Archive for the ‘2022’ Category

TAT Wants To Collect 500-baht From Tourists in 2022

October 4, 2021

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is poised to start collecting a 500-baht tourism fee for a “tourism transformation fund” next year, and the budget will use a co-payment model.
The Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the creation of the fund last week. The fund will support high-value and sustainable tourism projects in order to transform the tourism industry.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), told reporters that it will begin collecting 500 baht per person next year with the goal of collecting 5 billion baht in the first year, assuming 10 million foreign arrivals by 2022.
Early this year, the National Tourism Policy Committee approved the establishment of the fund, with a proposed fee of 300 baht per person.
This additional $200 million will be used to fund projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises, and social enterprises that wish to transform their business to meet the fund’s goals; help the country transition away from mass tourism to high-value tourism and a green economic model; and support environmentally responsible tourism.
“The government should use the fund to support projects that can have a significant economic impact. The proportion of public-private funding could be 50:50, 60:40 or 70:30, depending on how much we want to make the projects a success,” he said.
According to Yuthasak, it is also intended to fund insurance and development projects for foreign visitors that require government rather than private sector initiatives, such as those requiring matching grants from local governments.
Upon approval of the concept, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and TAT are required to hold discussions with relevant authorities about setting up the fund committee and funding mechanisms, such as how to collect fees from tourists, he said.
To determine which projects are eligible for financial support, the committee must develop criteria.
“The additional cost will not affect tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,” Yuthasak said.
This fund will contribute to a national tourism makeover that creates a more safe and clean environment.
In his words, the fund’s objective is not to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic, but rather to promote long-term economic growth within the region.

Thai Crime: Thai Prison Official Kills and Injures Most of His Wife’s Family

September 10, 2021

Thepsutin, head of Corrections Dept., confirms a prison official in Phichit shot and killed four members of his wife’s family, < both parents, and wounded three others.
In Somsak’s view, stress caused by work was not a factor and a family dispute was the reason for the shooting.
Puttawan Manpan, 51, a prison official at the Phichit prison, opened fire on family members at his house in tambon Khlong Khachen in Muang district on Wednesday. When police arrived at the scene, they found four people dead and three others wounded.
Three of the gunman’s victims were the parents of his wife, the boy from a previous marriage, and the teenager. Mr Somsak said the injured were also her relatives
In Thai media, it was reported that Phutthawat pulled out a 9mm gun and fired shots at his stepson who lived nearby.
Then, he shot his wife’s parents and another family member in the head. Thairath Online reports that three other family members were also wounded.
As police arrived on the scene around 12.30 pm, the gunman was shooting at the fences of his house. The police took almost 30 minutes to calm him down and take him to Muang police station for questioning.
Soncharoen, 37, after returning from a shift at the Phichit prison. He later shot dead his wife’s parents Daeng Makmoon, 69, and Lamphueng Soncharoen, 67, and another family member.
While the police investigated, Somsak said, the prison official was dismissed from the civil service.
“The Corrections Department found the Phichit prison official committed a serious breach of discipline and has ordered him to be dismissed from the government office immediately,” said Somsak.
To inform the descendants of victims about the compensation for victims in a criminal case, the minister said he had assigned officials from the Phichit justice office to meet with them.
The descendants of a person who has been killed in a criminal case will receive compensation of 50,000 baht. According to Somsak, they will receive 20,000 baht for the funeral and 40,000 baht for the loss of caretakers, for a total of 110,000 baht.
An injured victim may receive compensation for medical fees up to 40,000 baht, physical and mental rehabilitation fees up to 20,000 baht, 320 baht a day for loss of income up to 50,000 baht, and other damages up to 100,000 baht.
Corrections Department chief Ayut Sinthoppan said on Thursday that Puttawan was on a seven-day leave from last Friday to Thursday when the shooting occurred.
According to an initial investigation, the shooting was motivated by a family issue. Ayut stated that the official had no conflict with anyone at the prison.
The department has formed a committee to investigate the serious disciplinary violation and has ordered Puttawan’s dismissal pending an investigation.

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Game Bits: A Boycott of Twitch, Another Acquisition Of A Game Developer

September 3, 2021

Twitch Streamers Participate In A One-Day Boycott of Twitch

Streamers participated in the #ADayOffTwitch protest, demanding protection against hate raids.
Twitch tracking site Sully Gnome reported 57 million viewer hours watched on September 1, 2021. On Wednesdays in the previous month, 61-65 million hours were watched, a decline between 7% and 12%.
Gamesight Analytics, however, reported a 16% drop in hours viewed on Twitch week over week.
According to the analytics firm, the number of channels that streamed recently fell 7% week over week to 834,000.
The Twitch hours for 9/1 were down 7-14% compared to the previous four Wednesdays, so it’s hard to tell if streamers were taking the day off or if it was just a slower day,” said StreamElements founder Doron Nir.
Some questioned whether a protest would be effective, but the larger conversation it generated from the press and on social media indicates that it was [efficient].”
A Twitch report posted in March revealed that only 15% of user complaints resulted in enforcement actions.
In addition, it showed that only 2% of harassment and hateful conduct reports led to action.
The media ran an extensive report last year in which current and former employees said there was a culture of indifference to inappropriate, unsafe, and abusive behavior at the company.

Spanish Game Developer Acquired by Publisher Thunderful Games

Publisher Thunderful Games announced recently that it has acquired Spanish game developer Stage Clear Studios.
The company will pay €600,000 ($712,000) in cash up front and €400,000 ($474,643) in shares.
Additionally, earnouts of up to €1.5 million ($1.7 million) are to follow if Stage Clear Studios’ meets agreed-upon p

Thunderful Games recently announced that it had acquired Spanish game developer Stage Clear Studios.
It will pay €600,000 ($712,000) in cash and €400,000 ($474,643) in shares.
Additionally, Stage Clear Studios will earn up to €1.5 million ($1.7 million) if its performance goals are met by June 30, 2025.
Thunderful’s chief strategy and investment officer Agostino Simonetta said, “This deal strengthens our international position, broadens our business network towards more development studios, and creates synergies within our publishing operations.”
The Nordics, the UK, and Germany will remain closely linked through these new colleagues in Madrid.”
Founded in 2012, Stage Clear Studios co-develops games like The Coma: Recut, Cloudpunk, and Yesterday Origins for consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. Additionally, the company publishes titles across multiple platforms.
Thunderful Games acquired a number of game developers in the last year, including Station Interactive AB, To The Sky, and Headup.

The Thai PM Is Criticised For COVID-19 Policy As Well As Allegedly Bribing Colleagues To Keep His Job During 3-Day Censure Debate

September 3, 2021

The PM Prayut Chan-o-cha responded to charges that he had bribed MPs to vote in his favor at the end of the censure debate in Parliament on the third day of the debate. PM Prayut, according to Pheu Thai MP Visarn Techateerawat, met privately with a group of MPs on the third floor of the parliament building, during which he allegedly distributed 5 million baht payments to each MP to bolster their support.
In the hearing, MP Visarn derided the actions of the prime minister with a vitriolic outburst, “It’s outrageous! What corruption! MPs are receiving five million baht each from him just because he wants to remain in his position. Can this be done in Thailand?”
Several Palang Pracharat MPs requested that the House Speaker order MP Visarn to retract his claims of bribes, but the Speaker said that PM Prayut has been implicated and will have the chance to respond.
Members of Phu Thai requested that all CCTV footage from the third floor be obtained immediately in order to witness what happened. An MP stated that he heard rumors that someone attempted to tamper with the CCTV system in order to hide the footage.
PM Prayut insists that the meeting was merely a visit from supportive MPs to offer words of encouragement and was not accompanied by bribes. He said that he would not be stupid enough to get caught in a scandal like a snack bag incident in 2008.
An attorney representing Thaksin Shinawatra gave a paper bag containing cookies to a court official, which later turned out to contain 2 million baht in 1,000-baht notes. The lawyer claimed that he just confused the bags.
Over the course of the censure debate, PM Prayut and other cabinet members defended themselves against accusations regarding embezzlement from Covid-19 funds, failing to join the COVAX program, and their general bumbling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Amazon Games Studios Will Not Launch Lost Ark Game Until 2022

September 2, 2021

Amazon Games Studios has announced that Lost Ark will launch in early 2022, moving the MMORPG out of the late 2021 release window.
Amazon has also announced that a closed beta test will run from November 4 to November 9. Those who purchase the Founder’s Pack will be given access to the beta, and a sign-up option is also available.
In Korea, Japan, and Russia, Lost Ark is available as a free-to-play PC MMORPG. Arkesia, where players try to track down the Lost Ark and save Arkesia from a real-life demonic threat, is the world of Lost Ark. The long-awaited release will be available in English, French, German, and Spanish, as announced by Amazon at E3 2021 this year.
Below is the press release of Amazon Games Studios:

Back in June, we held our Closed Technical Alpha Test, inviting testers to venture into Arkesia to experience this version of Lost Ark for the first time. Following the Technical Alpha, we have been working hard, translating walls of text, squashing bugs, spending long hours in the recording studio, and preparing the server infrastructure behind the scenes. While delving into all of the great feedback and data generated by our Alpha and reviewing recent changes to the Korean version that we want to include in our release, we discovered a lot more work that will be needed to launch Lost Ark at the high-quality bar our players deserve. As players have been waiting for so long, we want to take the time to do it right while also ensuring we look after the wellness of our hardworking Amazon Games and Smilegate teams. With that in mind, we’ve made the tough decision to push the launch of Lost Ark to early 2022.
While we’ll be launching in early 2022, you won’t have to wait until next year to get your hands on Lost Ark. Our Closed Beta Test will be conducted from November 4 to November 9 and your feedback will be an important part of the Lost Ark development process. Lost Ark Founder’s Pack purchasers will have access to the Closed Beta Test. Interested players can also sign up for a chance to receive an invitation to the Closed Beta test by entering their information on our tester sign-up page.
While we have been relatively quiet so far, we do want to improve the quality and frequency of our communications. We are committed to staying more open with our players about what our team is working on. Moving forward we will provide monthly updates to discuss the work our team is doing behind the scenes, In October we’ll launch our official forums and official Discord channel in preparation for Closed Beta. In November we will be fully operational to support our Beta Testers and Content Creators. With these upcoming activities, you should expect more activity and communication from us in the coming months.
As always, thank you for your support. Be on the lookout for information and details on what our team is up to behind the scenes, information about Closed Beta, and some upcoming content that will help new players better understand the beautiful, dangerous, and sometimes silly world of Arkesia. Make sure to follow our social channels and PlayLostArk.com to stay up-to-date.

Gamescom Annouces New Saints Row Game and New Marvel Universe Game

August 26, 2021

Gamescom is officially underway, ushered in by an Opening Night Live digital event that showcased an assortment of new titles including the next installment of Saints Row and a Firaxis take on the Marvel Universe.
The show opened with a trailer for Saints Row, the latest installment in the Volition-developed open-world crime series. Set for release February 25, Saints Row casts players in the role of an ambitious founding member of The Saints street gang who will lead the group to take control of the fictional American Southwest city of Santo Ileso in a turf war against rival factions. It will debut on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and Epic Games Store.
That was followed up by the announcement of Marvel’s Midnight Suns from Firaxis Games, a tactics RPG based on the comic book franchise starring Wolverine, Blade, Iron Man, and Ghost Rider. The game is set for release in March of 2022 on Steam, Epic Games Store, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5.
Other new games revealed during the show included Massive Monster’s Cult of the Lamb — which includes elements of town-building as well as action — and the next-gen console theme park management game Park Beyond from Bandai Namco and Limbic Entertainment, set for release next year on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Beyond the new game announcements, Opening Night Live also featured new looks and details for a variety of previously announced games. Horizon: Forbidden West is set for a February 18 debut on PS4 and PS5, while the Aloy content arrives in Genshin Impact on September 1, 2021.
Halo Infinite will launch December 8, 2021, with multiplayer and campaign modes, but that will be preceded by the launch of a Halo Infinite limited edition Xbox Series X console on November 15. An Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 controller in Master Chief colors is also on the way.
The repeatedly delayed Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga also received a new launch window, with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment expecting to have the game out in the spring of 2022.

Gaming Bits: Game Companies Released R-Rated Screenshot For New WWE 2K22 Game, Boyfriend Dungeon Has New Content Warning After The Internet Did Not Like The Last Warning

August 23, 2021

New R-Rated Screemsnpt Put There For WWE 2K22 Game
K and Visual Concepts has released an “R-Rated” screenshot for the upcoming WWE 2K22 and has promised more information this weekend.
The screenshot in question is of none other than WWE Hall of Famer and current active roster member, the “Ultimate Opportunist” aka the “R-Rated Superstar,” Edge.
In fact, two new screenshots of Edge were revealed. Both screenshots showed Edge at the top of the entrance ramp as he makes his way to the squared circle. I know you fellow Edge-Heads can already hear the theme song “Metalingus” from Alter Bridge.
ver since we saw the first reveal for WWE 2K22 at Wrestlemania earlier in the year, sightings of any new information on the game have been as visible as John Cena. Thankfully, however, 2K has promised to reveal more at SummerSlam this weekend. Let’s hope we not only see Edge’s full entrance in-game, but some new gameplay too.
Following the troubles of WWE 2K20, 2K made the decision to skip WWE 2K21 entirely. So, it has been quite a long wait for a new WWE game. Hopefully, the extra development time has served WWE 2K22 well. Only time will tell.

Contenct Warning Gets Internet Backlash
Content warning: this article contains references to death threats.

Kitfox Games has updated the content warning in Boyfriend Dungeon to include stalking and emotional manipulation following online backlash that suggested the initial warning wasn’t explicit enough.
Boyfriend Dungeon stealth dropped onto Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PC last week after first appearing at the Indie World Showcase. It’s a cutesy dungeon crawler with a tacked-on dating sim but deals with some heavy subjects at its heart. As such, the game included a content warning for story elements relating to domestic abuse, kidnapping, and emotional manipulation.
However, some fans didn’t feel that the content warning accurately described the sort of content featured in Boyfriend Dungeon. As such, developer Kitfox Games has now issued an update that rewards the content warning at the start of the game. It now reads:
‘This game’s story involves exposure to unwanted advances, stalking, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Play with care and take breaks as needed.’
The update has also removed a reference to still-birth, which the developer ultimately deemed to be ‘unnecessary’. Aside from those minor changes, the actual content of Boyfriend Dungeon remains untouched.
The outcry for an updated content warning sparked a conversation about whether potentially sensitive material should be toggleable in games. Elsewhere in Boyfriend Dungeon, you can enable or disable encouraging text messages that you receive from your in-game mother. These messages have the potential to be distressing for some players that have difficult relationships with their own parents.

Despite Delays In Phuket Sandbox Plan, TAT Wants To Move On To Phuket 7+7 Plan

August 16, 2021

Although many of the original Sandbox plans have been delayed as Covid-19 outbreaks spread and domestic travel has been mostly shut down, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to launch its 7+7 model for travellers to stay in Phuket for one week before continuing on to a handful of other destinations.
It is proposed to allow arrivals to spend 7 days in Phuket and then spend the remainder of their arrival observation period at one of the 9 designated locations that the TAT has selected and is seeking approval from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
The Thai Anti-Terrorist Team expects to launch this 7+7 plan during August, despite Covid-19 infections consistently exceeding 20,000 per day nationally and 500 per week in the Phuket Sandbox.
Surat Thani would be the first and farthest region to be included in the scheme. With the Samui Plus programme launching on July 15, albeit to paltry numbers, and flights scheduled from Phuket Sandbox to Samui Airport, opening the 7+7 scheme to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao makes sense.
It makes sense to expand the Sandbox into the two popular holiday regions just outside of Phuket with easy transportation to each. A week after arriving in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi is opened for international travellers, along with Railay Beach and Koh Ngai in Krabi province. In the northern province of Phang Nga, Khao Lak, Kho Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi will be reopened for travellers for their second week in Thailand.
The Phuket Sandbox has so far been a success, with nearly 20,000 arrivals and more than 370,000 hotel room nights booked through September, according to a secretary for the Prime Minister’s office. More travellers come from the US, UK, Israel, and Germany. Bangkok. Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chon Buri have been the top 5 destinations after Phuket.

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Game Bits: Overwatch League Is Not Taking A Break, EA Sports Plans Madden Championship Series In 2022

August 12, 2021

No Break Between Seasons For Overwatch League

Overwatch League VP at Blizzard Jon Spector responded almost immediately to a GGRecon story about the Overwatch League taking a “year-long break” between seasons 4 and 5.
A report citing sources inside the OWL teams said Activision Blizzard told them that the “year-long” hiatus was caused by a delay of Overwatch 2, which the company plans to switch to for season five.
Spector slammed the story on Twitter, saying it was inaccurate.
“It’s really not practical to respond to every rumor about our future plans, but in this case this story is incorrect,” Spector wrote. “We have not set or communicated dates for our 2022 season yet, but we do not intend to take a ‘year-long hiatus’ in any scenario we are considering at this time.”
A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard pointed to Spector’s tweet and offered no additional comments.
The SBJ reached out to multiple owners regarding the report article, and one owner, who asked not to be named, concurred with Spector’s assessment, saying, “That story is garbage, kinda sad how little it was vetted.”

EA Sports Sets Schedule and Prize Money For Madden Championship Series In 2022

In 2022, EA Sports will bring back the Madden Championship Series with four events that will coincide with major NFL milestones. MCS prize money has increased to $1.65 million USD as the best Madden NFL 22 players in the world compete for the lion’s share. In the finale, The Ultimate Madden Bowl, $1 million will be on the line.
Unlike previous years, MCS 22 will be played on Xbox Series XS and PlayStation 5’s new generation of consoles. During the competition, players will build rosters of current and historical NFL players using the Madden Ultimate Team mode.
MCS 22 follows the following format:

Ultimate Kickoff – Aug 21 – Sept 8, 2022

$150,000 Prize Pool

1st Place: $40,000

2nd Place: $25,000

3rd and 4th Place: $15,000

5th – 8th Place: $10,000

Online Elimination Phase (both consoles)

1st – 4th: Advance to Live Finals

5th – 8th: $1,875

Ultimate Thanksgiving – Oct 2 – Nov 24

$250,000 Prize Pool

1st Place: $75,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd and 4th Place: $25,000

5th – 8th Place: $15,000

Online Elimination Phase (both consoles)

1st – 4th: Advance to Live Finals

5th – 6th: $5,000

7th – 8th: $2,500

Ultimate Wild Card – Nov 5 – Jan 14

$250,000 Prize Pool

1st Place: $75,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd and 4th Place: $25,000

5th – 8th Place: $15,000

Online Elimination Phase (both consoles)

1st – 4th: Advance to Live Finals

5th – 6th: $5,000

7th – 8th: $2,500

Ultimate Madden Bowl – Feb 1 – Feb 13

$1,000,000 Prize Pool

1st Place: $250,000

2nd Place: $150,000

3rd-4th Place: $100,000

5th-8th Place: $55,000

9th-14th Place: $30,000

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Russia Will Send 2 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine To Myanmar

July 12, 2021

As Myanmar’s military ruler announced, Russia will send two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from this month, as the Southeast Asian country reported another record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led a February 1 coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, said the virus was spreading fast in Myanmar and that Russian defense officials had offered him assistance with vaccines.
“I told them I wanted two million dollars, and they will give it,” he said in remarks carried by army-owned Myawaddy television.
As of Friday, Myanmar reported 4,320 cases, a record for a second consecutive day, and 63 deaths.
Last month, Min Aung Hlaing said he was seeking seven million doses of Russian vaccines. There is also a COVID outbreak inside the country’s prisons, including at the notorious Insein prison, where at least 40 prisoners have tested positive.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many prisoners in Insein jail fell ill and some died, yet there was little COVID-19 testing done for prisoners.
Considering the collapse of testing since the coup and the strike by health workers, many health experts believe Myanmar’s true infection rate is higher than its official one.
It is one of the few countries that has openly embraced the military government, which has been condemned internationally for the coup and the crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
According to the military government, most of those killed or arrested were “terrorists” inciting violence.
According to Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar is eager to produce its own COVID-19 vaccines, and Russia has agreed to cooperate and send a delegation to inspect the facility this month. The speaker did not elaborate.
In addition to protests against the military government in several parts of the country, the COVID pandemic is raging.
As a result of the military’s takeover of power, Myanmar is experiencing its most severe outbreak of infections to date. Efforts to manage the outbreak are being hindered by nationwide political chaos.
On Saturday, masked protesters staged a dawn strike in Launglon in Tanintharyi District to denounce the Min Aung Hlaing and demand the return of civilian rule.
On Friday night, several protesters, including a monk, staged a candle-light strike in Mandalay, Kachin State, calling for the removal of the military dictatorship.
Social media reports that security forces raided a house in Thaketa and reportedly arrested five civilians without warrant, including the mother of a protester and his two brothers.
Duwa Lashi, the acting president of the opposition National Unity Government, said in a statement that the military has been exploiting the virus outbreak to suppress the opposition.
According to the human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 898 people have been killed by the military government since the coup began. 1,963 people have evaded arrest while 5,127 are currently detained or have been sentenced.