Category: News

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.

COVID-19 Relief, Toxic Valorant and Game Leaks

A Riot employee has posted a video of sexist harassment while playing Valorant.

Valorant is still in its testing phase however still manages to sustain harassment within its player base. Riot is no stranger to this type of behaviour such as League of Legends. Riot’s UX designer who goes by the handle Greenily posted on Twitter a video of her time in solo queue on Valorant. The video shows another male player saying he was looking for an ‘egirl,’ pretending she was his girlfriend and after she told him to be quiet began calling her slurs. Greenily wrote on Twitter, “My dealings are not just constrained to this single clip. This is since I’ve ever played online games. And for the record yes, I muted him. Does that mean he won’t go making other people uncomfortable though? No. If you’re in one of these parties, please help speak up and report these people. Because I hope this is not the kind of community you want to be playing with.” Hopefully Riot act quickly before this type of behaviour takes root within the game.

The gaming world does what it can to raise funds for COVID-19 relief.

Bethesda is intending to donate $1 million to both local and international organisations working on the front line fighting the pandemic. Bethesda are also offering fans game opportunities to chip in as well. $250,000 will be going to UNICEF, $250,000 will be donated to local relief efforts within communities and $500,000 will be given to Direct Relief who also recently received $400,000 from the Corona Relief Done Quickly speed running showcase. Humble Bundle also out played themselves with raising over $6.5 million through their Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle. They sold over 200,000 bundles with 100% of the money raised sent to Doctors Without Borders, Direct Relief, Partners in Health and International Rescue Committee. Doctors Without Borders said, “We will receive close to $1.5 million in donations, which will enable our teams to launch emergency programs to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in the hardest hit communities, care for infected patients, and respond to the pandemic’s consequences on local health systems.”

Cyberpunk 2077 has had a leak.

Not long after Last of Us 2 story leaked online so does roughly 25 minutes of Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay footage. Don’t worry we won’t reveal any spoilers, the videos aren’t in English and seem to be recorded from a closed gameplay session from E3 in 2019. In saying that the spoilers for Cyberpunk 2077 are no where near as the same level of content as Last of Us 2. Links to both games footage are floating around Twitter and other social media platforms so be careful not to look if you are trying to avoid spoilers.

Micro transactions, Facebook Gaming and Travis Scott

PCGamingWiki is Now Tracking Micro Transactions in Games

A new category has been opened on the wiki page founded by Andrew Tsai who says in a post on Monday that, “Many PC gamers don’t have a clue what they are getting into before they install the latest ‘free to play’ game, These games could contain manipulative loot boxes, hopelessly unfair grinds or game imbalancing pay-to-win unlocks.” PCGamingWiki typically looks at things like hardware, software and network related to gaming. It is a technology focused platform. The idea of this micro transactions monitoring project is to track gambling on loot boxes, cosmetics, game advantages, in-game currency, and pay-to-skip mechanics. This wiki will also keep an eye on monetization categories such as ad-supported, free-to-play or subscription. It should be interesting to see what they find.

Facebook Have Launched Their Very Own Video Game Streaming App

Facebook has decided to take on the streaming giants such as, Twitch, Mixer and YouTube. The launch of this streaming service wasn’t to be expected until later in the year however has officially come out now. You can watch now on the Facebook app (Only Android currently however, iOS coming soon) you can also watch in your computer browser. You’ll be able to follow streamers, talk in the chat to other viewers as well as play games from Facebook’s library and stream them. Some of the popular games to watch on the platform right now are, Age of Empires, American Truck Simulator, COD Modern Warfare, GTA 5, PUBG and of course Fortnite. These streams currently have lower numbers but that could change which a shift in algorithms that promote streams on the Facebook app. Let’s see how Facebook take on the video game streaming world.

Travis Scott Will Debut His New Song in Fortnite This Week

Travis Scott is a very famous, Grammy-nominated rapper and producer who is going to ‘tour’ in Fortnite from the 23rd – 25th of April to release his new single Astronomical. Travis Scott isn’t just touring his also going to be a more permanent part of the Fortnite universe since joining the Fortnite Icon Series, which is the collection of in-game cosmetics that are inspired by artists and content creators. If you join the event you will be able to pick up an Astroworld Cyclone Glider and two loading screens for free. If you’d like to check it out Travis Scott’s concerts will be hosted at different times and days however if you’d like to tune in from Australia the Asia & Oceania concert starts at 2PM AEST on the 25th of April.

Valorant Takeover, DualSense and More Delays

Valorant is taking over the gaming landscape and it hasn’t even been released yet

The new video game Valorant is the first of its kind of Riot Games being a first-person shooter with game play objectives similar to Counter Strike – Global Offensive and special character abilities like Overwatch. Over the Easter weekend Valorant smashed records on Twitch (video game streaming platform) which had over 34 million hours watched in a single day in just one game category. It also had a peak viewership of 1.7 million which is second only to another Riot Game, League of Legends during the World Championship. All this attention has generated hype around Valorant becoming an esport, and the game is still in its beta phase, with Valorant doing so well so early on only time will tell after it’s official release how big it’s really going to get.

Sony’s new DualSense PlayStation Controller is getting some hype

When it comes to console controllers it can be really challenging to get it right, however Sony have released the new DualSense controller and has been receiving very positive feedback from game tech critics. After the release of the PS4 controller which was argued to not be that different from the PS3 controller, it isn’t until now that there has been a revolution with controller technology. Sony is determined to have the best complimenting controller for the new PS5 which is expected to release later this year. The PS5 will not play games from previous generation consoles and will have new features such as a faster SSD and new hardware that is exclusive to PS5. The DualSense Controller features such as adaptive triggers with adjustable resistance, new haptic feedback technology and Sony also says that it has more advanced rumble hardware. Now that the new PS5 controller has been shown off we’ll just have to wait and see for the PS5.

Blizzard believes it might not be hosting BlizzCon 2020 due concerns around the virus

Saralyn Smith the executive producer of BlizzCon, “The health of our community, employees, and everyone who helps with the show is our top consideration. It might be a few months before we know for certain if or how we’ll proceed, but as soon as we have a meaningful update, we’ll share it.” It wouldn’t come as a surprise if BlizzCon 2020 was to be postponed however, there may be a virtual space we can visit showcasing all things Blizzard that we would’ve missed at the convention.

So many movies and TV series are being cancelled amid COVID-19

however James Gunn Director of Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 says, “We are on or ahead of schedule” for both films. With so much film and TV being delayed it’s nice to hear some good news for DC and Marvel fans. The full list of delays is made available by gamesradar if you’d like to look click right here.

E3 2021, PC Awards and Couch Co-Op

E3 have announced dates for 2021 however there is still nothing about this years’ 2020 online experience

After the cancellation of this years E3 many fans and game companies were hugely disappointed instead many games publishers decided to go directly to consumers instead. Despite E3 making no comment on an online experience the Entertainment Software Association is going ahead with a show in 2021 which will run from June 15th – 17th. When ESA announced the cancellation of E3 2020 they said, “we are exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.” However, since that statement was made, nothing more has been said. Some game publishers have decided to go solo with their announcements this year such as; Microsoft, Ubisoft, E3, & Devolver Digital to name a few. Sadly, Bethesda have confirmed that it will not hold its annual digital showcase this year. Hopefully soon we will know more about online events.

2020 Australian PC Awards have been announced

The best of 33 different categories ranging from best gaming laptop to best motherboard. Some other categories also include a Gold Award which is voted on by the readers of tech magazines such as; TechRadar, PC Gamer, APC, TechLife, and PC PowerPlay. The Gold Award looks at the overall best company for the year which was taken out by ASUS. If you’d like to look at the full list of winners in each category click here.

The best couch Co-Op games from Kotaku

Kotaku have released an article featuring lots of video games that are great to play with friends or family at home. The list shows a variety of games worth playing to pass the time, click here for the link. Overcooked is also a great game known to play with friends and the publishers have another great party game coming out on the 28th of April called Moving Out. So be sure to keep your eye out for that if you have a Nintendo Switch.

Xbox Magazine, Play Apart Together, and Closed Beta

The Official Shut Down of Xbox Magazine

After close to two decades the long running Official Xbox Magazine comes to an end as reported by Eurogamer. The magazine had its final day last week with the last of its staff to be let go. A statement released from the publishers of the magazine Future says, “Like many organisations right now, we find ourselves being forced into making difficult decisions. We have a duty of care to all our staff during this time and our focus is on protecting the business for them and for our customers.” The end of Official Xbox Magazine happens to be in the same year as Microsoft release their new console, so it’s not all doom and gloom, hopefully the magazine will be able to release its content again in the future.

Gaming Companies and W.H.O. Coronavirus Guidance Come Together

A large group of big named companies are teaming up to help encourage players to stay at home. Those companies are Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, and streaming platform Twitch, they are all part of a campaign called ‘Play Apart Together.’ This campaign will see 18 gaming entertainers help incentivize players to engage with special events, exclusives, activities, and of course rewards. Whilst engaging with all this content platforms are adding important self-protection messaging around COVID-19. All this is designed to help bring people together during the pandemic. Blizzards CEO Bobby Kotick says, “It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.”

Valorant The New Stylised Shooter From Riot Games Has Their First Closed Beta.

Fans are super excited to have a play and get a feel for this new FPS. The closed beta begins on the 7th of April internationally, unfortunately, Australia is not on the list. This beta only includes the US, Canada, Europe, and Russia. A statement from the Executive Producer of Valorant Anna Donlan states, “Our plan was to bring the Valorant closed beta to as many people as possible around the world as quickly as possible, but the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted those plans, compromising a wider global rollout. For now, we have to focus on the regions where we feel most ready, with more regions following in the months to come.” So, don’t worry if you felt like you were missing out hang in there, Australia will surely end up on that list soon enough.

Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn Is Getting Its Very Own Comic Book Series

The series will take place after the events of the game so don’t pick it up until you’ve played it all through. The comics will be launching the same time as the game comes to PC in the summer of 2020 which I assume is winter down under. Be sure to keep your eyes out for that.

Changes to the Gaming world amid COVID-19

JB Hi-Fi and many other retailers sell out of PS4s and Nintendo Switches amid COVID-19 pandemic

For fear of boredom during isolation Australia is panic buying gaming consoles to fill the time they have stuck in doors. JB Hi-Fi have a statement that reads, “Due to very high demand, the Nintendo Switch is currently unavailable to purchase. New stock is due to arrive in April.” This increase in gaming console purchases comes after the closure of many entertainment venues such as gyms, sporting venues, cinemas, nightclubs, and bars. Popular games that have also been flying off the shelves are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Madden NFL 20. Games and consoles aren’t the only things in short supply, gym equipment, groceries, desks, computers and monitors are also becoming sold out. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week, “It is not sensible, it is not helpful and, I’ve got to say it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.”

Call of Duty: Warzone passes 30 million players.

After it’s release on the 10th of March this free to play game has achieved more players than the lifetime totals of most of the other games in the series. Being free to play helps generate a large player base such as Apex Legends which managed 25 million players in the first week and 50 million players in the first month. Speaking of millions of players Steam broke its own record from the previous week of concurrent users with 22 million people online at once. Game Industry Analyst, Daniel Ahmad said in a tweeted video, “Steam just achieved a new peak concurrent user record of 22 million, one day after reaching 21 million and six days after reaching 20 million. Global lockdowns and self-isolation due to COVID-19 has led to at-home gaming becoming a safe form of entertainment to pass the time.”

Polygon have posted a series of games that are the best ways to stay in touch with friends while staying at home.

Some of the games are, Jackbox Party Pack 3, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Sea of Thieves, Minecraft, Red Dead Online, Grand Theft Auto Online, Warframe, Final Fantasy 14, Overcooked 2, Destiny 2, and Rocket League. Of course, there are many other fantastic multiplayer games that great to play such as World of Warcraft which is doing a double XP all the way up until April the 20th if you are looking for an MMO RPG. Some free games that might also help pass the time that are available on Steam are, Headsnatchers, Tomb Raider, Deiland, Drawful 2, Goat of Duty, Pleasure PuzzlePortrait and Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris. There is also many other free games on different launchers so be sure to check out Epic Games Store, PlayStation Plus, and Xbox Games with Live Gold Subscriptions.

If you’d like to check out the full list of games available for free check out the Zed Games Facebook page @ZEDgamesau.