Hello, and welcome once more to the GYGO arena. Here, we gather gaming news from all over the world to… fight? For your pleasure? Sure.
We’ve been battling tree-felling, power-cutting winds here in Pittsburgh, but I have emerged victorious as a continued haver of internet, so here I am, able to bring you this bulletin royale.
Nintendo of America’s President Is Retiring
Longtime president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime, announced this week that he will be retiring on April 15. He will be replaced by a man named Doug Bowser, causing fans to wonder if our beloved villain has decided to use a new strat: going over Mario’s head, straight to the top, and becoming his boss.
Though they are allegedly not kin, heir-apparent Bowser apparently shares a certain penchant with the evil big turtle boy from the Mario games:
This is the first photo of Doug Bowser when he joined Nintendo
We never getting a new Mario game ever again pic.twitter.com/thv6o9opvf
— Nibel (@Nibellion) February 21, 2019
Very suspicious. We will be following his movements closely.
Ubisoft Is… Developing a TV Show?????
In what is, to me, a baffling but potentially awesome move by a video game company, Ubisoft is reportedly developing a TV show based on its forthcoming pirate adventure game Skull & Bones. Ubisoft has partnered with Atlas Entertainment, which notably has produced such movies as Dirty John and 12 Monkeys. The open-world adventure game is due to launch this year.
Now, maybe I missed something (I definitely missed something), but this is the first I’m hearing of video game giants getting involved directly in film/TV. But apparently, Ubisoft has been aggressively pushing into the film and television realms for a while, and this is just the latest project they’ve been involved with. I… don’t know how I feel about this. Is it cool? Or is it cringe? You decide.
Massive Layoffs Continue
In unambiguously cringe news, on February 21, ArenaNet, the developer of Guild Wars 2, followed the seemingly now-daily video game industry trend of making massive staff layoffs. ArenaNet will be merging with NCSoft West and restructuring, as well as continuing their effort to take widespread cost-cutting measures within the company. Within 24 hours of ArenaNet, the Australian branch of EA also announced that their mobile development studio FireMonkeys will also be letting go of a significant number of employees. The Melbourne studio has already begun its layoffs. And on Monday, digital store GOG confirmed it had laid off a dozen more people. GOG, which is owned by The Witcher 3 publisher CD Projekt, didn’t explain the decision to let those people go.
These announcements follow Activision Blizzard’s massive layoffs two weeks ago, in which they laid off nearly 800 staff members, despite on the same day announcing that 2018 was their most profitable year since the company’s start. (For more information on the Blizzard layoffs, check out last week’s GYGO.)
All of these layoffs are trailing on the heels of the U.S. video games industry’s best domestic year in consumer spending ever, with consumers spending $43.4 billion in 2018. The video game industry is demonstrably booming—but the companies are still singing their own praises and making the firing calls in seemingly the same breath.
It’s really very clear: the video games industry isn’t immune to what many other industries already know. If workers don’t unionize, companies will take advantage and then kick them to the curb. As Joesph said last week, this refrain may sound like a broken record, but this is why organization is so important.
And further, shocking absolutely no one, Activision and EA CEOs Bobby Kotick (fire him!) and Andrew Wilson were revealed on Monday as among the “most overpaid” CEOs in the United States. They each make over 300 times as much as an average employee. Would it be wrong to throw my computer out the window, I wonder? It probably would, I suppose, since I need this laptop to make my own meager wages. But man… it’s tempting.
Some More Gaming Tidbits
Speaking of organizing, an organization of Microsoft employees called Microsoft Workers 4 Good has demanded that Microsoft abort a $479 million contract providing the U.S. Army with Hololens headsets, also demanding that the company stop developing weapons technologies.
Twitch announced the dates for 2019’s TwitchCon, an event I am highly skeptical of because Twitch is actively avoiding dealing with abusers and conventions are a place where abuse can run rampant. No, sir, I don’t like it.
The first chapter of Deltarune, the newest game from Undertale creator Toby Fox, is coming to PS4 on Feb. 28, for free.
Imogen Gingell, an RPG designer, published a D&D Wizards subclass on DMs Guild, a website co-owned by Dungeons & Dragons that serves as a marketplace for licensed third-party content. In this subclass, people playing Wizard PCs can choose to study at the “School of Geometry.” That’s right, folks, you can now play as a Geometry Wizard if you so choose.
Apex Legends is outdoing Fortnite, smashing its records for downloads and viewership and proving (at least to me) that yes, people do fucking want more/better representation in video games.
In Other News
- Blizzard announces and details Hearthstone Masters program, an update to Hearthstone Esports
- Comcast Spectacor and SK Telecom announce joint esports venture
- Square Enix, right after Kingdom Hearts 3 release, announces new game
- Microsoft allows open game modding for first time
- PUBG and free to play MMO Tera are colliding next month
- WOTC scrubs abuser Zak Smith from the D&D Player’s Handbook
- Fortnite Live shut down after being sued by Epic Games
- Sci-fi author disputing Elder Scrolls trademark
Emily Durham is a science writer by day and a Sidequest copyeditor by night. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her playing Stardew Valley or Sunless Sea, sewing korok cosplays, or taking blurry pictures of her two perfect cats. She tweets sporadically at @EmilyRoseDurham.