SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan man is hoping to make his mark at the NHL Gaming World Championship.

Joshua Hemphill-Schmidt, from Balgonie, has advanced through first round into the Club Final stage in the North American tournament.

He says he played around 25 games per week in the preliminary round and had a good run in week two which allowed him to move on to the next stage. He is now among 128 PS4 players and 128 Xbox players remaining who will compete at NHL 21.

“The competition is insane. Everyone that’s in it is very good. The elite of the elite. You have 25 games per week, and I think I went 21-3 in my second week and that’s the week I made it.”

The tournament begins May 8. The top 32 players from there will advance to the Club Championship round.

Hemphill-Schmidt says the competition is getting more serious as he approaches the next stage, and he’s been spending plenty of time in front of his TV practicing.

“Even just against the opponents too, the odd game you will find a guy that you might actually end up playing in that top 128. And learning how they play is pretty crucial, like if you can keep notes on them and figure out how they play, that helps too.”

Hemphill-Schmidt says he’s not sure if he is the only Saskatchewan contestant, but he hopes to do the province proud.

Studio developing Canadian football game takes a knee

The development studio behind the only video game released on consoles offering Canadian football has shut down.

Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football will not see another edition this year after the president of Canuck Play announced it has ceased operations.

“As of this time, as many of you have guessed, development of the title has been suspended and the company itself has been put on hiatus,” David Winter said in a statement posted on the game’s Discord channel.

Winter added there are several reasons for the decision, including that he had spent the last month in the hospital after working seven days a week for months on end.

“The ability for a small team to keep up development, of such a large and complex title, combined with the never-ending changes in technology in the game industry, just make continuing untenable. Add to that the other larger studios invading our space, and it made little sense to continue.”

Winter said he is proud of what was accomplished with the title, and was proud of how staff was onsite until Ontario lockdowns impacted their ability to get in the office.

He thanked everyone who supported the game and their efforts.

Many users expressed thanks to the development team on the Discord channel.

Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football is the only physical game release ever for a console that had a mode for Canadian football.

However, the development team was never able to secure a CFL, NCAA or USports license for players or logos.

It also offered the option the play by U.S. pro or college rules.

The game was praised for it’s customizability, allowing users to create their own logos, uniforms and players.

It’s most recent version included a football play designer, broadcast and gameplay camera angles, as well as a Dynasty Mode for college football fans.

But, it received some criticism for wonky gameplay and dated graphics that some likened to the PlayStation 2 era.

Activision Blizzard announces first quarter earnings that beat expectations

Activision Blizzard reported first quarter earnings which the company said were “well ahead of expectations.”

The video game giant says it posted net revenues of $2.28 billion for the first quarter ending March 31st. That’s up from $1.79 billion for the first quarter in 2020. Earnings per share also beat expectations.

The company says Call of Duty and Candy Crush continued to deliver fantastic results.

“Despite ongoing challenges from working from home, our creative and commercial teams are executing strongly,” Activision Blizzard said in a news release.