Gamestop sent a memo to all stores last week claiming that its chain constituted “essential retail” and that local stores should remain open even in the face of COVID-19 shutdown orders from state and local governments.
Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time.
. . .
e have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed.
The video game chain relented over the weekend and said it would “close customer access to U.S. storefronts and will process orders on a digital only basis, moving to curbside pick-up at stores and eCommerce delivery only” effective Sunday, March 22.
Valve recently posted a 2019 Year In Review summary with some interesting statistics and details from last year.
According to Valve, in 2019 users on Steam logged a total of 20,789,726,718 hours played.
The scale of that and other things on Steam are a bit mind boggling. For example, take the Steam Workshop,
The Steam Workshop continues to be a very popular feature among users: 4.3 million items were uploaded last year alone. Unfortunately, sometimes malicious groups would upload “fake items” (e.g “Click here for Free Skins!”) with the explicit purpose of hijacking accounts. To help mitigate these types of scams, the Workshop submission process was updated to require email verification. We’ve since moved to pre-approving items for games that had the highest rate of abuse. There has been a drastic reduction in item scams since then, with very little cost to users: approval times are less than 15 minutes on average, thanks to our full-time moderation team.
Valve also notes that “revenue from games made by our partners was up year over year, and 2019 finished strong with our most successful sale ever.” But that, of course, doesn’t answer the question on a lot of people’s minds–how were the year-over-year sales affected by the rollout of Epic’s Store?
XBOX Live is updating its gamertag system to support additional languages and to allow users to change existing gamertags (something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile). The first gamertag name change is free for existing subscribers, but subsequent changes will cost $9.99 (presumably to prevent people from automating the system for fraud and impersonation purposes).
We are updating our gamertag to a 12-character maximum, Unicode-based name of your choice with an auto-generated suffix. We now offer 13 different alphabets for gamers, which support over 200 languages worldwide.
Existing gamertags will remain unchanged with no suffix and no action required unless the player wants to make a change.
New Xbox players or players who want to change are allowed to register a gamertag of their choice, up to 12 characters. If it’s already taken by someone else, we will assign a suffix with numbers to differentiate you from other people with the same name. We will also auto-format the gamertag to show the suffix subtly in a different font so focus will be on the name you chose but the suffix will always be shown. If you want to change your gamertag using these updates, your first change is free, but every subsequent change will cost the same amount we currently charge for a gamertag change ($9.99 in the U.S.).