A Peek Into That Trending LA Billboard That Teased Microsoft and Other Game Firms

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By Car Brand Experts

During the past week, amidst the commotion of the Summer Game Fest in Los Angeles, an unconventional digital billboard seized the attention of both online and offline audiences. The message it displayed, “No longer in existence, but forever in our memories,” mentioned defunct studios like Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Volition, along with “every individual laid off, downsized, or ‘made redundant.’ Appreciating the exceptional games.” Subsequently, when the sign switched to its next message for downtown LA, it conveyed a straightforward sentiment: “We have affection for you. We long for you. We detest money.”

The declaration was attributed to “your companions at New Blood,” and after Game File journalist Stephen Totilo shared a video of the billboard on X last Thursday, it quickly gained traction, amassing over 3 million views and garnering attention on various gaming news platforms. Dave Oshry, the cofounder of New Blood Interactive who sponsored the viral advertisement, expressed his desire for individuals within the gaming sector to acknowledge the message and pay tribute to those studios and the games they produced. However, unintentionally, he pranked an industry that is putting pressure on developers just as its executives were bound for LA to showcase their flashy new releases.

It has been a harsh year for developers at both large and small studios. Independent studios are either closing down or going on “hiatus,” implying a possible return in the future. Prominent studios have been laying off numerous developers. Microsoft, in particular, was responsible for the recent closures mentioned on the billboard, such as Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks.

Originally, Oshry informed Totilo that he initially intended to list all recently disbanded studios, but the space on the billboard was insufficient. Nevertheless, his gesture resonated with developers who lost their jobs this year and others who wished to show their support.

He has received numerous messages from former employees of those studios, indicating that his objective was achieved. While he refrained from disclosing the exact cost of the billboard, he informed WIRED through X messaging that it was priced at “$xx,xxx.” “It was a hefty expense, but not exorbitant,” he mentioned.

Regardless of the expenditure, it likely paled in comparison to the finances game studios were investing to partake in the Summer Game Fest, where allegedly showcasing a one-minute trailer could reportedly amount to $250,000. Throughout the Game Fest weekend, companies ranging from Microsoft to Blumhouse garnered significant attention by presenting early glimpses of games like Doom: The Dark Ages and Sleep Awake, but a significant portion of the discussions also veered towards Oshry’s elaborate tactic.

In a conversation with Game File, Oshry shared that the original ideas he brainstormed with his colleagues at New Blood were far more straightforward than what eventually appeared on the billboard. “People began proposing: ‘You ought to criticize the executives,” Oshry recounted. “Display a photo of Phil Spencer and question, ‘Hey man, what’s going on?’”

Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, addressed IGN over the weekend concerning the company’s strategy to shut down studios like Tango Gameworks—a debated decision given the acclaim garnered by the developer for the widely popular game Hi-Fi Rush. “Ultimately, I have reiterated several times that I must ensure the company functions sustainably and progresses, which sometimes necessitates making hard choices that are unpleasant but unavoidable,” Spencer remarked.

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