Portal's Month in Games - October 2023


November 7, 2023

min read

Welcome to Portal’s Month in Games for October! It’s been another bumper month of industry news and game releases, so let’s dive in.

New slimmer PlayStation 5 revealed

Holidays are coming, and that means one thing—a slightly redesigned console! On 10 October, Sony announced that it would be releasing slimmed-down models of both the standard PS5 and the Digital Edition. Purchasers will enjoy a 30% reduction in volume, and weight has also been reduced by 18% and 24%, respectively.

An Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive can be attached to the side of the Digital Edition for £100. A stand that allows you to place your console vertically is yours for £30. The new standard PS5 costs £480, and the DE version will set you back £390.

The refreshed machines will be available in the US from November—no word on UK or EU release dates.

Microsoft concludes Activision Blizzard purchase

It’s been a long time coming, but Microsoft’s saga to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion has finally come to an end. It’s comfortably the biggest acquisition in gaming history, dwarfing the paltry $12.7 billion that Take-Two found down the back of the sofa when it bought Zynga in 2022.

Those expecting Call of Duty to hit Game Pass immediately now that the deal has closed may need to cool their jets. Activision Blizzard announced via X that their titles won’t be coming to the subscription service in 2023. In other words, don’t go cancelling those Modern Warfare III pre-orders!

Job losses continue

Unfortunately, the UK industry was hit by further layoffs following September’s redundancies at studios including Ubisoft London, Mediatonic and Creative Assembly.

In mid-October, Team17 revealed that 91 employees - a third of the company - were at risk of losing their jobs. A week later, Frontier Developments announced that an unknown number of workers could lose their jobs due to a “disappointing financial performance” this year.

Outside the UK, October also saw layoffs at Destiny 2 devs Bungie, Telltale Games and Naughty Dog, creators of The Last of Us

It’s a concerning time for the industry. For more context on why this is happening and the long-term implications, we recommend reading James Batchelor’s excellent piece on GamesIndustry.biz.

Confusingly, it’s been a brilliant year for games, both critically and commercially. How do we square that with these widespread redundancies? GI’s Chris Dring was on hand to give us his analysis

To those looking for their next role, we’re reposting our links to various job-hunting resources below.

  • The UK games industry Slack has a dedicated jobs channel with vacancies posted daily.
  • Designer Jan David Hassel has a thorough doc with many valuable links for those looking for a new role.
  • Development director Amir Satvat has a shared spreadsheet with hundreds of vacancies broken down by discipline. 
  • You can find two of the best games industry job boards on GamesIndustry.biz and Game Jobs Direct.
  • It’s worth checking out some of the UK’s local industry networks, including Game Dev London, Scottish Games Network, Gameopolis (Manchester) and Game Republic (Yorkshire and the North).
  • The union IWGB Game Workers has a deck with advice on redundancy.
  • Suzie Finch, job search strategist, offers free CV reviews via LinkedIn.
  • There are some fantastic recruiters in the UK. We’d recommend Amiqus in particular. 

How games get featured on Steam

Discovery is our business, so shout out to Stephen Hey from Radical Forge for sharing the following video from Steam, which demystifies how visibility works on Valve’s platform. 

Take a look and find out how games are surfaced to players and what you can do to get your game seen by a bigger audience. 

Game releases

October is usually a big month for game releases, and this year was no different. We were awash with platform exclusives and high-profile sequels. Here’s a selection. 

The eagerly awaited Cities: Skylines II hit the virtual shelves on the 24th. The city-building sequel has been received positively by reviewers, and the community has been hard at work sharing their creations

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 swung onto screens on the 20 October to thunderous acclaim. Media praise translated into sales, with 2.5 million copies sold in the first 24 hours - a record for PlayStation Studios.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage saw Ubisoft’s series going back to basics with more focus on stealth and, er, assassinations than recent games. Series character levelling and XP have been ditched in favour of a more simplified experience. Reviews suggest that this change in approach hasn’t been entirely successful, although Ubisoft stated that sales have been “in line with” those of Origins and Odyssey. 

Nintendo enjoyed another critical hit with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Predictably, sales have been strong, and the platformer has become Europe’s fastest-selling Mario game ever. An interesting side note: Just five people made the original Super Mario Bros. in 1985 - and all five are credited on Wonder: incredible continuity and no doubt one of the reasons for the franchise's exceptional quality.

Thirteen years after the original, Alan Wake II finally made its way out of the shadows. No word on sales figures yet, but Remedy’s horror survival has clocked an impressive 89 on Metacritic

Signing off

That’s your lot for this month. We’ll be back in early December for another round-up. In the meantime, let us know what caught your eye this October on our X, Instagram or LinkedIn channels.


November 7, 2023

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