Square Enix will have tons of Final Fantasy on display at PAX East

Square Enix

Square Enix has confirmed their official plans for PAX East 2020.The upcoming video game conference is the biggest of its kind around this time of year. It’s a great platform for publishers and developers alike to showcase their upcoming games.

For Square Enix, that means a whole lot of Final Fantasy. Both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XIV Online will have dedicated playable booths for attendees. There are also plans in place for an Outriders developer panel featuring lead writer Joshua Rubin.

outriders

Square Enix at PAX East

For many fans the most exciting aspect will likely be Final Fantasy VII Remake’s confirmed playable demo. The original Final Fantasy VII is a timeless classic that can easily be considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. The trailer for the remake was announced way back in June 2019, but this is the first time the public will be able to actually play the game.

Otherwise, there’s going to be a signing session courtesy of Square Enix featuring some of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s most prevalent voice actors. This includes Britt Baron (Tifa Lockhart), John Bentley (Barret Wallance), and Briana White (Aerith Gainsborough). If that isn’t to your taste, you can instead get a picture with Cloud’s signature Hardy Daytona motorcycle.

final fantasy xiv online cinematic

It’s not just Final Fantasy VII fans getting represented. Square Enix has plenty of things to do for its avid Final Fantasy XIV Online players too. For example, you can take on the Ruby Weapon Battle Challenge to win yourself an exclusive t-shirt. Alternatively, there’s going to be a poster giveaway drawn by lead character concept artist Yusuke Mogi that all PAX attendees are eligible for.

PAX East kicks off February 27 and continues on until the following Sunday. Square Enix isn’t the only publisher attending by any means. In fact, you can expect pretty much every major AAA publisher and developer bar Sony to be there. If you’re in a position to travel down to Boston for the weekend then it’s well worth the trip.

Coronavirus to cause Nintendo Switch shortage in Europe and US

Coronavirus

Just last week, news reports came out comforting Nintendo fans as the Japanese publisher confirmed the coronavirus wouldn’t impact western Switch sales. However, a report posted by Bloomberg suggests shortages could hit western shores as early as April 2020.

Nintendo’s problem is that a lot of the Switch’s components are manufactured in China. Given the coronavirus’ devastating impact on China, it’s understandable that continuing to produce these parts is impractical. The timing of this outbreak couldn’t be worse for Nintendo as its releasing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on March 20. If they can’t supply consoles for what would otherwise be a system seller, profits will be affected.

animal crossing new horizons

How bad is the coronavirus?

Of course, from a general point of view, the coronavirus is awful. Currently, the coronavirus is reported to have taken around 1800 lives. Of those, all but five have been cases confirmed in China.

What’s taken people by surprise though is how the coronavirus has indirectly impacted other nations. Many countries worldwide rely on China’s production and exportation. One study suggests that over 5 million businesses will be negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

switch sales

Source: Statista

As for Nintendo, they’re already in trouble. Not only are Switch consoles out of stock in Japan, it won’t be long until these issues affect the west too. Nintendo’s original claim that this wouldn’t impact Europe or North America was based on the fact that the units for February and March had already dispatched. However, come April, new consoles will be needed to keep up with public demand.

Despite being a Japanese company, the U.S is by far Nintendo’s biggest market. According to their financial report, 43% of all income was dependent on North American sales. Equally, Europe is Nintendo’s second-largest market, contributing 27% of total revenue. Losing out on 70% of their income source, even if just for a short while, would be calamitous. All we can do for now is pray that the coronavirus doesn’t get any worse.

Activision Blizzard’s financial report details a very successful 2019

Activision

Every so often, something magical happens in the video game industry. Large publishers like Activision have to submit financial reports to their shareholders detailing how successful the year was. This matters because it’s usually the only time these AAA publishers are actually honest.

So, when I opened up Activision Blizzard’s report I was ready for some juicy information, but they didn’t have much to hide. The truth is Activision has had a great year and their latest financial report proves that.

Activision’s Financial Report

candy crush saga

The primary focus of the report was firmly placed on Modern Warfare. Whilst it’s likely Activision was confident it would do well; its numbers are seriously impressive. PC sales alone increased by 50% in comparison to Black Ops 4. Equally, Modern Warfare’s overall sales increased by a “double-digit percentage,” when compared to its predecessor. 

Meanwhile, Call of Duty Mobile managed to stack up 150 million installs worldwide. This helped it top download charts in over 150 countries and finish top 15 in grossing mobile titles. Speaking of Mobile, Activision’s acquisition of KING back in November 2015 has continued to pay dividends. As usual, Candy Crush Saga was the top-grossing title across all U.S app stores.

Blizzard’s Financial Report

world of warcraft

However, the Blizzard half of Activision-Blizzard had less to celebrate given their various PR mistakes. Regardless, there’s no doubting that the launch of World of Warcraft Classic did a great job of resurrecting a once declining MMORPG. Blizzard claims WoW’s player base over doubled thanks to the release of Classic.

Outside of WoW, the report touches upon Overwatch’s expansion to Switch and the latest Hearthstone expansion. Unfortunately for Blizzard, their newest release, Warcraft 3: Reforged, has gone down as yet another PR disaster. Perhaps if they hadn’t claimed all user content in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened.

If you want to read through the various financial details, be sure to check out the report yourself. There are listings for revenue, profits, taxation, and just about anything else an Activision shareholder would need to know.

Even the NHS Hates Video Game Loot Boxes

Loot boxes have gotten a bad rep ever since EA took things too far with Star Wars Battlefront 2 back in 2018. Since then many nations like the Netherlands and Belgium have out-right banned loot boxes and made selling them a criminal offence. Similarly, a recent statement made by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) suggests that they’ve become the latest member of the anti-loot box club.

The NHS’ health director, Claire Murdoch, has claimed loot boxes are “addictive,” and putting “young people’s health at stake.” Whilst she doesn’t necessarily want loot boxes completely banned, Ms. Murdoch has made it clear she believes selling them to minors should be illegal.

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On behalf of the NHS, she outlined a few criteria that could be regulated in order to make loot boxes more ethical. Her primary requests are that loot boxes shouldn’t be sold to minors, all RNG related odds should be completely transparent to players, and mandatory spending limits should be put in place to protect vulnerable individuals.

The statement reads: “55,000 children are classed as having a gambling problem,” in the UK and realistically there’s only one way these kids are getting addicted. With zero access to casinos or adult arcades, the assumption is that both online gambling and accessible loot box filled video games are to blame. After all, even a kid-friendly mobile title like Pokemon Masters is filled with microtransactions and loot box mechanics.

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The NHS’ Argument Is Hardly New

If truth be told, these findings and claims from the NHS are by no means new. Just last September, the UK Parliament published findings accusing games publishers of a “lack of honesty and transparency.” Unfortunately, UK law has never been known for developing quickly.

All proposed legislation has to go through various stages before being approved. Firstly, someone has to propose a formal bill which sources from some sort of public demand. Usually, either the government or individual MP will do so to make themselves more popular in the long-run.

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After this, these NHS proposed laws would need to be formally drafted, go through three readings in parliament, get approved by multiple committees and then do all this again in a separate house. It’s undoubtedly a thorough process to make sure no half-hearted laws get passed.

The reason the NHS are even making this statement is because a loot box ban has hardly been touched by parliament. As of today, a formal draft has not been proposed nor have any readings taken place. In other words, we’re still a long way off having any meaningful loot box regulation in the UK.

Narcos Rise of the Cartels – Everything you need to know

Welcome to Colombia, circa 1980! Based on the popular Narcos TV show, Narcos Rise of the Cartels was created. This game gives you the power to delve right into the middle of the action!

Picture This

The fires of the El Patrón Empire are alight! The influence of this catastrophe spans borders and reigns unabated. Evil influences and corruption run rapid. Cops, guards, politicians and everyone in between fall into Medellín Cartel pockets…

Now, years later, America is taking notice.

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels depicts the true story of the rise and fall of El Patrón, as told by the hit Netflix TV series. The show is about law enforcement, gathering evidence and arresting Pablo Escobar’s men. The game is more about combat and less about police work.

In the game, you can decide which side you want to fight for – the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or Narcos, the drug cartel. You begin the game with five characters on your side, but you can only move one character per turn. For example: Say you move a soldier and carefully position him behind cover, you can’t do anything else in that round.

You have a nice selection of actions and movements, which control how many activities you can execute during a particular turn – that’s pretty standard. But once you activate one of your units, reload and move a few feet, you can only use the rest of your actions and movements on that same character. You cannot use anyone else in your squad to help him, flank the enemy or anything. That round is over.

Rise of the Cartels

(Image credit: Curve Digital)

At the start of the game you are asked to “bring in a gang member.” This means shooting him several times because that is the only weapon available to you at this time. Later in the game you can unlock other weapons. Some missions you are sent on have objectives, such as “obtain evidence” or “rescue a hostage,” but many just instruct you to “assassinate a cartel leader.” The missions seem random and unjustified and quickly become frustrating and tedious.

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is successful in just area – you will probably get interested in watching the TV show on Netflix. The game misses out on its potential. On the surface, you would think it has more to offer than what you see in the standard ads. Unfortunately, it turns out to be nothing more than a cautionary story about how you can completely destroy everything a game might have going for it with just one bad decision during the designing stage.

Disclaimer: This game features Violence, Bad Language and Drugs.

 

Plagiarism is Games Journalism’s Biggest Sin, Brandon Orselli

Plagiarism

You may have heard about the news regarding Gematsu. For those not in the know, Gematsu is a games writing community that focuses on the Japanese market. You know the deal, JRPGs, anime games and so on. Well it turns out that another website was particularly fond of their work. So fond that they’ve been inspired to dabble in a little plagiarism.

The culprit is Niche Gamer. Niche Gamer is another run of the mill, games writing community that covers just about anything you can think of. Nothing special but, for the most part, nothing harmful either. That is except for their recently exposed plagiarism. Despite being self-described as the “premiere enthusiast gaming site,” they have a habit of relying on other people to write articles for them.

The list of plagiarized articles is crazy long. Too long for me to cover. If you want to see some just go on to Twitter and type in ‘Niche Gamer’. For context, evidence suggests Niche Gamer has been stealing content for well over three years. Don’t worry though, because NG’s editor in chief, Brandon Orselli, has cleared everything up. It turns out he hired a ghost writer who was doing all this evil on his behalf.

Who Are You Kidding?

Rejoice! It wasn’t his fault after all.” Seriously, is that what you expected, Mr. Orselli? Skipping past the fact that hiring someone to do work that you are still accredited for is unethical, you’re still likely lying. What kind of editor-in-chief has a ghostwriter doing their work for over three years? Also, if this ghost writer really was plagiarizing this badly, expose them!

Gematsu

Plagiarism isn’t a joke. It’s legitimate theft of art and needs to be punished. Any writer with low enough standards to plagiarize dozens of articles needs exposing. Protecting their name or reputation stops mattering when they are definitely guilty. You know, the thing you are opening accusing them of. What if this ghostwriter goes away and plagiarizes for another supposedly unaware editor? That would be on you for not naming and shaming them.

What Niche Gamer Should Have Done

So how should have this been handled? Fortunately, a far more respectable site in IGN showed us how just last year. Published in August 2018, IGN’s Dead Cells review was exposed for blatant plagiarism. Originally written by Filip Miucin, the review ripped entire paragraphs straight from Boomstick Gaming. Once IGN had this issue made apparent to them, they investigated Miucin’s work. He was found guilty. They immediately put out an apology, fired him and removed the article. It has since been rewritten by Brandin Tyrrel.

That situation was a little different since it wasn’t the IGN editor himself plagiarizing. I understand it’s difficult to put up your hands and admit you messed up. It can be scary, especially when an internet mob is involved. However, it’s the only right choice. By making up this story about an unnamed ghostwriter, you’re encouraging the mob to get even angrier.

Gematsu games community

You watch, large YouTube channels like Jim Sterling or YongYea will be covering this in no time. What then? All of a sudden you have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of passionate industry savvy fans after you. And at that point, there’s no turning back. To hold myself to these words, I’ll apologize if Mr. Orselli correctly names this ghost writer. I’m not here to call anyone out, but rather offer some insight on how I’d have handled this difficult situation.

What To Take Away From This

The real message here for any aspiring writers or editors is don’t indulge in plagiarism. It sounds obvious yet even an established IGN writer couldn’t help himself. It’s far better to work on improving your own writing than to rely on others. If you really feel the need to use material from another article, just drop a friendly source link. No one is going to hate you for sharing their work with accreditation. Especially not if it’s a huge site like IGN recognizing them. That’s most writers’ dream.

Honestly though, the biggest take away has nothing to do with writing. Consider this a life lesson of sorts. It doesn’t matter how difficult a situation you find yourself in. Most of the time, it’s better to admit to a mistake and move on. Many people still won’t be happy but escalating that issue is never the right choice. History shows, most people are surprisingly forgiving. For your own sake, don’t give them a reason to not be.

Overwatch Season 18: The Heroes You Should Be Playing

Overwatch Season 18

There are only 10 days left of Overwatch Season 18 Competitive Play. In other words, time is running out for you to make that last push for SR. From getting out of Bronze to reaching Top 500, everyone has their own goals. It’s no secret that playing specific heroes can benefit your rank depending on the meta. So here are the top tier heroes you should be playing right now in Overwatch Season 18. Let’s get to know them.

Orisa In Overwatch Season 18

OrisaDespite numerous nerfs since role queue’s introduction, Orisa is still the best tank in Overwatch Season 18. The basis of her strength comes down to a few things. Firstly, she can do so much whilst still providing a shield for her team. In contrast, Reinhardt is limited to either dealing damage or protecting his team. Orisa’s biggest advantage in that match up is that she can simultaneously provide a shield and apply pressure with her primary fire.

In times gone by, Orisa’s largest weakness was how easy she was to push. However, in Season 18 that is no longer the case. Of course, both her cooldowns help out to an extent. Fortify provides her an unmatched level of sustain and Halt can pull pesky opponents out of the way. The real crux is how strong her barrier is.

Orisa’s barrier has 900 HP and can be redeployed every ten seconds. Interestingly, it used to be as little as eight seconds before the nerfs. On paper, you’d think this means that 90 damage per second is enough to break her shield. However, it isn’t that simple. Overwatch’s best tank can use fortify to stall for a few seconds after her shield breaks. Equally, she can pre-deploy shield by throwing it into the air to cut down her cooldown timer significantly.

Finally, the main reason you should be playing Orisa in ranked. Her chemistry with both Sigma and Roadhog is unmatched. The classic pulled pork combination can punish out of position opponents at will. Orisa pulls a ledge, Roadhog hooks into it and your team has an easy pick. Equally strong, Season 18 introduced Sigma. Even if it wasn’t Blizzard’s intention, Sigma is Orisa’s best off-tank partner.

Sigma One of Overwatch Season 18 Heroe

Sigma Overwatch Season 18.It’s clear that Blizzard designed Sigma to function as the main tank in a team. Unfortunately, role queue only dictates that a team plays two tanks, two DPS and two supports. It does not ensure teams have to play a main and an off tank. Previously, this wasn’t a concern. The chemistry between a main and off-tank outweighed any potential two main tanks could get together.

That all changed with the introduction of Sigma. Much like Orisa, Sigma is a tank that can do a lot of things whilst shielding his team. Also, Sigma is kitted out with several cooldowns that make him difficult to push. Actually, I’ll further and say Sigma is unpushable.

Sigma has a 1500 HP deployable barrier. Before the previous patch, this barrier could be moved around without any restrictions too. Mercifully, Blizzard added a one-second cooldown between separate shield deployments. On top of that, both his abilities help to punish any over-zealous opponents who are pushing their luck.

Accretion is a hard stun that knocks heroes to the ground. The further away you hit someone, the longer they are stunned. This can be particularly fun if you manage to snipe a Pharah out of the sky. Meanwhile, his Kinetic Grasp functions as a sort of make-shift D.Va Defense Matrix. Whilst shorter in range, Grasp eats up any incoming damage and converts it into temporary shields. You’d be amazed at how much survivability these abilities provide.

Perhaps Sigma’s largest selling point is his carry potential. Unlike any other tank, Sigma can mechanically carry. He doesn’t rely on communication to pop off like Reinhardt, Winston or Orisa. Season 18 has introduced us to a main tank with a very reliable one-shot combo. Just shoot, Accretion, Melee for a brutal 230 damage.

Doomfist

Doomfist for Overwatch Season 18Doomfist’s introduction to Overwatch Season 18 can be considered one of Blizzard’s biggest mistakes. It’s arguable but I believe he kickstarted the crowd control craze and the shift away from Overwatch’s core FPS values. Throughout his various seasons, Doomfist has been everything from a must pick to a throw pick. However, it’s now in Season 18 that he is at his all-time strongest.

The Double Shield meta has caused a major headache for all ranged hitscan heroes. Popular FPS-centric characters like Widowmaker, Soldier 76 and McCree struggle to function with so many shields around. Unlike all those, Doomfist is not deterred by barriers. In fact, the presence of so many barriers has made him extremely strong.

Big Akande’s punches pass through all shields. Similarly, his uppercut can send enemies flying into the air, shielded or not. This isn’t his only advantage though. Doomfist has the second-best mobility in the game. A skilled Doom player can fly over rooftops, one-shot combo the backline and punch out back to safety. No number of barriers is going to stop that.

To be fair, on his own Doomfist is actually surprisingly easy to counter. All forms of mobility make his life far more difficult and hard stuns like McCree’s flashbang can punish mistakes. However, if the enemy team chooses to play McCree whilst you’re running the Season 18 Double Shield special, they’ve probably already lost. Outside of Reaper and maybe Sombra, Doomfist’s worse matchups are too difficult to play in this meta. If you learn his rollouts and combos there’s little that can stop you from getting value.

Reaper

ReaperTheoretically, you would think shield break could work in this meta. However, as I’ve touched upon already, these two tanks rarely have a pushable opportunity. That means that when you finally get through you need to deal as much damage as possible in as little time. And thus, Reaper finds himself in the meta for the first time since Beyblade.

It’s simple. There is no other character this good at dealing close range burst damage. Couple that with his incredible 40% life-steal providing him insane levels of sustain and you’re left with a deadly DPS. Why bother breaking shields when you can just walk right through them? In fact, why even bother dealing with shields at all? Many of the pros just teleport behind the enemy team and get to work on their backline.

However, there is a catch. In some games, people may not play the meta at all. This is especially common in ranks below masters. Reaper might be excellent against most tank combinations, but he struggles against a lot of DPS. If you’re playing Havana and the other team is running Widowmaker and Hanzo, don’t play Reaper. Seriously, his hardest counter is double sniper, not stuns. You can play smart and bait out stuns. However, there’s very little counter play to two snipers aiming at your head.

Lucio

LucioLucio is the kind of hero that most players won’t complain about. He’s not overly oppressive and if boops you off the map it was probably a positioning mistake. His crowd control is strong but doesn’t remove much control from the recipient. However, make no mistake, Season 18 Lucio is surprisingly overtuned.

Think about it this way. In the simplest sense, heroes are broken down into four areas. Mobility, damage, healing and utility. Obviously, Lucio has the best mobility in Overwatch. Some of his rollouts are incredible. Equally, he is one of only two characters to have a dedicated defensive ultimate. Considering the other belongs to the almost unplayable Zenyatta, that’s another plus one for Lucio.

His healing isn’t spectacular, but a skilled Lucio player can do more than you’d think. Some well-timed amps can provide some clutch burst healing to keep up both tanks and squishies alike. It’s difficult to question his utility too. Outside of his ultimate, his primary utility is his Speed Aura. When activated, this provides himself and all nearby allies with a 25% movement buff. If speed is amplified, this increases to 60%.

The value of speed cannot be understated. Especially in the Season 18 meta. Giving a Reaper or your main tanks speed to push into the enemy team is very powerful. It can be the difference between taking advantage of a mistake or missing out on the opportunity.

You would think then that Lucio’s weakness would be his effective damage. In the wrong hands, this is true. However, a skilled Lucio can dominate even the best DPS players. Don’t believe me? Check out a FunnyAstro stream when you get the chance. It’s crazy how consistently he wins even the most uphill of duels.

Moira

MoiraIt’s strange to me that heroes like Moira can even become meta in the first place. By design, she is supposed to be the simple, low mechanics, main healer. That’s not to say she doesn’t still have a lot to manage but the general consensus is she’s far easier to play than Ana, Mercy or Baptiste. Regardless of her difficulty, there’s no doubting her current strength in the Season 18 meta.

You know with Moira regardless of composition you’re getting two valuable things. One, a lot of healing. Two, a lot of damage. Top that off with her decent ultimate and she’s got a lot going for her. Previously, her biggest problem was her lack of utility. However, in Season 18 this doesn’t matter near as much. The fact she can heal efficiently even with barriers placed everywhere is more than enough. Not to mention that her Fade ability is great against both Reaper and Doomfist.

Moira also has great carry potential for those looking to play an aggressive support style. Combining her damage orb into Coalescence with some decent tracking can wipe out any squishy on the game. If you’re feeling really confident, it can even take out both halves of a Pharmercy.

So which of the heroes are you be in Overwatch Season 18? Please leave your comment in the comments box below.

FIFA 20 To Support UEFA’s No For Racism Campaign

FIFA 20

FIFA 20

It has been a difficult week for sports fans. Amidst the England versus Bulgaria game was a plague of racism. Clearly targeted at multiple black England players, Bulgaria’s fans had little sympathy for the struggles many minorities go through. Football’s European federation UEFA has made it clear they will not stand for this any longer. Similarly, EA has stood up and announced they plan to help out too.

FIFA 20 will feature special kits on Ultimate Team which players will be able to collect soon. It’s unclear if these will be dropped to all players or through a Squad Builder Challenge. This update will also see new LED boards and banners displaying UEFA’s No Room for Racism message.

EA Sports’ FIFA 20 ambassador is England international midfielder, Jesse Lingard. His message to fans was simple yet powerful. “Everyone has a right to feel safe and included. Racism is not and never will be acceptable.”

This is not the first time FIFA 20 has been used as a tool to promote equality. Both FIFA 17 and FIFA 19 released rainbow-colored LGBT+ inclusive kits for players to obtain. You could obtain those through in-game challenges. For example, the FIFA 19 kit was handed out to those that finished three friendly season matches.

What Motivated This Movement?

FIFA 20 MovementOn Monday, England and Bulgaria played what should have been just yet another qualifier. Both nations were competing to qualify for the UEFA European Championships next year. Whilst England would take home a dominant 6-0 win, the result was the least of everyone’s concerns.

Throughout the match, a group of Bulgaria fans displayed vile racist behavior toward several England players. For example, these radical fans were making monkey noises and Nazi salutes throughout the game. This behavior caught the immediate attention of the FIFA 20 developers. England’s team featured several black players including key figures like Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

It is a football tradition to make a decision when this kind of thing happens. You either walk off the pitch to make a statement or play on and ignore them. England chose to play on and win the game convincingly. We can only hope the appropriate authorities take suitable action against those responsible for these hate crimes.

Overall, this FIFA 20 update may not seem like much. Of course, adding some cosmetics doesn’t fix the problem but it is a powerful sentiment. It shows that both Electronic Arts and FIFA developers EA Sports Canada wholeheartedly support UEFA’s campaign. There is no quick fix to this issue but having the support of several major organizations certainly helps.

Pokémon Center London Inspires 5 Hour Queues

Pokémon

Pokémon

Nintendo’s latest store expansion has opened today. The London Pokémon Center brings a tonne of new, exciting Pokémon merchandise to England’s streets. This new store opening coincides with Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release. Both upcoming generation 8 mainline games are set in the Galar region, based on the United Kingdom.

Any eager fans that visited Pokémon Center London came across some brutal queues. For example, some fans who began queuing at 8:30 am only managed to get in by 1 pm. Even as a huge fan, I doubt I could stomach a five-hour queue. Mind you, they do say the British love a good queue.

Much of the merchandise available is what you would expect. Plushies, trading cards, stickers, mugs. All those classics goods you often see at geek conventions like Comic-Con. Because this is a London store we’re speaking about, prices are not cheap. Smaller plushies feature a reasonable entry price of £20 but the largest one’s peak at £240. To be fair, these prices aren’t too different from existing Pokemon Centers worldwide.

For those more interested in the games side of Pokemon, the London Centre features a hardware area too. Here you can play a demo of Sword and Shield or pick up a Switch in preparation of its full release next month.

The Downside

Unfortunately, Pokemon Center London is not a permanent shop opening. Instead, Nintendo has announced it will only remain open until November 15th. Basically, the release date for Sword and Shield. It’s disappointing that we aren’t getting a proper full-time shop. After all, the glamorous Pokemon Center in Tokyo has stood strong for well over a year.

If truth be told, this isn’t the first time Nintendo has done this. For Pokemon X and Y, they launched a temporary Center in Paris too. If anything, we should be grateful. The Paris Center only lasted two weeks. In contrast, the London Center will remain open for double that.

Are you planning on visiting London over the next four weeks? If so, it’s probably worth checking out. Furthermore, this weekend signals the start of EGX London. A great two for one deal if you’re looking for a fun weekend in England’s renowned capital.

Hong Kong Book Their Ticket to the Overwatch World Cup

HONG KONG

Hong Kong

It’s fair to say Blizzard hasn’t had a good week. Infamously, they revoked the prize money of professional Hearthstone player Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai. Their justification? He dared to support the independence and human rights movement in Hong Kong.

Blizzard doesn’t tend to like their employees making comments that cause them trouble. However, the fact they didn’t support Blitzchung in his show of support is shocking. Fortunately, some good news has come out of all this.

Hong Kong’s Overwatch international team was not looking hopeful in regard to making the World Cup. Not because they didn’t qualify, but because they couldn’t afford it. Blizzard only covers expenses and living costs for the top 10 ranked nations. Unsurprisingly, these all happen to be large, wealthy countries like South Korea and the US. Needless to say, Honk Kong did not make the cut.

Originally set up in August, the Fire Dragons hoped crowdfunding could work as a last resort. Unfortunately, it didn’t pick up much traction. That is until a certain American publisher declared their profound anti-Hong Kong stance.

The outcome was the fundraiser receiving HK$88,736. That’s the equivalent of around £9000 or $11,000. Also, this number is HK $8000 above the initial goal and the fundraiser still has thirteen days left to run. Hong Kong have set a top 10 finish target for this World Cup. I look forward to seeing if they can pull it off.

It’s Not Just Hong Kong Struggling

Overwatch World CupUnfortunately, Blizzard’s strict top 10 only policy has destroyed the dreams of several nations. In August, Team Romania announced they would not be attending this World Cup. They cited the main reason as a “lack of sponsors and lack of interest from Blizzard.” In an emotional statement, Team Romania accused Blizzard of overly focusing on funding their “subpar viewer count league.”

No other nations have had to go as far as to drop out. However, several have been very public about the difficulties in funding the trip to Anaheim. Team South Africa claimed it would cost them “roughly R300 000 to cover 7 to 8 days.” That converts to around £16,000 or a staggering $20,000. Even with this amount, their General Manager and Community Lead have stated they may still have to fund their own trips.

How do you feel about the Hong Kong situation? Is Blizzard justified in only supporting the big nations? After all, they are the ones that will bring in the majority of viewers. Alternatively, should they go back to their old model and provide an equal opportunity for all involved? Let us know in the comments.