Microsoft vs. the FTC: round 2, the Origin Awards and more

Can Microsoft win its case? Can you resist these award-winning board games? Find out.

Microsoft vs. the FTC: round 2, the Origin Awards and more

Can Microsoft win its case? Can you resist these award-winning board games? Find out.

Microsoft vs. FTC continues

Raimond Spekking

Microsoft’s court battle against the FTC over their potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard went into its second week. Like in the first week, there were many revelations that surfaced in court. Here are some of the notable disclosures:

Before attempting to purchase Activision, Microsoft set its eye on other large studios, including Sega and Square. According to a 2019 memo, “An acquisition of Square Enix would provide valuable content assets that could accelerate the growth of Xbox Game Pass and drive success for Project Scarlett [Xbox Series X/S].”

Sony is bad at redacting information on court documents. Due to this we learned it cost $220 million to make The Last Of Us Part II and $212 million to make Horizon Forbidden West. Both games are PlayStation exclusives. The Sharpie error also revealed some interesting stats about Call of Duty on the PlayStation:

In 2021, over [14?] million users (by device) spent 30 percent or more of their time playing Call of Duty, over 6 million users spent more than 70% of their time on Call of Duty, and about 1 million users spent 100% of their gaming time on Call of Duty. In 2021, Call of Duty players spent an average of [116?] hours per year playing Call of Duty. Call of Duty players spending more than 70 percent of their time on Call of Duty spent an average of 296 hours on the franchise.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick does not want Call of Duty to be exclusive. “You would have a revolt if you were to remove the game from more than one platform,” says Kotick. Kotick also says he regrets not putting Call of Duty on the Switch.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is not a fan of console exclusive games. From his testimony:

If it was up to me I would love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles, but that’s not for me to define especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant player there [Sony] has defined market competition using exclusives, so that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan discussed cloud gaming, saying:

Cloud technology will become a meaningful component of how gamers access games between 2025 and 2035 ... .We're making significant investments in cloud in anticipation of it becoming a very meaningful way gamers access game content.

Now that the testimony and discovery are complete, the judge will make his decision within two weeks. Who will prevail? IGN asked the experts for their thoughts.  

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Origin Awards announced


As part of Origins Games Fair, the Origin Awards have celebrated excellence in tabletop gaming since 1975. The 2023 winners were recently announced. They are:

Retailer Game of the Year: BOOP
Origins Fan Favorite: Flamecraft
Board Games - Social/Light Strategy: Creature Comforts
Board Games - Strategy: Planet Unknown
Board Games - Thematic: Dead Reckoning
Card Games: Scout
Children's Game: HONK!
Collectables: Magic the Gathering Universes Beyond Warhammer 40K Commanders Deck
Miniatures Game: Lion Rampant
RPG Core: Coyote & Crow
RPG Supplements: Agents of Dune
Accessory: Deluxe Board Game Train Sets
2D Art & Illustration: Cowboys With Big Hearts
3D Art: Fallout: Wasteland Warfare - Super Mutants: Swan
Graphic Design: Pathfinder Savage Worlds Boxed Set
Reviews: Mind MGMT Review (Board Game Quest)

Congratulations to all the winners.

Annapurna Interactive digital games showcase

Annapurna Interactive

Annapurna Interactive held a showcase featuring some of their new and upcoming games. You can read everything that was announced here, but some highlights include the popular cat game Stray coming to Xbox on Aug 10, Thirsty Suitors gets a release date of Nov. 2 and Cocoon comes out on multiple platforms Sept. 29.  

Annapurna also revealed some new games. Here are the highlights:

Blade Runner 2033: Labyrinth

Lushfoil Photography Sim

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Baldur’s Gate 3

⚔️ Final Fantasy XVI is getting great reviews, and has sold over 3 million copies in 6 days. Also, the actor who voices the main character Clive in the game has been reading your NSFW fan fiction.

🤯 Baldur’s Gate 3 announced its launch date: Aug. 3 on PC and Sept. 6 on PS5. The developers also announced the game will have “174 hours of cinematics, making it more than twice the length of every season of Game of Thrones combined."

🎮 The developer that made the low-rated Lord of the Rings: Gollum game had their next project canceled, and is no longer making games at all.

🤖 Valve is blocking AI created games on Steam, unless the developer owns the model training data.

💍 Magic: The Gathering’s One Ring card was found. The one of a kind card is estimated to be worth $3 million.

😈 Diablo IV players are finding that Treasure Goblins - an in-game loot piñata that is not supposed to deal damage - is killing characters.

✍🏽 G/O Media websites, including Kotaku, Gizmodo, The Onion and others will roll out AI generated content after “disinvestment in newsrooms,” including layoffs according to their union.

✖️ Microsoft is jumping on the Barbie movie bandwagon, making a Barbie Dreamhouse Xbox console.

📺 YouTube is experimenting with playable games on its platform.

🏴‍☠️ Remakes are currently huge. The latest game getting a revision: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.

🚀 College students added ray tracing to the 1995 game Descent to give it a more modern look.

♟️ What does your favorite game night game say about you? McSweeny’s has some thoughts.

New Releases this week:


Check out our story on 10 New Games to Play in July.

7/6: Gylt (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
7/6: New Heights: Realistic Climbing and Bouldering (PC)
7/7: The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie (PlayStation, Switch and PC)7/7:
Ninja Kidz: Time Masters (Switch and PC)

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