Blizzard Kowtows to China

Note: Since writing this story, Blizzard has officially responded to the issue. ExLudico’s response to the response has been added below.

In an interview with Taiwanese casters Virtual and Mr. Yee last weekend, the Chinese professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung offered a message of solidarity with the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Speaking in Mandarin, the de jure official language of the People’s Republic of China and an official language of Taiwan (but not Hong Kong), Blitzchung called for “liberation” and underscores his support for protesters.

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“I Love You, Colonel Sanders!” is a “Finger Lickin’ Good” Dating Simulator coming to Steam

Meme marketing isn’t a groundbreakingly New concept for advertisers, and advergames go as far back as the movie tie-in titles of the pre-Nintendo era, if not further. Still, if there’s anything I expected to see on Steam’s “coming soon page” early this morning, it wasn’t I Love You Colonel Sanders! Even then, I assumed (naturally, I’d like to think) that this was a hastily-made fan game that made it past Steam’s approval process ahead of an incoming intellectual property lawsuit.

Nope. According to the developer and publisher information on the game’s Steam page, I Love You, Colonel Sanders! is the creation of American advertising agency Psyop and is set to be published through the KFC brand. KFC confirmed the veracity of the collaborative effort through its KFC Gaming Twitter page, which is also something that apparently exists (and has since 2018).

The game’s Steam listing describes (and pictures) an anime-style dating simulator wherein you play a culinary school classmate of the Colonel himself on a mission to woo the goatteed, white suit-clad Kentucky Colonel. The description goes on to describe a journey filled with “life-changing decisions that will affect your chances of friendship and love”, warning that “choices have real consequences with real animated characters’ feelings at stake”.

While not necessarily expected, the game’s anime style could be partially inspired by KFC’s particular brand salience in Japan, where the company has managed to cultivate a strong holiday tradition.

I Love You Colonel Sanders! currently does not have a listed release date, but will be available on PC and can be found on the Steam Store page.

Why Steam Sales Aren’t Fun Anymore

PC Gaming’s biggest sale is still its best, but it’s losing its charm.

This year’s Steam Summer Sale started earlier this week, ushering in discounts on most titles across the PC gaming storefront. Accompanying this year’s sale is the Steam Grand Prix event, which is… confusing at best, something Valve’s since admitted, and they’ve changed the rules and directions slightly since the initial launch. Still, with the event ‘fixed’ and the sale fully up and running, it’s worth asking: Are Steam Sales fun anymore?

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E3 2019: Hit That Subscribe Button

We’re at the end of a fairly uneventful E3. The Japanese giants present may have managed to save the show a few days in, but their Western competitors stayed safer, bringing cinematics and a few reveals, but only light gameplay. Word on the street is all the big boys are huddling up and preparing for the next generation of consoles, leaving us little to contend with in the meantime. With less available meat to offer their audiences, a few of gaming’s giants are, instead, giving us a glimpse into the potential future of video gaming.

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Is the Epic Games Store a Consumer-Friendly Response to Steam?

In late 2018, after an amazingly successful year for their flagship title, Fortnite, Epic Games announced it would put some of its newly-acquired capital toward supercharging its proprietary games launcher. Previously a platform for first-party titles exclusively, the freshly-renamed Epic Games Store is now one of the top contenders in a party looking to dethrone Steam, Valve’s industry kingpin. While Epic is far from the first company to take aim at Steam, its strategy so far appears to be one of more direct competition than usual. Where EA before them introduced Origin to claim a deeper portion of proprietary profits, Epic’s strategy seems to be aimed less at maximizing income from first-party titles and more toward creating and maintaining a digital storefront for external developers. The company’s announcement of this new direction came with a promise of a 12% price cut on titles sold from the store, significantly lower than Steam’s current figure of 30%. In the weeks following this announcement, press and industry response was generally positive, but Epic’s strategy has since evolved, and the company’s effort to attract developers is more complex than a singular price incentive.

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With “Black Ops 4” Beta, Treyarch showcases a reinvented Call of Duty

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Inspiration from competitors will define Treyarch’s next Call of Duty title.

On Friday, developer Treyarch launched a weekend-long open multiplayer beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the latest title in its titanic series. Sitting on a history of slight changes to an overall-stable FPS experience, Black Ops 4 takes a few more risks than usual. In an industry where “adapt or die” is a commonly-adhered to maxim, Treyarch takes extensive notes from at least three popular competitors, hoping to reestablish Call of Duty‘s industrial dominance.

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Steam Releases List of Most Played and Purchased Games of 2018

Yesterday, Steam revealed its lists of the year’s most played and purchased games. Broken up by magnitude (Valve uses “platinum”, “gold”, “silver”, and “bronze”), the lists give us some idea of what games have found the most success on Steam this year, but games within each magnitudinal category are presented in a random order that changes with every page refresh, so we’re still left unable to determine just how well each title has done. Additionally, while the lists are presented nicely, the data behind them is also unavailable, so we’ll just have to trust Steam on this one.

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