This week in gaming: Apex Legends keeps breaking records, Activision Blizzard screws over its staff, Super Mario Maker 2 is coming, 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!
We were lucky enough to receive a few minutes of Fnatic’s Rainbow Six Invitational coach Jayden “Dizzle” Saunders’ time to have a chat about his team’s prospects, life as an Esports coach, and the future of Australian Esports.
The newest entry into the battle royale genre is going absolutely gangbusters, with Respawn Entertainment’s Vince Zampella announcing the 25-million player milestone and revealing that the game reached “well over 2 million concurrent players” earlier this week. These achievements are even more impressive when compared to those of Apex Legends’ fellow free-to-play battle royale, Fortnite: that game took two weeks to reach ten million players, while Apex Legends hit the one-million mark in eight hours compared to Fortnite’s 24.
Activision Blizzard announces mass layoffs despite raking in billions:
In its latest earnings report, the gaming giant announced that it earned more than US$7.5 billion in 2018 with US$2.4 billion earned between October and December alone. Despite both these figures being higher than their 2017 equivalents, Activision Blizzard plans to lay off roughly 8 percent (approximately 800) employees due to “staffing levels on some teams [being] out of proportion with [the company’s] current release slate” (via Kotaku). Affected employees will be given severance packages and reemployment assistance in addition to other employee benefits.
Super Mario Maker 2 leads the latest Nintendo Direct announcements:
Late this week, Nintendo held a special Switch-themed Direct presentation where it announced that Super Mario Maker 2 and a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening will be launched as Switch exclusives this year. In addition to this news, the company also announced a new action title from PlatinumGames named Astral Chain, confirmed that Bayonetta is currently in development, and released a new battle royale game based on Tetris called Tetris 99.
Ubisoft reveals Australia-focussed Burnt Horizon content for Rainbow Six Siege:
The first season of Year 4 will kick off very soon, and Ubisoft has revealed that Operation Burnt Horizon will focus on the game’s first Australian Operators: Max “Mozzie” Goose and Tori “Gridlock” Tallyo Fairous. The former is a Defender focussing on counter-reconnaissance while the latter is an Attacker who uses traps to lock off areas.
Ubisoft is set to fully unveil the two Operators and the new map (Outback) tomorrow during the finals of the Six Invitational in Montreal, Canada.
Analyst firm pegs 2019 Esports revenue to top US$1B:
In its latest report (via ESPN), research firm NewZoo has predicted that global Esports revenue is set to cross the US$1 billion mark for the first time ever this year. The company found that Esports brought in approximately US$865.1 million last year expects this figure to rise to US$1.1 billion in 2019. This may be attributed to an estimated increase in the number of people who view at least one Esports event this year to approximately 453.8 million.
Deadmau5 deletes Twitch account following suspension:
Having been suspended from the live-streaming service for using a homophobic slur in response to “stream-sniping”, the producer deleted his entire channel and then took to his official subreddit to reveal that he no longer planned to work with the platform at all from now on. Unfortunately, Joel Zimmerman decided to defend his use of the slur, noting that it was “intended to insult a fucking asshat who was being a fucking asshat” and once again leaving Doublejump wondering when people will understand that intention does not – and will never – excuse homophobia.
Report: Unity is looking to go public next year:
According to a new Cheddar report, multiple sources have revealed that Unity Engine developer Unity Technologies is planning to become a publicly-traded company next year. The company itself declined to comment on this speculation, but if the report is true, it would allow Unity to raise a significant amount of capital to expand its operations.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES:
Anthem (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
Crackdown 3 (PC and Xbox One)
Far Cry New Dawn (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
Jump Force (PS4 and Xbox One)
Metro Exodus (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS:
Anthem – Conviction:
A collaboration between District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, Oats Studios and BioWare, this live-action prequel film is set decades before the game’s events, giving us a little more background on the story we’ll all be playing through.
Far Cry New Dawn – Launch Trailer:
Chaos, pain and mayhem are the overarching themes of post-Collapse life under the Highwaymen’s rule.
Metro Exodus – Launch Trailer:
It’s time to leave the Moscow Metro to find the rest of humanity.
Rainbow Six Siege – The Hammer and the Scalpel:
Dokkaebi finds herself struggling to gain Thatcher’s approval, while we learn about some of his brute antics before joining Rainbow.
Mortal Kombat 11 – Official Jade Reveal Trailer:
Kitana’s friend and ally is back for another round of brutality.
Overwatch – Hasbro Ultimates Trailer:
The first batch of figurines are now available for preorder.
Evolution is now a video game:
North Star Games has released an adaptation of its award-winning board game, Evolution, onto Android, iOS, Mac and Windows PC, featuring a learn-as-you-play tutorial mode, a campaign mode and a cross-platform multiplayer mode that pits players against opponents of similar skill. Evolution: The Video Game is available for AU$17.20 (at a 20% discount) on Steam for both Mac and Windows, and will set players back AU$12.99 on iOS and Android.
‘80s-inspired arena brawler Hyper Jam is out now:
The Melbourne-developed, neon-soaked, retro-inspired brawler boasts a library of deadly weapons to bring into the ring, and players can use a variety of elemental powerups and environmental hazards to outsmart their opponents and be the last fighter standing. Hyper Jam features couch and online multiplayer modes (with cross-play!) and a synthwave soundtrack that fits perfectly with the game’s aesthetic. It’s currently available for AU$22.45 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and AU$18.50 on PC, with discounts for PlayStation Plus members and on Steam.
A mint copy of the original Super Mario Bros. has sold for more than US$100k: The Verge
Epic Games has asked a US court to throw out lawsuits regarding copyright claims for Fortnite’s dance-based emotes: Kotaku Australia
We’ll soon get to take augmented reality photos inside of Pokémon GO: Engadget
OtherSide Entertainment has bought back the rights to System Shock 3: Gamasutra
Bungie has sidelined Destiny 2’s Trials of the Nine mode “indefinitely”: Bungie