In this week's edition of the roundup we're looking at Twitter, God of War, World Cup Predictions, and more!
The only thing people are talking about this week, in a marketers sense, is Twitter.
After Elon Musk acquired the site for $44 billion dollars - with debt financing that saddled the company with $13 billion of additional bank debt - he's promptly started making changes. Among them, up to half of all staff at Twitter have been laid off, leading to an anecdotal rise in hate speech, spam, and site reliability issues. The most affected departments are thought to be accessibility, ethics and transparency, curation, the technology team that keeps the site online, and human rights.
Elsewhere on the site, the verification system (or 'checkmarks') on Twitter have been through a tumultuous week - becoming available to everyone for $8, then being supported by secondary "official" verification, then that being rolled back, but thought to be re-introduced soon, etc. At time of writing, anyone can buy a public verification. You can visit their profile to find out if they got it for free or paid for it. The information is not clearly displayed in the feed, and isn't visible at all in e.g TweetDeck.
In the mean time, as many predicted, the lack of verification clarity has led to a huge surge of misleading content from "verified accounts". In the entertainment space alone, there have been viral fake tweets from Nintendo, Valve, Apple, and more that have been heavily retweeted and believed. The problem is pretty simple: If anyone can get verified, essentially, nobody really is. Verification used to be a public service that made the platform more trustworthy, and at the moment it's either irrelevant or a joke. Other industries are experiencing similar, and the reaction from advertisers has been brutal - many have stopped spending altogether, almost certainly plunging the site into further debt.
It's got some games marketers worried, particularly those with a strong (or sole) focus on Twitter as a platform for creating community and sharing news. While Twitter may be around for some time yet, it might be a good time to start thinking about diversification. After all: Nothing lasts forever.
European Parliament passes esports and gaming resolution
This week The European Parliament has passed a resolution which recognises the value of esports and the video game industries. As part of this, they have recommended a long-term strategy to support and fund both these sectors. The resolution passed with a huge margin, with only 34 voting against, and 16 abstaining, versus the 56o votes that were in favour.
This resolution has shown the recognition of the value that esports and video games offers economically and culturally to Europe. Although not binding, it is heavily expected that action will be taken off the back of this. This is obviously great news for the industry, and we'll wait to see what happens in the coming years.
You can read more here.
God of War: Ragnarok
This week saw a game launch that many have been waiting for - God of War: Ragnarok! Following the events of God of War, released 4 years ago in 2018, this sequel sees Kratos and his son Atreus on a "mythic journey for answers before Ragnarok arrives".
The game came out on Wednesday and it already a contender for GOTY for many fans and outlets - with the PS5 version of the game receiving a metascore of 94 which puts it in second position among all PS5 games released this year, just 2 points behind Elder Ring.
A massive congrats for a successful launch to Santa Monica Studio, who have poured their love and passion into this amazing game for 4 years!
#GodofWarRagnarok is OFFICIALLY LIVE!— Santa Monica Studio – God of War Ragnarök (@SonySantaMonica) November 9, 2022
On behalf of everyone here at Santa Monica Studio and all of our development partners, thank you to our wonderful fans for supporting us.
Every person who touched this game put their all into it, we hope you love it as much as we do 💙 pic.twitter.com/N7IR9p2jCD
I'm back with another Co-op Game.
This week I found myself hooked to my PS5 as never before... Well, since growing up and doing adult things. I really couldn't get enough and I just kept going back for more. This week I want to talk about a game I was dumbfounded by called Nioh 2, which is currently free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers. Its an absolute banger and was created by the notorious Team Ninja, the creators of games such as Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive and my current favourite, Nioh!!
Although I didn't actually find the story the best, the character customisation is unreal, with multiple aspects of the character being editable. What really shines, especially in the remastered version, was the attention to detail. The graphics are beautiful. The trigger response to using the bow is satisfying and the level of customisation will make your head spin. The combat in the game is so much fun too, with a very Code Vein, Demon's Souls and Remnant: From the Ashes kind of vibe.
The game excels in the coop aspect having really implemented it well, which is very important for me. The variety of classes is unheard of, it took me 30 minutes to decided what build I wanted... But oh is it satisfying when you finally know how to manage your "Ki", aka stamina, and how to hit combos. The difficulty on this game is no joke, so there isn't an aspect of slicing and dicing through enemies like onions. You tend to have to strategically approach groups of enemies. Even the solo basic demon will send you to your grave.
If you love samurai, combat, builds and a challenge this game is a no brainer.. Bring a friend too. I promise you wont be disappointed.
EA's World Cup Predictions with FIFA
With the World Cup just round the corner EA sports have given their prediction of how it will all play out by simulating the World Cup in FIFA 23. In their simulation the final was played out between Argentina and Brazil, with Lionel Messi scoring the winner goal in a 1-0 victory, to give Argentina their first world cup win since 1986. Messi whose due to retire from international football after the tournament also claimed the golden boot in what would be a fairy tale way to mark arguably the greatest player of all times final World Cup. While it might seem a futile exercise of predicting the winner through simulation, FIFA has accurately predicted the last three winners in 2010, 2014 & 2018 so fingers crossed you get Argentina in those sweep stakes!
It’s time for some more fine art appreciation. For those reading this who have watched Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show Rings of Power, you’ll know that opinion of season one is very divided.
It’s safe to say that the show wasn’t the hit that those bankrolling it would have hoped it to be, with production for the first season alone allegedly costing around $462 million (roughly $57 million per episode).
However, we can all agree that the show has some visually outstanding moments. Rings of Power has shown us places that Peter Jackson’s six Lord of the Rings films didn’t: the island kingdom of Numenor, the Southlands, and the Harfoot’s travelling village.
It’s easy to overlook the thousands of hours artists put into creating concepts and environment design that goes on to inform the final polished product. This Kotaku slideshow shows off a selection of that impressive work.
More Etch Play
As well as being in various places on the internet, every Thursday at 4PM we're live on Twitch, covering all the latest industry news and also playing interesting games. This week Ben and Adam were chatting about Gears of War, Prince of Persia and Twitter, amongst other things. Check it out below...