The Weekly Fetch Quest – November 7, 2016
Welcome to Theory of Gaming’s Weekly Fetch Quest, in which we adventure out into the world searching for the week’s most important news, and gather it all in one place, for your reading pleasure (and unlike most adventurers, we’ll fetch these items for you free of charge).
Every Monday, we’ll post the top stories from the previous week relating to the world of video games, along with some insights into why these are the news stories you should be reading. The Weekly Fetch Quest promises to be a brief look at these events that will get you caught up in no time at all.
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The movement for the gaming industry to embrace cross-platform play has been growing for years, and finally picked up some momentum this summer with the announcement that both Rocket League and Minecraft would feature cross-platform play in some capacity. Seemingly missing out on that news was Activision, who announced that the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare would split the player base up on PC between those who purchased the game through Steam and those who took advantage of a pre-release sale and purchased the title through the Windows 10 store. This is a first for the series, and it’s an unfortunate setback considering the ever growing hurdles the gaming industry throws at players.
In a move that seems obvious in hindsight, Steam is now requiring that developers and publishers use actual in-game footage to promote their titles on their respective Steam pages, allowing players to get a more accurate look of what a title offers before making a potential purchase. The timing of this suggests that the policy was put in place due to the overwhelming negative feedback No Man’s Sky received on Steam, and the confusion surrounding Steam’s refund policy. It’s yet another example of how Hello Games, developer of No Man’s Sky, botched the dissemination of information pre- and post-release, and how important it is for the entire industry to change the way games are discussed.
As if to remind everyone that it’s not just Hello Games that has difficulty promoting their titles, Electronic Arts made headlines this week with a disastrous Twitter campaign for newly released Battlefield 1, which seemingly glorified the horrific and brutal atrocities of World War I. Not only is this yet another example that something has to change with video game promotion, but it’s far from the first time EA has found themselves in hot water with the promotion of one of their titles. And it wasn’t even the last time this week their PR strategy faced criticism – the official Twitter account for Respawn Entertainment, developer of the EA-published Titanfall 2, publicly distanced themselves from the EA-ran Twitter account for Titanfall 2 after the account posted some harsh criticisms of rival developers.
After news broke that publisher and developer Ubisoft saw an increase in revenue, the company acknowledged what cash-strapped gamers have long known, that pre-orders aren’t crucial for financial success. It’s encouraging to see such a large publisher acknowledge this, especially as companies continue to ask for more and more money from gamers (while fragmenting the market even further). It’s also a smart move for a publisher that is known to crank out yearly releases for titles with less-than-stellar results, a practice that is thankfully coming to an end.
As BlizzCon 2016 wrapped, fans were left with an avalanche of news for seemingly every property Blizzard Entertainment has ever worked on. Lost amidst the excitement and post-convention reactions was the news that Blizzard would be creating their own pro-gaming league for their hugely popular title Overwatch. The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as how everyone dedicated big portions of their E3 2016 press conferences to eSports and pro-gaming. Still, it will be interesting to see if Blizzard’s attempt takes off, as they’re taking a more traditional approach to team-based competition, by building teams based on geographical location, much like other major professional sports.
It’s not uncommon for a hardware manufacturer to cease production of their previous home console before the release of a new one, but what is rare is the amount of confusion surrounding whether or not Nintendo is actually doing that with the Wii U. The company insists that is not the case, despite numerous reports suggesting otherwise. The lack of clear communication from Nintendo does not inspire confidence, something they desperately need as they undertake one of the biggest gambles in their history.