Less than two months after the formal launch of Amazon Games’ first major PC game on Steam, Crucible, the company has chosen to yank it right out of Steam’s store. Its developers at Relentless Studios (a wholly owned Amazon subsidiary) have announced plans to delist the free-to-play action-MOBA game from Steam starting tomorrow, July 1, while continuing to operate the game as a “closed beta” for anyone who already downloaded the game (or paid for one of its “founders packs” of cosmetic DLC).
In an announcement on the game’s official site, its developers describe this change as a way to “help us focus on providing the best possible experience for our players.” As far as remaining players go, however, that assurance may ring a bit hollow, since its delisting will likely reduce the available player pool from its already minuscule population (as of press time, it’s only had more than 200 concurrent players once over the past week).
Although the game will continue to launch through Steam, starting at 12pm on July 1, new players will no longer be able to search for the game and freely download its client. Instead, they’ll have to sign up to play the game at the official site, where they will wait for a closed-beta invite. (If you think you’ll want to play the game eventually and want to save yourself some headaches, head to Crucible‘s Steam listing and add it to your library right now.)
Another action-MOBA bites the dust?
Arguably, this move is less about helping the game’s developers alter and upgrade the game’s contents and more about changing the way outsiders view its tiny player population. Relentless Studios, the wholly owned Amazon subsidiary responsible for the game, was already able to make drastic changes to the Crucible client in the past month, particularly by removing an entire game mode in order to better focus its remaining player population.
Amazon Games’ inexperience with the games-as-a-service sector was already a worrying issue when Crucible launched in mid-May. It’s still unclear why the company chose to launch the game to the public in a wide-open, “1.0” state in May as opposed to testing the waters of public perception with invite-only beta tests or a soft, “early access” launch. (The reasoning didn’t seem to be entirely about making money via microtransactions, as all players who signed up over the past month were given roughly $10 of free credits for joining the game’s launch period.) That kind of sudden rush to market was doubly weird in the case of this game’s “action-MOBA” genre, since other major forays into that gameplay model, particularly Epic’s Paragon and Gearbox’s Battleborn, had so loudly crashed-and-burned.
While Relentless has offered insight into its plans for updating and developing the game over time, the studio still hasn’t committed to adding built-in text chat—a serious oversight for a game that cannot be won without coordinated strategies—or systems to deal with rage-quitters, so that dedicated players don’t get punished for sticking to unwinnable 3v4 or 2v4 matches. (The only consolation as of press time is a mild boost for lopsided teams and a somewhat new “surrender” option.)
Also, since Relentless is taking this game back behind a curtain for tinkering, I’ll add one small request: change the name of the game before you relaunch. “Crucible” has long been established as the mode name for Destiny and Destiny 2‘s versus modes.
Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries
Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.
Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver
EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.
Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.
Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.
South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.
Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.
($1 = 1,117.7000 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum
The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.
Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.
Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.
The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.
The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.
Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.
In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.
Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.
Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.
In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.
Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.
The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.
($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)