China cracks down on online gaming because of…Animal Crossing?
China recently removed all sales listings for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, reports Ars Technica, after players created pro-democracy protest images within the game and shared them on social media. As a result, China announced it is banning its citizens from playing or chatting with international players in online games altogether. But that’s not all – as noted by TweakTown, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will also be placing all single-player games under surveillance, implementing a gaming curfew for those under 18, and setting a limit on how much money minors can spend through microtransactions. The Sixth Axis was skeptical about how effective the new policies will be, noting they will certainly “push games back underground.” MXDWN echoed this sentiment, noting that Chinese gamers will “certainly find a way around this.”
Gamescom 2020 goes digital in light of COVID-19 pandemic
The German government issued a directive this week suspending all major events through August due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving Gamescom 2020 to cancel its annual in-person event, reports GameSpot. As noted by VentureBeat, Gamescom is “one of the largest fan events for gaming on the planet,” with more than 370,000 people coming out to Cologne, Germany to attend each year. Instead of an in-person event, organizers will be hosting a digital version of the trade show, says Kotaku and PC Gamer, and all ticket holders will be automatically refunded. More information about the digital event is expected to be released within the coming weeks.
Cure your stay-at-home boredom with the help of Sony
As part of its “Play At Home” initiative, Sony is giving Journey and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection to all PlayStation 4 owners for free, says CNET – no PS Plus subscription required. The initiative is meant to not only help players pass time while under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to lend a hand to indie game developers. As explained by The Hollywood Reporter and Engadget, Sony formed a $10M fund to help small gaming studios who have been impacted by COVID-19. More information will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, Forbes encourages players to “definitely” give Journey – the popular indie adventure title from Annapurna Interactive – a spin.