A week of changes

Sony announced a new, slimmer PS5, Microsoft announced a new acquisition and Unity announced it will have a new CEO.

A week of changes

It was a week of changes in the gaming world. From Activision Blizzard’s owners to the size of the PlayStation 5 to the CEO of Unity. Read all about these changes, and much more. 

Xbox completes its acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft received the needed approval from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority last week, allowing them to finalize their $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer officially announced the decision on Twitter. 

The merger means Microsoft now owns Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft and dozens of other gaming properties that once belonged to Activision, Blizzard or King. Microsoft said they plan to start adding Activision Blizzard games to their monthly gaming subscription service Game Pass in 2024

Microsoft also announced that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick would stay on through the end of 2023 to help with the transition. Under Kotick’s tenure,  Activision Blizzard was sued by the state of California, for having a "frat boy culture" rife with pay disparity and sexual harassment that Kotick knew about and refused to act on for years. These are just some of the allegations that led to an employee walkout in 2021, asking for Kotick’s resignation

The acquisition presents Microsoft with numerous possibilities to revive titles that have been dormant or unpublished by Activision for years. Could we see a new Guitar Hero game? A Hexen reboot? Spencer discussed the possibilities with the Washington Post over a year ago. 

What games would you like to see Microsoft revive from Activision’s library? Tell us in the comments. 

Read more:

PlayStation announces the PlayStation 5 Slim

Sony announced that a slimmer version of its popular PlayStation 5 will be available this holiday season. According to the PlayStation blog, “the new PS5 has been reduced in volume by more than 30%, and weight by 18% and 24% compared to the previous models.”

The revised version of the console offers a number of other changes, including:

  • The new PS5 will have four separate cover panels, instead of two.
  • You can purchase the PS5 Digital Edition and update later by buying a Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive for $80, as the digital edition also comes with an expansion slot for the drive. 
  • If you want to use your PS5 vertically, you will need a separate $30 stand
  • The PS5 with optical drive stays the same price ($499), but the digital version gets a $50 price increase ($449).

What do you think of the new PS5? Let us know in the comments.

Riccitiello steps down at Unity

John Riccitiello at TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Riccitiello is out as CEO of Unity, effective immediately. 

The head of the software company made headlines when Unity introduced a controversial Runtime Fee that would charge any game or product that used its software for each download. Even games made years ago were not exempt. This caused a huge uproar with developers, some who said their games would no longer be sold after the changes went into effect in January. Unity later changed their fees to make them more developer friendly, but for most creators, the damage was done. 

A press release announcing Riccitiello’s retirement says, “the Board will initiate a comprehensive search process, with the assistance of a leading executive search firm, to identify a permanent CEO.” It also says that James Whitehurst will act as CEO during the search, but that “Mr. Riccitiello will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition.”

While game developers express joy over Riccitiello’s “long overdue” retirement, some wonder if it's enough and if they can trust Unity moving forward. Time will tell, as the press release did not mention anything about the controversial Runtime Fees. 

Also read: Riccitiello's exit a rare bit of accountability via GamesIndustry.biz.

🐘 The Mario games have a new voice actor: Kevin Afghani.

🤦🏼 Social media users are mistaking video game clips for Israeli war footage

😕 Someone purchased a new Wii U from a retailer in September for the first time since Nov. 2021. Nintendo stopped producing the system six years ago. 

🔫 Counter Strike 2 players who use AMD’s Anti-Lag feature will be banned from the game. 

🧱 Check out the biggest announcements from Minecraft Live 2023.

🤖 Cyberpunk 2077 used AI to replace a deceased voice actor in Phantom Liberty, with his family’s approval. 

🙁 Over 6,000 jobs in the games industry were lost so far in 2023

🐭 Disney is looking to acquire a major gaming publisher, with EA its potential top target. Could this be a disaster for everyone involved?

🦎 Spider-Man 2 developers Insomniac studied actual lizards to create one of the super villains for their upcoming game. 

😞 Publisher Paradox calls sales of The Lamplighters League ‘a big disappointment.’

💰 The independent game market is projected to make $868 million in 2023, and increase to 1.6 billion by 2027.

⚽️ EA Sports FC 24 had 11 million users in its first week, one million more than FIFA 23. 

📱 Elgato is launching a paid app store for the Steam Deck

🎃 Jack Skellington and Michael Myers are coming to Fortnite for Halloween. 

☁️ You’ll be able to stream PlayStation 5 games later this month, but only to other PS5s. 

🎲 Check out five hidden gems from the board game convention Essen Spiel 2023.

🍭 Fans will get what they want: Lollipop Chainsaw remastered

🏅 PC Gamer announced their list of the top 100 PC games. What are your top 5? 

New Releases this week: 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Check out our 13 new games to play in October.

10/17: Cyber Knights: Flashpoint (Xbox and PC)
10/17: Skull Island: Rise of Kong (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/17: Sonic Superstars (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/17: Wizard with a Gun (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
10/18: Hellboy: Web of Wyrd (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/19: Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/19: Forgive Me Father 2 (PC)
10/19: Gargoyles Remastered (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/19: The Gap (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
10/19: The Jackbox Party Pack 10 (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
10/20: Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (PlayStation)
10/20: Super Mario Bros. Wonder (Switch)