Blizzard staff begin protest walkout, Bobby Kotick responds

Today: Splitgate is a surprise success with 65,000 concurrent players — Niantic promises to reverse erroneous bans after trainers complain — Gears of War developers are getting ready to use Unreal Engine 5

Blizzard employees stage protest walkout

Blizzard is no stranger to staff and fan outcry

The fallout of allegations against Activision Blizzard continues as Blizzard development staff stage a walkout in protest over the company and its dismal handling of the now pending US lawsuit.

Blizzard management has announced they’ll pay employees participating in the protest with the company extending paid leave to all involved. Those protesting have also issued a list of demands.

  • World of Warcraft team release statement
  • NPC Field Marshal Afrasiabi to be removed
  • CEO Bobby Kotick releases letter to staff
  • Law firm to ‘review company practices’
  • Management and senior execs ‘to be reviewed’

Kotick letter: Meanwhile Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has posted an open letter addressing the tumultuous week, and acknowledged their initial response to those concerned was “quite frankly, tone-deaf.”

Action plan: He’s also has enlisted law firm WilmerHale to “conduct a review of our policies and procedures” with work to begin straight away. He lists five immediate courses of action which include “personnel changes” at the company.

Which of the following is NOT a TV show in the Max Payne games?

a) Night Springs
b) Address Unknown 
c) Lords and Ladies 
d) Dick Justice

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Splitgate delayed after surprise success

1047 Games calls it Halo meets Portal

Portal-inspired first-person shooter Splitgate has been delayed and is extending its beta period following a $10 million cash injection into developer 1047 Games.

The company intends to use that money to increase server capacity and accommodate a higher player count, as well as hire more staff.

Delayed a month: Splitgate is expected to launch in August, supporting cross-platform play for PC and consoles. Server congestion became an acute problem during the beta testing after many more players than expected took an interest.

Surge: The team revealed that they just hit 65,000 concurrent players after a week of wild growth. Splitgate is a free-to-play multiplayer FPS, and you can check out the open beta on Steam.

New energy consumption laws affect Alienware computer sales

Pre-built PCs will need to be careful

Certain US states have introduced a new energy regulation law, which makes Dell unable to sell certain Alienware PC models that fall outside the power consumption limits.

California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have all introduced new energy efficiency standards for PCs, and Dell has warned that they can no longer sell certain prebuilt Alienware models to these states, like the Aurora R10 and R12. The laws apply to desktops, all-in-ones as well as portable computers, and went into effect on July 1st.

Power limits: “Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be cancelled” according to Dell. Only one Aurora configuration is cleared for sale under the new regulations.

Piece by piece: The laws only apply to prebuilt computers, so you are still free to buy individual parts and build the computer yourself. This may present a loophole and vendors might introduce half-built or kit offerings to wiggle through it.

Niantic reverses erroneous bans

Automated blues for GO Trainers

A bunch of legitimate, law-abiding Pokémon trainers have suddenly been suspended after Pokémon Go's over-eager anti-cheat measures erroneously flagged accounts for using third-party cheat software.

The problem is ongoing, and Niantic has promised that they are “working on reverting strikes for some Trainers who incorrectly received punishments on their accounts.”

Automated failure: "This will be done for Trainers automatically, whether or not they have contacted us. We apologise for the error,” Niantic told Eurogamer. Thousands of players were erroneously suspended in June as well.

Cheater, beware: This is not the first time Niantic has to reverse a wave of wrongful suspensions: In April, lots of accounts were hit with 7 day bans. In February, they announced that over half a million Pokémon Go cheaters had been banned in 2020.

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Which of the following is NOT a TV show in the Max Payne games?

Guys, stop shooting, we gotta see what happens next

ANSWER: Night Springs!

Remedy loves making fake TV shows for their games. The Max Payne series is full of them, offering a respite from slow-motion bullet-dodging with some wonderfully stupid television drama. Whether it’s the surreal Address Unknown or the overwrought Lords and Ladies, the shows never fail to at least be mildly puzzling.

Night Springs from Alan Wake, however, took the idea to a whole new level. The Twilight Zone-esque show was fully realized, and actually looked and felt a bit like something that would air in the Alan Wake universe. The tradition continued in Control, which featured the oddball children’s puppet show Threshold Kids.

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!