This week, Alec Holowka passed away proceeding accusations of sexual assault, a popular toy reviews YouTube channel is facing an FTC complaint, and Microsoft partnered with SK Telecom to test Project xCloud in South Korea.
Game developer dies following sexual assault accusations
Last week, Alec Holowka, a coder, composer, and designer of the popular indie game Night in the Woods faced sexual abuse accusations from fellow indie developer Zoe Quinn. Soon after the accusations surfaced, Infinite Fall, the studio behind Night in the Woods, cut all ties with Holowka. This week, Holowka’s sister Eileen took to Twitter to reveal that Holowka has died. While Eileen’s Twitter has since been set to private, IGN reports that Eileen tweeted that Holowka struggled for many years with “mood and personality disorders,” and his death comes as a result of Holowka feeling as though he “lost too much” after the accusations and the studio split. Eileen did not disclose the cause of Holowka’s death.
On Tuesday, Night in the Woods co-creator Scott Benson released a statement regarding Holowka, reports VICE, Polygon, and Kotaku. In the lengthy statement, Benson explains that his and Holowka’s working relationship was “toxic” and “complicated.” Moreover, in the wake of the ongoing accusations and unfolding stories, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), The IGDA Foundation (IGDAF), and the games mental health group Take This released a statement, shares VentureBeat, addressing issues in the video game industry such as trauma, abuse, mental illness, suicide, and more.
Popular YouTube toy review channel accused of deceptive advertising
Popular YouTube channel “Ryan ToysReview,” a channel dedicated to toy reviews and unboxings, received a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint this week from Truth in Advertising, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the masses on the realities and fictions of advertisements. In the complaint, Truth in Advertising accuses Ryan ToysReview of purposefully blurring the lines between sponsored and organic content. The New York Times explains, “Nearly 90 percent of the Ryan ToysReview videos have included at least one paid product recommendation aimed at preschoolers, a group too young to distinguish between a commercial and a review.” The channel has more than 20 million subscribers and 30 billion views. According to Fox Business and AdAge, Ryan’s father has claimed that the well-being of the channel’s viewers is a top priority, and the channel has followed YouTube’s terms and laws. The investigation is ongoing.
Microsoft partners with SK Telecom; will test Project xCloud gaming on 5G next month
Microsoft has partnered with mobile carrier SK Telecom, the largest mobile carrier in South Korea, to bring its Project xCloud streaming service to customers. Starting in October, Microsoft will be previewing Project xCloud to “select” customers in order to test the streaming service over a 5G or LTE network. The companies did not disclose which or how many customers will be selected. In the official partnership press release, Microsoft stated that SK Telecom will be an “exclusive operating partner” for Project xCloud in South Korea and hopes that the preview will enable Microsoft to learn more about the game streaming market in South Korea. The Verge commented, “Microsoft’s partnership here is interesting and it could hint at further carrier exclusives for xCloud in the future.” Engadget, GamesIndustry.biz, Gamasutra, and more covered the news.