This week in gaming: IGN staff members demand answers, Twitch tackles the “hot tub meta”, Aussies make it to the international League of Legends stage, 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!
IGN staff pen open letter to company for taking down Palestine aid posts
IGN Senior Editor Kat Bailey recently shared a Medium post attributed to “Employees of IGN” that implored the company’s senior management and parent companies J2 Global and Ziff Davis to explain the decision to remove an article sharing ways to support Palestinians affected by the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
“Following an IGN-wide meeting this morning, we have come to understand that this was a clear instance of corporate overreach and demonstrated blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence,” the group explained. “The business interests of a publication’s ownership and its editorial staff should stay separate at all times.”
The staff members also claimed that the decision was not made by IGN’s editorial team and that they wished to distance themselves from a subsequent official tweet that explained that the article was taken down because it “mistakenly left the impression that [IGN was] politically aligned with one side.”
Waypoint independently confirmed that “no one from IGN editorial signed off on or was involved in sharing the statement” on Twitter and that IGN left unhappy from a management meeting following last weekend’s events.
Interestingly, IGN Israel removed Facebook and Twitter posts where it criticised and distanced itself from IGN’s original Palestine aid post. Game Informer also removed and republished a similar Palestinian aid article, while GameSpot never officially took its one down.
Twitch responds to “hot tub meta” criticism with new category
Just days after it removed advertising from several streamers’ channels – including that of Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa – due to pressure from advertisers, Twitch has created a new category titled “Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches” as a temporary home for hot tub streamers (scantily-clad individuals who livestream doing activities while sitting in pools, hot tubs, or at the beach).
“We recently suspended advertising on some channels that were flagged by the majority of our advertiser base and failed to notify them,” the company wrote. “Our creators rely on us, and we should have alerted affected streamers to this change before it happened–it was a mistake not to do so.”
The company admitted that this is a temporary solution to satisfy advertisers’ demands, streamers’ livelihoods, and viewers’ preferences; but stopped short of providing a timeline for when it would announce a “long-term solution”.
Pentanet.GG becomes first Aussie team to reach League of Legends’s top Esports level
Perth-based Esports team Pentanet.GG became our country’s first to reach the international League of Legends stage after making it to the semi-finals of the Mid-Season Invitational tournament this week.
While the team didn’t make it to the event’s grand final, it qualified to compete at this year’s League of Legends Worlds – the game’s final World Championship event – which is set to take place this November in Shenzhen, China.
Joint Australia/NZ study finds link between loot boxes and gambling
Furthermore, the study found similarities in the use of audio and visual cues (such as flashing lights and celebratory music) when opening loot boxes that are consistent with those used in slot machines and continued the comparison by noting how “some loot boxes meet common legal criteria of gambling: requiring an entry cost (consideration), having an outcome based on chance (chance), and providing a reward (prize) of value”.
Overwatch 2 will be a 5v5 game
In the biggest change to the series’s meta since its launch five years ago, Overwatch 2 Game Director Aaron Keller announced that the upcoming sequel will drop the original’s 6v6 matchups for a 5v5 setup.
Keller explained that teams will no longer feature two tank character slots because they “can be problematic” and “noisy”.
“Sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing on the battlefield,” he said. “Removing two of those simplifies everything, and it allows players to understand everything that’s happening around them and make better choices because of it.”
Lead Hero Designer Geoff Goodman later added that the development team has bolstered abilities for tank characters like Winston and D.Va to make them more devastating on their own.
In related news, Overwatch Lead Artist Renaud Galand also announced that he has left Blizzard Entertainment after more than a decade with the company.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
Subnautica: Below Zero (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
My Friend Peppa Pig — Announcement Trailer
Get ready to experience the future of gaming…
Empire of Sin — Make it Count Announcement Trailer
Meyer Lansky is no joke!
Mass Effect Legendary Edition — Official Launch Trailer
I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favourite remaster on the Citadel.
Rocket League — Formula 1 Fan Pack Trailer
Just in time for the Monaco Grand Prix!
Overwatch — Overwatch Anniversary 2021
Cat Loba is what the world needs right now.
Grand Theft Auto V’s PS5/Xbox Series X|S update is due this November: Rockstar Newswire
Lies of P is the Pinocchio-based Souls-like game that we weren’t sure that we wanted: IGN
LogitechG and AbleGamers have partnered on the world’s first “adaptive” Esports tournament: GameSpot
Embracer Group (the company that owns THQ Nordic) may have met with more than 150 companies to discuss acquisitions last year: Gamasutra
Deep Silver has “reformed” Free Radical Design to work on a new TimeSplitters game: PC Gamer
Saints Row The ThirdRemastered is coming to current-gen systems this year: gamesradar
Yamaha has announced a new range of 4K/120Hz and 8K-capable receivers: Engadget
Netflix is reportedly looking to hire an executive to oversee its video game adaptations: Kotaku
Respawn is working to fighting Titanfall and Titanfall 2’s DDoS problem: PC Gamer
Ubisoft has responded to a report that found its workplace change efforts to be “minimal”: GameSpot
Bethesda and Microsoft will reportedly co-host their E3 conferences: Kotaku
Expect to see more love for indies at this year’s E3: GameSpot
Take-Two Interactive earned almost US$3 billion from digital game and content sales: Gamasutra
FIFA 21 will include a tribute to Kiyan Prince to raise knife crime awareness: Kotaku
EA has set up a new studio to work on an open-world action title: Gamasutra