Episode 52 – Transparency in loot boxes, Video game violence

recorded on 8/9/2019

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo put out statements about the transparency of loot boxes (Wired)

  • Michael Warnecke, chief counsel of the ESA, spoke at an FTC panel on loot boxes
  • He said the three console makers “have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platforms.”
  • Saying further that this “Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features,” Warnecke continued. “And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items on their platforms.” In a press release, the ESA said the console makers “are targeting 2020 for the implementation of the policy.”
  • In a later press release the ESA said “Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts… Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast” are among the major publishers that will start disclosing loot box odds “by the end of 2020.”

Video games are being blamed again in the wake of the recent shootings in the U.S.

  • Although this is a tragedy, we’ve been through this before
  • Studies have shown no correlation between aggression and playing violent video game
    • We understand the difficulties of trusting a “study” but they are all saying the same thing so…

Little Bits

Rocket League ditches randomized loot boxes in favor of a transparent system (Nintendo LIfe)

  • “Here at Psyonix, and Epic Games as a whole, we are dedicated to creating the best possible experience for our players all over the world. In pursuit of that goal, later this year we will remove all paid, randomized Crates from Rocket League, replacing them with a system that shows the exact items you’re buying in advance.”

Wal-Mart has sent out a memo instructing employees to remove “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior” (Vice, Kotaku, USA Today)

  • “The notice instructs workers to remove demos of “violent games, specifically PlayStation or Xbox units,” events for “combat style or third-person shooter games” scheduled in the electronics department, movies depicting violence, and hunting season videos playing in the sporting goods section.”
  • The memo makes no mention of changing store policy on selling guns or amo….LOL

EPIC Games comments on the developer harassment

  • Recurring Story: Some gamers are getting really upset at Epic’s exclusive deals and its peaking
  • Story: Developers of Ooblets, an anticipated indie title, are getting hate mail and literal death threats for accepting an exclusive deal with Epic
  • Context: This is a married couple, two people who invested a lot of time and money into this game. They were offered a deal by Epic, “we’ll pay you your expected sales upfront for exclusivity”, you’ve got as much brains as a wet mop if you don’t take that.

GameStop tries to save themselves with new eSports / Retro focused stores (Forbes)

Rapid Fire News

Twitch is using Ninja’s old account to highlight other streamers

  • “The streamer you’re looking for is in another castle”

EVO 2019 happened last Friday, ending on Sunday in Las Vegas

  • One of the biggest fighting game tournament events
  • Smash Ultimate, DBFZ, MK11, SamSho, Tekken7, SFV and others

Microsoft shows off limited edition Gears 5 themed Xbox One X console with extras (The Verge)

  • Bundle comes with Gears 5 Ultimate edition and all the previous games priced at $500

According to EA, they will not be pushing for Switch releases for their games, just not profitable. Sorry Switch-only people…whoever you are. (Kotaku) 

More details on COD: Modern Warfare ground war mode have surfaced

  • Thought of as a gigantic domination map with five control points, different types of land and air vehicles, spawn at any control point or team controlled vehicle, and player counts of 100 or more split between two teams
  • There will be dedicated servers for multiplayer…..nice!

Anthem’s Cataclsym Event went live this week adding new content…which ended up being more of the same according to reviews and isn’t really worth getting back into…shame (Kotaku)

  • New area, boss battle, puzzles

Hideo Kojima (creator) will “premiere an exclusive look at Death Stranding” according to Geoff Keighly (host to the pre-conference live stream) (TechRadar)

  • RUMOR – Coincidentally Death Stranding is no longer listed as a PlayStation exclusive on their website (PCgamer)

Borderlands 3 lets you choose to prioritize graphics or frame rate on PS4 Pro (Gamesradar+)

Sequel to the Assassin’s Creed movie was apparently planned, but Disney axed it…thank God

Gogeta and Janemba were just added to Dragonball FighterZ via DLC yesterday

Apex Legends will be getting a solo mode for a limited time 8/13-8/27 (IGN)

Final Fantasy IV (big MMO) will be getting a more streamlined main storyline, making it less daunting to newcomers

  • Expansions over the years have made it long and tedious (can you say “fetch quest”?)

WWE and Brawlhalla are having a crossover with WWE’s SummerSlam coming up soon (official website)

  • You can play as The Rock and John Cena and others but who cares..John Cena.

There will be a Saint’s Row move adaptation…because everyone was screaming for it (JK) (ComicBook.com)

Upcoming Releases and Deals

Best Buy – Pick up Crimson Red Nintendo 2DS & two games for $80

  • Super Mario Bros 2 Pre-Installed
  • Choice of 1 other game from the list (Zelda, Starfox, Mario Maker, Donkey Kong…)

Playstation Summer Sale is live, lots of games on sale (many are classics), check it out

Rumor Mill

Creators of Titanfall (Resawn) will reveal a VR fps soon (Gamesradar+) 

COD: Modern Warfare – will come out with a battle royale mode (of course) early next year

  • Will be free-to-play and released separately

Devil May Cry 5 may be coming to Xbox Game Pass soon

Death Stranding may get a PC release sometime after its PS4 exclusivity

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