Stephen Totilo Resigns From Kotaku

Kotaku Editor-in-Chief Stephen Totilo has announced that he is resigning from the position.

Totilo joined Kotaku in 2009, and in 2012 became the editor-and-chief. During his tenure he oversaw the blogs drastic shift in content. Once known for its coverage of video game industry news, Japanese culture, and gamer culture, the site shifted focus to social issues, politics, and viewing gaming through those lenses.

The site, and Totilo are probably most known for their involvement in spawning the GamerGate consumer movement, when it was found that several of Kotaku’s writers had conflicts of interest due to relationships subjects they had been covering.

In 2016 Kotaku’s parent company, Gawker, filed chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and all Kotaku along with all of it’s sister sites were purchased by Univision and out under the label Gizmodo Media Group. Then in 2019 Great Hill Partners acquired Gizmodo Media Group and is the current parent company of Kotaku.

Totilo’s departure marks the latest, and the most high profile, staff exit for the failing site. Last year writer Jason Schreier left Kotaku citing the new ownership of G/O as the reason. The sites under the G/O umbrella have been losing members constantly over the past year. Totilo’s exit marks the last well-known name at the website. As of now it isn’t known who will succeed Totilo as editor-in-chief at Kotaku.

Sonic Voice Actor Roger Craig Smith No Longer to Voice Sonic The Hedgehog

After 10 years in the iconic role, Sega confirms that Roger Craig Smith will no longer be voicing Sonic the Hedgehog in future media. Smith posted on Twitter showing his appreciation for the role, and thanking the fans.

There is a new Sonic the Hedgehog 3D animated series coming to Netflix this year, it is likely that this show will be the debut of the new voice actor for the blue blur.

Google Shuts Down ‘Stadia Games And Entertainment’ Internal Development Studio

This Week Google announced that they are closing down their internal game development studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment.

In the announcement blog post Stadia vice president, and general manager, Phil Harrison, made efforts to reassure the industry that the Stadia platform is alive and well. He goes on to say that the decision to shut down Stadia Games and Entertainment is based on an effort to refocus on supporting third party developers in bringing their games to Stadia.

With the announcement of the closure of Stadia Games and Entertainment it was announced that studio head Jade Raymond will be leaving Google. Raymond posting on twitter confirming this:

Stadia Games and Entertainment closing down over a year from the launch of the platform is a move that doesn’t instill confidence in the struggling platform. After a troubled launch, and unenthusiastic adoption rates. And successful launches of the next gen hardware, the Playstation 5 and XBox Series X, This latest news comes off as a sign that Google is already looking to consolidate the Stadia brand. This shift away from first-party development kills the platform’s efforts to compete with the consoles on AAA first-party exclusive games.

GameStop Stock Value Soars as Savvy Internet Investors Take on Elite Hedge Fund Firms in Market War

A war has broken out on wallstreet as investors from the r/WallStreetBets subreddit noticed that hedge funds were like Melvin Capital were short-selling GameStop stock ($GME) at an absurd rate of over 140%. The savvy internet investors noticed that the firms were buying more share of the company that actually existed, and if enough people purchased GameStop stock its value would rise and the firms would be forced to buy back the stock at the higher prices due to the time limit on their borrowing.

As word of this plan started to spread around the internet, more and more people purchased GameStop stock driving the value of the company up to $347 per share at closing on January 27th. At that value Melvin Capital can’t pay back their creditors and will go bankrupt. Representatives of various big hedge funding firms took to all the mainstream media outlets to make claims that the SEC should step in and halt trading and launch an investigation into the r/wallstreetbets subreddit. This has only further motivated people to buy more shares in the companies that the firms are trying to short-sell. Even celebrities like Elon Musk and Mia Khalifa have taken notice and posted on social media encouraging people to buy GameStop shares.

The establishment has struck back at the movement, with Discord banning the official chat for r/wallstreetbets, and Reddit cracking down on the subreddit. If this trend continues it is likely that the establishment will increase their efforts to deplatform and break up this movement so that they lose motivation and can’t coordinate future actions. The SEC has no reason to intervene right now, but if the firms continue with their pressure, and the internet community refused to back down, they may end up stepping in anyway and there may be investigations and perhaps even charges brought against r/wallstreetbets.

Firms have been taking advantage of short-selling companies to manipulate the markets for decades. With the advent of the internet and access to investing in financial markets becoming accessible to the average person the playing field has become a little more level. This historic event has opened the eyes of many regular people to the collective power that they can have to beat the hedge funds at their own game. At the very least this event has encouraged and inspired a lot of new people to get into investing in the stock market, and that is a good thing.

Release Date for Much Anticipated Sequel; HuniePop 2: Double Date Announced

This week the HuniePop Twitter account posted an announcement confirming that HuniePop 2: Double Date is scheduled to release on February 8th. This game is the much anticipated sequel to 2015’s indie hit HuniePop which, came out of nowhere to impress the gaming community after successful Kickstarter campaign.

In HuniePop 2 the player must save the world by going on double dates with the cast of girls in order to save the world from an evil lecherous spirit that will awaken soon. The game promises to feature a revamped and updated version of the frenzied puzzle game-play, and sexy and comedic dating sim elements that made the first game a hit. The cast will feature a mic of old characters and some new faces as well.

HunniePop 2: Double Date will release on Steam, GOG, Fakku!, Humble Bundle, MangaGamer, Nutaku,

Trailer for New Pokémon Snap Revealed Today

Today The Pokémon Company released a new trailer for the upcoming game New Pokémon Snap for Nintendo Switch consoles.

The trailer gives us a look at the player characters confirming that the player will be able to choose whether they play as a boy or a girl. It also confirms that players will be able to throw apples at Pokémon in order to lure them out.

The game takes place in the Lental Region, where Professor Mirror tasks the player with exploring a series of islands , using the NEO-ONE pod, and take photos of the various Pokémon that live there. The player will also encounter special Pokémon that display the mysterious Illumination phenomenon that is unique to the Lental Region.

New Pokémon Snap is scheduled to release on April 30th, preorders are available now.

Nintendo Drops Trailer for Bowser’s Fury and Announces Release Date for Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Today Nintendo released a new trailer for the upcoming Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. The trailer reveals details of the Bowser’s Fury game. The trailer shows that in the game Mario will be teaming up with Bowser Jr. in a new quest to stop what appears to be an enraged Bowser.

Bowser Jr, seems to be wielding his paintbrush and using his paint powers from Super Mario Sunshine. Only this time, he is using these powers to aid Mario in his adventure by attacking foes and revealing hidden items.

Mario will collect what appears to be Cat-themed sun tokens in order to unlock access to a giant Cat Bell that allows Mario to transform into a massive powered up version of Car Mario in order to fight the enraged Bowser.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury will be releasing on February 12th, preorders are open now.

Gary Oak to Appear in Pokémon Anime For First Time in 11 Years

Today the 50th episode of the 2019 Pokémon (known as Pokémon Journeys in the west) anime aired, and the episode debuted a new opening that shows several characters that will make appearances in the future. Among the characters shown is Gary Oak (Shigeru Okido) Ash’s (Satoshi’s) original rival. This will mark the first time Gary has appeared in the anime in 11 years. His last appearance was during the Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl anime.

Iris from Pokémon: Best Wishes is also slated to appear during this season. It is currently unknown when the episodes featuring Gary and Iris are scheduled to air. The Pokémon Journeys English dub is currently streaming on Netflix.

Twitch Removes PogChamp Emote After the Face of the Emote Comments on Capitol Hill Shooting

Today Twitch announced that they have removed the PogChamp global emote following statements from Gootecks, the face of the emote regarding the fatal shooting on Capitol Hill today.

Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez is known for being a professional Street Fighter player, and fighting game enthusiast. He is the founder of Cross Counter TV along with fellow fighting game enthusiast Mike Ross. Gooteks is most known for the excited open-mouthed expression that was taken from bloopers from an episode of Cross Counter TV in 2010. The expression became one of Twitch’s first global emotes “PogChamp” is used to express excitement and hype over extraordinary moments, the POG referring to “Play of the Game”. At over 2 million uses per day on Twitch.tv, The emote has become a staple on Twitch as well as a staple meme in internet culture at large.

Gooktecks has faced controversy in the past over his conservative politics. Today he made series of tweets questioning if there will be further civil unrest in response to the death of Ashli Babbit, a protester that was shot and killed by police during the protest on Capitol Hill.

In response to Gooteck’s comments the Twitch Twitter account posted that the PogChamp emote would be removed, stating Gooteck’s statements were encouraging further violence. As concerns poured in Twitch issued follow-up tweets stating that the company wants to preserve the meaning behind the emote and will be rolling out a replacement emote for PogChamp in the near future.

Some have noted this decision by Twitch is another example of inconsistency in the way the platform handles controversies. Twitch Partner and popular streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker infamously stated in one of his streams that America deserved the 9/11 Attacks that killed over 3000 people, and received no punishment.

The remove of the PogChamp emote comes on the heels of Twitch’s new harassment policy that bans the term ‘Simp’ among others from being used on the platform.

Nintendo to Acquire Next Level Games

This week Nintendo announced on their investor relations page that the company will be acquiring the Next Level Games. The Canadian development studio has worked closely with Nintendo on several acclaimed titles including Super Mario Strikers (2005, GameCube), Punch-Out!! (2009, Wii), Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (2013, Nintendo 3DS), and Luigi’s Mansion 3 ( 2019, Nintendo Switch). The studio has been working exclusively with Nintendo since 2014, making their acquisition the final step in a long partnership.

As of yet it is unknown what projects are currently in development at Next Level Games, through with the success of titles like Luigi’s Mansion 3, and fans having been clamoring for a new Punch-Out!!, it is a possibility that those titles could show up somewhere down the line.