Hello and welcome to another Wednesday! I’m Missy and I’ve got the news this week, which I’m sure will be totally uplifting and contain nothing negative whatsoever.
TwitchCon Entirely Lacks Health and Safety Policies Despite Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
Do I really need to say anything more than this encompassing Kotaku headline?
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) August 2, 2022
The convention is set to take place October 7 – 9, and TwitchCon’s health policies, available on their site, state that they will follow local guidelines when requiring masks or vaccinations. Currently, those requirements are nonexistent—TwitchCon will not be requiring masks (though they are encouraged) or vaccinations for any attendees. In comparison, San Diego Comic Con, held in July in the same convention center, required both masks and proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend.
Twitch streamers and fans are speaking out against the lax requirements, especially after some attendees of TwitchCon EU are believed to have contracted COVID at the convention.
After the surge of COVID cases all over my timeline after @TwitchCon EU I’d love to see an actual mask policy added for NA.
Made a user voice if anyone wouldn’t mind signal boosting.https://t.co/stBcq9R7m9
— ✨ Crev ✨ (@CrevLMTV) July 21, 2022
Some are encouraging fans and streamers to voice their opposition to this (lack of) protocol on UserVoice forums.
TwitchCon San Diego will NOT require vaccination or testing proof. Masks are optional.
— Lowco (@LowcoTV) August 2, 2022
Leaving masks, vaccination, and negative tests optional makes it likely that people who are COVID-conscious won’t want to attend. Those who are immunocompromised or otherwise more susceptible to severe illness are effectively locked out of attending, making this an accessibility issue as well. While it’s ultimately up to individuals if they want to attend, refusing to implement a mask, vaccination, and/or negative test requirement all but ensures that it’s a risky prospect. Wearing masks is easy, and if SDCC can implement an admittedly annoying vaccination/negative test verification procedure for its estimated 130,000 attendees, surely TwitchCon can do the same for its roughly 28,000? No public gathering is truly safe during an ongoing pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have any requirements whatsoever.
The Ninth Pokémon Generation Is on Its Way
Nintendo released a bunch of new information on the next Pokémon generation, Scarlet and Violet, which will release for Switch on November 18.
The new generation will take place in Paldea, a new region described as being full of “open spaces dotted with lakes, towering peaks, wastelands, and mountain ranges.” The games will feature open worlds that can be explored however the player likes rather than being determined by the story.
Players will choose one of two academies to enroll into, which will have some effect on the story direction. There will also be multiplayer for up to four players, which will include the expected trading and battling, but also exploration. The games include local wireless play for two to four, and online multiplayer for one to four.
Importantly, people already have the hots for one of the new gym leaders and are having something of a sexuality crisis over it.
For the shoe connoisseur, Clarks has partnered with Nintendo to launch a line of shoes with Pokémon branding.
In other news…
Gen Con ran from August 4 to August 7, showcasing some of the hottest new and upcoming tabletop games, as well as old favorites. Polygon has a roundup of some of their favorites.
Speaking of Gen Con, someone impersonated staff and attendees and sent threatening messages to a number of marginalized attendees. Gen Con asked recipients of these messages to not respond and to report them, and increased security measures as a result.
According to a quarterly earnings call, Square Enix sold several high-profile franchises, including Tomb Raider, to avoid cannibalizing sales from itself.
Jurassic World Alive and Cookie Jam developer Jam City laid off 17%, or roughly 200 people, of its workforce last week. Jam City had previously promised layoffs would not occur.
Staff at Blizzard Albany have accused Activision Blizzard of hiring Reed Smith to union-bust.
A data breach at Neopets has locked potentially millions of players out of their accounts, as many account holders cannot reset their passwords due to old email addresses. I just checked and my 21.5-year-old account is still intact, so thank goodness for that.
GameStop’s NFT market hopped on the w3itch.io train and sold some games as NFTs without the permission of their creators.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated that single-player games are “really, really important” during an earnings call last week, despite briefly being gaming Twitter’s main character for this in late June:
They’re a 10 but they only like playing single-player games
— Electronic Arts (@EA) June 30, 2022
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.