Overwatch added a slew of nifty-looking winter skins to chase this season, and Dot Esports has previews of all of them. Or maybe you want to give instead of get by creating the perfect rocket-powered sleigh for Santa in Worlds Adrift? It’s all up to you.
Of course, if you’re not into the competitive scene but still really enjoy playing it, you may be feeling a bit more of a pinch for the game; the title is still free-to-play, but it’s also getting more expensive year-over-year as the title moves away from single-player adventures toward more card sets. Of course, that’s also the price of getting every card rather than just the cards you want… but then, you can’t really control which cards you get from randomized packs, can you? But you can choose which cards you craft as you open more packs. So it balances in several directions.
SuperData has a new report out this week that suggests e-sports haters will not be getting what they want for Christmas.
“The esports market has finally hit the mainstream,” the gaming analysis firm declares, echoing the argument it made in October. “Once only large in core Asian markets like Korea, esports have expanded worldwide and are now top of mind of every publisher, platform, and brand. As recognition of the importance of esports grows, the data and insights needed for strategizing become vital.”
The report estimates that the e-sports industry is on track to grow by almost a billion dollars per year by 2022, driven in part by a huge increase in investment and advertising revenue. It also recognizes the big four games: League of Legends, with its huge viewerbase; Dota 2, with its mega prize pools; Overwatch, which is laying the foundation with city-based teams; and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which has drawn over 200M monthly viewers in just half a year during early access.
As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!
Did you catch last night’s Game Awards from LA? If not, you probably didn’t miss anything super-groundbreaking, although Overwatch did quite well for itself amid a crowd of mostly single-player titles. Blizzard’s team shooter won two awards, one for Best Ongoing Game and one for Best E-Sports Game (see if you can spot what’s wrong with those awards).
There were several other online games nominated for awards but losing out to other titles. Destiny 2, in particular, had six nominations in categories such as Best Art Direction, Best Ongoing Game, and Best Multiplayer. Other nominations of note included PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (which had a Game of the Year nod), Warframe, Grand Theft Auto Online, Monster Hunter World, Fortnite, League of Legends, and Dota 2.
Don’t put too much stock in these results; after all, the Massively OP end-of-year awards are coming to you very soon, and we actually understand what an ongoing game really is! You can watch the full three-hour stream below to get the full experience if you so desire or just catch our favorite highlight.
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
It’s a less-than-ideal way for Blizzard’s long-awaited esports league to begin.
The Overwatch League preseason began this week, although not with all of the expected players. Philadelphia Fusion had to withdraw from the league at the last minute due to “logistics issues,” leaving Blizzard scrambling to rearrange the schedule around this hole. Blizzard Watch theorizes that it Philadelphia’s problems may be related to visa issues or a player suspension. In any case, the studio said that it expects the team will be back to compete in the regular season.
To draw in the larger Overwatch community into the excitement, Blizzard teased the addition of league uniforms next year as in-game skins. The studio also hired painters to create large murals for the game in cities lately, which you can see below.
No one will be surprised by Riot Games’ latest e-sports video. Riot Games really likes e-sports. Indeed, Riot Games believes e-sports are real sports.
“Not just a sport. Our sport,” reads the tagline.
All the skeptical mainstream media quoted in the video can’t change the fact that Riot’s position is fast becoming the norm. You’ll recall that the International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity, and the co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee told the AP that the organization was considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in France. The 2022 Asian Games also announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Capping off the Great Star Wars Battlefront II Fiasco of November, Belgium’s Gambling Commission and the Dutch Gaming Authority both began investigating lootboxes/lockboxes to determine whether they constitute gambling and necessitate appropriate regulation. Now, the former has issued its ruling, and unlike the gaming-industry bodies ESRB and PEGI, it didn’t add to the BS smokescreen.
Indeed, the Belgian Kanspel Committee has indeed ruled that the practice is a serious problem. “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” it declares. Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Greens told VTM that he aims to have gambling mechanics stricken from games entirely, banned outright, throughout Europe. “But that takes time.”
The US state of Hawaii has joined in the fray too, as state representatives have lambasted EA’s “predatory behavior,” calling the game a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money.” Is it just one state? Maybe not.
Daybreak has big plans for H1Z1 — that’s the game formerly known as H1Z1: King of the Kill, you’ll recall, as it was rebranded earlier this fall. The battle royale game’s latest update rolls out a new action-oriented 2×2 km map that boasts a shooting range, instant respawn after death, and no parachute drop – “players start fully equipped to get into fights immediately.”
The game is likewise addition new dailies with difficulty modes and Skull rewards that can be swapped for skins, plus balancing updates for specific ranged weapons. Oh yeah, and e-sports.
One of the persistent complaints about Overwatch is that for all of the animated shorts, comics, and CGI trailers that Blizzard has released, the story has been in arrested development pretty much since the minute it released. This could all change, however, if Activision Blizzard decides to go ahead with a full-length movie.
Activision’s Tim Kilpin said that an Overwatch movie is something the company “would like very much” and could be “a way to expand the audience and expand the opportunity and then e-sports.”
The prospect of an Overwatch film brings to mind 2016’s Warcraft, which was a critical bomb but a box office success.
As we wait for this to happen (or not), at least we have all of the cinematic trailers compiled together in a convenient video. Check it out below and let us know in the comments if you’d love to see an Overwatch flick on the big screen!
MMO biz roundup: The voice actor strike, e-sports crime, CCP VR, Crowfall, and new acquisitions for Tencent, EA, and Nexon
Let’s end the week talking about money. What could go wrong?
- The year-long video game voice actor strike is finally fully over, as more than 90% of the members of SAG-AFTRA voted to approve the agreement brokered with major video game publishers back in September. Hopefully we won’t be right back there again in three years when it expires, eh?
- Kotaku reports that multiple members of the Korean Esports Association were arrested on bribery, embezzlement, and money-laundering charges following a quarter-of-a-million-dollar payment by another company already on the wrong side of the law. KESPA is the organization set up by the government to chaperone e-sports throughout the country. At least one of the officials, a former congressman, has denied the allegations.
- EVE Valkyrie lead game designer Andrew Willans spoke at Develop:VR this week on the state of the VR industry and how to handle small playerbases, though as GIbiz points out, he “was unable to comment” on CCP’s dramatic pull-out of the industry earlier this month.
Activision-Blizzard Q3 2017 financials: Destiny 2 tops console charts, WoW monthly users are ‘stable’
If you were expecting big news out of Activision-Blizzard’s Q3 2017 financial report… sorry to disappoint you, but you’ve probably heard the big news before, and that’s the news that Destiny 2 is doing pretty well. All told, D2’s console launch helped drive the corporation’s revenues to a record $1.62B for the quarter, a slight boost QoQ.
“Activision had the biggest third-quarter online player community in its history, with a record 49 million MAUs,” boasts the company. “Launched in September, Destiny 2 is the best-selling console game year-to-date in the U.S. Digital mix was over 50% of console full game sell-through, a new record for the company.”
On the Blizzard side, it’s Overwatch and Hearthstone taking home strong report cards, thanks to the former’s late summer and fall events and the latter’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. World of Warcraft got a nod for its last patch too, which the company says led “to stable MAUs for the franchise quarter-over-quarter and continued participation in value added services.” Stable, well then.