Hey, everybody! This week’s news was populated once more by companies doing Big Corporate Things: some that will positively impact the gaming landscape we all find ourselves in, and some that, well, won’t. So let’s dive in first with a look at the literal circuits and batteries of the thing:
Sony and Nintendo Both Drop New Options for Console Play
Okay, so this is cheating a little, because only one of those two actually released new hardware, but Sony’s latest update greatly impacts console play, so I feel like it’s fair to group them together. Specifically, the latest PS5 update has made for some quality of life improvements for players, including the ability to store data on external hard drives, sharing gameplay across PS5 and PS4, and this:
— GameSpot (@GameSpot) April 18, 2021
I already found my PS5 much quieter than my ancient base model PS4, but I’m always here for more improvement.
In other console news, Nintendo has dropped a new color for their popular Switch Lite system:
— IGN (@IGN) April 13, 2021
The new blue system has garnered comparisons to the classic opaque purple Gamecube and Gameboy Advance. Real ones, however, are waiting for an official Atomic Purple version, though you can buy modified joycons and pro controllers essentially anywhere on the internet. Still no love for my OG Fuchsia Gameboy Advance shell, but I recognize that’s more of a deep cut.
Amazon and Discord Make Big Software Moves
Not to be outdone, two other major players had announcements of their own in terms of popular or hotly anticipated software.
First, Jason Schreier broke that Amazon has canceled its Lord of the Rings MMO, announced in 2019:
Saturday Scoop: Amazon has canceled its Lord of the Rings MMO, announced two years ago, due to a dispute with Chinese conglomerate Tencent.
Yet another setback for Amazon's long-struggling video game division: https://t.co/jozL9oZTG7
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) April 17, 2021
This comes after a contract dispute with a new holdings company that acquired some parts of development, and is yet another roadblock for the giant company to finally and truly get its tentacles into gaming like it’s done with just about everything else. Despite incredible success in ecommerce, ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, and online streaming, Amazon has yet to produce a successful video game in its almost seven years of owning an active game studio. It also remains to be seen if Amazon Luna, their competitor to the already lukewarmly received Google Stadia cloud gaming system, will ever take off.
In other news, the popular chat platform Discord has pulled somewhat of a Tumblr and updated its user guidelines to restrict access to adult and NSFW content specifically for iOS users:
With its latest update, Discord joins a long list of social platforms built on the backs of NSFW content creators, only to purge adult content when they became more popular. (Also worth noting: Discord is in talks for a $10 billion sale to Microsoft.) https://t.co/UqyGAF3DfB
— Ej Dickson (@ejdickson) April 13, 2021
The move also makes it so that entire servers, not just individual channels within servers, have to designate themselves as NSFW, even if the majority of their content is tame. This move, just like other companies before it, was done to comply with Apple’s strict policies on adult content in their app store. It’s unclear how many more apps will bow to Apple in the future, and how NSFW communities will have to adapt.
Notes on Upcoming Content
While the world of third-party user software taketh away, upcoming IPs promise to giveth much. The second Resident Evil 8: Village demo dropped on the 17th and by the time you’re reading this, it will have already become unavailable to download. This short-lived demo gives the player thirty minutes to experience gameplay. Another demo drops next week, but you can watch a playthrough of the first one here.
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.