Archived News:

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

Activision Blizzard Financials

Activision Blizzard announces its financials for Q2 2021. CEO Bobby Kotick calls the results "strong" and says the company is raising its outlook for the full year. Addressing the company's recent flood of negative publicity, Kotick says: "We remain intensely focused on the well-being of our employees and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our company has a welcoming, supportive and safe environment where all of our team members can thrive." Here are some of the dollar figures involved: "For the quarter ended June 30, 2021, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $2.30 billion, as compared with $1.93 billion for the second quarter of 2020. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $2.03 billion. GAAP operating margin was 42%." Here's the outlook on two of Blizzard's most anticipated projects:

  • The highly anticipated Diablo® II: Resurrected™ will launch on PC and console on September 23. On mobile, Diablo Immortal™ continued to progress well through testing, receiving excellent feedback for its gameplay. The team is pursuing additional opportunities to make the title even more engaging for a wider audience, with the launch now slated for first half of 2022. Blizzard continues to make strong progress on Diablo®4 and is allocating substantial resources to creating exciting in-game content to drive engagement over multiple years.
  • Overwatch®2 development passed an important internal milestone in recent weeks. After a great response to the recent community update, the team is looking forward to revealing more of the game in the coming months as they approach the laterstages of production.

Battlefield 2042 Specs?

A tweet from Tom Henderson offers system specifications for Battlefield 2042. He does not state where these are from, but he's been accurate in previous leaks about the first-person shooter series. Here's what he says it will take to run the game (with an NVIDIA/AMD mixup corrected):
#BATTLEFIELD2042 minimum and recommended PC requirements.

OS: 64-bit Windows 10
Processor (AMD): AMD FX-8350
Processor (Intel): Core i5 6600K
Memory: 8GB
Video Memory: 4GB
Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon RX 560
Graphics Card (NVIDIA): Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
DirectX: 12
Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
OS: 64-bit Windows 10
Processor (AMD): AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Processor (Intel): Intel Core i7 4790
Memory: 16GB
Video Memory: 8GB
Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
Graphics Card (NVIDIA): Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
DirectX: 12

Blizzard HR Head Out, Too

An update to the story on Bloomberg on the departure of former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack reveals that Jesse Meschuk has also parted ways with the company after serving as Blizzard's top Human Resources executive:
A human-resources executive, Jesse Meschuk, also left the company this week, according to an Activision Blizzard spokesperson. Meschuk was the senior people officer at Blizzard and the unit’s top HR representative.

Activision Blizzard Class Action Suit

One more for Activision Blizzard, as Rosen Law Firm announces a class action suit on behalf of investors (not to be confused with another firm exploring such an action last week. Rosen is one of the firms that also class action suit on behalf of CD PROJEKT RED investors over the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Here's the basis:
According to the lawsuit, defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) Activision Blizzard discriminated against women and minority employees; (2) Activision Blizzard fostered a pervasive “frat boy” workplace culture that continues to thrive; (3) numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation were made to human resources personnel and executives which went unaddressed; (4) the pervasive culture of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation would result in serious impairments to Activision Blizzard’s operations; (5) as a result as a result of the foregoing, the Company was at greater risk of regulatory and legal scrutiny and enforcement, including that which would have a material adverse effect; (6) Activision Blizzard failed to inform shareholders that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) had been investigating Activision Blizzard for harassment and discrimination; and (7) as a result, Defendants’ statements about Activision Blizzard’s business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.

Hunter's Arena: Legends Leaves Early Access

The Windows edition of Hunter's Arena: Legends is now officially out of Early Access, and version 1.0 of the PvP/PvE battle royale is now available on Steam. In addition to a final feature update, the new version includes crossplay support with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 editions, which are also available as of today. Here's a relatively new Cinematic Trailer and here are some details:
The 30-player PvP & PvE combat-based battle royale is set in an ancient age in which humanity battles each other as well as a growing legion of demons that have been unleashed upon the world.

The Steam version is updated to 1.0 with following additions:

  • Five new Hunters added to a total roster of 17 Hunters
  • Smaller map for tighter gameplay - 30 players battle royale
  • Overhauled combat system with Quickstep
  • New arena, crossplay, and improved performance
Continue here to read the full story.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War Free and Paid DLC

Rebellion now offers Return to Hell on Steam, adding to the almost $400 worth of DLC for Zombie Army 4: Dead War, the undead action game. Available separately, this is also included as part of Season Pass 3. But that's not all, as the Left 4 Dead Character Pack 2 is also now available on Steam. As the title suggests, this adds more survivors from Valve's zombie series. This time it's Coach, Ellis, Nick, and Rochelle from Left 4 Dead 2, and it's completely free for all Zombie Army 4 owners. Here's a new trailer on both packs, and here's more on Return to Hell:
The finale of the Season 3 storyline, Return to Hell thrusts our intrepid squad back into the underworld, but this time it is a haunted manifestation of Schweiger’s mind that they must survive in order to free him from Baron Umbra.

As well as the thrilling new campaign mission, the latest DLC drop for Season Pass 3 holders (also available as a standalone purchase) includes:

  • Horror Headgear Pack
  • Flare Gun Weapon Bundle
  • Van Helsing Weapon Skins
  • Horror Charm Pack 2

On Sale

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Evening Mobilization

etc., etc.

J. Allen Brack Leaving Blizzard

Following the messy fallout of the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over sexual harassment in the workplace, Blizzard announces J. Allen Brack is stepping down from his position as president of Blizzard Entertainment. Word is Brack is being replaced by Jen O'Neal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead the studio going forward. A separate announcement says: "With Jen and Mike assuming their new roles, J. Allen Brack is leaving the company to pursue new opportunities." The news focuses on how this will change Blizzard's culture:
Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence. You’ll hear more from Jen and Mike soon.

The following is a message from J. Allen Brack:
“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield V Free With Prime

As promised, Battlefield V is now available on Prime Gaming as a free gift for Amazon Prime members. The offer ends September 1st, so you have almost a month to claim your copy of the military shooter, and then it's free to keep on Origin. More freebies are available as part of the August update, including Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Lost Horizon 2, and Secret Files: Tunguska. If your recollection of BF5 is affected by the fog of war, here's the recruiting pitch as a refresher:
The Battlefield series goes back to its roots in a never-before-seen portrayal of World War 2. Take on physical, all-out multiplayer with your squad in modes like the vast Grand Operations and the cooperative Combined Arms, or witness human drama set against global combat in the single player War Stories. As you fight in epic, unexpected locations across the globe, enjoy the richest and most immersive Battlefield yet. Now also includes Firestorm – Battle Royale, reimagined for Battlefield.

Space Engineers: Heavy Industry Released

Tastefully named developer Keen Software House announces the release of Heavy Industry, new DLC for the Windows sci-fi strategy game Space Engineers. This comes along with a new version 1.199 patch for the base game, called a "major update," which should be apparent from the version number. This post has the Heavy Industry patch notes along with a new video showing that the principle "si vis pacem, para bellum" lives on into the future. Here's more:
The next Major (1.199) release for Space Engineers is upon us. Heavy Industry Introduces a whole new vision of industry in Space Engineers! A reimagining of industrial might, from lunar mining site to factory floor; smelting, refining, and mass production never looked so good.

This massive update is one of our biggest! Including DLC, Heavy Industry adds nearly 100 new blocks and block variants to Space Engineers! We hope you enjoy exploring Heavy Industry as much as we did creating it.
Continue here to read the full story.

Wreckfest Carmageddon Tournament Update

Developer Bugbear and publisher THQ Nordic announce the release of a new Carmageddon Tournament Update for Wreckfest, celebrating THQ Nordic's recent acquisition of the Carmageddon franchise. This adds new content to the demolition derby racing game on all platforms, with the Windows edition offered through Steam. Here's a Wreckfest Tournament Update August 2021 Trailer and here's more on this crash-up mashup:
Carmageddon and Wreckfest - a match made in hell! Wrecking your opponents and wrecking Zombies (and Zombie Cows!) in fast racing cars is what makes both games equally awesome, so it made all the sense in the world to combine them into one big event: The new Carmageddon Tournament, is coming to Wreckfest today and all platforms and completely free of charge. Players can take part in two different events on the famous Carmageddon tracks "Bleck City" and "Death Canyon" and unlock the iconic "Eagle R" car from Carmageddon Max Damage.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Out of the Blue

I mentioned the other day how cute it was to see a turtle sunning itself on the tree that fell into the pond. Yesterday I looked out and was treated to this vista. It's hard to make out in the cell phone shot, but there are four of them on there. It seems Donatello is a little camera shy. Fun stuff.

Round-up on the Half-Shell
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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