PlayStation Announces New Partnership With Discord!

Discord and PlayStation (R) Logos DVS does not own the rights to these images.

Yesterday PlayStation made a brief announcement on their blog, here, about their new partnership with the Gamer-focused chatting service Discord. This news coming in hot after talks broke down from a recent development with Microsoft/ Xbox, who were looking to acquire Discord for 10 billion dollars. Not much is known as to why they decided to turn down the offer in favor of a partnership but, it looks like Sony/ PlayStation will be taking the lead on this one. 

In their blog, Playstation also announced we could see the fruits of this partnership as early as next year. Integrating, Discord into their existing chat feature on console and mobile. Seemingly from the blog post, PlayStation is more in line with Discord’s vision of community first, but little has been said about what this could mean for either company moving forward. 

Becoming a minority investment stakeholder in Discord’s series H round leaves both giants open to explore how to develop their partnership while leaving the companies to grow individually. There are many expectations for both companies to wow their audience with how this partnership formed. 

Discord has been around for quite a while, est. 2015, and has been steadily growing in the gaming industry and got a profound hike in usability during the Covid-19 Pandemic. While not the most user-friendly chatting software to use, it was integral in bringing family and friends together to enjoy everything from reunions to game nights. Used all over by podcasters and streamers in the gaming industry, it is no wonder we have seen Discord popping up a lot in the news lately. 

Playstation has a much longer history in the gaming industry with its creator/investor Sony. Est. 1994, PlayStation has been a major player in the gaming industry ever since. While they have acquired many companies to increase their standing, taking the role of partner this time seems to have worked in their favor. 

Stay tuned to DVSGaming for more news, reviews, and updates to come!

Jeff Kaplan Leaves Blizzard Entertainment

Jeff Kaplan, the game director of Overwatch, has parted ways with Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years with the company. Kaplan started out as a game designer on World of Warcraft in 2002, developing quests for the iconic MMORPG. He was credited as a game director for World of Warcraft before leading Project Titan from 2009 to 2014. Elements of Project Titan eventually made their way into Overwatch, where Kaplan served as game director until today.

Kaplan oversaw the iconic game’s development, which won numerous Game of the Year awards and resurrected the team-based shooter genre. Overwatch‘s popularity also spawned an esports league called the Overwatch League, which is currently in its fourth season. He announced his departure in a letter on Blizzard’s website. You can read the full text of the letter below.

Greetings, Overwatch Community,

I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years.

It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience. I want to express my deep appreciation to everyone at Blizzard who supported our games, our game teams and our players. But I want to say a special thanks to the wonderful game developers that shared in the journey of creation with me.

Never accept the world as it appears to be. Always dare to see it for what it could be. I hope you do the same.

GG,
Jeffrey Kaplan

Development on Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will continue with assistant game developer Aaron Keller as the new game director. “Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him,” Keller wrote in a letter to the community. “I’ve been lucky to work alongside him and the rest of the Overwatch team for many years in building something that continues to inspire people all around the world, and I’m honored to carry the torch forward.”

Rapper DMX dies at age 50

It has been reported that rapper DMX (real name Earl Simmons) has died at age 50 of complications from an alleged drug overdose. Bleacher Report was one of the first to confirm the rapper’s death, after days of confusion over the rapper’s status. DMX was hospitalized on April 2 in New York, with numerous celebrities paying tribute to him, such as NBA superstar LeBron James, NFL star Julian Edelman, and fellow musicians such as Chance the Rapper and Missy Elliott.

DMX was born in Mount Vernon, New York on December 18, 1970, and underwent a rough childhood. His father left the family and he suffered abuse from his mother and her various boyfriends. DMX wandered the streets to escape his mother’s abuse and eventually met others over their shared interest in hip-hop music. He would also spend time in and out of prison in his youth before producing and selling his own mixtapes in the mid-to-late 1980s. DMX had also admitted to being addicted to crack cocaine during this time period and also claimed to have bipolar disorder.

In 1998, DMX released the album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over five million copies. The album included the single “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” which became one of his best-known songs. Later that year, DMX released the album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, which also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and went quadruple platinum. In December 1999, he released …And Then There Was X, which also went number one on the Billboard 200. The singles “Party Up” and “What’s My Name?” were major hits from this album. …And Then There Was X went platinum six times.

While legal issues started to dominate DMX’s life in the 2000s, he continued to release albums that topped or nearly topped the Billboard 200 such as The Great Depression (2001), Grand Champ (2003) (which also made him the only artist in history to release five albums that debuted at number one), and Year of the Dog…Again (2006), which barely missed the top spot by a few hundred copies. During this time, DMX had also pursued a career as a preacher, having studied the Bible while in and out of prison in the 2000s. Unfortunately, during the 2010s, more legal issues began to overshadow his music career, including a stint in jail for federal tax evasion from 2017 to 2019.

DMX is survived by his 15 children from various mothers. We will miss DMX and his contributions to the hip-hop industry. May he rest in peace.

Kanye West Named Creative Director of The Sims

Rapper, producer, fashion designer, and 2020 presidential candidate Kanye West is taking on yet another project. West has been named the new creative director of the long-running video game franchise The Sims, according to sources familiar with the deal. It is rumored that the award-winning celebrity plans to bring much of his expertise to the video game world through this venture.

“Kanye is very excited about this new project,” a source close to West said. Electronic Arts spokesperson Yu bin Plaid has said that Kanye’s home in Cody, Wyoming will feature in the game for players to customize and that all characters created in the upcoming Sims game will be able to wear Yeezys and other Kanye-created apparel. “We know the new Yeezys sold out in under a minute, so Kanye wants to apologize to the fans by making them available virtually, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Plaid said.

Fans have previously paid tribute to West and his soon-to-be ex-wife Kim Kardashian in the game. Now Kanye is preparing to have him take over the game’s creative direction. Despite West’s marriage deteriorating in recent months, he is optimistic about this new venture. In a series of texts sent exclusively to DVS Gaming, he said, “If this project is successful, I might just buy the entire Sims franchise,” he said. West has been reported as the richest African-American man in United States history by Entrepreneur. “In fact, I might just bring the whole Sims franchise into my mansion, create a VR version. Now you can live the Kanye experience fully!”

West also described a bunch of other projects he’d like to get done in conjunction with The Sims, including Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired Yeezys, and a soundtrack for a future video game. “I’d love to do a soundtrack for Minesweeper,” he told DVS Gaming. “It’s such an iconic game and brings me back to the creative process I did with my music, fashion, and other interests.”

West will take over as creative director of The Sims immediately.

End of Wit – Jessica Walter

The Passing of an Iconic Woman

Jessica Walter, the mean Queen of the silver screen. More famously known for her roles in Arrested Development and Archer, she was never the nice girl on screen. This is what we loved about Jessica Walter, she would turn down the average female role for someone she could truly act for. Bringing her genuine self to the screen offered a new look into female-led roles for the generation to come.

Jessica was always rough around the edges actor, leaning towards roles where she could give out tough love instead of teary-eyed performances. Her motherly role on Arrested Development allowed for her to truly shine in the acting style she loved. Jessica Walter could make you laugh with a roll of her eyes, the disdain almost a taste. Her sarcasm and wit will always be remembered on and off-screen if you had the lucky chance of meeting her.

Friends of Jessica always report how much of a true sweetheart she is, how she loved without walls. How she was sweet, caring, and a general goofball when it came to friends and family. Jessica’s daughter gave us a lovely Twitter post quote ” “It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” Walter’s daughter, Brooke Bowman. “A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her storytelling both on-screen and off. While her legacy will live on through her body of work, she will also be remembered by many for her wit, class, and overall joie de vivre.” ”

The truth is in the writing, as many people flood Jessica’s Twitter with remembrances of love and laughter. Some tough love is what some people need, and who better to hand it out than Jessica Walter. From her early roles in her debut film Lilith to her starring role in Ironside’s Spinoff Amy Prentiss. Jessica’s acting could not be faltered, taking her attitude and love of unusual characters to the screen, showing us that not all women want to be saved.

Walter earned an Emmy nomination for supporting actress and two Screen Actors Guild nominations for her standout work as Bluth on Arrested Development. She had previously won an Emmy for her title character role in the 1974 police drama Amy Prentiss.

Play Misty For Me

Jessica Walter was also up for an award for her role in Play Misty For Me. This psychological thriller produced and written by Clint Eastwood. Jessica takes her acting to a new level at this point, as she portrays a young woman enthralled with Clint Eastwood’s character. Jessica’s character Evelyn stalks and vandalizes Clint Eastwood character’s life and home. When Clint’s character rejects her, she attempts suicide and is sent to a psychiatric home to help her come to terms with her mental well-being. A wonderful psychological thriller that should have won both Clint and Jessica awards. They were up for nominations, however.

With so many ways of remembering Jessica, we will always have her smart, sarcastic attitude live on through the films.

Here’s a couple of quotes from Mallory in Archer that just scream Jessica.

“Don’t just sit there sweating like a gigantic cheese, do something!”

“Do you want ants? Because THAT’S how you get ants”

Don’t let Jessica down, don’t sit there sweating. Do something!

We will always remember Jessica Walter for her contribution to the Film Industry.

Blizzard layoffs due to COVID-19 include $200 Battle.net gift cards, $200 million for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Have you ever been laid off from a job? You either get severance pay or continuing benefits until a certain date. Activision Blizzard recently announced a round of layoffs affecting around 190 people. The latest round of Blizzard layoffs include $200 Battle.net gift cards. These layoffs mostly affected live events, which have been suspended for a year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. This is also a signal that there may be a (temporary) shift away from live events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick received $200 million while layoffs were happening. “While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” CtW Investment Group researcher Michael Varner said. Kotick’s track record of emphasizing the bottom line at the expense of rank-and-file employees has been well documented. His compensation as CEO in 2019 was the 21st highest CEO compensation in the United States, and his handling of previous rounds of layoffs has also come under fire.

“Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events,” a company spokesperson said. This year, BlizzCon was held online due to COVID-19. It is expected for BlizzCon to hold a live event in 2022, but that is all dependent on how many people worldwide get vaccinated and if COVID-19 and its variants are still undergoing community transmission.

The bright news at the end of the tunnel is that the company expects to hire 3,000 people in 2021. We hope those laid off find new jobs soon. Hopefully live events also return so that we can start enjoying social events that are centered around gaming.

25 Years of Pokemon

Happy Pokemon Day!

Pokemon is celebrating 25 years of games and fun! On February 27th, 1996, the first Pokemon games were released in Japan with fans across the world excited. This adorable game, created by someone fascinated by collecting bugs, grew into a household name. Starting with their Pokemon Red and Blue, all the way to the new Sword and Shield, you’ll find a fan of each style.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

In honor of Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, they have announced Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl to be released on the Nintendo Switch! Revisit the Sinnoh Region and defeat the Pokemon League all over again in new reimagined adventures that stay true to the originals. These two remastered games will be launching in late 2021! So keep an eye out for a blast from the past.

More details about New Pokemon Snap announced in the video presentation. It will have special in-game events for Pokemon’s 25th Anniversary! Here you are a budding photographer in the Lental Region. You’ll work in hand with Professor Mirror, the region expert. Remember your photo skills and get those epic snaps! Once finished with your mission, you’ll be able to edit and touch up all your photos before sharing them with friends and others to compete worldwide!

Up next is Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Wait, is that Breath Of the Wi– Ohhh I see what they did there. Encounter pokemon in this new game to become part of the Pokedex Adventure! Trainers visit the Sinnoh Region as it existed in the past. Long before Diamond and Pearl was even an idea. Visit Mount Cornet the heart of Sinnoh and experience Pokemon in a whole new experience. Check the beautiful experience coming later this year on Nintendo.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With all that said, we can’t forget about Pokemon Go! GO has multiple events happening over the course of the next few months to celebrate Pokemon‘s 25th year anniversary. Special raids including Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Mewtwo!
In Pokemon Sword and Shield, a special Max Raid Battle event feature Gigantamax Pikachu is underway!
Pokemon Masters EX has the chance to take on Champion Leon and his Partner Pokemon Charizard!
And last but not least, Pokemon Cafe Mix is handing out 2500 Golden Acorns to anyone who signs in between Feb 25-28th.

Happy Pokemon Day!
Go catch ’em all!

Fry’s Electronics: An Obituary (1985-2021)

Like a certain iconic electronic music duo that also disbanded this week, Fry’s Electronics is no more. For me, that is a big deal. Fry’s Electronics was one of the biggest electronics stores that I frequented growing up. There were TVs, computers, video games, mobile phones, appliances, tools, toys, books, software, hardware, and in some locations, restaurants. At one point, one could spend hours in Fry’s looking at the massive selection of products they had to offer. Before you headed to the checkout line, there was also a huge selection of snacks for your gaming sessions, including organic sour gummy worms and some extremely rare snacks that I still can only find online (looking at you, Mauna Loa Kona Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts).

When Fry’s chose to close up shop on February 24, 2021, this put an end to an electronics retailer that offered far more than just products—they offered services such as PC building, audio installation, the list goes on and on. The very first parts that would end up in my PC came from Fry’s Electronics. It was also an excellent place to find the latest video games. Even the tiniest electronic parts could be found at Fry’s, like those little transistors that go in some circuit board for some project. Another thing that caught customers’ eyes were the thematic stores. The location in Palo Alto, California was Wild West-themed, while the location in Sacramento was Gold Rush-themed. One of my favorites, the original Sunnyvale location, detailed the history of Silicon Valley, while the Las Vegas location (where I live now) was Las Vegas Strip-themed (obviously).

While there is no doubt that Fry’s has had a reputation among customers as being empty shells of their former selves in more ways than one even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an institution that has fostered my interest in consumer electronics that led me to build my first PC a decade ago. From the early 2000s to the mid-2010s, I frequented Fry’s at least once a month (if not more frequently) with my family and friends. While the writing was on the wall in the late 2010s, it took a global pandemic to put the final nail in the coffin of Fry’s Electronics.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/14841739_web1_frys.jpg?crop=1

On their website, Fry’s said: “After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. (“Fry’s” or “Company”), has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders. The Company ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on February 24, 2021. It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.”

It’s been a great run, and may all their employees land on their feet and find something new as soon as possible.

World of Warcraft News: Patch 9.1, Burning Crusade Classic leaked

Ahead of this weekend’s virtual BlizzCon event, a Blizzard employee mistakenly posted PR information about World of Warcraft that discussed both Patch 9.1 and The Burning Crusade Classic. The leak was immediately posted to the MMOChampion forums. BlizzCon is being held virtually from February 19-20, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is free of charge.

Patch 9.1

https://media.mmo-champion.com/images/news/2021/february/shadowlandsChains.jpg

While not much about Patch 9.1 has been set in stone yet, there will be a new 10-boss raid, the Sanctum of Domination, as well as a new eight-boss mega-dungeon, Tazavesh, the Veiled Market. In addition, there will also be a new zone, Korthia, the City of Secrets. The new PvP season will be released with 9.1 in addition to the next Mythic+ season.

There will also be additions to the covenants, such as upgrades to soulbinds and (possibly) new conduits. You can also fly in the Shadowlands in 9.1, although it is not clear what achievements will be needed to unlock flying. Flying will be similar to Legion with players only being able to fly in the four original Shadowlands zones of Revendreth, Maldraxxus, Bastion, and Ardenweald.

It is not yet known when 9.1 will release, but several reports have speculated a late May to early June release due to the amount of content involved.

The Burning Crusade Classic

While this was a matter of when and not if, The Burning Crusade Classic was also leaked. While all features of The Burning Crusade return (along with being free to play for World of Warcraft subscribers), there is also an option to advance characters straight to The Burning Crusade or opt to remain in WoW Classic. This is an interesting addition and may spark some debates in the community.

We’re looking forward to more information during BlizzCon Online this weekend. Stay tuned for more news about Blizzard games in the upcoming days!

The Mortal Kombat reboot trailer has arrived

The Mortal Kombat franchise hasn’t graced the big screen in over two decades, with the last entry, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, leaving a rather bad taste in our mouths. But all that will change this April, when Warner Bros. releases the highly awaited reboot from director Simon McQuoid. And this morning, they unleashed a good first look at what’s to come.

Mortal Kombat is going all out this time around, shooting for that R rating with all kinds of carnage. In fact, the trailer provides a whole lot of it, from “Jax” Briggs getting his arms frozen off by a vengeful Sub-Zero to the legendary Hiroyuki Sanada showing his stuff as Scorpion, ripping through enemies like they were paper with his spear. (And yes, he says, “Get over here” in pure Scorpion fashion.)

The trailer also focuses a little bit on the story this time around. A newcomer fighter by the name of Cole Young (Lewis Tan) finds himself embroiled in the Mortal Kombat tournament, after a birthmark is discovered on his chest. He soon discovers just what the deadly Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has in mind for it, as he meets a number of competitors along the way, including Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), Kano (Josh Lawson) and Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee). There are others as well – including the return of the vicious Kano.

The movie is set to hit both theaters and the HBO Max on-demand service starting on April 16th. It looks to be a bloody good time, while also paying tribute to the original game’s storyline. Sure, it doesn’t have Christopher Lambert along for the ride this time around (“Sorry.”), but it’s got more than enough to make up for it in the meantime. MORTAL KOMBAT!