2018 a Weird Year
Well it is December 31st. Tomorrow is the start of a new year, and with 2019 comes the likes of Cyberpunk 2077, Skull and Bones, Anthem and a plethora of video games looking to rival the amazing year of games that have came out in 2018. But 2018 has been an interesting year, if you are a gamer, involved in the gaming industry, or just someone who reads this because their son is awesome. Hi mom.
January saw the inaugural season of Overwatch League. Blizzards hero shooter burst into the eSport scene causing those outside to take notice. I am not sure if Overwatch was the catalyst, but all of a sudden people like Robert Kraft (owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots), Jerry Jones (owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys), Drake (AKA Aubrey star of Degrassi), Mark Cuban (owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks), and many more are diving in with their pocket books open. Seeing the business minded individuals starting to put money into eSports is a good sign. I am not saying that it can’t fail but there is good signs that it has an upward trend as of now. Even the International Olympic Committee is taking notice of eSports. So we will see where this goes from here in 2019.
2018 also saw the rise of the content creator, video game streamer. Ok well at least one. Tyler Blevins (AKA Ninja) has taken our TV screens, PC screens, and cellphone screens and he isn’t giving them back. Seriously Ninja is everywhere. He is in commercials to sell cellphones, he has been on the cover of ESPN magazine, he has been on the Ellen show. He is absolutely killing it, even with the sort of bad PR about him not streaming with female gamers earlier this year, and the more recent Ninja New Years stream Ad plastered on many twitch streams. The latter was not his fault and a decision by Amazon/Twitch that blew up on twitter. As a content creator myself I see where the ire comes from. Most of us do not allow self promotion in our channels, Ninja himself doesn’t allow self promotion. But then Twitch decided it was a good idea to put a ad on Twitch streams (that unless you are twitch turbo are forced to watch) of other content creators. But nonetheless, Ninja is a household name, he is what many other streamers and content creators hope to be (though the more realistic of us know our ceiling is a lot lower), and has legitimized the streaming business.
Loot Boxes, the bane of all of our hopes and dreams as gamers. With a nickname like RNGesus, you’d think it would be nicer, but Random Number Generation is the devil. Belgium thinks so as well, as they ruled this year that loot boxes and the like are a form of gambling. Which looks to change this microtransaction cash cow for the future. Games like Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront II, CS:GO, PUBG, and Destiny 2 have made millions off their communities thanks to Loot Boxes and their slot machine rolls. I for one am interested in seeing how the industry responds to this court case and future court cases that will attack the idea of taking advantage of children’s lack of impulse control, and we will see how the games of 2019 adjust for their microtransactions, because until we the consumer stops paying for them, they are here to stay.
In a year where a DICE VP called potential customers “Uneducated,” and said “If you don’t like it don’t buy it!” A year where “Don’t you have cell phones?” became a meme after the Diablo Immortal was announced much to the ire of Diablo fans who were hoping for Diablo IV announcement. Bethesda said, “Hold my beer!” Fallout 76 has not been a good look for the company that gave us Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 4. Their handling of customer service has been atrocious, and even when they finally decided to cave into the internet, they fudge up and give people access to other customers information. It has been a Train pulling flaming dumpsters wrecking into a fertilizer plant of an end of year for them. Hopefully they can recover in 2019 though it could already be impacting future sales of Starfield.
Of course I left some things out, but these were the more notable points of 2018. If you have any highs and lows in the video game world don’t feel afraid to leave a comment or yell at me on twitter.
Until the New Year,
Love and Tentacles