Hi there nerds and welcome back to the internet!

Another week, another dollar.  But in the world of gaming, film, TV, books and general all around tech, it’s a heck of a lot more than that. This week was crazier than most when it comes to new big trailers and announcements – we have a slew of new cinematics from video games coming, as well as some intriguing stuff heading our way via summer blockbusters, including an Alien: Covenant prologue and an intriguing tidbit from M. Night about his next upcoming project. Way more intriguing these days, now that he’s somehow decided not to suck anymore.    

Anyways, here’s whats going on this week folks!

Gaming

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  • Hanamura Showdown Heroes of the Storm Cinematic went live and it’s awesome.
  • Call of Duty: WWII launched a trailer and we have a release date: November 3rd!
  • Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite had a sweet gameplay trailer coming out
  • Battlefield 1 Spring Update is here, bringing a new “platoons” feature, which is essentially battlefield clans.
  • Xbox is upping investment in 1st party games to better compete with a changing environment, working on a “Netflix of video games” (Main Story)

Film and TV

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Books and Comics

Tech

Xbox Upping 1st Party Investment

Our main story for this week: Xbox has announced that it will be upping its investment in 1st party platform games to better compete with a changing industry. They announced that they are working on what the CEO, Phil Spencer, an ex-game developer himself, called a “Netflix of video games.”  This is largely in response to the monumental changes currently taking place in the way people purchase, download, and play video games.  

Gone are the days of having one console with a pre-determined life cycle, and with it go the rationalities of “old school games” – single purchase video games. One purchase and you own all the content. What a quaint idea.  

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What is replacing this model is a focus on ongoing creative and gameplay content, and having a team of dedicated workers on a game title throughout, working on multiplayer servers and so on. The developer’s focus does not dissipate after the launch of the product, if anything, these days, it intensifies. Whether it is new DLC or patch fixes, modern video games are becoming a call and response, a feedback loop between players and developers. The players are more interactive, and the developers need to be too. What that means for developer studios however, are inflated budgets on fewer titles. Costs are rising faster than revenues – leading to more DLC and the like to help offset.

It costs a lot more to have staff year round to work on bugs, fixes, patches, and other DLC, than to simply have a development team finish a game, and then start over on a new project. Increasingly, video games are becoming a service, rather than a set of keys to a virtual world.    

Another issue with this focus on service based games is the price – it leaves indie developers high and dry.    

Enter the Netflix of video games – Phil Spencer’s big idea to help deal with these rising costs and externalities. Using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, he hopes to open up the platform to smaller studios, giving them access to a global network of servers, and thus, giving them access to the world.  The plan is ambitious, and it just might work.      

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