DnD OGL Update Aftermath
In the aftermath of the Open Game Licence 2.0 leak, Wizards of the Coast have struggled to claw back their fanbase as DnD Beyond servers suffer under the load of mass subscription cancelations. Additionally, several big third-party publishers who would be affected by the new royalty system have tabled their intention to either jump ship or create their own licensing system. Kobold Press teased “Project Black Flag”, Matt Colville’s MCDM Productions is working on both a new OGL as well as a new TTRPG, and Paizo/Pathfinder looking to collaborate on an open RPG license.
In response, a statement was released insisting “It was never our intent to impact the vast majority of the community.” They also tried to clarify stating that any future revisions “…will not include the license back provision that some people were afraid was a means for us to steal work. That thought never crossed our minds.”
Activision Blizzard… when will it end?
As the saga continues, here’s the current headlines coming out of the company that can’t stop making waves.
- Activision Blizzard has refused to acknowledge the union that formed late December. Management at Proletariat issued the statement that leadership “…has always been pro-worker“ and that employees “…deserve some time to process (sic) and to better understand its potential impacts.”
- The Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger that was announced in January 2022 has had new challenges with the European Union filing an antitrust challenge and Google parent Alphabet Inc, and Nvidia are filing for unfair advantages in the gaming market. These join other objections placed with the US Federal Trade Commission to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, and finalised in April.
- In some hearsay arguments Activision Blizzard claims that it was Netease that rejected the six-month extension of their partnership. Various sources cite irreconcilable differences including Netease president referring to an Activision Blizzard executive as a “jerk”. Because of these, after January 23rd several titles will no longer be accessible in China, most notably World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Starcraft, and Overwatch 2.
Doors Close on Stadia
As the curtains close on the experiment that was Google Stadia, refunds have been processed for everything but Pro subscriptions… but payments were also paused the day shutdown was announced. But what about all that hardware you don’t have? Well, if you did manage to get the controller, Google has pushed a self-serve tool to enable Bluetooth connections with the gamepads. Meaning, your Stadia Gamepad may be obsolete, but at least you can still use it on the hardware you didn’t get because you used Stadia.
Oh! Remember that guy who had 6000 hours in Red Dead Online on the Stadia who was pleading for a character transfer? Well, not only did Rockstar organise a transfer, he also got a gift box from the company. Unfortunately, Rockstar has announced they will no longer be releasing any major content for Red Dead Online, instead focusing on the upcoming GTA6.
And finally, a moment for the death of Google Stadia…
And now, for some upcoming games.
On Friday January 20th, the next instalment in the series Fire Emblem Engages and its Wave 1 DLC are coming to Switch. World War 1 horror survival Trenches emerges from Steam early access onto PlayStation, Xbox, & the Switch.
Tuesday January 24th, the RAM-hungry, RPG, fantasy shooter Forspoken is coming to PC & PS5, and deckbuilding & strategy boardgame mashup Mahokenshi comes to PC.
And on Thursday January 26th, for that nostalgia hit Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is coming to PlayStation and Switch. The strange Hitman: World of Assassination hodgepodge that collects Hitman 1 to 3 as well as Hitman 3: Freelancer Mode are all coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. Fight the nightmares of a girl in the twin stick shooter NeverAwake, coming to PlayStation and Switch.
Mission: Hitman Changes
Fans of the Hitman series are undergoing some changes in order to create an “ever-expanding” world that could evolve over time. And this next step is set to allow IO Interactive realise the vision they’ve set out to achieve.
Hitman 3 will become HITMAN World of Assassination, and will include access to Hitman 1 and Hitman 2. Those who already own Hitman 3 will get a free upgrade to HITMAN World of Assassination. This also means that World of Assassination will be the only single option to start playing.
“There will be no more confusion over which edition to buy, what content you own, how to redeem Legacy packs or import locations, etc. We’re done with that,” says IO Interactive.
These changes will come into effect on the 26th of January, 2023.
Sonic’s Dad Indicted for Insider Trading
The blue hedgehog’s co-creator, Yuji Naka, along with a former Square Enix employee, Taisuke Sasaki, have both been formally indicted after their arrest in November for alleged insider trading.
Naka has been determined to have confidential information about Square Enix’s plans to develop a Final Fantasy spin-off, and used this information to buy ¥144.7 million yen of company stock, or $1.6 million AUD, knowing that the announcement would cause the stock value to rise.
Square Enix has stated that they are fully committed to working with authorities as the investigation continues. It is unclear when Naka and Sasaki will stand trial.
What’s This? It’s Sephiroth with the Chair!
Kenny Omega, a famous wrestler joined the fray at Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom event in a Sephiroth cosplay, even walking out to his theme song, “One Winged Angel ”.
Kenny Omega has spent a few years in America in AEW, a newer competitor to WWE. Omega however returned to Wrestle Kingdom, which is exactly what it sounds like. And yes, his walk was exactly as cool as you imagine it would be, featuring Sephiroth’s wing, giant screens, and pyrotechnics. Omega also won the match.
YouTuber Logan Paul had developed a “really fun game that makes you money”, CryptoZoo, where you buy currency to spend on egg NFTs that hatch. You can breed these animals to make hybrids, and eventually you’re supposed to be able to cash out money. Members of Paul’s team ended up selling their currency early to make millions, while fans ended up losing thousands.
Logan Paul did address accusations of CryptoZoo being a scam by attempting to discredit his critics, such as investigative YouTuber Stephen “Coffeezilla” Findeisen, who had spent a year looking into CryptoZoo, as well as a slew of scams in the crypto space.
I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Flash Party (PC)
- Children of Silentown (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Kandria (PC)
- Gatewalkers (PC)
- One Piece Odyssey (PC)
- Rogue AI Simulator (PC)
- Terror of Hemasaurus (Switch)
- Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (PC, PS4, Switch)
That’s it this week in gaming news
Ads? In My Windows 11?
You’re probably familiar with the start menu in windows, an easy-to-access feature that allows you to access programs quickly. Well, it seems ads will be joining the start menu, with testing underway. Some of these ads will be used to promote Microsoft services. Recommended website listings, and an ad in the account menu, are already present in preview builds, and there’s more features planned for Windows 11.
Windows states on their site, “We’ve been working on adding more valuable content to the Recommended section in Start and are excited to introduce a new content type: websites.”
PS5s? In My Honda?
Honda and Sony have recently created a new venture called Sony Honda Mobility, and with this venture comes an interesting proposal: a car designed to maximise the entertainment possibilities Sony has to offer.
That’s right, an electric car that’ll allow drivers to always be prepared with music, movies, and video games.
Yasuhide Mizuno, chair of the joint venture, says that the first car model may hit North American markets by 2025. However, a very specific feature may need to be developed first before we can see PlayStation 5s in cars; autonomous driving. After all, you can’t drive and play video games at the same time.
Shovelware? In My PlayStation Store?
PlayStation is cracking down on shovelware games, that is games that have been reskinned, non-games, and games designed just to give people platinum trophies. A letter to developers states that shovelware games will be either banned or delisted, and involved developers are at risk of being banned from publishing future games.
PlayStation states, “SIE strives to ensure that customers can search and discover the full breadth of experiences on PlayStation, and that partners have a fair means of being discovered. When partners oversaturate or “spam” PlayStation Store with many variants of the same type of content, it can negatively impact both the customer and partner experience.”
Monsters? In My Pocket?
Despite Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s rocky launch, with the games being criticised for glitches, bugs, and generally underwhelming, Nintendo has reported 10 million sales, with it being reported to have the highest global sales level on any of the company’s consoles in the first three days.
However, many players have reported returning their copies due to their experiences with the game, and successfully receiving refunds.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Dysterra (PC)
- Horse Club Adventures 2 – Hazelwood Stories (PS5, PS4)
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr: Sororitas DLC (PC)
- Gotham Knights: Heroic Assault (PC, PS5, XSX)
- In Nightmare (PC)
- The Knight Witch (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Soccer Story (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (PC, XSX)
- Dwarven Skykeep (PC)
- Gundam Evolution (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
- Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered (PC, PS5, PS4, Switch)
Listen while the ZedGames crew talks gaming news, Rani attempts to pat chickens in The Stillness of the Wind, and Maylee speed runs a review Kaichu!
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.
Stream has ended! You raised an amazing $5,170.69!! 😭 So proud. Thank you all SO much for your huge support for the game, for me, & the cause. 🥲💜 This game is incredible.
— Anna Brisbin 🐈⬛ BAYONETTA 3 OUT NOW (@BrizzyVoices) October 29, 2022
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.
Alleged GTA Hacker Caught
Last week we reported the hacking of Rockstar Games Studios and the release of over 90 videos of gameplay footage of the upcoming GTA 6. In response London Police have arrested a 17-year-old as well as a handful of other 16 to 21 year old’s associated with the hacker collective Lapsus$. The individual accused has previously been arrested and charged for similar hacks on Microsoft and Nvidia earlier this year. It has also been revealed that he is currently under investigation by the FBI and US Dept of Justice for an attack on the ride share company Uber.
Over the weekend of the 24th the suspect appeared in court and entered a plea of not-guilty to the charge of computer misuse brought against him. However, he reportedly plead guilty to breaching the bail conditions of his previous arrest. The accused has now “been remanded to a youth detention centre” according to detective inspector Michael O’Sullivan of London Police’s Cyber Crime Unit.
Cyberpunk 2077: Rebirth
In the wake of CD Projekt Red’s & Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Cyberpunk 2077 has rocketed back into the public view, and after 6 major patches, going through delays, forced refunds, and discount hell… Is it finally ready for release?
According to you the players it is, with more reported concurrent players than the Witcher 3 at its peak. Over the last weekend the game accumulated over 1 million total players on steam in one day, leading to Director Pawel Sasko emotionally saying,
“But it’s good to be back, you know. It’s f##king good to be back, honestly.”
While the game still has flaws, players are reporting that they are finding things to love despite them.
Overwatch 2 goes Freemium
With Overwatch 2 free2play coming in the next week new details regarding the F2P model for new versus returning players have been dropped, with new players looking forward to roughly 20 hours of gameplay to unlock the heroes and game modes that returning players will enjoy on release. In this time, they will need to win 50 quick play matches, and complete around 100 matches to unlock all 32 original Overwatch heroes… or you could spend real money and buy the Watchpoint Pack.
Blizzard has also set up new security measures called Defense Matrix, named after D.Va’s shield ability. This system is a set of new moderation tools with SMS Protect binding a phone number to your battle.net account (required to play), and a new AI driven audio detection and transcription system recording problematic voice chat and features an automated review system. While this still relies on players reporting abusive speech, the system takes over from there. This system it estimated to be released within a few weeks after release.
E3 2023 has been announced under Reedpop’s management and is kicking off June 11. This time coming with dedicated business halls and days.
Netflix to open their own internal games studio neighbouring Next Games (also owned by Netflix) in Helsinki, Finland. However, current estimates are that there may be a few years before they can release anything to market.
Now for some game releases!
Coming out Thursday the 29th. Brew your own trouble in Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. Retro 2D puzzle adventure C.A.R.L. comes to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Coming from Subnautica developers Unknown Worlds, turn-based tactical strategy game Moonbreaker comes to PC. Transport railway sim Railgrade is coming to PC, and Switch. And the action RPG Valkyrie Elysium is coming to PlayStation.
On Friday 30th, FIFA 23 is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And on October 4, escape into one of the largest off-road rally experiences with Dakar Desert Rally coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And Overwatch 2 is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch
This week Zed Games team with Maylee, Elliott, and Peter shakes up our expectations by talking this week in gaming news! Then Maylee challenges us in a review of Long Live the Queen, and the crew talks games that truly surprised us with their subversion.
Chess Robot Breaks Bones
As it turns out, robots don’t like it when you try to rush through a chess game. During a chess tournament in Moscow, a seven year old boy who is among the top 30 chess players in Moscow under the age of nine, faced off against a chess robot. Playing chess against AI is hardly anything new, with Deep Blue being the first computer to win a match against a reigning chess champion in 1997.
However, in this case the AI reacted in response to the boy moving a piece earlier than he should’ve, and as a consequence grabbed the boy’s index finger and squeezed it firmly. People rushed to help, but not before his finger was broken.
However, the young player did return to the tournament the next day, and his parents are now considering filing a lawsuit.
Russia’s Making Their Own Games
Following the invasion of Ukraine, several companies have stopped trading with Russia, and many sanctions have been placed, leaving the country without video games. Nintendo has announced suspending all exports to Russia, as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, and more.
As a result, Russia is now turning to making games internally, with Rostec planning on creating its own game engine. This project is being looked at cautiously by the government as this would be the first Russian game engine.
Minecraft Says No NFTs
Mojang has taken a firm stance against blockchain technology and Non-Fungible Tokens, preventing third-party operators from creating Minecraft NFTs.
The company has stated that the use of NFTs violates the spirit of the Minecraft usage guidelines, although the guidelines do permit server owners to charge for access. Mojang has clarified the difference between money and tokens, stating that “we have these rules to ensure that Minecraft remains a community where everyone has access to the same content. NFTs can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our guidelines and the spirit of Minecraft”.
However, they haven’t closed the door entirely on NFTs, explaining that Mojang is open to the possibilities of blockchain technology in the future.
Roblox Fighting for Innocent Gamers
Christopher Boomer, a developer behind Roblox games such as Weight Lifting Simulator 2 and Muscle Legends, recently obtained a DMCA subpoena in order to compel Roblox to identify alleged pirates. Boomer’s games have been viewed over two billion times, and according to Boomer’s legal team, fellow Roblox developers have copied Boomer’s games.
As a result, Boomer filed for a DMCA subpoena to unmask the alleged pirates. Roblox objects however, explaining that 10 days is too short of a time to produce the requested information, and has called the request unreasonable as Boomer is attempting to obtain information on a potential 460 thousand players, along with the alleged pirates.
“Roblox objects to the request to unmask anonymous speakers without the provision of notice to the speakers so that they may directly address any potential concerns, First Amendment or otherwise,” states Roblox.
“Roblox objects to this request as overbroad because it seeks a wide swath of user information that Petitioner has not established is relevant to any alleged copyright infringement, and thus the information requested does not qualify as discoverable subject matter.”
And now for some upcoming games!
- Autonauts vs Piratebots (PC)
- Bear and Breakfast (PC)
- Captain Velvet Meteor: The Jump+ Dimensions (Switch)
- Sweet Transit (PC)
- Avenging Spirit (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Digimon Survive (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Madison (Switch)
- Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (PS4)
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Switch)
- The Gallery (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Frogun (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- South of the Circle (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Hard West 2 (PC)
- Turbo Golf Racing (PC, XSX, XBO)
This week on a jam packed Zed Games Maylee, Hazel, and Zahra talk news, before delving into games to play with five or more friends! Maylee hits it off with a rundown of Golf With Friends, Zahra reminisces on family fun with Minecraft, Paul dubs over Rifftrax and What the Dub, and Hazel table flips over Tabletop Simulator!