Welcome back to our irregular roundup of MMO (and MMO-adjacent) industry news!
Twitch: This week, Twitch introduced yet another round of policy changes in regard to conduct on the streaming platform. The updated Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy, which takes effect on January 22nd, specifically defines harassment as targeted attacks designed to “disrupt, harm and or hijack” a stream – that includes malicious raiding and encouraging brigades to harass streamers. Hateful conduct includes attacks on people based on their “race, ethnicity, color, caste, national origin, immigration status, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, serious medical condition, and veteran status.” The company has also banned display of the Confederate flag, sexual harassment, and offensive emotes.
The CASE Act: As the US Congress is quibbling over the country’s spending bill this week, citizens shouldn’t overlook one of the provisions that are being stapled on during the negotiations. One of them is the CASE Act, which could seriously stifle streaming as we know it by making specific types of copyrighted materials (including music and movie clips) felony offenses instead of misdemeanors, with the potential for jail time if you, say, post part of a song on your Insta. Backed by big media companies and the politicians whose campaigns they fund, the provision is being roundly criticized by both digital rights groups and political watchdogs who point out the industry is already rife with copyright troll abuse and few recourses as it is without Congress making it worse.
Cyberpunk 2077: OK, so it’s not a multiplayer title – not yet – but if CDPR’s new game can hold even a fraction of these players and this interest until the multiplayer version launches in the next few years, that’s a good sign. The game apparently hit over 1M concurrent players on Steam last night, setting a new record for the platform.
Steam: Valve’s latest Steam experiment attempts to correct the age-old problem of how to browse and find stuff on the platform. “We aim to increase the surface area of the store by introducing a broader set of ways to browse Steam’s catalog of games from the outset—no login or complex searching required,” the company says. “Our new views provide greater exposure to the breadth of games available on Steam through new useful points of entry such as sub-genres, themes, and player modes.” You can opt-in to the new browsing features right now.
Guild Wars 2: Here’s one to distract the gaming music fans in the audience! ArenaNet released a video this week homing in on how the music for the Jormag Rising trailer was composed and mixed and brought to life.
Ubisoft: The company at the center of 2020’s gaming industry sexual harassment scandal has installed its first vice president of global diversity and inclusion, Raashi Sikka. She formerly held a similar position for Uber and will take on the role come February.
Halo: Finally, don’t get your hopes up about Halo Infinite coming out any time soon. 343 Studios announced this week that the game won’t be out until at least next fall, which is definitely a bummer for folks who took the company at its word when it originally said it’d launch with the Xbox Series X, which you’ll note is already out.