Welcome to another edition of the Etch Play Roundup. This week we're talking about studio acquisitions, the return of Rocket Jump Events, politicians on Twitch and a whole lot more.
Not much to report from me this week. As you (hopefully) know, we have a weekly show every Thursday at 4pm on our Twitch channel. This week I joined the show and played some FIFA 21. If you've missed it and need some entertainment you can watch it below.
So this week was feeling a little slow in terms of games news close to my heart. Until Wednesday when news broke that Devolver Digital had acquired Croteam, the developers behind Serious Sam and The Talos Principle.
They've had a close working relationship for a long time, and Devolver's CEO has links to every Serious Sam game published, so it's not too surprising actually. I think this is a great fit. Devolver are known for their slightly weird quirky games such ash Fall Guys, Enter the Gungeon and Hatoful Boyfriend to name a few. Serious Sam has always been a tongue in cheek parody of shooters in the '90s and early 2000s that were taking themselves too seriously. I'm hoping this gives Croteam the help they need to build the best games they can!
This week has been all about our own online Rocket Jump Event, which I've been super pleased with. Moving our previously real-world games industry micro-conference series to a digital setting has been an interesting and fulfilling challenge.
Instead of trying to recreate the event just over Zoom, as has been the defacto for events, we opted to use the opportunity to mix things up a bit. This time around we've experimented with pre-recorded interviews with some stand-out industry professionals to glean and share some of their insights.
The interviews have turned out really well and I thoroughly recommend checking them out.
This week, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitch to play Among Us, and the internet responded. With over 400,000 viewers, this event became the third most popular live stream in the history of the platform (Drake playing Fortnite still holds the #1 spot). As the American Election looms, it was a pleasant surprise to see a form of campaigning that was novel, wholesome, and focused on getting people engaged with politics at a critically important time.
Plus, this is just great content.
We're big fans of Orchard Core and recently in the weekly meeting there were some awesome new improvements around handling of media. The demo shows the option to add alternative text, define cropping points and create media profiles to give greater control over how images are displayed on your site. We're really looking forward to this being released in the near future.
A controversial debate began this week around streaming and royalties. This was sparked by a creative director at Typhoon Studios, Alex Hutchinson. Typhooon Studios are owned by Google and developing games for Stadia. Hutchinson stated that “Streamers worried about getting their content pulled because they used music they didn’t pay for should be more worried by the fact that they’re streaming games they didn’t pay for as well.”
As he says this is the case with music, however whether the comparison is like for like with games is very much up for debate. The other side of the coin is that game developers and publishers get a lot of exposure from streamers, and using streamers is a common marketing strategy. Currently a lot of streamers are actually paid to play the games. Which is the opposite of what Alex is alluding to.
The debate sparked 15,000 replies on Twitter, with almost everyone disagreeing with the point. Google have also publicly distanced themselves from the comments. I don't think there is going to be a lot of legs in this...
The real truth is the streamers should be paying the developers and publishers of the games they stream. They should be buying a license like any real business and paying for the content they use.— Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) October 22, 2020
Top o' the mornin' to ya!
This week, Ubisoft announced the roadmap for Assassin's Creed Valhalla's season pass. The Valhalla season pass will be made up of two expansions and an exclusive quest. The first expansion, Wrath of the Druids, takes place in Ireland and the second, recreates the most ambitious battle in Viking history: The Siege of Paris.
Those who don't buy the season pass will still have access to a variety of free post-launch updates that will arrive in seasons. The second season begins in March 2021 and Ubisoft has also stated that there will be a third and fourth seasons to come.
We hope you enjoyed this weeks' roundup, and we'd love to hear what caught your attention this week, so give us a shout on Twitter. You'll also find us on Twitch on Thursdays at 4pm for a weekly live show where we discuss news, play games and chat videogame marketing. We also have a whole host of content on our YouTube channel, which you can go check out.
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.