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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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Aug 10, 2020

Presenting the debut episode of a new spin-off from The GamesIndustry.biz Podcast: The Game Developer's Playlist

In this new monthly show, developers join us to discuss the games that influenced their careers.

Kicking off this series is Aaron Linde, lead narrative designer at Halo developer 343 Industries, who shares his love of SNES RPG Earthbound.

This podcast is an extension of a series we run on the site called Why I Love, in which developers explore their favourite games. You can find these articles here.

Title music by Julian Villareal.

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

Aug 3, 2020

James, Marie, Chris and USGamer's Mike Williams weigh in on the big debate of the week: does the games industry need E3?

Studies from both Fancensus and SuperData show that this summer's big game reveals didn't suffer from the absence of the annual showcase -- certainly not when it comes to the platform holders and big publishers.

But there are many other aspects of E3 that aren't as easily recreated online and benefits that might be overlooked when focused purely on data -- something Chris discussed in detail last week.

We weigh up all these points and more, before turning our attention to the ongoing scrutiny around Apple's 30% share of all App Store revenues.

With big tech firms facing antitrust enquiries on both sides of the Atlantic, we debate whether 30% is too high a payment and, building on Rob Fahey's latest column, what the alternative might be.

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

Jul 24, 2020

James, Matt, Brendan, Rebekah and USGamer's Mike Williams reflect on the titles shown at this week's Xbox Games Showcase.

There was a diverse line-up of internally-developed titles, with the first look at Halo Infinite's gameplay and the long-awaited reveal of the Playground-developed Fable revival.

But the presentation did leave us with questions. After multiple instances of Xbox assuring that all title for Xbox Series X will run on Xbox One, the showcase announced several games that appear to be exclusive to the next-generation console (and PC, of course).

We delve into the possible reasons for the confusion in Xbox's communications, such as the practicalities of supporting a seven-year-old console while trying to sell the next one.

We also discuss the prominence of Game Pass throughout the presentation, and share our highlights from the line-up.

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

Jul 21, 2020

This week, Rebekah, Matt, Brendan and James dive deeper into Rebekah's recent investigation into GlobalStep.

For those who haven't read the full article yet, we explore some of the accusations the UK-based QA company -- formerly known as Testology -- faces.

Claims include the "culling" and "ghosting" of staff, incorrect pay, and a stifling culture built on fear and zero-hour contracts.

We discuss the full findings of the investigation, as well as how such a culture has been sustained, and what other companies might learn from GlobalStep's mistakes.

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

Jul 13, 2020

We have a double episode of the GamesIndustry.biz Podcast today, following developments over the weekend at Ubisoft as the publisher attempts to reign in its abuse problems. 

James. Matt and Haydn take a deep dive into the situation at Ubisoft, after several high-level staffers departed the company amid mounting abuse allegations. 

CEO Yves Guillemot, previously lauded for steering Ubisoft away from a hostile takeover by Vivendi, now finds himself heading a company which faces one of the largest abuse scandals in games industry history. 

After that Rebekah, Matt, Marie, and Mike tackle the wider issue of systemic abuse in the games industry. The discussion springboarded from an article by narrative designer Kim Belair, which addressed the need for a movement, rather than a moment, in the wake of these allegations. 

 

Jul 6, 2020

Matt, Brendan, Chris and James gather around their respective mics to discuss the biggest industry stories of the past week.

Once again, we've refrained from commenting on the ongoing stories of abuse and harassment as we don't feel the podcast is the right forum for this discussion. But you can find our in-depth coverage through the links below.

The main discussion this week follows 2K Games' revelation that NBA 2K21 will be priced at $69.99/£64.99 -- $10/£5 more than the current gen versions.

With IDG Consulting expecting more publishers to follow suit, we discuss the implications of a price hike for AAA games, whether it can be justified in a series so divisive over its use of microtransactions, and what this means for lesser-known and new IP trying to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with $70 established hits.

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

Jun 29, 2020

Matt, Brendan, Marie and Chris are on hand to discuss the biggest games industry topics of the week.

The most prominent subject has been the latest wave of allegations concerning abuse, bullying and harassment that have emerged across the industry. As the podcast is not the best forum for such a discussion, we instead direct you to our detailed coverage on the site:

This episode focuses primarily on the subject of game length, following comments from former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden, who said he would "welcome the return of the 12 to 15 hour game."

This has reignited the ongoing debate about whether video games are too long, particularly in the AAA space. The team offers their thoughts on whether the biggest games are too big, and whether Layden is correct in calling this model "unsustainable."

We also discuss recent comments from Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who said the cellphone-style payment program All Access will be "critical" to selling Xbox Series X.

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

Jun 23, 2020

This week on the podcast, Rebekah, Matt and Brendan are joined by new regular guest Mike Williams, of former GamesIndustry.biz and current USGamer fame. 

In lieu of an formal E3 event this year, Electronic Arts went ahead with its own branded online presser, EA Play. Depending on who you ask, the show was either an exciting glimpse into what the publisher has to offer in the coming years, or a lacklustre display will little of note. 

But the publisher, which has long held onto dreams of its own highly-lucrative and DRM-riddled digital storefront, announced it was backtracking on the idea and would return to Steam. Combined with a renewed focus on the Nintendo Switch, there’s a lot of change afoot at EA. 

Finally, The Last of Us Part may have been met with critical acclaim, but the discussion of the game was tainted somewhat by highly restricted review embargoes. 

Sony forced reviewers to remain tight-lipped on certain story elements which turned out to be a controversial move given the content and Sony’s marketing approach. 

Jun 12, 2020

The GamesIndustry.biz team share their initial thoughts on Sony's long-awaited reveal of the PlayStation 5.

Recorded mere minutes after this week's showcase ended, we share our first impressions on the line-up, the overall presentation, and (of course) the final design of Sony's next-generation console.

Along the way, we discuss the diversity of the games' protagonists, question Sony's growth strategy for the next generation, and weigh up how the showcase stands compared to both Microsoft's previous effort and the E3 conferences missing from 2020. 

We also pick out favourite games from the line-up and debate whether we want the disc-based or digital-only edition of the console.

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

Jun 8, 2020

As you'll hear, there is no regular podcast this week. 

In light of the ongoing protests against racial injustice and police brutality, we recognise that our team is currently not diverse enough to contribute significantly to the discussions.

Instead, we're using this week to recommend other podcasts that have already commented on the deeper issues at hand, and that you might find worth listening to on an ongoing basis.

Please give a listen to:

Spawn On Me: A Lesson In Blackness by Khalief Adams, Parris Lilly, Blessing Adeoye Jr, Cameron Hawkins and streamers Pikachulita and Zombaekillz

(More from Khalief and Blessing on Kinda Funny Games Daily June 6, 2020)

Throwndown 287: We've Been Here by Torrence David, Andre Tipton and Richard Bailey Jr

Techish: #BlackLivesMatter, Profiting off Black Culture, Deleting Trumps Tweets, Space X Launch by Abadesi Osunsade and Michael Berhane

EXP Podcast 575: A Conversation Only Somewhat About Games by Scott Juster and Jorge Albor

Jun 1, 2020

Matt, Brendan and James discuss the biggest stories of the past week, starting with speculation about the potential release window for GTA 6.

Rumours circulated that a spike in marketing commitments found within Take-Two's financial documentation placed the launch of GTA 6 around 2024 -- but Brendan's ready to shatter that hope.

Elaborating on his piece from last week, our North American editor explains why it's far more likely the that surge in marketing spend is more likely to coincide with a major push into sports games than a new Rockstar release.

We also unpack David Braben's recent comments about how physical games could more or less go away in three years' time. We look at where physical media stands in the general world of entertainment, and what the Frontier CEO really meant about its diminishing importance.

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

May 26, 2020

Matt, James, Marie and Chris are on this week's podcast to discuss the biggest stories of the past week.

We start with comments from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who suggests tech and digital industries (including video games) are unlikely to adopt remote working on a permanent basis as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a similar note, we discuss commnets from Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick on how lockdown measures have accelerated the trends towards digital distribution, and how games have an advantage over film, TV and other forms of entertainment when it comes to producing content remotely.

Finally, we look at the recent milestone announced for PlayStation Now: 2.2 million subscribers. A significant uptick over the past year, but still lagging behind Xbox Game Pass. What is it about Microsoft strategy that gives Game Pass the advantage and why, in the grand scheme of things, does it not currently matter to PlayStation?

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

May 18, 2020

Matt, Rebekah, Chris and James gather around their mics to discuss the biggest stories of the past week - primarily Epic Games.

The company debuted the first footage of Unreal Engine 5 with a technical demo that also gave us the first glimpse of gameplay on the Playstation 5.

Around this unveiling was also the news that the revenue limit at which Epic will claim royalties from Unreal-powered games has been raised to $1 million, and plans for the Epic Online Services SDK, which will enable other developers to implement cross-play into their titles.

Plus, Fortnite is heading to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 at launch, so we discussed the potential for current multiplayer hits on the next generation of consoles.

We also touched upon the new PlayStation Studios branding and how the platform holder will create a stronger identity for its first-party titles.

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

May 11, 2020

The GamesIndustry.biz team offer their thoughts on last week's Xbox Series X showcase.

Recorded in the immediate aftermath of the presentation -- technically during some of the post-show interviews -- we offer our immediate reactions to the first glimpses of next-generation gameplay we saw. 'Glimpses' being the most appropriate word.

Both Xbox and Ubisoft have since admitted it may have oversold how much insight into upcoming Series X titles the special episode of Inside Xbox would offer. During our discussion, we delved a little deeper into what people expect when companies promise to show "gameplay."

We also weigh up the most promising titles in the round-up, discuss the impact this will have had on their publishers, ponder the next steps for Xbox -- beyond the planned first-party showcase in July -- and even how Sony might be able to improve on this with its first PlayStation 5 showcase.

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

May 4, 2020

Matt, Rebekah, Chris and James discuss the biggest news of the past week.

We begin by unpacking Xbox boss Phil Spencer's comments in a recent interview, in which he talked about how Microsoft was taking care to ensure it was "not exploiting" the COVID-19 pandemic and the "big flood" of new users it has brought to gaming.

Then, after a tangent about streaming services and the bizarre communications around the launch of Stadia's free version, we reflect on the ongoing success of Xbox Game Pass, which has already amassed more than 10 million subscribers.

Finally, following leaks around The Last of Us: Part 2, we talk about the challenge of avoiding and preventing spoilers, not only in games but in any form of entertainment.

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

Apr 27, 2020

Taking a break from our usual weekly news discussion, the GamesIndustry.biz team carefully place their crystal balls next to their microphones for an unusual E3 predictions podcast.

E3 is, of course, cancelled this year and the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in delays for several high-profile games -- and that's not counting all the unannounced ones lurking behind the scenes.

Rumours suggest that game reveals and other news lined up for E3 will be spread out across the entire summer, with some big announcements expected in the next few weeks, so we figured we'd get in a little earlier with our predictions podcast and discuss what we expect -- or hope -- to see emerge over the summer.

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

Apr 20, 2020

Rebekah, Matt, Chris and Marie gather around their mics to discuss the biggest issues of the past week.

Firstly, we discuss the recent Kotaku report on Rockstar's attempts to change its internal crunch culture, with the prominent suggestion that the next Grand Theft Auto may be of a more moderate size but then expanded post-launch.

Then we reflect on the mixed initiatives the games industry has launched to help raise money towards COVID-19 relief efforts. We reiterate some of the points Chris made in his editorial about how the larger players can help smaller businesses that may struggle and praise PlayStation's $10m fund for indie developers.

Finally, we reflect on the ongoing success of remakes -- most recently, Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil 3. We also discuss whether there are any classic games left that could benefit from such treatment, and then suggest a few personal favourites we'd like to see.

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

Apr 9, 2020

In this special edition of the podcast, the GamesIndustry.biz team shares our own experience of remote working.

With so many countries around the world in varying stages of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, almost the entire industry has shifted to a work-from-home model that is a far cry from the way it usually operates.

We've already run a series of articles offering advice on how to adjust to this -- which you can read through the links below -- but we wanted to contribute in our own way.

GamesIndustry.biz has always been run primarily from remote locations, as you might expect from a team distributed around the globe. While this means our experience may not be directly applicable to where everyone finds themselves now, there are tips, tricks and considerations we believe may be of value to those adjusting to working from home.

-- PREVIOUS ARTICLES --

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-30-how-to-become-a-remote-games-studio

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-12-making-remote-work-work

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-10-building-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-with-80-people-working-from-home

Apr 6, 2020

Matt, Brendan, Rebekah, Chris and James gather to discuss the latest news from the games industry - this week, focusing on the three platform holders.

First up, we discuss the delay to The Last Of Us: Part II and the various factors that would have influenced this. Sony will be contending not just with the distribution logistics of a disrupted world, but also the challenging of marketing a game about living in the aftermath of a devastating virus.

Next, we unpack Phil Spencer's comments about how Microsoft aims to avoid a staggered launch for Xbox Series X -- a conversation that inevitably leads to the likelihood of one or both next-generation consoles being delayed.

Finally, we touch on rumours that Nintendo will release a 35th anniversary Mario collection for Switch this Christmas, and how this might prove to be a strong counter to the launch of a new Xbox and PlayStation.

Throughout the episode, we also discuss how video games are helping people cope with isolation, social distancing and lockdown measures in certain countries.

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

Mar 30, 2020

A bit of an unusual episode this week, taken from a livestreamed AMA-style session on YouTube.

With EGX Rezzed postponed due to the spread of COVID-19, GamesIndustry.biz and a number of our sister brands ran a three-day online conference, Rezzed Digital.

One of the sessions we hosted was a live edition of the podcast, where audience members were invited to ask us questions about the state of the games business in 2020 and beyond -- now presented in audio form.

The discussion covered the impact of coronavirus, virtual reality after Half-Life: Alyx, the importance of killer apps in a console's launch line-up and more.

(And for anyone curious about the interview with a new studio mentioned at the end, you can read the full article on Assassin's Creed actor Abubakar Salim's new venture Silver Rain Games here: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-27-from-character-to-creator-why-actor-abubakar-salim-is-trying-his-hand-at-development)

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

Mar 23, 2020

Rebekah, Matt, Brendan, Chris and Marie are all on hand this week to discuss the biggest news and events in the video games industry.

We kick off with reflection on the recent reveals for the technical specifications of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Rather than getting caught up in the discussion of which machine is more powerful -- and whether that makes it 'better' than its rival -- we take a look at how they were revealed.

Microsoft opted for a full breakdown via a third party, GamesIndustry.biz sister site Digital Foundry, while Sony delivered a lecture by its architect Mark Cerny that had been intended for GDC. We discuss who these reveals were aimed out, how effective they were, and what hints they gave as to the future of each console.

For the rest of the episode, we turn to GameStop's stance on helping to combat the spread of coronavirus: initially labelling itself as "essential retail" before later closing its stores (note: closures occured after the recording of this podcast).

This conversation takes us once again to the broader implications of coronavirus on the games industry, and particularly games retail. With the sector already under pressure from dwindling sales and the long wait for Xbox Series X and PS5, could months of shutdown be the final nail in the coffin for specialist games retail?

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

Mar 17, 2020

James, Chris, Rebekah and Brendan join this week's podcast to discuss the biggest news from the games industry over the past seven days.

Naturally, we start with the cancellation of E3 -- making 2020 the first time in 25 years the games industry has not descended on California in the summer.

The team debates the impact this might have on the industry -- versus the loss of GDC, for example -- and how the cancellation may give the Entertainment Software Association the time to understand what the market really wants and needs from the future of E3.

We also react to the recent reports of more crunch at Naughty Dog on The Last of Us: Part II, lamenting once again how slowly development practices are changing and how the success of these tentpole titles dissuades more drastic measures.

Finally, we discuss the unexpected backlash surrounding the news that Horizon Zero Dawn is coming to PC, and suggest why Sony's decision may not be the cross-platform strategy some believe it to be.

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

Mar 9, 2020

James, Brendan, Marie and Haydn gather around their respective mics to discuss the biggest games industry news of the week.

The main topic is once again the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the consequences for games businesses around the globe. Another wave of events have been cancelled -- including one that pushes the event horizon beyond E3 -- and we have even seen the first hardware delay attributed to disrupted manufacturing.

We debate whether E3 2020 will survive the turmoil and run as planned in June, before taking a more in-depth look at the implications for day-to-day work processes. With Microsoft, Nintendo and Bungie among the many companies encouraging their staff to work at home, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick predicts this could shift more businesses to a remote or more flexible model. Could this be the silver lining of the coronavirus outbreak?

Finally, we reflect on the influence of  the world's best-selling home console, the PlayStation 2, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last week. We share our favourite titles and memories and discuss the influence Sony's device had on the industry going forwards.

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

Mar 2, 2020

In an absolutely packed episode, the team discusses the biggest stories of the week -- starting, of course, with the postponement of GDC 2020.

Matt, Chris and James talk about the fallout of the event's cancellation, the tough decisions that would have been made behind the scenes, and how the organisers' optimistic plan for a summer event might manifest.

We also delve into the impact the event's cancellation will have had on those who invested heavily in this trip, from developers and publishers to speakers and job-seekers. The industry has rallied around its colleagues to provide a number of relief initiatives, but with the coronavirus continuing to spread around the globe, what other events may be affected?

We're then joined by Brendan to elaborate on his thoughts about TIGA's principles for protecting players and discuss what more trade bodies and the rest of the industry can do to demonstrate responsibility when it comes to the audience's finances and personal data.

Finally, Rebekah takes a few moments away from PAX East to tell us more about her recent trip to GameStop's concept stores in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the troubled retailer is testing new models to drive footfall and sales.

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

Feb 24, 2020

Matthew, Brendan, Rebekah and James discuss the latest headlines, predominantly focusing on the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

With Sony and Facebook -- and, since recording, Kojima Productions -- withdrawing from GDC 2020 and the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, the consequences for the event space are perhaps the most obviously felt.

But there are also continuing reports of delays and disruptions to manufacturing, which could potentially see one or both next-generation consoles delayed into next year.

We discuss how the industry has been coping with these developments so far, and speculate as to how plans for launching PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (among other things) might change as efforts to combat the virus continue.

We also discuss the recent news that Kickstarter has unionised, and reflect on what it took for this decision to be made so soon after the tech firm was accused of union busting.

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

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