Tag: Activision

Bayonetta Again, Console Crash, and some Tid-Bytes

Bayonetta Controversy Continues
In the most recent evolution of former Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor’s vendetta against Bayonetta 3’s developer PlatinumGames Inc, Taylor doubled down on her call to boycott the recent release and asked fans to instead donate the money they would have used to purchase the game to a list of possible charities. While this call to action may seem innocuous, several of the charities listed have strong anti-abortion stances. So far, Taylor’s controversy seems to have only had minimal effects on the sales of Bayonetta 3 with reviews marking it an overwhelmingly positive success.
In other good Bayonetta 3 news, Anna Brisbin announced they voiced playable character Voila and would be doing a charity stream of her playing Voila while also raising money for the charity Trans Lifeline! The stream went on to raise over $5000 USD.


Console Crash
With the Xbox versus PlayStation console wars of 2022 starting to come to a close, announcements for the subscriber numbers for Games Pass and PS Plus have been released in financial filings, and things aren’t great for either team. On one side, Microsoft have announced that they are losing up to $200 per console purchase and that Game Pass subscriber growth has fallen around 50% short of the company’s projections, but still exceeds the last announced numbers of 25 million subscriptions. This is theorised to be due to the lack of major releases and appeasing competition watchdogs after the acquisition of Activision. Since then, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has announced the indefinite Call of Duty support for PlayStation, with the pledge that Call of Duty would come to the console “as long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to”.
On the other side, after PlayStation’s rather rocky revamp of the PS Plus subscription model, the recent financial release of subscription numbers have estimated a drop of over 2 million subscribers. Sony CFO Hiroki Titoki does not blame this drop on the new system, but rather, and I quote

“More people are now going outdoors…”

Yep, you heard it here folks, PlayStation gamers have been accused of touching too much grass.

And now for some Tid-Bytes;
You asked for it, now it’s time to eat your cake! It has been confirmed in a recent Q&A that God of War: Ragnarok will have a transmogrification system. Design Lead, Mihir Sheth confirmed the system saying “The short answer is yes. There is a way to do it…it’s there in the game.” So finally you can dress up your own God of War as prettily as they will permit you.
The Store is Closed has seen litigation even before its Kickstarter finished its countdown. After this co-op survival horror was pushed online by press as a horror game set in IKEA, developer Jacob Shaw received a letter from lawyers representing IKEA. This letter gave him 10 days to “change and removed all indicia associated with the famous Ikea stores.” The game is currently in a working pre-alpha and is populated with packs of generic furniture assets.
Lastly here’s some Overwatch 2 Titbits;
Did you know that there is system in World of Warcraft where you can sell in-game items for WoW Tokens to other players via the in-game auction house, and that these tokens can then be used to charge your Battle.net account. This means that while completing challenges within Overwatch 2 may be satisfying, if you’re just grinding for Overwatch Coins, your time could be better spent in World of Warcraft.
Want that new Pachimari in-game charm? Did you know it’s cheaper for you to buy it in real life than on the digital store for your in-game character? Buy it once, have it in your hands forever.

Now for the week in gaming releases.
Thursday November 3rd is the big day this week with horror survival The Chant coming to PC and next gen consoles. 1v1 one-hit-kill fighter Die By The Blade, aperture-esque puzzle shooter The Entropy Centre, and racer WRC Generations are all coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Indie hoard chibi shooter From Space comes to PC and Switch. Live your inner horse owner’s dream with Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch coming to PC, PlayStation, and Switch. And finally, indie puzzler How to Say Goodbye, tactical arena brawler Kingshunt, arcade typing runner Outshine, and robot maker sandbox RoboCo all come to PC.
Friday November 4th is Switch Day with Square Enix’s new life sim/RPG Harvestella coming to PC and Switch. And Aeterna Noctis and It Takes Two both get their own Switch ports.
Monday November 7th, smite and raise your enemies in The Unliving and another indie survivor game Soulstone Survivors, both coming to PC.
Tuesday November 8th, cosy indie puzzler A Little To The Left comes to PC, Football Manager 2023 comes in various forms to PC, PS5, Xbox, and Switch. And Sonic Frontiers comes to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And last, but not least, Wednesday November 9th, God of War: Ragnarok comes to PlayStation.

In with the NEW – Overwatch 2 Overwhelmed, CD Projekt Goes Big & Dream Reveals

 Overwatch 2 has replaced Overwatch 1
Love it or hate it, Overwatch has had a huge impact on multiplayer gaming since it was first announced. It released to huge acclaim, continued strong for some years before losing a fair part of the player base recently. Blizzard, still embroiled in scandal, hopes to win back those players, and more, with the recent launch of Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 1 officially died on October 4th when Blizzard turned the servers off to prepare for the sequel’s launch shortly after. Leading up to the shutdown many players declared ceasefire so they could come together and celebrate the game they all enjoyed.
Servers for Overwatch 2 went live in the early morning of October 5th. Huge amounts of players logged on to try out the game but were unfortunately met with long queues and error messages caused by the surge in popularity and a DDoS attack. Blizzard president Mike Ybarra was quick to assure the community that “Teams are working hard on server issues with Overwatch 2,” he tweeted. “We are humbled by the excitement of players and will continue to focus on issues and get players into the fun! Thanks for your patience.
Thankfully these hiccups are slowly being smoothed out and fans should soon be able to explore the game more freely. It’s still too early to know how Overwatch 2 will be and energy it has received already could be a good sign for the IP.

CD Projekt Red Announces Ambitious Plans
CD Projekt Red – the developer behind Cyberpunk 2077 and the Witcher Games- has released a strategy document outlining their direction for the future. Notable was a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077, currently codenamed “Project Orion” that is promised to “prove the full power and potential of the Cyberpunk universe.” There isn’t much more information on the game at this point but it’s safe to assume it won’t be complete for many years. In the meantime, Cyberpunk fans can look forward to the upcoming expansion “Phantom Liberty” which is currently in its final stages of development.
If you’re yet to be convinced that the Cyberpunk name is turning a corner, or perhaps it’s just not for you – CD Projekt Red has also announced big things coming for the world of the Witcher. There are multiple games in production including:

  • Project Polaris: A story-driven open-world RPG built on the legacy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
  • Project Canis Majoris: Story-driven, single player open-world RPG set within The Witcher universe.
  • Project Sirius (Developed by The Molasses Flood): An innovative take on The Witcher universe telling an unforgettable story for existing Witcher fans and new audiences.

On top of expanding their current IP’s, CD Projekt Red also announced they are working on an entirely new addition – codenamed “Hadar” still currently in the concept phase. The strategy document also promised the studio would be “Introducing Multiplayer to most of our new games to enrich the single-player experience”. CD Projekt Red has a rocky past for development, but they seem to be looking to the future with unshakeable enthusiasm. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Dream Face Reveal
Hugely popular youtube creator “Dream” revealed his face on October 3rd after many years hidden behind a digital smiley-face mask. The 23-year-old boasts over 30 million subscribers and owes a lot of that popularity to Minecraft videos & streams. In the video he revealed the move was necessary for him to branch out as a content creator and meet some of the friends he’s made online. He also spoke about the stress of people constantly trying to uncover his appearance and that he was looking forward to no longer being “bunkered up”.
Many fans were excited to see his face after so many years, many others like me, had no real knowledge of the streamer but were drawn to the spectacle of the event. As of writing, the face reveal video has over 4 million views.
There was no great shock or revelation- just a normal regular face. Still, he has faced an onslaught of cruel comments that’s all too common for similar content creators. #PutTheMaskBackOn trended on twitter, flooded with comparisons to cartoon villains and cruel mockery.
In contrast, Dream ended his face reveal with positivity. “Anyone can be under the mask, and I don’t want my face reveal to take away from that fact,” he said. “Dream could have been anyone from anywhere.”

Activision Blizzard Goes Free-2-Play, Minecraft Gets Family Friendly, and Nintendo Direct Mini Goes Big


Activision Blizzard’s Free-To-Play News
Earlier this month in an Overwatch press release, it was revealed that the new evolution would be going free-to-play to commit to “…an always-on and always-evolving era… for many years to come.” Since then it has been revealed that they will be going against the model announced at BlizzCon 2019, where Overwatch prime and Overwatch 2 could play together. Rather, that because the monetisation model will now be free-to-play, the release of Overwatch 2 on October 4 will replace Overwatch. The Overwatch development team have confirmed that “Content unlocked in Overwatch will automatically carry over…” and matchmaking ratings will not be reset.
In other news, the release of free-to-play Diablo Immortal in China, possibly its biggest market, has been delayed by NetEase at the last minute. It is speculated that this is not due to the newly found hidden mechanic of upgrading legendary gems pushing the average monetisation cost to max-upgrade a single character to over $500,000, but rather a Weibo post from Diablo Immortal’s official account which translates to “Why isn’t the bear stepping down…” This account has been banned from making further posts and hosting company NetEase could see further restrictions by the government which would affect other Blizzard titles distributed by NetEase in China such as Warcraft and Overwatch.

Minecraft gets the banhammer out
Microsoft has upgraded Minecraft server moderation powers with in-game chat reporting coming to Realms and private servers to Java Edition in the 1.19.1 update. Players will now be able to report in-game chat text for violations of Minecraft’s Community Standards from within private servers. These reports will be reviewed by moderators, who will have the power to ban accounts permanently from online play, and may expand to the marketplace and Minecraft Earth. Players may lose access to their own worlds, as per Bedrock-edition Xbox bans. Reviews of bans will be available with players able to submit a case review if the ban does not infringe on Minecraft’s Community Standards, invalidate the End User Licensing Agreement, or break the Terms and Conditions.

Nintendo Direct Mini goes Big
Nintendo had a Direct Mini Partner Showcase June 28 announcing several new games coming to the Switch in the next year. Some notable announcements were…
Return to Monkey Island is coming to Switch as a console exclusive. The highly praised and long awaited game from the original developer and writer Ron Gilbert, Return to Monkey Island was announced as “launching first for consoles on Nintendo Switch this year.” So, while no release date has been set, it sounds like Switch players will be first to walk the plank.
Persona 5 is finally coming to Switch. After being announced at the Microsoft and Bethesda Games Showcase this year as coming to PC, Xbox, and Game Pass October 21st with Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable coming in the future, Switch fans were feeling left out. But after rumours swirling around for years, it has finally happened. The Switch port for Persona 5 Royal has been confirmed to be releasing the same time as Xbox, leaving only those with a Steam Deck and Switch able to go portable with this JRPG.
Oh yeah, and Portal 1 & 2 are now out on Switch, so that’s also a thing that happened.

This week in game releases
On Thursday June 30 comes comedic adventure cross space combat game The Galactic Junkers to PC, Xbox One and PS4. The 30th is also day of the DLC’s, where Cuphead gets The Delicious Last Course for PC, Xbox One and Switch, Monster Hunter Rise gets Sunbreak for the Switch, and Outriders gets the Worldslayer “Upgrade” for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
And Friday July 1st the EA Sports Racing Sim F1 22 comes to PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. Also on the 1st, the 8-bit collection Parasite Pack containing 2D platformer Flea! and the grid-based challenge Tapeworm Disco Puzzle is coming to Xbox, PlayStation, and the Switch.

Virtual Reality Is Very Real (and so is Hacking)


Record VR Sales Across The Holidays

The 2021 holiday season was a big one in terms of virtual reality systems and games, with the Oculus app topping the Apple App Store on Christmas, beating TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

Meta doesn’t release sales numbers for Quest headsets, so we can only piece together how popular it is through unofficial data points. So the Oculus app being at the top indicates a strong uptick in new headset usage. But that’s not all, Rec Room, a free social virtual reality experience has reported record numbers over the holidays, with over 1 million VR players logging in over a 60 hour period.

Apps such as Hand Physics Lab, Golf+, Eleven Table Tennis, and Loco Dojo Unleashed, have also reported a similar spike in new users.

 

PS5 Explains Their New VR2 System

PlayStation have announced the names for their new virtual reality system for the PlayStation 5 console. PlayStation VR2, and the new virtual reality controller, PlayStation V2 Sense controller.

PlayStation VR2 promises to take virtual reality gaming to a new level of presence and escapism, with new hardware features, greater depth of immersion, and new worlds being built. PS5 VR2 offers the following:

4K HDR 110-degree field of view, combined with an OLED display, means a display resolution of 2000×2040 per eye and smoother frame rates.

Inside-out tracking, with the player and their controller being tracked through cameras embedded in the VR headset, eliminating the need for an external camera.

Brand new sensory features, combining eye tracking, headset feedback, 3D audio, and the VR2 Sense controller to pull you deeper than ever into virtual reality. The most significant hardware feature being the motor in the VR headset that can vibrate to offer tactile feedback.

VR2 will detect the motion of your eyes, allowing the player to interact more intuitively with their environment.

PlayStation has announced that Horizon Call of the Mountain will be coming to the PlayStation VR2, making it one of the biggest franchises for the potential lineup available for the VR2.

Activision Sues Call of Duty Cheat Maker

Activision has asked a court to take action against EngineOwning, a cheat maker selling cheats to Call of Duty: Warzone players. This latest case is another battle in Activision’s war against hackers in their online battle royale, accusing EngineOwning for causing “irreparable damage to its goodwill and reputation”.

Activision alleges that the cheat maker has hurt sales through the distribution of aimbots, triggerbots, and other cheats. Other than allegedly ruining the online experience for thousands of players, Activision says that EngineOwning has infringed on their copyright, and violated its terms of service, and claims that “tens of thousands’ of players have been caught using EngineOwning’s tools over the past year.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

January 10:

  • Super Sami Roll (XSX)

January 12:

  • PUBG: Battlegrounds Free to Play (PC, PS4, XBO, Stadia)

January 13:

  • The Anacrusis (PC, XSX, XBO)
  • Mushroom Wars 2 (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

Blizzard Entertainment CLO resigns, Melbourne Earthquake & Game Deals.


Bliz
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]