling over 35 million units since its 2010 launch, Microsoft has discontinued and shutdown manufacturing for the Kinect depth camera and voice recognition microphone. CO.DESIGN reported in an interview with Microsoft’s Alex Kipman that the device has become a smaller part of Microsoft’s design strategy and that the team wanted to move away from working with it. ZDNet reports that this follows the decision to cancel efforts to bring enhanced voice controls to the Kinect and that other apps for the Xbox One like Netflix and Hulu have also removed Kinect support. The Verge reports that the technology used in the Kinect will continue to be used in products like Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses as well as their mixed reality headsets.

Activision Announces Call of Duty World League with $4.2 Million Prize Pool

Activision announced this week that the Call of Duty World League (or CWL) will return in 2018, with the first event kicking off at the MLG Arena in Columbus during early January. Gamesindustry.biz reports that this year’s league will feature 32 teams from around the world and that there will also be National Circuit tournaments which will offer competitions for teams that didn’t qualify for the CWL. ESPN covered the format changes for this years competition, highlighting that the CWL will now feature two divisions which will compete at the same time in lan settings. Telegraph reports that the near $4.2 prize pool will be spread out throughout the events and that the top team will be awarded a $1.5 prize at the end of the season.

Triplepoints of Interest – Oct. 9


In this week’s TPoI, Riot co-founders to lead development on a new title, Oculus reveals new standalone headset, and the ESRB says that in-game loot boxes aren’t gambling.

Riot Co-founders to Lead Development On New Game

Announced via a blog post on Wednesday, Riot co-founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merril have shifted their focus from leading the company to leading the development of a new Riot

Games production. Gamesindustry.biz reports that CFO Dylan Jadeja, CTO Scott Gelb and president Nicolo Laurent will handle company operations and that Beck and Merril will primarily focus on development of the new title for the time being. Glixel reports that the two founded the company in Los Angeles in 2006 as a company dedicated to working on the MOBA, League of Legends. Eurogamer featured a quote from the pair which says that game development is, “…what we really love to do.”

Oculus Reveals New Standalone Headset

At their OC4 conference in San Jose this week, Oculus released details of their new standalone virtual reality headset, Oculus Go. Engadget reports that the headset features a WQHD 2560×1440 resolution and built in audio, doesn’t require a computer or phone to run and is thus changing the VR landscape. Digital Trends posted a breakdown of the device and said that the high resolution and wide field of view allow it to provide a VR experience in between that of mobile and high end-computer tethered VR headsets. Mashable’s Monica Chin reported that the lack of cables and external devices made Oculus Go more appealing than standard VR headsets.

The ESRB Rules that Loot Boxes Aren’t Gambling

Thursday, the Entertainment Software Rating Board publicly announced that in-game loot boxes and drops, like the loot boxes popularized in games like Overwatch and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, do not qualify as gambling. Forbes provided further clarification from the ESRB that states that these loot boxes are not considered gambling because the end user is always guaranteed to receive something and can’t lose their chance at a prize. Kotaku reports that the ESRB compared loot boxes to trading card packs and said that, while the chances of receiving something rare are low, gamers have a 0% chance of receiving nothing when opening a pack. PC Gamer followed up on the story and reported that the European games rating body PEGI and the UK trade group Ukie, agree with this stance will not make further rulings on the matter.

Triplepoints of Interest – Oct. 2

In this week’s TPoI, Sony announces plans to release a new PlayStation VR unit this month, South America’s biggest gaming expo is expected to host over 300,000 attendees, and Ubisoft buys back $4 million in shares to delay hostile takeover.

Sony Announces Updated PlayStation VR headset

Sony announced on Tuesday that a new version of their PSVR virtual reality headset will be available for purchase this month in Japan. GameSpot reports that the new unit will have an integrated set of headphones as well as HDR pass-through. The new headset can be used in conjunction with a controller or their PlayStation Move Controller, which UploadVR reports will be updated to include the more standard Micro USB ports for charging versus the original models’ Mini USB ports. While the updated headset will be available in Japan first, TechAdvisor reports that the headset will become available in other countries throughout the holiday season.

Brasil Game Show Draws Over 300,000 Attendees

Starting next week, over 300,000 videogame fans and industry professionals will be attending Latin America’s largest gaming convention, the Brasil Game Show in São Paulo, Brazil. The New York Times reports that the Brazilian convention, which started in 2009, has now grown to rival established gaming expos like Gamescom in Germany and The Tokyo Game Show in Japan. As global gaming shows continue develop, with new shows like Play Expo 2017 in Manchester popping up, critics are beginning to question why gaming expos in America haven’t grown to the same size.

Ubisoft Buys Back Shares to Fight Corporate Takeover

Ubisoft announced Thursday that the company will buy over $4 million worth of the company’s own shares back from outside parties. VentureBeat reports that this action will help the company defend itself against a hostile takeover from French media conglomerate, Vivendi. GameSpot covered the topic and highlighted the fact that Vivendi has tried to buy out shares of the company since 2015. Neowin reports that Vivendi currently owns 27% of Ubisoft’s capital shares and that Vivendi would just have to own 3% more if they wanted to make a bid for ownership of Ubisoft.