By Aditya Deshbandhu
This is a round-up piece as Game-On tries to summarise some of the most important events from the gaming industry this week. A busy week that had important information trickling in almost every day, there is a lot here that impacts the games you wish to play and your calendars for 22-23. So, without much ado, let’s hit start.
The Delay: A customary announcement if you have been following gaming recently. Hogwarts Legacy, the open-world wizarding adventure based on the Harry Potter universe has trodden the same path as other games like Starfield and Redfall with a revised launch distal for 2023. An announcement I am not too disappointed about as I have been disappointed with the most recent games from the Wizarding World.
Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World, for example, was a glorified Where’s Waldo and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was a money grab exercise. My disappointment also extended to the AR dimension as Wizards Unite was both uninspired and insipid. I firmly believe that Hogwarts Legacy needs as much time as it can get if it wishes to translate the magic and right the wrongs of previous offerings. I am not too overly impressed from what I have seen so far (trailers and gameplay reveals) and I really hope I am wrong about this one. Anyway, onwards to Ragnarök and the new Plague Tale.
Tencent and China’s influence: The success of Tencent with mobile games has been overwhelming in recent years and this has allowed the Chinese firm to acquire stake in most leading companies in recent years. Ubisoft is one example as reports indicate that the Chinese developer has not just acquired stake in the Assassins Creed developer but wishes to expand on it. However, industry watchers and fans have raised questions about the growing influence of Tencent and through Tencent the Chinese Communist Party’s say in the content Ubisoft makes. As the Montreal-based studio views developing historical experiences and narratives as a viable opportunity (especially since the pandemic), the influence of political forces and nationalist PR machinery in the way key global events will be remembered and recalled seems problematic to say the least.
Microsoft v Sony: The crossfire between Sony and Microsoft has intensified this week as Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard begins to realign the gaming industry. Microsoft upped the ante by announcing that it did not view Activision’s franchises like Call of Duty as unique and must-have. While the statement is an attempt by Microsoft to allay the concerns Sony has raised on exclusivity, I personally believe you can’t call your newest partner’s shiniest possession unwanted at the beginning of a marriage. Microsoft has also spoken about how it doesn’t value exclusivity the way Sony does and fired another salvo where it claims Sony is paying developers a “block fee” to prevent them from joining the Xbox Game Pass program. Watch this space carefully, as this iteration of the console war could get ugly really quickly.
At the end of 3 decades: The latest FIFA promotional material is out and with the upcoming 23 the end of the iconic sport-sim seems on the horizon as developer Electronic Arts looks all set to part ways with the sport’s governing body. A collaboration that lasted three decades, the split raises a lot of questions with regards to rights, permissions, and licenses for makers and players worldwide as FIFA is EA’s biggest moneymaker. How these developments unfold will be interesting to watch as the governing body promises a game of its own. I am all for it as the soccer/football simulation space has become increasingly stale in the last decade.
That’s the round-up for this week, a dynamic one with loads of drama. Here’s hoping for fewer announcements and more play in the ones that follow!