Archive for the ‘gamng’ Category

Netflix Is Beta Testing Their Game Streaming Service in Poland

August 30, 2021

As part of its video games strategy, Netflix is currently testing the integration of mobile titles into its service.
The test is currently only available to Netflix subscribers in Poland and includes just two games — Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3 — according to Netflix’s Twitter account.
The Netflix app for Android users now contains links to the two games, which will take users to the Google Play Store, where they can install them at no additional charge.
Netflix reiterated that its games will be free of ads and in-app purchases, and are included in its paid subscription plan.
We have a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step,” Netflix Geeked wrote.
It’s an incremental step, but it gives a better idea of what Netflix has planned for its long-rumored entry into the games market.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Netflix would be ramping up its efforts in the games space following the success of both the mobile Stranger Things titles and its interactive shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Additionally, the company attracted attention by hiring former Facebook and EA executive Mike Veru to its newly created position of VP of game development.
Shortly after, in its financial results, the company briefly discussed its plans for its games business, revealing that it would initially focus on ad-free, IAP-free mobile games.
A Stadia-like game streaming service has been rumored to be in the works by Microsoft, but this is unlikely in view of the company’s creative and logistical strengths.

ICON Signs New Clients

August 28, 2021

New signings have been announced by ICON, a digital talent agency that represents esports athletes and streaming talent. The new talent includes Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Jason “Pikaboo” Smith, Tim “Koogs46” Koogler, Michael “Sonii” Sherman, Jadey “Vylerria” Anh, Lucas “Buddha” Ramos, and ChelseaBytes.
Currently retired, Peng streams full-time and has won eight League of Legends championships. In addition to hosting tournaments on Twitch, Peng plans to host a talk show segment on his Twitch stream.
As one of the top Rogue players in the world, Smith competes under the Golden Guardians banner as a professional World of Warcraft player.
Koogler has years of experience streaming games from the MLB The Show franchise on Twitch.
According to his followers, Sherman motivates and inspires those who are considering or are already involved in physical fitness. Additionally, he is a gaming streamer who plays a variety of games, including World of Warcraft.
Anh, a German streamer who has watched over two billion hours of video content since 2020, plays Overwatch, Grand Theft Auto, and Outlast.
Ramos plays Grand Theft Auto on the NoPixel server, where over 500,000 people watch him play in the fan-controlled world of Los Santos.
ChelseaBytes (real name unknown) is a content creator who plays a large variety of games, including God of War and League of Legends, as well as hosting a daytime talk show. In addition to her own channel, she also hosts Fight Night on Amazon’s Crown Channel, AMC’s TWDUniverse, and various other streams for Red Bull and DTS.
Swift, the parent company of TSM, owns ICON.

Zynga Acquires Another Company and Has A Good Second Quarter In 2021

August 6, 2021

Zynga announced its second-quarter financial results, continuing the company’s twin trend of revenue growth and acquisitions.
StarLark, the studio behind Golf Rivals, has joined the fold. Zynga acquired the game and its developer from Beijing-based Betta Games for $525 million in cash and stock.
With Golf Rival, Zynga acquires a talented team with the proven ability to create a global hit, and expands its international footprint by opening a studio in China,” Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau said.
“Golf Rival has quickly grown to become the second-largest mobile golf game in the world, with 6 million downloads in 2021 alone. Zynga and StarLark are well positioned to expand Golf Rival along with additional projects in early development.”
Zynga also announced that its last big acquisition, Chartboost, closed yesterday, though the company doesn’t expect it to contribute significantly to revenue and bookings until next year.
In its second quarter, Zynga reported revenues of $720 million, a 50 percent increase, and bookings of $712 million, a 37 percent increase. Revenues were well above the $720 million it forecast after its first quarter, but bookings were barely above guidance.
Zynga’s bottom line, however, was much better than expected. Zynga’s net income was $28 million, which is a considerable improvement over last year’s $150 million loss and higher than the $30 million forecast.
Gibeau and Zynga CFO Ger Griffin wrote to shareholders that the company has noticed “choppiness” in its business recently that is attributed to both “the great reopening” and Apple’s recent privacy changes, which require users to consent to app tracking.
In the early part of 2021, as communities began to reopen and reduce their COVID-19 restrictions, we saw softness in our bookings sparked by a decline in the number of players who installed our games,” the executives said.
In addition, Apple’s privacy changes increased the cost of acquiring our players at the same time. As a result, we scaled back our [user acquisition] spend to maintain target returns, resulting in fewer players installing our games.”
For the quarter, Zynga reported 205 million mobile monthly active users, nearly triple the 70 million it reported for the second quarter of last year. Meanwhile, mobile daily active users have nearly doubled from 22 million to 41 million.
On the other hand, mobile bookings for each daily user are down 26% year-over-year to $0.183.
Toon Blast, Toy Blast, and Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells were credited with driving growth, but Merge Magic and Merges Dragons are declining. The company projects declines in those games during the current quarter and throughout the year.
Farmville 3, the company’s upcoming game, will not arrive until the fourth quarter of this year. On top of that, Zynga will have to operate without the release of Farmville 3.
Zynga expects revenue to increase 32% to $665 million in the third quarter, bookings to increase 5% to $660 million, and a net loss of $110 million.
While preparing for the departure of its San Francisco offices, the company plans to record a charge of approximately $82 million.
Due to the ongoing evolution of our workplace model, we are seeking to optimize our office footprint in the Bay Area to meet our current needs and enhance our operating leverage,” Griffin said. “Consequently, we plan to sublet our existing office space in San Francisco.”

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Activision Blizzard Staff Reacts To Sexual Harassment Suit

July 29, 2021

Over 1,000 former or current employees of Activision Blizzard signed a letter condemning the company’s response to the harassment and discrimination lawsuit it’s facing.
Bloomberg reports that the signatories said that Activision Blizzard’s comments following the lawsuit were “abhorrent and insulting to everything we believe our company should stand for.”
Activision Blizzard fought back after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit claiming the company’s toxic culture fostered harassment and discrimination against women. An employee of the company denied the allegations, calling them “distorted and false.”
Activision Blizzard was asked to acknowledge the “seriousness” of the allegations and “demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault” in the letter.
ABK’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, Frances Townsend, was also asked to step down as executive sponsor of the Employee Women’s Network.
Within days, Townsend responded to the lawsuit: It was “farcical and irresponsible,” and presented a “distorted, untrue picture of [the] company, including old and incorrect stories, some dating back over a decade.”
Lastly, the letter asked the executive leadership team to work with staff on how to make Activision Blizzard a “safe place to speak out and come forward.”
According to the letter, “our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leaders.” “These statements are detrimental to our ongoing quest for equality both within and outside of our industry.”
Activision Blizzard says the allegations are false and distorted “to create a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims,” the letter’s signatories wrote.
The letter also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment where victims can come forward in the future. “These statements show that our leaders are not putting our values first. Immediate corrections should be made at the highest levels of our organization.”
According to Axios, 500 current and former Ubisoft employees signed an open letter criticizing the company’s handling of allegations.
There have been reports of harassment and inequality across multiple Ubisoft studios, most recently at Ubisoft Singapore.
Activision Blizzard employees are protesting their organization for similar reasons, and the group was in solidarity with them.
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The letter also suggested that large publishers and developers work together “to set rules and processes for dealing with complaints of these offenses.”
CNN reports that over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition criticizing the company’s response to its recent sexual harassment allegations.

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Another Day, Another Sexual Harassment Suit In The Gaming Industry

July 23, 2021

Content warning: This article discusses sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and suicide.
In regards to its treatment of women, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws.”
According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit is the result of a two-year investigation by the state agency into Activision Blizzard’s “frat boy” culture, a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.”
It describes a work environment where women have to “continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances” and are “groped” at what is described as “cube crawls.”
It is common for male employees to drink copious amounts of alcohol as they ‘crawl’ their way through various cubicles in the office and engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees, according to the lawsuit. Male employees come to work hungover, play video games for long periods of time during work hours while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies and joke about rape.”
The document goes on to describe the tragic consequences of this alleged constant sexual harassment, including a female employee who committed suicide during a business trip with a male supervisor who brought butt plugs and lubricant with him.
In the DFEH report, numerous complaints were made to HR and management, including to Blizzard Entertainment’s J. Allen Brack.
Human resources personnel were also known to be close to alleged harassers, the lawsuit alleges. “In retaliation, female employees were denied work on projects, transferred to different departments, and laid off.”
The lawsuit also highlights a pay gap between genders across all roles and seniority levels.
The document reads, “These discriminatory practices began at hire, when women were offered lower salaries and less lucrative job assignments and opportunities than their male counterparts.”
Chief people officer Claudine Naughton made $655k in 2020, while, for example, president and chief operating officer Daniel Alegre earned over $1 million. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had his salary slashed 50% over the past year.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs also claim that women at Activision Blizzard have to “work harder and longer” in order to earn promotions and be given the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
“The DFEH provides distorted, and sometimes incorrect, descriptions of Blizzard’s past,” they said. “We have been extremely cooperative with them throughout their investigation, and have provided them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they failed to clarify what issues they perceived.” By law, they had to adequately investigate and have good faith discussions with us to better understand and resolve any claims or concerns before commencing litigation, but they did not do so.”
They continued to say that the complaint was “rushed,” and condemned “the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH in dragging into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no connection whatsoever to this case.”
The company also stated that Activision Blizzard has made significant changes to its company culture in recent years, ensuring more diversity within its leadership teams. The company’s leadership team can be viewed on this page.
In order to create a healthy workplace culture, the company has adopted a code of conduct that emphasizes strict non-retaliation, put in place internal channels to report violations, and established an Employee Relations team. Employees of Activision Blizzard must also undergo regular anti-harassment training.
In the years to come, we intend to continue to demonstrate that we are an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people. It is unfortunate that DFEH refused to engage with us about their findings.”

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The Rumors Are True! Netflix Is Going To Start A Game Streaming Service

July 21, 2021

Netflix recently confirmed it will expand into video games, starting with ad-free titles for mobile devices like phones and tablets, which it will offer as part of its existing service at no additional charge. In its biggest expansion into a new kind of entertainment since it started streaming in 2007 and released its first original show in 2012, Netflix sketched out broad ambitions for gaming generally, indicating it has future plans to also pursue console games.
While mobile games will be the main focus, Netflix executives said Tuesday that all the devices Netflix already supports will be eligible for its games. These would include gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, as well as desktop computers and connected TVs.
Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating and product officer, said Tuesday during a discussion of the company’s second-quarter earnings, “There’s a rich opportunity to continue to develop and enhance our technical capabilities to offer better game experiences across devices.”
According to a report last week, Netflix plans to expand into gaming within the next year. Netflix has not provided a timeframe for its gaming initiative, only noting it was in its “early stages.”
The company will make games based on existing Netflix franchises to allow fans to delve deeper into their favorite stories and characters, but it will also make wholly original games that may eventually spawn spin-off shows or movies. Netflix will explore making games based on media outside of its universe — such as a Netflix game based on a book series or comic — and it may buy popular titles to make them Netflix-exclusive.
From the start, Netflix made it clear there would be one thing gaming wasn’t: a new way to charge you.
“We are a one-product company,” Reed Hastings told The New York Times, and this product is an all-in-one subscription.
Stadia, Google’s game-streaming service, has its own gaming studio and a game-streaming service.
Recently, Netflix hinted that it was interested in stepping up its gaming activity. Through its interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style programming like Bandersnatch and some licensing and merchandising partnerships, the company has flirted with games in the past. However, Peters indicated in April that Netflix’s interest in gaming may be advancing. Netflix games won’t have advertisements, in-game purchases, or individual title purchases. As part of your Netflix membership, you will be able to play Netflix games, just like you can watch movies, reality shows, and award-winning dramas.
Bloomberg reported last week that Netflix plans to offer video games for no additional charge on its service within the next year. As of that time, it confirmed that Mike Verdu, who previously worked at Oculus, Electronic Arts, and Zynga, had been hired as vice president of games development, but declined to comment any further.
The world’s largest subscription video service, Netflix is expanding beyond TV shows and movies. In this regard, it is not alone. Luna, Amazon’s cloud gaming service, has received investment
“We’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways … we can deepen that fandom, and certain games are really interesting components,” Peters said at the time. Game development will be an important aspect of fan engagement and entertainment, without a doubt.
Netflix has long noted that its competition extends beyond the traditional TV and movie companies that compete against it. It has repeatedly cited gaming phenoms like Fornite, as well as user-generated-video powerhouse YouTube, as some of its toughest competitors based on the massive amounts of entertainment hours they command worldwide.
“We believe now is the right time to learn more about how our members value games,” the company said recently

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Game Bits: The Latest Esport News

July 20, 2021

Esports Org Dignitas Partners With The US Air Force

North American esports organization Dignitas announced recently a new partnership with the U.S. Air Force. The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. Air Force has been named the “official military service partner” of Dignitas and will work alongside the organization on “educational, inspirational, and interactive content” featuring Dignitas players and content creators, according to a release.
Dignitas will also create and host an online broadcast esports event to be held in the second half of the 2021 calendar year. The event will be a co-branded Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament called the “Wingman Series.”
Finally, Dignitas will create content that highlights women who are both active duty U.S. Air Force personnel and gamers to be deployed on social media platforms and both organizations’ websites.

US Pro Baseball Player Becomes A part of XSET

Marco Wilson, a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals, has been signed by XSET, an esports, and gaming company. The financial terms were not disclosed. The Cardinals selected the former Florida Gators cornerback in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Wilson, who regularly streams on Twitch and specializes in Call of Duty Warzone, said in a release that he has been a long-time fan of the organization and appreciates its focus on diversity and inclusion.
Wilson will continue creating content and interacting with fans on his Twitch channel and engage in XSET-related initiatives “to be announced in the coming months.”
Wilson joins a growing list of celebrities and sports stars who have signed on to be a part of XSET including hip-hop artists Swae Lee and Ozuna, BMX legend Nigel Sylvester, Olympic skateboarding phenom Minna Stress, NFL stars Kyle Van Noy and Adrian Colbert of the New England Patriots, and many others.

Game Bits: Get Part 2 Of Last of Us 2 Game At A Discount Price, More Netflix Game Streaming Rumors

July 19, 2021

Get The Last of Us Part 2 For A Discount At The Playstation Store

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 is permanently discounted on the PlayStation Store. You should rejoice! There is a catch, however.
Resetera reports that The Last of Us Part 2 has been discounted on the US PS Store. As of this writing, the US appears to be the only region with a discount.

The Last of Us 2 just received a permanent price cut and now costs $39,99 ($49,99 for the deluxe edition.
— NESbot (@NESbot_feed) July 13, 2021

The standard edition of The Last of Us Part costs $39.99, which is about £28 in the U.K. The Deluxe Edition has also been reduced to $49.99 (roughly £36).
In the UK, the game is still priced at £54.99 for the standard edition and £64.99 for the Deluxe Edition. That’s quite a price difference, as you can see.
To avoid regional PS Store pricing, you can purchase PSN credit for other regions. Nevertheless, it would be nice if other regions also got the permanent price reduction. I would imagine, however, that other regions will soon experience a price drop as well.
Moreover, there is no mention of a sale or expiry date for the current price in the US, which indicates that the price reduction is permanent.

More Rumors That Netflix Is Entering The Video Game Streaming Field

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Netflix is considering entering the world of video game streaming.
Netflix was first reported to enter the video games market back in May. Netflix had allegedly already begun recruiting for an executive to lead the new venture.
Netflix provided GameSpot with a brief statement in May when asked about the video game rumors.
“Our members appreciate the variety and quality of our content. As a result, we’ve expanded our offerings — from series to documentaries, films, local language originals, and reality TV,” said a spokesperson.
Bloomberg reports that Netflix has now hired a new executive, possibly to lead its new business venture. Mike Verdu, a former executive at Facebook and Electronic Arts, is the new employee in question.
Bloomberg reports that Netflix has now hired a new executive, possibly to lead its new business venture. An ex-Facebook officer and long-time executive of Electronic Arts, Mike Verdu, will be joining the company.
We must mention that no matter how reliable these reports might be, we must take any speculation with a grain of salt until proven otherwise. However, the pieces are starting to come together.
With Netflix already bringing a wealth of movies and TV series straight to our homes via its streaming platform, it makes sense that it would venture into the video games market next.

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Ubisoft Has A Bad Day: Delays Games And Is Sued For Sexual Harassment By French Union

July 18, 2021

Ubisoft Is Delaying Riders Republic and Rainbow Six

Ubisoft recently announced new delays for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction and Riders Republic.
According to the publisher, this change will allow titles to receive more player feedback.
We are delaying both of these games to allow players to test, play first-hand, and give feedback so we are able to deliver the best possible experiences and allow them to reach their full potential,” the company said.
“The new release schedules will allow us to accomplish that goal. This is the right choice for our players and our long-term performance.”
The new release date for the Riders Republic is October 28, 2021, and the new release window for Rainbow Six Extraction is January 2022.
Rainbow Six Extraction and Riders Republic have both been delayed once before, in October and January, respectively.
Skull & Bones has been delayed again by Ubisoft.

French Union Is Suing Ubisoft Over Sexual Harassment

The French union Solidaires Informatique has filed a lawsuit alleging institutional sexual harassment against Ubisoft.
Yesterday, the union filed a suit in a French court. The company first announced its intention to sue a year ago, after allegations were made against senior Ubisoft executives.
As per the report, the publisher “has put in place, maintained and strengthened a system where sexual harassment is tolerated because it is more profitable for the company to keep harassers on staff than to protect its employees.”
Chief creative officer Serge Hasco * t and head of HR Cécile Cornet, editorial department member Tommy François, and CEO Yves Guillemot are named in the suit, along with Hasco * t’s assistant and several employees of the HR department.
After investigations into their behavior, Mascot and François left the company. Originally, Cornet stepped down from her role but remained with the publisher. Her LinkedIn profile indicates she parted ways with Ubisoft in March.
Solidaires Informatique said Guillemot was chosen because the CEO must be held accountable for what happens at the company. Only Guillemot remains with the company and in the same role.
The union is still asking other victims of abuse by Ubisoft or its employees to testify or sign on to the lawsuit. All legal fees will be covered, and union membership is not required of participants.
A Ubisoft representative told us they had no further information regarding the claim filed against them and referred us to a statement made by Guillemot in May saying that “considerable progress” had been made since the allegations first surfaced.

Punishing Gray Raven Coming To iOS and Android Devices Soon

July 17, 2021

Kuro Game recently released Punishing Gray Raven for iOS and Android devices worldwide (America, Europe, South-East Asia, and Australia). A Chinese version of the mobile title was released in December 2019, followed by a Japanese release in December 2020.
As a result of more than 1 million pre-registrations ahead of launch, anyone downloading the game at or near launch will receive bonus currency to start, as well as a voucher to redeem one of five high-tier characters for their squad.
On the Internet, you can find a launch trailer, teaser trailer, game overview, screenshots, and artwork.

This is what the official website says:

This free action RPG is ultra-stylish and available on Android and iOS. As The Punishing, a biomechanical virus has overrun the world in a dark, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk setting. Recently, robots and machines have become corrupted. Humanity has escaped to the space station Babylonia, and the Gray Raven special forces unit is leading the mission to reclaim their lost homeworld.
Gameplay combines visual novel storytelling, complex RPG squad management elements, and intense 3D arcade hack n’ slash combat inspired by classic console character action games like Nier: Automata and Bayonetta.
As the story unfolds, players will battle legions of mindless machines controlled by the virus, as well as intelligent Corrupted androids and enormous mechanical bosses. Every character has its own special moves and perks, and players will deploy three heroes at once to the field, free to jump into and out of combat at any time.
The Player will recruit new Gray Raven members between missions and assemble them into three-person strike teams to lead increasingly dangerous missions. In order to deal with the threats ahead, characters will level up and grow stronger along with their weaponry.