Ups and Downs

Edition 34 - July 26th to August 1st

Good morning gamers. We hope everyone had a great weekend.

Microsoft and Sony broke some insane console records despite the global chip shortage. Unfortunately, the gaming world had a dark cloud hovering over it this as severe allegations were made against Activision Blizzard. In lighter news, an awesome new game studio was formed by a bunch of talented developers. You’re going to have to keep reading to reach your save checkpoint.


Microsoft and Sony

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on everyone's lives. In the gaming world, the pandemic caused a global semiconductor chip shortage as supply was unable to keep up with the demand. The chip shortage is the reason why so many people have been unable to purchase a PS5 or an Xbox Series X/S.

Microsoft announced their Q4 results for the quarter ending June 30, 2021. Gaming revenue is up 11% on a year-over-year basis, Xbox content and services revenue declined 4% (last Fiscal Years results were extremely good) and Xbox hardware revenue grew 172% from the Xbox Series X/S sales. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, they are all in on games and the new consoles are their fastest selling consoles ever. 

Sony has also experienced success with PS5 console sales. The PS5 is Sony’s fastest selling PlayStation console ever as it surpassed 10 million sales worldwide. The PS5 reached the 10 million consoles sales mark a month faster than the PS4 (2013) did when it was released. According to GI.biz, Spider-Man: Miles Morales has sold over 6.5 million copies since launch last year.


Activision Blizzard 

Last week, it was announced that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Activision Blizzard. The lawsuit cites that employees at the company have been working under poor conditions and faced discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace. 

On Wednesday, employees at the company organized a walkout. Employees decided not to work and to take a stand against the company’s leadership in need of reform. Activision Blizzard released a statement that they would still pay those employees who decided to participate in the walkout. Employees who organized the event say it is not the end and when asked if they would form a union the response was “no comment”.

To stand in solidarity with the hardworking employees who have created some of our favourite games, Weekly Recon will be limiting the coverage of Activision Blizzard until there is reform within the organization. Weekly Recon condemns any form of discrimination, harassment, racism and retaliation. If you or someone you know is a victim of such actions, please seek help or talk to someone today. Thank You!


New Game Studio

This year has been an amazing year for the introduction of new game studios. So far we’ve seen Jade Raymond start the PlayStation-backed Haven Studios, and we’ve seen multiple People Can Fly developers move on to the recently established Gruby Entertainment studio. Last week, another two studios were formed. 

That’s No Moon is a brand new, independent, AAA development studio formed by a team of award-winning game development veterans coming from Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica, Infinity Ward, Bungie and EA (amongst others). They are headquartered in Los Angeles, currently employ 40 developers and have a $100 million strategic investment from South Korean publisher Smilegate. Their first major project will be a AAA single-player, story-driven, third-person action-adventure game. CEO Michael Mumbauer spoke to Polygon and said that “A lot of emphasis of late has been on massive, multiplayer games as a service [...] and for us, that’s not the direction that we want our careers and our desires as storytellers to go”.

Riot Games announced that they’re opening a new game development studio in Shanghai with the focus on creating new games for a global audience. Riot is owned by Tencent, and according to research firm Niko Partners, China makes up almost 45% of their player-base and accounts for roughly 32% of game revenue. Riot is also planning to expand their mobile gaming efforts moving forward, starting with the announcement of a new mobile esports league in the near future.


Esports Corner 

PUMA For ALL Gamers

World renowned sports brand PUMA announced the launch of RKDO, an apparel collection designed for gaming and esports. The unisex collection merges modern style and functionality, featuring a vibrant collection of comfortable and colorful pieces such as jerseys, hoodies, track pants, leggings, shorts and a camper. Game industry personality and co-owner of XSET Erin Ashley Simon will join PUMA as RKDO’s first global brand ambassador. She told Esports Insider in an exclusive interview that the PUMA brand always had an influential impact on her life and that they were “aligned on a lot of different things”, especially diversity, gender equality and inclusion initiatives. 

LCS Regular Season At Home

Two weeks ago the LCS abruptly shifted to a remote play environment after one of their broadcast staff members and a few pro players tested positive for COVID-19. This past weekend, commissioner Chris Greely once again decided to play out the final weekend of the Summer Split regular season remotely as a precautionary measure to protect the health of their players and staff. With competitors playing from home, the broadcast staff was clear to continue operating the event from the LCS studio. As it stands, the LCS plans to return to LAN events for the playoffs since fewer teams will be present in the studio on each game day.

Making Mobile Esports History 

Tencent has revealed the details of their upcoming PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 (PMGC) tournament including a record-setting $6 million prize pool. The event will begin in November 2021, conclude in January 2022 and it will feature some of the best teams from the league stage and finals of the PUBG Pro League as well as various top teams from the Regional Championships. It is unclear whether the event will be held online or in a LAN setting but it will ultimately depend on the state of the pandemic. James Yang, the director of PUBG Mobile Esports said that it will be the biggest event in mobile gaming history.


Game Review - The Ascent

The Ascent is a solo and co-op action shooter role playing game set in a Cyberpunk 2077 themed world.  It is a true homage to the classic top down shooter genre.  It offers some of the most detailed visuals current generation consoles has to offer.  However, the game does have a lot of bugs that hurt the gameplay.  Players need patience to put up with the technical issues but rest assured several patches are on the way.  The fact that this game is available on the Xbox Game Pass makes it a must try, we give it a score of B-.


Gaming Roundup

  • Netflix is reportedly in the early development of a live-action Pokémon TV series similar in style to Detective Pikachu. Joe Henderson, the current co-showrunner for the hit Netflix series ‘Lucifer’ will serve as the executive producer. 

  • Mortal Kombat 11 has surpassed 12 million units sold worldwide, making it the franchise’s best-selling game ever. The series has now sold more than 73 million units across all platforms since the series debut in 1992.

  • Horizon Forbidden West will reportedly be delayed until 2022. Industry analyst Jeff Grubb spoke about it on his Giant Bomb show stating that, through his sources, Sony is “leaning towards” delaying the game.

  • Krispy Kreme released Xbox donuts in collaboration with Microsoft to celebrate 20 years since the release of the original Xbox (only in the United Kingdom).

  • Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ Twitch viewership has fallen by more than 50% since he stopped streaming Fortnite. Upon his return to Twitch, Ninja has focused much of his streaming time on Final Fantasy and League of Legends.

  • The Simpsons co-showrunner Matt Selman wants a Simpsons: Hit and Run remaster. Selman says the 2003 game was inspired by Grand Theft Auto and he would love to make the remaster, however, there are massive hurdles to do so.


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