Don't move a muscle. Don’t even Twitch. Sounds like good advice for a sniper in Call of Duty — but Activision Blizzard have taken the advice literally.
Twitch will no longer be the home of esports for Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone, with those games (and more) going to YouTube instead.
“In addition to Overwatch League, the Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Masters and Grandmasters, and the World of Warcraft Mythic Dungeon International and Arena World Championship will also be livestreamed and available on demand on their respective YouTube channels,” Blizzard said in a statement.
So what does that mean for fans of the games, and for gaming in general? For fans, it largely means a small inconvenience, the addition of an extra bookmark or memorising a new web address.
For gaming in general, however, it’s another sign of the battle heating up for streaming dominance in the industry.
Last year, Microsoft swiped Ninja from Twitch for their rival platform Mixer, paying the Fortnite star millions to make the jump. With Halo Infinity launching on Xbox Series X later this year, Ninja will lead the way in driving competitive Halo streaming online, going back to his roots as a Master Chief fan.
We no longer talk about esports in terms of potential. It’s worth billions of revenue to the industry every year. In fact, with moves like Activision Blizzard going to YouTube, esports becomes more like the English Premier League, with rival platforms bidding for the rights to broadcast.
Don’t expect the changes to stop there— like a sniper, don’t even blink. Things will get crazier before the year is out.
Meanwhile, if a conductor could be a sniper, then surely Eimear Noone would hit the mark every time. Her accuracy with the baton is well known in gaming circles, but it was recently announced she’ll be working in an industry known for more benevolent shooting — the film industry.
Noone will be the first female conductors to lead the orchestra for the Oscars ceremony, but she also happens to be Irish and an established composer for video games.
Noone, who is from Co Galway originally and studied in Trinity, has composed for games like Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Diablo III.
Her best gift to the games industry, however, has been leading events like Video Games Classics, an orchestra that plays live video game music from series like Castlevania, Mario and Metal Gear Solid, giving fans of the industry a chance to hear their favourite songs in breathtaking orchestral form. She certainly won’t be nervous at the Oscars — she’ll stay composed.
Conducting at the Oscars is nothing to sneeze at, but Thomas the postman would almost certainly sneeze anyway.
Thomas is the star of Hayfever, a low-budget game releasing for consoles and PC next month. As you can probably tell, he has an allergy problem.
The good news is that Thomas has turned his problem into a solution. Having lost all his mail (due to a giant sneeze), our sniffly hero goes through 140 levels of mayhem to recover it all — using his trusty hayfever as a kind of superpower.
The trailer shows Thomas sneezing his way to new heights, swelling up like a balloon due to pollen and generally using his nose to escape danger and make it to the end of levels. It’s a bit strange — usually people want to keep their nose out of danger.
HEARTS AND MIND
Meanwhile, some fans have their noses out of joint about the downloadable content for Kingdom Hearts III.
Called Re Mind, the content costs €30 but many fans are complaining there isn’t enough value in the overall package to make that price worthwhile.
Re Mind contains around four hours of additional content, but more than half of that is ‘retreading’ old content, with some additional dialogue and insight to add new perspectives.
Most fans have praised the addition of a ‘boss rush’ mode, with some new super bosses to fight, plus the addition of a new character to use in that mode, but overall people seems to believe this content should have been priced closer to €10.
The majority of the content seems to be combat-focused challenges, so if you really enjoy that side of the game, perhaps your heart will be in it after all.