2018 was an incredible year for gaming by featuring lots of outstanding titles like God of War, Monster Hunter World, Red Dead Redemption 2, Marvel Spider Man PS4, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. However, it is also a year filled with lots of controversies. So today, let’s recap all the top 10 gaming controversies of 2018!
Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s latest and also most promising handheld console to date. Therefore, it is naturally for the company to put lots of concentration to make this platform great. That being said, one of the Nintendo Switch’s features – the Nintendo Switch Online – has left quite some bad impressions for fans.
First thing first, Nintendo now charges $20 (or $19.99 if you want some exact figure) for 12-month membership. If you are used to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Game Pass (which basically do similar things like Nintendo Switch Online), you probably think this is not a big deal. However, from the perspective of Nintendo fans, this kind of subscription for online-play feature has never happened before. And so it is only natural for people to feel uneasy about this new policy from Nintendo. But hey, if their service is good then $20 of charge should be worth it, right? Well… not quite…
Nintendo Switch Online still has some pretty annoying gimmicks:
- Problem 1: Users can only play online with friends. And if they want to use voice chat, they have to use smartphone. Now this is extremely weird. In case of PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass, they don’t have these kinds of gimmicks and they work pretty fine for users from both platforms. So why Nintendo applies such weird gimmicks on their own platform? We honestly don’t know but one thing we can sure: Lots of Nintendo fans are against such restrictions.
- Problem 2: Nintendo Switch Online do offer a cloud-save feature (similar to PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass), yet for some reason, they did not make it clear whether those saves will be kept or not if user’s subscription lapses. In case of PS Plus or Xbox Game Pass, user can still access their cloud-saves if they renew their subscription. However, Nintendo Switch Online did not make this clear. It is possible that they do work like the other online services. But such wordings no doubt felt confusing for many users.
- Problem 3: Nintendo Switch Online is quite strict with their NES games policy. One interesting aspect of Nintenso’s service is that players can have access to the old NES, SNES games, etc… which is really cool. But at the moment, there are not much NES/SNES games available in this service. And here’s the kicker: users can only play those NES games offline for 7 days and after that, they have to pay subscription for the service to keep playing those games. This model is somewhat similar to PS Plus, which offers free games each month as long as users’ subscription time has not expired. But given that fact Nintendo Switch is a handheld console, this sort restriction seems to be really inconvenient.
With all that said; this is still a beginning for Nintendo Switch Online service and let’s hope that it will get better in the near future.
Sony refuses to allow cross-play
For quite a while now, Xbox and Nintendo have openly shook hand to allow promote cross-platform compatibility. Of course casting the whole “console war” aside, cross-platform compatibility is no doubt beneficial for gamers – the main customers of these gaming platforms. Unfortunately, PlayStation still did not allow cross-platform and this was quite sad news for many players.
However, things started to become more serious when many Switch owners got their Fortnite accounts locked because those are associated with PlayStation 4. This caused a huge anger among gaming community, to the point that PlayStation had to reconsider their policy. Fortunately, the company finally seems to accept cross-platform, even a little bit by freeing all the locked Fortnite accounts due to the reason above.
Could this be a sign for PlayStation cross-platform potential? To be fair, we can’t see it happen anytime soon, but time will tells.
PUBG Corp sued Epic Games and NetEase
PUBG Corp is probably a familiar name among gaming community by now since they are the creator of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (a.k.a PUBG). Although this game was not the first battle royale game ever created, it is the one which made the genre so popular nowadays. Still, being the one which made the genre popular does not mean it is the owner of the “battle-royale” genre. Yet for some reason, PUBG Corp came up with the idea of suing Epic Games for… creating a game (Fortnite) which “replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
To be honest, we can’t say for sure why PUBG Corp decided to do this. Still, this suing action does not make any sense in both terms of law or creative activities. Some people speculate that PUBG Corp did this lawsuit just because they were jealous of Fortnite Battle Royale’s success, and they simply wanted to eliminate their competitor in “easy way”. Other people consider this to be an “ungrateful” act due to the fact that PUBG developer actually bought Unreal Engine 4 license from Epic Games to make PUBG.
Again, we can never know for sure why PUBG Corp/Bluehole did this but it did damage their reputation. Many people stated that instead of spending time and money suing Fortnite, they could have focused on improving their own game.
Loot Box is now under investigation
Loot Box is a pretty common trope in gaming nowadays. Many games did feature these boxes like Shadow of War, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Call of Duty WW2. However, it has been proven to be a “bane” of gaming. Lots, lots of players are not standing against this system due to how exploitative it can be, especially towards children. But since this Loot Box system did give many corporations huge revenue, there is no way they will give up their revenue source so easily.
“Unfortunately” for them, governments in America and Europe are now jumping in the Loot Box investigation to see whether they are illegal gambling or not. And so far, it seems Loot Box regulation can highly become a reality. In fact, Belgium and Netherlands have already considered Loot Box system as illegal gambling and banned it from many games like Overwatch or CSGO. Not only that, 15 European gambling regulators (including countries like UK, Poland, and France) are also joining force to address the “blurring of lines between gaming and gambling”.
In United States, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating Loot Box system in gaming to see whether it is unfair or deceptive or not. And if FTC decides it to be true, they will definitely put regulation on this system, or at worst, ban it. This situation happened partly because Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has kept defending the Loot Box, saying that it is not gambling.
Overall, the situation seems to be a bad circumstance for Loot Box system and companies exploiting it as a whole. In worst case scenario, these game companies will have to remove Loot Box forever if Loot Box is concluded to be illegal.
Command & Conquer Rivals announcement
Electronic Arts (EA) has been under heavy fire from gamers this year for a number of reasons, and of those is Command & Conquer Rivals announcement.
For those who don’t know, Command & Conquer is an extremely famous strategy games first developed by Westwood Studios. After the Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight released in 2010, there have been no proper sequel (excluding the 2012 Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances since it is a browser game). So naturally, lots of the series fans have been dying to see a proper sequel. Unfortunately, what they got was Command & Conquer mobile game called Command & Conquer Rivals.
The game was first revealed in E3 2018 and it was an extremely disappointing moment for lots of fans. For quite a long time, mobile game landscape is rather infamous among gaming community due to how exploitative it is with microtransaction. And since this is EA we’re talking about, people cannot forget what they did with another famous series called Dungeon Keeper. In Dungeon Keeper case, they created a Dungeon Keeper Mobile game it was plagued with microtransaction. This was a big controversy back in 2013 itself, and not to mention EA’s sincere apology by saying they’re sorry for “innovating too much”.
For those reasons, it is understandable when people feel extremely disappointing after hearing Command & Conquer Rivals. And despite the game actually being a good game itself, it still cannot protect EA’s reputation from further damage.
Battlefield V controversy
For quick recap, Battlefield V is the new Battlefield game developed by DICE and released last year on November 20, 2018. This was supposed to be EA and DICE’s redemption after their disastrous Star Wars Battlefront 2. However, things started to fall when EA presented the very first Battlefield V trailer which features so many questionable things. The trailer shows many things which look completely out of place and irrelevant to the Second World War – the war theme which Battlefield 5 supposedly depict. For example: the trailer primarily shows a woman fighting on the frontline, which thing which never happens in real World War 2. Not only that, many soldiers wear some weird clothes, and there is even a soldier wear… a katana behind his back. Then if we notice the female soldier model, we can even see her… left robot arm.
All of these weird scenes from the trailer made many players confused (angry even) since they completely go against players’ expectation. For the most part, what people want from a Battlefield game is a historically accurate depiction of the World War 2. Of course, it is fine to be somewhat creative about how to recreate this important event. However, things like woman with mechanical arm and soldier wearing katana feel so bizarre and out of touch. Many people consider it to be like EA shoving political agenda onto gamers, rather than creating a game which purposefully makes sense.
Things even got worse when EA’s chief design officer – Patrick Soderlund – told the players to either “accept it, or don’t buy the game”. Not only that, he even said: “These are people who are uneducated — they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game.” As you may already know, gaming community got even more enraged due to those claim. And ultimately, Battlefield V’s sale dropped extremely hard and it sold much lower than its prime competitor Call of Duty Black Ops 4. Furthermore, EA took a heavy hit as their share price dropped 8.5%, or around $3 billion in value on November 2018.
Telltale Games suddenly went broke
Telltale Games has always been a special game developer who created lots of critically acclaimed titles like The Walking Dead, Tales From The Borderlands, and The Wolf Among Us. Of course, the company did have some misstep here and there but surely no one expected the company to suddenly go break.
It was a huge loss for fans who like heavy story-driven games from Telltale Games. Not only that, this news came right at the same time when the final season of The Walking Dead were going to finish its development. The main reason for their breakage is said to be due to their mismanagement. By spreading too many resources to so many projects like The Walking Dead, Batman, and Minecraft Story Mode, the company’s investment could not keep up with the cost and ultimate failed.
At the very least, fans now get to know that the final season of The Walking Dead will be completed by Skybound Games thanks to their late deal with Telltale Games. In the end, we have to give our thanks to Telltale Games for making many wonderful games. And let’s hope that they will soon find a new start.
Bethesda had always been a prolific company who created many incredible series like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. However, their latest debacle of Fallout 76 also proven that even the giants in gaming industry can quickly fall from grace if they succumb to greed.
In short, Fallout 76 is an online Fallout game which was fully revealed in E3 2018 and released on November 14, 2018. The final product was sadly a buggy mess which pissed off tons of players, especially when this is a $60 product. For the majority of players, including the most dedicated Fallout fans, this game failed in so many levels: it was extremely buggy, it seriously lacked content, and it did not have good story like previous Fallout games did.
After Fallout 76’s release, things only got worse for Bethesda with a string of failures like: the “bait-and-switch” duffel bag with Fallout 76 Power Armor edition, the in-game microtransaction, the broken customer support system which leaked customers’ information to the public, and the most recent Fallout merchandise disaster with Nuka Dark Rum.
No matter how different people think about Fallout 76, the fact still remains that Fallout 76 was a broken game at launch and it heavily damaged Bethesda’s good reputation. At this point, Bethesda has made it harder for themselves with The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield development. And clearly, they will need to do their best with a good will if they want to redeem their reputation.
Diablo Immortal announcement
Activision Blizzard had been a good track record until recently with Blizzcon 2018. The main debacle we’re talking about here is of course: the announcement of a new Diablo mobile game – Diablo Immortal.
Now to be fair, this is not exactly a “bad news” since Blizzard themselves has confirmed later on that they are having multiple Diablo projects, one of them is possibly Diablo 4. Yet nonetheless, we can see how disappointed Blizzard fans were right at Blizzcon stage when Wyatt Chang announced Diablo Immortal. During the Q&A section, there are two main guys who put up questions… which only resulted in further disappointment. The first guy is called “the red-shirt guy” by the Internet asked a pretty edgy question: “Is this an out-of-season April Fool’s joke?” And then the second guy called the “boo-guy” who asked whether Diablo Immortal will be available on PC or not. The answer was of course “no”, thus resulting in a loud “boo” sound from the audience. Plus, Chang’s response of “do you guys not have phone?” became an infamous meme among gaming community.
For those who are Blizzard fans, you are also probably aware of Blizzard’s current status. Even before Blizzcon 2018, many people have already suspected Blizzard to be out-of-touch from fans and the Blizzcon 2018 incident only made more people believed in such suspicion. In addition, people are now having more concern towards Blizzard when there is a rumor saying Blizzard is now under heavier influence from Activision, and the latest news of Blizzard losing 2 CFOs within only a week.
Similar to Bethesda, Activision Blizzard is now also in gaming community’s “black list”. Only time will tell if Blizzard can come back from this situation.
Just when people thought that 2018 had finally come to an end, bad news for gaming still came in the form of Atlus – the latest pirate-theme online survival game developed by the same folks who made ARK Survival Evolved.
The game was first revealed at The Game Awards 2018 (TGA 2018) with a rather… beautiful and promising trailer of a pirate-themed online game. Of course, many people showed their interest in this game since for very long time, there has been no good pirate game (except for Assassin’s Creed Black Flag). Despite the hype surrounds this game, problem began with the game’s constant delay. At first, it was promised to release on December 13, yet for some reason it was continuously delayed for more than a week til December 23, 2018.
“But it was simply delay, what about the actual game?” Well, sadly the game turned out to be nothing similar to what shown in the TGA 2018 trailer. The game was a broken mess at launch. It was rather grindy, clunky, and tedious. And worse, people soon found out that this so-called game “Atlas” is actually a copy-paste, reskin version of ARK Survival Evolved. And while some people argued that it was fine if Atlas shared similar code and graphic like ARK, the big counter argument here is that: Atlas was originally advertised like a brand new game with much more polished graphic. But in reality, this game was so buggy, it looked just like ARK, it literally failed to deliver what was promised. People even found ARK’s main menu right in Atlus and thus, discovered that Atlus seemed to be intended as an ARK’s DLC at first. For all reasons above, the general public has considered Atlas like a “scam”.
And that’s it folks! Those are the top 10 biggest gaming controversies of 2018! And for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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