written by Fyren
Activision Blizzard does layoffs
In news that shocked everyone, Activision Blizzard announced just under 800 layoffs at the company this week. This announcement came on the heels of a quarterly earnings call in which the company announced record revenue. In an effort to turn that record from revenue into profit, support staff in many areas such as marketing and eSports were cut. Affected employees are receiving job placement assistance from the company as well as severance packages. In addition to these layoffs of support staff, Activision Blizzard said they will also be beefing up their development staff in the coming months. I can only hope the that the extra development staff translates to more and better games for us. The last announcement made though, was that the company did not have any major releases planned for 2019.
Overwatch League returns
On Valentine’s Day, the Overwatch League made its triumphant return with Season 2. The teams from last season continue their battle joined by a handful of new teams. The Blizzard Arena is looking polished and the talent are ready. There are several highlights from the first week so far, with the final matches of the week being played today. The Philadelphia Fusion and Paris Eternal both came out very strong and put the London Spitfire in their place. NYXL continues their streak. Shanghai Dragons are still looking for their first ever win, now 0 – 42. The new Chinese team in the Hangzhou Spark impressed with 2 wins. I’ve been enjoying how much play the hamster has been enjoying on the big stage. You go, little guy.
THQ Continues buying spree
THQ Nordic buys the development studio behind last year’s sleeper hit, Kingdom Come: Deliverance. This is just the latest acquisition from THQ Nordic. Previously they bought several other studios including Coffee Stain, the ones behind Goat Simulator. Warhorse Studios have stated that becoming a part of THQ Nordic is an important milestone. They hope that with the growing publisher behind them they can continue to make great games and push the boundaries of the industry. I’ll be interested to see which studio THQ Nordic buys up next and once this buying spree is over, what will be their next move?
Star Citizen to include Sign Language
I’m a little late to the party on this one, but earlier this month during an episode of Around of The ‘Verse we learned that along with the usual bevy of character emotes, the developers behind Star Citizen will be doing something a little more unique. Characters will be able to utilize an array of American Sign Language emotes that will allow players to communicate in a whole new way that hasn’t been seen in gaming before. Some footage from the studio showcased the signs being captured with modern motion capture tech. While the entirety of the ASL dictionary may not be included, there will be plenty of signs available to cover the basics of in game communications. It is important to note that while this is a good sign for the American audience, sign language is not universal and varies wildly across the world.