In today’s gaming news, learn more about how video gaming is altering the recruitment and morale of the military, which was traditionally deemed nerdy. Meanwhile, Blizzard Entertainment is in discussions with potential partners about continuing to provide its popular World of Warcraft game in China, as its contract with Chinese gaming giant NetEase is set to expire. Lastly, the Switch and last-gen versions of Hogwarts Legacy have been postponed and will now premiere in July for Nintendo Switch and April for last-gen systems.
Esports in Military Recruitment and Morale
Original Source: Military Esports: How Gaming Is Changing Recruitment & Morale
Nerdiness is gone.
Most current service members haven’t seen video games. Some gamers in their 40s played Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis in their parents’ basements before taking those consoles on deployment in the 1990s.
While playing, a man faces computer screens.
One thing hasn’t changed: military members still play video games. As the esports business grows quickly, practically every branch of the military now has an official service-sanctioned gaming program.
Some of these servicemen play video games for a living.
Like the Army Marksmanship Unit, the eSports team’s soldiers are allocated to the unit. The esports team comprises 11 full-time players, but roughly 200 others could play if it doesn’t interfere with their unit’s goal.
“We have all other traditional sports, including the World Class Athlete Program. Hence, esports.” questioned Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Jones, the team’s founder. In November 2018, 7,000 soldiers sought to join the program. Membership now exceeds 18,000 active-duty, reservist, and National Guard soldiers.
Three men raise an award.
Goats & Glory, the Navy’s younger esports team, has 12 sailors who compete full-time in 12 events each year. The service’s 26 talent acquisition groups each have a representative to assist the team.
Flight officer Navy Lt. Aaron Jones, who oversaw the Navy esports program until recently, said, “The key part of what we do is outreach.” “Our goal is to dispel myths and rumors about the Navy and show them that we share their interests. We provide presentations and host contests in high schools and colleges about Navy opportunities.”
Recruitment Meets Motivation
Air Force Gaming differs from Army and Navy recruitment initiatives. It uses competitive leagues to improve morale and mental wellness.
“We were the first and still the only program that exists purely for MWR purposes,” Space Force Master Sgt. Mike Sullivan, one of Air Force Gaming’s founders, said. The unit continues to collaborate with Air Force recruitment agencies, he added.
A dimly lighted room holds four persons behind monitors.
Air Force Gaming, which incorporates the Space Force, started in November 2020. Sullivan said they have 28,000 members and created a mini league for retirees and young family members earlier this year.
Sullivan noted that “more senior [military] folks… engage with their kids by playing computer games.” We wanted to make sure no one was left out.”
The Air Force gaming program fosters a sense of camaraderie, but no one gets paid.
Capt. Oliver Parsons, chief of the Department of the Air Force Esports and Sports, said, “A gaming community allows military members to find and keep friends where time, space, location, rank, age, gender and ethnicity come secondary.” “You make gamer pals. Introverts can be more vulnerable and open in this atmosphere.”
Esports can also be profitable. Last year, two service men won a Super Bowl vacation through gaming.
Three five-person teams wear medals on the podium.
The military’s esports representatives stated gaming is more popular than traditional sports.
SFC Jones said gaming should come first. “Today’s technology allows you to carry it with you, therefore it’s the best.”
“Right now, traditional sports still have a larger hold over the Navy in general,” Lt. Jones said. “Games are massive. Many people escape to them.”
Regardless of their purpose, they boost morale.
“As soon as you find out this is something you could do as your day job, everyone sends in their application,” Lt. Jones said. “It’s a morale booster and a motivator.”
A headset-wearing individual plays on two screens.
Gaming helps service members decompress, especially when they’re worried, deployed, or distant from home, according to esports program administrators.
Parsons said it helped him with acute sadness and anxiety in Minot, North Dakota.
“On a carrier, you can’t actually go anyplace,” Lt. Jones replied. “So I always escaped to my room. I’m done. I’m tired. I’m stuck. Video games, please.”
Friendship Through Competition
The Defense Department’s Armed Forces Esports Championship was conducted earlier this year. Over 2,000 individuals attended, and 850,000 people watched the online broadcast.
These competitions have been streamed online to millions of Defense Department viewers. They’re also encouraging technology-focused workplaces and empowering tech-savvy employees.
Tech and Science
Sullivan claimed most gaming enthusiasts are STEM and STEAM experts. “By promoting the concept that being a nerd is good and that millions of people are like you, you’re also creating an environment to say, “Hey, let’s speak about computer programming.” Alternatively, “Let’s discuss modeling and simulation.””
An Eielson Air Force Gaming team member competes in a gaming tournament on Oct. 27, 2022.
As esports grows, these experts expect gaming to become more interwoven into morale and wellness activities.
“All branches need to start doing things for the service people first,” Sullivan added.
Marine Corps Gaming is the only DOD service branch that fields esports teams without official approval.
Blizzard Wants New Chinese Partners to Maintain World of Warcraft
As its partnership with NetEase expires, Blizzard Entertainment is in talks with possible partners to continue offering World of Warcraft in China.
According to a Google translation of Blizzard’s Tuesday letter on Weibo, Warcraft franchise general manager John Hight claimed the business is “actively discussing with various new possible distribution partners in the national service area.” “This process will continue until we discover a viable solution.”
Blizzard announced last month that it would stop providing World of Warcraft and other games in China from January 2023 after failing to renew its contract with NetEase. Blizzard began offering World of Warcraft in the country in August 2008.
World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online game where users create their own characters, go on adventures, and fight monsters.
After Blizzard’s NetEase partnership ends, Chinese players worry their game data may be destroyed.
“The ‘World of Warcraft’ team is working hard to implement a feature that allows you to transfer your game characters, props, and Azerites [an in-game currency] before the game is shut down on January 23,” Hight said Tuesday to reassure people.
Hight noted, “Lars World game progress will be recorded in your personal devices.”
Blizzard’s other titles in China, including Hearthstone, Starcraft, and Diablo III, were not mentioned by High.
One of the most successful Western game franchises in China was Blizzard’s cooperation with NetEase. After 14 years, it’s over.
When renewing their deal, NetEase CEO William Ding noted they had “substantial disputes on essential aspects.”
Blizzard president Mike Ybarra said in November that the business was “immensely appreciative” for its Chinese community’s dedication and was “searching for solutions to bring our games back to players in the future.”
Later this year, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Hearthstone: March of the Lich King, and Overwatch 2 season 2 will release normally, while Diablo Immortal’s China launch will not be affected.
Since Beijing’s 2018 industry crackdown, Chinese video game companies have had it rough. Minors can play online games for three hours each week. It also limits new game releases.
This year’s increase in game approvals suggests the crackdown may be easing.
Activision, which makes Call of Duty, owns Blizzard since their 2008 merger. Microsoft is offering about $69 billion for Activision Blizzard. However, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to prevent the purchase on competition grounds, and U.K. and EU regulators are probing it.
Switch and Last-gen Hogwarts Legacy Have Been Postponed
Original Source: Hogwarts Legacy’s Switch and last-gen versions have been delayed
The Hogwarts Legacy account tweeted that the team was “looking forward to bringing you the game and we want to give the finest possible game experience across all platforms.”
Hogwarts Legacy will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on April 4 and July 25, 2023, respectively.
The game will arrive on February 10, 2023 on PS5, Xbox Series, and PC.
It’s unknown why the Nintendo Switch version is delayed several months after the last-generation platform releases.
After Hogwarts Legacy is released, Warner Bros. may move away from the last generation. Gotham Knights’ last-generation console versions were scrapped before release.
The last generation versions’ relative lack of power may be due to the Harry Potter IP’s popularity and possibility to sell to non-gamers.
Hogwarts Legacy, developed by Avalanche Software (Disney Infinity), is an open-world RPG that lets players “experience the unwritten and embark on a risky adventure to find a hidden reality of the wizarding world.”
Hogwarts Legacy, produced by Warner’s Portkey Games division, was initially scheduled for 2021 but was delayed to 2022.
Warner Bros Games then delayed the game to early 2023 in August.
A dungeon, shopkeeper’s cosmetic set, and Hogsmeade shop will be exclusive to PlayStation versions.
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, though much has altered since then, one constant remains: the prevalence of video gaming among the armed forces. In light of the industry’s meteoric rise, practically every military service currently sponsors some form of competitive gaming. That means that for some of these service members, playing video games is literally part of their work description. Members of the Army eSports team, for example, are assigned to the unit in the same way as members of the Army Marksmanship Unit are. The esports team currently has 11 full-time players, although roughly 200 more are available if needed, provided that doing so does not compromise the unit’s goal.
On the other hand, with its contract with Chinese gaming giant NetEase coming to an end, Blizzard Entertainment is in negotiations with possible partners about maintaining the availability of its popular World of Warcraft title in China. According to Google’s translation of a letter posted by Blizzard on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Tuesday, the company is “currently negotiating with some new potential distribution partners in the national service area.” This comes from John Hight, general manager of the Warcraft franchise. “We’ll keep working on this until we find the right answer.”
Finally, the Hogwarts Legacy Twitter wrote that it was “looking forward to bringing you the game and we want to give the finest possible game experience across all platforms.” The new release dates for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Hogwarts Legacy are April 4, 2023, and July 25, 2023, for the Nintendo Switch. As scheduled, the game will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and PC on February 10, 2023. Originally set for release in 2021 under Warner’s Portkey Games imprint, the publication of Hogwarts Legacy has been pushed back to 2022. In spite of the presence of what appeared to be a Quidditch player in an early clip, Warner Bros. Games confirmed in August that the game will not be released until early 2023.