Published on December 8th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Exclusive: 15 Recent Video Game Industry Developments That Have Me & Notable Gamers Excited

Whether or not you are still quarantining full-time, odds are that some of your favorite dining and entertainment spots are still not open like they used to be. In turn, you are spending more time at home and are consuming more digital and streaming-based content that you were this time last year.

Fortunately, video games are still in a “golden age” of sorts. No matter your console of choice, the games these days are amazing, including the music used in them. And even if most of the video game developers were forced to change up how they make their games as of late, there are still plenty of new and exciting things for gamers to be psyched about, no matter how much gaming you do.

Below is a look at some recent video game industry developments which recently hit my radar, in addition to some exclusive quotes from influential gamers about what they are fans of lately.

Shotcall’s Gaming Platform

Shotcall is a new interactive platform that I just learned about back in October. Thomas Gentle, Shotcall’s co-founder and CEO, offered up an exclusive quote to The Hype to discuss recent developments related to Shotball’s growth:

“We’re so excited to have closed our $2.2M Seed funding round for Shotcall. Looking ahead we have a lot in the pipeline for our community of gamers. In the immediate future, our biggest focus is on expanding our platform offerings for both fans and creators, offering more games and ways for gamers to engage on Shotcall. A bit more down the line we plan to partner with larger content creators and celebrities to help them connect with and grow their audiences through Shotcall.”

PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle on Stadia

This past summer marked the 40th anniversary of the original Pac-Man arcade game’s debut in Japan. To celebrate, Bandai Namco has expanded upon the classic Pac-Man experience — which has previously only offered as many as 4 players — to create a 64-player battle royale. Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle follows in the footsteps of Tetris 99 and fellow Stadia-exclusive Super Bomberman R Online. Chaotic, classic and modern all at once.

Glorious PC Gaming Race

Glorious is a company of enthusiasts on a mission to push the boundaries in the world of PC gaming since 2014. Since the company released its very first mousepad, it has dedicated itself to ascending the bounds of possibility and shifting the status quo within the PC gaming industry. In turn, it developed a line of pro-grade, high-quality gear that was once out of reach for the average gamer, and sells it at prices that are always fair. I have tried out the brand’s Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard (GMMK), reportedly the world’s first RGB, modular mechnical keyboard, which requires no setup. I look forward to eventually trying out one of the Glorious Wrist Rests.


FUSER — now out via PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and Steam — been called “the next evolution of interactive music games,” putting players “in control of the music” with more than 100 songs, as featuring top artists from across the globe. As launched on November 10th, FUSER is the ultimate celebration of music festival culture, putting players on stage at the world’s largest digital music festival and allowing them to create their own custom music mixes. Developed by Harmonix Music Systems– the creators of Rock Band and Dance Central — and published by NCSOFT, FUSER empowers players to live out their DJ fantasies from their own home, and let’s just say it lives up to the hype.

Grand Theft Auto Online’s The Cayo Perico Heist

Featuring an exotic, all-new location, Rockstar Games continue to champion new underground music and culture with the latest Grand Theft Auto Online update, The Cayo Perico Heist. The first major expansion of GTA Online’s geography since launch, The Cayo Perico Heist tasks 1-4 players with planning and executing an action-packed Heist on the heavily fortified Caribbean island of Cayo Perico, home to infamous drug lord El Rubio and his entire operation, setting the scene for the biggest update in the title’s seven-year history. The Cayo Perico Heist also adds a brand-new underground nightclub and social space called the Music Locker, featuring in-game appearances and DJ sets from Detroit’s Moodymann, Berlin collective Keinemusik, and Palms Trax as the club’s residents.

The Music Locker is an exclusive underground dance club and social space located beneath the existing Diamond Casino & Resort. Players can hit the dancefloor and socialize the night away together to world-class resident DJs in the game’s latest immersive, real world nightclub experience. By giving players new ways to party and socialize in-game in authentic club environments, The Music Locker builds on ideas originally introduced in the GTA Online: After Hours update, which featured a player-owned Nightclub and appearances from The Blessed Madonna, Solomun, Dixon and Tale Of Us as resident DJs and in-game characters. The Music Locker also introduces new gameplay features including the ability to dance with a partner, as well as new dance moves for all players to show what they have on the dance floor. Like all Grand Theft Auto Online updates, access to The Cayo Perico Heist is free with every copy of Grand Theft Auto V, and will be available December 15th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Just Dance 2021 on Stadia

Just Dance 2021 is a dance rhythm game developed by Ubisoft. It is the 12th main installment of the series, as released on November 12th for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia, and on November 24th for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Its user interface and features are largely identical to the game’s 2019 and 2020 editions, but the World Dance Floor has been updated, there is a new mode known as “Quick Play mode” and of course the playlist is full of new songs. I find Just Dance 2021 is the rare sort of game that appeals to users of all ages and backgrounds, beyond providing a better workout than just about any video game out there.

Stadia Family Sharing

Speaking of Stadia, Stadia Family Sharing was officially launched last month. In turn, you can now share your games, both your Stadia Pro library and individual purchases, with members of your family group. To find out more about how to create a family group and how Family Sharing works on Stadia, you can visit the system’s Help Center, as hyperlinked above.


While technically not a “video” game, Blinks is the world’s first smart tabletop game system. Built with AI-powered intelligent game pieces that respond to your touch, communicate with each other, and think for themselves, every piece of Blinks knows its own game and can learn new games. Blinks are completely modular, so the more Blinks you have, the bigger games and experiences you can create. A core set of 6 games is currently priced at $99, while there is currently a deal in place for a combo set of 12 games for a total of $159.

As a just-received update from the Blinks team itself: “People can stake their claim and reserve the Blinks Game System on our website with $20 savings on the pre-order.” Click on over to and see what the fuss is.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Previously I have written about how Einar Selvik — the Norwegian composer, musician and creative mastermind behind the Nordic folk band Wardruna, who are widely known for their ability to transcend music genres, cultures and languages while introducing innovative and genre-creating renditions of ancient Nordic traditions — is featured on the score for the upcoming installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Well since then, I have had the pleasure of playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on Stadia. Yet another world-class title from Ubisoft, to say the least.

Watch Dogs: Legion on Stadia

In Watch Dogs: Legion, near future London is facing its downfall…unless you do something about it. Unlike many other reality-oriented games with combat, this one has actual landmarks of a major city, thus you can visit Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Camden, Piccadilly Circus, and the London Eye. This one is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC and Stadia. Its Gold Edition and Ultimate Edition both feature additional digital content, story expansions and new heroes.

Portugal e-sports team Native 2 Empire

This one came to me via excellent Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Ian Abel of the Ian Abel Band, who I have interviewed previously for The Hype:

“There is a professional E-Sports team out of Portugal called Native 2 Empire and from the first All Elite Wrestling licensing [of my song “Shoes”], their CEO and founder reached out to me and asked if we could partner up. They currently compete professionally in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call Of Duty, FIFA and Rocket League modalities. In between matches on their live streams they play my songs, starting with “Outlaw,” and then following up with “20’s Magic,” and so on. I’ve never been to Portugal, but you can bet your sweet ass when the dust has settled on COVID-19, I’m hopping a plane there!”

Amazon Luna

Cloud gaming is becoming more of a norm for gamers with each passing day, and Amazon’s Luna aims to become an ideal console for everyday gamers. In short, Luna is cloud gaming service where it is easy to play great games on devices you already own. No waiting for lengthy downloads or updates — just play. Luna is currently in beta mode with only invited gamers able to regularly play it. But a video trailer is above, showing of the greatness hopefully coming to the general public soon.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a new third-person action-adventure Star Wars title from Respawn Entertainment. While I admittedly am not a big Star Wars fan, I have enjoyed the video games and merchandising helmed since it became part of Disney. Fallen Order keeps up that streak of greatness as it is visually-stunning with excellent sound. Now available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Steam and Stadia.

Outcasters on Stadia

Outcasters is a chaotic multi-player combat game for you and up to 8 players. Within Outcasters you battle your way across arenas and curve your shots to creatively defeat your opponents. With customizable characters and all sorts of power-ups, it is a fun game that gives a “hook-shot” an all new meaning. This title is presently only available via Stadia.

Submerged on Stadia

Free for Stadia Pro subscribers but just $19.99 USD within the Stadia store, Submerged is a relaxing, third-person exploration and adventure game. Players can explore at their own pace, encounter surreal creatures and discover hidden objects that piece together the story of a broken world.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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