Loading Screen: The Old Games Are Statistically The Best, Discord Causes Chaos and Bloodborne Kart Lives!

Loading Screen: The Old Games Are Statistically The Best, Discord Causes Chaos and Bloodborne Kart Lives!

A new report highlights the divide between the people who talk online about games and actual audiences, Discord breaks the internet (accidentally), the ESRB lose out on face scanning tech and Bloodborne Kart Lives

Conor Caulfield

A new report highlights the divide between the people who talk online about games and actual audiences, Discord breaks the internet (accidentally), the ESRB lose out on face scanning tech and Bloodborne Kart Lives

What's the Oldest game in your rotation that still sees regular playtime? And why haven't you moved on?

Gamers Statistically Not Playing New Games

As spotted by Kotaku, data analytics firm Newzoo has released The PC & Console Gaming Report 2024 which details a great number of useful readings for video games and their audiences.

  • The Market is overall going to grow, but it's slowing down in 2023 (though it's still making $93.5Bn USD on just PC and Consoles)
    • Console is still the larger Market segment, at 57% to 40% for PC
    • And while Microtransactions may be the thing that Publishers want to see grow - Premium releases still account for the majority of money earned. which explains why we see games like Diablo IV selling a $70 live service title.
  • Overall, the audience is playing less than it's pandemic peak, settling out at 26% lower numbers
    • And there's an expectation that overall gaming population growth will slow down under current projections, with less than 100m new players on either console or PC coming by 2026
  • And while we've been seeing a huge surge in game releases and successful releases, 90% of all new game revenue in 2023 was from only 48 games.
    • 25 Live Service Pay to Play
    • 20 Premium Titles
    • 3 Live Service Free to Play
  • Where Franchise titles made up 54% of the top 250 new titles, and 80% of the top 50.
  • Which leads to the most salient point of the whole report: Many of you are playing far more old games than new ones.
    • It's not even a case of spending more on MTX.
    • There's literally just more people playing Fortnite/Roblox or half a dozen other games that came out more than seven years old.

There's some novelties in there - Starfield on Xbox suggests that as much as audiences gripe, someone is playing the game - while Nintendo's first party games play by their own rules entirely.
But otherwise if you've got a sandbox, multiplayer, shooter with annual updates and gaming platform with user generated content - you're laughing, as long as you made it there first.

Because folks are playing older games primarily.
And within that population, the five mega games of Fortnite, Roblox, League of Legends, Minecraft and GTAV account for 27% of the entire space.
Meanwhile for new titles, 15% of total hours played were annual releases like COD or EA Sports FC - and only 8% were standalone.

So it's worth remembering - as it always is - that the audience for games is unreasonably large and the people who have the most spending power are just quietly playing their favourite franchise.

Discord Accidentally Creates View Bot - 1 Billion Views Later...

Discord's April Fool's joke didn't seem that newsworthy when I checked it out on Monday.
You had the option to open fake lootboxes - when you eventually opened all nine random items, Discord gave you a Clown frame for your profile.
Nice, simple joke but literally nothing much to write about.

Except that Discord also added a notification to the application to let people know what was going on.
A notification which it turns out was auto playing a YouTube link to the announcement, constantly playing while any user had the notification active.
Effectively it created a View bot, constantly ticking up views on a video passively in the same way that skeezy advertisers and marketing people try to boost view counts.
And boost it did.
To the tune of 1.4 Billion Views or 17.5% of the entire Global Population.

Unofficially, this was seemingly a complete accident as Software developer Marvin Witt (spotted by IGN) noted that even Discord's developers had no idea what was going on.
The official response to all this from Discord though?

Mind you, they're probably just glad of the distraction and SEO burial for the news that the company will be introducing paid adverts from games developers and publishers in the form of "quests" for discord users to stream gameplay from this month.
Something we already knew about because you read about it in this newsletter weeks ago, right?

Follow-Up: Face Scanning Game Rating Tech Denied by FTC

FTC Denies Application for New Parental Consent Mechanism Under COPPA
The Federal Trade Commission has denied an application, without prejudice, by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Yoti, and SuperAwesome for Commission approval of a new mechanism for obtainin

In a video last July, we talked about the ESRB collaborating with a company named Yoti in order to provide a new way for the company to enforce age ratings, by estimating whether users were adults based on facial pattern recognition.
For a lot of people, the immediate question was whether or not this would mean an app taking pictures of children (and whether this would ever be stored).

ESRB Blasts Reports That It’s Using Facial Recognition Technology to Verify Ages of Children - IGN
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is debunking recent reports that imply the company wants to use facial recognition tech for children, adding that it has no intention of storing or using “selfies” of its users.

As the ESRB clarified in follow up reporting, the purpose was never to store images, instead the face scanning element was an option for parents to use to allow their kids access to games - after kids had sent a request to play a title to their guardian.
It's a process not too dissimilar to the quick unlock method your phone might use.
Except in this case it would be you receiving a notification asking if your child was allowed to play Grand Theft Auto 5, and the app checking your facial structure to make sure you're actually an adult giving approval and not two kids in a trench coat.

But, with this being something that would be regulated under the US COPPA rulings that protect children, the FTC had to sign off on it.
And they have not! Though they will allow the ESRB to go back to the drawing board and prove the tech is workable.

Because that's the actual reason for the denial - the FTC may have received 350 public comments on the application to use the technology, but their real reason for denying it is that Yoti asked for a report on the effectiveness of their tech - but it hasn't reached the FTC yet.
Until they can get it, they're closing the application.
So this is less about principles of privacy and protection - and more about bureaucracy.

Bloodborne Kart? - No, This is Nightmare Kart

After PlayStation levelled the hammer against Bloodborne Kart, the team behind the PS1 Aesthetic inspired kart racer went back in to the garage, refitted everything and now they're back on track.

Launching on the 31st of May, the game will now feature a whopping 20 racers (none of whom will be Bloodborne characters, meaning the roster could be expanded from the original 12) plus a whole new suite of music.
And all for free.