Game news this week starts with the latest from Blizzard. Overwatch launched an open beta on the 3rd of May and ran until the 11th. Blizzard has officially stated that the beta period brought in 9.7 million people. For some comparison, competing FPS-arena-hero-action-team game Battleborn, brought in 2 million people on its 5-day open beta in April.
Overwatch wasn’t all Blizzard gave us to talk about, however; following the acquisition of MLG in January, we were all left waiting for Activision-Blizzard’s eSports announcement. And now, the chairman of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, Steve Bornstein, has spoken out on the topic. Bornstein was previously the CEO of ESPN and launched the NFL Network, and will be leveraging that experience with Activision-Blizzard’s freshly-announced Facebook partnership to stream the company’s major eSports titles -- that’ll include Call of Duty, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and even Starcraft II. One of the company’s first shows to be streamed on the Facebook Live platform will be the ‘eSports Report’ -- Activision’s take on ESPN’s Sports Center. In addition to eSports news, the eSports Report will also combine real-time statistics with live programming. This feature will bring viewers statistics that update live during the tournament. The first event to make use of these features will be MLG Anaheim and the Call of Duty World League starting on June 12th.
Star Wars Battlefront has sold over 14 million copies since its November launch, though the PC audience has declined significantly. Now, after an investor call, EA announced a new Battlefront title in 2017. Major information about the game has yet to be revealed -- like the title, release date, setting in the timeline, and really anything of note. Because the title isn’t on the list of EA games slated for their 2017 fiscal year, it’s likely that release will be after March, when EA’s fiscal year ends. In addition, EA has announced that upcoming Star Wars titles will use details from the recent and upcoming Star Wars films. Specific material from Rogue One, an untitled Han Solo film, and the main series of films will be included.
On top of a new Battlefront sequel, EA has announced their plans to release a new Star Wars game every year for the next four years. This news coincides with Respawn Entertainment’s confirmation that they’re working on a “third-person action-adventure” Star Wars game. Further, some small amount of footage has been leaked concerning a Star Wars RTS game. After appearing on Vimeo, the footage was taken down and has since been uploaded and taken down from YouTube as well. EA has yet to make any comment on the game and there’s been no Star Wars RTS officially announced by the company. If the game still lives, it will be the first Star Wars RTS since Empire at War, released 10 years ago.
EA wasn’t the only one with a major investor report this week. Ubisoft had its own call that announced their plans through March 2017. Most of their upcoming games are already known, including Watch_Dogs 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and For Honor. However, these four titles are be joined by an as-yet unnamed game. The unnamed title won’t be a sequel either, but an entirely new AAA IP. We’ve been disappointed by new Ubisoft IP’s in the past here at GN, but a big company taking a risk on a new franchise is always exciting news.