Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 12/04/19

April 12, 2019

A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Conclusion One: The greatest moment in Esports’ history…

...is this.

Now we have new footage and oh dear lord. I defy you to watch it and not have every hair on your body stand-up, tingle, and generate an electric field of goodness all over as the fight moves through rounds one, two and then three, where we see what is unequivocally the most incredible moment in Esports’ history, if not gaming. Namely, the moment Daigo Umehara, playing as Ken, parries Chun-Li’s special move as actioned by Justin Wong. The game, by the way, is Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.

Seriously, even if you’ve seen it, watch it again as per this new footage.

If you haven’t seen it? Strap the heck in and get ready for a (sweary) mouthful of total amaze.

Conclusion Two: You can change your PSN ID — at a cost

It’s been a long time coming
, but you can now change your PSN ID on Sony’s PlayStation Network. Would you want to? Quite possibly, if you’ve had it for a decade and want it to be something a bit less puerile. Should you? Well, that depends on how attached you are to certain games.

It turns out that the list of games considered to be “Critically Affected” on Sony’s blog is not insignificant. Changing your PSN ID could potentially cause you to lose both your progress, in-game (earned or purchased with real money) currency, and even worse, “incur permanent game errors or data loss”. The list of games this affects are:

  • Disc Jam
  • Everybody’s Golf
  • Just Dance 2017
  • LittleBigPlanet 3
  • MLB 14 The Show
  • MLB The Show 16
  • MLB® The Show 15
  • The Golf Club 2
  • Worms Battlegrounds

There’s an even bigger list with less severe issues, such as settings being reset or previous IDs remaining visible, but the games on these list include mainstream titles such as Grand Theft Auto V and Dark Souls II and III. The full lists can be found on Sony’s blog — if you decide to alter your PSN ID and encounter any problems with games either on these lists or ones not included, drop us an email or leave a comment and we’ll follow up. Good luck!

Conclusion Three: Activision will pay you a dollar a day for your health data...

...and that data may be incredibly personal, according to a report by the Washington Post. In its piece, it is revealed that health-monitoring software has been used at Activision Blizzard since 2014 when Fitbit trackers were actively encouraged among its employees. From there, the publisher moved on to monitoring sleep, diet, mental health — and even pregnancy tracking.

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, Ovia lets you record intimate details of your daily life from the start of attempting to conceive until birth. You can also register your sleep cycle, weight, how often you have sex and even what your cervical fluid looks like. The reward for storing all that information in the cloud? A dollar per day. In return, Activision get an anonymised, aggregated version of the data which highlights — amongst other things — high-risk pregnancies, average time to conceive, length of time to return to work, and more.

VP of global benefits Milt Ezzard spun the story in a positive light when talking to the Post, saying “Each time we introduced something, there was a bit of an outcry: 'You're prying into our lives.' But we slowly increased the sensitivity of stuff, and eventually people understood it's all voluntary, there's no gun to your head, and we're going to reward you if you choose to do it." He added, "I want them to have a healthy baby because it's great for our business experience, rather than having a baby who's in the neonatal ICU, where she's not able to focus much on work."

Concerns have been raised about the use of this data by companies like Activision, with privacy advocates highlighting the potential for discriminating against employees who are pregnant, given the numbers will likely be far smaller than non-pregnant employees. Women are still not paid in parity with men, and some companies may be reluctant to invest in staff who may be planning on being away for a year or more to start or grow a family. Security is another concern: similar apps have been caught sharing data with Facebook in the case of Flo, or had such lax security that a single email address of a user would be enough to access their Glow account. Is one buck a day worth the risk? That’s up to Activision employees to decide.

Conclusion Four: You’ll be waiting for Dragon Age 4 for a while

Anthem may be out of the door but the repercussions of launching the online-only (and sadly average) space action RPG are still being felt. This week saw a report from Kotaku detailing the impact that getting BioWare’s last couple of titles into people’s hands had on one of their biggest franchises: Dragon Age.

A teaser for Dragon Age 4 was shown at the Game Awards, sparking a lot of interest in a franchise which (second instalment aside) has garnered a feverish devotion from fans — myself included. As a fantasy lover, the IP ticked all of the right boxes in bringing the spirit of Baldur’s Gate to the next generation and onto consoles and both the first entry and Inquisition were superb, if very different games. Yet it seems that the first build of Dragon Age 4 became a victim to Anthem’s development, as well as that of Mass Effect: Andromeda. This earlier game required the whole Dragon Age team to move onto it in order to see it over the finishing line, a process repeated in 2017 when the initial build of Dragon Age 4 was cancelled to help the ailing Anthem.

So what could we have expected in that first build? A smaller, more reactive game, where you play as a group of Tevinter spies, in areas which changed over time prompting repeat play. It sounds fantastic, but since Anthem caused it to be effectively canned, we have no idea what the next iteration of Dragon Age will look like. And going by the issues at BioWare, we’re unlikely to find out for some time.

Conclusion Five: Forking hell, Shenmue 3 is going back there...

Depending on your disposition, Shenmue is one of the best games of its generation, or a sluggish, woefully plotted mess, or perhaps a bit of both. One thing’s for sure, though: nothing divides fans like the discussion of the forklift driving sections in that first game.

And in news which is likely to either overjoy fans or send them into fits of rage, it appears that the most impractical racing vehicle since Mario Kart’s Dry Bomber is returning to Shenmue. A new screenshot released by Koch Media this week sees protagonist Ryo comfortably seated in one of the god-awful contraptions.

Does this mean we’re going to be subjected to more illicit (and mandatory) races, just to proceed with the story? I really hope not. The trailer released last month doesn’t give us any clues either. Are you happy about forklifts coming back? If so, please explain why in the comments. We'll arrange for a doctor’s appointment to be made for you immediately.

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Rob Kershaw

I've been gaming since the days of the Amstrad. Huge RPG fan. Planescape: Torment tops my list, but if a game tells a good story, I'm interested. Absolutely not a fanboy of any specific console or PC - the proof is in the gaming pudding. Also, I like cake.