In today’s video gaming news, learn more about China did not issue any new video game licenses in October, interrupting a streak of approvals since June and sending shivers through an industry dealing with a market decline and persistent regulatory inspection. Meanwhile, A video game specialist and archaeologist is concerned that the absence of published material on the Islamic Golden Age of Assassin’s Creed available to “Mirage’s” developers may compromise the game’s historical accuracy. Lastly, GameStop said on Monday that its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace is now operational on the blockchain platform ImmutableX.
No License Issued in October Hurts China’s Beleaguered Gaming Business
No new video game licenses were awarded in China in October, breaking a run of approvals since June and sending chills through an industry facing a market decline and government scrutiny.
The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), which licenses video games in China, paused approvals after an eight-month moratorium expired in April. Analysts and industry insiders believed the clearance process had returned to normal.
In July, the NPPA licensed 45 games. No license was given in May, but analysts saw it as a delay due to a Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, not a new policy signal.
From June to September, 269 additional licenses were issued.
In October, there were no new approvals.
The Chinese Communist Party held its biennial convention the same month. Official monthly trade and GDP data were likewise delayed by 10 and 6 days, respectively. The news came after the meeting.
NPPA has yet to publish its yearly list of approved imported video games, which was announced in June. Without a license, foreign games can’t debut or operate in China.
The lack of approvals in October will have little impact on the business for now, says Zhang Yi of Guangzhou-based iiMedia Research.
“No need to worry about the immediate consequence of a one-month delay,” he added. “There is a relatively lengthy period between the awarding of a license and (the launch of) the real product.”
“However, the regulator’s strategy of regulating the market by limiting new gaming licenses may become the standard.”
A Shanghai game shop. Reuters
Still, the delay has raised uncertainty in the world’s largest video gaming sector, which has been hammered by a sluggish economy and tighter restrictions.
Even though video game approvals resumed this year, the number of licenses is still lower than in prior years.
The government has severely enforced play time restrictions on young online gamers since August to curb video game addiction. Children under 18 can’t play internet games for more than three hours a week.
In the third quarter, China’s mobile game sales fell 25% from last year to 41.6bil yuan (RM27.09bil), the lowest since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Shenzhen’s youth plays online games in an Internet cafe. Image: Shutterstock
Total video game sales in the country fell 19.1% year on year to 59.7bil yuan (RM38.87bil), the study said, despite the third quarter being a strong season for gaming with schools out for summer.
Even the biggest players face rising problems.
Tencent Holdings, the world’s largest video game firm by revenue, revealed a sales dip in the second quarter, the first loss since its 2004 debut. During that time, it cut 5,500 jobs.
In September, Tencent secured its first video game license in 15 months, but it was for a modest mobile app. SCM Post.
How Accurate is Assassin’s Creed’s 9th-century Baghdad? Archaeologists Say Not So
Next year, Ubisoft will release Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the 13th main game in the series, to mark the 15th anniversary of the first game. Archaeologists are concerned about the game’s 9th-century Baghdad setting, which recreates the Islamic Golden Age through open-world gameplay.
The problem isn’t that the video game industry may get things wrong; specialists simply don’t know enough about this period of history, says Gamer news editor Justin Reeve.
“Multiphase archaeological sites are common in the region, meaning settlement spanned numerous eras, perhaps thousands of years. Reeve wrote that to keep moving down, you must demolish what’s on top. “For millennia, people have tried to excavate the bottom layers, blowing through everything above to get to the material below.”
Archaeologists have only recently begun studying the levels corresponding to Mirage’s period, and most of them write in Arabic, which limits the availability of their discoveries.
The Early Islamic Period in the Near and Middle East has gotten little archaeological study due to a lack of sources or curiosity, said Reeve.
According to Reeve, there are scant written records from the period, mostly by al-Mas’udi, who was born 100 years after the events he was writing about. Given their limited resources, it’s unclear how Ubisoft would replicate Islamic Golden Age living.
Previous games in the series have taken players to Victorian-era London, Renaissance Italy, the Golden Age of Piracy in the West Indies, and the U.S. Northeast during the American Revolution.
The most recent installments include Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018), and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 2020.
Mirage will focus on the real-life Order of Hashshshn (Arabic meaning assassins), a sect of Ismaili Shia Islam.
The stories feature Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and the Pyramids of Giza. The game designers work closely with professionals like French archaeologist, Egyptologist, and illustrator Jean-Claude Golvin to construct a plausible (though often imaginative) plot and authentic portrayal of the period and place of the journey.
Assassin’s Creed is known for its attention to historical detail and nitpicking of apparent flaws.
Video game fans hoped a 2014 rendering of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral for Assassin’s Creed Unity, set in Revolutionary France, may help reconstruct the landmark after a 2019 fire. (It turns out the game lacks the millimetric precision needed for conservation work.)
Since 2009, historians and archaeologists have acknowledged the educational value of the series.
Origins became a university-funded teaching tool owing to the Twitch streaming channel “Playing in the Past” that aired in 2020 and 2021 during the lockdowns and included expert walk-throughs of the game using the new “Discovery Tour” option. A 2019 publication in Advances in Archaeological Practice notes that it lets you explore the virtual environment without battle, turning your time-traveling murderer into a less-threatening tourist.
Chris Naunton, who co-hosted the series with Egyptologists Gemma Renshaw and Kate Sheppard, wrote about the experience. “Virtual Alexandria was clearly created based on textual and archaeological material, with holes filled in by fair conjecture.”
The game is “an great instrument for studying, teaching, and popularizing Egyptian archaeology,” said archaeology professor Caroline Arbuckle at a UBC symposium. We should consider video games a real resource, not just frivolous amusement.
Artnet News was astounded by Valhalla’s beautiful graphics and the possibility to “see” ancient sites like Stonehenge (and the less-famous Seahenge) and the ship burial at Sutton Hoo, shown just partially buried in soil. Roman ruins were dispersed around the map, and a small history museum asked players to acquire Roman relics for a “archaeologist” award.
The blog Archaeogaming was “disappointed” with the game, which reused mosaics and other architectural designs around the world.
Based on the series’ history, video game players, historians, and archaeologists will hold Mirage to a high standard. But given the game’s context, they may be limited.
“We need to look past historical accuracy in games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage to ask why we have so terrible knowledge,” Reeve added. “Before developers can ‘do their research,’ there must be research.”
ImmutableX launches GameStop NFT Marketplace
Original Source: GameStop NFT Marketplace Goes Live on ImmutableX
GameStop’s non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace is live on ImmutableX, it stated Monday.
The GameStop NFT platform has been in public testing since July. The launch will allow users to access Web3 games being built on ImmutableX, such as Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, and Illuvium, as well as NFT gaming assets. According to its developers, layer 2 scaling can permit “100% gas-free and carbon-neutral minting and trading” on the GameStop NFT marketplace, making it an attractive alternative for Web3 gamers.
The two platforms have collaborated on many projects since February, including a $100 million grant for Web3 game producers and incorporating ImmutableX into the GameStop NFT Marketplace’s wallet to make digital asset management easier.
Over the past year, GameStop has built its Web3 integrations. In May, the shop announced a crypto and NFT wallet. Loopring helped handle transactions for its pilot marketplace launch in July, pulling in $7.2 million in its first week. Retailer established a cooperation with bitcoin exchange FTX.
Jonathan Reedy, VP of Strategic Partnerships at ImmutableX, told CoinDesk that both company seek to enroll new Web3 gamers by delivering training materials and integrating in-person and virtual gameplay later.
Reedy said ImmutableX intends to establish a gaming landscape that no longer thinks about blockchain gaming in terms of wallets, bridges, chains, and rollups. Instead, true digital ownership and fun will be at the heart of the gameplay experience.
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, In October, China did not approve any new video game licenses, interrupting a run of approvals since June and sending shivers through an industry struggling with a market decline and constant government inspection. Many analysts and industry insiders had assumed that the clearance procedure for video games in China had returned to normal after an eight-month licensing freeze ended in April. This was contrary to the NPPA’s decision to put a hold on the process.
On the other hand, with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Mirage in 2019, Ubisoft will mark the 15th anniversary of the first game in the critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed franchise. However, historians are already worried about the game’s open-world setting in 9th-century Baghdad, which attempts to re-create the Islamic Golden Age. According to archaeologist and Gamer news editor Justin Reeve, the issue isn’t so much that the video game corporation might get things incorrect as it is that academics simply don’t know enough about this neglected period of history.
Finally, GameStop, a video game retailer, announced on Monday that its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace would be available on the blockchain platform ImmutableX. GameStop’s NFT platform has been in public testing since July, though the relationship wasn’t publicized until February. At the time of the formal debut, members of the marketplace will be able to play Web3 games like Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians, and Illuvium, as well as other NFT gaming assets. The inventors of the layer 2 scaling product claim that it is a great option for Web3 gaming newcomers since it enables “100% gas-free and carbon-neutral minting and trading” on the GameStop NFT marketplace.