A week in video games, as brought to you by the Etch Play team.
This week we've been following some good news coming out of the video games industry, reading interesting books, getting excited about new leagues to play in, and enjoying fun marketing campaigns. And you can read all about it all below...
A whole bunch of indie games got shown off for the Switch this week, at Nintendo's "Indie World Showcase". Among them was one of my favourite games of last year: Hypnospace Outlaw. It's officially coming to all major consoles, with keyboard and mouse support, in 6 days time. It's an exceptional game and I encourage you to play it.
Elsewhere, I've been playing a lot of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. It's on Game Pass and is well worth the price of admission. You can watch me playing it here.
I've had a very busy week, but I did manage to find the time to read the first chapter of book I received as a gift. It's called "Shut Up and Listen!: Hard Business Truths That Will Help You Succeed". The book talks about client management and how to put the client in front of everything else to make a successful business. The language of the book is really direct and to the point. I found it very easy to read, and I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the book.
Quiet week for me but I was alerted to this marketing campaign that stirred up the latest games controversy yesterday:
Title: The King of Stream— Ogilvy (@Ogilvy) August 18, 2020
Client: Burger King
Burger King turned Twitch's donation feature into a marketing campaign.
Check out more #ClientWork, here: https://t.co/F7JV9RUakK pic.twitter.com/KUhtxctwhu
In short, an ad agency has utilised a bot to make tiny donations to streamers on Twitch in an attempt to advertise Burger King. Whilst technically an impressive feat, this is an extremely questionable tactic ethically and has not been well received. Many streamers operate as businesses and a core revenue source of the industry is brand partnerships and advertising deals where the streamer has a say in the promotional efforts that suit their content and their audience. This scheme disregards that and preys on unsuspecting content creators. A quick skim of the replies/RTs will highlight how badly this has gone down with the target audience resulting in a backlash against both the agency and the brand.
For balance though, I did enjoy this much needed slant on the more positive news arising from the games industry during these dark times from GI Biz.
"Leagues" in video games are becoming more of a commonplace occurrence. They're timed content, usually only lasting a few months, where all players are reset to a new starting point and everybody competes to see how far they can get. League of Legends, Rocket League and Path Of Exile are three of the biggest names in this space. However, last year Old School Runescape also threw their hat into the ring with their Twisted League. It was incredibly well-received, and players have been asking for another one since it ended back in January. Well, this week Jagex announced that we're getting a second one, the Trailblazer league!
They released a blog post which includes what improvements they're making since the last league, some choices players can make along the way to make their league experience unique, and best of all the gimmick of the league. Players are locked to certain areas in the world, and when they complete enough tasks they can choose another zone to unlock. But here's the catch: players aren't able to unlock them all, so choose wisely. As somebody who didn't play Twisted league, but watched a lot of it, I'm excited to actually play this one!
It wouldn't be a Play roundup without a Rocket League update, and, with Pete on annual leave this week, I shall shoulder the responsibility.
As part of a large update going live later this summer, Rocket League will be going free-to-play. We now know that part of this update will also overhaul the existing Tournaments feature.
Each region will have multiple competitive tournaments scheduled every day and progressing through the rounds will earn you tournament credits that can be used to obtain new items. The revamp will include a new ranking system for tournaments, so players will be matched against similarly skilled opponents.
The Rocket League Summer Update, which also includes cross-platform progression, new ranks, free-to-play and a UI overhaul, is shaping up to be really promising!
It's been a busy week so I haven't had too much time for playing games. However, I did mention last week that I had picked up Ori and the Blind Forest on Game Pass, and I did manage to put about an hour into it. The game is just as beautiful I had been told and so far, although early days, I am enjoying it a lot. I'm looking forward to spending some more time in the game!
I have also been closely following the goings on around r3dakt3d.com. It was widely believed to be a tease of a new upcoming Batman came from Warner Brothers Montreal. As more and more clues were discovered, it became apparent that this was the case, and has now as good as been confirmed to be an Arkham reboot. I loved the Arkham games so I am very excited for this one. The first trailer is expected to be revealed today! I love this kind of marketing for a game, creating an interactive online experience for a community to engage in together, having to collect clues to find out more information. It really does help build hype for a game, and to be honest it's just a lot of fun. And that's what games are all about, right?
Thanks for joining us for another edition of the Play Team Roundup. If you enjoyed this and want to get more of a Play Team fix, you can find us over on Twitter, streaming on Twitch, and we now have tonnes of videos of us playing games, interviews and chatting about all things video games on our YouTube channel.
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/the-extended-experience.