This week in gaming: A “digital” E3 2021 goes ahead, IO trades Agent 47 for 007, Twitch tightens its strings, and more!
In the spirit of keeping our readers up to date with what’s happening in the video game industry, the Doublejump Digest is a brief collection of the major news stories from the past week. Keep an eye out for the Digest every Sunday night, and head on into the archive for news from weeks gone by!
Ubisoft, Microsoft, and Nintendo get behind a digital E3 2021
The Electronic Software Association has announced that Capcom, Koch Media, Konami, Nintendo, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Xbox, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have signed on to be a part of this year’s digital-only E3 event.
“We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games,” ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a press release.
Similarly, an ESA spokesperson clarified to Video Games Chronicle that “there will be no elements at E3 2021 that will be behind a paid-for pass or paywall” in response to the outlet’s earlier report that certain parts of the show would require paid access.
IO Interactive puts HITMAN on hold to work full-time on Project 007
In an interview with IGN, IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak revealed that the Danish studio has paused developing new HITMAN games to focus on its upcoming James Bond game, Project 007.
Abrak also revealed that the new game will star a new “digital Bond” that won’t be based on the likeness of any previous film actors but that this new character will be very recognisable as the legendary secret agent.
“Every Bond kind of defines a generation and it’s amazing how they kept reinventing themselves over so many years,” he explained. “So, we’re not only inspired by one movie, or games and whatnot. We’re inspired by the whole thing, and just sucking things into us to make an original Bond, an original story, but that is absolutely true and recognizable in the values there is in Bond.”
New UK report finds “robustly verified” links between loot boxes and gambling
According to a new GameAware-backed report, University of Plymouth and University of Wolverhampton researchers have found that “links between loot box purchasing and ‘problem gambling’” were “robustly verified” in more than a dozen studies.
The key takeaways are that approximately “half of industry loot box revenue” was generated from just “around 5 percent of loot box purchasers” and that – of this group – “almost a third of them falling into the ‘problem gambler’… category”. Furthermore, the report also contended that “younger males” and people “with a lower educational attainment” are more likely to buy loot boxes.
The researchers suggested the following recommendations “to prevent gambling harms associated with loot boxes:
Clear definitions of loot boxes
Game labelling and enforceable age ratings
Full disclosure of odds presented in an easily understood manner
Spending limits and prices shown in real currency
These changes could be instated via new regulations or changes to existing gambling laws.”
Twitch commits to holding streamers accountable for behaviour off-screen
In the wake of continuing controversy surrounding popular Twitch personalities and their offensive behaviour in real life, the company updated its “Off-Service Conduct Policy” to better protect its growing community based on two begavioural categories:
Category one: Someone is harassed on Twitch, as well as off Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch. For example: if we’re reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.
Category two: We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch.
“At this time, we’re not able to investigate behaviors that occur entirely off Twitch that fall outside these categories,” Twitch explained in a blog post. “This is an iterative, ongoing process, and as always, our end goal is to build a safer Twitch for everyone.”
Only time will tell if Twitch’s hardened stance will be successful and how it may influence the gaming industry at large.
Epic Games is spending hundreds of millions dollars in its war against Steam
According to court documents filed in one of Epic Games’s lawsuits against Apple (via Eurogamer), the major game publisher has been paying hundreds of millions of dollars to third-party game companies in “minimum guarantees” to secure titles for the Epic Games Store.
Epic Games has paid out these guarantees even if the titles don’t meet sales expectations, with Apple claiming that its opponent paid out US$444 million last year and expects to pay US$330 million this year.
Apple divulged these figures in an attempt to show that the Epic Games Store isn’t profitable and that its lack of a dedicated “support team”, absence of parental controls, and lower standard of security makes it incomparable to Apple’s own App Store.
Arkane delays DEATHLOOP to September
DEATHLOOP developer Arkane Lyon took to Twitter to announce that it has delayed its upcoming action title to September 14 to improve the game’s quality while ensuring staff wellbeing.