FTC Blasted By Congress And Xbox Fans For Doing Its Job

Under chair Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a lot of heat for trying to be aggressive in its approach to regulating tech companies and preventing monopolies. Now the FTC is facing criticism from both Republicans in Congress and very online Xbox fans for appealing a recent court decision that gave Microsoft the greenlight to finish its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

After losing a preliminary injunction to block the $69 billion merger while it was under review, the FTC filed an appeal on July 12 with the Ninth Circuit. It’s since also requested a stay from the Northern District Court of California to prevent the deal from closing until the appeal is ruled on, as the acqusition’s July 18 deadline looms. “Your tax dollars at work,” tweeted Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who was previously a longtime corporate VP at Microsoft.

Republicans in Congress took a similar stance. Testifying during an oversight hearing, Khan was hammered by GOP Representatives for pursuing too many antitrust cases and losing many of them. “You seem to be losing quite a bit, and I don’t say that to be disrespectful, but these are, after all, taxpayer funds,” Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Ca.) said during the hearing (via IGN).

He continued, “The court not only rejected your assertion of a likely anti-competitive effect but found just the opposite. The record evidence points to more consumer access. So why should Americans have faith in your judgment when this Biden-appointed judge says you’re so far off the mark?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), meanwhile, called Kahn a bully for trying to prevent Microsoft from gaining an advantage over its Japanese competitor, Sony.

It didn’t take long for some of the loudest voices in the Xbox community to pile on. “Lina Khan is getting Fried, Roasted, Cooked and Buttered,” wrote influencer UniSensei, retweeting hearing footage like it was an E3 press conference. “OUCH! Maybe keep consumers and competitive markets a priority, and not a political line and you won’t get cooked, Khan,” tweeted YouTuber Colteastwood.

An antitrust scholar appointed to the FTC by President Biden in 2021, Khan was simple and unphased in her responses. “We fight hard when we believe there was a law violation, and unfortunately things don’t always go our way,” she said during the hearing. That is, after all, the agency’s mandate, regardless of what fans, executives, or politicians it might upset.


Yu-Gi-Oh! Is Faltering, But Fans Feel Konami’s Ignoring Them

During a recent Konami shareholder meeting, the game company’s president addressed concerns that its latest free-to-play Yu-Gi-Oh! game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, has negatively affected the franchise’s growth. A shareholder noted that Master Duel’s play style poorly translates to the popular trading card game’s tabletop and official card game tournament rules, echoing what fans have been saying. But Konami President Hideki Hayakawa only doubled down.

Read More: The New Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Is Taking Over The Steam Charts

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a cross-platform trading card game where players can purchase booster packs, build personalized decks, and compete against one another in online matches that was released in January for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.

The issue is that its gacha game rules and streamlined play are vastly different from Yu-Gi-Oh! table card and online card games. Yu-Gi-Oh! is notorious for having a revolving door of rule and regulation changes related to banned cards and moves, which would make hopping from Master Duel’s streamlined approach to an online or tabletop version difficult to adjust to.

“New users who started with Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel may give up when trying to start Yu-Gi-Oh!. This was the case with a player I actually met at a Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG [official card game] Duel Monsters tournament. Isn’t it necessary to consider how to eliminate such cases?” the shareholder said during the June 28 meeting.

“I found it extremely regrettable that players who had started playing [the] Yu-Gi-Oh! card game were not able to do so for long,” Hayakawa responded during the meeting, according to a browser translation posted to Twitter by pro duelist and Yu-Gi-Oh! champion Jeff Jones.

Master Duel literally does not allow anyone to get used to the actual TCG,” Jones wrote in agreement on Twitter. “Besides being automatic and not explaining why things work the way they do, the completely different forbidden list and card pool makes it even harder for new players to transition.”

The same shareholder noted the poor reception to Master Duel’s official live-streamed tournament matches, which he blamed on the lack of ability to surrender a game where defeat was a foregone conclusion.

“As someone who tried to get into Yu-Gi-Oh! recently, the card game basically being just ‘You win in a few turns’ kinda put me off from wanting to play,” ResetEra user Jawmuncher wrote, echoing the shareholder’s critique. “Like I bought a deck that had all these cool ideas but good luck seeing any of that shit actually play out.”

The unnamed shareholder suggested Konami change the Master Duel rule preventing players from pre-emptively quitting, saying it could allow players to “be able to make a strategic choice to start over with the next game, which would also improve the appeal of live streaming.”

Not only [do] we want Yu-Gi-Oh! to be more enjoyable to play, but there is also that valuable perspective that ‘enjoyable to watch’ is a very important subject that has been relevant for several years,” Hayakawa answered. “I think your opinion is absolutely correct and I will convey it to our company to make the proper considerations for the next livestream.”

Hayakawa concluded his response by plugging the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship which will be held in Japan and livestreamed across the world.


World Of Warcraft Fans Trick AI, Hilarity Ensues

AI’s ability to (usually) produce grammatically correct syntax sure is impressive, but there is no actual intelligence behind the text, meaning that the way you and I would suss out the validity of some statements, or come up with original thoughts in response to some detail or event, isn’t present in AI-generated works. Right now, that’s being proven very deliberately by the World of Warcraft community, who have managed to manufacture fake announcements to trigger AI bots on certain websites to pass off bogus information as news.

“I’m so excited they finally introduced Glorbo!!!” reads a Reddit thread with 2,000 upvotes. The post goes on to lay down some fake history about the fake Glorbo. (Sorry if you got excited there, Glorbo is not a real thing. I checked. I have that feature in my brain.) It was all part of a deliberate ploy to trick AI, as made clear by the post’s opening salvo: “Honestly, this new feature makes me so happy! I just really want some major bot operated news websites to publish an article about this.” Folks in the comments got in on the fun as well, chiming in with other, more obviously fake WoW facts: “This is by far the best change since they made Klaxxi a neutral playable race as a part of the epic quest to depose Quackion, the Aspect of Ducks,” reads one such comment.

Well, it worked. That bogus information resulted in an AI-generated article hitting a website called The Portal. The article was attributed to “Lucy Reed,” a byline which, according to Wowhead, sees as many as 83 articles attributed to it per day. It seems pretty unlikely that she’s a real person.

The AI text documents the excitement about Glorbo as if it were a real thing, with a headline that reads “World of Warcraft (WoW) Players Excited For Glorbo’s Introduction.” The text quotes liberally from the Reddit thread stocked with phony information about the game, even grabbing absurd terms like “the Aspect of Ducks.”

Though there are no live links to document this and the article in question has since been deleted, The Portal seems to have responded to its own reporting on Glorbo by producing another article documenting players “reacting to the use of AI to scrape content from their subreddit for popular gaming sites,” pretty much giving the game away that The Portal really is powered by AI doing just that.

The “Players React to AI-Generated Content” piece is no longer live. Additionally, it appears that The Portal tweaked the headline on the original Glorbo article to declare it “satire” before taking it down entirely.

While the article was taken down, if 2,000 upvotes is all it takes to get an AI article published around some fake information, I can only imagine what can (and likely will) happen if folks out there are eager to generate buzz around other fake news. Right now, Glorbo is a silly example, but more insidious, intentional results are demonstrably possible here.

Tears Of The Kingdom Fans Still Aren’t Over Sidon’s Fiance

Yona is seen standing in Zora' Domain.

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

You know, I’ve gotta admire the bravery of Nintendo’s social teams to post even one single tweet about Yona, Sidon’s surprise fiance in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. However, I also doubt they were that shocked to see fans, slighted by her taking Link’s boyfriend away from him, rolled in with the good jokes.

The post itself is innocuous enough. We’re two months removed from Tears of the Kingdom’s launch, so we can post about characters who are “spoilers” without anyone getting justifiably mad. The tweet talks about her concern with the sludge problem in Zora’s Domain during the game’s main quest. It also, of course, mentions that she’s planning a wedding with Sidon, the sexy shark man that fans have been shipping romantically with Link with since Breath of the Wild in 2017.

If you weren’t incredibly online and into the Zelda fandom, you wouldn’t think anything of this. If you’re that person, you would also be pretty confused scrolling down to the comments and seeing the good jokes people are making about the situation. But you could probably suss out that Nintendo just hard launched Sidon’s new bae, and the jealous Link and Sidon shippers are in the comments demanding blood. But even so, it feels like everyone is in on the joke, and knew that this was inevitably the reaction Yona gets from the community. Typically, hopefully, all in good fun.

Honestly, as much as it pains me to admit it, my Sidon/Link ship is mostly a gag at this point because after the ending of Tears of the Kingdom, I’m so, so, so on the Link and Zelda are together now train it’s not even funny. Perhaps one day, the rest of my Sidon/Link ship brethren will can find similar peace, and know that even if Sidon marries Yona, she will not outlive the statue of Link riding Sidon that sits in Zora’s Domain.

Diablo 4 Fixing Bad Menu Tricking Fans Into Buying Battle Pass

Demons try to sell players more battle passes.

Image: Blizzard

Diablo IV’s first season got off to a rocky start following a disastrous patch that nerfed a bunch of characters and builds, but some other, much smaller issues have drawn fan criticism as well, including a battle pass layout that has tricked some players into accidentally buying the premium version. Blizzard’s now rolling out a fix after one player accused the company of employing a “dark pattern” design to trick players.

“So Blizzard placed the ‘Activate Premium Battle Pass’ button right next to the button you have to constantly press to check your Season Journey,” wrote streamer Rurikhan in a tweet that blew up on July 20. “Guess what happened to me and at least 5 others on my stream. This is straight up Malicious Design.”

A clip accompanying the post showed the content creator accidently redeeming the season 1 paid battle bass using his freebie from the Deluxe version of the game. Players are constantly using the season tab on the menu to check their seasonal progress, and the location of the “Activate Premium Battle Pass” button makes it extremely easy to tap it unintentionally. There’s no pop-up giving players a chance to back out of the redemption either.

“When a UI element is designed to trick you into clicking it, it’s called a ‘dark pattern,’ commented gaming YouTube Rhykker in the thread. “IMO Blizzard needs to add a confirm button or something if they don’t want to be accused of using dark patterns. Simple ‘confirm’ pop-up would fix this.”

Others challenged why Rurikhan was upset. After all, it wasn’t a completely new purchase he had made, but an accidental use of his existing freebie. Blizzard probably assumed most players would be using it on Season of the Malignant. Not Rurikhan, however. “I was saving my battle pass for a future season since I don’t have time to commit to this one,” he tweeted.

But it didn’t take Blizzard long to address the complaint and a fix is now expected to roll out soon. “Just had a powwow with people on this post stream,” tweeted Diablo IV community manager Adam Fletcher. “We have a temp fix in the works that will at least ensure the cursor isn’t defaulted there and will instead be defaulted on Season Journey.” At least one player claims they were still denied a refund request after accidentally activating the premium battle pass.

While not the end of the world, it’s easy to see why players would hone in on any potentially exploitative design element in Diablo IV’s first season. The action-RPG is transforming into a live-service game complete with pricey cosmetics and repeatedly battered by waves of balance patches. Blizzard had previously encouraged players to take a break if they weren’t enjoying themselves, but logging off isn’t exactly the sort of thing Diablo has ever incentivized.



Witcher Producer Says Fans Are Wrong, Writers Do Respect Books

Coming off the heels of The Witcher’s final season with Henry Cavill, an executive producer of the fantasy series came forward to address some fans’ accusations that the show’s writers don’t respect the books.

Spoiler warning for The Witcher Season 3.

Light spoiler warning for the start of The Witcher Season Three Volume Two.

On July 28, a day after the second half of The Witcher Season Three released on Netflix, executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach tweeted a reference to a scene in the sixth episode of the third season as a one-to-one recreation of what occurs in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s books as proof that the show’s writers pay close attention to how events transpire in the original story.

“For those who claim that we don’t read/respect the books, the writers’ draft of The Witcher 306 ABSOLUTELY began with Dykstra holding Geralt at knifepoint as he pissed into a plant,” Grillo-Marxuach wrote. “I have the pages to prove it.”

However, some were quick to point out that Grillo-Marxuach’s efforts to prove that show writers pay close attention to the books were undermined by both his misspelling of Dijkstra’s name and fans’ claim that the aforementioned scene doesn’t play out how he says it does in the books.

Although the events do transpire relatively close to what Grillo-Marxuach states occur in Sapkowski’s books, IGN notes that the scene isn’t an exact representation of what happened in the novels. According to IGN, Dijkstra guards are the ones who restrain Geralt in the English translation of the books. Though to be fair to Grillo-Marxuach, even the most die-hard Witcher fans scrutinize the English translation of the books. All that being said, it is a bit distressing that The Witcher series discourse has ramped up to the point that writers feel compelled to use this specific scene to beat fan allegations that show writers actively dislike Sapkowski’s books.


Read More: Witcher Producer Blames Young American Audience For Viewership Decline

The Witcher discourse is at an all-time high with Cavill’s exit

Since The Witcher debuted on the streamer in 2017, the show has faced an uphill battle with fans for its peculiar pacing and introduction of small deviations of events that transpire in Polish writer Sapkowski’s novels. The latter point of contention furthered rumors among fans that Geralt actor Cavill, who is a fan of the books, announced his departure from the show at the end of its third season to be replaced by Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth, because of his frustration with Witcher showrunners deviation from the books. Although the real reason for Cavill’s departure is unknown, his final season on the show saw a drop in viewership, which led a producer to place the blame squarely on the short attention span of younger viewers.

In a reply to a comment saying the show’s discourse comes from rumors and “flat-out lies” from bad faith viewers jumping on a hate campaign without reading the novels, Grillo-Marxuach said, “Those of us who know what really went down behind the scenes know what really went down behind the scenes. I stand behind the work, and my boss, 100 percent.”

Read More: The Witcher Season 3 Ended As It Began—Messily

In a separate reply to a fan inquiring about how the show will explain Geralt’s new appearance in Season Four of The Witcher, Grillo-Marxuach replied saying, “It will be done in a way that is very much in line with the thematic spirit of the books.”

In Kotaku’s commentary for The Witcher Season Three, Alyssa Mercante said: “The series can be so convoluted that I wonder if my knowledge of the lore is harming more than helping, as I struggle to recall events that happened seasons ago and wonder if I’m actually remembering something from the books.” All things considered, Mercante still plans on watching the upcoming Ciri-led season.


Twitch Star Kai Cenat Pulls Thousands Of Fans Into NYC

Twitch star Kai Cenat, who recently became the most subscribed creator on the streaming platform, asked his fans and followers to show up for a real-life giveaway in New York City. And they did, with reportedly 2,000 people arriving, leading to chaos and arrests.

On August 4, Cenat held a giveaway event in Union Square in New York City. Beforehand, the popular streamer promised that he would be handing out $100 gift cards, PCs, and PlayStation 5 consoles. In a short stream from Cenat before going out into the massive crowd, the Twitch streamer pointed out the huge number of people gathered and commented that the NYPD was out in full force, claiming the cops had already used tear gas on some. Before departing for the meet, Cenat asked his fans to be “safe.”

“It’s a lot of y’all out there right now,” said Cenat on stream. “Everybody who’s out there make sure y’all safe.”

Once he left his bus with his entourage and bodyguards, he was immediately swarmed by fans. His security team surrounded him and helped him press through.


CBS reports an estimated 2,000 people showed up. The news org also reports some were arrested after a few people began destroying barricades. At one point, a CBS helicopter recorded someone using a fire extinguisher on a crowd of people. No injuries have been reported yet.

Cenat reportedly didn’t have a permit for the event, which grew so large and out of control that NYPD called for a “Level 4 Mobilization” and nearly 1,000 police officers were sent to the area. Cenat was later seen in numerous videos being escorted away from the chaotic scene by several police officers.

At one point a vehicle was seen driving away from the chaos but was mobbed by the crowd. CBS reports that it moved slowly through a large number of fans before it sped off with people hanging onto the car. CBS noted that at least three people were seen falling off the speeding vehicle as it escaped the area.

Eyewitness News ABC7NY

Cenat is a popular content creator who started out with a YouTube channel in 2012, before transitioning to Twitch in 2021. Primarily known for comedic videos, pranks, and his wild personality, he became a star on Twitch while playing games like GTA and NBA. The streamer also spends a lot of time in the “Just Chatting” section of Twitch, reacting to content and hanging out with rappers like Ice Spice. Cenat recently broke a historic milestone, reaching over 300k active subscribers on Twitch, beating out other big names like Ludwig and Ninja.

Update 08/04/2023 6:19 p.m. ET: During a press conference held a few hours after the massive giveaway, NYPD confirmed that Cenat was being held in police custody after he was removed from the scene for “safety reasons.”

NYPD chief of police Jeffrey Maddrey spoke to the gathered press for about 10 minutes, answering questions and giving an update. Maddrey said multiple officers and citizens were injured during the chaotic giveaway. He said that when the crowd grew too big and dangerous, the NYPD declared it an “unlawful assembly” and cleared the area of Cenat fans.

Police are still deciding on possible charges to file against Cenat, though Maddrey suggested “inciting a riot” could be one possible crime levied against the streamer. According to the NYPD and city officials, the large event wasn’t pre-approved by the city’s government or police. Cenat is currently still in custody and being questioned.

When asked how many people had been arrested, Maddrey was unable to provide a specific number but did claim that an entire city bus was filled with people in police custody.

Kotaku has contacted Twitch about Cenat’s giveaway and the chaos that followed.

A screenshot from an ABC7 news broadcast shows a police officer talking to the press next to an image of streamer Kai Cenat livestreaming from a vehicle.

Update 08/04/2023 9:09 p.m. ET: The NYC ABC and CBS affiliates report that Cenat will be charged with “at least two” counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, and likely other offenses.

Overwatch Fans Worried Reaper Is Getting Deleted After Hoax

Overwatch 2: Invasion may be moments away from dropping, but the dominant dialogue isn’t about the new PvE mode, the new support player, or even the new map—it’s whether or not Blizzard is deleting Reaper. A viral TikTok sent players into a frenzy worrying about whether or not the staple character would be removed in the upcoming Invasion patch. Kotaku can confidently report that no, Overwatch 2 isn’t getting rid of a DPS character who’s been there since the original game’s 2016 release, and you should probably not believe a TikTok at face value.

An August 8 TikTok from KnockKnockOW, a self-proclaimed “guy who was [top] 500 in OW1,” shows Reaper gameplay with a picture overlay that appears to be an official Blizzard blog penned by game director Aaron Keller. The “blog post,” titled “A Farewell to Reaper,” reads:

Arriving with Season 6: Invasion we have made a very difficult decision with regards to Reaper. Due to ongoing development and balance considerations, Reaper will be removed from Overwatch 2. We understand that Reaper has been a staple of the game since its inception, but we believe this change will allow us to explore new and exciting gameplay dynamics while addressing some long-standing concerns.

The voiceover goes on to complain about a Sombra hack orb (which doesn’t exist) and a Roadhog movement ability (which also doesn’t exist), and wonders in an impressively flat deadpan how Blizzard can “keep getting away with this.”

“I’ve been making this satirical style Overwatch content for a while now, but I never expected to become ‘The Onion of Overwatch,’ KnockKnock told Kotaku via DM. “I usually make custom patches within the Overwatch Workshop and play them off as patches, sneaking the game codes into videos so observant viewers have a chance to play them. The Reaper one is particular isn’t even one of my more popular ones, so I’m surprised it’s blowing up as much as it did. I guess players just really love Reaper and were sad to see him go.”

This is so obviously a joke, and another example of silly, trolly TikToks spreading misinformation about Overwatch updates and reworks—like this one from July 1 that claims a Sombra patch was giving her an ability to spawn three decoys with 50HP each. Comments on that video include people lamenting Sombra’s “ruin” and yelling about Blizzard.


I didn’t even know about the Reaper rumor until last night, when one of my friends who I regularly play with asked “so are they really getting rid of Reaper?” (bless his heart) in the middle of a match. Luckily for him, I was a little stoned, and glossed over it, believing he was just saying silly shit. But when I logged on today and saw that there was a drastic increase in Google searches for “Overwatch Reaper removed,” I knew something was up.

Sadly, this is yet another reminder that media literacy is vitally important in this increasingly digital age when AI language processing tools like ChatGPT are being used to generate articles (to varying levels of, um, success) and misinformation flows freely. Reaper is still in Overwatch 2, guys. Chill.

Fans Who Pick An Origin Go With Gale

Tav and Gale are shown in a boat.

Screenshot: Larian Studios / Kotaku

Baldur’s Gate 3 has been out for about a week now, and developer Larian Studios is revealing some early stats based on the decisions players have made. This includes what characters seem most popular to the community according to hard numbers. And fellow Gale romancers, our boy is winning in the popularity contests out the gate.

Larian put together an extensive infographic with data on things like what class players are picking the most, what race people are choosing for their custom characters, and also what Origin character players are going with if they choose to take a party member for a spin as their protagonist rather than making their own original character.

The team says 93 percent of players have made a custom character (as they should for a first run, in my opinion), the 7 percent that chose to pick a premade character had a pretty sizable spread across all six potential Origin characters. The current ranking reads as follows:

6. Lae’zel with 11,765 players

5. Wyll with 14,862

4. Shadowheart with 15,966

3. Astarion with 22,286

2. Karlach with 22,514

1. Gale with 27,784

An infographic shows the most popular Origin characters in Baldur's Gate 3.

Image: Larian Studios

We (Gale fans) love to see it. Though Karlach was far and away my second favorite companion behind my wizard boyfriend, so it’s cool to see her getting some love as well. Furthermore, Gale also seems to be a popular romantic conquest for players, though he’s coming up behind Shadowheart. But ultimately, our boy seems to be a hit with Baldur’s Gate 3 fans so far. Though it’s unclear if some folks might be pursuing either of those paramours because they were rejected by Astarion, as the unambiguously evil vampire apparently has broken the hearts of “almost 100,000″ players since launch.

While there’s love for the arrogant but charming wizard, it seems his spells have also resulted in a lot of players’ death so far, with friendly fire from his attacks being the seventh-highest cause of death in the game. Simply walk around the fire, y’all. It’s not hard.

FIFA 23 Tiktok Trend Sees Fans Rewriting The Women’s World Cup

If you, like me, are furious that your team is out of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, there’s a TikTok trend that serves as a good outlet for your rage. All you have to do is boot up FIFA 23 and get your revenge by beating the absolute piss out of, say, Sweden, racking up the score until it’s high enough that you could mistake it for a basketball game.

This “revenge game” trend isn’t new (there’s older TikTok videos of players doing similar things in NBA 2K games or boxing titles), but it is going viral during this current Women’s World Cup. When the U.S. Women’s National Team was unceremoniously booted from the round of 16 after losing to Sweden in penalty kicks, one TikTok user almost immediately uploaded a video of them walloping the Swedes in an FIFA 23 match.

Read More: Women Are Staying In FC 24 Ultimate Team, Go Cry About It

The USWNT are even wearing the same uniforms they did during that fateful August 6 game, though in this version of events, they win by at least 17 goals. “Had to get my anger out,” the caption on the video reads as audio of someone aggressively breathing plays over it.

If you’re Australian and bummed that your team is no longer in the running even though you’re the host country, you can play England in FIFA 23 and pretend that late, third goal in the August 16 semi-final game never happened. Someone on TikTok already has, putting a different heavy, angry breathing audio track over a clip of Australia beating England 94-0. The on-screen graphics even perfectly match the branding for the ‘23 WWC, a testament to how dedicated FIFA 23 is to realism (except for, ya know, the score). “It’s only been 4 hours,” someone commented.

It’s unclear what settings these players are inputting in order to rack up such ridiculously high goal numbers, but FIFA 23 does have its own Women’s World Cup mode where you can select what stage you want to play in (group stage, round of 16, semi-finals, and so on), and what teams you want to see face off. It also has player ratings based on this tournament, with Australia’s Sam Kerr at the very top (no surprise there).

I don’t have FIFA 23, but I’m seriously considering getting it just so I can see the Women’s World Cup play out as it should have: Lynn Williams would start every match, Crystal Dunn would be back at forward, and Carli Lloyd and Alexi Lalas would be on mute.

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