This week Zed Games round table is lead by Hazel, with Paul and Peter sitting on a wall. Then comes the regular Gaming News from Maylee, with the team talking the Tomb Raider relaunch and the Xbox rumour mills. Paul swings to win in the full release of Phantom Abyss. And the team chats the massive demo drop of this Feb’s Steam NextFest.
Tag: aussie games
This week in gaming news: Palworld tops the gaming charts and rumour mills, a dismal prediction for Game Devs in 2024, and some special gaming bytes.
For those living under a rock, this week has been dwarfed by the unexpected boom of Palworld into the gaming stratosphere. The monster collecting survival game Palworld, has not only beat out opening week records set by Cyberpunk 2077, Elden Ring and Hogwarts Legacy, selling over 7 million copies in the last 5 days since release, but it also has beaten Valve’s own Counter-Strike 2 All-Time Peak player count, becoming the second most played game of all time with over 1.86 million concurrent players. However, this has not come without hiccups. The game has released in early access on steam and game preview on game pass, so bugs are to be expected, but steam and Microsoft are publishing different versions. Each with their own bugs and server issues that have required emergency meetings with Epic Games backend, and individual updates with expectations that they won’t coalesce until crossplay is established in the future. Until then, Microsoft players will have to deal with the lack of dedicated servers and slow updates, and the quality of life updates seen with steam users.
Internally, developer Pocket Pair has had to deal with a slew of press and player accusations with Community Manager and CEO reporting to have been receiving death threats, “slanderous comments, and outlandish claims.” Some of these being claims they “ripped off Pokémon” and utilised AI to either create the monsters in the game or that GenAI is used in the game. The CEO Takuro Mizobe has responded to at least one claim, stating that “We have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies.” But not all are convinced, with former head of Pokémon’s legal team Dan McGowan saying the game “looks like the usual ripoff nonsense that I would see a thousand times a year when I was Chief Legal Officer of Pokémon.” And not without cause, with a mod already released and removed that not only put Pokémon into Palworld, but also Ash, Misty, and Team Rocket. Creator, Toasted Shoes, put out a statement after the mods removal.
The 2024 Forecast for Game Developers
After more layoffs Game Devs are facing a hard reality this week with Riot laying off 11% of its workforce. That’s 530 people losing their jobs with the blame being put on management’s decision to rapidly expand after the pandemic. And it’s not the only one, with the trend continuing in more studios. 2k’s 31st Union is cutting team members even after the “momentous” move to California. Embracer Group is trying to find a buyer for developer Piranha Bytes. And the developer of recently released VR game Micro Machines: Mini Challenge Mayhem, WIMO Games, has announced they’ve closed their doors with around three dozen staff left out in the cold.
With one third of developers being impacted by layoffs in the last year, and more than half of developers concerned about their futures we can see there are challenges to face in the future. Experts are increasing the worry with expectations the gaming industry will face challenges possibly into 2025 after the abundance of games released in 2020, and 2021 pushing unrealistic release schedules. Despite this, industry leaders are optimistic of the long-term survivability of game development, leaning of the industries resilience and potential growth in the future.
And now for the Gaming Bytes:
- Awesome Games Done Quick is back with AGDQ2024 streaming over 135 speedruns and raising over 5 million us dollars for The Prevent Cancer Foundation during the week-long event.
- While earlier this week it was rumoured BulletStorm VR was to be removed from the PS5 Store and auto refunded… it has come to light that only Japan and South Korea will be receiving this golden ticket with the rest of the world left to fend for ourselves.
- And for those people looking forward to the game Indiana Jones and the Great Ciricle, Harrison Ford is NOT voicing Indiana Jones, rather Troy Baker the voice actor behind The Last of Us’s Joel, BioShock Infinite’s Booker DeWitt , and many more.
- OH! And the finalists for the Freeplay Awards for 2024 have been announced. If you don’t know what they are, it is the world’s longest-running independent games festival with the awards ceremony to take place on the 29th of February in Melbourne. These awards focus on Australian and New Zealand indi grass roots game artists and developers with this year’s nominees to include Unpacking from Witch Beam Games, Wayward Strand from ghost pattern, and Dap from Melting Parrot, plus many more. For the full list of nominations CLICK HERE
And now for the upcoming game releases.
Friday the 26th brings us two new releases with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth coming to PC, PlayStation, & Xbox, and Tekken 8 coming to PC and Next Gen Consoles.
On Tuesday the 30th Rugby 24 to PC, PlayStation, & Xbox.
Wednesday the 31st the DLC for 2021’s Eastward, Eastward: Octopia DLC and is coming to PC & Switch
And lastly, Thursday the 1st of February, Granblue Fantasy: Relink comes to PC and PlayStation.
Take-Two Talks Taking More
Last week saw GTA 6 developer Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick have a different take on gaming pricing. While gaming fans hold the game time to price value high, Zelnick wants to take that on board with future titles with a statement to investors saying
“In terms of pricing for any entertainment property, basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say the per hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership, if the title is owned rather than rented or subscribed to.” While this does sound like a dollar per hour measurement, he has clarified the statement this week that this is not a linear relationship, but rather a statement on the value of games. And we can definitely trust the CEO of Take-Two, a company whose biggest earner is GTA Online.
Game Engine Gamemaker Goes Game Dev Friendly
In the wake of Game Publishers Unity and Epic calling for price “restructuring”, Gamemaker, a popular tool for creating 2D and 3D games, has released their new price point and bucked the recent trend. Because of the recent three-fold increase in active users since they joined the Opera family, instead of gouging the user base and changing from a monthly model to a per game install or price per hour played, Gamemaker is celebrating the explosion in users by announcing a new free option for non-commercial use with the ability to export their games to Windows, Mac, and Linux without paying any fees. They’ve also included their asset bundles for use in this free tier. Upgrading is also simple, want to monetise? $99.99USD. Want to put it on consoles? Well, that’s an Enterprise subscription. With games utilising this engine like Undertale, Webbed, Honey, I joined a Cult, and over 290 more listed in Gamemaker’s showcase, we can be sure to see a gamut of Indi games from this engine in the future.
Roblox Sued Over Child Safety
In the pandemic years Roblox saw a massive influx of underage users (over 60% of users are under 16 years of age) due to the social nature and declaration of safety for minors that the platform claims. The community guidelines claim that ““Roblox is a safe space for meeting online friends, chatting, and collaborating on creative projects.” And “If your child is under 13, we make it extremely difficult for strangers on Roblox to contact them.”
However, a group of parents have filed a civil action suit against Roblox for not meeting their end of the deal, with claims of grooming, sexual content, and the inability to monitor their children’s purchases due to Robux obscuring transaction worth.
Roblox Corp provided a statement to PCGAMER disputing the allegations and reinforced that the site was safe “for people of all ages.”
Now for some quick gaming bytes!
- Xbox is running a Bluey Sweepstakes to celebrate the upcoming release of Bluey the Videogame coming to PC and consoles. The winner will not only receive the game but also receive a custom Bluey Themed Xbox Series S and controller. Wackadoo!
The perfect way to play Bluey The Videogame: with a #Bluey Xbox!
— Xbox (@Xbox) November 17, 2023
- This week Half-Life turned 25 and celebrated by a going free for a limited time. Valve also released a special anniversary update for the game which included bug fixes, official Steam Deck support, multiplayer maps, and more.
Now it’s time for this week’s game releases!
Friday November 24, survive the post apocalypse in the side scroller shooter Evil Diary coming to PC and consoles.
Tuesday the 28th, take a train ride home through civil war in the RTS Last Train Home coming to PC.
On Wednesday the 29th, get stuck in time loops in puzzle/adventure game Orten Was The Case coming to PC and consoles.
And next week on the 30th, find yourself one cup at a time in Pixel Cafe coming to PC, Switch, and next gen consoles. Want to play FTL but as a roguelike with friends? Well, This Means Warp has you covered, coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
This week Zed Gamers, Paul, Hazel, & Zahra get all Up Close and Personal talking Gaming News, Paul picks apart the puzzler Talos Principal 2 from Croteam, and Zahra gets in early with some wholesome farming in Coral Island from Stairway Games.
This week Zed Gamers put your hands together for Hazel, Cam, & Peter as they throw bants talking the week in Gaming News, Caroline pokes trash in Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic from Rogueside, Hazel can’t stop playing Trigahex, and they chat the pre-show incoming for GTA6 later this year.
Sued Over Video Game Addiction
A lawsuit in Arkansas, United States, has been filed against Microsoft, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, and other companies claiming that they ‘use patented designs, algorithms, and marketing containing addictive features and technology’, subsequently leading to addiction.
The concern over gaming addiction isn’t new, with a clinic in the UK being established to help those with ‘gaming disorders’ experiencing a massive influx of new patients in recent months.
Tina Bullock, the attorney representing the family who filed the lawsuit, states that she believes video game addiction is serious, and should be treated as such. The firm she represents claims that this is only the first of many lawsuits that will be filed in the foreseeable future.
Revenant Hill Ain’t Coming
We got to see Revenant Hill unveiled earlier this year during the PlayStation showcase, in development by the same team behind Night in the Woods, and in a similar style, and unfortunately development won’t be continuing. The reason? Key developers impacted by severe health issues.
“We are a cooperative, and we make decisions as a group. For us, this was the clear path to take for the well-being of the team, which is frankly more important than games.” says The Glory Society in a statement on their website.
Live Action Zelda: It’s Happening
Wes Ball, the director of the movie Maze Runner, will be directing the live-action movie based on The Legend of Zelda franchise. Shigeru Miyamoto, Legend of Zelda creator, and Avi Arad, who produced Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, will also be involved as producers, with the movie being co-funded between Nintendo and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“I have been working on the live-action film… for many years now… It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.” said Miyamoto on socials. So it’ll still be a bit of a wait.
Video Games In School
No no, I’m not talking about Coolmath Games, and I’m not talking about the games of CounterStrike you’re definitely not supposed to be playing. Thanks to the increasing popularity of esports there’s some renewed conversation among parents and teachers about the future of welcoming online video games into school.
With 50,000 students from over 300 schools taking part in the Fuse Cup, an international esports competition for children, it’s no longer just a fun oddity, it is becoming as embedded as traditional sports. Recently 60 players from 25 schools across Australia competed in the national esports finals on the Gold Coast. Although the esports scene isn’t quite as lucrative in Australia as it is in Europe or Asia, it was an Australian teen, Lucas Malissa, who was crowned champion in the Olympic Esports Series held in Singapore earlier this year.
Of course, this acceptance also means that schools can delve into topics with their students about healthy gaming habits, keeping themselves safe online, and other fun stuff like that.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Air Twister – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Spirittea – PC, XSX, XBO, Switch
- Gods of the Twilight – PC
- Checkmate Showdown – PC
- Lake: Season’s Greetings DLC – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO
- The Last Faith – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Teardown – PS5, XSX
- Flashback 2 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Jagged Alliance 3 – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO
- Loddlenaut – PC
That’s it this week in gaming news!
Rani’s back with a BANG! Joined by Paul and Caroline the team talks Gaming News and the death-knell of Bandcamp and it’s effect on gaming music. Then Rani chats with Directors Ricard Cussó & Tania Vincent and Producer Ryan Greaves from Brisbane’s Like A Photon Creative and their new film based on the game Scarygirl . Zed then gets uncomfortable while Paul reviews the audio visual experience that is Decarnation.