This week on Built to Play, we wrap up Vector 2014, and Youtube channels get all bought up.
It looks like Disney is in final talks with Maker Studios to buy up the extremely popular Let's Play and review producer for $500 million. Most notably, Maker contains PewDiePie aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, who has one of the most popular Youtube accounts in the world. It's unclear what Disney intends to do with Maker, but here's hoping it involves a new Disney theme park ride in which PewDiePie plays every game you love, but can't afford right now.*
Warner Brothers seems to have the same idea, as they invested $18 million into Machinima, a Los Angeles-based video game network. Machinima has been struggling, and began last week by laying off 30 employees. Warner is likely looking to keep Machinima alive as a way to keep their marketing tendrils close to young boys, or so says Variety.
Meanwhile, ShiftyLook is shutting down, meaning an end for Namco High. It turns out ShiftyLook was a prolonged experiment to promote long dead franchises. Since everyone now knows what WonderMomo is, Namco decided the experiment was complete.
In more bewildering news, King thinks they're worth $7.6 billion, which is seven times more than the cost of Instagram. This is despite losing their trademark claim in the US and Candy Crush Saga reaching its peak months ago. We aren't stock advisors and cannot give you stock advice, but maybe don't buy King stock? Oh and Ubisoft Toronto is developing five games at once and PlayStation Home still exists. You're welcome.
In our features, we talk militarised violence, gender studies in World of Warcraft, and how to run a festival with only three people.
Game design professor, Alex Myers was in the marines for a year and a half and despised it. But since he's left, he's kept having run-ins with the military and militarised violence. When he was working on his Master of Fine Arts, he played hours of Counter Strike, letting other parts of his life suffer. After getting a hold of himself and worrying about the psychological effects of the game, he made Winning, a CS modification in which players stood only a foot apart and must shot each other in the face. Since then he's become the director of the game design program at the Bellevue University, which is in a Nebraska town that's fairly reverent of the military. Alex talks about navigating his personal relationship between games and the military. Starts at 26:30.
From war to hearts and minds, Angela Washko began talking about feminism inside World of Warcraft when he father asked her why she liked feminism. Or how her father put it, "Feminism is just something butch lesbian angry dykes use to hate men." Angela was shocked and decided to start exploring spaces where people were less educated about feminism. She had played a lot of World of Warcraft and had encountered the usual internet vitriolic misogyny, so that seemed like a prime stop to get started. And that's when things became pretty intense, pretty quickly. Hear more starting at 36:20.
Lastly, I sat down with the Vector Game Arts Festival organizers, Skot Deeming, Diana Poulsen and Martin Zeilinger to talk about how they felt they weekend went. Vector was a festival that celebrated the intersection of contemporary art, philosophy, and game design over February 19th-24th. They talked to me about how it got started, the chaos of running between exhibits, and what they're thinking for next year. Starts at 46:50.
This week's music came from the Free Music Archive and Freesound. We used "Thumb Wars" by Hypersleep, "School Boy" by Pietnastka, "Fantasy" by Podington Bear, "Simon" by L'homme Manete and "Sea Battles in Space" by RoccoW. Our ending theme was "Great Recession Waters" by Fields of Ohio. Thanks to ermine and robinhood76 for their Freesound clips.
*We pronounce PewDiePie is a couple ways that is barely recognizable as his name, more out of a sense of distrust than accident.