Category: News

A Rough Week In Gaming News

Ubisoft executive Maxime Beland resigns after assault allegations

Ubisoft also revealed that Tommy Francois the Editorial Vice President is on disciplinary leave pending the outcome of an investigation, Tommy has also been suspended until further notice. There are also reports of another employee at Ubisoft in Toronto being fired for engaging in behaviours that don’t align with what is expected as an employee. Maxime Beland’s resignation follows after a string of allegations posted on social media accusing him of choking a female employee at a Far Cry party as well as several other forms of sexual harassment. Ubisoft were reportedly aware of those allegations and chose not to act. Yves Guillemot Ubisoft’s Chief Executive has released a letter titled ‘Change starts today’ that details Beland’s resignation and Francois suspension, it also goes on to say, “Ubisoft will not tolerate workplace misconduct and will continue taking disciplinary actions against anyone who engages in harassment, discrimination and other behaviours that infringe on our Code of Fair Conduct.”

Death Threats and harassment for The Last of Us 2 team

Developers of The Last of Us 2 Naughty Dog have issues a statement condemning harassment after several members of the team were subjected to abusive messages. The game was launched on the 19th of June and since then fans upset with outcome of character narratives have been spewing hateful comments, some of the team affected are Neil Druckmann and voice actor Laura Bailey. Just recently the studio released a statement in support of their staff saying, “Although we welcome critical discussion, we condemn any form of harassment of threats directed towards our team and cast. Their safety is our top priority, but we must all work together to root out this type of behaviour and maintain a constructive and compassionate discourse.” Despite the vitriol The Last of Us 2 has shown to be a massive hit for Sony, it’s one of the fastest-selling PS4 exclusives to date, selling 4 million copies in just the first 3 days.

Kongregate a web gaming company and video game publisher are no longer taking new game submissions from Flash

The company announced on recently that there are over 128,000 games available on the service and that there is unlikely to be any more. Kongregate also says that they will be shutting down many of the site’s social features as well as GamesIndustry.biz reports that several staff were laid off as part of the shift. Adobe announced that it would end support for Flash this year and multiple browsers now block the standard default. You can however still play the games manually when you enable Flash. Head over to the Kongregate website to see what Flash games you can still play.

Trump Banned, Aussie Games Industry and Free Stuff

Donald Trump gets suspended on Twitch for hateful conduct

Trump typically uses the Twitch platform to broadcast rallies online as well as other events. After Twitter had reported to Twitch that his channel has been suspended Twitch released a statement saying, “Hateful conduct in not allowed on Twitch. President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.” There were two instances that constitute hateful conduct, one where Trump calls Mexican immigrants “rapists” from a 2016 campaign rally that was recently re-broadcast and a comment from a recent rally where he accused a hypothetical “very tough hombre” of “breaking into the window of a young woman whose husband is away” to illustrate a point about what would happen if people couldn’t dial 911. Twitch says, “Like anyone else, politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules.

The Australian video games industry is skying rocketing in popularity

Working in the games industry is quickly becoming one of the most desirable career paths for Australians. Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) says that 91% of Aussie household have a piece of video game hardware, the industry in Australia could be worth $24 billion by 2023, and they project that esports alone could reach $3 billion in just three years. A recent report from Lenovo is showing that 1 in 12 Australians between the age of 16 and 45 now say their dream job is in gaming. Which equates to over 800,000 people. Not to mention that recently the coronavirus pandemic saw more than 1.2 million people turning to gaming for social connections. Unfortunately, the federal government isn’t showing any support of the industry. Ron Curry the chief executive of IGEA says, “With the current government, it’s culturally embedded in them not to support video games. Our brightest and smartest talent is leaving and going offshore. There’s a whole number of ways games could be used beyond pure entertainment and I think that’s the exciting part of the industry and where those transferable skills are.” Hopefully, we soon see a change in the mindset around the games industry in this country.

Humble Bundle raises over $4.3 million for the Fight for Racial Justice

The charity bundle was launched in early June and ended with close to $4.4 million dollars. Humble said in a statement, “In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery, and tragically many more in the Black community, we’ve teamed up with developers, publishers, and creators to help support organizations fight for racial equality.

Unity’s Learn Premium suite for game developers is now free

Learn Premium is an educational platform for everyone and anyone who is looking to create using the game engine. Unity made the move to help folks stuck at home during COVID-19 however they have now decided to keep the doors open indefinitely to help those looking to better their understanding of the Unity engine. For those of you interested in learning more click here.

Mixer shutdown, development funding and Comic books

Mixer shuts down and fuses with Facebook Gaming

As of July 22nd Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer will be closing and intends to move existing partners over to Facebook Gaming. This shock announcement means that anyone partnered with Mixer or who streams on Mixer will be transitioned to Facebook Gaming which started on the 23rd of June. Phil Spence the head of Microsoft’s gaming said in an interview with The Verge, “I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.” All this is designed to compete with Twitch of course by combining the audiences of Mixer and Facebook Gaming they might stand a chance against the streaming giant. For anyone who currently has outstanding Ember balances, channel subscriptions or Mixer Pro subscriptions you will receive Xbox gift card credits. The biggest news of course is what do big names like Shroud and Ninja do since being paid to make the big move to Mixer? It is rumoured that they’ll be able to return to Twitch if they so choose, let’s wait and see what happens.

Kowloon Nights a global video game investment fund has launched a $2 million fund for Black creators

This fund is called the Fairchild Initiative and will support creators and studio that work with PC and console projects. Kendall Davis an advisor for Kowloon said in a statement, “Kowloon Night was founded on the idea of empowering creators to create memorable games and stories, and the Fairchild Initiative carries the same ethos. I am proud to lead this initiative with a focus on empathy, infrastructure, and mentorship.” Any development studio that is majority-owned by black creators who are looking to apply for the grant or seeking further information click here.

Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed again

Cyberpunk 2077 has been moved to November 19th in a statement released from CD Projekt Red saying, “Those of you who are familiar with the way we make games know that we won’t ship something which is not ready. “Ready when it’s done” is not a phrase we say because it sounds right, it’s something we live by even when we know we’ll take the head for it.” They go on to say, “Our intention is to make Cyberpunk 2077 something that will stay with you for years to come. In the end, we hope you understand why we did what we did.” To see the full statement see image below.

In lighter news Cyberpunk 2077 will be getting a comic book adaptation called Trauma Team the series will be published by Dark Horse Comics and is set to release on the 9th of September this year. The comic is said to follow the story of Nadia and emergency medical technician for Trauma Team International, and the sole survivor of a failed rescue mission. She then agrees to continue work on a new mission and she finds herself and her team in an even more dangerous situation.

Not E3 Announcements and PAX Aus 2020 Postponed

Summer Game Fest, IGN Summer of Gaming and of course PS5 Announcements

That’s right let’s recap some of what’s been happening with the replacement E3 events this last week. Due to the coronavirus pandemic E3 2020 was cancelled earlier in the year however thanks to the awesome power of the internet streaming vir Twitch, YouTube and other platforms has made game publishers and developers game reveals, announcements and revolutionary game changes easier to broadcast despite the physical setbacks.

Let’s run through some of the highlights so far

Star Wars Squadron was announced by EA and dropped the reveal trailer teasing you with; space combat, X-wings, Y-wings, A-wings and more.

PS5 unveiling which showcases a design not yet seen in any other console made by Sony. If you haven’t already seen the memes circulating might I suggest checking it out. Jim Ryan the President of Sony Interactive Entertainment has said, “The PlayStation sits in the living room of most homes and we kind of felt it would be nice to provide a design that would really grace most living areas. We think we’ve been successful in that.”

Just before Sony PS5 reveal Xbox dropped another promo for the Xbox Series X showing off new footage of games as well as some gameplay.

PlayStation also revealed many games coming to the future gen console, some of the big ones to highlight are:

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales as a stand-alone game. PlayStation blog post says, “The latest adventure in the Spider-Man universe will build on and expand Marvel’s Spider-Man through an all new story, Players will experience the rise of Miles Morales as he masters new powers to become his own Spider-Man.”

There’s also Horizon Forbidden West the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn this instalment will feature Aloy yet again travelling farther than ever before where she will encounter new wildlife, beautiful scenery, and of course captivating narrative.

Ratchet and Clank are back in a new game that will feature a story about multiple dimensions.

Other games coming to the PS5 are: Resident Evil Village (Sequel to Resident Evil 7), Hitman 3, Demon’s Souls Remake, GTA 5, The Last of Us Part III, Destiny 2, Gran Turismo 7, and NBA 2K21. There are many many more and if you’d like to check out the full list click here.

PAX Australia 2020 has officially been postponed

The PAX team posted a statement on the 16th of June saying, “It is with a heavy heart that today we announce the postponement of PAX Australia 2020, due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 in Australia and globally. While we can’t move forward with PAX Aus 2020 in the way we normally would, we are finding new and exciting ways to connect you and the PAX community with your favourite content and creators. Stay Safe and be kind.”

(Full Statement Below)

PlayStation Pays Up, Freeplay and Gamer Grandma

Sony has been ordered to pay up $3.5 million after falsely advertising games to Australian customers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that Sony customer service representatives told customers that Sony wasn’t required to refund digital currency if it had been longer than 14 days since the purchase. Every time a user would try to purchase a game on the PlayStation Store an email would be sent asking the user if they would like to “Top Up” their digital wallet. Little did they know that these funds added were “non-refundable”. This notification would pop up when a user would try to purchase a game but had insufficient funds. Chair Rod Sims of the ACCC has said, “Consumer guarantee rights do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded and certainly do not disappear after 14 days or any other arbitrary date claimed by a game store or developer.” Sony has admitted liability and is expected to pay the ACCC’s legal costs as well as the settlement of $3.5 million.

Hamako Mori is the Guinness World Record holder for the oldest gaming YouTuber

At 90 years old Gamer Grandma plays her way into the record books, every day for 3 hours or more she plays games like Call of Duty, Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto or NeiR Automata. She then shares her experience on YouTube for her more than 320,000 fans. Hamako says that she is really looking forward to getting the PlayStation 5 when it comes out. She also says, “you can do whatever you want in a game, games is what makes me motivated in life.” Congratulations Hamako on your world record.

Freeplay Independent Games Festival starts on the 10th of June

Freeplay is the world’s longest running independent games festival based in Melbourne and brings in the likes of many independent game developers. With so much on from public events, exhibitions, workshops, and awards the idea behind Freeplay is to bring all from within the games community and alike together to celebrate the artistry of indie development. This year is a bit different with everything being hosted online but if you’d like to look at what the schedule and the full details click here.

Itch.io have a Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

This special deal features over 740 games with the value of over $3,000 for just $5 all in order to raise money to help support organizations that are working directly with those affected by racial injustice, inequality and police brutality against black people. All the money raised will be donated to NAACO Legal Defence and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund. If you are looking to support this cause or maybe you are a developer interesting in adding your project to the bundle click here.

Online Events, PS5 Specs, and New Speed Run Record

Sony’s PlayStation 5 tech specs and the all the details

The next generation console will be arriving later this year which is generating a lot of hype however there have been many unanswered questions from Sony. Finally, however, Sony have officially revealed what is going on under the hood of the PS5. With a new custom audio chip designed to process audio and 3D audio, 5 epic games on launch (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Godfall, Outriders, Fortnite and Destiny 2) also little hint there maybe Horizon Zero Dawn but nothing is confirmed. Sony are also promising no loading screens and virtually no time wasted waiting for games to install. The PS5 is going to be backward compatible with PS4 games and also contains a 8-core Cell CPU which cost almost $400 million to develop, supports 8k resolution, PSVR and the controller may actually have a built in mic feature. There are so many more details on the specifications of this next generation console to check it all out click here.

The Summer Games Fest that will be hosted online on the 4th of June

There will be loads of other game’s companies showcasing their works as well as big announcements. The Summer Games Fest has been running since May and will end in August this year featuring Cyberpunk 2077, World of Warcraft, EA Play, Marvel’s Avengers, and a Developer Showcase looking at indie developments.

There’s also Gamespot’s Play For All event which started at the beginning of June and is a multi-week event showing news, previews, interviews and lots more. This event will be raising money for the COVID-19 relief efforts and is in partnership with Direct Relief. Some of the publishers attending are: CD Projekt Red, EA, Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Google Stadia, Square Enix, Sega, and many more. There currently have daily streams which you can check out on the websites click here for Summer Games Fest and here for Play For All.

Ryan “Simply” Reeves a well-known speed runner for Super Mario 64 from Minnesota USA has broken the speed run world record

After nearly 8 years of trying and trying again Ryan has done it with an incredible time of 1hr, 38mins and 28secs. The previous record was 1hr, 38mins and 43secs shaving off 15secs from the previous time. The special moment was captured on Twitch.tv from Ryan’s stream after trying for almost 6 hours that day he finally had his moment. Once he broke the record Ryan bursts into tears of joy, his mother comes into the room asking if he is okay, he tells her that he finally did it and broke the world record, both of them were overjoyed and began to hug. Ryan’s mum then insists that his probably dehydrated and needs a drink of water. Ryan’s Mum says, “his always been number one in my heart.” Ryan aka Simply says, “I have the best family and the best community, I am blessed. Thank you everyone.”

D&D, Gaming Grandma, Valorant Launch and Sales

JB-HI-FI have some awesome gaming deals

Sony have started a promotion and JB are jumping on the bandwagon with some awesome offers. Until June 8th you can grab PlayStation Plus for $24 less than usual not to mention loads of triple A games dropping in price such as Death Stranding, Days Done, God of War, Until Dawn, Bloodborne and many more if you’d like to check out the full list click here.

The gaming grandma Shirley Curry is taking a break

Skyrim’s one and only gaming grandma is an extremely popular video games players at the sprightful age of 84. Shirley has been playing Skyrim in a roleplaying fashion for several years with over 800,000 YouTube subscribers. Unfortunately Shirley has been having a rough time lately and posted in her vlog over the weekend that she will no longer be uploading daily videos only occasionally and she will be taking a two week break to get her health in check. Shirley has also expressed her frustrations with trolls and some followers posting irritating or hurtful comments. Shirley has said, “I know I shouldn’t let these things stress me out, but they do. From now on I will respond to very, very few comments. I will be deleting a lot of comments.” She also said, “I’m trying to get me health under control, I’m not trying to be cranky.”

Valorant launches on June the 2nd

Riot Game’s tactile shooter that has been taking the gaming world by storm officially releases on the 2nd of June. Valorant has been in closed beta since April will be available for free on PC and across a majority of regions worldwide. And yes, that includes Australia, unfortunately we missed out on the beta down under due to technical difficulties resulted from COVID-19 however we do now officially get the final product on the 2nd. For Australians who managed to gain access to Valorant’s Beta, Riot have advised that the game will be taken offline on May 28th (more likely the 29th). All account progress will be reset, and cosmetic items will be refunded. Those accounts however will be gifted a 20% bonus on any cosmetic currency.

Dungeons & Dragons Live 2020 have announced their celebrity line up

D&D Live has partnered with the Red Nose Day Charity and from June 18th to the 20th fans of D&D or fans of the celebrity players will be able to watch a series of D&D games. Featuring stars like David Harbour from Stranger Things, Brandon Routh from Superman Returns and Deborah Ann Woll from Daredevil, The Punisher and True Blood other big names are Thomas Middleditch, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Kevin Sussman, Matthew Lillard, Sam Richardson, and Karen Gillan. If you would like to look at the event for more details click here.

Club Penguin Shut Down, Minecraft Sales and Ubisoft Sues

Disney shuts down Club Penguin clones amid abuse allegations

All unauthorised Club Penguin clones are being ordered to shut down after it has come out that some players are using the platform to share explicit and abuse messages. The BBC are investigating the unofficial Club Penguin reboot which has had over 7 million players, the investigation has exposed the platform for hosting racist, homophobic, and sexually explicit language. Over the last 12 years the official Club Penguin was a once an immensely popular teen hangout then was purchased by Disney in 2007 as part of a $700 million deal this was all before it was shut down in 2017. According to the BBC content filters were disabled on multiple serves and moderators had stopped removing inappropriate content. There have even been incidents of sexually explicit messages shared resulting in off-site Zoom meetings. Disney have said in a statement, “Child safety is a top priority for the Walt Disney Company and we are appalled by the allegations of criminal activity and abhorrent behaviour on this unauthorised website that is illegally using Club Penguin brand and characters for its own purposes. We will continue to enforce our rights against this and other unauthorised uses of the Club Penguin game.”

Minecraft sell over 200 million copies in 11 years

The milestone has come early to the developers Mojang Studios since the video game sales boom from COVID-19. Around this time last year Minecraft sales were at 176 million copies and was at 91 million active players now however is at 126 million active players. The head of the studio Helen Chiang has posted in the Microsoft blog saying, “In these extraordinary times, we are reminded more than ever before the important role games like Minecraft can play in providing an escape from the day-to-day and fostering social connections between friends and families.”

Ubisoft are suing both Apple and Google for selling a ‘carbon copy’ of Rainbow Six: Siege

Ubisoft are upset at both companies for allowing the Chinese company Alibaba to sell a mobile shooter Area F2 (AF2) on their digital storefronts. The developer of Rainbow Six: Siege has said that AF2 is a near carbon copy of the game. Ubisoft have notified Apple and Google of the alleged copyright infringement however both companies have refused to remove the title from the App Store and Google Play Store. Ubisoft have said, “Virtually every aspect of AF2 is copied from R6S from the operator selection screen to the final scoring screen and everything in between.” The situation has turned into a lawsuit and will be pushed into Los Angeles federal court.

Gaming Boom, Fan Films, AOC in ACNH and a long wait ahead

Bethesda say it will be years before The Elder Scrolls VI will release more details

The Elder Scroll VI was announced at E3 in 2018 and there wasn’t much information given away at the event. Even though there wasn’t much to go off the hype is still very real with fans overjoyed by the announcement. At PAX East in 2019 the Executive Producer Todd Howard said that The Elder Scrolls VI was a very long way off and just recently Pete Hines from Marketing and Communications for Bethesda said it doesn’t matter how many times you ask the answer is still the same, so it’s looking like there won’t be any Elder Scroll surprises anytime soon.

The month of March was the largest gaming boom in almost 10 years

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic video game sales skyrocketed, numbered from the US NPD Group which analyses industry data has recorded over $1.6 billion USD for the month of March. That is the highest reported figure since 2008. Data collected from GSD another company that analyses data, collects information from game companies in many countries including Australia and showed that 4.3 million games were sold between March 16th and March 22nd. Australian physical game sales also soared with over a 275% increase during that time. That was also when Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing New Horizons was released. Typically, this time of year can be a dry period for the industry so to jump to such record high numbers is hugely impressive.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going door to door but not in the way you might think

American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was meeting people by island dropping in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. She tweeted on May 8th that she would like to visit random people’s islands and to leave a note on the bulletin board with their Dodo Codes. Cortez then proceeded to share her interactions on Twitter and by the end she even attended an Animal Crossing graduation ceremony. If you would like to have a look check out her twitter page @AOC.

A Cyberpunk 2077 fan film by Phoenix Program teaser trailer has been released

Directed by Vi-Dan Tran who is a member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and featuring big named cosplayers like Maul Cosplay, Stylouz Cosplay and Kamiko Cosplay. The teaser only runs for a 1 minute and 15 seconds however it’s totally action backed and people are even suggesting it might as well be promotion for the actual game. If you’d like to have a watch click here.

Pewdiepie deals, Rigged Esports and X Series

Five Australian men have been charged with CS:GO match fixing

Official charges have been laid against these five men following a police investigation, this soon follows an initial arrest of six players back in August 2019. According to the Victorian Police four 20 year-olds and a 27 year old have been charged with “use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes”. These charges relate to five matches in a CS:GO tournament after an investigation was prompted by tip-off. They will face court in September on the 15th with the potential for up to 10 years in prison. David Sharpe the soon to be head of Sport Integrity Australia has said, “I had early discussion with a former esports CEO around integrity within their sport and I am looking forward to engaging with them in my new role to work around the potential risks and threats.” There has been an increase in esports betting since traditional sports have been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. The ABC also reported that Australia’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit had been investigating links between organised crime and an unnamed Australian Overwatch team.

YouTube snags Pewdiepie

With so much competing for the streaming market and with Mixer taking Ninja, Shroud and King Gothalion then Twitch holding onto DrLupo, timthetatman, and LIRIK, now YouTube have made a deal with Felix Kjellberg better known as Pewdiepie. YouTube are also fully aware of his racist outbursts on stream such as calling out racial slurs during a livestream and a situation that lead to Campo Santo games preventing him from promoting Firewatch. Despite all this Pewdiepie is still one of the biggest streamers on the planet with over 104 million YouTube subscribers and over 25 billion views since his channel began in 2010. Pewdiepie said in a statement, “YouTube has been my home for over a decade now and live streaming on the platform feels like a natural fit as I continue to look for new ways to create content and interact with fans worldwide. Live streaming is something I’m focusing on a lot in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future.”

Xbox Series X and all the details from Microsoft has been revealed

Ever since The Game Awards in 2019 Microsoft have been teasing us about it’s next generation console which is looks more like a PC tower than what we’ve traditionally known consoles to be. Gamespot have complied everything you need to know about the Xbox Series X console in one article which features information on the release date, hardware, the controller, games, specs and more, click here for all the details.