Tag: amazon

Activision Blizzard Served, Amazon’s New World Bumps Through Beta & An Aussie Takes Independent Games Festival’s Grand Prize

Activision Blizzard Served
On July 20th the State of California filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court against Activision Blizzard after an investigation beginning in 2018 into the company’s “frat boy” culture. The lawsuit alleges many sexist workplace issues, as well as several itemised accounts of serious allegations of sexism and harassment against women and people of colour.
In response Activision Blizzard released a statement calling the lawsuit “irresponsible behaviour from unaccountable State bureaucrats…” this was mirrored by Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend’s internal email calling the lawsuit “distorted and untrue… factually incorrect, old and out of context…” However, since the release of the lawsuit Activision Blizzard employees have come out corroborating with the events described in the lawsuit.
The fallout of which has resulted in a petition signed by over 3200 current and former Activision Blizzard employees calling for recognition of the seriousness of the allegations, repercussions to those who dismissed them, and a safe space for people to speak out. Current employees are also staging a walkout to demand changes in the current leadership.
In response Activision CEO Bobby Kotick issued a public statement apologising for their behaviour and hiring an external law firm for confidential reporting and to review their workplace policies.

Amazon’s New World Bumps Through Beta
After delaying the release for over a year, this week Amazon opened its new game New World for the closed beta testing to those that either pre-ordered the game or were invited through a sign-up. Amazon celebrated with New World’s real-time combat MMORPG managing to accumulate over two hundred thousand concurrent players during weekend play and fairly positive feedback, but was hampered by some severe teething issues.
The most major of these was the reported bricking of EVGA RTX 3090 graphics cards. The bricking was theorised to be caused by frame rate spikes in menus and the resultant voltage spikes that fried the card. While Amazon stated that “We have seen no indication of widespread issues with 3090s…” they did release a patch to cap the frame rate of menus within 24 hours of the first reported issue. EVGA has also confirmed it will be replacing affected cards, with return forms reportedly already containing a specific “New World” category.
The beta of New World is scheduled to end August 2nd with the release date set for August 31st 2021.

Aussie Takes Independent Games Festival Grand Prize
The IGF took place on the 21st of July to celebrate the achievements and innovations of independent game developers. This year there were over 500 entries for the 8 major awards with over 60 games shortlisted for the awards and more than half of those nominated for one or more of the eight award categories. This year’s winners were:

  • Arrog, the hand-drawn enigmatic adventure puzzle game from Hermanos Magia and Leap Game Studios, won the Audience Award.
  • Vessels, the space narrative adventure from Local Space Survey Corps, LLC., won Best Student Game.
  • Teardown, the destructible voxel world game from Tuxedo Labs was awarded for its Excellence in Design.
  • Blaseball, an online absurdist-horror fantasy baseball league game from The Game Band, took the Nuovo Award.
  • Genesis Noir, an explorative adventure game, was developed by Feral Cat Den, with sound design by Skillbard, took out the awards for both Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Visual Art.
  • And finally, Umurangi Generation, created by Lismore developer Origame Digital, is a first-person photography game and took both the award for Excellence in Narrative and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Now for some upcoming game releases.
Scare yourself silly with Draft of Darkness, a roguelike horror deck builder, or reflect with No Longer Home, an indie game about letting go and saying goodbye, both coming to PC on July 30th.
On August 3rd, grab some friends for Rocket Rumble, a space racing brawler, coming to PC. Or try your hand at the 25 second time looping FPS Lemnis Gate, also being released on the 3rd and coming to PC, PS4 & 5 and Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Lastly Starmancer, the interstellar construction and management sim from Chucklefish, is coming to PC on August 5th.

Gaming has been Cancelled

Sony PlayStation flip flops over Store Closure

In late March Sony confirmed the online game store closure for Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, and PlayStation Vita on July 2nd. On April 15th users began to feel the first wave of effects, with patch support for many games being removed. This led to many issues, with some users being locked out of previously purchased downloadable content in games, such as Little Big Planet 2 and White Knight Chronicles, with others unable to access online play due to patch requirements. Mysteriously, some of these patches have begun reappearing after public outcry. For a list of affected games please check this link.

On April 19th Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, backtracked on most of the closures in an official PlayStation blog post, stating;

“Upon further reflection, however, it’s clear that we made the wrong decision here. So today I’m happy to say that we will be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices. PSP commerce functionality will retire on July 2, 2021 as planned.”

Further, he wrote that this flip was due to the “incredibly passionate” customer base’s need to be able to purchase “…classic games on PS3 and PS Vita for the foreseeable future…”

 

Amazon Cancels Lord of the Rings MMO after Tencent Negotiations Fall Through.

In a convoluted tale of Tolkien-esque complexity, Amazon has ended hopes of a free to play Lord of the Rings MMO in the near future.

It all began in 2018, when Athlon Games signed a licencing agreement with Middle Earth Enterprises to produce and publish a prequel MMO for consoles and PC. Then, in 2019 Amazon partnered with Athlon’s holding company Leyou Technologies to co-create and split publishing responsibilities. However, in December of 2020, just as rumours of release dates of late 2021 to early 2023 began emerging, Tencent Holdings acquired Leyou Technologies in a US$1.5 billion dollar deal.

According to Bloomberg, since this acquisition, contract negotiations have soured, with Amazon “…unable to secure terms to process with the title at this time”, making this game the fifth that Amazon Game Studio has cancelled since 2018.

 

Nintendo Shuts down Labo Homepage.

Sometime between February 26th and March 5th, Nintendo axed the North American Labo homepage, and now redirects to Labo’s VR Kit sales page. According to Gamesradar, this could possibly signal the end of the cardboard accessories line-up. The kits contained cardboard cut-outs of different shapes that could be made into structures utilised in minigames on the Switch. These kits could easily be repurposed for programming and learning, and were trialled for assistance in STEM curriculums in Australia and North America, and advocated for home-based education. If you are still looking for kits in Australia, the Australian website is still available at Nintendo.com.au/labo. And should you make any mistakes, we have you covered with this link to Labo spare printable parts.

 

Now for some upcoming games.

On April 22nd Buildings Have Feelings Too is coming to PC, PS4, XBO, & Switch. This city management/puzzle game will have you support businesses and build new friends. And to celebrate Earth day 2021, the “Afrofuturist squad management RPG”, We Are The Caretakers is coming to steam early access with the promise of 10% of the net revenue going to rhino conservation.

On the 28th of April, Alpha Particle, a light puzzle game where you search for your purpose, comes to PC. And Genshin Impact comes to PS5.