Tag: Activision Blizzard

I can’t believe it’s not E3 and other premonitions of the future

I can’t believe it’s not E3

E3 is almost upon us or it would be if it were happening this year. While the ultimate fate of what was previously the world’s most notable game industry trade event remains uncertain it hasn’t stopped many of the associated presentations of continuing on their own.  Many conferences had already moved to an online focus to reach consumers. Throughout June there are many announced events and more planned. Highlights include Geoff Keighly’s Summer Games Fest which kicks off on June 10, Wholesome Direct on June 12th and the Xbox & Bethesda games showcase on June 13. Nintendo is expected to have at least one direct during this time and Sony, who has sat out E3 for the last 3 years has remained silent.

You can check out the full schedule in a handy calendar format here.

Raven Software QA Department Unionizes

Quality Assurance workers at Activision Blizzard owned Raven Software have successfully unionised and formed the Game Workers Alliance, a first for a US based Triple A studio. While the department is small it represents a major win in the fight towards unionisation in the industry.

The National Labor Relations Board also found merit in the complaint that Activision Blizzard had tried to interfere with those in the company looking to unionise and had “threatened employees that they cannot talk about or communicate about wages, hours and working conditions”.

The push to unionise came after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activison Blizzard last year regarding a “culture of sexual harassment and toxicity”.

Take-Two completes Zynga acquisition

On May 23rd Take two completed its acquisition of Zynga for 12.7 billion dollars. Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick remarked on the acquisition We are thrilled to complete our combination with Zynga, which is a pivotal step to increase exponentially our Net Bookings from mobile, the fastest-growing segment in interactive entertainment, while also providing us with substantial cost synergies and revenue opportunities.”

The International 2022 Announced

The World’s largest single e-sports event The International for DOTA 2 has announced it will be held in Singapore this year. Venue details have yet to be announced but this year’s event is scheduled sometime in October.

Release Calendar

May 27 – Sniper Elite 5 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Golfie (PC)

May 28 – Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Kao the Kangaroo (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Microsoft Flight Simulator: Top Gun Maverick DLC (Xbox Series X/S, PC), Pac-Man Museum+ (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

June 1 – Corpse Factory (PC)

June 2 – Silt (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Nintendo Announcements, Surprising GTA News, and some Gaming Bytes

Nintendo News
This week Nintendo had several announcements with president Shuntaro Furukawa saying the Switch was in the middle of its lifecycle. With the Switch selling more units than all previous generations of Nintendo’s home consoles, with over 100 million units sold so far, the Switch, Switch Lite, and the new OLED version that released last year, it seems the Switch is closing in on Game Boy’s near 120 million console total. Despite this, year-to-year sales in 2021 dropped by 6% and profits were down 9.3% compared to 2020, after Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ exceptional release. Shuntaro Furukawa also announced they would not be participating in the consolidation wars of Microsoft and Sony, and are instead focussing on strengthening their own company. In better news for Nintendo, Pokémon Legends: Arceus has sold 6.5 million copies in its first week, outselling Sword and Shield which sold 6 million collectively in its release week.
The announcements of today’s Nintendo Direct was packed with sports and ports. In Sports, Mario Strikers Battle League, a Mario soccer game utilising items, skills, and strategy is coming June 10. Nintendo Switch Sport, a new Wii-like sports game including Bowling (with survival mode), Tennis, Chambara, Badminton, Volleyball, and Soccer complete with leg strap, as well as a future Golf game to come. This comes to Switch April 29 with a playtest for Switch Online members February 18 through 20. Baseball game The Show 22 announced cross play to take your game on the go. Disney Speedstorm, a free-to-play cross platform Disney and Pixar action racer to come midyear.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival, a rhythm drum game with 76 songs and a future in-game subscription that will give access to over 500 songs is coming this year.

In DLC announcements, Mario Kart 8 is getting a paid DLC with 48 remastered courses to be released over time named Booster Course Pack. This will be included in the Online Expansion Pack or may be purchased separately. And Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course DLC will be available June 30.

In Ports, Star Wars: Force Unleashed is available from today in the online store, also EarthBound and Earthbound Beginnings have been added to Nintendo Switch Online. Assassin’s Creed Enzio Collection is coming Feb 17, Triangle Strategy March 4, Chrono Cross: The Radican Dreamers Addition, a remake with enhanced soundtrack, is coming April 7, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp April 8, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series July 8, and Live A Live July 22. No Man’s Sky and Front Mission 1st: Remake are coming to the Switch midyear, and SD Gundam Battle Alliance, and Portal: Companion Collection have been announced for 2022.

Surprising Grand Theft Auto News
On February 4th Rockstar surprised fans by announcing in a blog post that they are “actively developing[sic] the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series [and] is well underway.” This same post also confirmed the release date for GTA V and GTA Online coming to PS5 and Xbox series S & X on March 15.
In other surprising news, CEO Strauss Zelnick claimed GTA Trilogy, with a user score of 0.6 on metacritic, “significantly exceeded” expectations. In an investor presentation Take Two-claimed they have sold up to an estimated 10 million copies of the game.

Now in some Gaming Bytes:

Mobile Warcraft
In 2021’s financial report Activision Blizzard shared that they are planning the release of a Warcraft franchised mobile “content” to be released this year. There is no indication as to what form this may take.

Wordle Madness
With the popularity of Wordle and its sale to the New York Times last week, several spinoffs have started to pop-up online. There are both word based options for the Wordle connoisseur with Semantle – a word meaning match, Dordle – a double word match puzzle, Lewdle a humorous addition where only lewd words are allowed, and Gameboy Rom and Wordle Archive for those wanting to take it on the go or check it out historically. For those sick of the word based wordles, Globle has you guessing countries, Squirdle is all Pokémon, and Nerdle is for those math fans.
But for those OG Wordle fans… it seems everything is right there on the webpage. So, before the New York Times takes over, don’t forget to right click and save your way to years of offline Wordle.
If you have another Wordle spinoff we need to know about, leave a comment on our Facebook news post.

Now for some upcoming games:
Friday the 11th free-to-play MMORPG Lost Ark is coming to PC
Pixelated action RPG where your choices matter Infernax is coming to PC, Xbox, PS4 and Switch just in time for Valentine’s Day. On Thursday 17th, King of Fighters 15 comes to PC, Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 4 & 5, and Total War: Warhammer 3 comes to PC and Game Pass.

And that’s all this week in gaming news.

 

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

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]