Activision Blizzard strikes $18 million settlement with US employment watchdog Less than a day after the federal lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the $18 million settlement, subject to court approval, will be used for payments to employees who have experienced sexual harassment, sex discrimination or retaliation while working at the Californian video game publisher. Any remaining funds will be split “between charities that advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues” Activision Blizzard said in a statement. This settlement is separate from a lawsuit filed in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the publisher.
Microsoft launches cloud gaming in Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico After several months of testing, Xbox Cloud Gaming has been released in 4 more countries, expanding the service to 26 in total. This service allows members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access to over 100 titles over the cloud, meaning that you can stream titles such as Gears 5 or Sea of Thieves on something as simple as an android or apple device. No hardcore gaming PC’s or consoles required! “Since cloud gaming is powered by custom Xbox Series X consoles, that means these games are being played by an Xbox in the cloud, bringing faster load times and improved frame rates to the gameplay experience” Catherine Gluckstein, Microsoft’s head of Project xCloud.
Playstation introduces a new feature – Game Trials Sony has introduced an interesting new feature this week in the UK, offering timed trials on selected Playstation 5 titles. At this stage only two games, Death Stranding Director’s Cut, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are included, allowing players 5 to 6 hours to try them out before making the decision to purchase. The feature is limited to Playstation 5 users, and can only be used once per account, per game. Should this feature make its way to our shores, there is one problem, the trial starts when you click download. Given our average internet speeds, that could pose a problem for some gamers.
Upcoming Gaming Releases October 7 • Age of Darkness: Final Stand • Far Cry 6 • The Lightbringer • Moonglow Bay
October 8 • Knockout Home Fitness • Lego Marvel Super Heroes • Metroid Dread • Tetris Effect: Connected • Nintendo Switch OLED
October 11 • Book of Travels
October 12 • Back 4 Blood • Disco Elysium: The Final Cut • Ori: The Collection
With lockdown looming Ezie takes to the studio alone, but not in spirit. With Games keeping the company they discuss gaming news from Maylee, Tobi reviews the wholesome RPG game Garden Story, and Ezie reviews the brain twitching puzzler Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions.
Blizzard’Entertainment CLO resigns. Claire Hart the Chief Legal Officer of ActivisionBlizzard’s Entertainmentannounced her resignation this week posting on her LinkedIn saying“After more than three years at Blizzard Entertainment, I have decided to move on to my next adventure.The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses.”Claire Hart doesn’t make any comment about whether her resignation is anything to do with the very public and ongoing harassment lawsuit with Activision Blizzard. An update on that lawsuit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly launched a wide–reaching investigation into Activision Blizzard, they will be looking into how the publisher dealt with the multiple allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and toxic behaviour. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed this lawsuit back in July. They also subpoenaed several of Blizzard’s higher executives including the CEO Bobby Kotick.It would appear that the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission)have started asking Blizzard to hand over various documents. These include personal files of those higher ups. A spokes person from Activision confirmed that there is indeed an ongoing investigation and that the company is cooperating with the SEC.
Gaming deals! If you are looking for awesome deals on games now is the timewith sales rolling out before the Christmas period. Amazon have a bunch of good pricesfor PS4/PS5 such as;
Deathloop–now $79 (down from $99.95)
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut–$69 (down for $79.95)
F1 2021–now $56 (down from $99.95)
Far Cry 6–$72.90 (down from $99.95)
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut–$99.95 (down from $124.95)
There is also a bunchof deals going for Xbox console games such as;
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate–now $44.98 (down for $89.95)
NBA 2K22–now $80.90 (down from $109.95)
Star Wars Squadrons–now $14.98 (down from $59.95)
Watch Dogs Legion–now $30 (down from $99.95)
Nintendo Switch lite is also down to $259 from $329.95
Melbourne’s Earthquake disruptinggameplay. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake inMelbourne caused quitesome disturbance this week however did inject some funny moments into people’s lockdown. Former Carlton player Brendan Fevola was playing Call of Dutyhe tweeted out saying “I’m sitting hereplaying Call of Duty on the PlayStation with me headphones on and my whole screen started shaking, my PlayStation nearly fell off.”It would appear that many game players and streamers experiencedmoments of fear for their gaming gear during the earthquake. If you have a story to share about nearly losing a console or PC with a luckysave message us on Facebook @ZEDgamesau we’dlove to hear aboutit.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3 has come and gone for another year and in its, and other non-official event’s wake we have a mountain of game news and announcements.
Summer Game Fest, Geoff Keighly’s alternative E3 program kicked off the major events of the week starting with an announcement of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Gearbox’s High Fantasy Borderlands’ spinoff staring Tiny Tina. A splattering of other announcements followed including Jeff Goldblum introducing us to Jurassic World Evolution 2, Hideo Kojima announcing Death Stranding Director’s Cut for PS5 and finally the major reveal of footage from Elden Ring, the long-awaited new game by From Software in collaboration with the writer George R.R. Martin which will launch January 19 2022.
Ubisoft hit the ground running showing off gameplay for the latest Far Cry game starring Giancarlo Esposito as well as the upcoming DLC’s which will allow players to play as the antagonists from several of the other games in the series and includes a remastered copy of Blood Dragon. More details for the extreme sports game Rider s Republic were shown along with the PvE spin off of Rainbow Six Siege, Extraction which will pit the operators against an alien force. A new version of Rocksmith was announced called Rocksmith+, a guitar playing and teaching service that will allow player to use their real instruments and their phone or microphones to connect. The game supports electric, acoustic and bass guitar and you can currently sign up to a beta for the service online. A sequel to the 2017 hit Mario + Rabbids was announced subtitled Sparks of Hope with Mario and his strange collection of Rabbid dopplegangers going on a new cosmic scale adventure. The final announcement for Ubisoft was a reveal of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora a game set in James Cameron’s Avatar universe made by Massive Entertainment who are most well-known for The Division.
Microsoft started their event with the first footage of Bethesda’s long-awaited RPG Starfield. While we are still yet to see gameplay from the title, we were given a glimpse at the universe we will be exploring and details that it is currently slated for release in late 2022 as an Xbox and PC exclusive. The Outer Worlds 2 was announced as early in development, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was shown off with a release of next year along with sequels to Slime Rancher and A Plague Tale. Halo Infinite was confirmed to be release later this year with the multiplayer being made free to play for everyone to enjoy. Forza Horizon 5 was shown with its new Mexican location. Sea of Thieves has a story based cross over in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe coming very soon called A Pirates Life featuring Jack Sparrow and other characters from the film franchise. And the show finished on a reveal of Arcane’s new game Redfall an open world co-op shooter featuring magic, vampires and a lot of style.
Square Enix announced Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy a single player 3rd person adventure where the player controls Star-Lord leading his band of misfits across the universe. It is being developed by Eidos Montreal best known for the modern Deus Ex games and is set for release on October 26. There was also a look at Platinumgames’ new live-service game Babylon’s Fall, the new Life is Strange True Colors and a reveal of the Final Fantasy action spin off Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.
Nintendo apologised that they had no details to share on Metroid Prime 4 but quickly followed up with a reveal of Metroid 5, which is also known as Metroid Dread a title originally in development for the DS 15 years ago which was cancelled due to technical limitations. Mario Party Superstars a collection of boards and minigames from the N64 era was announced along with a remake of Advance Wars 1 and 2 titled Re-Boot Camp. Wario is back with WarioWare: Get it Together a new take on the microgames format with a focus on 2 player games. We got a closer look at Shin Megami Tensei V’s hellish version of demonic otherworld Tokyo which will see release in November. The Nintendo show closed with a look at some Zelda announcements. DLC for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the remaster of Skyward Sword which releases in July and a new Game & Watch device that includes the original versions of The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link and Link’s Awakening along with an altered version of Vermin that includes Link. We finally got a glimpse at Breath of the Wild 2 which will see Link adventuring into the sky above Hyrule and utilise a multitude of new powers and tools.
Now that the show is over you can check out many of the games on both Steam and Xbox live. The Steam Next fest will run until June 22nd and included hundreds of demos of unreleased games while Microsoft has released 40 game demos from its ID@Xbox lineup.
The Week in game releases
June 22 – Dark Alliance (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights (Switch, PC), Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC)
June 24 – Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Legend of Mana (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC), The Eternal Castle Remastered (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)