Plus new EU battery laws impact handheld consoles and Australian cartoon Bluey gets a video game
NEWS THIS WEEK
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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou and Omi Koulas. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER.
KYLE: Hi I’m Kyle Pauletto
FIONA: and I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus
KYLE: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
FIONA: This week, new EU laws mean gaming handhelds will need replaceable batteries soon, Blizzard games are coming to Steam, and Bluey gets a tie in game.
Here is the news for Sunday 23rd of July. Let’s go!
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KYLE: The European Union this week enacted new laws requiring all future consumer tech products, including handheld gaming devices like successors to the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck, to feature user-replaceable batteries by 2027.
What started as a part of the smartphone right to repair movement has expanded, and the objective of these new regulations is to lessen the environmental impact of discarded batteries and promote a circular economy that encourages recycling.
So if everything goes to plan, all portable batteries sold in the EU will need to be easily removable and replaceable by the user, and manufacturers will even have to include tools and removal instructions if necessary.
FIONA: Although this is only for the EU, it could force console makers to implement the change worldwide rather than creating separate devices for the European market, much like Apple's transition to USB C for the iPhone.
FIONA: For the first time ever, Blizzard will be bringing their games to Steam, changing up from their normal PC home on Battle.net.
It’s an unexpected announcement but is definitely a welcomed one as fans will finally be able to start playing select Blizzard games starting with Overwatch 2 on August 10.
Overwatch 2 already supports cross-play and cross-progression on every platform so it was only a matter of time before Steam joined the party.
No news as of yet on which games will also be coming to Steam but Blizzard have said there is more to come.
KYLE: The reason? Well when Activision tried to push Call of Duty to be exclusive on Battle.net from 2018 it ended up being a resounding failure, the blockbuster PC title lost about 10 million players in the process according to documents submitted in the Microsoft Activision trial.
That changed when it was released on Steam in 2022 and Modern Warfare 2 now sits in the top ten games on Valve’s store.
It’s kind of a shame that real competition to Steam hasn’t really broken through yet, but if COD can’t do it, it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to.
FIONA: It comes this week as Blizzard sacks 50 staff from the Overwatch League, the esports competition attached to the game.
According to reporting by Kotaku it came as quite a shock to some the caster and staff working on the league.
Earlier this year team the Chengdu Hunters decided to pull out entirely after parent company NetEase stopped distributing Overwatch in mainland China.
It’s up to a vote for the remaining teams in the league whether or not this continues, but taking a look at search trends for Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter and esports in general it doesn’t seem like the interest is there for fans anymore.
KYLE: The Australian made gravity based physics game Heavenly Bodies is getting a massive new expansion called the Cleanup DLC.
2pt Interactive announced earlier this week that the DLC will add a new chapter to the story as it continues on from the catastrophic events that took place in the base game.
The DLC will contain a new space station, more physics-based challenges, and new features including a large open level to explore which you need to fix over several in-game days.
And of course you can’t fix a space station without some new tools including a new Piloted Manoeuvring Unit.
FIONA: It’s a big expansion, it will take around 3 to 5 hours to complete which is about the same length as the original game, of course it could be a little bit longer if you need to get back into the swing of the fun gravity mechanics.
It will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and 5 on 26th July, check out the trailer in the show notes.
And make sure you check out our interview with Josh and Alex from 2pt in the Lightmap archives, we’ll chuck a link in the shownotes.
FIONA: A video game adaptation of the beloved animated series Bluey is in the works.
Developed by Artax Games and published by Outright Games, it’s set to follow the Heeler family on a treasure hunt adventure, taking place in five iconic show locations.
Despite being an Australian series, the video game will be developed in the UK, because although Australia has a booming video game development industry the BBC actually owns all the merchandising rights to the Heeler Family.
KYLE: The developers behind the game do have a history of creating children’s games, having previously worked My Friend Peppa Pig and Bratz: Flaunt Your Fashion, but still, where’s the love for Aussie devs?
Would have been nice to see this one made right here in the home of Bluey.
KYLE: Roblox is facing a serious data breach scandal after personal data belonging to around 4,000 developers was publicly exposed.
The worst thing? The company actively encourages young kids to become developers for the platform, so it’s likely their parents are caught in this.
The leaked data included full names, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and physical addresses of individuals who attended the Roblox Developer Conferences between 2017 and 2020. Weirdly enough, it also included their t-shirt sizes.
The leak dates back to December 2020 but was swept under the rug until digital detective Troy Hunt, who you might know from his website Have You Been Pwned, turned on the spotlight this week.
FIONA: In response to the incident, Roblox has finally admitted to the security issue, but are completely downplaying it, with reports suggesting some victims only received an apology email.
I guess we can just add this to companies ongoing controversies around diversity and child labour exploitation.
KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week.
FIONA: Remnant 2, the sequel to cult-hit Remnant: From the Ashes will bring its mix of third person gunplay, soulslike challenge and diablo loothunting to PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X on July 25th.
KYLE: After spending over a year as a PlayStation 5 exclusive, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is finally coming to PC this Wednesday. Experience an array of vibrant worlds, meet old allies and new faces, and wield outrageous weapons to stop a dimensional collapse when it comes to steam on the 26th.
FIONA: For all the old arcade gamers out there, Double Dragon is back with Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons. Brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee are once again teaming up to take on criminal gangs in this blend of classic tag team arcade scroller mixed with modern roguelite elements. Grab it on all platforms on the 27th.
KYLE: The Expanse: A Telltale Series is out on Thursday too, it’s a prequel to the book and TV scifi series and it’s the first new game since Telltale was brought back from bankruptcy so there is a lot riding on this one. Pick it up on everything from the 27th.
FIONA: Disney Illusion Island is a 2D cartoon platformer starring Mickey Mouse and his pals. It’s got a great look with metroidvania gameplay. That’s out on the Switch on Friday 28th.
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KYLE: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Kyle Pauletto
FIONA: And my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus. Thank you so much for listening.
KYLE: If you’re looking for something to listen to now you’ve reached the end of Walkthrough, why not check out our brand new review show: Drop Rate! Hosted by Chris Button with a mix of guest games journalists sharing their thoughts and feelings on new releases. Search for SIFTER Drop Rate in your podcast player now, look for the green icon.
FIONA: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, myself, Adam Christou and Daniel Ang. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer.
KYLE: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune.
Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER’s podcasts.
FIONA: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.