Friday, May 11, 2018

Weekly Link Round Up

Hello Friday! So good to see you again. It's time once more for the Weekly Link Round Up! A collection of the best, worst, and wierdest gaming news on the internet. Here's what we've dug up for your eyeballs to peruse today:

- Turtle Beach, the gaming accessory go-to, has seen a huge rise in profits during the first quarter of this year at $40.9 million in sales. This is nearly triple from what they made in 2017, and they thank Fortnite for the success. And a lot of it has to do with their aggressive marketing. They saw the rise of popularity in the game and started pushing ads during Fortnite streams, providing free headsets to famous gamers, and offered giveaways during Fortnite events. It's smart marketing.

- A new study from the University of Southern California asks would a video game be better if you can play as an avatar of your real self? As the industry continually grapples with offering more choices for gamers, and push back from having only straight, white, male heroes, we may see more studies like this crop up. The TLDR version is that the avatar sense of self depends on the game. Sometimes having a look-alike avatar helps. Sometimes it doesn't.

- The Economist talks about how the latest video game "fads" that showcase DIY. Fornite and PUBG is a craze that may or may not die out soon, but the Minecraft-like style of crafting along with out-of-game modding have brought a new surge of creativity to the community. It's fun to see teens and kids get involved in modding once more to add to the wealth of content to games.

- With the re-release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Nintendo Switch, Polygon created a list ranking all Donkey Kong games. Though I'm surprised that the original DKC didn't rank higher. Somehow it's sequels did. Strange...maybe Polygon's writers are hitting the banana's a bit too early today.

- It's been nearly 6 months since Akili Interactive developed a game to help children with ADHD. Now the company has raised over $55 million to help market and build on the game. The company will still require clearance with the FDA before promotion of the game can begin, which they expect to happen later this year. But this would be one of the first on the market with a proven study backing it supporting it's proof of concept.

- WalMart Canada's website may have made an error this week, by accidentally listing the titles of games that have not been officially confirmed by the developers. A spokesperson said it was a glitch and only the developers can verify if the titles are coming soon, but the internet is speculating. On the list were Rage 2, Gears of War 5, Just Cause 4, Borderlands 3 Assassin’s Creed sequel #45, and The Division 2, and Dragon Quest 2. Borderlands 3 has always been a soft go-ahead from GearBox, so there's no surprise there. There are also oddities like Rage (no one at Bethesda will confirm) and Dragon Quest (which already has sequels out, including Builders 2 on the way). Maybe we'll find out at E3 this year if any of these are confirmed.

- Speaking E3, Facebook will have a booth this year. The space will be dedicated to streaming and several notable streamers will be in attendance. One section of the lobby will be a "shareable moments" center where gamers and developers can connect and "share" their experiences of E3 on Facebook. Finally they are teaming up with self-appointed game king Geoff Keighley to further their Women in Gaming initiative at the E3 Coliseum. Not sure what Keighley has to do with it, but there you go. Apparently Facebook couldn't get a notable female gamer, game journalist, or industry expert.

- Finally, God of War 4 has recently updated to add a photography mode. If you are thinking "well that's silly" you are right. While the game is an interesting cacophony of visuals, we know most gamers are going to use it when Kratos is making goofy faces during battle. The character settings now allow you to make facial expressions so you can make the moment even more magical by winking at the camera.

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