This was a more involved news week for me as I found many interesting news tidbits. It made selecting five stories much more difficult as there were so many other news items that could have been plugged in this week. But the latest happenings with CD Projekt Red and the emergence of the new indie game, Valheim, were already going to be in this edition regardless of what else was happening in the gaming world. As always, you can use this website to catch up on all the gaming news by using the NEWS links in the main menu above and also scroll down and click on the top stories from the IGN, GameSpot, and PC Gamer RSS feeds. This site will always be committed to linking you to the top gaming sources. Now let’s get to it.
STEAM CONTINUES TO GROW NUMBER OF CONCURRENT PLAYERS
In many ways, COVID has given the video gaming industry a huge boost because more people are at home. Steam, which is considered the premiere platform for PC gaming has also benefited from the current predicament even though it has maintained a consistent player base over the years. Six days ago, it was reported by IGN that Steam broke its old concurrent player record as 26.4 million users were connected to the client at one point during the day. That’s a lot of gamers. The previous record was 25.4 million players a month ago.
As much as we gamers delight in gaming as entertainment, it is also big business. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that gaming is part of the tech industry, which is overflowing with money. I’m always intrigued by data like this and always look into better comprehending the economic side of gaming. It helps me to really be able to get into the minds of company executives and understand why certain decisions are made whether I agree with them or not.
I won’t be surprised if at some point this year, Steam sets another record. In the meantime, Valve has to be very happy about these recent numbers.
GTA V HAS REACHED OVER 140 MILLION UNITS SOLD
Grand Theft Auto V has now reached more than 140 million units sold and its online multiplayer mode, Grand Theft Auto Online, had its best year in 2020. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a game that first made its debut in 2013 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. GTA V was later was ported to the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. The longevity of the game is impressive and GTA Online is the main reason why Rockstar Games continually puts out regular updates.
To give an idea of how successful GTA V has been, the 140 million units sold ranks the game second all-time. The only game to have sold more units than GTA V is Minecraft, which has totaled more than 200 million as the top-selling video game of all time. Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has become a beast of a brand, is available on just about any current gaming platform, and has had a significant cultural impact.
GTA V is a prime example of how there is great financial potential for companies that can build a strong base of a game and then extend its life with quality updates that players constantly buy into. Many gamers are anticipating Grand Theft Auto VI but I’m sure Rockstar will get as much as it can out of V first.
HOLLYWOOD SHOWING GROWING INTEREST IN GAMESTOP/STOCK MARKET CONTROVERSY
In the January 30th edition of the Weekly News Wrap-Up, I highlighted the major controversy that involved GameStop and the stock market. This was a fascinating story, as GameStop’s stock rose hundreds of dollars per share seemingly out of nowhere. GameStop was suddenly the most talked about company in business news. It was reported by The Hill that a Reddit group was responsible for the spike.
Now it appears that this story is just too interesting for Hollywood to ignore. According to Rolling Stone, there are several projects going forward based on the GameStop stock rise. Most of them are full-length films. I look forward to seeing which of the projects end up seeing a full release. Even though we have a wide assortment of movies and documentaries at our fingertips at any given moment in this day and age, the fact is that many projects never make it all the way to release. Although, my question is what will the interest be once the projects are completed?
THE NIGHTMARE FOR CD PROJEKT RED CONTINUES
At this time last year, CD Projekt Red was sitting pretty as one of the most highly regarded game developers and publishers in the industry due to the success of its games within The Witcher universe. A disastrous Cyberpunk 2077 release in late 2020 followed by a string of unfortunate events has been a public relations nightmare for the company. The latest event this week featured the company being hacked and being given a ransom demand. According to the GameSpot story, the hackers were able to obtain the source code of some CD Projekt Red games as well as company information. CD Projekt Red publicly declared that it wouldn’t pay the ransom. As a result, the hackers auctioned off the files on Wednesday for a reported $7 million through the Dark Web, according to IGN.
Did someone pronounce a curse on CD Projekt Red? It has been one thing after another since Cyberpunk 2077 was launched. I did some research to try and find why the company was targeted with the ransomware in the first place, but none of the news stories on the topic have revealed this. Over time, more information may likely come out.
VALHEIM IS TAKING STEAM AND PC COMMUNITY BY STORM
Having now surpassed one million copies sold, Valheim has become the new standout on the Steam platform as of late. The survival-type game that takes place in a procedurally generated Viking-themed world currently has “Overwhelming Positive” reviews by Steam users even in the game’s Early Access state. Some users have referred to it as the best survival video game that they have ever played. According to the Steam page, the features for the current version are 75 percent complete and the content is 50 percent complete. So whatever players are enjoying now, there is possibly much more of it to come.
Games involving Norse mythology and/or Vikings seem to be the rage right now. The latest Assassin’s Creed, named Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, takes place in a Viking world that is permeated with Norse influence. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the latest God of War, and The Banner Saga series are all games rooted in Norse mythology that have been released over the past several years. Then there are indie games such as Ancestor’s Legacy and Northgard that came about within the last few years. There is a pretty solid interest in Vikings and if developers can put together a polished game, it has a good chance of being successful.