Welcome to the new year! I don’t think I’m alone in hoping that it is a much better one than The Year We Would Like To Scratch From the Calendar. A new year means a fresh start. Did you make your resolutions? This year, I have my shiny new Passion Planner to help me keep my promises, some of which involve gaming. Because why shouldn’t resolutions be fun? First up is the long overdue playthrough of The Witcher 3. I accidentally pre-purchased the game on Steam long before it even came out–before I’d even played the first and second games–and yet poor Geralt has been neglected all this time. But not so for 2017, oh fearless monster hunter! I even bought a motivational Geralt of Rivia statue to sit on my desk and I promise that I will play you, at least until Mass Effect Andromeda comes out…

Pokemon GO by NianticIndia on the Rise

Despite everything else going on, it appears that 2016 was a good year for the gaming industry. The global industry reported revenue of over $91 billion. Mobile gaming topped the charts, with a healthy boost from Pokemon GO.

Pokemon GO brought India to the attention of the gaming market, with the country taking fourth place in downloads of the game or similar apps. Ankit Rawal, VP-Revenue at GreedyGame, says that when India was taken over by this gaming sensation, various stakeholders–from users to game developers to brands–stopped and took notice of it. It impacted the perception of people towards the gaming industry. This past year also saw an increase in the number of Indian developers publishing games across many different platforms. There are many challenges that the industry faces in India, the biggest one being the monetization factor, but Deepak Ail, Co-Founder and CEO of Roosh Interactive sees a bright future:

“The volume growth is a positive step towards the development of the Indian gaming industry. I am very bullish about the growth in the Indian mobile gaming industry. With the expansion of smartphones in the country, the number of downloads will further rise.”

Damian Wayne Defeats the Suicide Squad

Warner Bros. Montreal has reportedly dumped its long time plans for a Suicide Squad game and will instead turn its attention to yet another Batman game. The company is known for the largely successful series of Arkham games, but surely it was time to focus on some of the other interesting faces in Gotham City?

Nolan North #TheGameAwards

Nolan North accepts the Best Performance award at The Game Awards

Nolan North Strikes Back

Though news of the voice actors strike has been sparse over the past month, the protest continues and has gained support from the Canadian voice actors guild, ACTRA. But Nolan North, known for lending his voice to games such as Naughty Dog’s Drake’s Unchartedtook to the stage at The Game Awards to admonish his fellow voice actors’ stance:

“The performance of every designer, every programmer, of every hard working and talented person who works at that office [at Naughty Dog] That performance is so important … And their performance matters more than mine. And that’s important in this day and age, with all this talk going back and forth. Because without their performance, my performance wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t even exist.”

Not all game companies have been named in the strike. Naughty Dog is not among those targeted, so North’s paycheck is relatively safe. Not that there is no validity to Nolan’s statement. While SAG-AFTRA’s focus is for their own union members, they have repeatedly pointed outed out that the gaming industry in general is notorious for its poor treatment of employees at all levels. Unfortunately, those employees do not have a union to help them fight for better working conditions and pay, and are fearful of speaking up on their own.

Brianna Wu for President!

We’re All Gay Now

As part of its Winter Wonderland campaign, Blizzard Entertainment released a new Overwatch comic titled “Reflections” that introduced Tracer’s girlfriend, as beautifully re-enacted by cosplayers Fenix Fatalist and Lei Radna. The Overwatch community loves its queer ‘ships, and Blizzard has made this one canon, much to Russia’s discontent. And woe to the heartbroken dudebros demanding their money back now that their game waifu has denied them. Imagine the chaos if more of our beloved characters are confirmed queer!?