#71: Not a lot

Hello! I’ve been somewhat preoccupied of late with what to do on slow days — and, to be honest, on days where stuff has happened, but I don’t really feel like writing about the thing I probably should be writing about. Today is definitely one of those days. Does anyone really want another 400 words on the latest developments around NFTs in games landing in their inbox on a Monday? I’m not sure they do, and I’m not sure I want to write them either. I am conscious of wasting your time, and mine as well, and also wary of repeating myself.

So, a little experiment (though actually I think I’ve done this before). We’ll dispense with the top story today, and proceed directly to the other bits, such as they are. Onwards!


  • Ha, sorry, NFTs. Nestled in the infrastructure bill that finally cleared the pestilent morass that is the US political system late last week is a clause demanding that crypto assets be treated as cash, and regulated and taxed as such. Any sale in excess of $10,000 must now be reported to the IRS, with details verifying the identity of the purchaser, within 15 days. Failure to do so is a felony. Coindesk reports that lawyers reckon the law “could be nearly impossible to comply with” in a crypto context to which, well, lol. In fairness, I know a number of the more serious blockchain-gaming outfits have been thinking about KYC provision from the start — Mythical Games announced a developer platform with it baked in just last week — and there’s an argument that this is actually helpful to NFT game makers, because it weeds out the scam artists and forces the gold rush to settle down a bit. But this still feels like a heavy blow to the scene in general.
  • Ubisoft is giving pay rises to all Canadian employees in a bid to stem what sounds like a pretty heavy rate of turnover, particularly among senior staff. While this is partly driven by Ubi’s misconduct scandal (and the hitherto lacklustre response to it), it seems the main driver is the greatly increased competition for talent in Canada this year. There’s understandable upset at how the pay rises are weighted — junior staff get 5-7%, seniors up to 20% — but I can see the logic in that if you’re trying to dissuade your senior creatives from jumping ship to Amazon, Tencent, Gearbox (pfft) or any of the other new Canadian studios that have set up shop this year.
  • Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida was moved to tears when announcing a two-week delay to the game’s next expansion, Endwalker. Two weeks! Crivens. I interviewed Yoshida at E3 in, I think, 2017, and he was excellent: uncommonly open for a Japanese developer, wearing a spectacular biker jacket that was more zip than leather, and quite clearly conscious towards the end of whether he’d have time for a smoke outside before his next interview. Ah, a kindred spirit. Except for the jacket. I could never pull that off.
  • A swathe of PC games were unplayable this weekend after widely reviled DRM service Denuvo had some kind of server oopsie.
  • Fail0verflow, the hacking group behind the jailbreaking of PS3, among others, reckons it has gained access to the PS5’s internal root keys, potentially opening up a path to jailbreaking, homebrew and, obviously, piracy.
  • More on Sega’s new initiative, Super Game: it is committing up to ¥100bn ($882 million) to its drive to create a “major global title”, potentially including studio acquisitions, assuming there are any of them left to buy at this point.
  • Arthouse indie publisher Annapurna Interactive has announced some management changes. Deborah Mars and former Capy president Nathan Vella are now co-running the operation, while previous incumbent Nathan Gary is now president of Annapurna itself, overseeing the film, TV, theater and interactive divisions. Firstly, that is a ringing endorsement for the success of Annapurna’s game business, and for the growing cultural relevance of games more broadly; we are used to seeing film people come over to games, but I can’t remember the reverse ever happening. And I’m very happy for Nathan Vella, who is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, in this industry or any other. Lovely stuff all round.

There we go. Brisk! Have a spectacular couple of days, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.