At the tail end of last year, we caught wind that the World Health Organization is planning on classifying gaming addiction as a “gaming disorder” its update of the International Classification of Diseases, which caused multiple academics, self-regulatory bodies, and education advocates to preemptively reject the plan, pointing out both the lack of research to justify the classification as well as the potential for harm.
“We do not support WHO in this classification scheme in the strongest possible terms,” the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) wrote earlier this week, arguing the WHO is “jumping to premature conclusions” that will scapegoat and stigmatize gaming. The ESA flat-out called it reckless. An academic in games research whom we’ve consulted with in the past suggested to us that the news came off as “moral panic-y.”
But WHO appears to be sticking to its guns. GamesIndustry.biz spoke to a representative for WHO, who reportedly claimed to the publication that “there is increasing and well-documented evidence of clinical relevance of these conditions and increasing demand for treatment in different parts of the world.”
Good news, Ascent: Infinite Realm! The future of Kakao’s international plans and possible acquisition of western development studios hinges upon your success! Not that the publisher behind Black Desert is hurting for cash or anything; no, it’s a simple matter of seeing whether or not lightning can strike twice. The international success of the latter title was considered a surprise, but if A:IR exceeds expectations, a recent interview with CEO Min Kim suggests that the publisher may look into more western development studios to purchase.
Of course, this is not something that the company expects to know for some time, as A:IR is not expected to have a full release until 2019, but the suggestion of the future is still there. The current belief is that quality sells internationally, compared to the prevailing Korean notion that breaking into other markets is difficult at best. If you’d like to see more products bankrolled by Kakao, then, you may want to keep a close eye on A:IR’s performance as it moves into beta testing.
Is gaming addiction a thing worthy of its own classification? The World Health Organization is thinking about saying yes in its update of the International Classification of Diseases. The Electronic Software Association, predictably, says heck no. Now, the Higher Education Video Game Alliance has weighed in with a big no too, expressing “dismay” at the WHO’s stated intentions and suggesting that the classification won’t actually “combat cases of abuse rooted in individual behavior” but will “stigmatize a pastime that billions of players enjoy without issue around the world” and “warp continued research.”
“We do not support WHO in this classification scheme in the strongest possible terms,” the group’s press release says, suggesting classifications amount to “jumping to premature conclusions” and willful “scapegoating.”
“We’ve watched as games are repeatedly blamed in today’s world for violence, childhood obesity, failures in educational policy, and a host of other contemporary issues, despite both a lack of evidence and careful consideration of other, often far more powerful, systemic forces that contribute to societal behavior. Games are commonly referred to as ‘addictive’ despite numerous conflicting studies and a clear lack of consensus from the scientific and medical communities.”
Add two more to the sunset list: Perfect World announced last month that it will sunset the international versions of six-year-old War of the Immortals and Battle of the Immortals next week.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the shutdown of all War of the Immortals (WOI) server on January 9th, 2018. On that day, your WOI character will no longer be accessible. All WOI payments from September 1st, 2017 through December 14th, 2017 @ 11 AM PT will be converted into Arc credit and allocated to your account. These credits can be used in any of the other PWE games. Arc Points between this same time period will also be refunded to your account. Your Arc credit and Arc points will be distributed before the end of next week. Thank you for your loyalty to War of the Immortals over the last six years.”
The Battle of the Immortals site has a similar message in regard to the closure and compensation. Neither gives an explanation for the cease in game operation.
. With thanks to Nicholas.
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.
No longer will you have to pay a large lump sum for bundles just to gain certain perks in Chronicles of Elyria. If you have your sight set on only one or two extras, Soulbound Studio is now happy to accept your money in exchange for a la carte items.
The studio began selling individual rewards on the 1st, allowing players to buy into testing phases, pick up mounts and pets, and even get their name inscribed on tombstones around the game world. The last item, by the way, will result in a donation being made for the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
It’s not just cash shop sales this fall, however. Soulbound Studio recently showed off some of the character creation options that its using for both the MMO and its visual MUD predecessor.
The International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity.
“Competitive e-sports could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports,” IOC summit attendees declared in a statement. “E-sports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement” – provided those sports uphold Olympic values, like anti-doping, betting practices, and match manipulation.
Last summer, 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, though multiple countries bailed out of this year’s AIMAG e-sports events, citing health concerns, poor regulation, and “governance concerns.”
We’ve got a fun roundup of Blizzard’s doings, so let’s get started! The studio is selling a new “Shadow” fox pet with adorably huge ears for $10 in World of Warcraft’s
cash shop. So why is this special? Because the studio is donating all profits to charity
to benefit the victims of the current hurricane season.
“For every Shadow pet purchased between September 12, 2017 and December 31, 2017, 100% of the adoption fee will be split equally between American Red Cross Disaster Relief and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Fund to assist with relief efforts around the world,” the studio said.
Moving on to Overwatch, the devs are busy putting the final touches on the game’s newest map. Junkertown is coming on September 19th to all platforms, but you can get a preview of the map right now.
may have one of the worst video game names in history, but it set a new record on Twitch last week.
Gameloco founder Nicolas Cerrato points out that PUBG beat League of Legends in terms of hours of eyeballs on Twitch during the week of August 6th, the first time LoL’s ever been unseated by a game outside of a special event. And indeed, this was a special event: Dota 2 actually came close to beating both PUB and LoL together thanks to Valve’s massive $10M prize-pool The International tourney, which concluded over the weekend.
But PUBG still managed to edge out LoL — something that’s never happened before, possibly because MOBA eyes were distracted, or possibly because, as Cerrato puts it, “PUBG looks more and more like an extremely powerful cultural phenomenon that will impact gaming like very few games ever have.” There’s a reason Tencent was trying to buy it and its studio up, after all.
Dota 2’s The International 7 tournament is over, having concluded this weekend by crowning EU group Team Liquid — which arrived to the finals by way of the loser’s bracket — champions. Liquid walks off with over $10M in earnings.
But perhaps the most interesting bit for folks who don’t follow Dota 2 closely came on Friday when the ubiquitous Elon Musk revealed his company’s Dota 2 bot, which he says learned a lifetime’s worth of game skills in just two weeks. To prove it, he pitted the bot against pro player Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin in a demo match… and the bot won easily twice.
Lest you think Musk has aims to take over the world, recall that his company OpenAI was founded to stop the AI from taking over the world, meaning this demo was ostensibly another high-profile attempt to provoke regulation.
If you haven’t figured it out, Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima Online’s Richard Garriott is on a press tour lately for his new memoir, Explore/Create, in which he talks about his interesting life of video game development, adventuring, and even space travel.
As part of that tour, Garriott penned a piece for NBC news in which he goes more in depth about his stint as an astronaut that was sent up to the International Space Station in 2008. While the game designer paid a large sum of money for the privilege of the space flight, he pushed back hard against any suggestion that he was nothing more than a tourist.
“Please don’t call me a ‘space tourist,'” he wrote. “I was not a tourist. I got the same training NASA (and Russian) astronauts get. In orbit, I worked hard to complete those experiments both to offset the high cost of my flight and, more important, to build the businesses that will take me (and you) back to space and ultimately help humanity escape the cradle of our existence.”
When it comes to financial reports, there’s always one word that every investor wants to see: growth. And for those that read Perfect World’s 2016 annual report, that’s exactly what they saw.
The international publisher, which operates titles as diverse as Dota 2 (in China) and Star Trek Online as well as other media properties, reported that it had a very good year, raking in 6.1 billion yuan over the course of 2016. Its gaming division was responsible for over two-thirds of this revenue and an impressive 25% growth compared to 2015.
What’s interesting here is that while PC game sales remained relatively stable and flat, it was the mobile market that was the driving force behind this increase in Perfect World’s income. This means that we can expect to see the company put an even higher priority on developing and publishing mobile titles in the future.
Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson have confirmed that the company is working on a trio of VR-centric games, not cheapie experiments but full-scale games built in Unity and its own proprietary Source 2 engine. The discussion came as part of a press briefing in Seattle last night.
Newell also commented at length on the U.S. government’s travel ban, which was once again blocked by the courts yesterday. He explained that Valve employees have been directly affected by the ban, people who’ve “been here for years” and “pay taxes” but can’t leave the country to visit relatives or attend events overseas lest they become unwittingly entangled or trapped far from home.
Newell and Johnson further said that the ban (and the threat of its return in one form or another) also affects their ability to hire and their ability to host international e-sports competitions, as many pro players already had difficulty securing work visas. Consequently, the duo say they’d consider hosting the big-money Dota 2 The International tourney out of the U.S. if necessary.