Another week, another Wednesday! I hope this year’s holiday season is bright and cheerful for you. My winter’s looking up since I bought Monsterhearts 2, which I am extremely excited to play. Now to get a group together…
The Gaming Industry Has a Way to Go on Curbing Climate Change
According to AfterClimate, which researches climate impact in the games industry, some of gaming’s biggest studios aren’t doing their part to commit to reducing their emissions and pollution. In a new report released during this year’s COP27 conference, AfterClimate praises Microsoft, Apple, Google, Riot, and Tencent for “setting the pace” for reducing emissions. Sony, Activision Blizzard, and Sega are at the organization’s “Baseline” group, meaning their contributions are doing the minimum acceptable. Nintendo, Take-Two, and Zynga are in the organizations “Catch-Up” group for lacking a dates for achieving corporate net zero emissions, while Square Enix and Roblox are in the “Non-Compliance” group. According to Dr. Ben Abraham, who wrote the report for AfterClimate, the companies in the “Non-Compliance” group have yet to even begin thinking about Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) disclosures and goals.
Notably absent from the report are Steam and Epic, two companies primarily known for digital rather than physical releases, meaning their climate goals are typically easier to reach as there is significantly less physical waste to account for. That’s because neither Steam nor Epic publish data or information relating to their climate impact. They could be doing better than some of the other companies, but their lack of published data suggests that that may not be the case.
During the COP27 conference, Ubisoft launched a variety of content aiming to raise conversation about climate issues in its games. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Nicholas Hunsinger, director of Corporate Environmental Sustainability, said “As a leader in our industry, we have the power and the responsibility to act on climate change—but we know that only through collective action can we truly have an impact. Through our games, we reach millions of people around the world every day, which gives us the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about climate issues and mobilize our players to act. Our goal is to help our industry become a catalyst for change by simultaneously decarbonizing our operations and inspiring players to join us and become climate advocates in their own communities.” I guess we see how that got that nod of approval from AfterClimate.
Bad News for the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard Buyout, Good News for Everybody Else
Microsoft has sought to buy Activision Blizzard for what feels like ages at this point. Last week, Politico reported that the Federal Trade Commission was likely to file a lawsuit that would block the acquisition. This came from three sources Politico said were close to the matter. FTC commissioners have yet to meet with lawyers for Microsoft or Activision Blizzard, and no vote has taken place, but Politico’s sources suggest that the FTC staff is skeptical of the deal. A lawsuit may come as soon as next month if the agency chooses to pursue it.
If a lawsuit moves forward, it will likely be because the FTC believes that Microsoft would have an unfair edge in the gaming industry by acquiring a studio as large as Activision Blizzard. Microsoft currently holds the fourth-highest revenue among public gaming companies, falling behind Tencent, Sony, and Apple. Sony claimed in an October statement that a merger between the companies would make it difficult for them to compete in the market, and harm consumers and developers by limiting the amount of choices available to both. Microsoft countered with their own statement, calling Xbox “the smallest of the three console competitors” and derided Sony’s statement as “not credible,” as losing access to one title would not cause Sony’s foreclosure.
The “one title” in question is Call of Duty, which Microsoft has promised will remain available on PlayStation if the merger does go through. Microsoft reportedly offered to give Sony access to the game for 10 years, but how Sony responded is not known.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Deserve Their Own News Section
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet released on November 18 to… perhaps not fanfare, as the game’s reception has been mixed thanks to a number of issues, but Nintendo and Gamefreak certainly aren’t complaining. More than 10 million copies were sold in the three days since release, breaking the record for Nintendo’s highest sales in such a short period of time.
PSA: Don't skip the optional school social scenes in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, or else you will miss out on top tier moments like this. pic.twitter.com/vu1e7eOeLl
— Giovanni Colantonio (@MarioPrime) November 18, 2022
Graphic and bug issues aren’t the only thing that people are questioning in this new release. Violet and Scarlet also invoke the word “cheugy,” a long-lost (read: nine years old, but two years in popular use) slang term that originated on Tumblr but sprang to popularity on TikTok in 2020. In Violet and Scarlet, Professor Clavell asks players “What does ‘cheugy,’ mean?”, offering three choices—something super cool, being outdated and uncool, or “it’s a really chewy gumball.” For those not in the know, the correct answer is “being outdated and uncool,” which the word cheugy almost certainly is at this point.
But it’s bugs, not outdated slang, that has players asking Nintendo for refunds. According to multiple Reddit threads, some are even succeeding in getting refunds for digital copies of the game.
In other news…
Former Tripwire CEO and co-founder John Gibson appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight, claiming “social terrorism” was why he was forced out of the company that developed the Killing Floor series as well as Chivalry 2. Gibson had voiced support for an abortion ban in 2021, which led to him being asked to step down. Cancel culture strikes again, landing a well-off man a guest spot on a highly watched TV show. Gibson’s LinkedIn profile now lists him as a “full-time philanthropist helping the poor and underprivileged of the world.”
Elon Musk has hired a PlayStation 3 hacker to work on Twitter’s buggy search function, because of course he has. Why wouldn’t he? Every bit of Twitter news makes me feel more and more like my mind is gradually fleeing my body.
Hideki Kamiya has harsh words for fans who didn’t like the Bayonetta 3 ending—the creator and supervisor said that Bayonetta 4 will contain some “unexpected developments” and followed up by likening angry fans to “maddened poisonous radio transmitter[s]” who should stay away from future games in the series.
I have to be honest—I can’t follow what’s going on with ZA/UM at all, but a new lawsuit by Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov against current CEO Ilmar Kompus accuses the CEO of illegally obtaining a majority share of the Disco Elysium studio by using company funds. The lawsuit suggests that four concept sketches were purchased by Tütreke, accused of being a shell company led by Kompos, for €1, and later re-sold to ZA/UM for €4.8 million. According to the lawsuit, that €4.8 million was used to acquire shares from another investor in ZA/UM, giving Kompos a majority stake in the company and thus the power to force Kurvitz and Rostov out.
Today in “I feel actively worse for knowing this action had to be taken but am glad that it has” news, Twitch is adding new requirements and moderation to prevent predators from reaching children on the platform.
Rather than ending on a downer, I want to share this outrageous meme I saw last week after looking at Facebook for thirty seconds:
Let’s all think on that.
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.