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Cineplex to open Metro Vancouver’s first Rec Room entertainment centre



Construction on Metro Vancouver’s first The Rec Room is on pace for an opening sometime this spring.

Cineplex provided Daily Hive Urbanized today with a behind-the-scenes tour of the construction progress of its new entertainment and dining hub at the new The Amazing Brentwood (TAB) shopping mall complex in Burnaby.

The 40,000-sq-ft attraction will be the company’s ninth The Rec Room location, with a capacity to hold up to 1,300 guests.

One level above, Cineplex is also opening an adults-only VIP Cinemas location with five screens. This will be the company’s first standalone VIP Cinemas location, which will open this spring as well, but at a later date after The Rec Room.

Within the separate The Rec Room space, there will be approximately 90 arcade and video game machines within the 8,400-sq-ft “The Yard” area, including classics and favourites such as Mario Kart, Pong, Space Invaders, Jurassic Park, The Walking Dad, and Marvel-themed games.

Other activities include state-of-the-art experiences like Halo and premium virtual reality. Pool and ping pong tables will be available too.

the amazing brentwood cineplex rec room

Construction progress of The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood as of February 21, 2020. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

the amazing brentwood cineplex rec room

Construction progress of The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood as of February 21, 2020. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The games run on RFID wristbands, providing improved convenience over the traditional token system. Accumulated points can be redeemed at the “Trophy Case,” where top prizes include Nintendo Switch consoles, Beats headphones, drones, and other nostalgia-inspired treats and toys.

“It’s a very social space,” said Christina Kuypers, the vice-president of operations and guest experience for Cineplex’s The Rec Room and Playdium division. “We want many different people with different interests to find an activity or game that they like. But we also know people are going to share their expertise with other guests… we see hardcore and casual gamers interacting all the time.”

Beyond the gaming, this The Rec Room has two main dining options — the casual sit-down dining restaurant called Three10, named after Canada’s three territories and 10 provinces, and The Shed for quick bites and drinks.

The restaurant’s dining area is on the edge of the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook TAB’s expansive fountain plaza below.

the amazing brentwood cineplex rec room

Construction progress of The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood as of February 21, 2020. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

the amazing brentwood cineplex rec room

Construction progress of The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood as of February 21, 2020. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

A large box-shaped bar is accessible from all of its sides, including “The Hall,” which is the live entertainment venue, featuring programming such as live music, comedy, burlesque, drag shows, and even themed nights like Latin music and K-pop.

This space also offers regular live trivia and karaoke, except that instead of singing into a machine, guests will be performing with a live band on stage.

Over 70 television screens will be scattered across the entire The Rec Room, enabling guests to follow their favourite sports events from varying entertaining and dining environments.

Additionally, there are bookable flexible event spaces for corporate functions and social parties, like birthdays and graduation.

So how exactly does The Rec Room differ from Cineplex’s other entertainment concept, Playdium?

Kuypers says the varying offering and programming mixes between both concepts are key differentiators. The Rec Room is a 50-50 split between food/beverage and amusement/entertainment, while Playdium is an 80-20 split between amusement/gaming and food/beverage.

Moreover, The Rec Room’s dining options are elevated to a mid-market level, and it offers some mature game titles that are unavailable at Playdium.

“The Rec Room and Playdium really compliment each other really well, because The Rec Room is geared more towards millennials and boomers with kids, while Playdium is geared towards teenagers first and then families,” she said.

the rec room cineplex

Example of a typical The Rec Room interior design. (Cineplex)

the rec room cineplex

Example of a typical The Rec Room interior design. (Cineplex)

For this particular location at TAB, The Rec Room provides theatregoers upstairs with an activity option before or after their movie. VIP Cinemas and The Rec Room combined are expected to be a significant foot traffic generator for the newly-built mall.

In late 2021, Cineplex will open its second The Rec Room location in the region at 855 Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, within the former Empire Granville 7 theatre complex it owns. The theatre shut down in 2012, and has been vacant ever since.

The 45,000-sq-ft, multi-level location will retrofit three interconnected buildings, dating as far back as 1893, with the construction work entailing the restoration and enhancement of the heritage building facades. This Rec Room location’s live entertainment venue within the basement is far larger, spanning 11,000 sq. ft. with a capacity for up to 640 people.

“I think our Rec Room in downtown is really going to reshape Granville Street,” said Kuypers.

the rec room cineplex

Example of a typical The Rec Room interior design. (Cineplex)

Cineplex’s last full-scale entertainment attraction in the region was its Playdium location at Metropolis at Metrotown. It was open between the late 1990s and 2005, until it was replaced by Winners.

The company has plans to open a new Playdium attraction in Metro Vancouver, with the location slated to be announced shortly.

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Raven Software employees walk out to protest Activision Blizzard layoffs – VentureBeat



Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event. 

Several employees at Raven Software, one of the development teams under Activision Blizzard, are walking out to protest layoffs at the company. Several members of the QA team were laid off last week, and other employees are asking that they be reinstated, saying Activision Blizzard had promised them better pay in the future.

The Washington Post reported on the layoffs last Friday, saying that management laid off (or planned to lay off) up to a third of Raven’s quality assurance team. Associate community manager Austin O’Brien shed some more light on it in a tweet chain, saying that Activision promised the QA team better pay following an upcoming pay restructure, only for some to be let go instead. Some had also recently relocated to Madison, Wisconsin. At the time of this writing, some workers still do not know whether they are being kept on or being let go.

Raven Software is the major development team behind Call of Duty Warzone, one of Activision’s staple games. The most recent release, Call of Duty: Vanguard, is due to cross over with Warzone shortly. According to a letter written by the protesting workers to management, Warzone generates $5.2 million a day. Alex Dupont, a member of the QA team, told Bloomberg that the other members who were let go were not given a clear reason for it.


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Activision Blizzard initially responded to the news of the layoffs with a statement that implied that these workers were the unfortunate few whose contracts were not upgraded to a full-time position, but that 500 contract workers would be upgraded eventually.

This is just the latest in a series of problems at Activision Blizzard. Its sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination scandal has continued apace since July, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company. More and more employees are coming forward with new reports from within the company. Most recently, a report last month in the Wall Street Journal leveled allegations against CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision Blizzard employees have walked out during those previous reports in protest of the way the company handled these allegations. Other major figures in the gaming industry, including the heads of all three console manufacturers (Phil Spencer of Xbox, Jim Ryan of PlayStation, and Doug Bowser of Nintendo), have criticized the company’s actions.

The company has also shown signs of problems on the game development side, too. At its recent quarterly report, Activision revealed it was maintaining decent numbers, but it was also delaying two of its most anticipated releases: Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. The company currently has thousands of job openings, and seems to be eager to bring in new talent.


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New 'Halo' game debuts as Xbox turns 20 – Global Times



People play a video game. Photo: VCG

 Fans will this week get their hands on the latest Halo video game, as Microsoft marks 20 years of the franchise that turned its Xbox console into a hit.

Halo Infinite is out Wednesday – but to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cult sci-fi series, Microsoft and developer 343 Industries have already released a free-to-play “beta” test version. 

Within an hour of its launch on November 15 some 100,000 people were logged on to play simultaneously via online platform Steam, in a taste of the excitement around the sixth installment’s return to a 26th-century space war. 

“The entire Halo community has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this game,” said 28-year-old Jenn, a competitive Halo player who goes by the gaming alias Queen x3.

“The beta was a lot of fun and created a lot more excitement leading up to the official launch.”

As for the appeal of the game, seen through the eyes of a heavily armed cyber-soldier, she said it was in the thrill of the challenge.

“Halo is truly one of the most competitive first-person shooters out there – not many people can pick up a controller for the first time and be great.”

Set in a future where humans have colonized many planets, Halo: Combat Evolved arrived in November 2001 as the debut game for Microsoft’s brand-new Xbox console. 

The series quickly became what is known as a “killer app” – the product driving sales of the Xbox – as Microsoft sought to turn itself into a US rival to Japan’s Nintendo and Sony in the already-lucrative market for gaming consoles. 

Two decades later Xbox remains a key player in a video game industry now thought to be larger than the movie sector, with market research firm Mordor Intelligence valuing it at $173.7 billion in 2020.

Its Xbox Live platform was a pioneer in turning online gaming into a social phenomenon, with people logging on to play against friends or strangers. 

It now has more than 100 million monthly users. 

The Xbox console still lags far behind the Japanese behemoths, with an estimated 6.7 million sold by 2021 compared to nearly 90 million Nintendo Switches and 12.8 million PlayStation 5s, according to an analysis by Ampere.

But the latest versions of the Xbox, Series X and S, are the fastest-selling in the company’s history, according to Microsoft.

“It’s not as if the title is needed to move consoles off shelves, although it will certainly help increase demand,” NPD gaming analyst Mat Piscatella said of the new Halo release. 

The game series – which has sold 91 million copies – has spawned an entire media franchise, with films, books, comics and a forthcoming TV series starring The Wire actor Pablo Schreiber as protagonist Master Chief.

It has even given rise to the expression “Halo Killer,” meaning a game good enough to beat its success. 

Joshua “Mash” Mashlan, a professional coach for Halo e-sports tournaments, remembers its rise as a time when finally, “you weren’t a nerd for liking the game.”

“Everybody wanted to play,” the 28-year-old told AFP. 

He was so excited about the release of the beta version in November that he scheduled a day off work to play it, and has been enjoying it despite “a lot of little glitches.”

“It’s a fresh start to a game we’ve been playing for 20 years,” he said. 

It’s a pleasant surprise for a title whose release has been delayed by more than a year, due in part to complications linked to COVID-19 teleworking but also criticism from players of the early artwork, derided as basic. 

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‘Fortnite’ Spider-Man Web Swinging Is Better Than Avengers’ Spider-Man Web Swinging – Forbes



Fortnite has just debuted a new Chapter, and with it, they landed one of the most famous superheroes ever to lead their new season: Spider-Man.

Spider-Man rests at the end of the battle pass as a reward, but this is not the only place he’s shown up in the last week or so. He was also added to Marvel’s Avengers, the superhero looter, as a PlayStation exclusive character.

In many ways, it seems like Avengers got the short end of the stick when it comes to their deal with Sony to use Spider-Man in the game. The deal limits them to providing Spider-Man to only one portion of their playerbase, PlayStation players, splitting the game and annoying fans, while Fortnite Spider-Man is accessible through that season for all platforms, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC.

Past that, it’s clear that Sony limited what kinds of costumes Crystal Dynamics was allowed to make for Avengers Spider-Man. By far the most common request was for the black symbiote suit, which the game doesn’t have. But guess what’s the page 10 reward for the Spider-Man costume in Fortnite? The symbiote variant, with other recognizable costumes to follow.

Not all of this is on Sony, however. Some things are just flat out better in Fortnite, like the overall character design I’d say. But what’s most noticeable is the difference in web-swinging between the two games. You can compare them below.


And here’s Avengers:

I spoke with Crystal Dynamics who talked about why they decided to let Spider-Man latch on to thin air on their maps, in order to prevent him from running on the ground in many of the game’s wide open spaces. I can understand that, but it’s more than that, as swinging is just a lot choppier and more static than what players got used to in Insomniac’s game, and now, what we’re seeing here in Fortnite.

Fortnite makes use of grappling-hook like physics and momentum. But in Avengers, there’s no momentum or speed build up, it’s a much more simplified traversal tool.

To be fair, web-swinging was essentially all Fortnite had to focus on with Spider-Man, making the new gadget which can be used to swing by all players. Avengers had the task of creating a full combat kit for Spider-Man, and I do actually think they did a good job and he’s a lot of fun. But it’s hard to avoid the comparison about web-swinging entirely, and how weirdly good it is in Fortnite compared to Avengers.

Spider-Man will get more costumes in Avengers, possibly MCU variants and maybe even the symbiote suit someday. Fortnite Spider-Man will get more looks as well, and technically, his web gloves weren’t supposed to go live for another week or so, and we’ll see how they work once they’re not accidentally activated then.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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