In today’s video gaming news, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a major force in the video gaming industry. The Saudi government has just stated its intention to make a massive investment of $37.8 billion into the gaming sector, with the goal of launching game production and esports in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski presided over his final Global StarCraft II League on Oct. 15. Fans and business colleagues called his last GSL the end of an esports era. Lastly, more than seventy original scores have been submitted for consideration in the Video Game Score category of the Grammy Awards, indicating that the genre is off to a promising start in its debut year.
What Does Saudi Arabia’s Focus on Video Games Mean for the Industry?
Original Source: SAUDI ARABIA IS GOING ALL IN ON VIDEO GAMES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE GAMES INDUSTRY?
Saudi Arabia is a new gaming powerhouse.
Saudi Arabia aims to invest $37.8 billion in game development and esports in the Middle East.
Axios claimed that Saudi Arabia will use the government-funded Savvy Gaming Group. Savvy’s investments include acquiring “a prominent game publisher” and fostering local developers and esports groups in the Middle East. According to the Saudi press agency, the Saudi gaming group plans to develop 250 game companies and 39,000 jobs.
The announcement is making headlines and industry ripples. Given Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, it’s also surprising.
Saudi Arabia’s investment in gaming is part of Vision 2030, a drive to grow and diversify the economy. Saudi Arabia has been criticized for a similar expenditure in the LIV Golf series.
Northeastern game design professor Celia Pearce concerns how much say Saudi leadership will have in the creative process. Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister who ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, chairs Savvy’s board.
Pearce said the government and prince will influence the material. I’ll go out on a limb and say this won’t improve misogyny in the gaming business.
Saudi Arabia’s foray into video gaming is also economic. The games business made $214,2 billion in 2021 and is predicted to expand. World Economic Forum projects $321,1 billion in industry revenue by 2026.
“Future-proofing” a country with an oil-driven economy is not surprising, says Northeastern game design professor Casper Harteveld. Saudi Arabia’s massive play might make the Middle East a gaming hub, which is startling.
“There is some game production and a games community in the Middle East, but nothing major, so maybe this is an opportunity because they need a voice in the industry,” adds Harteveld. “It’s not only Asian and Western games.”
Savvy’s purchases and investments have put Saudi Arabia on the map.
Savvy bought ESL and Faceit for $1.5 billion in January. In June, he invested $1 billion in The Embracer Group, a Swedish holding firm with 120 game studios and 230 games in production. Saudi Arabia has invested billions in Nintendo, EA, Activision, and Take-Two.
What this means for players and the industry depends on the games Savvy funds and promotes in Saudi Arabia.
“Are they buying a company and doing the same thing?
says Harteveld. Or, are we getting more diverse, intriguing Middle Eastern games? ”
Pearce says it’s unclear if developers will be allowed to convey culturally distinct storylines or if they’ll be required to promote the crown prince and Saudi government’s “cultural values.” Direct government sponsorship of a games company to grow the sector is unusual. In the past, governments used tax incentives to attract developers and corporations. Montreal is the “Hollywood of video games” since the early 2000s.
Attracting or acquiring existing developers can help accelerate growth, but Saudi Arabia needs more game development infrastructure and knowledge.
“An infrastructure needs a flow of talent, internet, and everything,” adds Harteveld. “There’s internet, but where does the talent come from? ”
Saudi Arabia’s multibillion dollar investment in games comes as the sector consolidates into a handful of huge corporations. More expensive games are riskier for publishers. Rising costs are driving mergers, so even as revenues rise, the industry is shrinking.
Pearce compares the scenario to 1930s Hollywood, when a few studios ruled and creators had little control. Pearce thinks that poor working conditions and endemic misogyny will only become worse when Saudi Arabia enters the gaming sector.
Pearce said he thinks the labor situation will worsen if additional mergers occur and countries like Saudi Arabia become involved. If they become a game production centre, will it be worse than the U.S. game industry’s lack of diversity and misogynistic practices? I hope not.”
Starcraft’s Casting Godfather Artosis Leaves
Original Source: Artosis, StarCraft’s esports casting godfather, moves on
Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski presided over his final Global StarCraft II League on Oct. 15. Fans and business colleagues called his last GSL the end of an esports era.
Stemkoski is a pioneer of Western esports commentating. He and Nick “Tasteless” Plott were the English-speaking faces of South Korea’s GSL “StarCraft II” league. “StarCraft II” was the most popular esports title in the early 2010s. Stemkoski and Plott brought “StarCraft II” esports to the West and helped the sector explode.
Stemkoski announced his retirement from GSL in June, citing family and career reasons. Fans and industry figures lauded Stemkoski’s influence beyond “StarCraft”
Stemkoski will continue casting games at other venues and will work with Plott on future programming, he told fans.
esports benefited from massive money and tech in the 2010s.
Stemkoski and Plott formed Tastosis the Casting Archon (a reference to “StarCraft’s” powerful Protoss unit created by fusing two Templars) and taught spectators how to follow an esports match. When Tastosis arrived, Western esports casting was in its infancy. If a tournament had English commentary, it was generally rudimentary.
Tastosis looked to sports commentary for inspiration, inventing approaches that merged clear, entertaining narration with follow-up analysis of a player or team’s strategy. Both worked hard to make their shows interesting. They watched “StarCraft” replays, studied other commentators, and reviewed their material. It was a casting approach that could please diehard fans and newcomers.
Plott provides play-by-plays while Stemkoski provides context and commentary. Stemkoski and Plott became fan favorites for their experience, casting, and rapport. Tastosis’ notoriety has diminished with “StarCraft’s” success, yet they are among the first and finest esport commentators. Any Western esports caster working today has likely been inspired by the pair.
Stemkoski’s final GSL cast earned praise from Team Liquid founder Victor “Nazgul” Goossens.
NFL players have longer careers than esports stars. Why?
Chris “Huk” Loranger, former president of Boston Uprising, wrote, “You guys are legends who helped bring in the golden age of gaming/esports/Twitch/live-streaming.” Loranger played “StarCraft II” with Tastosis.
David “UltraDavid” Graham, esports pundit and proprietor of esports-focused law company DPG At Law, dubbed Stemkoski’s GSL retirement the “end of an era.” Graham praised Stemkoski and noted Tastosis’ generation-spanning effect.
“I hear your voices all throughout esports, not just in all the commentators you’ve influenced,” Graham tweeted.
Stemkoski began casting in 2008 when he moved to South Korea to be an English-speaking “StarCraft” commentator. His growing family and desire to be closer to relatives inspired him to move to Prince Edward Island, he said in a video. Stemkoski lives with his wife, four kids, and dog.
Stemkoski’s present living condition is 800 square feet for six people and a dog. “It’s not large. No yard. We miss some things.”
Esports’ physical toll: aching wrists, early retirement.
Second, the shifting esports landscape. Stemkoski chose South Korea for its esports infrastructure. With the industry’s worldwide appeal, South Koreans are casting less in English.
Stemkoski: “I don’t feel linked to Korea.” “Professionally.”
Stemkoski and Plott cast together on AfreecaTV StarCraft League. Plott thanked Stemkoski for their friendship in Tastosis’ farewell GSL cast. Stemkoski completed his GSL career with poignant comments.
Stemkoski commented on stream, “It’s been the finest work” “Thanks. I’ll miss everyone in the studio.”
Grammys’ New Score Category Features Video Game Composers
Original Source: Video Game Composers Brawl in Grammys’ New Score Category
In its debut year, the Grammys’ new video game score category has 70 unique entries.
First-round voting has begun, and Recording Academy members have several options. But will they vote on the game’s popularity or its music?
Grammy voters say the ballot includes popular games like the dark fantasy “Elden Ring” (music by Yuka Kitamura, Yoshimi Kudo, Shoi Miyazawa, Tsukasa Saitoh and Tai Tomisawa), the action-adventure “Tunic” (music by Janice Kwan and Terence Lee), the post-apocalyptic “Horizon Forbidden West” (music by “various artists”), and the horror- (music by Ian Livingstone).
Some of the game industry’s top composers have entered. Austin Wintory (“Journey,” the only Grammy-nominated game score) has “Aliens: Fireteam Elite”; Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab (“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”) have “MultiVersus”; Jason Graves (“Dead Space”) has “Moss: Book II”; and Inon Zur (“Prince of Persia”) has “Syberia: The World Before” and is one of nine composers for “PUBG Mobile
Game-music honors from earlier this year may foretell Grammy winners. This year’s BAFTA winner “Returnal Volume 2” (music by Bobby Krlic) is submitted, as are BAFTA candidates “Far Cry 6” (six entries by Pedro Bronfman, Will Bates, Stephen Lukach and others), “Halo Infinite” (Gareth Coker and Curtis Schweitzer), “Deathloop” (Tom Salta), and “Psychonauts 2.” (Peter McConnell).
Also, Game Audio Network Guild honors may lead to Grammy nominations. This year’s GANG winners on the Grammys’ preliminary list are “Kena: Bridge of Spirits” (music by Jason Alexander Gallat), “Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye” (music by Andrew Prahlow), “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” (music by Richard Jacques), “Returnal,” and “Halo Infinite.”
Composers known for film and TV scores are also on the list, including Bear McCreary (“Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”) for “Call of Duty: Vanguard,” Nainita Desai (“14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible”) for “Immortality,” and Stephanie Economou (“Jupiter’s Legacy”) for “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok.”
The first round ends Oct. 23. Nominations are due Nov. 15.
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, Saudi government has announced its intention to invest $37.8 billion in the gaming business in an effort to stimulate game creation and esports in the Middle East. Axios said that Saudi Arabia’s intentions will be carried out by the Savvy Gaming Group, a video game firm sponsored by the Saudi government. Savvy’s efforts in launching a Saudi Arabian games market include the acquisition of a “top game publisher” as well as the creation of indigenous developers and the establishment of esports organizations in the Middle East.
On the other hand, Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski, a pioneer in esports casting, presided over his final Global StarCraft II League Oct. 15. His last GSL was called the end of an era for esports by fans and coworkers. Stemkoski is a pioneer of Western esports commentating. He and Nick “Tasteless” Plott were the English-speaking faces of South Korea’s GSL “StarCraft II” league. “StarCraft II” was the most popular esports title in the early 2010s. Stemkoski and Plott brought “StarCraft II” esports to the West and helped the sector explode.
Finally, in its debut year, the Grammys’ new video game score category has 70 unique entries. Grammy voters say the ballot includes popular games like the dark fantasy “Elden Ring” (music by Yuka Kitamura, Yoshimi Kudo, Shoi Miyazawa, Tsukasa Saitoh and Tai Tomisawa), the action-adventure “Tunic” (music by Janice Kwan and Terence Lee), the post-apocalyptic “Horizon Forbidden West” (music by “various artists”), and the horror- (music by Ian Livingstone).