MMO Business Roundup: Twitch affiliate mess, NFL esports, Skull & Bones boss ousted

MMO Business Roundup: Twitch affiliate mess, NFL esports, Skull & Bones boss ousted

Welcome back to another quick roundup of MMO and games industry news relevant to our interests.

First, Twitch is making waves – the bad kind – as it’s announced that its apparently solution to the ongoing deluge of DMCA demands from the music industry (and thousands of videos being stripped from the platform) is to add Monstercat Gold to the company’s affiliate program. Affiliated streamers will be able to use official music freely without fear of random takedowns. There’s a catch: Streamers can now just purchase affiliate access outright, basically changing the way the affiliate program works overnight and raising an outcry from streamers who worked for their place in the ecosystem.

Second, since COVID is actually strengthening rather than reducing this fall, the NFL is making use of – you guessed it – video games to host football games. The National Football League and Electronic Arts announced that the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will be hosted inside Madden NFL 21. “EA SPORTS and the NFL will create a week-long series of matchups featuring celebrities, NFL Legends, current players, and streamers playing as the official Pro Bowl rosters in Madden NFL 21,” the announcement says. “These matchups will culminate in an action-packed virtual Pro Bowl game played with 2021 Pro Bowl players facing off within Madden NFL 21. These virtual games will be available for fans to watch across a variety of platforms.” Sportsball!

Finally, who remembers Skull and Bones? It was the Ubisoft pirate game that’s been hampered by delays and staff shuffling, stuck in development limbo for years even after its original E3 debut. Apparently, there’s more staff shuffling on deck, as Kotaku reported today that Hugues Ricour, the boss at Ubisoft Singapore, which was working on the game, has been toppled from the position he’d held since 2018. He will apparently be moved elsewhere within the company. Kotaku points out that Ricour had previously been accused of sexual harassment and bullying, making him one of the many problematic Ubisoft staffers who were ousted during Ubisoft’s reckoning with its culture problems this year. It’s not clear whether this will have an impact on the game, but given its long delays, we’re not sure anyone will mind.

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