Microsoft's Rough Week
E108: Microsoft has initiated more than 10,000 layoffs across all their business lines.
Good morning gamers! Microsoft will reportedly face more push back from the European Commission on their $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard King deal. The European Commission is preparing a statement of objections, which will be sent to Microsoft in the coming weeks. Despite Microsoft working to address their concerns, the European Commission still finds it necessary to send out its statement of objections. Microsoft’s goal remains the same, “to bring more games to more people”.
Microsoft has sadly started to initiate more than 10,000 layoffs, which affected employees at multiple Xbox Game Studios including The Coalition (Gears of War and a new IP), Bethesda (Starfield) and 343 Industries (Halo Infinite). This disheartening news comes exactly one year after Microsoft announced their deal to acquire Activision Blizzard King. A Halo insider says 343 Industries has lost one third of its workforce and the studio will stop “active development” on future narrative campaigns.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella claimed that these changes were due to the slowing of digital consumer spending and the ongoing recession. He made nearly $55 million in total compensation last year.
Suicide Squad has a Battle Pass?
A leaked image from Rocksteady Studios’ upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League suggests that the title will feature multiple games-as-a-service elements. The image, which has been corroborated by VGC, is from a recent test build that showcases the games start menu. In it you can see all four main characters (Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn and King Shark), a battle pass menu, multiple in-game currencies (at least 6 different types), and menu tabs that reference Loadouts and a Store.
Additionally, there seems to be a mission-based structure that allows you to select specific game modes and game chapters to play, the ability to change the difficulty and a matchmaking option.
VGC’s trusted sources confirmed the images legitimacy and further elaborated on some of the elements that were stirring controversy on social media. They said,
The planned battle pass is dedicated to cosmetic items only.
Currencies are a form of XP boosters that allows you to customize the skill tree of your character, making them unique to each player.
“You don’t start off debuffed and weak, you just start off great and can get ridiculous, like Arkham Knight’s Batman”.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League releases on May 26, 2023 for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. It is playable solo or with up to 4 players in online co-op.
More than half of the Overwatch League franchise teams have come together to start the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. They are seeking economic relief due to the league's exorbitant operating costs, missed promises and diminishing viewership. Teams have reportedly spent more than $15 million in franchise payments and operating costs to maintain their spot since the league's inauguration. Inaugural teams were required to pay a $20 million buy-in fee, while newer teams faced prices between $27 and $35 million.
Call of Duty and OpTic Gaming legend Seth “Scump” Abner has officially announced his retirement from competing in Call of Duty. This announcement comes midway through the current season, and marks the end of an extremely successful 13-year run. Known as ‘The King’, Scump has won 30 championships throughout his career, appearing in 41 grand finals and earning more than $1.8 million in prize pool winnings.
France has revealed some initial details around its upcoming esports strategy. President Emanuel Macron, in collaboration with the French Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Sports wants to create a national ecosystem that makes France a “great esports nation”. To do so they will focus on key areas such as more closely collaborating with tournament organizers, implementing esports visas to facilitate travel, and better supporting amateur and grassroot programs for aspiring gamers.
Blizzard has announced that the 2023 competitive Hearthstone season will feature a combined prize pool of $650k, a massive decrease from 2022’s $3m total. The 2023 season will host six Major events (three for Constructed and three for Battlegrounds) and a World Championships which makes up $500k of the total prize pool.
Marvel’s Avengers is ending active development and its final update will be on March 31st. Single and multiplayer gameplay will continue to be available.
Motorsport Games reportedly has an employee threatening to release the source code for four games if their unpaid wages are not paid.
Metal Gear Solid Remake is reportedly in development exclusively for the PS5 and will be announced in the first half of 2023.
John Wick director Chad Stahelski will direct the upcoming ‘Rainbow Six’ movie starring Michael B. Jordan, a sequel to 2021’s “Without Remorse”.
The Last of Us co-director Bruce Straley wasn’t credited in HBO’s The Last of Us series. He left Naughty Dog in 2017 to co-found Wildflower Interactive in 2022.
Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars game could feature multiplayer. A new job posting was listed for the studio’s “Star Wars FPS team”.
Marvel’s Wolverine will reportedly not be released in 2023. PlayStation released a video showing off their 2023 releases and excluded Marvel’s Wolverine.
Apex Legends is changing its current skill-based matchmaking system. Respawn Entertainment has a new algorithm that is supposed to be more accurate.
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