This week, Discord launches its own store to challenge Steam, Riot Games’ workplace culture is exposed, and Epic Games bypasses Google Play on Android.
Discord Launches Digital Storefront Beta
Discord launched a beta for their digital retail store this week in a competitive move that mirrors Steam’s decision to add Discord-like chat functionality to their service just a few weeks ago. It seems the two immensely popular services are squaring off to act as the all-in-one gaming hub for PC users everywhere. With a user base of over 150 million, Discord’s decision to launch a digital storefront represents a sizable threat to Steam’s stranglehold on the space. The news was originally reported by Variety in an exclusive, and was picked up by publications such as WIRED, Engadget, Business Insider, along with many top-tier gaming publications. For now, the beta has been rolled out to approximately 50,000 Discord users in Canada. Their premium service, Discord Nitro, will now come with a curated selection of free games as an added feature.
Riot Games Workplace Culture Exposed for Sexism, Harassment, Racism, Homophobia, and More
An in-depth report on the state of Riot Games’ workplace culture was published by Kotaku this week. The publication spoke to dozens of employees at the studio behind League of Legends and uncovered some grim details about the “bro culture” of sexism, structural inequality, and employee/fan harassment that permeates the company. Shocking details included email threads in which senior employees discussed which junior employees they would like to sleep with, blatant displays of sexism in management, and more. A blog post by former Riot employee Meagan Marie was published the next day, echoing the details in the Kotaku report with her firsthand experience. Some of the anecdotes she mentioned also included instances of racial and homophobic hate speech, as well as body-shaming female cosplayers to the point of tears. Riot Games responded by stating these offenses were an “affront” to their workplace ethos, and not indicative of the values they stand for. The story generated much discussion on social media and was picked up by outlets like IGN, Mashable, and ESPN.
Epic Games Bypasses Google Play on Android
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney spoke to PocketGamer.biz about why they chose not to launch Fortnite on Google Play, which takes a 30 percent revenue cut from apps on its marketplace, a policy that Sweeney called “disproportionate” as the remaining 70 percent of revenue must cover game development, operation, and support. Instead, Android users will have to download the game directly from the Fortnite website. Sweeney expressed that he hopes mobile app marketplaces follow the trajectory of PC game marketplaces and become a more competitive ecosystem. The breadth of coverage this announcement received is a testament to the game’s popularity, as it was picked up by a variety of top-tier outlets like Forbes, Mashable, Bloomberg, and more.