News
Episode
62

UK blocks Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Plus SEGA of America employees bid to unionize and fans of Hollow Knight release a fully voiced mod

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • AGE OF WONDER 4 - 2 May 2023 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5
  • REDFALL - 2 May 2023 - PC, Xbox Series X|S
  • RAVENLOK - 4 May 2023 - PC, Xbox Series X|S

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SIFTER is produced by FIONA Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang& Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER.

TRANSCRIPT

FIONA: Hi I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus 

GIANNI: and I’m Gianni Di Giovanni

FIONA: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games. 

GIANNI: This week the Activision Blizzard Microsoft deal is blocked in the UK, Armored Core VI gets a release date, and SEGA workers vote to unionise. 

Here is the news for Sunday 30th of April. Let’s go!

— 

PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord

— 

FIONA: The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has decided to block Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard and it mostly comes down to Google Stadia… you might be thinking… hang on what? 

The review of the deal by the CMA started in September last year and found three main points of opposition to $69 billion merger

  • It didn’t sufficiently cover different cloud gaming service business models 
  • It wasn’t sufficiently open to providers who might wish to offer versions of games on PC operating systems other than Windows, 
  • and it would standardise the terms and conditions on which games are available, basically Microsoft would have so much power their contracts would become the default format

With Stadia gone, that means Microsoft is out on their own for streaming games and that’s a problem.

GIANNI: Activision Blizzard will appeal the decision with CEO Bobby Kotick saying in an interview with BloombergTV that cloud gaming wasn’t a big deal…

BOBBY KOTICK: “It clearly is an irrational conclusion and I think we have every expectation as does Microsoft that we should prevail in an appeal with the tribunal.” 

“Cloud gaming is an inconsequential part of the business and having done this for 35 years, it's my view that over the course of the next decade, what you're going to see is phones having greater power, greater capability, better graphics, faster ability to broadcast to a large screen.”

“And so the idea that somehow you're protecting all of these big foreign competitors from market competition, it may made no sense and I think that Microsoft really went out on a limb to provide remedies that would ensure that anyone that had an aspiration to participate in cloud gaming would be able to do so.”

GIANNI: Let’s see what happens in the weeks to come!

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GIANNI: Good news mechheads we got a release date for Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon this week. 

It’s been ten years since From Software’s put out a new game in this series and you’ll be able to play this next entry on the 25th of August on last and current gen Xbox and PlayStation as well as PC.

There was a new gameplay trailer released as well, with some over the top action with From Soft promising their “signature action gameplay”. 

FIONA: There are standard and collector's editions available, but if you want to go all out and spend a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X worth of money you can pick up the almost $900 Premium edition with its own model mech. 

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FIONA: The price for Asus’ ROG Ally has leaked and it looks like it might be cheaper than we thought. 

A Twitter user called SnoopTech claims it’ll be US$699 for the top tier model with an AMD Z1 Extreme chip which works out to a little over $1000 in Dollarydoos. 

With specs out in the wild now, it looks like the Ally will be a much more powerful device than its nearest competitor the Steam Deck.

We’ll know more on the official launch on the 11th of May where we’ll see how close they can compete on price.

GIANNI: One of the biggest advantages this handheld has for Australians is actually being available for sale…sorry Valve.

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GIANNI: Workers at Sega of America have filed for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board. 

It’ll be called “The Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega” or AEGIS which will be a partner of Communications Workers of America union. 

Unions work a little bit differently in the US than they do in Australia, but each company has to apply and then vote before the union is recognised and that covers each workplace separately.

FIONA: If it goes through the 144 members at SEGA, including QA, localization, live service, marketing, and product development will become one of the largest video game unions in the US.

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FIONA: While you wait for any news on Hollow Knight: Silksong a group of dedicated mods have completed a project called Hallownest Vocalized, adding voice acting to the entirety of the first game. 

The fan-made project involved over 100 voice actors from the Hollow Knight community who provided voices for spirits, lore tablets, bosses, NPCs, corpses, items, journal entries, and enemies.

To play this mod you’ll need to own a copy of Hollow Knight on PC and download the Scarab Mod Launcher. Then search for Hallownest Vocalized. 

If you want to check out this very impressive passion project, we’ve posted a link to the trailer in the show notes. 

GIANNI: If you want to dig way back in the SIFTER archives you can find an interview with Team Cherry from 2016, it’s an interesting insight into how the team was feeling before the launch we’ll stick a link in the show notes. 

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FIONA: That’s it for the big headlines, it’s a smaller what’s coming out this week.

GIANNI: Out Tuesday is Age of Wonders 4. Customise your faction, explore dynamic events, and engage in battle in the latest entry in the turn-based strategy series. It arrives on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S and X on the 2nd of May.

FIONA:  Also out on the 2nd is Redfall, the brand new IP by Arkane Studios. Fight back against vampires in the besieged town of Redfall in this Left 4 Dead style shooter. Play solo or team up with up to four players, choosing from diverse heroes with unique abilities. That’s coming to PC and Xbox Series X.

GIANNI:  Ravenlok is a fantasy action game from developers Cococucumber about a girl who falls into a magical mirror and must fight and defeat the evil caterpillar queen in third person action. It’ll be out on PC and Xbox on the 4th. 

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PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on sifter.com.au

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FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by Sifter, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus.

GIANNI: And my name is Gianni Di Giovanni. Thank you so much for listening. 

FIONA:  We know you love our podcasts, so why not become a monthly backer on Ko-Fi? Your support lets us keep making our shows so why not show the love and sign up to be a monthly backer. It’s easy, head to sifter.com.au/support where support starts from just $1 a month that address again is sifter.com.au/support

GIANNI: SIFTER is produced by Fiona Bartholomaeus, Kyle Pauletto, Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and my name is Gianni Di Giovanni and I am the Executive Producer. 

FIONA: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune. 

Thanks to both Audio Technica Australia and Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER’s three podcasts.

GIANNI: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.

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Hollow Knight

LINUX
MAC
PC
PS4
SWITCH
Developer:
Team Cherry
Publisher:
Team Cherry
Release Date:
September 25, 2017

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

PlayStation 5
PC
Developer:
FromSoftware
Publisher:
Bandai Namco
Release Date:
August 24, 2023
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