In this week’s gaming news, publishers are taking to digital for their regularly scheduled E3 appearances following the event’s cancelation, loot boxes are under fire in Australia, and Sony is sharing another one of its platform exclusives with PC.
E3 2020 is canceled, but the (digital) show must go on
Although the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) officially canceled E3 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, Microsoft and Ubisoft are carrying on as planned and have turned to delivering a digital experience for the community, writes Polygon and Windows Central. Logistical details have yet to be released, but the outlets speculate that Nintendo, Bethesda, and Square Enix, staple participants of the annual expo, may soon be following suit. Looking ahead to next year, GamesIndustry.biz brings the future of E3 into question, explaining the ESA may have a difficult time ensuring the expo is relevant, useful, and worth the cost for publishers, media, and consumers, especially in a society that is relying on technology now more so than ever.
Australia versus loot boxes
Australia’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs released an investigative report this week detailing the risks that loot boxes pose against the country’s youth. As reported by GamesIndustry.biz and PocketGamer.biz, the Standing Committee concluded that loot boxes are forms of “simulated gambling” and act as a gateway to gambling addiction. To counter this, the committee recommends that the Australian Parliament implement mandatory age restrictions on loot box purchases, banning those under 18 from making microtransactions. Game Rant applauded the committee’s recommendations, claiming the recognition of loot boxes as a form of gambling is “a massive step forward for anti-microtransaction advocates.”
“Platform exclusive” no more
Guerilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn will no longer be a PlayStation exclusive, writes The Verge and TNW, after the developer revealed that a Steam port for the open-world RPG will be released sometime this summer. This is the second Sony exclusive to be announced for PC, as Hideo Kojima’s award-winning title Death Stranding will be coming to PC later this year. Following the news, Sony’s “enthusiastic fanbase” caused an uproar online, writes The Washington Post, claiming they feel betrayed that another hit game will be losing its “exclusive” status. Forbes notes that it is a smart strategic move for Sony, however, as “gaming is still slowly transitioning from a world that revolves around platforms to a world that revolves around ecosystems.”