Category: News

Goodbye GeForce, FIFA tracking footware and Scammers

Game publishers are leaving Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming platform in droves

After its official launch last month game publishers want nothing to do with the service. Epic Game CEO Tim Sweeney is still defending the platform saying, “Epic is wholeheartedly supporting Nvidia’s GeForce NOW service with Fortnite and with Epic Games Store titles and we’ll be improving that integration over time.” Tim Sweeney believes that Nvidia is helping move the games industry towards a healthier state and implores other games companies to support this change. Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is unlike Google Stadia or PlayStation Now in that it integrates with your Steam or Epic Games Store accounts and streams games you already own and GeForce enables you the hardware to play those games on a smartphone or a laptop. The only issue is that Nvidia doesn’t have a list of games that it supports so it’s hard to know what’s available and it’s also hard to know how many publishers are leaving the streaming service. Companies that have left are Blizzard, Square Enix, Capcom, and Bethesda. Many companies have remained silent after the fact, speculation is still up in the air around why. Raphael van Lierop director of The Long Dark wrote on Twitter, “Please take your complaints to them, not us. Devs should control where their games exist.”

FIFA players can now train by putting a chip in their boots

A collaboration with Adidas, EA and Google has resulted in using technology that tracks your real-world exercise and reflects it in game. By inserting a chip into the insole of a pair of football boots the device will track all the activity and when you sync that data with FIFA Ultimate Team Mobile players will be able to use that information to train their virtual players. This tech isn’t new by any means Nintendo tried this before with The Pokewalker back in 2010 for the Nintendo DS as well as this being similar technology to your fitness tracker. Adidas and FIFA version dropped yesterday if you’d like to have a look check it out here.

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has warned game players and their parents to be mindful of an increase in video game scams

There has been over a 7% increase in reports to Scamwatch last year from Aussie game players under the age of 25. Players and the parents of underage players should be cautious about fake online stores or scammers as well as some that specifically target children. Some of the games to be mindful of are Fortnite, League of Legends and Counterstrike. League of Legends has created an animated video about account security from 2017 check it out here. Make sure to keep an eye on the younger players as to not be fooled.

GDC Postponed, Animal Crossovers and Valorant

GDC Postponed amid COVID-19

Game Developers Conference which is the largest annual conference for game developers the world over has now announced that the event shall be postponed until the concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) can be mitigated. Event organisers announced, “After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone GDC this March.” The conference will be postponed until a date later in the year. Both Sony and EA have stated their disappointment in the cancellation however expressed their understanding of the health concerns. Despite the cancellation some developers and event runners will be going digital such as the GDC Awards and the Independent Games Festival which will be streamed on Twitch on the original dates of the 16th to the 20th of March. Looks like GDC will still run to some capacity in the virtual world.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal are coming out on the same day March 20th

Both game companies have decided to create crossover content to celebrate their shared day of release. All this attention to its shared release date has encouraged Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizon Twitter pages to exchange affection and fans have decided to make a strange little video showcasing their unlikely friendship. The animation by pixel artist Inx displays a day in the life of the Doom Slayer and Isabelle is they swapped places. The Doom Slayer gathers fruit, helps neighbours and goes fishing. Meanwhile Isabelle is destroying hordes of demons and crushing hell spawn. Looks like both games are taking advantage of the promotion the release date offers. If you’d like to check out the animation click here.

League of Legends developer Riot Games creates their first FPS called Valorant

On March 2nd Riot Games unveiled Valorant which has previously been code named ‘Project A’ with a video showing 3 minutes of gameplay. Valorant appears to be a fusion of CS: GO and Overwatch, combining tactical gunfights with specialised character abilities. Riot Games currently operates one of the biggest games in the world League of Legends and is their only release in the past 10 years. However, Riot Games have released spin offs from League of Legends it’s only now that Riot looks at a First-Person Shooter. With a strong focus on the competitive market if Valorant does well we could see another esport not too far in the future. If you’d like to check out the game-play footage click here.

Banned FIFA Player, COVID-19 Precautions and Screen QLD Grants

EA FIFA pro streamer gets banned

Kurt Fenech ‘Kurt0411’ has been kicked from FIFA competition last year however, abusive and threatening behaviour still followed. Fenech has had a rocky relationship with EA and was banned in November 2019 for persistent abusive behaviour toward the company during livestreams as well as on social media. After he was banned this behaviour continued from Fenech’s supporters and FIFA community social media accounts were hacked. Fenech showed little remorse for the situation in a video addressing his ban in 2019. Fenech says in this video that, “Anyone who plays videogames has shouted slurs at their opponents, especially in FIFA. The difference is I have a live camera.” Due to Fenech showing no intention to change his behaviour EA not only banned him from FIFA competitions but also from all EA games and services. Since then Fenech is stated that he isn’t going to go away quietly. Fenech also posted on his Twitter account the details of his ban from EA. Hopefully EA can find a resolution to this situation before it gets even more out of hand.

Overwatch League matches cancelled due to the coronavirus

Not long after cancelling matches in China, Blizzard has now postponed another three weeks of Overwatch League games only this time in South Korea. This comes after the continuous spread of COVID-19 aka coronavirus. The Overwatch League made an official announcement on Twitter stating, “In order to protect the health & safety of our players, fans & staff, we are cancelling plans to host #OWL2020 matches in South Korea in Weeks 5, 6, and 7 including the Seoul Dynasty home event.” The Seoul Dynasty Event was to be hosted on the 7th and 8th of March however has been postponed indefinitely as South Korea has the highest amount of coronavirus cases outside of China. Overwatch League isn’t the only esports event suffering from the potential threat of the virus League of Legends League has postponed Week 2 of the LPL and PUBG cancelled its first major event of the year. Of course, all of this is to ensure the health & safety of the players and fans.

Screen Queensland is going to fund more video games

Screen Queensland is going to open a new round of funding for studios with up to $50,000 per grant. Queensland has been supporting local games since 2013 with a good record of success for developers, Screen Queensland has funded games such as Damsel, Speaking Simulator, Blueberry as well as upcoming games such as Unpacking.

For developers looking to apply you must make sure you meet this criteria:

  • Lives and works in Queensland
  • Is an Australian resident working with someone in a key creative role
  • Has a Producer or Line Producer who is a Queensland resident
  • Can provide the required documents for the program they are applying for
  • Owns the rights to the story they are telling
  • Has read and complies with our Terms of Trade
  • Click here to apply for the Grant.
  • Click here for the Specific Guidelines for Funding.

Red Dead Hackers, Gaming Brands and IEM Moves

IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) who host international esports tournaments are not hosting in Sydney this year.

IEM is the largest Australian esports event in the country and has been held in Sydney’s Olympic Park for the last few years. E-sports League has announced that it will be moving to Melbourne with it’s $250,000 event. The move is a huge loss for Sydney’s esports community and adding to Melbourne’s which isn’t just the centre of game development for Australia but also plays host to many other major gaming events such as PAX, Melbourne E-Sports Open and Game Connect Asia-Pacific. Martin Pakula the minister for Victorian Tourism, Sport and Major Events said, “that it’s fantastic for Victoria to be a leader in esports, given that the state already contributes so much to the video game industry.” Michal Blichars the vice president of pro gaming at ESL also said, “Australians have always generated atmospheres that could not be matched by anything else. Coming back for 2020 was a top priority, and the Melbourne Esports Open was a natural match.”

Red Dead Online is getting some unwanted visitors.

Two-headed skeletons are being released into online sessions thanks to hackers. These skeletons are aggressive and spawn in at random locations terrorizing players by surprise. Players have been capturing footage of these evil skeletons on Reddit, Twitter and Steam forums, they’ve been seen popping up throwing punches and kicks. These critters aren’t official parts of the game; however, people have been speculating whether this is part of a secret event put on by the developers Rockstar, but this is not the case. It turns out to be a weird and creative way hackers are trolling players. If you encounter a two-headed skeleton in Red Dead Online be sure to lasso and hogtie it, then drop it off a waterfall or into a lake. Or simply find a new session to play in until Rockstar can address the issue.

Brand Intimacy study shows that gaming brands rank favourably with both millennials and Gen Z.

MBLM an agency that looks at relationships between consumers and brands has conducted their annual study which ranks brands based on emotions across generations using emotional science. The top ten brands in order from 10 to 1 are: Nintendo, Xbox, YouTube, Apple, Jeep, Ford, Disney, Target, Amazon and in the top spot is PlayStation. The MBLM managing partner Mario Natarelli says, “Similar to our 2019 findings, millennials form strong connections with brands in the media and entertainment industry. The combination of the e-sports phenomenon and impact of hardware platforms has likely fuelled PlayStation to rise in the rankings. Many other brands have also risen from the previous year such as: Spotify and Netflix. Looks like the age of tech giants are bonding will with the younger generations.

Homage to Atari, Bushfire Aid and Flashpoint save Flash

Over 36,000 Flash games have been saved offline and are now downloadable

At the end of this year major web browsers will remove Flash support, however Flashpoint a project which has saved over 36,000 Flash games from disappearing forever. In 2017 Adobe announced that it would cease funding Flash by the end of 2020. Over the last 3 years Adobe have been working with companies such as; Facebook and Apple to help make the end of Flash as seamless as possible. So many games are now developed with HTML5 or Unity as the technology for game development has gotten better. Flashpoint uses open-source technology to allow people to download the full list of games and animations. Flashpoint has also stated that the games will be pulled if the copyright holder or original creator requests that. However, the combined size of all the games are over 290GB so make sure you’ve got the hard drive space. If you liked to look at the full list of games click here.

A book titled Atari 2600/7800 will showcase a visual compendium of Atari gaming history

The book will feature cover art of all Atari game consoles as well as the highs and lows of the company’s history. Bitmap Books the publisher who has also released Metal Slug: The Ultimate History and SNES Pixel Book is gearing up to release a massive 528-page volume of Atari history. There will be hardcover and softcover options for buyers as well as limited edition copies. Be expected to see the likes of Asteroids, Space Invaders and Pac-Man. With over 200 classic games and articles featuring third party development, interviews with leading industry veterans and of course prototypes of games and consoles. Prices depending on what you like will vary from $48 to $97 which seems like a fair price for an over 500-page book paying homage to a company that filled arcades and homes around the world with joy. If you are interested in purchasing the book click here.

Sony Foundation have pledged support streams to help the Australian bushfire efforts

Starting on the 1st of February until the 23rd you will see many PlayStation studios and teams from around the world taking part in supporting the effort. Sony Foundation Australia has kicked things off by pledging $200,000 to Gaming4Life charity streams on Twitch. Sony Foundation Australia has previously provided support back in 2009 Black Saturday Fires as well as the 2011 Queensland floods.

If you’d like to show your support and spare some coin check out the stream schedule for the SIE Worldwide Studios:

  • 15th February – Media Molecule from 3am – 5am AEDT (14th February, 4pm – 6pm GMT) and the Dreams Community through the day
  • 20th February – Naughty Dog from 5:30am – 7:30am AEDT (19th February 6:30pm – 8:30pm GMT)
  • 21st February – Insomniac Games’ President and Founder, Ted Price, from 8:00am – 9:30am AEDT (20th February 9pm – 10:30pm GMT)
  • 22nd February – Sid Shuman and Shuhei Yoshida team up for a joint stream

 

Twitch VS Mixer, Atari Hotels and Lawsuits

Twitch and Mixer streaming wars are spending the big bucks

A new report reveals the details of how much Twitch and Mixer are willing to spend to secure the world’s top video game streamers. Twitch which is owned by Amazon and Mixer backed by Microsoft are fighting for the top spot as the dominant streaming site. Last year Ninja also known as Tyler Blevins left Twitch for Mixer leaving behind 14 million followers which equates to over $A44 million. Soon after that Shroud was bought out of Twitch for the Mixer service with his site having the value of $A19 million. Twitch has over 15 million daily users with an estimated worth of a little under $A6 billion. Video game content generated close to $10 billion in revenue in 2019. Let’s see what this streaming war generates throughout 2020.

Atari themed hotels are coming to US cities

After Atari’s downfall in the 80’s they now hope to reinvigorate their company by entering the hospitality industry. Atari signed a contract that gives the license of it’s name and branding to a real estate developer which will build 8 hotels across the US. Firstly opening in Phoenix later in the year. Other cities to be graced with the new hotels are Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. The hotels will feature Esports studios there is currently little information about the details however they will also have “Atari gaming playgrounds” which may contain lounges for pro players. The hotels are said to contain regular hotel facilities such as a pools, gyms, restaurants, bars, bakeries and movie theatres. Atari has received a $600,000 advance for licensing the brand hopefully the hotels are a success so more hotels can be built in the long run.

Amro Elansari a Runescape streamer sued developer Jagex after the company muted him in game last year

In a lengthy lawsuit Elansari said he’d spent over 2,000 hours in the game and claimed that Jagex muting him violated his free speech and human rights. U.S. Eastern District Judge Mark Kearney dismissed the case saying that “these allegations cannot state a plausible constitutional claim, the First Amendment and its constitutional free speech guarantees restrict government actors, not private entities.” As it turns out being muted in a video game doesn’t violate your civil rights in the U.S. The Eastern District Court has had 10 suits filed by Elansari in the last 18 months one of those suits claims that he was scammed by Tinder. There is now talk about investigating what goes on in online platforms and the mini governments they form. Where is the line drawn when it comes to free speech in a virtual space for game players?

Studio Ghibli comes to Netflix

Netflix Australia has picked up 21 Studio Ghibli films

From Princess Mononoke to My Neighbour Totoro starting in February through to April. Each film will be rolled out for Netflix subscribers in Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Until recently Studio Ghibli refused to have digital copies of its content however last month began selling downloadable copies. Warner Media announced that it had been granted US streaming rights for the launch of HBO Max later in the year. For now, Studio Ghibli films are exclusive to Netflix and Netflix is going to provide subtitles in 28 different languages as well as dubbed versions for 20. The first wave of releases drops on the 1st of February and includes: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday, Porco Rosso, Ocean Waves and Tales from Earthsea.

Almost every Triple A game set to release this year has been delayed

Doom Eternal has been delayed to the same date as Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20th and Resident Evil 3 Remake will be released in April. Final Fantasy VII Remake has been pushed from March to April, Square Enix have also delayed Marvel’s Avengers from May to September. The most heartbreaking of all Cyberpunk 2077 originally planned for April has now been pushed to September as well as Iron Man VR was set to release in February and is now moved into May. With many studios feeling the pressure to deliver there is speculation around the level of crunch these developers are going through to meet such strenuous back to back deadlines. Hopefully we don’t experience to many more delays and that developers are taking care of themselves as well as getting to play the most polished versions of these games later in the year.

The 2020 Global Game Jam

Which starts on the 31st of January and will run until the 2nd of February. The Global Game Jam is the world’s largest game jam event which takes place around the world at different physical locations. This is an opportunity for game developers and alike to be creative, share experiences and express themselves in a multitude of ways using the interactive medium of video games. The event runs for 48 hours and encourages all kinds of people with different backgrounds to get involved. In 2019 there was over 860 locations in 113 countries creating over 9,000 games. Australia has many different locations where you can participate such as Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Launceston, Northbridge WA and Canberra. If you’d like to check out a location that suits you best, click on the link for more details here.

Gayming at the Powerhouse!

Hey friends! Crinj here with your gaming news roundup ahead of the show this week.

Borderlands 3 Announced

Gearbox Software has announced Borderlands 3 at PAX East in Boston. The announcement trailer showed off four new playable Vault Hunters, cell-shaded visuals, wide open loot ’n’ shoot areas, and over one billion guns. The original Borderlands is also being re-released as Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition with new features including 4K resolution, HDR lighting and a Borderlands 2-esque minimap. This remaster, and more details about Borderlands 3 are to be released on April 4th.

GOG and CD Projekt Red Expand

The owner of Good Old Games, and developer of The Witcher, CD Projekt has revealed plans to create around 250 new jobs, despite a fall in profits. The company’s revenue dropped over 20 percent from 2017 to 2018. However, CD Projekt’s president, Adam Kicinski said that last year represented the “most intensive period in the group’s history,” regarding its focus on creative capabilities. CD Projekt has teams currently developing Cyberpunk 2077, as well as a yet to be announced project targeting mobile devices.

Queerly Represent Me to bring Gayming to MELT

Non-profit organisation, Queerly Represent Me have announced plans to work with the Brisbane Powerhouse to present a Gayming event as part of the Festival of Queer Arts and Culture, MELT. The event will feature panels about queer experiences, and a curated collection of games. More information about Gayming will be released on the Brisbane Powerhouse website on April 12th, and expressions of Interest are open to queer individuals wanting to contribute until May 17th here.

Another Mini Console?

SEGA is throwing their hat into the mini-retro console ring with the SEGA Mega Drive Mini. Including 2 controllers and HD video output, this mini system is set to contain 40 games, with Ecco the Dolphin, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Sonic the Hedgehog already confirmed. The console is available to preorder now, and will release on September 19th.

That’s all for now! For more gaming updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @ZedGamesAU, and subscribe to the podcast!

Zed Games Weekly News Update 20 – 27 March

Hey all! Adrian here with your weekly Zed Games news update.

EA Layoffs

EA has laid-off around 350 of its 9000 employees due to organisational changes. CEO Andrew Wilson stated that these layoffs will allow EA to “better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players.”

He went on to say that, “as part of this, we have made changes to our marketing and publishing organization, our operations teams, and we are ramping down our current presence in Japan and Russia as we focus on different ways to serve our players in those markets.”

EA says it will look after affected staff and help them transition to new roles, but they haven’t detailed how. This news comes just over a month after EA laid-off up to 50 staff members at the Australian FireMonkeys studio.

Apple Arcade

Apple is launching a subscription-based game service called Apple Arcade. The service will provide unlimited access to curated titles from the App Store from partners like Sega, Konami, Disney, Sumo Digital, and Cartoon Network. Apple says it’ll deliver over 100 exclusive titles for Apple Arcade’s launch by “contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring the games to life.”

Games included in the service will be playable across iOS, MacOS and Apple TV, with the option to also play offline. Apple Arcade will launch in over 150 countries this Spring, but pricing details are yet to be confirmed.

State of Play

PlayStation delivered its first-ever State of Play livestream, featuring a slew of upcoming game announcements. Sony doubled-down on support for PlayStation VR, announcing Marvel’s Iron Man VR – and in perhaps the best-ever redemption arc for a game, No Man’s Sky Beyond is receiving a super slick-looking VR mode.

A first-person shooter follow-up to London Heist, Blood & Truth is releasing on the 28th of May,. We also scored a new look at the narratives of Mortal Kombat 11, Days Gone and Concrete Genie.

New Nindies!

Nintendo’s announced a swathe of indie games coming to the Nintendo Switch in a recent Nintendo Direct livestream. Hard-as-nails platformer Cuphead, Zelda rhythm-based spinoff Cadence of Hyrule, and my personal favourite shown at PAX AUS 2018, Neo Cab, are all coming to the platform.

Other titles include Overland, My Friend Pedro, The Red Lantern, Dark Wood, Stranger Things 3, and more. Don’t forget to hit up the Nintendo eShop and support your indie faves!

That’s all for now! For more gaming updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as @ZedGamesAU!