Major studio known to MMO fans primarily for The Crew and The Division.

Vivendi has sold its stock in Ubisoft, giving up on its hostile takeover

Winners never quit, we’re told. So what does that mean in light of Vivendi divesting itself of Ubisoft shares? The investment in Ubisoft (well-known for The Crew, The Division, and other titles we don’t really cover here) was long seen as the start of a hostile takeover attempt, which means that selling the 27 percent that Vivdeni (well-known for formerly owning Blizzard) owned represents the company, well, giving up on that plan.

It’s not entirely clear why Vivendi abandoned the hostile takeover attempt, but as part of the sales agreement Vivendi cannot buy any stock in Ubisoft for the next five years, which means that it appears to be well and truly ended. So, good news if you don’t want Vivendi to be in charge of Ubisoft, bad news if… you did want that? Corporate antics are always a thrill a minute.

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The Crew 2 is rescheduled for a June 29 launch

The Crew 2 isn’t as delayed as you might’ve thought: Ubisoft just announced that it’s launching on June 29th, and it’s looking like a simultaneous PC, PS4, and Xbox release.

The Crew 2 will let players experience the thrill of American motorsports inside a fully redesigned USA. The game’s playground pushes physical boundaries to let driving and open world fans test their skills, solo or with friends, in nonstop competition and exploration. From coast to coast, drivers will explore America and compete to become the greatest motorsports champion, by collecting a wide variety of exotic cars, bikes, boats and planes, and dominating the motorsports scene on the land, on the water and in the air. Players will find challenges and inspiration among four different motorsports families: street racing, off-road, pro racing and freestyle, and will be given a broad set of options among a wide selection of vehicle types.”

MMO players will recall that the sequel to The Crew was originally announced just before E3 of last year, and by summer, it had a release date. That release date would’ve been tomorrow, incidentally. But in December, Ubisoft admitted it needed more time for TC2 and several other games, pushing the date somewhere between spring and fall of this year.

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Google and Ubisoft are working on a multiplayer open source server

The next time you play an online game, you might have Google to thank for handling the heavy lifting. The tech giant announced that it is working on an open-source multiplayer server called Agones that should allow gamers “more freedom and flexibility” to host their own matches on the cloud.

Google is developing this new server setup with Ubisoft, as the latter is more than familiar with the requirements and demands of online gaming. The project is still in the early stages but when it comes out, users will be able to create, run, and scale servers to meet the needs of individual matches.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 161: Project power

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Ubisoft and Massive are building The Division 2

Did you see this one coming? Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment are apparently working on a sequel to The Division. The news comes via what appears to be a press release posted to German-language website 4-Traders.

“When we released our game in 2016, it was clear to us that it was just the opening chapter of a much bigger saga, so we’re excited to share more with you today about what awaits you in The Division Universe next,” Massive Entertainment’s Julian Gerighty reportedly says. “We are very pleased to announce that we are currently working on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. […] The Division 2 will be based on an updated version of the Snowdrop Engine that will help us realize our ambitions for this title.”

For the original game, the companies also promise new global events, a Xbox One X update, and pre-Division 2-launch-tie-in events and achievements.

Source: 4Traders (DE) via PCGamesN, Eurogamer. Thanks, Babagra.pl!


Ubisoft addresses Rainbow Six Siege toxicity, ESPN slams toxicity in Overwatch League

Ubisoft is sick of toxicity in its games, and to combat it, it’s whipping out the banhammer as a “first step” in getting the playerbase under control.

“Starting next week, we will be implementing an improvement on the system we have been using to ban players that use racial and homophobic slurs, or hate speech, in game,” the company told Rainbow Six Siege players on Reddit over the weekend. “The bans for this will fall within the following durations, depending on severity” – that’s everything from two days to a permanent ban. “Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden.”

Moreover, toxicity-related bans will be broadcast via global message for all to see.

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The Division celebrates two years and 20 million players with free stuff and events

Let’s keep the anniversary articles coming, shall we? Ubisoft is celebrating two years since The Division’s launch as well. The company now counts 20 million players (twice the population of Sweden, sorry Sweden), with an average of three hours played daily over just the past three months. Seems high, yeah?

And all 20 million of those players should probably hop in again over the next month, as the game will be dishing out weekly global events (starting with Outbreak this week), handing out a free sneeze emote (yes really) and offering classified gear sets. Also, some dude on PS4 is obsessed with resistance waves, having done almost 8000 of them since update 1.8 (what the what?).

According to last night’s state-of-the-game Twitch stream – also recapped on Reddit if you can’t stand live videos – all you’ve gotta do to get the free emote is log in during the month of March and hit up the reward claim vendor. All the shiny goodies are tucked down below.

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Elder Scrolls Online kicks off Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood celebration events and sales

First Guild Wars 2, now Elder Scrolls Online: It’s heist week in MMORPGs. ZeniMax announced this morning that it’s repromoting the shadowy corners of its game introduced in the veteran Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood DLC. Both DLC and their associated bundles are super cheap right now, with double rewards for all kinds of activities in-DLC and out, including heists, sacraments, crafting nodes, and boss-whupping across the spectrum – all in Hew’s Bane and the Gold Coast.

“Get the crew together. It’s time for one last job… or maybe three or four! Return to Hew’s Bane and the Gold Coast during our Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood Celebration Event to earn bonus rewards for Sacraments, Heists, World Bosses, and more. There’s never been a better time to be bad!”

The events (and sales) are live now and run through March 12th. Still on the fence? (Pun intended.) Check out Larry and me sneaking around as noobkin thieves (and completely sucking at lockpicks) back in 2016 when the DLC first launched.

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Neocron’s latest build is more stable and better looking

The community team behind Neocron’s current development should be lauded for how much it works to both keep the game operating and improve upon the sci-fi MMO. Case in point, this week the crew pushed out the Milky Ren update (or as the tech nerds like to call it, Update NE 2.3.242-343).

The patch has a lot of little additions and changes, although there are a few items that stand out from the rest. Several systems and areas have been revamped, including the job center and Tech Haven sectors. Players running through the latter will need to be on their toes, as there are now more security turrets and enemy ‘bots.

Other additions to the patch include a new Fallen Angel apartment, changes in music, a new Hacknet dungeon, improved client stability, and some better textures and decals.

Never heard of this game? Learn about Neocron’s lengthy and fascinating history in our Game Archaeologist retrospective.

Source: Patch notes


The Stream Team: Love is in the ARK

Besides turning various animals bright pink or red, the Valentine’s event in ARK is a mating and breeding extravaganza! Massively OP’s MJ and the crew are taking advantage of it to increase their packs. That’s right, MJ is spending the weekend breeding. Tune in live at 12:00 p.m. to watch.

What: ARK: Aberration
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Rumor: Disney eyes Ubisoft and Activision to take over Star Wars video game IP

Raise your hand if you’re a little tired of Electronic Arts’ handling of the Star Wars video game franchise since its acquisition in 2013. One… two… yeah, a few of you.

Well, there might be A New Hope in the future for a new handler. Rumors are emerging that Disney is eyeing two different publishers to take the reins of the Star Wars IP in the video game market, especially in light with the Star Wars Battlefront II fiasco last year.

Cinelinx has the possible scoop: “From what I’ve heard Lucasfilm is upset as well and looking for other options. I’ve had a couple sources reach out to me about the current state of Star Wars gaming. According to them, Disney/LFL higher ups pulled EA to the ‘principal’s office’ to talk about what’s going wrong (which is what others have reported as well). Moreso, they’ve apparently reached out to both Ubisoft and Activision about developing Star Wars games.”

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Ubisoft investor presentation highlights the profit benefits of ‘games as a service’

Have you wondered why it is Ubisoft is so dedicated to putting out a continual string of games as a service, even its ostensibly single-player offerings? Actually, as an MMO fan you probably haven’t wondered, but the latest investor presentation for the company makes it absolutely clear why this model is favored by the company. Specifically? Because it means money. So much money, for such a long time.

Ubisoft has found that games like The Division and The Crew wind up generating much more revenue over the long term, meaning that a yearly game released as a service makes a lot more money over the long term than simple single-player launches. Of course, long-time MMO fans are probably familiar with this principle, and it doesn’t exactly address the question of whether or not it produces better games. But if you needed confirmation, here it is.

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Toxicity roundup: Overwatch troll, Fortnite pro fired, Division modder ban, HOTS’s voice chat, and Twitch’s new anti-hate rules

When the toxicity topics just keep piling up in the news room and nobody wants to cover them, you get the Toxicity Roundup, your weekly report on who’s being a jerk in gaming this week! (We’re kidding. This is not really a thing. We don’t really want this to be a thing. Please don’t make this a thing.)

Let’s start with Overwatch. Kotaku has a report out on a stream sniper who was hassling popular streamer TimTheTatMan. The troll would show up in the streamer’s matches, refuse to play anything but Symmetra, and proceed to suck – meaning the team always lost. Apparently, TimTheTatMan wasn’t the only person this jerk had griefed. “To be clear this player is being banned, not for their hero choice, but rather for systematically ruining Overwatch games for thousands of players,” Blizzard wrote on Reddit. “We recognize that not finding this player faster is an unfortunate failure of our ever-developing reporting system and we’ve already taken steps to quickly eliminate outliers like this in the future.” So one down, how many more to go?

What else have we got here…

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