Doublejump Digest: January 24, 2021

by Doublejump

This week in gaming: Aussie gamers spend big, Microsoft apologises, the European Commission fines Valve, and more!


FROM DOUBLEJUMP 

  • Ryan, Amelia, and George discussed their favourite gaming hits and misses of 2020.

MAJOR NEWS

Report: The video game industry is worth AU$3.4B in Australia

In its latest Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook, PwC Australia (via Kotaku Australia) has estimated our country’s total gaming and Esports revenue for 2020 to be approximately AU$3.403 billion based on a 6.87 percent projected increase over 2019’s AU$3.175 billion figure.

The management firm also found that mobile gaming accounted for 31.7 percent of video game revenue in 2019, with Esports revenue only totalling AU$5.0 million in the same year. On the other hand, the company also predicted that in-game purchase revenue will grow to approximately AU$1.565 in 2024.

Microsoft apologises and reverses Xbox Live Gold price hike

On the same day that the company announced that it would be increasing Xbox Live Gold membership prices in various countries, Microsoft cancelled the change and apologised for proposing it in the first place.

“We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day,” Microsoft wrote on Xbox Wire. “As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.”

If Microsoft followed through with increasing prices, Australian Xbox Live Gold users would have paid approximately AU$14.24, AU$38.86, and AU$77.74 for one, three, and six-month memberships respectively as opposed to the current AU$10.95, AU$29.95, and AU$49.95 pricing.

European Commission fines Valve, ZeniMax, and other gaming companies for anticompetitive practices

The European Commission (EC) has fined Valve Software, ZeniMax Media (Bethesda Softworks), Capcom, Focus Home Interactive, and Koch Media (Deep Silver) a combined €7.8 million (AU$12.31 million) for allegedly breaching European Union (EU) antitrust rules.

According to the EC, Valve and the other five publishers reportedly “agreed” to limiting a Steam user in one European Economic Area (EEA) country from purchasing game keys that are sourced from another EEA country; thereby “geo-blocking” game sales for EU consumers, which is not allowed under EU rules.

Of the six companies listed in the report, the EC fined Valve the most because it alleged that the US-based company did not cooperate in its investigation, but Valve later told Eurogamer that it did – in fact – “cooperat[e] extensively” and that the EC’s ruling may not be supported legally.

“The region locks only applied to a small number of game titles. Approximately just 3% of all games using Steam (and none of Valve’s own games) at the time were subject to the contested region locks in the EEA,” the company explained. “Valve believes that the EC’s extension of liability to a platform provider in these circumstances is not supported by applicable law.”

Valve is working on new games

While still quarantining in New Zealand, Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell has been making the local media rounds and just told 1 News that his company is working on new (unannounced) games during an interview where he also discussed Cyberpunk 2077, Esports, and the possibility of Valve employees relocating to New Zealand.

“We definitely have games in development that we’re going to be announcing;it’s fun to ship games,” he said.

This may very well be a reaction to the critical success of last year’s Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s first substantial single-player game since 2011’s Portal 2, with Newell explaining that the game “created a lot of momentum inside of the company to do more of that”. Here’s hoping that Valve’s planned projects will come to fruition; especially since Valve has cancelled a lot of games over the past ten years.

Capcom reveals more Resident Evil Village details

During its recent Resident Evil Showcase livestream, Capcom announced that it is planning to release Resident Evil Village “globally” on May 7 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S before releasing an exclusive PS5 playable demo titled Maiden on the same day.

Capcom also revealed that Resident Evil RE:Verse will act as a “celebration of the franchise’s anniversary” and will be included with copies of Village.

Activision wholly acquires Vicarious Visions

Activision Blizzard has announced that it has bought yet another one of its long-time collaborators, with Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy developer Vicarious Visions joining the publisher’s portfolio of studios. Vicarious Visions previously worked with Activision Publishing on licensed games and various ports but is mostly known today for bringing new life to Crash Bandicoot and Tony Hawk in the form of 2017’s Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and last year’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 respectively.

Sadly, for those who rightfully loved the two collections, Vicarious Visions will be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives”, which means that the studio will no longer be creating games as the lead developer. Following the announcement, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier broke the news that Vicarious Visions has actually been working with Blizzard for at least a year on an-as-yet-unannounced Diablo II remake.


NOTABLE GAME RELEASES

  • HITMAN 3 (PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S)

VIDEOS AND TRAILERS

Apex Legends — Stories from the Outlands – “Good as Gold”

Meet Fuse: the Aussie-sounding, explosive-loving newcomer to the Apex Games.

Apex LegendsMayhem Launch Trailer

Next week’s going to be a treat for Apex Legends players.

HITMAN 3 — Launch Trailer

Agent 47’s back for another round of hijinks.

Fortnite — Sarah Conner and the T-800 Arrive Through the Zero Point

Yep, The Terminator universe is crossing over again.

Fortnite — The Predator Arrives Through the Zero Point

The Yautja have entered the arena.


OTHER NEWS

  • CD Projekt RED has released Cyberpunk 2077’s first major patch: Eurogamer
  • The Uncharted movie is now coming next year: GameSpot
  • Peter Moore has returned to gaming: Polygon
  • The New York Times published an article questioning kids playing too much during the pandemic: Kotaku
  • Someone made a Rocket League-like RC car that can flip: Gizmodo
  • People aren’t happy about Messi missing out in FIFA 21’s team of the year: Eurogamer
  • Autochess is turning into a… MOBA: Kotaku
  • Dead or Alive’s creator has founded a new studio: GamesIndustry.biz

This article was originally published on Doublejump. You can support the site by following us on social media, becoming a Patron, and/or purchasing some merchandise!


Also published on Medium.

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