Hello and happy Wednesday! I’ve been recovering from PAX West for what feels like ages, especially since I haven’t had time to write up my experience there yet. When not attending PAX West, I’ve been dabbling in Get in the Car, Loser!, the JRPG-inspired joy that is Love Conquers All Games’ latest game. Except when I’m playing a game for a review I should also be writing. Except when I’m playing Regency Solitaire. Yes, I still play Regency Solitaire. Find me a better Solitaire. You can’t!
Anyway, here’s what’s been happening in games while I fall further and further behind on self-imposed deadlines.
17-Year-Old Arrested for Rockstar Games Hack
A GTAForums user posted almost 100 videos that claimed to be in-progress development footage of Grand Theft Auto VI last week. The leaked videos included footage of what’s believed to be the game’s protagonist (a woman, in a series-first), new mechanics, and more. The footage was clearly unfinished, showcasing live code alongside more developed models and placeholder shapes.
On September 23, London police arrested a 17-year-old associated with the hacker group Lapsus$. Lapsus$ is also believed to be responsible for hacking Uber earlier this month.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) September 23, 2022
The arrest has not yet been connected to the GTA IV hack, though the person who posted the leaked footage to the GTAForums message board also claimed they participated in the Uber hack, per Kotaku.
Previous arrests of people connected with Lapsus$ have also included several other teenagers, who were then released on bail.
Rockstar confirmed that the hack was real but stated development would progress without changes.
Twitch Manages to Make a Lot of People Angry in One Single Week
We’ll start with the good: Twitch has banned chance-based gambling streams.
Roulette, slots, and dice game content has been popular on the site recently, but will be banned effective Ocotber 18. Twitch will still be allowing players to stream sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker.
The ban comes after ItsSliker, a streamer, was accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars to fund his gambling habit. ItsSliker has said Counter-Strike: Global Offensive led to his gambling addiction, and warned his followers not to start gambling themselves.
But according to reporting by Den of Geek, the gambling ban comes on the heels of several other controversies bubbling in the streamer community. Several streamers aimed to organize against a strike on the site to convince Twitch to limit gambling on the platform, but one of the organizers was accused of covering up sexual assault, among other issues. Another streamer not affiliated with the strike was accused of gifting Twitch employees thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency during streams (the streamer has stated that the people he gifted crypto to were not employees of Twitch at the time). Accusations flew that Twitch would never take action on gambling on the platform because it was making them too much money—until they did, this week. Woof. A net good, I suppose.
In further evidence that the house always wins, Twitch also launched a new revenue split model that will shift the revenue split for premium subscription streamers from 70/30 to 50/50 for earnings above $100,000.
In our latest blog post, we tackle a topic that's been at the forefront of the community for some time – the rev split.
We also provide a related update around monetization for a subset of Partners.
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 21, 2022
This came as a shock to many users. Twitch president Dan Clancy admitted in the statement on the revenue sharing change that the company “had not been transparent” about the existence of these premium streams and that they “were not consistent in qualification criteria.” The vast majority of Twitch streamers split their earnings 50/50 with Twitch.
But instead of raising the revenue share to 70/30 for all Twitch streamers, Twitch is allowing premium streamers—typically those hand-selected with large audiences—to keep their 70/30 split on the first $100,000 they earn through the platform, but reducing the split to 50/50 when they earn above that amount. In the blog post, Clancy spends a lot of words explaining why they aren’t offering the 70/30 split to all users, which basically amount to, “Because Twitch costs a lot to run,” which ignores the fact that without streamers—all streamers, not just the premium ones—they wouldn’t be making money at all. In essence, an unfair deal just got worse.
I wrote a full thread but I’m just gonna stop at this:
It is irresponsible for Twitch to use streaming 200 hrs a month as an example like it’s even some subset of standard we should highlight pic.twitter.com/edl6ZxtvIW
— Aureylian (@aureylian) September 21, 2022
For reference, 200 hours over a 30-day month amounts to over six hours per day. Every day, including weekends. Twitch is basing its high costs off of an unrealistic standard of streaming for most of their users—users who cost the company less money, make up the majority of the user base, and use less resources. Hmm.
The change will take effect on June 1, 2023.
In other news…
In an unlikely partnership, Epic Games (the publisher), Women in Games (the organization, not the concept), and Dove (the skincare brand) have partnered to increase the diversity of female characters in video games.
In addition to being made president of League of Legends, Lil Nas X has released a new track and animated video that will be the theme for this year’s Worlds competition. League of Legends continues to release excellent music for a game I refuse to play.
Gaming YouTuber Dunkey has formed his own publisher, BigMode, aiming to provide publishing deals that support developers without exploiting them.
Chess is technically a tabletop game, so I recommend you read this Chris Karnadi explainer of all the cheating allegations and off-the-board drama currently going on in the competitive chess scene. Karnadi doesn’t cover the wilder allegations (the headline here is NSFW) in the explainer, which is fair, but they are still worth reading for the fun of it.
G2 Esports CEO Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez has left the company after posting a video of himself partying with Andrew Tate, a kickboxer whose views are so repugnant he’s managed to get himself kicked off of every major social media platform. G2 was likely to nab a partnership spot with Riot Games for the Valorant pro league until Rodriguez posted the video and attracted backlash. With Riot Games’ history of misconduct and sexism, it is likely (though unconfirmed) that association with Rodriguez and Tate was too risky. Rodriguez’s leave of absence was made permanent on September 23.
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.