Surprise, everyone, it's console week, and it's not even E3 yet! Though we're still not quite banging on the door of the next generation, all three major console makers either dropped or had news dropped for them surrounding upcoming endeavors, from the official announcement of the Xbox One All-Digital Edition to the first set of specs for Sony's next machine to the ongoing reports of Nintendo's new Switch model.
In the cracks between the console discussions, though, there were also an oddly high number of stories about games meeting resistance in certain markets or from certain people. Iraq outright banned violent games this week, specifically PUBG and Fortnite. Sony is enforcing new restrictions on sexual content being published on its platform, with its spokesperson taking the opportunity to throw blame for the change on the #MeToo movement (and not, you know, games depicting underage characters being placed in sexual situations).
And then there's Weedcraft Inc, a tycoon game about the marijuana industry that is meeting marketing and publishing roadblocks from Facebook, YouTube, and even platform holders, despite not depicting any illicit drug use. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though Weedcraft's troubles will be resolved in time for the obvious marketing opportunity tomorrow.
STAT | $50 - The permanent price difference between the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition and the regular Xbox One S. Launching May 7, the All-Digital Edition is almost identical to the Xbox One S, but lacks a disc drive. It will always be $50 cheaper than the regular model, beginning at a price of $249.99 and coming with three games: Minecraft, Forza Horizon 3, and Sea of Thieves.
QUOTE | "I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set."- Following a report sharing the first official details of PlayStation's next generation console, additional comments from Mark Cerny were shared hinting at what the machine's hardware upgrades might end up costing consumers.
QUOTE | "What will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG? It is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight." - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, calling for a ban on violent video games in Iraq, specifically PUBG and Fortnite. The ban was passed this week.
QUOTE | "Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action." - A Sony official explains why the company has recently adopted stricter standards around the content it allows in games on its platform, specifically regarding content that sexually objectifies women. The official says there are no formally written guidelines, though, "because the policy was introduced kind of suddenly in the wake of the #MeToo movement."
QUOTE | "This is definitely the hardest game I've had to market, and that's saying something. It has been a fucking nightmare. The fact that we're still so afraid of a topic like weed instead of the murder simulators you can market any time, anywhere, it's shocking." - Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson is shocked and frustrated at the resistance he's encountered in publishing Vile Monarch's tycoon game on the marijuana industry, Weedcraft Inc.
STAT | $500 million - The amount that Apple has reportedly invested signing over 100 new, premium titles to its new Apple Arcade subscription service. Apple says these games will be "curated based on originality, quality, creativity, fun and their appeal to players of all ages."
STAT | $107.3 billion - The combined revenue of the top 25 public game companies, according to Newzoo, in 2018. These companies, led by Tencent, Sony, Microsoft, and Apple (in order) accounted for 80% of the global games market revenue last year.
QUOTE | "I wanted to give women a space where they feel comfortable and confident and aren't afraid of raising their hands and asking questions. I wanted to create a place where the families who couldn't afford to send their daughters to school would do so without hesitation." - Code to Inspire CEO and founder Fereshteh Forough talks about how the program is teaching young Afghan women to code and giving them a safe space to create video games about their own experiences.
QUOTE | "Nobody [in television] is creating something and going, 'Open wide, here's ten hours of television.' Because the viewer might go, 'I can't.' But in games we're saying, 'You gotta play Red Dead, it gets really good about 30 hours in.' You hear that and don't you just die inside? I don't have 30 hours."- Speaking at Reboot Develop last week, Amy Hennig says she is awed by recent triple-A releases, but thinks the industry's giants are growing too big for their own stories.
QUOTE | "There are over a billion AR-enabled [mobile] devices, which is like the training wheels for AR in the consumer world. Consumers are getting used to AR either as a map function or an entertainment function, in a game or a service. What's going to converge is, 'I've become used to seeing AR in my life' and 'Now there's a new way to experience AR that augments my life.'"- In a discussion that also included topics such as Google Stadia, VR, and education endeavors, Unity CMO Clive Downie posited that AR might be "the next internet."
QUOTE | "Internally, as storytellers, we're now crafting stories for a global audience and our team needs to reflect that. We have people with various backgrounds, various POVs, and I really love that in our rooms it's not all one voice." - At a keynote at Reboot Develop, Overwatch director of story George Krstic says that while the team listens to its community and tries to make them happy, they try to avoid letting negativity influence direction.
STAT | $1 billion - The amount of money that has been pledged to fund projects in the Games category on Kickstarter in its almost-decade of existence. Games is the first of the platform's 15 categories to reach this milestone.