March 24, 2021 / 9:00 am

Video Games Weekly: March 17 – March 24, 2020

This week brought news of a change in Microsoft’s Xbox Live, a major company in the gaming industry may be up for sale, the reported closing of aging PlayStation online stores, and news on Niantic’s next Nintendo-based AR game!

Microsoft’s Xbox Live Name Change

Microsoft is rebranding Xbox Live. The new name, “Xbox Network,” will refer to the overarching Xbox online service. Xbox Live’s name, going on its 19th year of service, would possibly have benefitted from a total name change, though the name is not totally going away. In a statement to Eurogamer, Microsoft clarified the name change. “Xbox Live isn’t going away,” Microsoft said. “We are making ongoing adjustments to create a simpler, more descriptive messaging system for Xbox in different areas. None of these experiences or features will change as part of these updates,” they told Eurogamer. It seems the rebranding was done in response to the growth in free-to-play games, giving a more apt description of the online services that Microsoft will offer the player. Microsoft already announced that Xbox Live Gold would no longer be needed to play free-to-play online games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends.

Discord Up for Sale

Discord, the successful communication app made popular by gamers, is reportedly up for sale. Discord may yet choose to go public with the company, as no deal to purchase the company has been officially announced. While we know nothing more than rumors at this point, potential reported buyers include Epic Games, Amazon, and Microsoft. While no definite pricing is known, rumors suggest the current purchase of the company is valued upwards of $10 billion. Should Microsoft purchase Discord, it would only add to their list of recent company acquisitions. Discord is a major player in the video game industry and holds a large influence as they are a primary source of communication amongst online gamers. An acquisition by Microsoft could expect integration with current and future Microsoft gaming platforms and would be a large win for the company.

PlayStation Online Stores Closing

Sony is reportedly closing the online stores for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita this year. According to an article on TheGamer, an official announcement is expected later this month. When these stores close, consumers will no longer be able to purchase games or DLC on the consoles mentioned. With the newest of the three consoles nearing its tenth year in service, it does not come as a shock that these online stores will be closing. 

Niantic/Nintendo’s New Pikmin Game

Pokémon Go’s overwhelming success has spurred another partnership between Nintendo and Niantic Labs. Niantic’s next project will be an AR game based on Pikmin! This new game will share a goal with Pokémon Go in that it will encourage you to get outside and walk while making the experience more entertaining.