China lifts a ban and Warcraft’s expansion announcement

By Grant Meyer l @GrantMeyerDe l Daily Egyptian

Great news on the gaming front this week as China is finally lifting a ban that prevented video games consoles from being sold in their country. There were a few surprises as well. Blizzard Entertainment revealed the next “World of Warcraft” expansion will be announced next week, much earlier than expected, and Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro still plan to make a game together.

China lifts 15-year ban on consoles.

According to a Wall Street Journal article posted Saturday, China will finally lift a 15-year ban preventing video game consoles from being sold in their country.

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China originally banned consoles in 2000 because there were concerns about video games’ potential physical and physiological effects on children. The irony in this is games were still played a great deal in China because video games on personal computers had very little limitations. The ban therefore did very little to prevent video games from being played.

This is great news for the industry and the major console developers like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. This market is also ripe for the taking because there has been little to no console presence in China, the most populated country in the world.

Video game bans are nothing new. Various countries have banned video games or specific titles throughout video games history, but most have loosened or removed these restrictions. Venezuela is currently the only country which still bans video games and consoles. 

The idea to lift the ban was originally introduced in 2013, and in 2014 China’s State Council relaxed the ban by allowing foreign companies to manufacture and sell their products in Shanghai’s free trade zone.

‘World of Warcraft’ new expansion announcement

Wednesday morning on worldofwarcraft.com, Blizzard Entertainment announced they will reveal the next expansion pack to their most successful massive multiplayer online role playing game, “World of Warcraft,” next week.

They will host a conference at 9 a.m. PST Aug. 6 at Gamescom, a gaming convention, in Cologne, Germany, where they will reveal the new expansion.

This is interesting news not only because an expansion for this super successful game is always big news, but because the next entry in the series is coming so early. Warcraft expansions usually last at least two years. With this announcement coming so early after the current expansion’s, “World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor” released in November, this reveal is proving Blizzard seems to be sticking to their idea of producing expansion packs more quickly.

Gamescom is one of the biggest gaming conferences in the world. It is expected there will be a great deal of news and announcements to come out of it. Gamescom will run from Aug. 6 through Aug. 9. A live stream of the convention can be found at various media publications and websites like IGN.com

Kojima and del Toro still planning to work together

Gaming icon Hideo Kojima has had a falling out with the company he works for, Konami. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the two.

The biggest news about this is Kojima will not be working on the Metal Gear Solid series anymore, a series which Kojima is the creator and director of all the major entries.

Another part of the controversy was Kojima working on the next entry in the horror genre series Silent Hill. The new game was called “Silent Hills” and he would be working on it with movie director Guillermo del Toro, who is famous for “Pacific Rim,” “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” However, because Kojima is leaving Konami, “Silent Hills” development was halted and the game is no longer going to be released.

Fortunately, the two still plan to work together on something new. In an interview with IGN.com, del Toro said, “I love working with Kojima-san. We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that’s not going to be ‘Silent Hills.'”

This is great news because the content the two worked on, a demo of “Silent Hills” called “P.T.,” was very promising. Hopefully whatever they create next is just as entertaining.

‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ PS4 and PC release dates revealed.

The publishers of “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” Square-Enix, have announced the game will be available on PlayStation 4 and PC during the holiday season of 2016.

This news is important because “Rise of the Tomb Raider” has a year of exclusivity on the Xbox One, meaning it will only be available on the platform because of a deal Microsoft made with Square-Enix. The game will launch on the Xbox One Nov. 10.

This is a business technique being practiced more and more by big publishers like Sony and Microsoft. Other games have been victims of this style of business such as “Destiny,” the Battlefield series and Call of Duty series. 

All three of these games have had deals with either Microsoft or Sony granting exclusive content to certain platforms, despite being available for both major ones, Xbox and PlayStation. “Destiny” is particularly infamous for this because PlayStation players still exclusively have access to extra levels and weapons almost one year after its release. 

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