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Category Archives: Overwatch

Call of Duty Warzone Season 4 roadmap brings big changes for Verdansk and an Overwatch-type Payload – Gamesradar

The Call of Duty Warzone Season 4 roadmap has arrived, introducing another wave of events, game modes, gear, and more coming to the battle royale game in the weeks and months ahead. 

Downed satellites are headlining Season 4, with crash sites forming new points of interest for Warzone teams to fight over. Capturing a satellite will net you killstreaks, vehicles, field upgrades, and other gear to use in your current match, as well as permanent progress toward the Ground Fall event which will kick off the new season. 

Warzone has also been populated with mysterious red doors, which received a deliberately opaque description from Activision: “They allow you to [[REDACTED]] around the [[REDACTED]]. What’s behind them? Explore and enter them to [[REDACTED]] across the [[REDACTED]].” I don’t know what any of that means, but it won’t stop me from running straight through the blue force fields behind these doors. 

Map oddities aside, Warzone is also getting two new game modes. Verdansk Resurgence Mini will double down on the theme of Verdansk Resurgence by shrinking lobbies to 44 players (or 45, depending on team sizes) while keeping the special supply boxes, Resurgence timer, positional alerts triggered by friendly deaths, and the lack of a Gulag. Look for Verdansk Resurgence Mini in the updated featured playlist rotation, with options for solos, duos, trios, and quads. 

Payload mode, meanwhile, will come to Warzone around the middle of the season. Payload drops you into teams of 40 to escort – you guessed it – payload vehicles through a series of checkpoints. You can place or destroy barriers to help your payload along or block the enemy’s progress, all while picking off enemies the old-fashioned way and juggling contracts. 

Naturally, a new season of Call of Duty also means a medley of new guns, Operators, and vehicles. Warzone fans can look forward to riding the new dirt bikes, playing as Jackal and Weaver, and customizing new guns like the MG 82 LMG (unlocked at battle pass tier 15) and the C58 assault rifle (unlocked at tier 31). 

You’ll find more details on the Call of Duty Warzone Season 4 roadmap, as well as content coming to Black Ops Cold War, on the Call of Duty blog.

Here are 5 things you may have missed in the Call of Duty Warzone season 4 trailer. 

Diablo® II: Resurrected™ Reopens the Gates of Hell September 23 – StreetInsider.com


Diablo® II: Resurrected™ Reopens the Gates of Hell September 23















Get it on Google Play

June 13, 2021 1:48 PM EDT


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The faithfully remastered action role-playing game classic is coming to Windows® PC, and for the first time to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, and Nintendo Switch™

Preorder today for early access to the upcoming open beta test on supporting platforms

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
On September 23, players around the world can save Sanctuary from certain doom in Diablo® II: Resurrected™, the definitive remastering of Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction® expansion—two landmark entries in the company’s genre-defining action role-playing series.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210613005023/en/

In Diablo II: Resurrected, the original game’s iconic 2D character models become fully realized 3D heroes who inhabit a boldly re-envisioned dark fantasy world of Sanctuary rife with rich—and often gory—detail. To take advantage of today’s modern gaming hardware, Diablo II: Resurrected supports up to 4K resolution and includes fully remastered 7.1 Dolby Surround audio*. Those who still fondly remember the ambiance of the original game’s gripping storytelling sequences can also look forward to all 27 minutes of cinematics, recreated with stunning high-fidelity visuals that faithfully reproduce the critically acclaimed originals and match the spirit of the modernized game’s graphics.

While Diablo II: Resurrected takes full advantage of today’s modern gaming hardware, it also preserves the timeless hack-and-slash gameplay that is as engrossing and enjoyable today as it was twenty years ago—with a few quality-of-life updates Diablo veterans have been clamoring for, such as a larger stash and automatic gold pickup. Players experiencing teary-eyed nostalgia as they relive fond memories of spinning hammers and exploding corpses can seamlessly swap between the modern graphics and the original 800×600 resolution experience with the push of a button.

“The Lord of Terror has demanded that we remaster Diablo II, and we are excited to do his bidding by bringing Diablo II: Resurrected to PC and console players this September, with cross-progression so everyone can enjoy it on their preferred system,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “We also look forward to welcoming new and returning Diablo players to our upcoming multiplayer open beta. Their feedback will help us put the finishing touches on a game we hope players will continue to enjoy for many years to come.”

A Diablo II: Resurrected multiplayer open beta will take place on supporting platforms in August, featuring five of the final game’s seven highly customizable character classes for players to choose from—the Amazon, Barbarian, Paladin, and Sorceress from the core game, as well as the Druid from the included Lord of Destruction expansion. The Necromancer and Assassin will be available when the game officially launches.

Developed by Blizzard Entertainment and in-house studio Vicarious Visions, Diablo II: Resurrected will be available at launch on Windows® PC via Battle.net®, and on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, and Nintendo Switch™.

Diablo II: Resurrected will be available as a standalone experience (suggested retail price $39.99) or as part of the Diablo Prime Evil Collection (suggested retail price $59.99), which includes:

  • Diablo II: Resurrected
  • The Diablo III Eternal Collection, comprising Diablo III, the Reaper of Souls™ expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer content pack
  • The Mephisto pet and Hatred’s Grasp wings for Diablo III

Players who preorder Diablo II: Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection will receive a Heritage of Arreat transmog for Diablo III (available in-game by September 23), which gives Diablo III barbarians access to the iconic blue war paint and leather armor of the Diablo II barbarian. Preorders also unlock early access to the open beta test taking place in August on supporting platforms.

To learn more about Diablo II: Resurrected and the open beta test, visit the official site at www.diablo2.com. Foolish mortals can also follow the Dark Lord on Twitter @Diablo.

For screenshots and other assets, visit http://blizzard.gamespress.com.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multifranchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-three #1 games** and numerous Game of the Year awards. The company’s online gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

*4K resolution and 7.1 Dolby Surround require platforms and equipment that support those features.

†Cross-progression requires a linked Battle.net account and separate
Diablo II: Resurrected license for each supporting platform.

**Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distributors.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements:

Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about Diablo II: Resurrected content, including the availability, features, and functionality of Diablo II: Resurrected and any Diablo II: Resurrected beta tests, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

For more information contact:

Maxim Samoylenko

Senior PR Manager

+33 130 679 000 x 23248

msamoylenko@blizzard.com

Source: Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.


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Three stocks to track in the thriving video game industry – Illinoisnewstoday.com

The video game industry has been at a high level over the past year. The pandemic that occurred with the launch of a series of new-generation consoles helped the gaming industry emerge as one of the biggest beneficiaries.

In fact, the global video game industry has made more money than the sports and film industries combined, as everything stagnated due to the pandemic. Although the economy is finally reopening and deregulating, the video game industry is likely to enjoy such a high level as it continues to gain popularity throughout the year.

Pandemic gives thrust to the gaming industry

When the pandemic caused havoc, other sources of entertainment were shut down, and gamers scrambled for new consoles, games, and gear. According to IDC, the global video game industry in 2020 grew 25% to $ 191.2 billion. In the United States alone, games alone cost more than $ 59.6 billion. According to the NPD Group, this included the purchase of new consoles and hardware.

Pandemics are one of the biggest reasons for the industry’s growth in the last few months, but the gaming industry has already begun to flourish some time ago. In fact, according to Adweek, video game revenue in 2019 was $ 139 billion, already higher than the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL combined.

Video games are currently approaching some of Hollywood’s biggest projects, according to a Guardian report. Another reason behind the strong performance of the gaming industry is the launch of a series of new-generation consoles that coincided with the pandemic.

In addition, video game spending increased another 30% in the first quarter of 2021. People downloaded about 1 billion titles each week in the quarter. This increased by 15% year-on-year.Also download the game Alphabet, Inc.GOOGL Google Play increased 20% year-on-year to 11 billion in the first quarter. Private consumption of games reached $ 22 billion in the first quarter.

Continuing momentum

Video games gave millions of people a rest when mentioned at home during the pandemic, and there was no other entertainment option. People are still hesitant to visit public places, despite the launch of vaccines and the resumption of the economy. This will help the gaming industry in a way, as it remains a safe bet as a source of entertainment.

According to Newzoo, global video game revenue could reach $ 189.3 billion in 2021. Currently, there are about 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, and it is expected to exceed 3 billion by 2024 as more games and consoles are released.

Featured stock

The video game industry started in 2021 with an optimistic view thanks to the pandemic. The situation remains the same, with sales likely to skyrocket in the next few days. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to invest in game stocks that are set to grow in the short term.

Microsoft MSFT is one of the leading video game makers and makers of hardware and accessories. The company is expanding its footsteps in the industry and recently announced that it will acquire video game maker ZeniMax Media.

The company’s projected earnings growth for the year is 35.4%. This year’s revenue, Zacks Consensus Estimate, has improved by 5.8% over the last 60 days. Microsoft has Zacks Rank # 3 (pending).

Electronic Arts Co., Ltd. EA is a leading developer, marketer, publisher, and distributor of interactive games (video game software and content). Deliver game content and services not only through multiple delivery channels, but also directly (online and wirelessly) to consumers through online portals.

The company’s expected profit growth rate for next year is 11.5%. This year’s revenue, Zacks Consensus Estimate, has improved by 5.2% over the last 60 days. Electronic Arts’ Zacks rank is 3rd. A complete list of today’s Zack # 1 Rank (Strong By) stocks can be found here.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. ATVI is a leading developer and publisher of console, online, and mobile games.Company’s call of Duty It is one of the most popular game franchises in the world. The Overwatch League can be seen as a pioneer in the esports concept.

The company’s projected earnings growth for the year is 8.9%. This year’s revenue, Zacks Consensus Estimate, has improved by 3% over the last 60 days. Activision Blizzard has Zacks rank # 3.

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Activision Blizzard discloses environment, social, and governance efforts – VentureBeat

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Activision Blizzard has released its first-ever report on its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments. The report focuses on how the company is championing its people, advancing more diverse and inclusive communities, and helping to protect our planet.

What does that mean? The big video game publisher said it is investing millions of dollars in organizations that prepare leaders of the future, including those from underrepresented minority groups, including Management Leadership for Tomorrow, UNCF, and Girls Who Code. Since 2016, there has been a two-times increase of women in game development leadership roles. And promotion rates for minorities and non-minorities are equal, and the promotion rate for women is slightly higher than the rate for men.

The company said it is also creating more diverse characters in its games, including Symmetra from Overwatch, the first playable character who is on the autism spectrum; Pelagos, the first openly transgender character in World of Warcraft; Tracer from Overwatch, the first LGBTQ character featured on a Blizzard game cover; Varden Dawngrasp, Hearthstone’s first openly non-binary character; and more recently in 2020, Leo Baker in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, as the first non-binary playable character in a sports game. It has also partnered with AbleGamers Foundation to make games more accessible.

On the sustainability front, the company said its ongoing conversion to a more digital business is enabling it to achieve important sustainability goals. Activision Blizzard saved over 5.5 million pounds of plastic waste over the last five years, through changes to packaging and materials. It aims to hit net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That’s a lot less aggressive than other companies like Razer.

CEO comments

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick talks with Dean Takahashi at GamesBeat Summit 2021.

Above: Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick talks with Dean Takahashi at GamesBeat Summit 2021.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

“In a time like no other – with communities around the world tested by extraordinary social, environmental, economic, and public health challenges – the employees of Activision Blizzard have served the global community by keeping people connected safely and using our global platform to comfort, inspire, and draw communities together,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, in the report. “Our mission – connecting and engaging the world through epic entertainment – has never been more important.”

He added, “We enable a sense of accomplishment through healthy competition. Like sport, but with far greater accessibility, our players can find purpose and meaning through gaming.”

He said that gaming connects people more deeply than any other form of media, bringing players and fans together without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity, gender, or gender expression.

Regarding Black Lives Matter, Kotick said, “We stood with Black Americans and with all those fighting against systemic inequality and violence. We took meaningful steps to combat bullying and hateful speech in our gaming communities. We continued our work towards our commitment to all of our players seeing themselves represented and supported in our games. And we worked to broaden the diversity of our own workforce, our leadership, and the pipeline of talented individuals from which we recruit new employees.”

Activision Blizzard’s size

Call of Duty: Warzone.

Above: Call of Duty: Warzone is one of Activision Blizzard’s big games.

Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

As of December 31, 2020, Activision Blizzard had 9,630 employees, up from 9,234 a year earlier. Blizzard accounts for 45% of them, while Activision is 27% and King is 20%. Others are 7%. For 2020, Activision had 128 million monthly active players, Blizzard had 29 million, and King had 240 million. Activision had $3.94 billion in bookings in 2020, Blizzard had $1.91 billion, and King had $2.16 billion.

Women are 24% of the overall employees, while underrepresented minorities are 34% of the overall base. The company is trying to improve those ratios, but it’s not dissimilar from the overall game industry. The company has nine employee networks dedicated to becoming a more inclusive company.

Corporate disclosures and policies

Only six of Activision Blizzard's 10,000 employees caught the coronavirus.

Above: Activision Blizzard’s old headquarters.

Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

As for its dues for the Entertainment Software Association, about $40,793 were used for political contributions or expenditures.

Activision Blizzard has human rights, corporate governance, fair competition, anti-discrimination, and anti-corruption policies. And it says its Way2Play ethics and compliance program that empowers employees to be “heroes” when it comes to helping employees navigate the right way to do things.

The company said 80% of its directors are independent, and it has separate roles for chair, CEO, and independent lead director. About 20% of directors are women, and 20% are underrepresented minorities. Kotick’s compensation has been regularly criticized and he agreed to have it cut in the upcoming year. The company has a compensation committee that oversees that particular issue.

Environmental issues

As for environmental issues, the company has warehouses in Germany and the Netherlands as well as 80 offices around the work that occupy 2.3 million square feet.

In 2020, the company started doing environmental analyses with its landlords and property managers to evaluate energy, emissions, and water footprints. In North America, the company is consolidating its data centers to create business efficiencies and improve its environmental footprint.

In Europe, all of the datacenters are operated by a provider whose datacenters run on 100% renewable energy. The company reduced its footprint by saving more than 5.5 million pounds of plastic packaging. The company wants to reduce its plastic consumption by 50% from 2019 to 2024.

As far as data breaches, the company has pledged to inform authorities if that happens. The company has also pledged to create a safe and private environment for gamers, and it will stamp out any behavior that is harassing, racist, hateful, obscene, or otherwise unacceptable. Its games include in-game reporting systems for those problems.

And the company said it is committed to making its games accessible to all players, partnering with companies like the AbleGamers Foundation to improve
accessibility. It is committed to creating games with diverse characters so players can see themselves reflected in the games.

Donations

The Call of Duty Endowment is campaigning to raise $3 million to get jobs for veterans.

Above: The Call of Duty Endowment is campaigning to raise $3 million to get jobs for veterans.

Image Credit: Call of Duty Endowment

As for donations, employees gave $1.6 million to 3,211 charities around the world, and each employee is eligible to pledge $200 of the company’s money to a charity of their choice. It also raised $12.7 million to fight breast cancer, and company volunteers supported 21 charities with volunteer time.

Kotick’s Call of Duty Endowment has found jobs for 85,000 veterans and made $53 million in grants since its inception. It helped 15,000 veterans find high-quality jobs in 2020.

For equality in the workplace, Activision Blizzard supports equal pay for equal work, and it gives parents 12 weeks of pay for parental leave, and in the U.S., birth mothers can take up to 22 weeks off with full pay.
As for promotions, the promotion rates between minority and non-minority populations are equal, and the company has higher promotion rates for women than men. About 13.5% of all employees were promoted in 2020.

The company promotes diversity in its employee base and it wants to positively influence diverse communities and protect the planet. During the pandemic, the company and the Wisconsin Partnership Program supported 388 student nurses and a 60-nurse facility provide 5,261 hours for vaccine distribution.

In response to COVID-19, the company donated $5 million to hospitals, healthcare organizations, and nonprofits.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

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Activision Blizzard (ATVI): Three reasons why this stock merits attention – AlphaStreet

Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) have gained over 37% in the past 12 months and 5% since the beginning of this year. Activision was one of the companies that benefited from the strong growth witnessed by the video game sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This momentum continued through the first quarter of 2021 with the company delivering strong results for the period. Even though there are concerns that the momentum in video games is likely to taper off once things go back to normal, Activision appears well-positioned to drive growth going forward. Here’s why:

Strong franchises

Activision Blizzard’s growth is supported by its strong set of franchises that help in driving revenue and bookings. Titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty Mobile and Warzone helped drive a 72% growth in revenue within the Activision segment during the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. Call of Duty in-game net bookings on console and PC grew over 60% YoY.

Warcraft and Hearthstone helped drive a 7% YoY growth in revenue within the Blizzard segment. The expansion of World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands and Forged in the Barrens helped boost net bookings growth during the quarter.

Within the King segment, the Candy Crush and Farm Heroes franchises drove revenue growth of 22% along with in-game net bookings growth in the high-teens percentage on a year-over-year basis during the first quarter. The growth in in-game net bookings has remained strong going into the second quarter.

The strong performances of the Call of Duty, Warcraft and Candy Crush franchises helped drive a 27% growth in total revenue and 36% growth in net bookings during the first quarter. The company expects net bookings of $1.85 billion for the second quarter and $8.60 billion for the full year of 2021.

User growth and engagement

The investments made by the company in improving its franchises have helped drive growth in users and engagement. The addition of free-to-play and mobile experiences to Call of Duty more than tripled the monthly active users in the franchise over the last two years and helped the Activision segment reach 150 million users during the first quarter. The company is looking to apply this strategy to its other brands as it aims to reach 1 billion users.

The Blizzard and King segments had 27 million and 258 million users, respectively, in Q1. Within King, the company has been working on adding new features to Candy Crush and delivering more seasonal events to drive engagement. Crash Bandicoot: On The Run!, which was launched in March, has seen 30 million downloads to-date.

Activision Blizzard continues to invest significantly in content development and as part of these efforts, it plans to hire more than 2,000 developers as well as triple the size of some of its franchise teams compared to 2019.

Exciting pipeline

Activision Blizzard has an exciting pipeline that is expected to drive growth in the coming years. Looking into 2022 and beyond, the company is working on its pipeline which includes Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, and multiple Warcraft mobile titles and these are expected to drive significant growth.

Within Blizzard, the company is planning to roll out Diablo II: Resurrected later this year. It also plans to launch Diablo Immortal on mobile. Diablo Immortal is anticipated to help expand Diablo’s reach before the launch of Diablo IV on PC and mobile. The company will also release WoW: Burning Crusade Classic in the coming months. Activision Blizzard expects to generate revenues of $2.13 billion in Q2 2021 and $8.37 billion for full-year 2021.

The stock has a Strong Buy rating and an average price target of $117.13, which represents a 19% upside from the current level.

Click here to read the full transcript of Activision’s Q1 2021 earnings conference call

Warzone Season 4 Weapons: Release Date, New Melee Weapons Leaked, Confirmed Firearms, Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns, Melee Weapons, Specials, & More – RealSport101

The next major Warzone update is right around the corner and we have everything you need to know about Warzone, Season 4, and all the new weapons we’re expecting to see.

At the moment, all we know is that Season 3’s Baseball Bat is due to make an appearance following balancing tweaks.

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Gameplay Trailer Offers First Look

At the moment, we’ve only got one trailer showcasing what’s coming in Season 4. It’s not as clear as to what weapons there are, though. There are a few snippets that look like they might be new weapons, but these could also be blueprints for existing firearms and there’s nothing too clear.

Still, it’s offering us an exciting look at what’s in store and we can’t wait to see what else Treyarch and Raven Software have up their sleeves.

Leaked Weapons That Could Appear

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If there’s one thing Activision is doing right with Call of Duty at the moment, it is the weapons. Each season brings a new batch of weapons and the selection to choose from in Warzone is absolutely massive.

Looking at the latest leaks, there’s a lot of new weapons we could see in Warzone in Season 4. There’s no confirmation that any of the following will appear; They could be pushed back to Season 5 or beyond.

With that in mind, though, here’s what we know so far:

Leaked Melee Weapons

  • Hammer;
  • Kukuri (Long, Curved Knife from Indian Subcontinent);
  • War Mace:

Leaked Firearms

  • Chicom CQB (First seen in Black Ops)
  • Nail Gun
  • Explosive Crossbow (Possibly an ammo variant, not a new weapon)
  • Cetme AR (Similar to the FAL)
  • Ameli LMG (Similar to the MG-42)

We are expecting at least two weapons to make it into the Season 4 Battle Pass, like in Season 3, and the rest to be added to Warzone in-season.

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Release Date & Roadmap Reveal

Black Ops Cold War and Warzone are both going to be getting their next major update, ushering in Season 4, on June 17th. This is two days after the supposed end of Season 3, though. So we’re expecting the current season to receive an extension to bridge the gap.

We don’t know the full content line-up yet, despite the aforementioned Gameplay Trailer. Following Johanna Faries’ appearance on Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest “Kickoff Live!” stream, we now know that we should be hearing more about Warzone Season 4 and the new weapons that will be coming on June 14th.

Here, we should see a seasonal roadmap revealed with more details on everything that’s on the way.

New Sombra and Baptiste skins revealed for ‘Overwatch 2’ – NME

New skins for Sombra and Baptiste have been revealed for Overwatch 2 during today’s Summer Game Fest stream.

Aaron Keller, Overwatch’s new game director at Blizzard Entertainment, came out on stage to talk to Geoff Keighley about some of the character model improvements for the sequel. He mentioned that a lot has gone into reinvigorating said character models for Overwatch 2, with new hair shader tech on the model of Baptiste, for example.

Sombra Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
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Sombra’s new look was quite challenging for the team at Blizzard as well, due to the multiple layers of hair, clothing, and technology present on her character model. Her asymmetrical design is filed with circuitry and nodes embedded into her clothing.

He also reiterated the change to 5v5 PvP when he said that Overwatch 2 “requires a fresh look at all of our heroes in the game, it should feel new yet familiar to fans of our strategic team-based combat.”

Overwatch 2 Bastion
Overwatch 2 Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Not much else was revealed about Overwatch 2, but back in May the developers did announce plenty of the other changes coming to the game when it launches next year. The original Overwatch is also getting cross-platform play between PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Aaron Keller is one of the original team members behind Overwatch, and he took over from Jeff Kaplan when he stepped down from his almost 20-year run at Blizzard back in April. He said: “I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years. It was truly the honour of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience.”

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In other Blizzard news, the investment group that represents the company shareholders has claimed that the salary of Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, is still too high.

Overwatch 2’s fan-favorite characters have a brand-new look – TechRadar

Overwatch 2 is still a ways off but Blizzard Entertainment showed up briefly during the Summer Game Fest 2021 kickoff event to share a new look at two of the iconic characters from the first Overwatch and how their appearance is changing in Overwatch 2.

Specifically, Sombra and Baptiste have new and improved looks that stay true to their prior designs, which you can check out in the gallery below. 

Image 1 of 4

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)
Image 2 of 4

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)
Image 3 of 4

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)
Image 4 of 4

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 is moving to a 5v5 gameplay setup, a change meant to improve balance, especially in regards to Tank characters and how they play on the field. 

While nothing has been confirmed yet, the developers are also excited about the possibility of introducing a ping system and cross-play between platforms.

Longtime Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan stepped down earlier this year, with Aaron Keller stepping into his role as game director on Overwatch 2.

No release date…this year

Activision-Blizzard has already confirmed that Overwatch 2 won’t be released at any point in 2021. Players will likely get more updates on the development of Overwatch 2 later in the year, though Blizzard has also stated that there won’t be an in-person BlizzCon 2021.

Instead, a digital event is being planned for sometime early next year, though details are still light at this time. 

Whenever Overwatch 2 does arrive, it’ll be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC, PS5 and PS4.

Report: CDL, OWL teams studying return to live events – Big News Network

Some teams in both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League are pushing for the return of live events in front of fans, a format that was halted last March by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While teams in both leagues have approached Activision Blizzard Esports about restarting fan-attended events, the Esports Observer reported that not all teams are rushing for the return to crowds.

“There’s been a rush to kind of emulate traditional sports leagues or formats, but one of the great things about esports is you don’t have to do that, leagues can find what’s best for them,” said Geoff Moore, president and COO of Envy Gaming, which owns the Dallas Empire of the CDL.

Different formats are expected to be pursued in the near future, including events without fans, those with teams playing head-to-head in front of a crowd, and even those where the competing teams are in different locations while deciding if they want to have an in-person crowd or not.

At the outset of the pandemic, Activision Blizzard laid off as many as 50 employees who work on organizing live events. The company reportedly will have fewer fan events than it used to, even when all states, and counties within those states, return to full capacity indoors.

“All of those event types and modes have their place in the annual schedule,” Moore said.

–Field Level Media

Activision Blizzard launches global friends list for Battle.net, plans further worldwide integration – Dot Esports

Activision Blizzard has dropped a new update for Battle.net to coincide with upcoming changes to games like Overwatch, which include the launch of its cross-play beta

Starting today, players will no longer need to rely on switching regions to communicate with their Battle.net friends, combining previously regional friend lists into a single entity, excluding China. The actual functionality behind this feature will take some time to fully roll out, however.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta

This new look will let Battle.net users see what region their friends are playing in, what games they are playing, and enable chat features with those players. Players in North America, Europe, and certain parts of Asia are currently seeing this update pushed live. 

Activision Blizzard is calling this updated version of Battle.net “Global Battle.net” and has much more planned to continue expanding the reach of its platform. 

“As Global Battle.net rolls out, players around the world will be able to come together all across the larger Blizzard ecosystem without any hurdles for the first time ever,” Blizzard platform design manager Diana Hubbard said. “In doing so, they will be able to effortlessly expand their friendships, groups, and communities—paving the way for forging new bonds over our present and future epic gaming experiences. This is just the first step, and it will only get better from here.”

The Battle.net team is slowly working to “a future where all Battle.net players can communicate and game together no matter where they are,” starting with this update and a slight rebrand with a new logo. 

With this, Activision Blizzard is positioning its developers to create evolved experiences that will let anyone game freely, starting with the cross-play between PC and console Overwatch players. More updates about cross-play for other games and globally connected features will be shared in the future.

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