E96: Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is under fire by regulators.
Good morning gamers! Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard is still in the hands of regulators and despite being given the green light of approval by Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense and Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Competition, the UK’s Competition & Market Authority (CMA) is much more skeptical about the deal's potential anti-competitive impact. They’re investigating three main areas of concern,
The availability of Activision Blizzard content on rival consoles
The impact on multi-game subscriptions
The impact on the future of cloud gaming services
TLDR; The CMA is concerned that Microsoft will withhold Activision Blizzard content from other consoles and game subscription services, and that it will use Activision Blizzard’s game catalog, alongside other Microsoft services (Azure and Windows OS), to outperform Google, Amazon and Nvidia in the game streaming space. They have already determined a pattern where Microsoft tends to acquire major game publishers and later commission their unreleased games as Xbox exclusives (specifically referencing Starfield, Avowed, The Outerworlds 2, Hellblade 2 and The Elder Scrolls VI).
Microsoft responded to the CMAs reports by saying their concerns are “misplaced” and that “the suggestion that the incumbent market leader [Sony], with clear and enduring market power, could be foreclosed by the third largest provider as a result of losing access to one title [Call of Duty] is not credible”. Some of their main responses included,
There are over 280 PlayStation exclusive first and third-party titles in 2021, nearly 5 times as many as Xbox.
Taking Call of Duty away from PlayStation would alienate the fanbase and “tarnish both the Call of Duty and Xbox brands”.
The idea that Activision Blizzard games being on Game Pass would “tip subscription services in Xbox’s favor” is not accurate because competitors have chosen to block it from their platforms.
The streaming concerns are misplaced because Xbox does not use Azure or PC hardware to stream - nor has streaming been adopted by many of the major players. Other cloud gaming providers do not rely on Microsoft systems.
Sony engages in conduct today that reflects its market power in console gaming like raising console prices without the fear of losing market share and protecting their revenues by not releasing their exclusives on PlayStation Plus day and date.
“Xbox, as a platform which is in last place in console, seventh place in PC and nowhere in mobile game distribution globally”.
Gotham Knights - Heroic Assault
Gotham Knights is one of 2022’s most anticipated video games starring Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl and Robin as they try to defend Gotham City after the death of Batman. The game is set to release on October 21st for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Heroic Assault is a free standalone game mode coming to Gotham Knights. You will be able to play co-op with up to four players online in a dedicated arena environment. Players will work together to complete objectives and to take on a variety of enemies across 30 different floors on their way to the top. The game mode will be available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC on November 29th.
Fleur Marty, the game’s executive producer said that due to “the types of features we have in our game,” it will run at a maximum of 30 FPS. Marty made the announcement via the official Gotham Knights Discord server. In May, it was announced that the game would not be available on the PS4 and Xbox One.
According to PlayStation Lifestyle, Gotham Knights will reportedly be 41 GB for the PS5 and players will be able to pre-load it prior to the release. The game is set to have the biggest version of Gotham City ever created and will already include a patch on the day of release.
The 2026 Commonwealth Games will reportedly exclude esports from its event lineup. This unexpected turn of events comes months after the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships were held in London which reportedly suffered from poor attendance, flawed player accommodations and lackluster transportation. Issues around drug testing are being suggested as the alleged reason behind the omission but it seems much more likely to be due to various logistical issues.
BLAST is set to produce the 2022 Fortnite Championship Series Invitational (FNCS) from November 12th to 13th in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will be Fortnite’s first in-person LAN event since the start of the pandemic and will feature a $1 million prize pool. The invitational is a duos format where players compete in 12 matches over two days earning points for Victory Royals, subsequent match placements and eliminations. The team with the highest accumulation of points will be crowned champions and will take home the $200,000 first-place prize.
For the first time since its inauguration in 2011, China will not have the highest player representation at The International 2022. Peru and Russia each have 13 players at the event across multiple teams while China narrowly missed out with 12. The only three Chinese teams at The International 11 are Team Aster, Royal Never Gives Up and PSG.LGD (who don’t all have full China rosters) and the last time the event was won by a Chinese team was at The International 6 by Wings Gaming in 2016.
Cyberpunk 2077’s development team will be moving to Boston to work on the sequel once the Phantom Liberty Expansion is complete.
Project U is an upcoming online co-op shooter that has been in development for several years by Ubisoft Annecy (the studio behind Riders Republic).
Elden Ring data miners Lance McDonald and ZullieTheWitch found new references to ray tracing features and two new maps.
Invoke Studios, formerly known as Tuque Games, is working on a new Dungeons & Dragons game led by Dominic Guay (formerly of Ubisoft).
Alan Wake 2 fans have broken down a development presentation from Remedy Entertainment to find Wake visiting the New York Public Library.
John Carpenter, known for his horror genre films such as the Halloween franchise and The Fog, says he can make a great film adaptation of Dead Space.
Phil Spencer wished Fallout a happy 25th anniversary with an image of his home office featuring Vault Boy with an apparent Xbox “Keystone” streaming console.
Starfield will reportedly have over 250,000 lines of dialogue. Classic Bethesda style dialogue and traits with negative effects removable through quests.
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