It's release week for the Xbox Series and PS5! Naturally we are mentioning this in our roundup this week, but we also have much, much more to offer. Read all about the Guildford Games Festival, a nice gaming campaign from a non-gaming brand, and Rocket League tournaments.
And so, the baton has been passed. The Xbox Series and the PS5 are here (in some territories, anyway). Despite the thin launch line-ups, both consoles have received praise online and are off and running. While we wait for numbers from Sony, Microsoft's Phil Spencer has confirmed that this week saw the biggest day one launch in Xbox history.
As it's a significant milestone for all of us in games, today I took to the blog to share some research and thoughts about the future, particularly about how cloud gaming is poised to disrupt the whole industry. Read all about it in our new featured article: The last console you'll ever buy?
And remember kids...
We can't believe we have to say this, but please do not blow vape smoke into your Xbox Series X.— Xbox (@Xbox) November 11, 2020
I took a few days holiday this week, and with lockdown in full effect, I used the time to dig out my Switch. I put a few more hours into Yooka-Laylee, which is essentially a Banjo-Kazooie game, but with different characters. High praise for Playtonic Games who really nailed this, and let me experience my childhood gaming nostalgia in an updated way!
I also picked up a copy of Windbound. You take on the role of Kara, an explorer who, due to a horrific storm, has found herself shipwrecked and must forage and hunt to survive, whilst exploring the islands to get back to her group. I opted to play in survival mode, which requires a lot of patience. Whenever you die you start again right from the beginning... Which happened to me a lot. If I'm going to get anywhere, I definitely need to improve!
Finally, I saw a nice campaign from Cadbury's whereby they are encouraging people to spend time with their families, and take the challenge to get a relative up to speed with gaming in 60 days. The campaign includes 12 influencers, and their progress in teaching their relatives how to play Street Fighter, ready for a showdown tournament, can be followed on YouTube and across all the usual social platforms. The final will be streamed live on Cadbury's YouTube channel and GFinity's Twitch tomorrow. This is a really nice example of how a non-gaming brand is leveraging the huge potential games has to offer. Something which we have written about before previously.
This week I have been buried in a hole focusing on preparing for the online Guildford Games Festival, that is kicking off today!
In consideration of the current times, the decision was made for us that this years' festival would be carried out online. The format for the festival is that we will be broadcasting a huge line-up of pre-recorded video live on Twitch and Steam. I personally have been responsible for organising the streaming side of things, which evolved into quite the undertaking. We have some 20+ hours of video content spanning several content tracks and broadcasting to multiple channels on both Steam and Twitch platforms.
This has definitely been a baptism of fire and was quite the undertaking compared to my initial expectation of "Open OBS and click Go Live". But it has been a fun learning process, if somewhat pressured by the enormity of the event which is currently sat featured on the homepage of Steam 😱. Be sure to drop by and check out some of the amazing content lined up on Twitch and Steam, follow on Twitter, and browse the newly launched hub site (built by the Etch Play team).
We talk a lot about Rocket League in our weekly updates, and after going free to play this summer, the game has never been more popular. Unfortunately, female representation in the pro scene is very low. For example, the majority of teams taking part in the Rocket League Championship Series (a semi-annual Rocket League esports tournament produced by Psyonix, the game's developer) feature all-male rosters.
At the start of 2020, the Women's Car Ball Championship (a tournament for women only) launched, with 8 teams competing for a prize pool of $1,000. Six months later, season 2 took place with a $1,400 prize pool. Yesterday, the WCBC Twitter account announced that season 3 will be sponsored by Psyonix and this time the prize pool will be $10,000. That's a huge jump, and it's great for the tournament that the developers of Rocket League are throwing their weight behind it. We all need to be doing more to support and watch all players of the game we enjoy so much.
Season 3 of the WCBC begins 12th December and it's one I'm very much looking forward to. If you're a fan or Rocket League, be sure to follow WCBC on Twitter and if you can't wait for December, you can watch highlights of season 2 on their Twitch channel.
With the international release of the PlayStation 5 this week, there has been a lot of praise for the new DualSense controller. In particular, the advanced haptic system is exciting reviewers who have been playing Astro's Playroom. Despite the fact that people aren't quite able to show in videos exactly what it does, the recurring theme is that people are loving it!
This week I was doing something we've all been doing lately: doom-scrolling through Twitter. One post caught my eye though, mostly because it was in French, and I don't speak French, but it was talking about a game called LocoCycle. Somebody I follow had retweeted it saying it looked "bonkers," so I had to check it out. And what a game it is.
It's cheesy FMV game, that's full of references to pop culture, pays homage to classic games, and has a perfect B movie style plot. It gets more absurd the more you play it. You can tell the team involved really enjoyed making it, and they've made one of the best love letters to gaming as a whole I've played in a long while! Now if only Twisted Pixel could make another game in the same vein...
We hope you enjoyed this week's roundup. Did you manage to get hold of an Xbox or PlayStation? Let us know over on Twitter. And if you just can't get enough of our content, be sure to join us Thursdays at 4pm on our Twitch channel for our weekly live show where we chat videogame news, marketing and play some games. To get a taste, check out this week's live show below 👇 These are always put up on our YouTube channel, along with a whole host of other gaming content!
Have a great weekend 👋
At Etch Play, we help games businesses think about, plan and execute on their extended experience. That means delivering value to players beyond the traditional boundaries of a game. You can find out more about our offering at etchuk.com/play/the-extended-experience.