USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.
No more analog, this year's summer news blast is looking all digital. With E3 2020 being canceled, a number of companies are now exploring "digital" venues for their previously scheduled announcements.
Both Xbox and Ubisoft have confirmed they're exploring digital event options. Warner Bros. had reportedly been planning a conference, and though it hasn't announced any plans yet, that seems a likely candidate for another big trailer dump. There's no word yet from companies like Bethesda or Square Enix.
However, Nintendo has been doing this sort of thing for a while now with Nintendo Directs. If anything, this will be the first year that just about every company flirts with the concept of a Direct. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has been shutting down a lot of conventions and events, but in its wake, some publishers might start to find that a more Nintendo Direct-style approach isn't an all-together bad idea in lieu of an E3 stage show.
There's no replacement for the in-person business meetings and deals that happen behind closed doors at the show, but with the expo itself gradually leaning into a more fan-oriented experience, companies might see the benefit in just directly speaking to fans, sans venue.
Here's the rest of what's been happening this week in gaming news.
From the Rumor Mill
- VentureBeat reports that Nintendo is working on two March Directs: one Indie World Direct set for next week, and a broader Nintendo Direct about the year ahead on March 26. Maybe this will quench the insatiable thirst for Nintendo info, at least for a spell.
- The Death Set might have accidentally leaked the development of a new Tony Hawk game. While Pro Skater dreams are possible, keep two things in mind: They say Tony Hawk, not Tony Hawk's Pro Skater; and don't forget what the last Pro Skater game was like.
- Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus are reportedly in talks to make more stuff together. Could it be Death Stranding DLC? Silent Hills? Or is Reedus playing Grey Fox in the Metal Gear Solid movie? That last one was a dream I had once, but still, anything's possible.
News and Tidbits
The NFL has inked a new deal with 2K, opening up the return of 2K's football series and bringing some competition into the space. EA later responded, saying its agreements have always allowed for "non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms." Personally, I'm open to the idea of some more competition in the football space. Soccer has FIFA and PES, basketball has two competing series, and even baseball has manager sims and Super Mega Baseball on top of MLB the Show.
The Epic Games Store finally got a much-requested feature: Wishlists. Even though the store is small compared to the massive number of games on platforms like Steam, a wishlist makes it easier to bookmark games and monitor them for sales. Maybe this will quiet some of the Epic complaints?
Speaking of Epic, CEO Tim Sweeney recently said that Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming service is the "most developer-friendly and publisher friendly of the major streaming services," highlighting its lack of tax on in-game revenue. "Game companies who want to move the game industry towards a healthier state for everyone should be supporting this kind of service," he said. GeForce Now has seen several publishers take their games off the service though, so it still seems like a contentious platform for streaming.
Google Stadia, meanwhile, hasn't had a great week. A few SteamWorld games recently joined the service, but it was also confirmed that Doom Eternal won't run at a true 4K resolution as once advertised on Stadia.
The Overwatch League has canceled its March and April Homestand events as well, citing concerns over the coronavirus. Commissioner Pete Vlastelica confirmed that these matches will still be played and broadcast, but the event portion has been called off. The Overwatch League has been having a tough time launching its global play schedule, though the health concerns are understandable.
Yep. We called it something different in our game. pic.twitter.com/Lgffp1Rn3R- Terry Spier (@The_Spier) March 10, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak we are initiating a work from home policy at Bungie for the safety of our employees. Season of the Worthy and Trials of Osiris are still launching on time. For more details please read our full statement.https://t.co/vAk0mUFIUh pic.twitter.com/ZlCGeblDzf- Bungie (@Bungie) March 5, 2020
All this and that about indies at e3. Does everyone understand indies were -never- welcome there to begin with? In recent years smaller games had only *just* begun to show up. Relax. The indies never needed e3.- lunging vegan (@AgentTinsley) March 11, 2020
Yes, but we are monitoring the situation closely. Our attendees safety is our #1 concern. We have some time between now and Evo to see if this gets better or worse. We will keep everyone posted.- Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) March 6, 2020