Triplepoints of Interest – Sept. 25

In this week’s TPoI, Atari releases more information about their new Ataribox console, YouTube changes policies on external links for non-monetized users, and Bluehole confirms negotiations with Tencent.

Atari Unveils Details on the Ataribox

Atari sent a newsletter Tuesday morning with details on their upcoming Ataribox retro gaming console, including details on the hardware and initial pricing. TechCrunch reports that the system will run Linux and will be powered by a customized AMD processor and Radeon graphics processing unit. These components, which SegmentNext reports are very similar to parts used in traditional PCs, allow the Ataribox to run modern games as well as arcade classics. The Verge reports that preorders for the system will begin this fall on Indiegogo and that the system will start at $249 and could go up to $299.

YouTube Restricts External Links for Non-Partners

Non-partnered YouTubers have recently been reporting that they are no longer able to post links to online merchandise stores, personal websites, and their crowdfunding platforms. A representative from YouTube told Polygon that the site is changing their external links policy to “combat inappropriate and abusive content.” Engadget reports that this policy change affects non-partnered YouTube channels and that a YouTube channel needs 10,000 views before it can be considered for partnership, a number which many smaller content creators are struggling to meet. VentureBeat mentioned that this change follows YouTube’s recent demonetization policy changes and the decreased advertising revenue which many content creators are struggling with.

Bluehole Begins Business Negotiations with Tencent

South Korean developer, Bluehole Software confirmed on Thursday that they are talking with Chinese publisher Tencent about publishing PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds in China. Gamesindustry.biz reports that while Bluehole had previously denied rumors of the partnership plans but that Bluehole chairman and cofounder Chang Byung-gyu has now announced that Tencent is interested in buying an equity stake in the company to help encourage development.  Bloomberg reports that Bluehole, which is now worth over $4.6 billion dollars, is interested in expanding the feature set of their game and launching it before the end of 2017. PCGamesN reports that Tencent has now purchased a 5% share in the company and is planning to buy a larger stake in the company in the future.

Triplepoints of Interest – September 18

In this week’s TPoI, Fortnite accidentally allows cross-platform play for Xbox One and PS4, the Federal Trade Commision clarifies ethical guidelines for influencers, and Steam’s revised review system attracts criticism from developers and gamers alike.

FTC Clarifies Influencer Guidelines

In a live Twitter Q&A held on Wednesday, representatives from the Federal Trade Commission announced that hashtags listing paid sponsorships on social media and video hosting tags are not adequate means for influencers to show that they are being paid for branded content. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the FTC plans to hold social media influencers to a higher standard of disclosure than media outlets and will post guidelines on how to ethically disclose promotional content. Engadget featured a tweet from the official FTC Twitter which specifies that the built in tools from sites like Facebook and YouTube are not enough, which were previously implemented after the FTC filed suits against content creators and influencers. Mashable reports that this Q&A session and announcement comes after the FTC announced that they had filed 21 warning letters to Instagram influencers who didn’t properly disclose their promotional content.

Steams Revised Review System Receives Harsh Reviews

After a recent scandal led disgruntled gamers to post negative reviews to the Steam page for Campo Santo’s game Firewatch last week, Valve announced that they have revised their review system with new options. The new options, which Engadget featured screenshots of, allow potential consumers to view reviews based off their upload date as well as charts displaying the amount of positive and negative reviews a game receives over time. This system has received negative feedback from outlets like The Verge, Waypoint, and PC Gamer, which feel that the system doesn’t actually solve the problem and can actually encourage more “review bombing” incidents. Valve has not issued any additional statements on the topic.

Fortnite Briefly Enables Cross-Platform Play for Xbox One and PS4

Gamers playing the PS4 version of Epic Game’s Fortnite last weekend started to notice strange usernames which were impossible to create on a PlayStation system. After researching the players and posting the findings to the game’s sub Reddit, it was discovered that a configuration error enabled gamers playing the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game to enter the same games. Tweaktown reports that Epic Games has fixed the configuration error and that players will now only be able to play with gamers on their respective platforms. The error caused ripples throughout the gaming community with Forbes highlighting a tweet from Xbox Chief Phil Spencer in which he states that he’d be happy if cross-platform play was kept in the game. Comicbook.com editor, Robert Workman, wrote that the incident as well as the game’s new Battle Royale mode could draw more players and that neither Microsoft nor Sony have responded negatively to the event.

Triplepoints of Interest – September 11

In this week’s TPoI, gaming YouTuber PewDiePie is criticized for using racial slur on stream, Telltale Games appoints a new CEO, and the gaming community comes together to raise money for disaster relief across the U.S.

Gaming YouTuber PewDiePie Called Out After Saying Racial Slur

During a livestream last weekend, YouTuber Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg used a racial slur towards another player. The gaming community responded to the incident negatively. Sites like Polygon, Waypoint, and Gamesindustry.Biz reported that Kjellberg’s use of the word was unacceptable and hurt the gaming and gaming YouTuber community as a whole. This isn’t the first time Kjellberg has dealt with race-related controversy, as he received similar backlash for a video in which he hired two Indian men to hold up signs with anti-semitic phrases on them. While the YouTuber did apologize for his previous actions, it seems that he has had trouble changing his behavior, as Metro reports that Kjellberg almost said the same slur on stream two days after posting his apology video.

Telltale Games Appoints New CEO

Telltale Games announced on Monday the hiring of Pete Hawley as the company’s new chief executive officer. Gamesindustry.biz reports that Hawley, who previously worked at Zynga, Red Robot Labs, Electronic Arts, and Sony, has many years of experience and received a vote of confidence from Telltale chairman of the board, John Riccitiello. VentureBeat states that Hawley will be replacing Dan Connors, who cofounded the company in 2004. Variety reports that Telltale Games is currently developing games based off of Minecraft, DC Comics’ Batman, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Vertigo’s Fables.

Final Fantasy XIV Charity March Raise Over $21,000 for Hurricane Relief

Players of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV participated in a 12 hour livestream event last weekend to raise money for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. PCGamesN reports that the event, called Lalafell Invasion for Hurricane Relief, had an original goal of $1,000 which was quickly blown past as the livestream went on. GamesIndustry.biz reports that the event included a trivia contest and in-game after party with rewards for players that participated and donated. Other gaming communities also donated for hurricane relief, with PC Gamer reporting that the speedrunning charity event, Games Done Quick, held a charity livestream which raised over $227,000.

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 28

In this week’s TPoI, Microsoft releases details for their Mixed Reality headsets, Blizzard takes a harsher stance on negative behavior in Overwatch, and Amazon lets Twitch viewers enjoy streams and buy products with Amazon Associates.

Microsoft Unveils New Details for Their Mixed Reality Headsets

During IFA in Berlin this week, Microsoft released a showcase of their Mixed Reality headsets from electronics manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell and Lenovo. The Verge reports that many of these headsets will be available in early October and starting at $349 to compete with existing VR platforms like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. While these competing platforms require additional sensors to provide spatial data, Engadget reports that Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headsets will have sensors built into them to gauge its position. The price of each headset ranges per model, with Ars Technica reporting that the Asus  headsets will be significantly more expensive at almost $535.

Blizzard Takes A Firm Stance Against Toxic Behavior

Earlier this week, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan stated that the the team will be re-evaluating the game’s punishment system and changing in-game chat blocks into permanent bans for repeat offenders. Gamasutra reports that the developer is looking to permanently ban players that have been repeatedly punished for negative behavior or offensive speech. Ubergizmo states that this isn’t the first time that Blizzard has had to crack down on bad behavior in the game, with the company banning hackers and toxic players on multiple occasions. Eurogamer reports that Blizzard plans to specifically punish skill rating manipulation in Overwatch’s upcoming season 6.

Amazon Launches New Amazon Associates Program For Twitch

Twitch announced on Thursday morning that a suite of tools called Twitch Extensions will be made available to streamers so that they can customize their pages with interactive features like polls, leaderboards, and a gear list section that links directly to Amazon. This extension, which TechCrunch reports will be available to Twitch Partners and Affiliates, will allow streamers to earn commission through the Amazon Associate program. GeekWire reports that this extension, called Gear on Amazon, will be accessible through the Twitch dashboard and will be available as soon as it’s ready. Gamesindustry.biz reports that there an official release date for the extensions suite hasn’t been announced yet but that more details about the suit will be released at the TwitchCon Developer Day on October 19th, 2017.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – AUGUST 21

In this week’s TPoI, Chinese Super League invests $15 million in a six-year game development deal, Xbox One X sells through initial supply to break pre-order records for Microsoft, and Electronic Arts rolls out sweeping changes for this year’s Madden NFL 18.

Chinese Super League Invests $15 Million to Develop New Soccer Game

Chinese Super League, China’s largest soccer competition, has announced plans to invest $15 million in Beijing-based studio Crazy Sports to develop a new soccer game. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the game will include the 16 teams and stadiums involved in the league. While the Chinese Super League itself has risen in popularity, ESPN FC states that 13 of the league’s top football clubs are at risk for expulsion due to outstanding debts.

Xbox One X Surpasses Previous Preorder Records for Microsoft

Microsoft’s upcoming 4k console, the Xbox One X, has already sold through it’s initial pre-order supply in advance of the console’s November 7 launch, according to the Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Xbox, Mike Nichols. While these numbers are promising for Microsoft, Business Insider reports that GameStop is having trouble selling the original Xbox One and Xbox One S and that the retailer hopes that the Xbox One X will help drive more console sales for Microsoft.

Electronic Arts Introduces New Features for Madden NFL 18

E.A Sports is implementing new features to one of their most popular franchises with Madden NFL 18, including a new story mode and social media implementation. Kat Bailey of USGamer reports that this year’s iteration of Madden is more than just a roster update as fans have come to expect from yearly sports games. SB Nation reports that the new story mode is a choice driven narrative that has players following a single quarterback as he works his way up in the NFL. The inclusion of a new story mode and the inclusion of beginner specific features like an updated arcade mode made Business Insider call Madden NFL 18, “the most accessible, ambitious ‘Madden’ game in years.”

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – AUGUST 14

In this week’s TPoI, Amazon Prime no longer offering discounts on recently released video games, Tencent’s stock soars as profits rise 70% from last year, and PlatinumGames founder thanks Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro for “saving” the studio.

Amazon Prime Cuts New Video Game Discounts

Thrifty Amazon Prime members are reporting that the online retailer no longer offers a 20% off on physical games after their release, which they used to offer on new games for the following two weeks after release. While Amazon still offers a 20% discount on pre-orders to Prime members, Matthew Hayes of WWG voiced his concern over the changes, highlighting the fact that fans cannot wait for reviews for games before committing to buying them. I4U compared Amazon’s service to the Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked subscription, which hosts a similar deal and found the GCU to be more cost effective for gamers as it still allows for members to save 20% after a game’s launch.

Tencent’s Stock Rises to All-Time High

Tencent Holdings Ltd, a Chinese investment holding company that owns Riot Games and developed the popular social messaging app WeChat, recently announced their earnings for the second quarter of 2017. The company, which CNBC calls the most valuable firm listed in Asia, has reported a profit of 18.23 Billion yuan or 2.72 billion USD. TechCrunch states that the massive influx of growth is due primarily to their popular mobile games including Honour of Kings, a MOBA game with over 200 million registered users. Reuters reports that Honour of Kings is the top-grossing mobile game in the world and that it draws in almost as much as their popular PC game League of Legends.

PlatinumGames Founder Thanks Nier: Automata Director Yoko Taro for Saving Studio

PlatinumGames founder Hideki Kamiya took to twitter late last week to thank Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro for his efforts and saying, “…to say that Yoko-san saved Platinum would not be an exaggeration.” Polygon reports that PlatinumGames has been suffering due to the release of several unsuccessful games and the high profile cancellation of PlatinumGame’s Xbox Exclusive Scalebound. VG24/7 speculates that the high sales of Nier: Automata, which sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide exceeded sales expectations of their publisher Square Enix, was able to keep the studio afloat, and that the game will help support new game projects for the near future. Twinfinite reports that Nier: Automata is the ninth best selling game on the PlayStation 4 and that Kamiya hopes to work on future products with Yoko Taro.

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 – July 31

In this week’s TPoI, Steam gained over 27 million new paying users in the past 18 months, developers at the Games for Change Festival talk U.S. policy effects on the industry, and Electronic Arts merges Mass Effect: Andromeda developer with Motive Studios.

Steam Gains Over 27 Million New Customers in the Last 18 Months

Valve’s PC gaming platform Steam is widely regarded as the premier PC game distribution platform. GeekWire reports that Steam has gained 27 million new paying users since the start of 2016, a statistic that was announced during Valve’s panel at Casual Connect in Seattle. Matthew Wilson from Kitguru speculates that Steam’s continuous growth could be related to popular multiplayer titles such Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS being available exclusively through Steam. Due to the rapid growth in user base, Steam now has over 67 million active users a month, a number that Polygon highlights is tracking well above Xbox Live’s 53 million average users. PC Gamer notes that Steam continues to grow with over 1.5 million new users every month and estimates that the platform will continue to dominate the PC gaming industry.

EA and Take-Two Say U.S. Government is Bad For Business

Representatives from Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive spoke on how recent U.S. government policy changes are directly affecting the industry during a panel at the 2017 Games for Change Festival. According to Polygon, the speakers argued that policy changes made to topics such as immigration, education, and trade directly affect the U.S games industry and its future growth. Green Man Gaming Newsroom covered the effect of the H-1B visa program and how a lack of qualified, high-skilled labor will lead to less American innovation as a whole. GamesIndustry.Biz mentions that many other companies including Activision-Blizzard, Harmonix, Insomniac Games and Unity have spoken out about these issues in the past and hope that the current issues can be resolved.

EA Merges Canadian Games Studios BioWare Montreal with Motive Studios

After being designated as a “support studio” by Electronic Arts back in May, BioWare Montreal is now being folded into the also Montreal-based EA Motive, with their staff moving into Motive’s office. A Forbes contributor notes that none of the staff has been laid off and that the team will transition into the new office over the next few weeks. Shack News reports that the team responsible for the ill-reviewed Mass Effect: Andromeda will be helping to develop a new IP while the rest of Motive is focused on Star Wars: Battlefront 2. TechRaptor covered a statement made by Electronic Arts’ CFO Blake Jorgensen that an additional 100 employees have been hired to help develop this new project.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JULY 24

In this week’s TPoI, Activision Blizzard announces base pay for Overwatch League players, Sony raises Playstation Plus fees in Europe and Australia, and Supergiant Games releases their new game, Pyre, to critical success.

Activision Blizzard Announces Overwatch League Standard Player Contract Terms

Announced on their website Wednesday morning, Activision Blizzard announced their new contract regulations and standards for professional esports players participating in their new Overwatch League. ESPN reports that contracted players will earn a minimum of $50,000 a year and are entitled to employer-sponsored housing, health insurance and retirement savings plans. Dot Esports confirms that players will also be awarded fifty percent of any team performance bonuses. Scouting for season one players begins on August 1st and lasts till October 30th, according to IGN. Regulated contracts for esports players have only recently been implemented in the esports scene, with Riot Games implementing a Players Association for their North American League Championship Series this past June, therefore it remains to be scene how fans and competitors alike will view the changes.

 

Sony Raises PlayStation Plus Fees in Europe and Australia

Sony emailed European and Australian PlayStation Plus members that membership fees will increase as of midnight BST on August 31st. Gamesindustry.biz reports that different payment plans will change independently, with the annual price increasing by 25% while members that pay month-to-month will have to pay 17% more. Engadget reminds readers that this price increase follows an American price hike that occurred last September and that European fans should have expected the hike eventually. PlayStation Plus is required to play games online on the PlayStation 4 and also gives members a set of free games to play each month which GameSpot mentions will include Downwell and Just Cause 3 for August.

 

Supergiant Games Releases Pyre

Supergiant Games, makers of Bastion and Transistor released their latest multiplatform game Pyre on Tuesday to critical success. The role-playing sports hybrid has found many fans in the critical space, with IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon giving the game top marks for its innovative gameplay and detailed art assets. Like other games from Supergiant, the game has inspired many think pieces about it’s meaning and how it affects the player, including this article by Julie Muncy at Wired about competition in the world of Pyre. Unlike many sports games, the game is largely narrative driven and The Ringer writes that the decision to focus on the story rather than an online multiplayer mode made sense for focusing on the message and core gameplay of the game.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JULY 3

In this week’s TPoI, Japanese mobile games company GREE closes its western offices, speedrunning charity event SGDQ 2017 takes Twitch by storm, and Netflix’s Castlevania series launches to critical acclaim. .

Gree Shuts Down its Western Offices

Japanese mobile game company Gree has closed its western operations, including offices in the US, Germany, and Australia. VentureBeat reports that this decision follows the downsizing of GREE’s San Francisco office earlier this year. Gamesindustry.biz surmises that GREE is adopting a Japan-first strategy due to larger returns in their home region than in foreign markets.

Castlevania Animated Series Debuts on Netflix

The first season of Netflix’s Castlevania animated series was announced early Friday morning and has so far received positive reception, with Polygon calling it one of the best shows to binge-watch. The series is based off of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and developed in collaboration with the game’s designer Koji Igarashi. Season one consists of 4 episodes and Gamespot reports that Netflix has already ordered a longer, 8 episode season to be developed in the near future. Washington Post highlights the premiere of the show and calls it an animated fantasy series that isn’t for kids. The Verge adds that Adi Shankar, the series producer, has shown interest in adapting other video game series into shows, specifically pointing out that he is working on an animated series based off of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Weeklong Speedrunning Charity Event SGDQ 2017 Live on Twitch  

SGDQ or “Summer Games Done Quick”, is part of a biannual speedrunning charity event that is currently being broadcast on Twitch. Polygon reports that all donations, made either through the charity’s site or with Twitch’s proprietary currency, for the event are given to the international group Doctors Without Borders. Outlets like PC Gamer and Dot Esports have been posting schedule announcements as well as highlights of the stream, showcasing the work of streamers that contribute their talents to the organization. According to the main GDQ website, viewers of last year’s SGDQ donated over $1.2 million dollars for charity and it’s looking like they will donate even more this year.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JUNE 26

In this week’s TPoI, Twitch revamps its mobile app, the SNES Classic hits stores in September, and Super League Gaming raises $15 million in funding.

Twitch to Update Mobile App With Major Changes

Twitch has announced that their mobile app will receive an upgraded design alongside new features that will launch in the next two weeks. PC Mag disclosed that the app will feature a social feed called Pulse, allowing users to like and comment on posts from other broadcasters. VentureBeat adds that streamers can livestream directly from their phone’s camera allowing for vlog-style broadcasts, but gameplay footage will still be unavailable. Nonetheless, Engadget surmises that this may help Twitch expand its platform beyond games, and is curious to see how these changes will impact Twitch. TechCrunch states that the app is slowly rolling out to iOS and Android and will be made available to all users by early July.

SNES Classic Released in Late September

Nintendo revealed that the Super Nintendo Classic will be available on September 29 for $80. Kotaku reports that the SNES will come with 21 games along with the unreleased Star Fox 2. Washington Post feels that the throwback to old school consoles is a great way for Nintendo to boost its revenue and success, since this launch will follow the release of the Switch and the NES. Thrillist expressed excitement for the release and hopes that the SNES won’t sell out as quickly as the NES Classic. Forbes reports that Nintendo has promised that there will be a significant increase in production this time around, but advises consumers to pre-order a console as soon as the option becomes available as the SNES may still be difficult to find.

Super League Gaming Raises $15 Million from Nickelodeon, DMG, and Others for Amateur Esports

Thursday, Super League Gaming which hosts esports competitions in movie theaters and online for amateur video game players, announced it raised $15 million in Series C funding. Backers include entertainment players like DMG and Nickelodeon, as well as traditional sports owners like the Tampa Bay Lightning ownership and esports VC group, aXiomatic. IB Times believes that Nickelodeon’s investment in Super League Gaming is a notable move due to the kid-friendly focus and predicts that the network will launch potential new competitive shows or partnerships in the near future. GameIndustry adds that Super League Gaming has now raised more than $28 million to date since launching in 2014. Engadget states that investors are becoming interested in esports because the industry’s estimated worth was recorded at $1.13 billion this year.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JUNE 19

In this week’s TPoI, GTA 5’s shutdown of modding tools sparks anger amongst users, Capcom and Bandai Namco enter a cross-licensing agreement related to online matchmaking, and Project Rap Rabbit fails to meet its Kickstarter goal.

GTA 5’s Mod Shutdown Upsets and Frustrates Players

Developers of modding tool OpenIV revealed last week that they would be shutting down after receiving a legal notice from Grand Theft Auto developer Take-Two Interactive. PCGamer reports that OpenIV’s shutdown was not taken well by users of the mod, who took to Steam to write negative reviews. In addition to written reviews, VG 24/7 states that users down-voted GTA 5 in the Steam store, resulting in the customer reviews to be “overwhelmingly negative”. According to Gamepur, distraught fans started a petition on Change.org, calling for Take-Two to allow OpenIV to continue. Despite the impressive 50,000 signatures already collected, GameRant doesn’t believe that Take-Two will revert their decision, but presumes that it may impact sales on their upcoming title Red Dead Redemption 2 if gamers are still upset by GTA V.

Capcom and Bandai Namco to Improve Online Multiplayer

Capcom and Bandai Namco announced that they have begun a cross-licensing agreement to improve online matching in Street Fighter and other fighting games. GamingBolt disclosed that Street Fighter will be one of the first games to leverage the agreement, and with Bandai Namco’s help, Capcom should be able to release new content faster. PVP Live isn’t surprised that Capcom would band forces with Bandai Namco, as the outlet feels that Street Fighter V’s online experience has been struggling, whereas Tekken 7’s has been pretty successful. VG 24/7 agrees, hoping that Street Fighter V’s online matchmaking will be immensely better with the assistance from Bandai Namco. Forbes hopes that the collaboration with Bandai Namco will also refine Capcom’s upcoming fighter game Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, and looks forward to seeing the upgraded multiplayer servers.

Project Rap Rabbit Falls Short of Production

PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsura and Giratoo Man creator Keiichi Yano’s “Project Rap Rabbit” ended in failure as the game did not reach its Kickstarter goal. Polygon states that the project had asked for approximately $1 million, with backers only contributing $204K thousand within the deadline. Comicbook.com theorizes that part of its collapse was due to fans wanting sequels for the titles already made, and suggests that the developers focus on that possibility. As for plans to release the title in the future, DualShockers reports that Matsura and Yano aren’t able to fund further production to relaunch crowd funding, so work on the title can’t continue at this time. The outlet further details that the game will potentially be released in the future, but it’s hard to say when that can be accomplished.

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JUNE 12

As we wind down and relax from the E3 madness, in this week’s TPoI, Mojang reveals cross-console play for Minecraft, Xbox One X’s price tag is debated, and Anthony Padilla of Smosh leaves the channel to move onto his own solo project.

Minecraft to Feature Cross Platform Online Play

During E3, developer Mojang and Microsoft revealed that gamers will be able to play Minecraft with friends on almost every platform due to a new server update titled “Better Together.” TechCrunch disclosed that Windows 10, iOS, Android, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch will be the supported devices allowing for unified gameplay. Mashable states that Minecraft will be moved over to Bedrock Engine, making the cross-platform play possible. As for why PS4 is not listed as a supported console, IGN reports that Sony’s Global Sales and Marketing Head Jim Ryan stated, “While Sony has no philosophical stance against cross-play at all, it’s concerned with its players’ safety on non-PlayStation platforms.” The Verge doesn’t find Sony’s reasoning to be valid, and feels it’s simply an excuse to force consumers to choose between Microsoft and Sony. GameSpot reveals that Microsoft is hoping to put differences aside with Sony and come to an agreement in the future.

Is Xbox One X Price Worth It?

Microsoft announced that Project Scorpio’s official name is Xbox One X, available on November 7, 2017 for $499. In an interview with Business Insider, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft wouldn’t be making any money from Xbox One X sales, and did not go into further details for the reasoning. GameSpot reports that Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities commented, “I think that the price point is too high. Consoles have historically failed at this price point, and consumers seem unwilling to accept anything over $399.” Forbes points out that the Xbox One X is $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4 Pro and twice as expensive as a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One S, predicting that sales won’t be successful. Washington Post critiques that despite the impressive 4K resolution, it’s definitely a steep price to pay for consumers. PCMag presumes that Microsoft will be taking a loss for Xbox One X hardware sales, is hopeful that the manufacturing price will go down so that a profit margin appears soon.

Anthony Padilla Moves on From Comedy YouTube Channel Smosh

Smosh co-founder Anthony Padilla revealed that he is leaving the channel to pursue and focus on his self-titled channel, which currently has 1.3M subscribers. Variety interviewed Padilla, and he explained that he had been contemplating the change for several months and felt a lack of creativity as Smosh is managed by Defy Media, who approves all of the creative decisions. Vulture disclosed that Padilla and fellow co-founder Ian Hecox remain close friends and that Padilla’s departure is not tied to any personal conflicts. This move has Recode questioning how long a content creator can remain popular and lucrative and at what point would their career potentially come to an end. It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s definitely something for influencers to keep in mind. Whatever Padilla decides to work on moving forward, we wish him the best of luck!

TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST – JUNE 5

In this week’s TPoI, PlayStation VR sales surpass one million, Valve replaces Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct, and Xbox extends briefing at this year’s E3.

PlayStation VR Sales Hit One Million Units Sold

During an interview with TIME, President and CEO of Sony Shawn Layden disclosed that PlayStation has sold over one million PlayStation VR units worldwide. GameRant suggests that Sony should release more exclusive titles and show off unique features of their VR headset to stand a chance against top competitors like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. GamingBolt expressed positive sentiment towards the reveal, exclaiming, “PlayStation VR is the most successful high end mainstream VR headset worldwide.” VG24/7 points out that while the numbers are good, Sony could have potentially sold more but ran into supply constraints during the initial rollout. DigitalTrends reports that the shortage has been resolved and the numbers of the PlayStation VR sales are expected to rise in the coming months. With E3 fast approaching, outlets are anticipating major announcements and reveals from Sony.

Valve Swaps Steam Greenlight for Steam Direct

After five years, Valve has officially shut down Steam Greenlight, the service that allowed Steam users to vote for indie games to become available on the platform’s marketplace. Polygon reports that Valve will evaluate and determine if the remaining 3,400 titles under Greenlight will be approved for Steam Direct. PCGamer explains that Steam Direct will allow developers to publish their games on Steam directly for $100. The feature is set to launch on June 13th. VentureBeat states that while Greenlight helped Steam figure out what titles users liked and disliked, it was often an expensive and stressful process for developers. Direct will hopefully resolve those issues. Destructoid thinks it’s too soon to determine how effective Direct will be, but believes it’s headed in the right direction and is beneficial to developers and users alike.

 

Xbox E3 Briefing Expected to Run Over 90 Minutes

For the first time, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has announced that Xbox’s E3 presentation is expected to go over 90 minutes long. GameSpot disclosed that Spencer wanted more time to show off games explaining, “Had some games that just didn’t want to leave out to hit the time, so made a call to just run a little long.” ScreenRant hopes to see teasers and updates for Destiny 2, Call of Duty:WII, and Red Dead Redemption 2 to name a few. In addition, The Escapist states that Microsoft plans to release details on Project Scorpio such as its official name, the release date, and price. VG24/7 is curious to see if Microsoft reveals additional hardware as well, considering the lengthy presentation. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store next week!