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.
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.
In TPoI this week, we see a sneak peek at the Nintendo Switch, mobile esports comes on the scene, and Microsoft releases news that we can expect to see an update at E3 regarding Project Scorpio.
Here’s 3 minutes of the Nintendo Switch menus, thanks to an early shipment Although details regarding the Nintendo Switch have been kept under wraps by Nintendo, Switch fans eagerly awaiting the console’s launch were treated to an early look at the product this week thanks to one lucky gamer who uploaded videos of their new Switch and its system menus after receiving an early shipment from an undisclosed retailer. Polygon reports that the user interface and system menus have been carefully guarded by Nintendo – though it’s no longer a secret as the video garnered over half a million views in just two hours. According to Business Insider, the short video shows a notable improvement in the Switch’s processor speed and responsiveness from previous handheld consoles. With this level of hype surrounding the Switch, the console may very well outperform some analysts’ projections of 40 million units sold through 2020. In the meantime Switch fans… keep waiting.
UK esports champions Fnatic are getting into mobile gaming With the popularity of games such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Defense of the Ancients 2, esports has reached a golden age of success and viewership. However, teams such as Fnatic have refused to limit themselves to console and PC games and are beginning to branch out towards popular mobile games such as Vainglory. Fnatic’s growth into the mobile gaming industry reveals the ever increasing popularity and potential of mobile games as the demographic that owns a smartphone is much larger than those who own a gaming console or computer. WIRED reports that Fnatic and others in the esports space see mobile gaming as the next play in esports due to its accessibility and intuitive gameplay. So if you like mobile games and esports, you might be able to tryout for your favorite team in the near future!
Xbox Project Scorpio will finally get some face time at Microsoft’s E3 Event As E3 draws closer, the gaming world is officially abuzz as companies put the finishing touches on their games and products for the summer event. Earlier this week, Microsoft tweeted an announcement from their official Xbox account regarding Project Scorpio – their next-gen console. The exact specifications of Project Scorpio are still unknown, but what we do know is that it will have the most powerful GPU installed in a console to date, allowing it to run games in true 4K resolution along with VR capabilities. TechCrunch reported that we’re not likely to learn anything else about the project until June, since the company has been very “mysterious” surrounding the product up until now.
New Chinese law mandates loot box odds must be published by gaming studios, esports is coming to the White House, and GamesIndustry.biz posted an annual shortlist of influential individuals and teams in the video game industry — all in this week’s edition of TriplePoints of Interest!
In this week’s TriplePoints of Interest esports is taking away from traditional sports viewing time, Sony is releasing numerous mobile games in early 2018, and Valve is adding native DualShock 4 support to Steam.
Three weeks later, Pokémon GO continues to generate massive headlines! This week we’ve highlighted notable coverage about Pokémon GO’s San Diego Comic-Con takeover, Mark Zuckerberg’s love for Pokémon GO, and an recent report on Pokémon GO app downloads. Also worth a look: Twitter is streaming esports, Dota 2 adds VR spectator mode, and Doom: The Board Game is coming to a tabletop near you.
Tencent is now the proud owner of Clash of Clans thanks to their most recent acquisition. The Chinese publisher continues to establish its dominance in the mobile space. Over in Korean, a female Overwatch pro-player gets accused of cheating because she’s “unbelievably” good. In other news, we’ll be crying over our empty wallets as Valve launches off its annual Steam Summer Sale. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 20
This week in TPoI, we covered several important industry news stories outside of E3, including Gawker’s bankruptcy, Overwatch’s first major tournament, and Michael Bay’s journey into VR gaming. Additionally, if you’d like to hear about some of the top announcements at E3 this year, please check out our roundup on the TriplePoint blog, here. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 13
Fans of Disney Infinity received some bad news this week as the media company announced the shut-down of its games division. Newzoo reports a boom in eSports awareness and the growth of the industry, but Capcom’s focus on eSports seems to have harmed the sales of its latest Street Fighter launch. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of May 9
Big steps are being taken in the games industry as the market expands into film and sports. Blizzard celebrates the launch of Whispers of the Old Gods with impressive player numbers, Valve and Lionsgate partner up, and ESL starts its own channel for eSports fanatics. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal is getting ready to add some Pandas and Dragons into their line-up. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of April 25