Welcome to another edition of the Etch Play roundup. This week we're looking at the most talked about games on Twitter in 2021, NFTs in Ubisoft games, and a game reboot which is making us feel nostalgic.
One of the top trends in game development for 2022 is discussion (and increasingly, implementation) of NFTs in gaming.
It's fairly controversial. But Ubisoft have gone ahead and made them a thing in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, so you can now get so-called "one of a kind" guns for your operative powered by NFT technology. Waypoint have tracked down some of the people who have purchased these special skins for their combat gear and asked them the question on everybody's mind: Why?
The Settlers is a nostalgic game for me that I used to pour hours into when I was much younger. After over 10 years since the last release in the franchise, Ubisoft is rebooting the game with The Settlers Online, which is heavily inspired by Settlers 3 and 4. Available on PC, the game uses the same game engine used by The Division to provide detailed visuals. The reboot comes with a story-driven campaign as well as multiplayer. Players can sign up for a closed beta period from January 20th-24th, with the release date penned in for March 17th.
We've spoken before on our blog and our live show about the power of Twitter in games marketing. Clearly people have been listening to us intently, as this week Twitter has reported that gaming posts on the platform have risen 14% year-on-year.
A whopping 2.4 billion tweets in 2021 were about gaming. That's a lot of gaming chatter, memes, trailers, discussion and general good times! Twitter has also provided a breakdown of the countries with the highest number of gaming tweets, the most talked about games and the most tweeted about games events. Japan, the US and South Korea took the countries top spots. Genshin Impact, Apex Legends and Ensemble Stars! were the most talked about games. And E3, The Game Awards and Xbox Games Showcase were the most talked about events. You can see more from the top lists here.
No matter the size of your game, Twitter can be a great place to find and build an audience for your game. The data is clear, the audience is there and they love to talk if you can find a way to inspire them and get them talking about your game.
I've been looking at events in the industry lately. As we discussed on yesterday's live show, E3 has announced that the 2022 event will be a fully remote affair this year. Conversely, March sees this year's GDC (and IGF awards ceremony) happening in-person in San Francisco. E3 has been such a significant event in the games industry calendar since its inception in 1995. But it was already losing ground, with major publishers such as EA and PlayStation pulling out of the show even before the trials of the pandemic. This year's offering looks like a potential candidate for the show's swan song which will be a huge shame. However, comparing it to the likes of The Game Awards might suggest the games event landscape is now a very different place to pre-pandemic times.
On our own shores here in the UK, we've seen various events making a return, including Develop which happened last October in Brighton, and Pocket Gamer Connects is kicking off next month. Audiences and exhibitors however are still not ubiquitously comfortable with a return to in-person events. Understandably so, with the Omicron variant still raging and the effects of the virus still very much present in the daily news cycle.
As someone who relishes events (both from an attendee and organiser perspective) the current state of things is tough to reconcile, but 2022 looks set to be another bumpy road for games industry gatherings and showcases.
After an extended trial last year, Armor Games Studios is officially moving to a permanent four-day week, according to CEO John Cooney.
Armor Games is moving permanently to a four-day workweek after a 3 month trial.— John Cooney (@jmtb02) January 12, 2022
After our latest survey 87.5% of employees were ready to implement the workweek permanently. 100% of employees felt their productivity was the same (or better) than a 5-day workweek. https://t.co/7cVfn3CAR6
The 3 month trial period was originally extended after "early positive results", in which Armor team members voted on a range of questions, such as how much they enjoyed the new structure and how productive they were.
"After our latest survey 87.5% of employees were ready to implement the workweek permanently. 100% of employees felt their productivity was the same (or better) than a 5-day workweek" tweeted John Cooney earlier this week.
More major games studios are following suit, including AAA Eidos-Montreal, while some smaller indie teams have been using this paradigm for a long time.
At Etch Play, we follow a flexible working agreement which allows our work to fit around our lives, whether that is to spend more time with loved ones, focus on our health, or get some extra gaming time in. From all of us here, congrats Armor!
Microsoft has stopped manufacturing all Xbox One consoles.
The Xbox One X and digital Xbox One S were discontinued in July 2020 ahead of the Xbox Series X launch, with the software giant halting manufacturing of the Xbox One S at the end of 2020.
“To focus on production of Xbox Series X / S, we stopped production for all Xbox One consoles by the end of 2020,” says Cindy Walker, senior director of Xbox console product marketing, in a statement to The Verge.
Total hardware figures aren’t publicly available for the entire Xbox One line — Microsoft famously prioritizes monthly active users as its primary metric — but analysts estimate it sold around 51 million units as of 2020.
Just can't get enough?
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Before you leave, why not check out yesterday's live show right here? You might just like it! 👇