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You’ll forgive me if this Kaser Focus is a bit longer than usual, but things really popped off this week. Last week, we saw the beginnings of the case between the FTC and Microsoft over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This week, the two sides wrapped up their arguments and it’s down to Judge Corley to deliver a verdict. Now, you know me — I love legal drama in gaming, if only because each case is usually a treasure trove of passive-aggressive, petty nonsense that only corporate lawyers have the time to whip up. But this case is one for the record books.
I’m not going to break down all of the juicy news from the trial — go read this week’s DeanBeat if you wanna see some of the more interesting revelations. But I do think the FTC came into this case on the back foot. It says something that the judge had to remind the FTC’s reps that the case is not supposed to be about protecting Sony, but consumers. The FTC also focused on Call of Duty to the detriment of its other arguments, in my opinion. That said, Microsoft showed that it’s not disingenuous either — the documents in this case reveal the company has considered buying a lot of other publishers as a shortcut to a higher spot in the market.
As with the Epic vs Apple case, the judge is my actual hero here. Her Honor Jacqueline Scott Corey is now up there with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on my list of judges who aren’t afraid to call gaming entities out. It’s not a long list, necessarily, but with those two on it, it doesn’t need to be. Judge Corley even wrapped up the case with what I feel was the only question of any merit: Why is Call of Duty so important? And would anyone at either company (or the FTC for that matter) even have thought of the consumers if Sony had signed the deal with Microsoft to share Call of Duty?
What else is going on?
Leaving all that aside, what else happened this week? Well, Niantic and Daedalic both announced they’re shifting away from internal development and laid off several employees. Niantic is still working on some games, but canceled Marvel: World of Heroes. Meanwhile, Daedalic are going completely away from game development following the failure of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. It’s a pity, because their adventure games are actually quite delightful — a Gollum title done in the style of, say, Deponia would have been at least more interesting than what we got.
CD Projekt Red’s VP of PR, Michał Platkow-Gilewski, told Gamesindustry.biz that he felt the criticism of Cyberpunk 2077 was overblown at launch. His exact words are, “[It] became a cool thing not to like it. We went from hero to zero really fast. That was the tough moment. We didn’t know what was happening.” Keep in mind this is at the tail end of a very long interview where he talks about rebuilding their relationship with gamers. As someone who was there for the Cyberpunk 2077 launch and muddled through the game-breaking glitches (on PC, no less) to scrape out what fun I could find, I can tell you this, Michał: We weren’t angry. We were just disappointed.
In personal news, it appears it’s time to get my mystery gaming hat on as both Master Detective Archives and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective have launched this week. I also intend to get cozy with the new Story of Seasons game, because it’s been a long week and I need some simple time to plant crops and play with some cows.
What to play this week
- Master Detective Archives: Rain Code
- Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Remastered
- Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life
- Everybody 1-2-Switch
- AEW: Fight Forever
- One Lonely Outpost
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened
New on subscription services:
- Bramble: The Mountain King (Xbox Game Pass)
- F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch (Xbox Game Pass)
- Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (Xbox Game Pass)
- Roguebook (Prime Gaming)
- Once Upon a Jester (Prime Gaming)
- Gems of Destiny: Homeless Dwarf (Prime Gaming)
- Darkest Dungeon (GeForce Now)
- Darkest Dungeon II (GeForce Now)
- Derail Valley (GeForce Now)
- Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (GeForce Now)
- I Am Fish (GeForce Now)
- Golf Gang (GeForce Now)
- Contraband Police (GeForce Now)
- Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Nintendo Switch Online)
- Crusader of Centy (Nintendo Switch Online)
- Landstalker (Nintendo Switch Online)
- The Revenge of Shinobi (Nintendo Switch Online)
- Millionaire Trivia: TV Game+ (Apple Arcade)