Gaming

YouTube's #DemonetizationDay could mean big trouble for gamers

GAMING NEWS | Understanding the potentially disastrous shift in YouTube's partner program

As of Tuesday, YouTube's dreaded "demonetization day" has come and gone.

The day marked a seismic shift in the requirements for YouTube's Partner Program, which is the platform's means of "cutting in" its creators on the ad revenue generated by their videos. Now, instead of the traditional 10,000 channel views required to apply for the program, channels will be required to maintain a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and have accrued a total of 4,000 hours of viewing time over the last 12 months.

This means many of the platforms partners have had their partnerships terminated.

This turn of events could have a particular nasty effect on YouTube's gaming channels, particularly those in the Nintendo-specific partnership program, which has even more constraints and smaller payouts (because Nintendo takes a cut of the ad revenue, too). With fewer opportunities for gaming channels, especially Nintendo-based ones, and a much steeper uphill climb, many of those low-sub content gems like the original Five Nights at Freddy's playthroughs and glitchy Let's Play wins.

Lesser-known YouTubers and their passionate fans started the #DemonetizationDay and #SmallerYouTubers on Twitter to get the word out and organize mutual-aid networks, encouraging one another to like, subscribe and watch to keep channels on the borderline afloat.

YouTube's official response to the outrage was supportive but unbending:

Our recent changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) are designed to curb bad actors, stabilize creator revenue and provide greater assurances to advertisers around where their ads are placed. By making these updates to YPP, we aim to help creators of all sizes find more success. We have many free resources in place such as our Creator Academy and YouTube Spaces to help those just starting out build a community around their channel so that they can ramp-up fast and monetize their videos.

Basically, YouTube's saying it's not right (or as potentially profitable) to sell advertisers looking to market to gamers a space that could end up on a small Minecraft roleplay channel, when what they really want is to be on repeat over Pewdiepie or Game Grumps videos (not that YouTube ads usually only cover one channel). They want to be able to guarantee that the ads are hitting highly-trafficked, well-respected channels.

It also saves YouTube ton of money in a reverse "death by a thousand cuts" situation. The company said that over 99 percent of the affected channels have made less than $100 in the last year, with 90 percent making less than $2.50 in the last month.

The small payments, however, were not the point for many of the affected channels. Many on the YouTube subreddit expressed that the payments and being a part of the Partner Program meant feeling included and acknowledged as a part of what made the site valuable.

Speaking to Polygon, one of the site's most subscribed users, Markiplier, summed up the tone of the community with his own inspiring words, "The rules will change and other things will get in your way, but when you have those obstacles in front of you, you can't just bow to the pressure on you. You have to keep moving forward. Just keep working."


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Gaming

Overwatch reveals new skins and map for Lunar New Year

New map, tons of new legendary skins and the return of competitive Capture the Flag

Blizzard

Overwatch's holiday events are, no pun intended, legendary.

Blizzard has a great habit of making a huge deal out of the year's biggest holiday seasons: Halloween, Christmahanakwanzakuh, Independence Day and, acknowledging their global audience, the Chinese Lunar New Year. This year's Year of the Dog celebration will start February 8 and last through March 5.

Last year's "Year of the Rooster" event introduced a Capture the Rooster game mode, which became a more permanent fixture after the season event, staying on as a standard Capture the Flag mode. The Year of the Dog festival this year will keep the flag (sorry, rooster fans), but get rid of the possibility of a draw. Overwatch's game director, Jeff Kaplan, spoke to some of the changes in this event's developer update.

"First off, there's no more draws anymore," said Kaplan. "We know historically every time we've had draws in Overwatch, there has been discontent in the player base and we want to get rid of draws. We know that they're not very exciting and they can feel very anticlimactic. So, we've added a Sudden-Death mechanic if the two teams are tied at the end of time."

This "sudden death" basically means a speed-round until the next team scores. "What will happen is both teams flags are moved closer to the center of the map and then the map resumes at that point and the teams will go for the flags and then they only have a very short distance to cap," Kaplan added.

Kaplan also commented on the limiting of certain character skills that would be over-powered in Capture the Flag (i.e. Winston's super jump and Tracer's dash): "The other thing that's very exciting is we've changed the flag pickup roles. So, now picking up the flag is instant, but if you use certain abilities and these abilities are limited to things that either give you invulnerability or give you great mobility, those abilities will drop the flag. We call these 'restricted abilities.'"

The new map is specially designed for the Capture the Flag and it's named Ayutthaya, after the real world city in Thailand. Like the Thai city, the new map will feature a hightech urban district, beautiful temples and interesting flora. The distinct sectors of the map should make for quality shotcalling and capture the flag strategy. This goes hand-in-hand with the new competitive ladder for Capture the Flag, which will have a ranked season throughout the event.

The new cosmetics are nothing to scoff at, either. Most of the characters get the Lunar New Year redesign, which include mostly fireworks, dragons and Chinese characters. However, the best of the bunch are Zarya's new dragon warrior look, Genji's robotic swordsman 'fit, and Mercy's festival formalwear. The new skins are available for purchase for 3000 points, whereas last year's Year of the Rooster skins are also available at a discounted 1000 price point. There are also new sprays, including a celebratory Doomfist and a pensive Symmetra.

Blizzard

The best new skins defend a flag on the new map Ayutthaya.

Blizzard

Zarya's new look is absolutely beast.

Blizzard

The new map, Ayutthaya, is based on the real world city in Thailand, home to both beautiful temples and urban sprawl.

Blizzard

The new Genji skin is a ghostly, robotic swordsman.

Blizzard

The new Mercy look appears to be based on festival formalwear.

Blizzard

Pharah received a similar treat to Zarya with her dragon warrior armor.

Blizzard

Genji in action.

New skins on the new map

Blizzard

Mercy in the urban district of Ayutthaya.

For more Overwatch updates and perspectives on gaming, check out Popdust Gaming!


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Gaming

Top 10 | Popdust's Most Anticipated Video Games of 2018

2018 could be another rockstar year for video games, pun absolutely intended

Square Enix / Disney

2017 was a rough year for just about everything, but those are the perfect conditions for creating amazing art, and, yes, video games are art (even you, Call of Duty). Although it's hard to predict the indie gems and breakout success stories that often come to define a year's zeitgeist, like PUBG did for 2017, here are some of the best titles you can look forward to playing (and reading about on Popdust Gaming) in 2018.

While these games may have release dates that are touch-and-go, you can expect to find these in your gaming library soon enough.

Kingdom Hearts III

Playstation Exclusive

Back at it again with the keybladeDisney / Square Enix

Saying "Kingdom Hearts III is coming out in 2018" can be a tricky statement. It's not exactly the third installment in the series. We know very little beyond the limited trailers (which include some gameplay). And, because it's a Kingdom Hearts game, we never really know if it's coming out when they say it is. But that doesn't mean you should be anything less than pumped for another voyage into the beautiful, collage-esque universe of KH.

The Last of Us Part 2

Playstation Exclusive

Naughty Dog

The next installment in the PS survival title will be anchored by the fan favorite sidekick from the first title, Ellie. State-of-the-art graphics, tight mechanics and that trademark storytelling from the studio that gave us the Uncharted series make for a game that's basically impossible to disappoint.


Monster Hunter: World

Capcom

The reason this game isn't called Monster Hunter 5 is because it really doesn't follow the same progression pattern as the other sequels. Based on the coverage and previews available now, it looks like Monster Hunter: World takes all the most lovable elements of the MF formula and adds about a hundred million quality-of-life tweaks, graphical improvements and stylistic changes that should make the game nearly perfect.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar

Another Rockstar game is not nothing to scoff that. The sequel to 2010's "What if Grand Theft Auto but cowboys?" game will hopefully do for the series what the fifth installment did for GTA: bring it into the modern world with sprawling, open-world multiplayer, stellar graphics and a bit more moral nuance for a smarter time.

Untitled Yoshi Game

Nintendo Switch Exclusive

Nintendo

This standalone Yoshi title looks reminiscent of the GBA game Yoshi's Island and should spell another success for the near-flawless first-party lineup of Switch games. Hopefully, Nintendo is about to give Yoshi the Super Mario Odyssey treatment.

Crackdown 3

Xbox One + Windows PC Exclusive

Microsoft Studios

Another game looking to expand its open-world madness to a more engaging multiplayer world, the ever-delayed Crackdown 3 should add plenty of depth to its formula of world-breaking, high-octane supercop formula.

Anthem

Bioware

The newest game from Mass Effect studio Bioware puts you in charge of a freelance mercenary/monster-hunter/hero who explores the post-apocalyptic world in a mechanical exoskeleton with a range of customizable powers. Overgrown jungles, dinosaur-like monsters and a sturdy support for multiplayer makes this a title to watch in 2018.

Escape from Tarkov

Battlestate Games

This Russian-developed and exclusively sold mil-sim, survival game will both capitalize on the momentum of games like Fortnite and PUBG while restoring some of the loot-hording, long-term intensity to the genre from its DayZ roots. This game is incredibly punishing and difficult, and that's just the sort of thing that will make it perfect for online streamers and high-level competitors seeking something a bit more complicated than PUBG.

The game's official release date isn't available, but you can check it out right now, in beta.

Wandersong

Dumb and Fat // Greg Lobanov

Nintendo Switch Exclusive

This cute and colorful game combines a Night in the Woods art style with fantasy-musical adventure. You play as a bard who uses his music to do combat and complete puzzles in order to advance its story. Made exclusively for the Switch, this game is sure to utilize some of the console's unique mechanical possibilities.

It's that time of year again... Actually, you know what? It's past that time of year again. You're just a bit behind on that Holiday shopping season and it's crunch time. And you know what else? You've got someone in your life who, regardless of age, can't stop watching cartoons (and crying), playing video games (and crying) and–of course–telling you about all of it. And yet...

You still don't know what to buy.

Q: How could someone with such obvious interests be so hard to shop for?

A: There's just far too much stuff out there.

So, we've cut out the guesswork for and prepared a Nerd/Gamer/Weeb/Enthusiast-certified buying guide for your last minute gift-giving needs.

Super Pixel of My Childhood T-Shirt

AdamWorks

$14 on teepublic.com

A delightful slice of gaming history rolled into one neat graphic tee. No text and a black background ensure a versatility and lack of corniness rare in gaming merch.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

$7 on Amazon

Winner of the 2017 Eisner Award for best children's publication, this beautiful graphic novel focuses on the tale of a young girl exploring the mysterious past. Also there's ghosts and other supernatural stuff, so, like, hell yeah.

Eleven "Friends Don't Lie" Enamel Pin

AhoyKollektiv on Etsy

$11 on Etsy

Is there anyone left who doesn't love Stranger Things? Probably not. This subtle pin will look great on anyone's backpack or denim jacket.

ThinkGeek

$44.99 on ThinkGeek

You probably saw this trending on Twitter, but there's still time to grab this amazing Jon Snow cloak/backpack for the fashion-forward Thrones fan in your life.

Fallout Chess Set

Bethesda/USAopoly

$47.99 on GameStop.com

The gnarly colors of the Wasteland come to life with this figurine-based chess set. Knocks ghouls into power armor and power armor into Death Claws, or something.

World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook

Simon and Schuster/Blizzard

$18.40 on Amazon

Whether you're baking brownies for the Horde or snickerdoodles for those Alliance fools, once and current players of Blizzard's MMO epic are sure to love this surprisingly thorough cookbook from Chelsea Monroe-Cassel.

Xbox Design Lab

$70-100 on Xbox Design Lab

Let your player play in style. Custom controllers direct from Microsoft can be made to match a sports team, color scheme or even their favorite TV show.

ThinkGeek

$129.99 on ThinkGeek

Another World of Warcraft gift? Yes. But just another World of Warcraft gift? Absolutely not. The robe you'll never want to leave the house, but if you did you'd look good in.

Pull up with any of these gifts to your Secret Santa, White Elephant or office Christmas party and you're bound to get some stoic nods of respect from the nerds in your life. Maybe next year, start your shopping a little earlier and get them a signed copy of Watchmen or a collectors edition DVD of The Last Jedi.

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Frontpage Popular News

DOOMSDAY CLOCK is The Watchmen sequel that has us asking, "Why DC?"

Can anything justify bringing the dark universe of Watchmen into the DC fold?

Courtesy DC Comics

Can anything justify bringing the dark universe of Watchmen into the world of DC?


Rorschach is back, baby. Courtesy DC Comics


Based on its premise alone, the sequel to Watchmen, Doomsday Clock, raises a lot of red flags: It will resurrect a long-dead character, it will tie a grittier, more hopeless universe to the glossy world of Superman and Wonderwoman and perhaps worst of all, it will take a work that the original team never wanted to continue and move forward without them. But… that doesn't mean you shouldn't be anything less than totally amped for Doomsday Clock #1, which is set to go on sale Wednesday.

Within the first few pages of DC's officially sanctioned sequel, written by DC comics president Geoff Johns, the ever-curmudgeonly Rorschach is resurrected. His notorious journal from the ending sequence of Watchmen has not only been published, but has caused a rift between the world powers so large that it makes the Cold War turn red hot. Basically, the world has become exactly what Rorschach thought it would: a violent nightmare full of selfish, stupid people. But, ironically enough, the story of Doomsday Clock is one of hope and the immense value of optimism in the face of sure doom.

Rorschach is joined by other returnees from the original Watchmen squad (we'll save you the specifics to dodge spoilers here) and some new, truly inspired, cast members. Despite its dark premise, Doomsday Clock #1 is not without comic relief or moments of triumph. After all, we are talking about a comic existing in the DC Universe.

HOW DID THIS CROSSOVER EVEN HAPPEN?

If you're not a dedicated acolyte of the DC Wikia and didn't follow the largely reviled "New 52" era of DC comics, you're probably not aware that 2016's revitalization of the DC comic book universe, "DC Rebirth," essentially pinned most of the stuff that people hated about new DC comics on a mysterious version of Watchmen's own Dr. Manhattan.

At the end of the New 52 era, it was revealed that Dr. Manhattan had basically been responsible for the unraveling of the entire DC multiverse. He ripped a decade out the primary timeline, setting everyone back and erasing vital connections between heroes (much to the chagrin of fans). He personally destroyed some more obscure heroes like Reverse-Flash and Pandora. He also created the supervillain Mr. Oz and essentially programmed him to threaten the people of Earth in order to corrupt Superman. The occasionally ambivalent, but mostly pure Dr. Manhattan we knew and loved is now a thing of the past, but, at the end of a brutal era for DC, it may have been their only viable out.

Now, with the Watchmen-verse tied into the main DC reality, we'll see just how the dark saviors of Moore and Gibbons' Earth will work in tandem with the Man of Steel and other mainstays to undo the disastrous work of Ozymandias and Dr. M.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TV/MOVIE WATCHERS?


Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

This crossover could spell an interesting fate for the DC cinematic universe or at least their burgeoning TV arm, as a renewed interest in Watchmen means the potential for a reboot feature film or live-action series is significantly higher.

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FILM & TV

Steven Universe returns next week with 6 new episodes

The Crystal Gems return to the Cartoon Network app

Courtesy of Cartoon Network

Six new episodes of Steven Universe will answer the big questions from the "Wanted" arc finale.

Much like its teleporting title character, Steven Universe has suddenly reappeared.

After months of silence on the progress of new episodes, the Cartoon Network PR team tweeted a trailer on Monday which revealed that 6 new episodes will be available to stream next week, on November 10, via the Cartoon Network app.

The trailer stars none other than the Boy Gem himself, kicking it on the beach and explaining to Lapis and Peridot where he's been, a.k.a teasing the plot of the next sextet of Steven Universe episodes. It appears as though there will be no shortage of action in this next bunch. According to the trailer, Steven and Connie's relationship will be put to the test, Mayor Dewey's long-standing reign over Beach City will finally be challenged and Steven will form a new band.

The show, which has been praised for its nuanced handling of important themes like relationships, popularity and prejudice, wrapped up an exciting 4-episode arc last May and has been on a release hiatus ever since, much to the chagrin of its incredibly dedicated fanbase.

According to a press release from Cartoon Network, next week's episodes will pick up right after the last arc (with the first episode covering Steven's return from Homeworld) and will be available on the CN app before they officially air on TV sometime in December.

Is this another "Steven Bomb" situation?

This release plan seems eerily familiar to a similar event from last year, which raises some concerns for fans: namely, that the episodes going up next week on the CN app might disappear the very next day, like the "Steven Bomb" episodes did. Last time Cartoon Network released a set of episodes ahead of schedule, the content was removed less than a day later, leading many fans to believe the "Steven Bomb" episodes were put up by accident or leaked by an illegitimate source. This was denied by Cartoon Network reps, who instead told reporters that these episodes were a part of a special "See It First" designation, which would allow CN app users to get a sneak peek of the forthcoming content.

So, if you're hoping to catch all these episodes before they disappear, be prepared to binge them.

Another question fans might have about these new episodes: Are they a part of season 5 or do they mark the start of a new season for Steven Universe? The answer: They're a part of season 5. However, this is becoming a less and less meaningful label for popular cartoons like Steven. For shows like this, which are comparatively more writing and production intensive than other shows in CN's lineup, say Teen Titans Go!, the mid-season hiatuses are more important in book-ending sections of the show than the official season numbers are. This novel approach of dropping episodes in blocks or "bombs" as they're ready might very well be a response to the extreme demands of both the production process and the fans.

For more Steven Universe coverage, check out Popdust TV

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