Stadia shuts down, The Last Of Us debuts on HBO, and all of the other biggest stories from the past week in video games.
The past seven days in the video game industry have been filled with reasons to celebrate, but have also been peppered with some pretty significant bad news, too. Non-gamers finally having their eyes opened to how good The Last Of Us is on the good news side, but the reveal that 10,000 people will be losing their jobs at Microsoft between now and March on the truly awful side. Everything you need to know about both of those stories and more as we recap the biggest news from the past week in video games.
The Last Of Us Debuts On HBO
After months of hype, and a week filled with glowing reviews, HBO’s The Last Of Us debuted on Sunday night. It seems both people who have played the games and those experiencing its story for the first time have reacted well to Episode 1, making it the most-watched HBO premiere of the last decade after House of the Dragon. While the similarities between the show and the game have been highlighted and celebrated, some have been theorizing about the differences. Indicators that the virus was quickly spread across the globe by contaminated flour, for instance. Bring on Episode 2 and then the six episodes after that in the coming weeks.
Microsoft To Lay Off 10,000 Employees
Reports that Microsoft planned to lay off 10,000 of its employees, more than four percent of its workforce, between now and the end of March, were confirmed this week. Blamed on the change in the global economy, the cuts have already begun and seem to be affecting people across pretty much all of Microsoft’s divisions. That includes its video game arms such as Xbox, Bethesda, and particularly 343. The layoffs at the Halo studio appear to have been brought about by the inability of Infinite to become the juggernaut that Microsoft expected it to be. Starfield replacing Master Chief on Xbox packaging in China bolstered the belief the company is disappointed with the game too this week.
Stadia Shuts Down
Three years on from its launch, Google officially shut down Stadia this week. If you were a Stadia user, none of its services are online anymore. On the bright side, if you don’t plan on returning your controllers for a refund, they can now be used with other systems. Despite this being a sad week for Stadia, some heartwarming stories have come out of its shutdown. Google sending a player who logged 6,000 hours in Red Dead Online on the platform a gift bag and another Red Dead player saying goodbye to Stadia by releasing their in-game horse which they named after their late daughter.
Suicide Squad Will Have A Battle Pass
The long-delayed Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League will (hopefully) launch this May. Some of those eagerly awaiting its arrival might have had their expectations dialed down a little this week though as an image revealing it has a battle pass leaked online. Reportedly confirmed to be the real deal by Rocksteady, the image also includes no fewer than six different in-game currencies. Suicide Squad devs have tried to ease the fears that their game will be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers by assuring potential players that the battle pass will be linked to cosmetic items and that four of the six currencies on show are skill point tallies for each of the playable characters.
Modern Warfare 2 And Warzone 2’s Second Season Delayed
When you create a series as popular as Call of Duty and welcome millions of players to your games every single year, you need to be prepared for quite a bit of feedback, a lot of which will be negative. Activision has done that during the first season of Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 and has decided to delay the games’ second season off the back of it. Citing acting on community feedback as the reason for doing so, Activision confirmed Season 2 will now begin on February 15 rather than February 1, as was originally planned. Hopefully the additional two weeks will be worth the wait.
Returnal Really Is Coming To PC
As PlayStation continues to port its exclusives to PC, this week those who play their games on the latter finally got the Returnal news they’ve been waiting for. After weeks of reports and rumors, PlayStation confirmed its PC port of Returnal will launch on February 15, so less than a month to wait by the time you read this. The blog confirming the news revealed all of the recommended settings you’ll need to get the most out of what is arguably one of the best exclusives to launch on PS5 in the console’s first two years. The only real challenge will be completing what is a notoriously hard game before The Last Of Us Part 1’s PC port arrives in March.
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