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February 21, 2020
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Updates » Social/Online
Call of Duty drops loot boxes in favor of battle passes in Modern Warfare  
by Alissa McAloon [10.17.19]
Past Call of Duty games have included loot boxes, a now-controversial monetization practice, but Modern Warfare publisher Activision says the latest game is taking a different approach.
Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Stadia's wireless controller needs a cord to play on everything but TV at launch  
by Alissa McAloon [10.17.19]
Google Stadia’s November 19 debut isn’t the game streaming service’s full rollout, and news of how some features will be limited at launch serves as a reminder of that as the Founders Edition release draws near.
Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Video

College Hearthstone team hit with 6-month ban after showing 'Free Hong Kong' sign 4
by Alissa McAloon [10.16.19]
One week after the original infraction took place, Blizzard has issued bans to the members of the American University Hearthstone team that held up a 'Free Hong Kong' sign during an event stream.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Registration is now open for GDC 2020!  
by Staff [10.16.19]
Sign up now to attend GDC 2020 at a discount price and gain access to the global game development community for a week of unmatched education, inspiration and networking in San Francisco!
VR, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Production, Business/Marketing, GDC

Nintendo NYC Overwatch launch event cancelled by Blizzard 5
by Alissa McAloon [10.15.19]
The Twitter account for Nintendo's NYC store made the announcement only days before the event was set to start, offering no reason for the decision but noting that Blizzard was ultimately the one to call it off.
Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Fortnite is back after suddenly going dark for days to hype a big content update  
by Alissa McAloon [10.15.19]
Fortnite is back online after developer Epic Games suddenly, and theatrically, took the game offline on Sunday.
Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet

The public preview for Xbox's streaming service Project xCloud is now live  
by Alissa McAloon [10.14.19]
Microsoft has kicked off the public preview for Project xCloud, and is slowly beginning to dole out invites in waves to those that signed up for consideration last month.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Don't Miss: The unconventional launch of Fortnite  
by Staff [10.14.19]
In this GDC 2018 session, Epic Games' Ed Zobrist discusses the unique challenges of launching Fortnite and goes into the strategy and impact of adding the successful Battle Royale mode.
Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Fortnite's latest narrative turn has taken the entire game offline  
by Alissa McAloon [10.14.19]
Epic Games Fortnite is no stranger to environmental storytelling, but the close of the free-to-play game's tenth season takes the narrative tool to the extreme.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Blizzard reduces ban for Hearthstone player, but stands by its initial reasoning 4
by Alissa McAloon [10.11.19]
Blizzard believes its decision to take action against those involved was the right call and in line with the company's values, though Blizzard president J. Allen Brack admits it initially reacted too hastily.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Video Game Deep Cuts: Hearthstone Boycotts, Concrete Genie, Indie Sales 1
by Gamasutra Staff [10.11.19]
This week's highlights include fallout from Blizzard's 'Hong Kong censorship' controversy, new titles including Concrete Genie, Neo Cab, and John Wick Hex, plus the reality of indie game sales.
VR, Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Programming, Art, Audio, Design, Production, Business/Marketing

Riot calls for esports casters, players to avoid 'sensitive topics' during its broadcasts 1
by Alissa McAloon [10.11.19]
"As a general rule, we want to keep our broadcasts focused on the game, the sport, and the players," writes John Needham, Riot Games' global head of League of Legends esports.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Mixer co-founder Matt Salsamendi departs Microsoft  
by Alissa McAloon [10.11.19]
Matt Salsamendi, who co-founded the streaming platform that would eventually become Microsoft’s Mixer, has left both Mixer and Microsoft in favor of a career change.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Devs can now use the rollback networking SDK GGPO for free in their own projects 2
by Alissa McAloon [10.09.19]
The creator of GGPO, or Good Game Peace Out in full, has released the GGPO SDK under an MIT License, essentially giving devs the go-ahead to use the netcode for both commercial or non-commercial purposes.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Xbox Live and Game Pass CVP Mike Ybarra departs Microsoft after 20 years  
by Alissa McAloon [10.09.19]
Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Xbox Live, Game Pass, and Mixer, has announced his departure from both Xbox and Microsoft as a whole.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Epic failed to inform players of Fortnite addiction risks, argues law firm 11
by Alissa McAloon [10.07.19]
A class-action lawsuit against Epic Games alleges the studio knowingly aimed to make Fortnite an addicting game targeted at kids, and didn’t do enough to warn players and parents of addiction risks.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Epic clarifies Fortnite matchmaking update amid cross-play balance concerns 2
by Alissa McAloon [10.04.19]
The new matchmaking system heading to Fortnite has some players concerned, prompting Epic to share a blog post detailing why those changes came to be.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Call of Duty: Mobile passes 35 million downloads within days of launch  
by Alissa McAloon [10.04.19]
Call of Duty: Mobile has already surpassed 35 million downloads within just days of its debut on iOS and Android according to publisher Activision’s internal numbers.
Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet

Co-founder Rick Fox files multi-million dollar lawsuit against Echo Fox partners  
by Alissa McAloon [10.03.19]
The lawsuit accuses two business partners of misleading Rick Fox and manipulating business funds, and ultimately is seeking damages in the tens of millions.
Console/PC, Social/Online

Co-founder Mike O'Brien is leaving Guild Wars developer ArenaNet  
by Alissa McAloon [10.03.19]
ArenaNet president and co-founder Mike O’Brien announced that he is leaving the company to start a new studio focused on making smaller games.
Console/PC, Social/Online