Hey, everybody! Before we get started, I wanted to direct you to a place where you can tangibly help stop the spread of hate in America against AAPI individuals. Targeted hate crimes against this community have severely spiked in recent months, and if you have the time and resources, I highly recommend donating to one of the listed organizations.
More Layoffs in the Industry
On the 16th, Activision Blizzard engaged in some pretty severe employee layoffs, the latest in a series:
Yesterday: Activision Blizzard video games laid off 190 people (over 1,000 have been laid off in the last two years)
Today: Its CEO got a $200 million bonus on top of his $30 million annual payhttps://t.co/SFh4zvTDHb
— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) March 17, 2021
To add insult to injury, reports suggested laid-off employees were a $200 gift card to Battle.net, Blizzard’s online store. Most of these recent layoffs were for teams dedicated to live events and esports, following the restrictions on large gatherings due to COVID. But will this trend of corporate shrink continue?
Things Entering and Leaving the Black Market
In better news, the controversial Taiwanese game Devotion is once again available for purchase:
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) March 15, 2021
Devotion has been taken off all selling platforms multiple times after a reference to the character Winnie the Pooh (largely verboten in China due to jokes about the resemblance between the bear and Chinese leader Xi Jinping). Developer Red Candle has taken matters into their own hands and is selling the game on their own website, in a win for everyone who wants to play this lauded horror experience.
Perhaps on the opposite end of the gaming spectrum and yet somehow still relevant under this heading, a story broke about the seedy underbelly of the beloved millennial game Neopets:
after my neopets story last week, a bunch of "black market" players reached out wanting to tell their stories. and then more drama happened. IT'S A LOT. and it's all here:https://t.co/42gWyWk9IC
— Nicole Carpenter (@sweetpotatoes) March 16, 2021
While it’s less back-alley and more quality-of-life improvement, it’s still kind of wild.
New Developments to Look Forward To
Finally, there are three big pieces of news this week for gamers about things they can expect in the future of their chosen hobby.
First, the controllers for the next generation of PSVR have been displayed, and boy, are they something.
The next-gen PSVR for PS5 – Screenshotshttps://t.co/sYZAaCcioy
-Tracking ring on controller
-Finger touch detection
-Action buttons/sticks on each
This is HOT. I dabbled around with the original PSVR years ago – this is so much sleeker 😍 pic.twitter.com/xSPWAcXyIH
— Shinobi602 (@shinobi602) March 18, 2021
As a PSVR player who hates the Move controllers with a fiery passion, I’m excited to see what these can do.
Next, although Square Enix’s Avengers has not seen commercial success, with only an average of 500 players at any time on Steam, they recently put forward a series of massive expansions, including several new areas and two new controllable characters, including my personal favorite, Black Panther.
Bow before the king. 👑
Black Panther and the War for Wakanda are coming to "Marvel's Avengers," along with Klaw, the Wakandan Jungle Biome, new enemies, and much more. #Reassemble #EmbraceYourPowers pic.twitter.com/PEGhFB9ELf
— Black Panther (@theblackpanther) March 18, 2021
Will these changes and the next-gen upgrade entice more players into the fold?
And finally, the sleeper indie darling Among Us is about to release a new map that promises tons of sleuthy, murdery fun
— IGN (@IGN) March 18, 2021
It seems like the devs’ decision to cancel the sequel and continue to pump out updates for the original game is paying off in a big way.
Emma is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition who studies how play impacts learning. Her words have also appeared in Critical Distance and Unwinnable. When not writing, she enjoys passing the controller between friends for runs of Silent Hill. She can be found @kostopolus on Twitter.