Category: News

New Releases, New Horizons, and More News

This week in gaming news…

Updates on the Activision Blizzard Controversy.
In its most recent move to improve public opinion after allegations of misconduct, Activision-Blizzard has announced it has created a new ‘Workplace Responsibility Committee’. This move and the announcement seem to further cement Activision-Blizzard’s support of CEO Bobby Kotick, even after last week’s shocking reveal that he has known about the allegations for years. Still, external pressure for his resignation is increasing with demands from a group of shareholders and a second walkout from employees armed with a petition of over 1800 signatures. According to the Wallstreet Journal, despite company support Bobby Kotick has informed senior leadership he will consider leaving the company if he cannot fix the problems in its culture “with speed”.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl Tops Charts for Release.
Recent numbers out of the UK have shown that the recently released Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl games have been met with unsurprising success. For the week of their release, the games took the first and second spot in boxed game sale charts, while the double pack sat in 9th. As a duo, Diamond and Pearl are now the second biggest boxed launch across all platforms for 2021, just behind FIFA 2022, and just ahead of Call of Duty: Vanguard. Their sales aren’t quite as high as Pokémon Sword and Shield, falling 26% short, but they did come out 13% higher than Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.

Queensland Primed for Gaming Industry Boom.
In October QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the state’s new 15% rebate incentive designed to draw more games developers and studios to Queensland. This is starting to pay off in big ways with a recent announcement from PlaySide, Australia’s largest publicly listed games developer and best known for its game Age of Darkness, that they will be opening a studio on the Gold Coast in QLD. PlaySide is still scoping out a location for their studio but is hopeful it will be operational by the end of March 2022 and while they haven’t said an exact number of staff for the new studio, there are hopes in a few years’ time it will match the Melbourne Office at 100 employees. It also came out recently that PlaySide have signed an eight-figure work-for-hire agreement with 2K Games. The Agreement will see the two companies working together over the next 23 months to ‘develop a gaming franchise”. Further details are not yet available, but it seems certain we can expect good things from PlaySide and the QLD Gaming scene in coming years.

Hideo Kojima opens Movie Studio.
With the aim of “expanding the reach and awareness” of their games Kojima Productions’ has recently established a new division that will work on music, television, and film projects. The move seems overdue with Kojima’s history of obsessing about cinema in his work and his personal life. “Finding new ways to entertain, engage and offer value to our fans is essential in a fast-moving, ever-changing storytelling world,” Kojima Productions’ Yoshiko Fukuda said. “Our new division will take the studio into even more areas that present our creative narratives beyond video games and to open up ways for our fans to communicate and immerse themselves in these spaces.”

Upcoming Games Releases:

November 26

Date Night Bowling (PC & Switch)

Night Lights (PlayStation 4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One & Xbox Series X)

November 30:

Evil Genius 2: World Domination (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

Beyond A Steel Sky (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

Clockwork Aquario (Switch, PS4) – November 30

Oddworld: Soulstorm Enhanced Edition (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One & Xbox Series X)

December 2nd:

Mechajammer (Mac & PC)


And that’s all, this week, in gaming news.

Game Awards 2021, Kong-O-Thon, Xbox Turns 20, and More ActiBlizz!


The Game Awards 2021 Announces Game of the Year Nominations –
This year’s Game Awards nominees have been announced, with Deathloop, It Takes Two, Metroid Dread, Psychonauts 2, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Resident Evil Village in the running to take the title. Deathloop has the lead for nominations, with 9 in total, while It Takes Two and Psychonauts 2 tie for second with 5 nominations each.
Host Geoff Keighley has mentioned that they’ll be featuring content from 40-50 games in some capacity, with lots to be excited for between 2022 and 2023.
The Game Awards will broadcast live on the 10th of December at 10am Australian Eastern Standard time.
You can check out the full list of nominees here.

Brisbane man raises $7500 for mental health –
In news closer to home, Dr Aaron Raynor spent this Monday the 15th of November at Netherworld in Fortitude Valley, playing Donkey Kong for a 24 hour charity stream raising money for Headspace, a foundation focused on the mental health of youths in Australia. Dr Raynor raised over $7500 by the end of his Kong-O-Thon stream the following morning.

Xbox’s 20th Anniversary! –
Xbox turned 20 on the 15th, with Microsoft hosting a live event celebrating the anniversary. During the live-stream they made several announcements, with the biggest and arguably most exciting being that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta would be releasing almost a month early, and is now free to play on Xbox and PC. They also announced a final update to their catalogue of backwards compatible games, with over 70 new additions!
Turning from gaming, they have also shown off a teaser for the live action Halo series that will be coming to Paramount plus in 2022; and a six-part documentary on the creation of the Xbox brand that will be coming to streaming services on the 13th of December.

More news from Activision/Blizzard

In the latest news from the Activision/Blizzard case, one of the most comprehensive articles about the case has been published by Wall Street Journal, who are alleging that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about the sexual-misconduct allegations for years before it became publicly known, even going as far as hiding it from the board of directors. Following this article, Activision/Blizzard have released a statement stating that Wall Street Journal have presented a misleading view of both the company and the CEO. Staff have since organised a walk-out, demanding Mr Kotick be replaced as CEO. Click here to check out the full article.

Graphics Cards Heist, More Unity, and More Accessibility

Shipment of Graphics Cards Stolen

An entire shipment of EVGA RTX 30-Series graphics cards have been stolen in transit from San Francisco to California. More specific details about the truck heist aren’t available due to ongoing investigations, but users are warned that it’s illegal to ‘buy or receive’ stolen goods, or ‘conceal, sell, withhold, or aid in concealing, selling, or withholding’ of these goods.

If you think you may have a card that was involved in this theft, you can find out by entering your card’s serial number on EVGA’s warranty status page, or you can attempt to register your card. If you can register it, then you can rest easy. Otherwise, if a user does end up with a stolen card, it will be addressed on a case by case basis.

The heist is similar to an incident at the end of 2020, where about $340,000 worth of GeForce RTX 3090s were stolen.

Peter Jackson Sells VFX Tech Division to Unity

Unity, a 3D game-development platform, will be obtaining the technology used to create Gollum for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and many other characters from movies, making the VFX tools available to creators all over the world.

Under the deal, Unity will be gaining the Weta Digital suite of VFX tools, as well as a team of 275 engineers, joining Unity’s Create Solutions division.

What is the price for a division responsible for ‘Avatar’, ‘Game of Thrones’, and ‘Planet of the Apes’? A cool $1.625 billion in the form of cash and stock.

This makes award-winning technology available to all Unity creators, making industry-pushing VFX tools more accessible than ever.

Forza Horizon 5 Includes On-Screen Sign Language

The car racing game, Forza Horizon 5, will be getting on-screen American and British sign language for cutscenes, bringing a rare level of accessibility to the game.

The feature has been shown off in a video by Playground Games, showing how a picture-in-picture sign language interpreter alongside the cinematic and subtitles. Sign language conveys tone more effectively than subtitles alone, and is an option if players have difficulty reading at the speed of the subtitles.

It’s not the only accessibility option of course, with Game Speed Modification, High Contrast and Colour Blindness modes, text-to-speech and speech-to-text options for voice chat, and a screen reader narrator, not to mention the ability to adjust font style and size.

With greater accessibility, driving cars fast will be available to more and more speed demons.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

November 11

  • Beyond Blue (Switch)
  • Epic Chef (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Kainga: Seeds of Civilization (PC)
  • Killer in the Cabin (PC)
  • Megaquarium: Architect’s Collection DLC (PC)
  • Skyrim Special Edition (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch)

November 12

  • Gynoug (PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Punk Wars (PC)
  • Shin Megami Tensei 5 (Switch)

November 16

  • Sherlock Holmes Chapter One (PC, PS5, XSX)

November 17

  • Next Space Rebels (PC, XBO)
  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall (PC VR)

November 18

  • Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition (PC)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator Game of the Year edition (PC, XSX)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator: Reno Air Races Expansion Pack (PC, XSX)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator: Reno Air Races Full Collection (PC, XSX)
  • Undungeon (PC, XBO)

November 19

  • Battlefield 2042 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy Volume 2 (PS5, PS4)
  • NERF: Legends (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl (Switch)

News from the Metaverse

Facebook gets Meta

“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta” – Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook the company, not Facebook the social media platform has changed its name to Meta. CEO and real human boy Mark Zuckerberg fronted a recent Facebook Connect event to reveal the name change and explain his vision for the Metaverse; A VR and AR future where our real and virtual worlds interlink.  While much of the presentation was speculative concepts there were some more substantive reveals. Oculus is working on a new high end VR Headset codenamed Cambria which will integrate eye and facial tracking among other features which will be revealed at a later date. They also announced their first AR headset codenamed Project Nazare with the goal of integrating AR into a regular sized set of glasses. It should still be a few years before we see any concrete details.

In more game focused new Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas VR has been announced for Quest 2 developed by the same team behind L.A. Noire: The VR Case File and a port of the popular VR combat simulator Blade and Sorcery has also been announced for the Quest 2.

For full details you can rewatch all the event’s streams including a talk by legendary Doom programmer John Carmack at

Netflix launches gaming service

If you’ve got an Android phone and Netflix you can log in and find a new tab. Games! Previously Netflix had experimented with interactive story telling such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Minecraft Story Mode but this is the companies first foray into more traditional games via the streaming service. The launch line-up includes 5 games Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Card Blast, Teeter Up and Shooting Hoops,  but expect more to follow.

While only available on Android devices currently Netflix has iOS support in development and hopes to release in the coming months.

Let the Games Begin: A New Way to Experience Entertainment on Mobile

Playstation State of Play

Sony held a State of Play last week announcing games and new details for titles from some of it’s 3rd party developers. Beginning the show was the reveal of a spin off to the Grasshoper Manufacture game Let it Die called Deathverse: Let It Die. The free2play game will have players competing in a twisted and ultraviolent game show.

A free DLC expansion to Bugsnax was announced titles The Isle of BIGsnax. Coming 2022 player will have a new area to explore but most importantly they will be given the option to put hats on bugsnax.

Death’s Door one of this year’s most well-regarded titles has been given a release date for PS4 and PS5 of November 23rd. Not included in the presentation is that this date will also see the Switch release of the title.

A handful of other games were shown off such as First Class Trouble, KartRider: Drift and the always charming Little Devil Inside. You can check out the full presentation here.

Government rebate for Queensland game industry

In local news, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced new incentives for Video Game creators in the state. The Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects incentives which previously provided film makers doing post-production and post-visual effects with a 15% rebate will now include game developers.

“By adding this new games’ incentive, local and international studios will be further motivated to outsource the creation of valuable game titles to Queensland, while our own locally based developers will be supported to create original games content right here.”

“My government has also moved to lower the threshold on access to the PDV and games incentive from $500,000 to $250,000, a substantial boost to local post-production businesses pitching for a broad range of projects.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk

You can find to the government’s statement here.

Upcoming releases

Just Dance 2022 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch), The Binding Of Isaac: Repentance (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Switch), Where Cards Fall (Switch, PC) – November 5

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise DLC (Switch), Call of Duty: Vanguard (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – November 6

Football Manager 2022 (Xbox One, PC), Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC), Jurassic World Evolution 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – November 10

Games are popular, On Pause, and Trick or Treat

Video games more popular than Free-To-Air TV

A study conducted by Bond University’s regular Digital Australia report has revealed that 17 million Aussie’s play video games in some form. 5.5 million households own two or more dedicated game playing devices while 92% of Aussie homes own at least one gaming platform. This report has shown some pretty interesting information about the habits of Australian’s during the pandemic, mostly relating to gaming as a form of social connection with 76% of parents who were part of the study having played some form of video games with their children throughout. The average age of a video game player is now 35 and has steadily risen since the generation of Game Boy, NES, SNES, and PS1. And most interestingly is that while streaming TV/Movies is in the number one spot, Games is now in second place before free-to-air television in Australia. If you’d like to check out all the stats click here.

BlizzCon on ‘Pause’

The gaming giant Activision Blizzard has announced that they are currently putting their plans on hold for an online BlizzCon event in 2022. A spokesperson from Blizzard said, “Any BlizzCon event takes every single one of us to make happen, an entire-company effort, fuelled by our desire to share what we create with the community we care about so much. At this time, we feel the energy it would take to put on a show like this is best directed towards supporting our teams and progressing development of our games and experiences.” BlizzCon 2020 and 2021 were both cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with next year’s BlizzCon on ‘pause’ it is speculated that the recent situation Blizzard has with the widespread discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit may be cause for delay relating to whether BlizzCon 2022 is going ahead. Blizzard also suggested that if the event was to return it would be a very different event from the ones we’re used to seeing.

Trick or Treat – Zed Games horror game suggestions for Halloween

Dead by Daylight – Available on all platforms Dead by Daylight is a four-person survival game with the goal of escaping a killer before daylight breaks. Four players take on the role of a survivor while one player hunts in a big one vs four multiplayer survival mode. This is a great game to play with friends and enjoy a heart pumping adrenaline fuelled action.

Phasmophobia – Available on PC and VR Phasmophobia is an investigative co-op horror game where you must work with your friends to identify the types of paranormal activity inside different locations. Tasked with four objectives you must complete, but do it quickly, because the longer you stay in the haunted house the more your sanity drops and the ghosts start to hunt you.

Little Nightmares II – Available on Nintendo Switch, PS, Xbox and PC, Little Nightmares II is a puzzle-platformer which is a little less terror and more spooky. You explore and solve puzzles in order to progress through the narrative as this little boy guided by a girl in an ominous yellow raincoat.

Resident Evil 4 VR – Available exclusively on the Oculus Quest and relive the arguably most terrifying Resident Evil game of them all in VR, almost certainly an experience filled with jump scares, screams, and pure terror.

Dead Space – And finally, a classic available on PC, Xbox, Switch and PC is Dead Space, looking for some regular old poop your pants kind of action this Halloween. Play this classic space horror  game, a single player campaign where you are in an interstellar mining ship exploring and unfolding the creepy story whilst fending off jump scares and terror from unknown extra-terrestrial forces.

This week in game releases:

Oct 28
• Age of Empires 4
• Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
• Plan B from Outer Space: A Bavarian Odyssey
• Riders Republic
• Sunshine Manor
• Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
Oct 29
• Mario Party Superstars
• Zombo Buster Rising
Nov 2
• Giants Uprising
• World War Z
Nov 3
• Bloodshore
• Time Loader

Consoles, NFT Trades, Accreditation, and Unionisation.

Nintendo’s Direct Announcement
This week’s Nintendo direct announced a stack of new Animal Crossing content coming in the free 2.0 update. Long awaited Brewster will be serving coffee at the Roost, new boat tours with Kapp’n, Cooking, Farming, Gyroids and so much more. However, with some of the content spoiled by datamining as early as 16 months ago, the announcement has left some gamers jaded.
In the same direct, Nintendo announced the Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise DLC, and its inclusion in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. While the DLC includes long awaited jobs for Animal Crossing it also carries the Nintendo 64 and Sega Gensis emulation and libraries including the games; Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Ecco the Dolphin, Streets of Rage 2, and Sonic 2, to name but a few. Later that same day, the pricing of the Expansion pack was released with it costing at least another $30 on top of the current yearly subscription plan. The video announcing this is currently the most down voted video on the official Nintendo YouTube channel with over 80 thousand dislikes at the time of writing.
In other Sega news, with last month’s closure of the legendary Ikebukuro Sega store after three decades of operation, it was rumoured to mark “the beginning of the end of the golden age of arcade gaming.” However, on October 16 Sega announced via twitter the opening of a new Ikebukuro store to open Friday October 22nd and teased more surprises to come.

Console Truce?
In further console news, a report from Hub Entertainment Research shows more people than ever owning both a PlayStation and Xbox with over a third of respondents reporting to own both. And for those searching for one of the consoles, Sony has created an online lottery for those still clamouring to buy a PS5 in the US. By registering their PSN account through Sony they can choose to elect either the standard or digital edition. Sony will then allocate available stock through quoted “previous interests and PlayStation activities” and will inform people via email when their console is available for purchase.
For those waiting for an Xbox Series X or Xbox Minifridge, sadly you’re out of luck with US, UK and Europe selling out of the fridge within 30 minutes of release and the Xbox Series X still hard to find in Australia except through scalpers on eBay.

New Home for NFT Based Games.
On October 15th Age of Rust developer SpacePirate announced that Steam was “kicking *all blockchain games* off the platform, including Age of Rust…” due to Valve extending the policy to ban games with items with real world monetary value to include NFTs. While Valve has not made an official statement, Steamworks onboarding Rules and Guidelines have been updated, now stating that “Applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.” should not be published on Steam
Epic Games’s Tim Sweeny announced the next day via Twitter that the Epic Games Store would allow NFT titles but not cryptocurrencies with the caveat that they will follow relevant laws, disclose their terms, are age-rated appropriately, and use their own systems to process payments.

Accreditation and Unionisation.
The long-awaited Metroid Dread’s release has been marred by developer MercurySteam refusing to credit employees who worked on the project for less than 25% of the games development time. MercurySteam stated that those who “had significant creative and/or technical contributions” were credited even when they did not meet the 25% minimum. Other developers have faced similar criticism with Ubisoft relegating former Far Cry 6 devs to the “special thanks” section of the credits.
In other business news, Paizo, publisher of the Pathfinder series, a popular tabletop paper and pencil RPG, have had over 30 of their employees form the United Paizo Workers union after the firing of Sara Marie for “undisclosed reasons”. After the fallout, Paizo president Jeff Alvarez, promised vague improvements. The union’s press release claims coverups “by those at the top”, that workers are underpaid, and “subjected to untenable crunch conditions on a regular basis.” The union urges management to voluntarily recognise the union as it “…pushes (sic) for real changes at the company.”

Now for some upcoming games!
On Thursday the 21st, try the 2D biopunk point and click Growbot, or travel the sand seas of Sands of Aura, both coming to PC. Also, Resident Evil 4 VR is coming to Oculus Quest 2, and the Victorian puzzle platformer Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
The third in The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes comes to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on the 22nd.
On Tuesday the 26th, release your inner necromancer in the roguelike The Unliving or the antique restorer within in Workshop Simulator, both coming to PC. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy also comes out on the same day for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And finally on Thursday the 28th Age of Empires 4 is coming to PC and GamePass, the fifth of the Fatal Frame series Maiden of Black Water comes to the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and the extreme multiplayer sports game Riders Republic comes to PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Stadia.

In Community Announcements:
Springfield Gamers are organising an event to encourage veterans, serving personnel and their families to check out gaming as a hobby. They are a face-to-face gaming club for gamers of board games, tabletop games and roleplaying games.
The event is free for general admission, with a range of demo games like Kings of War, and Gaslands, a board games library, and tournaments of Warhammer 40k, Flames of War & Teamy Yankee happening alongside modelling tutorials. The event will be taking place Saturday October 23rd from 9am to 5pm at the YMCA Springfield Central. Click here for more info or to head over to their Facebook page.

Unpacking Awards, Azure Attack, and No Opposing Chats

Australian Game Developer Awards Winners Announced!

The winners for the Australian Game Developer Awards have been announced, with Queensland and Victorian developers leading the way.

Local game Unpacking by Witch Beam has taken the Game of the Year Award, with the relaxing puzzle game also taking home the Excellence in Accessibility Award. Art Director and Designer Wren Brier says,

“It’s humbling to be part of a roster of amazing studios with incredible games that have won this award. We’re so pleased that Unpacking also took home the Excellence in Accessibility Award as we’re firm believers that video games can and should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Another local game, Webbed, the adorable game about spiders, received Excellence in Gameplay.

Beethoven & Dinosaur took home Excellence in Art and Excellence in Audio Awards for The Artful Escape. Black Lab Games won the Studio of the Year Award.

Steve Wang from Wargaming Sydney was awarded the Adam Lancman Award for his contribution and advocacy for the local games industry.

Chad Toprak, Kathleen Smart, and Ashley Van Wynngard were jointly awarded the Rising Star Award for the impact they’ve made to the industry in a short amount of time.

The Forgotten City by Modern Storyteller took home Excellence in Narrative, The Oregon Trail by Gameloft Brisbane won Excellence in Mobile Games, Sharmila by Chaos Theory Games and the World Food Programme took home Excellence in Serious Games. Pico Tanks by Panda Arcade was awarded Excellence in Ongoing Games, and Video World by Things for Humans won Excellence in Emerging Games.

Largest DDoS Attack Mitigated

Microsoft reveals that its Azure cloud service mitigated a 2.4 terabytes per second denial of service attack this year, which makes this the largest DDoS attack recorded to date.

The attack was carried out using a botnet of around 70,000 bots primarily located across the Asia-Pacific region. The target of

 the attack has been identified as an Azure customer in Europe. The record-breaking attack came in three short waves over the span of 10 minutes, with the first at 2.4 Tbps.

Thankfully the DDoS attack was mitigated, preventing Azure from going down. Previously the DDoS record was a 2.3 Tbps attack on Amazon in February 2020.

League of Legends Removing Opposing Team Chat

Riot Games has announced that chat between opposing teams in League of Legends will be disabled in an attempt to cut down on toxic behaviour.

“While chat can be the source of fun social interaction between teams as well as some good-hearted banter, right now negative interactions outweigh the positives. We’ll evaluate the impact of this change through verbal abuse reports and penalty rates, as well as surveys and direct feedback from you all.”

And now for some upcoming game releases!

October 14

  • A Little Golf Journey [PC, Switch]
  • Bonito Days [Switch]
  • Despot’s Game [PC]
  • Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Dungeon Encounters [PC, PS4, Switch]
  • Godstrike [PS4, XBO]
  • Jackbox Party Pack 8 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Ruin Raiders [PC, Switch]
  • Sphere – Flying Cities [PC]

October 15

  • Ancient Stories: Gods of Egypt [PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Crysis Remastered Trilogy [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Demon Slayer: The Hikonami Chronicles [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • The Good Life [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Greylancer [PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town [PS4, XBO]

October 18

  • Nuclear Blaze [PC]

October 19

  • Dying Light: Platinum Edition [Switch
  • Into The Pit [PC, XBO]
  • War Mongrels [PC]
  • Youtubers Life 2 [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]

October 20

  • Healing Spree [PC]
  • Jars [PC, Switch]

Activision Blizzard Settles with EEOC, Xbox Cloud Coming to Oz, & Game Trials Coming to UK

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

China Restrictions Tighten, Hasbro opens Gaming division, and Netflix acquires Night School Studio

Netflix buys Night School Studio
Earlier this year Netflix announced they were expanding into the world of video game entertainment and they’ve now made one of their first big steps. They announced on Tuesday that they’d acquired indie developer Night School Studio best known for their first game Oxenfree. Night School Studio is currently working on a sequel for Oxenfree, development of which will continue under Netflix’s name. This is the first studio to join with Netflix but definitely not the last. A representative of Netflix said “We’ll continue working with developers around the world and hiring the best talent in the industry to deliver a great collection of exclusive games designed for every kind of gamer and any level of play.”

Hasbro also expands into the video games arena.
Hasbro is a huge media corporation, controlling IP across toys, board games, and TV shows. They’ve recently begun the move to produce video games based on some of their brands, beginning with opening a AAA game division and studio. Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast, currently responsible for games like Dungeons & Dragons or Magic the Gathering, will take the helm of the New Raleigh-Durham Studio. It is based in North Carolina, and the division will be focused on both console and PC games that are based on Hasbro properties. Hasbro has already announced some of the franchises that will be getting a AAA game – Transformers, G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and even Ouija, but the possibilities beyond that are almost endless.

China’s restrictions on gaming tighten further.
In recent weeks we’ve seen strict regulations introduced in China limiting the time people can spend playing video games and what sort of content is allowed in Chinese  video games. On Monday the 27th China released it’s 10-Year national guidelines for children’s development, detailing more rules and steps to better classify games, review content, limit game time and protect children’s personal information and privacy. They also called on operators who provide online services including social media, live streaming, audio and video streaming to limit the time and money minors spend online. Despite potential negative impacts most of China’s gaming companies have come on board with these changes, more than 200 recently making a pledge to remain compliant with the new regulations, to self-regulate within the industry, and to ban content depicting “sissy men,” “gay love” and “money worship,” as well as those deemed “politically harmful” or “historically nihilistic.” While most are compliant, some companies have been looking for loopholes to exploit. To combat this, China has launched a new website for citizens to report rule-breaking. Many consumers have expressed discontent with the new rules on social media. Some pointed out that the age of sexual consent, at 14, was now four years younger than the age at which people can game without limit. Unfortunately for them, it seems restrictions will only tighten for the foreseeable future.

Blizzard Entertainment CLO resigns, Melbourne Earthquake & Game Deals.

zard Entertainment CLO resigns
Claire Hart the Chief Legal Officer of
Activision Blizzard’s Entertainment announced 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 widereaching 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 time with sales
rolling out before the Christmas period. Amazon have a bunch of good prices for 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 bunch of 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 disrupting gameplay.
The 5.9
magnitude earthquake in Melbourne
caused quite some disturbance this week however did inject some funny moments into people’s lockdown. Former Carlton player Brendan Fevola was playing Call of Duty he tweeted out saying I’m sitting here playing 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 experienced moments 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 lucky save message us on Facebook @ZEDgamesau we’d love to hear about it.

This week in gaming releases;

September 23

  • Diablo 2 Resurrected [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Embr [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Flewfie’s Adventure [PC]
  • Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries [PS5, PS4]
  • Medieval Dynasty [PC]
  • Sable [PC, XSX, XBO]
  • Sea of Thieves Season 4 [PC, XSX, XBO]

September 24

  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut [PS5]
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot [Switch]
  • Lost Judgment [PS5, XSX, PS4]

September 28

  • Chernobylite [PS4, XBO]
  • Ghostrunner [PS5, XSX]
  • In Sound Mind [PC, PS5, XSX]
  • Lemnis Gate [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • New World [PC]
  • Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye DLC [PC, PS4, XBO]

September 29

  • Guardians of Hyelore [PC]
  • Insurgency Sandstorm [PS4, XBO]