This week was a pretty big deal for us. We hit 1,000 followers on our Instagram where we post daily gaming news and this newsletter made it on Feedspot’s Top Video Game News list. We’ve only been at this for less than a year and we plan to keep on bringing you all the essential news in the world of video games and esports. ANYWAYS, let’s get into the news.
CD PROJEKT RED - Cyber Attacked
CD Projekt Red (CDPR) is the developer behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher franchise. Cyberpunk 2077 had a poor release as users experienced a plethora of game breaking bugs and performance issues, causing investors to sue over the botched launch. Since then, the company has worked towards improving their game through various patches and hotfixes.
On Tuesday, CDPR released a statement that they were the target of a cyber attack. According to them, hackers compromised their source code and company files. The hackers dumped full copies of the source codes from their server for Cyberpunk 2077, Witcher 3, Gwent and an unreleased version of Witcher 3. The company said that they would not give in to the demands or negotiate with the hackers.
Since CDPR did not give into the demands, the hackers took the source code to auction on the dark web. Kela, the global leader of darknet intelligence reported that the auction had closed because the hackers reached an agreement with a buyer outside of the auction. Prior to the closed dark web auction, the starting price was $1 million with a buy now price of $7 million.
As of now, the buyer of the source code and the company files remains anonymous. CDPR currently has no comment on the situation, as the authorities continue their investigation.
STEAM - A year to remember
With so many people locked down or bunkering in during the various COVID-19 related restrictions over the last year, many turned to gaming to help occupy their free time. Steam is a platform that has been reaping the rewards of such a change. PCGamer noted that it took Steam more than two years to go from 18.5 million current users (driven by PUBG in 2018) to 18.8 million in February 2020. But now, factoring in the massive change in the gaming ecosystem, Steam has shattered the record in three consecutive months hitting 26.2 million concurrent players last week. Steam's player growth has been astronomical over the last year and it shows no signs of slowing down.
In other news, Steam has “officially” launched in mainland China. Their international client had always been available to gamers but it ran the risk of being shut down by the government at any time. China is very strict when it comes to games and each imported item needs to be individually approved by the government. Steam had to partner with local publisher Perfect World and currently only lists 53 approved games. The two most reputable games are CS:GO and DOTA2 which were already widely available due to a special approved Steam launcher that existed prior. You can see the screenshot of approved games in this article by Kotaku.
Oh, one last thing. Steam has also just surpassed 50,000 games listed in their USA store. This includes currently released games and games under pre-release (doesn’t include games that have been removed). These crazy numbers show just how influential Valve’s video game distribution service really is.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS COLD WAR - Report Card
If Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War were to receive a report card for their first three months post launch, players would be failing them. The game has had a variety of bugs across the various multiplayer game modes; Warzone is still crawling with cheaters and half way through the game cycle they’ve released a broken version of League Play, a competitive mode.
Multiplayer is the focal point of every Call of Duty game. Cold War only launched with 8 multiplayer maps, leaving players wanting more right off the bat. The Cold War multiplayer features ambitious new modes and larger player counts but the poor optimization for PC and the different consoles has led to broken hit detection, poor audio, constant game crashes and more.
Warzone is still the subject of heavy cheating. Raven Software issued another ban wave on Tuesday and also claimed to be stepping up their anti-cheat efforts. Apart from the cheating, Warzone players are also experiencing new issues this week with hit markers not appearing, weapon XP not being awarded correctly and issues with the Loadout Menu, which were all rectified on Friday.
League Play matchmaking and rankings were under scrutiny this week as players were being ranked in inappropriate divisions. Pro players competing in the Call of Duty League were being ranked in the worst possible divisions and regular players were being ranked in some of the top tier divisions. Treyarch addressed the issue on Thursday, saying there was a backend data issue that was resolved and players should be placed in correct divisions retroactively and going forward.
GAMING MOVIES & TV SHOWS
The Last of Us series coming to HBO has casted Pedro Pascal (The Mandolorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) to play the roles of Joel and Ellie. The series is being led by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (Co-President of Naughty Dog). The TV-series will focus on the events that took place in the first game of the series (2013).
The Borderlands Movie added Jack Black, as the sarcastic robot Claptrap and Jamie Lee Curtis to an already epic cast. Two weeks after announcing that Kevin Hart would play Roland, director Eli Roth said “I am so excited to reunite with Jack, this time in the recording booth”.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be released on April 8, 2022. On Wednesday, Paramount Pictures revealed an announcement teaser on their YouTube channel. Sonic the Hedgehog came out on February 14, 2019 starring Jim Carrey as Doctor Eggman and Ben Schwartz as Sonic.
Zelda was supposedly set to get a Netflix live-action TV-series in 2015. Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal got word of the project which caused Nintendo to pull out of the project. Since then, Nintendo continues to be cautious with their Zelda franchise. According to sources, the TV-series was going to be a family friendly Game of Thrones.
Popular North American esports organization Team Liquid has announced an apparel collaboration with the wildly successful manga and anime series, Naruto. The team is planning to release a large selection of clothing that shows off some of the series’ most popular characters on denim jackets, cargo joggers, hoodies, t-shirts and a variety of other clothing. Team Liquids director of business development said that one of their goals is to excel in the world of “apparel and innovative co-branded programs”. This isn’t the first time that they’ve launched apparel branded across various industries and cultures; releasing Tokidoki and Marvel themed merch in the past.
A few weeks ago, Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP) unveiled their first full rebrand since the team’s inauguration in 2000. As arguably one of the biggest and most recognized organizations in esports, the team turned to Motto, a New York based branding agency to better align the brand with today’s gaming enthusiasts. The new visual identity included a change of color scheme to cyan and electric yellow, accentuated Japanese symbolism (keeping their traditional shuriken) and an updated lettermark. These changes are reflected across their social media profiles, website/app, and their team jerseys. The agency’s goal with the new design was to help the team “look good in busy multimedia environments” while also appealing to both the existing fans and their younger fanbase.
United Kingdom based gaming startup Espo.io has launched an engagement platform that connects esport fans with their favorite esport teams, pro players and content creators. The platform was launched in collaboration with Built by Gamers, Team BDS, Boom Esports, F2K, GODSENT and Team Queso. According to Founder and CEO Henry James, Espo aims to create the “go-to place for esports fans to get closer to the action like never before”. With more than 18,000 pre-registered users on launch day, Espo offers its users a five tier loyalty-program (using the traditional XP counter) and a variety of unlockable Fan Perks such as playing with their favorite pro players, getting gameplay reviewed and earning official merch. We’ll have to wait and see how this platform develops but its success is contingent on the level of professional organizations it can sign on to the service.
Insomniac Games announced that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, the PlayStation 5 exclusive will be launching on June 11, 2021.
Fortnite icon Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, is considering no longer playing the game on stream as viewers hunted him down and killed him, otherwise known as “stream sniping”.
Sunday marked the nineteenth anniversary of the platform YouTube which was founded on February 14, 2005.
Pokémon announced Post Malone as a headliner for their P25 Music virtual concert on February 27th.
Video game console scalpers say that the media treats them unfairly and that they are a “valuable industry”.
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