Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV have No Planned Release Dates

This weekend is Blizzcon, Activision-Blizzard’s annual event, where they showcase new Blizzard content, games, and events. This years big showcase is Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft Shadowland expansion and Diablo 4. While Diablo 4 was an anticipated title, fans were surprised about the leak becoming true that Blizzard would release Overwatch 2. Overwatch 2 isn’t an actual sequel to the team based shooter but rather an expansion which includes more story elements and PvE rather than PvP.

Despite fan excitement, neither titles have a launch date. This is pretty disappointing to fans but the games look like they have are based the Alpha stages. Some people online are speculating that Blizzard announced the two titles without release dates to earn good press after the recent controversies facing the company.

What?

During a professional Hearthstone player interview, a player wore clothes similar to protesters at Hong Kong. Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung said at the end of his interview  “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” The stream then quickly cuts to a commercial break. This resulted in the player receiving a year long ban from playing competitively, revoking his winnings from the tournament, and firing the two interviewers.

Blizzard stated cited a competition rule which states that players aren’t allowed to do anything that “brings [them] into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages [Blizzard’s] image. At Blizzcon, the President  J. Allen Brack stated that “We moved too quickly in our decision-making and then, to make matters worse, we were too slow to talk with all of you,” said Brack. “We didn’t live up to the high standards we set for ourselves.

Blizzard has reduced his penalty to six months but fans were still outraged over the company’s decision. They felt that China’s influence made the company ban Blitzchung. There are several protesters at Blizzcon who support Blizchung’s opinion. With Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 coming out eventually, many Blizzard fans seem to have forgotten the issue and focusing on the company’s future titles. Whether intentional or not, Blizzard has dramatically reduced the spotlight on the Hong Kong issue and has moved it towards their new games. Whether people will still speak out against Blizzard remains to be seen.

 

Walmart to Remove Displays for Shooting Video Games and Movies

Following the tragedy of the El Paso Shooting at a Walmart, employees of the company have been told to remove all displays of any video games and movies that involve shooting. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 22 people and injured 27 people. This reaction may also be a results of Donald Trump and news outlets blaming the violent video games are the cause of the surge in shootings. Violent video games have been proven countless times are not the cause of shootings or violence but the recent trends have forced Walmart to react.

According to an interview with Polygon, this is not to be a long time change but out of “respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment.”

Despite this, Walmart is still selling guns in their stores. Many people on social media are calling the company hypocrites as they are still promoting weapons that have a direct impact on murder. Some people are telling people to boycott Walmart and use the hashtags #walmartshooting,” “#boycottwalmart,” and “#guncontrolnow.” On Wednesday, CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon, indicated that the company was considering reevaluating its role as a retailer of firearms.

Sources:

Vice

Polygon

Reddit

Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony Must Showcase LootBox Rewards Odds

Loot boxes are the new FPS game in the game industry. They’re everywhere but now the government is becoming more involved than ever. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has stated that the Big 3 (Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony)  are working on new policies to require loot box odds disclosure on their systems. The ESA are “major players of the video game industry work together to support the bright future of video games.” They are organization filled with members of every gaming company.

ESA’s chief counsel of tech policy, Michael Warnecke, stated that they are working with the Big 3 to create “new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform. Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features. And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.”

The policies are scheduled to release some time in 2020. Not only are the Big 3 involved but also several gaming companies such as: Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast.

However, there are several other companies who are part of ESA who have not committed to the future policies: 505 Games, Capcom, CI Games, Deep Silver, Disney Interactive Studios, Epic Games, Focus Home Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, GungHo, Intellivision Entertainment, Kalypso, Konami, Magic Leap, NCsoft, Natsume, Nexon, Rebellion, Riot Games, Sega, Square Enix, THQ Nordic, Tencent, and Marvelous.

With these policies in place, you can expect DLC loot boxes to come with odds before all purchases. This will help buyers make more educated decisions on whether they wish to purchase a loot box. As the policy is ESA and not a government agency, a gaming company is not forced to follow the same policies if they disagree.

How often do you buy loot boxes in your games?

Sources

Game Industry Biz

Tariffs against China could increase Video Game Console prices

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have united together to ask to not have tariffs against China. 96% of video game consoles are manufactured from China as it’s the cheapest and fastest country to manufacture products. If the United States Government increase the tariffs by 25% against China, this could lead to an increase in video game console prices to compensate.

What are tariffs?

Tariffs are taxes a nation imposes on goods and services imported from another country. They are paid by companies that import the products, not by the countries themselves. Although China and the United States have tariffs against each other for exporting goods to each other countries, the video game companies have to pay the price which can lead to people paying more money for goods.

What are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s Argument?

The video game industry is one of the fastest growing industry. From 2017 to 2018, video game consoles have sold 20% better than previous years in the United States. They also employ around 8000 people across the United States. Consoles are also sold at a much lower price then they should sell for which makes earning profits on console sales difficult. To keep the price down for people, the tariffs should not be implemented according to the gaming companies.

It is entirely up to the US President on whether the tariffs continue to rise against China. While it may not seem to affect many gamers, this could lead to a potential price increase for consoles in the near future. This could make competition for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo difficult as cloud gaming has become more popular.

Sources

Regulation.Gov

Kotaku