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The GamesIndustry.biz Podcast

Weekly news discussion show offering insight into the global video games market for industry professionals. The GI.Biz's world-leading team of experienced trade journalists, who spend each week breaking down the biggest stories, lending their thoughts on the latest trends in the market, and discussing the implications for video games as a business
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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 16, 2019

For our final podcast of the year, the entire editorial team gathers around their microphones to discuss our favourite games of the year.

The selection varies greatly from first-party franchise extensions and AA blockbusters to Switch ports of classic RPGs and innovative indie games. (And some members of the team may have shoehorned in namedrops for multiple other picks as well).

Download now and listen to discover the games that made the biggest impact on our team this year, and be sure to keep your browsers pointed to GamesIndustry.biz all this week for full write-ups of our choices.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, analysis and insight into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Dec 9, 2019

It’s time for the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast, and this week James, Brendan, and Rebakah are on hand to discuss all the big news while still leaving plenty of room to reminisce about the GameCube. 

The industry is once again overflowing with complaints regarding toxic work environments, after former Razer employees accused CEO Min-Liang Tan of abusive behaviour. 

These allegations were joined by two court rulings which saw Quantic Dream pay a former employee €7,000 over an offensive photoshopped image, while Riot Games shelled out $10 million to former employees in gender a discrimination settlement. 

The Nintendo Switch is set to arrive in China tomorrow, around seven months after it was initially cleared for distribution by the Chinese government. 

Analysts predicted Nintendo was in for a rough ride this year following some optimistic sales projections. But far from the Switch losing steam, Nintendo has enjoyed a bumper 2019 thanks to its burgeoning (if a little troubled) mobile strategy, Detective Pikachu, and continued success of the Switch. 

Finally: Fewer, bigger, better -- the strategy many big game publishers talked about ten years ago, but where has the industry landed on this? Well, EA has gone from releasing 50 games in 2009 to just ten games this year. 

Publishers are releasing fewer games, but most of those which had the chop likely wouldn’t stick out, as it’s predominantly licensed and shovelware games, which have become increasingly expensive to make on console, finding a new home on mobile.

Dec 2, 2019

The industry may grind to a halt during Thanksgiving week, but there’s still plenty going as we take a look at unconscious bias, diversity, and the perceived failings of virtual reality.  

Following last week's articles by Rebekah (Brass Lion Entertainment and the critical business of diversity) and Haydn (Overcoming unconscious bias in the games industry), we discuss both the barriers and benefits of inclusion. From hiring and industry blind spots, to why diversity is important and how to better foster it in the industry. 

Then Haydn bullies VR some more while everyone else discusses its limitations, failures, and potential after Xbox boss Phil Spencer said “nobody is asking for VR.” His sentiment was echoed by  Michal Nowakowski, CD Projekt's VP of business development, who said: "VR remains a... niche of the market -- like it's very, very small." 

Nov 25, 2019

In this week’s bumper pack episode, Rebekah, Matt, and Haydn discuss the troubled Google Stadia launch, Half-Life: Alyx, and Pokémon. 

Google made big promises with the Stadia, and now it’s here the response has been notably muted. Plagued by fidelity and performance issues, the Stadia is struggling to fulfill its potential. As it stands, Stadia is widely considered the best game streaming platform available, but is still a long way from being complete. 

The long-awaited next entry to the critically-acclaimed Half-Life series was announced by Valve last week, but it’s not what fans were expecting. The VR exclusive title could be the “killer app” that virtual reality headset makers have been waiting for, or the high entry cost could just exclude many die-hard fans of the series. 

Finally, Nintendo and Game Freak are sitting pretty on a mountain of cash following the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, despite community backlash over certain Pokémon which don’t appear in the game. 

Petitions to Donald Trump and a Twitter frenzy weren’t enough to impact the game’s sales, which has already become the Nintendo Switch’s fastest-selling title.

Nov 15, 2019

A short but special episode in which James and Chris discuss the biggest announcements from Microsoft's event in London this week.

Recorded on the show floor itself, this discussion actually took place a few hours ahead of the reveals, but thanks to handy pre-brief notes we were able to weigh up the highlights.

Highlights included new IP from Rare and Obsidian, as well as a partnership and ambitious new protagonist from Dontnod Entertainment.

We also talk about the updates from Xbox's streaming service, codenamed Project xCloud, and how this offering plays into Microsoft's wider strategy with Xbox Game Pass.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, analysis and insight into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Nov 12, 2019

Rebekah, Chris, Matthew and Brendan gather round their mics to discuss the biggest news and topics of the games industry.

This week, we start by considering the new appointments at Sony Interactive Entertainment and the insights from our recent interview with PlayStation boss Jim Ryan. Having previously discussed Sony's stategy to hold back from detailing the next generation, we now have a better understanding of what's happening behind the scenes.

Of course, the industry still has questions -- such as the future relationship between indie studios and PlayStation -- and we discuss how these might play out in the year to come.

Next, following Rob Fahey's column, we debate how Overwatch 2 may pave the way for a new type of sequel: one for a world dominated by games-as-a-service offerings where publishers will be reluctant to force the original's audience to upgrade.

Finally, the news that Ubisoft is publishing its last Wii game -- likely the console's last game ever -- is as good an opportunity to pay homage to Nintendo's groundbreaking console and our favourite titles.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Nov 4, 2019

James, Brendan and Rebekah discuss some of the biggest topics from the past week, starting with the controversy surrounding the latest Call of Duty.

For months, Infinity Ward and Activision have promised a gritty, realistic take on today's global conflicts, and yet critics report these attempts lack substance and are undermined somewhat by a game that remains focused on delivering high-octane setpieces around a super soldier fantasy.

Combine that with the controversy over its child soldier, waterboarding and history-altering Highway of Death sequences, and it's hard to know what Call of Duty really wants to be.

We also reflect on the recents financials for major publishers such as EA and Ubisoft, and how the shift in the AAA space continues towards live service titles, perhaps at the cost of single-player narrative experiences.

Finally, we cast our minds more than 30 years into the future and try to imagine what the recently trademarked PlayStation 10 might look like.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Oct 28, 2019

In this brief podcast excursion Rebekah, Brendan, and Haydn unpick last week’s industry events, starting with the surprise delays from Naughty Dog and Ubisoft. 

Just over a month after announcing a release date, Naughty Dog revealed it would be pushing The Last of Us II back by around three months. Then, just a few days later, Ubisoft announced it was delaying Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine to sometime between July 2020 and December 2020. 

Though the news hit Ubisoft hard, with its share price dropping 16% afterwards, the news opens up the debate about launch windows, and whether publishers are trying to find more space in the crowded market. 

Over at Google Stadia, there’s lots of questions around whether Google knows what it’s doing on the development side of things. The tech giant is making big promises around what Stadia can do, and has announced major in-house development operations, but whether it will deliver or struggle at the first hurdle like Amazon remains to be seen. One thing that’s for sure though, is most of the GamesIndustry.biz editorial team aren’t terribly convinced. 

Oct 21, 2019

We have a special episode for you this week, recorded live from the show floor of EGX 2019. 

Matt, Chris and James took to the stage to answer a series of consumer questions with the aim of giving a little more insight into how the business of games works and the state of the industry today.

Topic covered include the decline of games retail, expectations for Google Stadia and streaming services, the future of free-to-play, Nintendo's mobile strategy, the notion of platform holders releasing games on each other's consoles, and whether we'll ever see a Half-Life 3. 

If you want to put face to voice, you can also check out the video version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRs5FMjZ1o4

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Oct 14, 2019

James, Brendan, Rebekah and new starter Marie discuss the ongoing fallout of Blizzard's punishment for pro Hearthstone player Chung 'Blitzchung' Ng Wai.

We discuss the severity of the original punishment, the apparent lack of process through which this was reached, and how widespread the backlash has become.

We also touch on the implications for other publishers with direct ties to China and its companies, and consider the long-term impact for Blizzard, especially with Blizzcon around the corner.

(After recording, Blizzard released a statement responding to the controversy and we address this in a short update towards the start of the episode.)

Following this main topic, we look at Ubisoft's plans for various animated series based on its games -- going on a slight tangent about the difficulty in making a kids' TV show based on a mature and violent games brand.

Plus, we come up with our ideal video-games-to-TV adaptations -- and fail to top Rebekah's suggestion.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Oct 10, 2019

Haydn, Chris and Brendan are on hand to talk through some of the latest industry news, starting out with the messy story of Video Game Tax Relief in the UK.

It was revealed earlier last week that global games companies had claimed millions upon millions in tax relief, sparking a debate about whether the scheme was working as intended. 

Meanwhile, Monument Valley developer Ustwo Games faced accusations of union busting after it allegedly fired key programmer Austin Kelmore over his involvement in Game Workers Unite. 

Finally, Sony announced a considerable price cut for its game streaming service PlayStation Now, and we discuss Sony's tendency to merely dabble with new toys, rather than commit wholeheartedly like rival Microsoft. 

Sep 30, 2019

Matt, Brendan, and Rebekah are on hand this week to discuss all the hottest industry haps, starting with the Oculus Quest. 

Accounting for 20% of Oculus' $100 million lifetime revenue from software in just a few short months, the Quest appears to be a resounding success. Things are looking more positive already though, after Oculus announced it was adding hand-tracking to the hardware as a free update. 

It's been a big week over at Nintedno's house too though, following the launch of the Switch Lite and Mario Kart World Tour, which seems to represent Nintendo at both its best and most clueless at the same time. 

Mario Kart World Tour has been a record-breaking mobile game for Nintendo in terms of downloads, but lots of questions still linger about whether its controversial monetisation model will find traction with players. 

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch Lite launched to glowing reviews, only to be mired in the Joy-Con drift fiasco (unfortunately the podcast was recorded before that news broke and so isn't mentioned). Even so, there's still plenty of evidence to suggest that the 2019 holiday period for Nintendo is going to be a real success; Nintendo has both the cheapest and newest hardware on the market this Christmas, and a new Pokémon game arriving in November.

 

 

 

Sep 23, 2019

James, Matt, Rebekah and Haydn are on hand to discuss the biggest news of the past week, starting with the future of E3.

The emergence of a pitch deck from the ESA gives some insight into the direction the trade body would like to take the industry's premier showcase, but mentions of celebrities, influencers and "queuetainment" are raising more than a few eyebrows.

Next, we weigh up the potential for Apple Arcade and whether it's the saviour of premium mobile games -- or their last chance. We also touch on indie and mobile pricing, and the value consumers place in ownership versus the convenience of subscription.

Finally, we discuss Sports Interactive's new eco-friendly packaging for Football Manager and the challenge from studio director's Miles Jacobson for all major entertainment firms -- including console platform holders -- to adopt a similar approach. 

(Interestingly, since we recorded, both PlayStation and Xbox have signed up to the United Nations' Playing For The Planet Alliance, but there's been no mention of ditching plastic boxes so far)

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Sep 16, 2019

It's a smaller team this week, but no less meatier a discussion. Haydn and Brendan debate the potential fallout from the DCMS committee's recommendations that the UK government regulate loot boxes under gambling laws.

While these remain recommendations at the moment and are not enforceable laws, it's nonetheless a concerning direction for the ongoing debate around how the games industry monetises its audience. 

We discuss the various responses to the report, the implications such laws might have for the industry and how this latest news, when combined with headlines of crunch, abuse, mass layoffs and more, is not painting the best picture for the games industry.

As always, you can find more news, insight and analysis at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Sep 9, 2019

After a troubling week in the games industry following multiple abuse allegations, we’re back with a lighter episode of the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast. 

Haydn pulls hosting duty this week, joined by Brendan and Chris to discuss the absolute bumper pack of announcements from Nintendo’s latest Direct, and reminisce about the Dreamcast glory days. 

On Wednesday, Nintendo wheeled out a barrel-load of announcements that didn’t warrant much on their own, but combined shows the platform holder continuing to invest in varied experiences for Switch owners. 

We got classic Nintendo titles, more details on upcoming games, and the bizarre new Switch Hoop, which feels very on-brand for Nintendo. Whether it will be able to emulate the success of products like Wii Fit or Wii Sports remains to be seen, however. 

From there, things took a curious turn as Chris and Brendan regaled Haydn with all the antediluvian wonders of the Sega Dreamcast, which is today enjoying its 20th birthday in North America. Feel free to celebrate this momentous occasion however you please.

Aug 27, 2019

Though marginally delayed thanks to the UK taking a day off on Monday, the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast has arrived. 

Gathering around the podcast campfire this week is Rebekah, Matt, Brendan, and Haydn who dive into all the industry happenings last week. 

Kicking off, a discussion about Game Informer editorial cuts in the wake of mass layoffs at parent company GameStop turns into a wider debate about what it takes for print media and online publishing to survive in 2019. 

Following that, the team get wrapped up discussing cloud gaming, streaming, and the news that both Sony and Microsoft have made similar noises around forgoing platform exclusivity with some of their first-party titles. 

Finally, we wrap things up with a chat about the inaugural Gamescom: Opening Night Live, what place it has in the industry, and where it sits in the debate surrounding publishers missing E3. 

Aug 17, 2019

Rebekah, Matt, Chris and Haydn weigh in on one of the most divisive topics currently discussed across the industry: the relationships between politics and games.

As our contributing editor Rob Fahey recently wrote, simply asking 'Is you game political?' misses the nuances of a deeper conversation that could be had about the evolution of video games and their place in the world.

We explore those nuances, and ponder why this misinformed questions has become so prevalent when the media meets with AAA developers.

We also discuss Nintendo's mobile strategy and the platform holder's ongoing struggles to tame the most lucrative gaming sector -- particularly in the wake of Dr Mario World's slower-than-expected launch.

Finally, we use this as a starting point to share which Nintendo IP -- existing or invented by us -- that we'd like to see come to mobile.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Aug 9, 2019

Rebekah, Brendan, Chris and Haydn are on hand for this bumper episode to discuss a long, complicated and frustrating week in the games industry.

We start with the leak of thousands of journalists, analysts and content creators' personal information -- including phone numbers and postal addresses -- via E3 media lists. We discuss the ESA's handling of the situation, the impact it may have on next year's E3, and the potential for abuse against those affected.

From one form of abuse to another, we discuss the vitriol directed at the indie developers behind Ooblets, and how the team has addressed it. The cause of such anger? Why, Epic Games Store exclusivity of course.

Then we discuss the fallout from the weekend's two mass shooting in the US, which has somehow inevitably (but tenuously) been linked to video games. (To the point where, just hours after recording, it emerged that Walmart was pulling displays and demos for violent games from its stores)

Finally, Brendan and Rebekah recap the revelations of the FTC workshop on loot boxes, including news that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will now require all developers and publishers to declare their odds for loot drops.

All of this while watching our language. Mostly.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, analysis and insight into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Aug 2, 2019

Rebekah pulls hosting duties again, joined by Matt, Brendan and Haydn. 

This week we discuss the future of Improbable and SpatialOS after another game built using the tech gets cancelled. It's got potential, but developers are struggling to deliver. 

Also on the agenda is Rockstar's questionable tax returns, following a report from investigative think thank TaxWatch UK, which found the Grand Theft Auto V developer hasn't paid any corporation tax in ten years, while also claiming £42m in Video Game Tax Relief. 

Finally, what does the future hold for esports? The Fortnite World Cup showed there's plenty of money floating around, plenty of fans hungry for content, but how sustainable is it?

Jul 26, 2019

Rebekah, Brendan, Chris and James are on hand to discuss some of the biggest industry stories of the week, starting with (yet again) crunch.

We reflect on Brendan's fascinating interview with creative director Lorne Lanning about the irony of Oddworld: a game that focuses on the exploitation of workers at a time when developers themselves were frequently exploited. 

Talking about what (if anything) has improved leads to another hard look at the impact of crunch on the industry, the potential solutions, and how it takes time for attitudes towards exploitative working practices -- even our own -- to change.

Then we talk about the comically perfect timing of Rockstar's big casino update for Grand Theft Auto Online, arriving amidst ongoing worldwide discussions about gambling and video games. Is this a sign of the developer's attitude towards such scrutiny, or has the conversation around monetisation models become too sensitive?

Finally, we touch on the Joy-Con drifting issues experienced by Switch owners, triggering a class action lawsuit against Nintendo. Oh, and it's very important that everyone know how much Brendan loves the GameCube controller.

As always, you can get your daily news, analysis and insight into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz.

Jul 19, 2019

As the old saying goes, “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.” That, of course, can mean only one thing: the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast is here. 

This week Rebekah takes up hosting duties and is joined by Matt, Brendan, Haydn and, if you listen very closely, a selection of our assorted pets. 

We kick things off with the crumbling world of brick and mortar game stores, and what they can do to slow their seemingly inevitable decline. Following the example of UK retailer Game, struggling US giant GameStop revealed this week to revamp its stores with a newfound focus on esports. Whether either can establish the success of yesteryear is still in doubt though. 

Ubisoft recently announced it was once again partnering with Jason Gordon-Levitt’s creative crowdsourcing platform HitRecord for the upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion. Just like last year’s partnership for Beyond Good and Evil 2, the whole thing attracted a lot of criticism, but poses some interesting questions regarding where the lines get blurred with user-created content around games like Super Mario Maker and Dreams.

Finally, the news that Detective Pikachu is the highest grossing video game movie tie-in of all time came as no surprise, but why did it succeed where movies like Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter failed? (Except for all of the really obvious reasons like a) being terrible, or b) not being very good). 

Jul 12, 2019

Matt, James and Haydn discuss the biggest stories of the past week, including the ongoing dispute between indie developers and divisive marketplace G2A.

Recorded hot off the heels of G2A's proposal for a key-blocking tool, we discuss the various roots of the debate and why indie developers -- and the industry in general -- has such a rocky relationship with the company.

The core principle of G2A -- that players can sell on games they own -- is not all that controversial, but years of allegations regarding scams, fraud and stolen keys, plus the marketplace's occasionally inept attempts at defending itself make this an industry problem that may be impossible to solve.

Finally, we share our thoughts on the long-rumoured and in-no-way-surprising Nintendo Switch Lite. For both Matt and James, it suits their use of the device down to a tee, but would a Switch Pro capable of handling more powerful games be more appealing?

Jul 5, 2019

Load up your ears with the GamesIndustry.biz podcast, this week featuring James, Matt, and myself chatting about the big industry news. 

Matt is in trouble this week for not using headphones while recording, so apologies in advance for the slightly wonky audio in places. But don't let that deter you from downloading this white knuckle thrill ride of all the hottest industry “haps.”

EA doesn't see itself as the "bad guys" but it's an image the publisher just can't seem to shake. We discuss EA's long legacy of missteps, whether that's the ancient sin of releasing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II before it was ready, or it's attempted re-brand of loot boxes as "surprise mechanics", we’re spoiled for choice. 

We also get embroiled once again in the storefront wars following comments made by Paradox Interactive's Fredrik Wester, who praised the more generous revenue split of the Epic Games Store, and described the 70/30 industry standard as “outrageous.” 

The Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies rolls on, this week with appearances from the Information Commissioner's Office, and culture minister Margot James MP. 

We round things out with a little chat about our favourite mobile games, where James once again recommends Florence and I get misty-eyed about Runescape.

Jun 28, 2019

It’s Friday, so what better way to end your week than with the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast? This week Rebekah takes up the mantle of host once more, joined by Haydn, Brendan, and occasionally his dog. 

We kick with a discussion on the state of streaming after Razer cut ties with one of its female content partners over some Twitter remarks she made about men; the return of Dr Disrespect to the Twitch despite being banned for filming inside the bathrooms at E3; and how subscriber only Twitch streams could make creators less accountable. 

Then we close out the episode with a chat about everyone’s favourite topic: horrifying and avoidable crunch at a AAA studio, revealed by a recent report into how Treyarch created an underclass of QA testers while developing Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII. 

You can listen to our latest episode below, subscribe to our RSS feed, or download the file directly here. It is also available via Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast, Player FM, TuneIn and other widely-used podcast platforms.

As always, you can get more news, insight and analysis into the world behind video games at www.gamesindustry.biz .

Jun 21, 2019

Rebekah, Matt, Brendan and Haydn discuss two of the biggest issues the industry faces in this week's podcast.

First up, following comments from Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick and even US senator Bernie Sanders, we discuss the ongoing debate around unions.

Zelnick's discussion with GamesIndustry.biz kicked off a debate this week about whether games professionals who are comfortably compensated would even be motivated to unionise. We weigh up the many other reasons why the call for unions is getting louder.

Then, after EA and Epic appeared in Parliament earlier this week, we discuss how the way they represented both their own companies and the industry in general could have been improved. As the UK government's inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies continues, the games industry could find itself facing more scrutiny from other governments around the world.

As always, you can get your daily dose of news, insight and analysis at www.gamesindustry.biz.

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