Archive for the ‘Game Articles’ Category


by Ben Gilbert via Business Insider

While the coronavirus outbreak caused all “non-essential” businesses and services to pause indefinitely, GameStop, the world’s biggest video game retailer, kept its stores operating far longer than most and even argued its business operations were “essential” because they “enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home.”

The company only walked back standard operations on March 22, and introduced a “delivery at door” service where customers can order products online for pickup at the door.

Employees still working during the ongoing pandemic say that proper safety measures aren’t being taken to ensure they don’t get sick. According to a memo sent to GameStop managers and reported by the Boston Globe, employees were reportedly told to cover their hands am arms with plastic bags when interacting with customers.

“Lightly (you want to be able to get it off easily) tape a Game Stop plastic bag over your hand and arm,” the memo read. “Do not open the door all the way — keep the glass between you and the guest’s face — just reach out your arm.”

COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond disinfecting surfaces and washing your hands, the number one way to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus is through so-called “social distancing” — staying away from other people so you can’t breathe in their potentially infected droplets.


A GameStop manager who spoke with the Boston Globe highlighted the discrepancy between those guidelines and what he’s being asked to do by his employer.

“I have to make a choice between doing a job that nobody needs during a pandemic and not being paid, and possibly infecting people or being infected,” he said.

Across the last year, the company’s stock value dropped by two-thirds — from about $15 in January 2019 to under $5 by January 2020 — and it reshuffled its C-suite.

Like Blockbuster Video and Tower Records before it, GameStop faces major challenges to its business model from the internet. As more people buy video games through digital storefronts, fewer buy games on physical discs from GameStop, leaving the company struggling to modernize its business.

GameStop representative Joey Mooring offered the following statement in response to our request for comment:

“With employee and customer safety as our paramount concern, we’ve closed all our stores to customer access. Where provided for by state and local directives, we are only processing orders on a digital basis through our new curbside Delivery@Door pick-up service. Only employees may enter our stores at this time. Importantly, all GameStop employees have been assured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable, or need to stay home to care for a family member. While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide array of products and devices that are important to facilitate remote work, distance learning, and virtual connectivity.”

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The measure should improve network stability as more isolated gamers go online.


by Marc DeAngelis via Engadget

Earlier this week, both Sony and Microsoft announced that they would follow the lead of many streaming companies and limit the bandwidth of their gaming services in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Sony updated PlayStation fans, saying that it will take similar measures in the US. By capping download speeds, the company hopes to maintain network stability as more and more people resort to gaming to pass the time while social distancing. Sony says gamers should expect slower game downloads, but assures them that they will experience the same robust gameplay as normal. In other words, it sounds like Sony isn’t planning on throttling traffic for online games — just file downloads.

With the majority of people working from home and so many people killing time streaming music, movies and games, networks are hit with intense amounts of traffic. Hopefully these measures will help preserve network stability so people can continue enjoying them. Microsoft hasn’t announced any updates regarding Xbox’s network services in the US. That said, PlayStation gamers hoping to play Doom Eternal this weekend may want to start their download sooner rather than later, and Xbox gamers might want to download the game while Xbox Live is still operating at full speed.


by Matthew Gault via Time

As many people around the world limit their time outdoors for fear of the coronavirus, one might think it’s a boon time for the video game industry, which can provide a form of entertainment that isolated people so desperately need.

But in reality, the outbreak could not have come at a worse time for the gaming business. Concerns over the virus, which can cause potentially deadly health complications, have led organizers to postpone a major industry event where designers often make big publication deals, potentially killing the next Fortnite in the cradle. Furthermore, it threatens to wreak havoc with the industry’s supply chain just as Sony and Microsoft, two of the industry’s biggest competitors, are gearing up to release their next big consoles later this year.

News that the Game Developers Conference, or GDC, was being rescheduled came down late Friday. “After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March,” reads a statement from the show’s organizers. “Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.”

While GDC isn’t as much of a public festival as, say, E3, it’s a hugely important event for those in the industry. Big-name games publishers will be largely unaffected by the show’s postponement, but it could be a massive blow to small indie developers. Many indie designers spend considerable amounts of energy and treasure banking on GDC as a means of striking a publishing deal or getting publicity. GDC’s organizers are refunding the cost of entry, but it may be harder for indie developers to claw back their airfare, hotel fees and other related expenses.

“For a lot of [independent developers], this is the one event they go to,” says Rami Ismail, co-founder of Dutch indie games studio Vlambeer. “This is quite a blow … this might be career ending.”


It’s a blow to gamers, too: Ismail says the show’s postponement might mean some indie games that might have been the next big thing may never see the light of day. “If you’re an independent CEO who’s been working on a game for a year and a half, had money for a year, but pushed through on no money at all for a few months to get a build ready for GDC so that you can pitch a publisher … now all those games may be dead,” he says.

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Still, some in the gaming business say postponing GDC was the right move. “It’s a good thing that companies prioritized keeping their employees safe even if some might consider the fears overblown,” says a senior employee at a major gaming studio who spoke with TIME on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating others in the industry. “I’m glad that GDC finally decided to defer the event, although it’s obviously still tough for anyone traveling there on their own dime, especially considering how expensive a badge is to begin with.”

And while the coronavirus is indeed causing a spike in short-term demand for video games and consoles, it could prove challenging for the industry to keep up. Nearly 90% of video game consoles in the U.S. were made in China — the heart of the coronavirus outbreak — according to Daniel Ahmad, a senior industry analyst at Niko Partners. As employees there are being kept away from work to avoid spreading the virus, it’s resulting in production shortfalls across all sorts of sectors, gaming included. Nintendo says it can’t make enough Switch consoles to meet demand, Facebook is having similar problems with its Oculus Quest VR headset, and Sony is preparing for a dip in PlayStation 4 production. Other technology firms outside gaming, like Apple and Huawei, are also struggling with supply chain issues amid the coronavirus outbreak; Apple supplier Foxconn has even begun making surgical masks.

Ahmad says that the gaming industry should be fine if the coronavirus outbreak can be “contained within the next month or two.” But Panos Kouvelis, a supply chain expert at Washington University in St. Louis, thinks the industry should prepare for the worst — especially as Sony and Microsoft are working to release their PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, respectively. “Right now, the factories in China are trying to start ramping up, but they’ll be constrained by labor … so the ramping up is going to be rather slow.”

Kouvelis says that many of the factories making semiconductors, a key component of video game consoles, are highly automated, giving manufacturers confidence that they can avoid coronavirus-related shortfalls. But he also cautions that the virus could complicate Sony and Microsoft’s release schedule, though neither have yet indicated they expect any delays. “When you have these new product development cycles, there are things that aren’t that easy to substitute,” he says. “The impact on the industry will be significant.”

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by Mike Snider via USA Today

Atari. Magnavox. Intellivision.

Each evokes memories of the golden age of video games, which brought the first wave of consoles you could connect to your home television.

But there’s an oft-forgotten person from that era whose contributions to the industry still resonate today: a black engineer named Jerry Lawson.

Lawson oversaw the creation of the Channel F, the first video game console with interchangeable game cartridges – something the first Atari and Magnavox Odyssey systems did not use.

Those initial consoles had a selection of games hardwired into the console itself. (The Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, also used game “cards,” that were printed circuit boards, but did not contain game data as the subsequent cartridges did.)

But Lawson, an engineer and designer at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp., led a team at the Silicon Valley semiconductor maker charged with creating a game system using Fairchild’s F8 microprocessor and storing games on cartridges.

Jerry Lawson, who oversaw the creation of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.’s Channel F home video game system, the first to use interchangeable game cartridges; shown here in a scanned photo from Black Enterprise magazine.

“A lot of people in the industry swore that a microprocessor couldn’t be used in video games and I knew better,” Lawson said during a speech at the 2005 Classic Gaming Expo in San Francisco posted on YouTube.

The Fairchild Video Entertainment System, later named the Channel F (for “Fun”), which began selling in 1976, had games such as hockey, tennis, blackjack and a maze game that foreshadowed Pac-Man.

Before Atari, there was Channel F

The console beat the Atari 2600 to market by one year. But Atari’s name recognition and marketing heft basically pushed the Channel F into video game history obscurity. The system would sell about 250,000 units while the Atari 2600, which would get hits such as “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids,” would go on to sell about 30 million units.

Regardless, the Channel F established the concept of console that could play an unlimited number of games, the foundation for today’s global video game market, which is projected to surpass $160 billion in 2020, according to research firm Newzoo.

The Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.’s Channel F home video game system, the first to use interchangeable game cartridges, on display at The Strong Museum.

Lawson, who died in 2011 at the age of 70 due to complications of diabetes, “literally created an industry that is bigger than the movie industry,” said John William Templeton, executive producer of curriculum and content for ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage, which creates programming for schools.

How Jerry Lawson got into games

A groundbreaker as one of the few African-American engineers in the industry at the time, Lawson grew up in Queens, New York. He was a lifelong inventor who attended college but did not earn a college degree, according to his obituary in The New York Times. As a teen, he made money by repairing televisions.

After he moved to the Bay Area and was working at Fairchild, Lawson belonged to a home inventors club that included Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; the pair would go on to found Apple. Lawson also built his own coin-operated arcade game called “Demolition Derby” in his garage, which led the company to ask him to focus on games, according to an interview in 2009 with Vintage Computing and Gaming.

When he left Fairchild, Lawson founded his own video game company, Videosoft, which created games for the Atari 2600 and made some of the first 3-D games. But he closed the company during the video game crash of the mid-1980s.

Lawson got some recognition before he died. He was included in the 2009 documentary, “Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge,” produced by Templeton, who had served as editor of the San Jose Business Journal from 1987 to 1989.

Soon after that, Templeton mentioned Lawson to Joseph Saulter, chairman of the International Game Developers Association’s diversity advisory board. “I just said to him, ‘Well, you know the person who did the first video game console was black.’ He just literally stopped in his tracks,” Templeton said. “I just interviewed him I can bring him over and have him speak to folks.”

As a result, Lawson was invited to a Blacks in Gaming gathering at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2011. “The most important part of it was that there were maybe 70 or so black developers there listening to him,” Templeton said. “It was just extremely emotional for them because for their entire lives, their professional lives, they had been feeling like outsiders and, then they (could say), ‘Hey, wait a minute, somebody who looks like me started the whole thing’.”

Gordon Bellamy, who at the time was the IGDA’s executive director, recalled how the event helped younger African-Americans working in video games embrace “our reality, to learn and value and celebrate the very history of how our careers were built on (Lawson’s legacy),” he said.

In the early ’90s, Bellamy was one of the few African-Americans working in video games and he rose to become a lead designer on Electronic Arts’ John Madden Football franchise. “We are a continuation of a history,” said Bellamy, who seven years later got an IGDA lifetime achievement award named after Lawson.

Meeting Lawson, he said, “was great and obviously for me resonant. I think for him it was his first time seeing his legacy live on not only in the recognition of his work but in all of us existing in the craft.”

“As I reflect on it, I was an engineer myself coming out of school,” said Bellamy, who is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California and president of Gay Gaming Professionals. “I am just so thankful for his contributions that afforded me my career.”

Some of the artifacts relating to the career of Jerry Lawson, who oversaw the creation of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.’s Channel F home video game system, the first to use interchangeable game cartridges

His place in video game history

An exhibit of Lawson’s handiwork is on permanent display at The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. There, you can see the Channel F game system and some of Videosoft’s games. The museum has Lawson’s papers in its archive, too. Lawson and the Channel F game system are also included in A History of Video Games in 64 Objects, a book published by the museum in 2018.

Among the museum’s missions: bringing to light the contributions of minorities and women in the video game industry. Lawson’s contributions counter a lack of representation of black game developers in the industry, said Jeremy Saucier, an assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games at the museum.

“The major figures often tend to be white men,” Saucier said. “We really want to get the history right and tell a more inclusive history than the meta-narrative that we have stuck with in the past.”

The creation of the Channel F system by Lawsons’s team at Fairchild was “an achievement (that) ends up completely changing what was at the time a really burgeoning video game industry,” he said. “It laid that groundwork for the business model of the industry, the razor blade model, of (putting) a console in the hand of consumer for a low profit or loss and make much higher profits on all these individual games.”

Violence in today’s video games

As he aged, Lawson became upset with how video games glorified violence. “Most of the games that are out now – I’m appalled by them,” he told Vintage Computing and Gaming. “They’re all scenario games considered with shooting somebody and killing somebody. To me, a game should be something like a skill you should develop – if you play this game, you walk away with something of value. That’s what a game is to me.”

Lawson’s story is told almost daily still. Templeton co-produced (with William Hammons II) another documentary, “A Great Day in Gaming: the Gerald Anderson Lawson Story” in 2011 and it is shown in schools that participate in the ReUNION network.

As he works with children in Brooklyn and Queens, Templeton says he often evokes Lawson’s career, “as an example of how they can be creators and not just consumers.”

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Our digital creations can survive us, providing a way for others to connect with us after we’ve gone.


by Aron Garst via GameSpot

It was late one evening as Meredith Myers was lying in bed relaxing when her sister, Jenna, walked in with an expression of shock on her face. Jenna had been taking an evening stroll in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, walking past fruit trees and over wooden bridges that connect the different parts of her town. Lolly, a friendly cat who had just moved into town, locked eyes with her and ran over.

“I didn’t realize the mechanics of the game would do this–it showed my sister the letter after Lolly had moved from my town to hers,” Meredith told GameSpot. “Lolly showed her the letter she had written to me in my town.”

The letter her sister showed her was from their other sister, Kylie, who had passed away from cancer four years earlier.

Scenarios like this, where an NPC villager moves from one person’s town to another, is normal in New Leaf, and the newcomers always bring mementos like letters with them. Meredith didn’t expect Lolly to turn up with such an impactful memory, though.


Meredith and her sisters had loved Animal Crossing while growing up, but she wasn’t playing in her own town after her sister passed away–she was making sure Kylie’s town was weed-free and full of happy villagers instead. “I picked up her 3DS to finish Link Between Worlds for her,” Meredith said. “I did that pretty quickly and then I found Animal Crossing and it became a thing. I couldn’t take care of her anymore, but I could take care of her village. That’s something.”

Meredith kept Kylieland, as her sister named it, well-stocked with yellow flowers (Kylie’s favorite) and kept sending her villager’s similarly sweet letters like the one Lolly had brought back. The Myers had always bonded over video games and Animal Crossing was something they all loved and played regularly when they were younger.

“We didn’t start playing [Animal Crossing] again until she got sick, because she was bored in the hospital and didn’t have anything to do,” Meredith said. “I didn’t know how much time, care, and dedication she had put into it until she had passed and I found her 3DS and thought I’d take a look. It was like having this connection to her, with this whole world she had created, these friendships she had with the other characters. It was neat to hang onto her in that way. I took over her town and played for years since.”

“There was probably a 10-year gap [between when she last played] until I took her 3DS and started taking care of her New Leaf town,” she added. Meredith has been able to keep a special connection to Kylie through their shared love of Animal Crossing, one she can revisit every day. It’s a place she can help grow and change, where Meredith can go and continue all the bug-catching, house-expanding, fossil-collecting Kylie started all those years ago.

Animal Crossing, according to Katsuya Eguchi, one of its creators, is an experience that lets families play together even if they weren’t playing at the same time.

“I’d always get home really late. And my family plays games, and would sometimes be playing when I got home. And I thought to myself–they’re playing games, and I’m playing games, but we’re not really doing it together,” he said in an interview with Gamasutra. “It’d be nice to have a play experience where even though we’re not playing at the same time, we’re still sharing things together. So this was something that the kids could play after school, and I could play when I got home at night, and I could kind of be part of what they were doing while I wasn’t around.”

Eguchi didn’t know that his game design philosophy would stretch into the afterlife. In the Myers family’s case, it’s a perfect example of how video games can help people grieve after losing a loved one.

“If not stronger, it’s a more active connection to her sister,” Portland Institute for Loss and Transition Director Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., said in an interview with GameSpot. “A connection that confronts her with ongoing challenges. It’s almost a virtual expression of how we grieve in general.”

Meredith’s connection to her sister is a powerful example of the continuing bonds theory, the idea that a normal, healthy and important part of grief is maintaining a connection with those loved ones who have passed away.

The theory isn’t as clear-cut as it seems, though. As different people grieve in different ways, some are able to maintain this bond and continue living in a healthy way, while others may struggle with daily reminders of their loss.

“Grieving still happens differently, some people can still detach due to their past experiences,” Neimeyer said. “Both continuing bonds and breaking bonds can be considered healthy ways to cope.”

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Sharing The Race

Michael was 6 years old when his father died, and afterward, he couldn’t bring himself to touch the original Xbox they had shared. He had to wait 10 years to build up the courage to boot the old console up to play one of his favorite games: RalliSport Challenge.

“Once I did, I noticed something,” Michael, who goes by the online tag 00WARTHERAPY00, wrote in a Youtube comment in 2014. “I started meddling around and found a ghost, literally…you know, when a timed race happens, the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? Yep, you guessed it, his ghost still rolls around the track.”

He had found a digital copy of his father flying around that dirt track more than 10 years after his death. It gave Michael an odd comfort, even though he missed his old man. “I played and played and played until I was almost able to beat the ghost,” he wrote. “Until one day I got ahead of it, I surpassed it, and I stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure I wouldn’t delete it.”

“Bliss,” he wrote.

Michael’s interaction with his father’s ghost racer is another impactful example of the continuing bonds theory at work, except it illustrates how maintaining a virtual connection after a loved one has passed can be dangerous.

“Continuing bonds theory, you don’t just move on and forget about [loved ones who’ve died]. You have to figure out a new way to maintain that connection with them,” Sienna College professor of Social Work Carla J. Sofka, Ph.D. told GameSpot. “Before technology, [mourners would] go to the gravesite and have conversations with them.”

The problem comes with the concept of secondary loss, the idea that a primary loss, the death of a loved one, can lead to secondary losses like losing your job or home due to circumstances caused by the first loss. “What happens if that technology goes away? How likely is the game a permanent thing?” Sofka asked. “The concept of second loss, which would be the grief that someone experiences if that virtual reality disappears, then that person is going to grieve all over again. It’s a blessing, but what happens if it’s discontinued?”

Debra Bassett, a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department of the University of Warwick, studies the new phenomenon of second loss, which is the idea that these digital remnants of our loved ones can themselves be lost and is a different concept from secondary loss. “This fear of second loss is a new phenomenon for those grieving in our digital society,” she wrote in an article on Fast Company. “While images of the dead stowed away in boxes of photos in attics may well fade or perish over time, they don’t form part of people’s everyday lives in such a socially active way as digital memories do.”

For example, if Michael crosses that finish line before the ghost racer left behind by his father, the ghost time disappears, overwritten by Michael’s new best time in the race. That remnant of his parent would disappear and Michael could experience the pain of losing him all over again. The same can be said about Kylieland in Animal Crossing. It’s a blessing that can potentially lead to more pain down the road.


Visiting An Altar

Susan Rivers was finishing up a course she was teaching high schoolers about identity and mental health last year. She used playthroughs of What Remains of Edith Finch, a game about a family who believed they were cursed, to talk about how we view the people closest to us.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a game about death, one in which you explore the lives of lost family members through individual vignettes. Each one is presented with a different shrine, a collection of items left behind by that person.

“It helps them think about the people around them, how they view them. One of the interesting things about Edith Finch is, you can dig into a slice of the artifacts these people left behind in the shrines of each level,” Rivers said in an interview with GameSpot. “It gives people a different perspective about who people are.”

Rivers is the executive director of iThrive, a non-profit organization with operating in Atlanta, Boston, and New York that explores the intersection of games, mental health, and education. The organization uses different forms of interactive media to create a curriculum that teaches students about mental health, depression, grief, and other related topics.

“Grief naturally comes up with Edith Finch,” she said. “What do we remember about the individuals and what they leave behind?”

What Rivers didn’t expect was to go through her own experience of grief during one of the first times she taught her curriculum. Her mother died, pushing her to use some of the same ideas she taught in how she grieved the loss of someone she was incredibly close to. “The notion of curating our own space to reflect our identity. I didn’t really think deeply about that concept until we did our work with Edith Finch. The final project is to create a museum of me,” Rivers said. “I was curating the things from my mother’s life.”

Playing through What Remains of Edith Finch helped give Rivers the idea to focus on her mother’s letters, which were much like the letters that told the story of each individual vignette in the game.

“One of the things I connected to is the traditions we held and repeated,” she said. “Since she passed away, I’ve started to collect her letters, even thank-you notes she sent to others.”

While Rivers’s experience didn’t contain an in-game memory of her mother, What Remains of Edith Finch’s family home perfectly represents the idea of an altar–a collection of items gathered in one space, a table or a box, for mourners to visit and grieve. Creating physical altars are a century-old practice, used in holidays such as Día de Muertos to honor the dead.

Video games are becoming a prominent platform for digital memories and experiences, where players can create an altar, either on purpose or by accident.

“There is a potential for a digital altar to be infused with life, it’s dynamic,” Joanne Cacciatore, Arizona State University Director of the Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement, explained in an interview with GameSpot. “Altars are a living ritual, they’re a way in which we ritualize our dead by creating a physical space, a tangible connection, an artifact that connects us to them.”

Neimeyer regularly works with people who are close to the ends of their lives to gather items and construct legacy projects to help bring them peace. “In this, people share their stories in a way that can be captured and passed on to their survivors,” he said. “[Kylie] did that herself–left her a little world where she would always be there.”

Kylieland and the RalliSport Challenge ghost racer are both altars; places for Michael and Meredith to rekindle relationships with lost loved ones, and places to maintain a connection that wasn’t lost, but transformed. Altars can be beautiful in how they preserve a part of someone’s life, and painful in how second loss can bring grief all over again. Video games, whether they be life simulators in which you send letters to quirky animals or dirt road racers where you compete against lap time, can create serendipitous memories that help us grieve.

For Meredith, Kylie’s Animal Crossing town is a perfect way to keep her memory alive by continuing what she started.

“I know she wanted to expand her house, so I’m going to pay off her debt,” Meredith said. “I can build off what she started. That’s part of the beauty of Animal Crossing.”

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by Ben Gilbert via Business Insider

This holiday season, the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles are scheduled to arrive.

But the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, just like much of the world’s consumer electronics, are being manufactured in China. And China is currently the focal point of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Of the more than 560 people who have died from the virus, all but two fatalities have been in mainland China. Over 28,000 people were reported as infected as of Wednesday.

China’s manufacturing sector, which is responsible for producing the vast majority of the world’s consumer electronics, has been hit particularly hard. Foxconn, the manufacturing giant that produces the iPhone, is quarantining workers. At least one supply chain executive told Nikkei Asian Review that, “The [coronavirus] situation in China could affect the planned production schedule” of the next iPhone.

Similarly, as Microsoft and Sony ramp up production of their next-gen consoles, those launches could see delays or, at least, constrained launch supply due to the coronavirus outbreak.


“The video game sector is currently manufacturing, or beginning to, a once-in-several-years’ product generation change for the 2020 holiday season,” a note from Jefferies Group published this week says. “If [company] shutdowns exceed a month or so, game schedules will be delayed. New consoles may likewise suffer supply issues from a prolonged disruption, ahead of their Fall 2020 planned launches.”

Put more simply: Next-gen consoles, and the games being produced for those consoles, may get hit with delays due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Though most major video games are made in North America, Europe, and Japan, large components of those games are outsourced to China. As much as “30-50% of art creation in western games is done in China,” according to the note. In terms of the hardware itself, nearly 100% of the manufacturing takes place in China.

Notably, Nintendo has outright announced production delays due to the coronavirus outbreak — shipments of the Nintendo Switch console are delayed to Japan, the company announced this week. Both Sony and Microsoft didn’t respond to request for comment on potential next-gen console delays due to the virus outbreak.

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by Dave Thier via Forbes

Want to play your PS4 games on the Nintendo Switch? Sony wants to know if you’re interested, at the very least. The company recently sent out a survey primarily focused on its remote play feature, which allows you to use your own PS4 as a remote server to play games on PCs and smartphones. Among other things, the survey asked whether people would be interested in remote play coming to Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, or a “generic handheld device”. Which is an interesting notion.

The survey comes to us from Reddit user YouRedditHereFirst, and also wonders about a slim dualshock designed for portable play. It’s worth noting that video game companies—and other companies—test the waters with surveys all the time, and this in no way means such a feature is coming. But it does mean that the idea is at least a passing notion, and an enthusiastic response could lead to some more internal discussions.

Honestly, aside from the mild cognitive dissonance and presumed technical difficulties, it’s easy to see how this is a win/win from a business perspective. The reason is simple: Remote Play still requires you to own a PS4 (or presumably a PS5, later), and so it doesn’t cut into sales at all. It does expand functionality for both the PS4 and the Switch in a consumer-friendly way, however.

It’s hard to see just what functionality playing these on an Xbox One would add, but one could imagine you’re at a friend’s house who only has an Xbox One and you want to show them Bloodborne, or something. As far as a “generic handheld device”, it’s always possible that Sony would want to consider a new piece of hardware, but that would be a whole different conversation.

The Switch here is what I’m most interested in, because there’s also been chatter about the idea that the Switch could be used as an Xcloud device, something that’s a little easier for me to imagine given Sony and Microsoft’s recent collaboration. But regardless, the idea is the same: the Switch is already a perfect second console to pair with your Xbox or Sony products, and a ton of Switch owners already own a beefier machine. Helping them play better together seems like it would make a lot of people happy without ceding any ground.

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by Ben Gilbert via Business Insider

This holiday season, both Sony and Microsoft plan to launch new, so-called next-generation versions of the PlayStation and the Xbox.

Goodbye, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One! Hello, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X!

It marks the fourth game console “generation” that Microsoft and Sony consoles have gone head-to-head, starting with the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox around the turn of the century. Nintendo exited direct competition on hardware with both companies years ago, starting with the wildly successful launch of the Nintendo Wii in 2006.

These days, the “console wars” are a head-to-head between Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox. But in 2020, it looks as if Microsoft is shifting its business strategy in a way that might end them for good.

Here’s how Microsoft plans to do it:

1. Microsoft doesn’t mind if you don’t buy its new Xbox console, as long as you buy the game.


Do you want to play games on an Xbox? A PC? Your phone? Microsoft wants to reach you there — ideally across all three.

To that end, Xbox has major initiatives across all three platforms: a new game console (Xbox Series X), a cloud gaming service (Project xCloud), and a Netflix-like gaming service (Game Pass).

“That remains core to what we’re trying to do,” the Xbox leader Phil Spencer told Business Insider in an interview last June. “To allow creators to reach the customers that they want, allow players to play the games that they want with the people they want to play with, anywhere they want. And it fits right into the opportunity ahead.”

It’s part of a broader effort at Microsoft to bring Xbox games to as many people as possible — even if those people don’t buy a new Xbox console. To that end, all first-party Xbox games across the next two years will also head to Xbox One.

“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” the Xbox Game Studios director Matt Booty told MCV in a recent interview.

When the big new “Halo” game arrives alongside the Xbox Series X this holiday, it’ll also arrive on Xbox One and PC.

2. The new Xbox is just the latest box, not a whole new ecosystem.


The next Xbox console will play Xbox One games. It will also play all the original Xbox and Xbox 360 games that already work on the Xbox One. It will also work with all the current Xbox One accessories, from gamepads to fight sticks.

“The original Xbox games and Xbox 360 games that are backward-compatible now on your Xbox One, those will play. Your Xbox One games will play, your accessories will play,” Spencer said last June.

This is an important precedent that was set with the Xbox One, and it’s continuing with the next generation of Xbox consoles: Your digital game library carries forward, like app purchases on smartphones or movie purchases on Amazon Prime. It establishes your Xbox library as a continuing digital platform, something no game console maker has done thus far.

The compatibility actually stretches further — games with large existing communities will continue to grow those communities on the next Xbox.

“I don’t want to announce anything about what another game team is doing,” Spencer said, “But I think what we would say at the highest level is if you talk about these games that have such massive communities today, a lot of those developers and studios are going to want to think about how they grow their community — not how they take it to zero and try to rebuild it.”

It doesn’t take a lot of hard thinking to imagine the games Spencer is talking about; games like “Fortnite” and “Minecraft” stand out, among many others with large, multiplatform audiences.

3. Going forward, it’s just “Xbox.”


The Xbox Series X is part of the fourth generation of Xbox consoles from Microsoft, following the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One generations. It’s a real murderer’s row of bizarre names.

The Series X, however, isn’t a whole new line of Xbox consoles — it’s just the name of the latest in the Xbox console brand.

“The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,” a Microsoft representative told Business Insider in December.

It’s a small branding change, but it clarifies Microsoft’s position with its console line: You can expect your Xbox digital library to work on Xbox devices, similar to Apple’s approach with the iPhone.

You might get an iPhone 11 Pro, or you might get an iPhone 8 — they all run the same stuff, albeit in varying degrees of fidelity. Such is the case with the Xbox brand going forward.

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You can put that “Shut up and take my money” meme away (for now).


by Peter Brown via GameSpot

Microsoft has announced the official name for Project Scarlett is Xbox Series X, or just simply ‘Xbox‘. The new Xbox is scheduled to release during the holiday season in 2020 alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5. However, despite revealing the console at The Game Awards, Microsoft isn’t ready to open pre-orders just yet–if you want to buy it, you’ll have to keep waiting. And that’s an intentional choice on the part of Microsoft.

“We think, in the end, what people want from us is … to put a controller [in their] hand,” Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald told GameSpot. “People tell me, ‘Hey, I want to pre-order right now,’ and we definitely love that–like it’s great to have those fans–but I also know that these investments aren’t trivial for families. I want to be transparent about what our design goals are.”

To ensure customers know what they’re paying for, Microsoft is going to hold off on pre-orders for a little longer. Though we now know a lot more about Xbox Series X–like its name (i.e. Xbox), its PC desktop-looking design, the new share button on its controllers, how it will work with Project xCloud, and a host of other details–we’re still in the dark about quite a few things. The big one is, of course, its price tag.

More than anything though, Microsoft doesn’t want to start selling the new Xbox yet because customers haven’t had a chance to try the console. The Game Awards presents a wonderful platform for announcements, but, as Ronald puts it, the show doesn’t present “an opportunity for people to play–it’s a stage.”

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The next generation Xbox got a big reveal last week, with a first look at the box itself and a name: Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series X is part of the fourth generation of Xbox from Microsoft, following the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One generations.

It’s quite a list of names, especially compared to the dead simplicity of Sony’s PlayStation line which starts with the PlayStation 1 in 1995 and runs through to the upcoming PlayStation 5 that’s scheduled for 2020.

But there was something particular about the way that Microsoft revealed the name of the Series X:


Microsoft / The Game Awards

Do you see it?

“THE NEW” is tiny, followed by “XBOX” in huge letters, and then “SERIES X” in medium-sized letters below that.

Like this:


Upon closer inspection, it appears that “Xbox” is the make and “Series X” is the model — as if the name going forward for Xbox consoles is simply “Xbox.”

It turns out there’s a good reason for that.

“The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox,” a Microsoft representative told Business Insider, “And at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X.”

Like the first Xbox generation, the next one is simply named “Xbox.”

It’s a basic rebranding, but a meaningful one that could help to simplify the Xbox line for interested consumers. It also clarifies Microsoft’s intention with its console line.

“Similar to what fans have seen with previous generations, the name ‘Xbox Series X’ allows room for additional consoles in the future,” the Microsoft rep told us.


Currently, there are two models of Xbox One: The Xbox One X and the Xbox One S. Both came out after the original Xbox One, which launched in November 2013.

For several years, Microsoft also offered that Xbox One, which looked different from both of the consoles seen above. All three of these consoles are part of the “Xbox One” generation, which tracks with 2013 to present day. They all play the same Xbox One games, though the Xbox One X is technically far more powerful than the other two boxes.

Confused yet?

That’s exactly why Microsoft is simplifying its naming convention going forward. At the same time, of course, the statement indicates that Microsoft is already working on other versions of the next-generation Xbox — something that lines up with repeated rumors of a disc-less, streaming-focused Xbox. Microsoft isn’t saying just yet, though. “We’re excited to offer fans a glimpse at the next generation of gaming with Xbox Series X,” the rep said, “But beyond that, we have nothing further to share.”

One thing is clear: That “Series X” bit isn’t so important — it’s just Xbox from now on.

Check out the intro video for the new Xbox right here:

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