Blizzard teases expanded Overwatch universe with new games - Dexerto
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Blizzard teases expanded Overwatch universe with new games

Published: 31/May/2019 0:06 Updated: 8/Oct/2020 14:46

by Bill Cooney

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The new CEO of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, said the company sees a lot of possibilities for more games set in the Overwatch universe.

Brack worked as the Executive Producer of World of WarCraft before moving into the CEO role after Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime (the guy with his own room in Overwatch’s BlizzardWorld) stepped down from the position in October of 2018.

During an interview with Game Informer, Brack teased that players could very well see a new Overwatch game outside of the games current first-person shooter format.

Blizzard EntertainmentJ. Allen Brack, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment.

What did he have to say about Overwatch?

Brack mentioned that Blizzard is treating Overwatch like it does it’s other IPs, like WarCraft, which started as an RTS before moving to become an MMO with World of WarCraft and a card game with Hearthstone.

That means we could also see Overwatch universe expand from what it is today to serve as the setting for even more, different games.

“We’ve talked about how we’ve got more games in development than ever before. More games in development than in the entire history of the company. We also think that there are a lot of different types of games that can exist within the IP’s that we have,” Brack told Game Informer. “If we think about the Overwatch IP for example, we think about the Overwatch IP as being extremely large and extremely all-encompassing. Overwatch, the game people experience today, is just being a very small part of what that IP could be.”

Blizzard EntertainmentBlizzard is interested in making more games set in the Overwatch universe.

Overwatch was Blizzard’s first new IP in 18 years, since the launch of Diablo in 1996, and Brack said the company is currently focused on building new franchises as well.

“That’s a long time to go without creating a new franchise,” Brack said. “So we want to create more games in our franchises and we do want to think about new franchises as well.”

So, new Overwatch game when?

From Brack’s interview a new Overwatch game seems to be a pretty good possibility sometime in the future, even if Blizzard just decides to just go the StarCraft route and come out with Overwatch 2 in 2028.

How long that wait will be depends on when Blizzard feels the game is ready to go, and usually no sooner. The company has even been known to cancel games that are in production that don’t meet its standards of quality, like the ill-fated WarCraft Adventures and StarCraft: Ghost (still a bit bitter about that one).

BlizzCon 2019 would be the perfect time to announce a new Overwatch game, but the company might be a little more cautious than last year after the disastrous Diablo Immortal reveal went viral.

It will be very interesting to see what Blizzard does in the future with the Overwatch universe, but please, for the love of God Jeff don’t let them make it into a mobile game.

Opinion

AOC’s Twitch stream is the 2020 version of shaking hands & kissing babies

Published: 21/Oct/2020 16:15 Updated: 21/Oct/2020 16:31

by Chris Stokel-Walker

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A first-time Twitch streamer managing to hit the top five most engaged Twitch streams of all time is news in any instance, but when the streamer is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, it’s even more newsworthy.

At its peak, AOC’s stream of Among Us, which also featured Pokimane and Dr Lupo, had 439,000 viewers. The broadcast was seen 4.6 million times in the eight hours after it ended. These are huge numbers, and indicate AOC’s tech literacy – something few politicians seem to possess. But it’s also an indication of how in this strange, ‘new-normal’ world, political campaigning in 2020 is less about going out and meeting people, and more about presenting yourself online.

The 2020 US presidential election is mere weeks away, and while the incumbent President has been crisscrossing the country, holding mass physical events, the Democrats have chosen a more low-key, digital campaign trail.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has hosted virtual town halls and live streams, which have given him the ability to connect to digitally-engaged audiences. But those often lack the personal touch.

AOC Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Instagram
Instagram: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
AOC’s broadcast was seen 4.6 million times in the eight hours after it ended

What AOC’s stream does is plug that relatability gap. Political campaigns are won on hearts and minds as much as policies. Part of the reason politicians head out on arduous journeys is to meet as many people as possible and convince them to visit polling stations on election day. They often do that less by drilling down into the nitty-gritty of specific policies they want to enact if elected, but instead by convincing voters that they are relatable human beings who can be trusted with power.

A 2014 academic study identified that first impressions matter when it comes to politicians, and so AOC’s stream – where she played Among Us while chatting to those congregated on her stream – works so well. It’s a method she’s used elsewhere online, too, hosting Instagram Lives while preparing meals and talking about her life, slipping in political policy stances to win over voters.

Her Twitch stream is the 2020 pandemic equivalent of “walking the rope line” – the minutes before and after set-piece speeches, where politicians shake voters’ hands and kiss their babies. It allows people a glimpse into her life, and the ability to consider politicians, many of whom have spent their lives trying to ascend to positions of power, as ordinary human beings. It unbuttons the shirt collar and starched suits of Washington DC and instead reminds people that they’re voting for individuals with lives and interests outside of who’s winning and who’s losing in the political horse race.

Which is why it’s so successful. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have previously joined Twitch, but most of the content they posted there was simply live streams of in-person campaign events. What AOC is doing is different: it’s accessible, always on, and intensely personal.

“You can’t hide authenticity when streaming on Twitch,” says Steven Buckley, associate lecturer at the University of the West of England, where he studies politics, language, and digital culture.

“It’s not like a traditional TV interview where a politician can prepare answers in advance via focus group testing,” he adds. “You have to be able to react in the moment and AOC is currently one of the most authentic and natural communicators in US politics.”

It’s also an extension of the idea of politicians as influencers, following in the footsteps of Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who has 2.35 million subscribers on YouTube, where he posts behind-the-scenes videos of his political campaign events.

We know that young people are increasingly important in the political calculations made by campaigns and that digital outreach is increasingly vital in an ever-more important election. Up until now, social media’s impact on elections has proven relatively limited, despite pretty much every major election in the 21st century being called the “first true social media campaign”.

But this is a major election being held under the shadow of the coronavirus, and one of the first where one of the campaigns vowed to limit their physical campaigning. That Twitch stream could inject the personality and the humanity that helps sway undecided voters to back one side over the other – and if nothing else, it’s a reminder that politicians, despite what we all say, are human too.