The top stories from Gamescom

Also Microsoft’s latest move in its quest to acquire Activision

The top stories from Gamescom
Dronepicr, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With Gamescom complete, we have the latest news from one of the biggest events in video games. But first, how will Microsoft satisfy the EU’s concerns in the attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard? Find out.

Microsoft’s latest move in its quest to acquire Activision

In April, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority blocked Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision, citing the gaming company’s “strong position” in cloud gaming. This week, Microsoft attempted to quell those fears. 

Microsoft announced a new deal, which would transfer its streaming rights in the European Union for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft. What this means is Ubisoft will have exclusive rights to streaming online games and where they appear. Microsoft won’t be able to lock Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Cloud Gaming exclusively, meaning Ubisoft can license those games to competing streaming services in the EU. This step should alleviate the CMA’s concerns over the acquisition. From Microsoft Vice-Chairman Brad Smith:

Under the restructured transaction, Microsoft will not be in a position either to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its own cloud streaming service – Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services.
The agreement will enable Ubisoft to innovate and encourage different business models in the licensing and pricing of these games on cloud streaming services worldwide. Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft for the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard’s games through a one-off payment and through a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, including an option that supports pricing based on usage. It will also give Ubisoft the opportunity to offer Activision Blizzard’s games to cloud gaming services running non-Windows operating systems.

While this seems to quash the CMA’s main objection to the sale, the committee says it is still investigating. From their press release:

This is not a green light. We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments. Our goal has not changed – any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice.

Microsoft recently extended their acquisition terms for Activision by 90 days, giving the two companies until October 18 to complete the deal. Will this be enough to get it pushed through in the EU? Stay tuned.

The latest news from Gamescom 2023

Gamescom was held last week in Cologne, Germany and is one of the biggest gaming festivals in the world. Here are some of the highlights from Gamescom 2023. 

For the second time in a year, a live presentation was interrupted by a stage crasher. As presenter Geoff Keighley discussed Starfield at the Opening Night Live ceremony, an attendee of the conference rushed the stage, clamoring for Grand Theft Auto 6, a game that is still in development. This is the second time Keighley was unexpectedly joined on stage, as a similar incident happened at the 2022 Game Awards

Cyberpunk 2077’s new expansion will completely change the game, including gameplay, weapons and perks. You can check out the new trailer or read about some of the biggest changes. The expansion releases Sept. 26.

Amazon is creating a Fallout TV show. It takes place in Los Angeles and is set to release in 2024. You can check out a teaser trailer and read more here

We watched the Opening Night Live event featuring tons of game announcements, trailers and updates. Check out our piece on the biggest announcements from Gamescom ONL.

Apart from the announcements, Gamescom also has its own awards for the show. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom took home multiple awards, including best gameplay. Here is a full list of the winners. 

Best Trailer/Announcement: Little Nightmares 3
Best Show Floor: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Best Microsoft Xbox Game: Mortal Kombat 1
Best Nintendo Switch Game: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Best Sony PlayStation Game: Tekken 8
Best Mobile Game: Sky: Children of the Light
Best Visuals: Black Myth: Wukong
Best Audio: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Best Gameplay: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Most Entertaining: PAYDAY 3
Most Epic: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Most Wholesome: Pikmin 4
Games for Impact: Sky: Children of the Light
Best Announcement: Little Nightmares 3
Best of Show Floor: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Heart of Gaming Award: GAMES:IN
Gamescom Green Studio of the Year: Xbox

Super Mario Odyssey

📅 Due to Labor day, The Games Letter will arrive later next week. 

🎙️ Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario in games since the 1990s, is stepping down.

✖️ Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer says he would “love to find solutions” that prevent games from disappearing when the Xbox 360 store shuts down. Read the full interview with Mr. Spencer

📱 The PlayStation Portal price is announced at $200. While some think the device will be huge, others say it's nearly useless

💰 The best selling game for July? Remnant II.

🎮 Half Life 2 is getting a ray-traced remaster thanks to community modders. 

🚀 A man who stole and tried to sell copies of Starfield was arrested and booked on felony charges.

🌎 Destiny 2 announced details of its latest expansion, The Final Shape

🕹 Warframe’s TennoCon event recently took place. Check out all the announcements and game updates.   

🕹 Atari is launching a replica of the 2600 console that plays classic Atari games.

🐉 Baldur's Gate 3 will release on Xbox later this year

🐦 Elon Musk was booed when he attended the Valorant Champions 2023 tournament.

🤑 Pokémon earned $11.6 billion in licensed products revenue last year.

🎧 Sony’s PlayStation division is acquiring high-end headphone maker Audeze.

🚀 Star Citizen hits $600 million in crowdfunding.

📷 RIP Kinect. Microsoft will stop selling the hardware in October

⚔️ The canceled Immortals Fenyx Rising sequel would have been a mix of Wind Waker and Elden Ring, according to a source. 

👼🏻 We recently kicked off our 2023 Extra Life campaign to raise money for Children’s Hospital Of Wisconsin. Support a good cause if you are willing and able.

New Releases this week:

Sea of Stars

8/29: Goodbye Volcano High (PlayStation and PC)
8/29: Samba de Amigo: Party Central (Switch and Quest)
8/29: Sea of Stars (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
8/29: Under the Waves (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
8/31: Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
9/1: Tiny Witch (PC)

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