In this week’s TPoI, The New York Times reports on the mainstream rise of video games – namely discussing Fortnite, Rockstar Games released a new trailer for the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, and The Strong Museum has inducted Tomb Raider and more into the Video Game Hall of Fame. Continue reading TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: APRIL 30
Author: Gentry Brown
In this week’s TPoI, EA addresses mixed reactions of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Nintendo Switch’s eShop is upgraded, and Project Scorpio shows off its official headset.
EA’s Response to Mass Effect: Andromeda Reviews
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson disclosed that despite the varied critiques on Mass Effect: Andromeda which launched back in March, he trusts that developer BioWare will make the right modifications to please disappointed fans. Gamespot reports that during an earnings call Wilson recognized players’ dislike for the game stating, “It represents a fanbase that’s very passionate, that’s looking for very particular things, and many players found exactly what they’re looking for, and some players did not.” VentureBeat felt that the game narrative lacked depth, and wished the facial features had more expression. GameRant states that BioWare is currently working on a patch to resolve these issues and will continue to regularly release new content to increase interest in the game. According to Kotaku, Wilson is confident that the game will continue to be a success with these improvements.
Nintendo Switch eShop Gets New Feature
Two months after launch, Nintendo’s eShop now allows users to store credit card information. Gamespot confirms that the option appears to be working for accounts in the US, Japan, and Australia. Slashgear noticed that no official statement was made regarding this, and wonders if this is a stepping stone for upcoming updates. BGR feels that this feature should have been available from the get-go, and wants to know more details on the console’s future paid online service. Additionally, Shacknews wonders if Nintendo plans to add Virtual Console games to the Switch, and is hoping that they will reveal details at E3.
Xbox’s Project Scorpio Reveals Official Headset
Although Project Scorpio is still in the works, IGN revealed that the newest licensed Xbox product is LucidSound’s LS35X wireless gaming headset. Slashgear notes that what sets this piece apart from others is its ability to to use wireless technology without extra attachments or configuration settings. Trustedreviews found its stats to be decent and doesn’t find the headpiece to have any outstanding flaws, and believes it would be a good investment for consumers. The headset is expected to release during the holidays of this year. Digital Trends is looking forward to its debut at E3 in June, but wonders if this new concept will end up hurting Microsoft in the long run.
Atlus Apologizes for Streaming Restriction Ban
Atlus’ streaming guidelines around the launch of Persona 5 were heavily contested by streamers, fans and press, and this week the company has announced changes to the policy. In addition to the policy change, which allows streamers to capture and present up to the in-game date of 11/19 (when the main story gears up for the final act), the company issued a formal apology regarding the way they initially presented the guidelines. In response to the policy change, Engadget ponders whether or not the original strategy was “simply a bid to forcibly drive more sales” while The Verge poses that streaming guidelines for the game aren’t necessary, since the community has policed itself and proven themselves loyal to Atlus. GameSpot doesn’t seem to mind the streaming restriction or care for the apology, stating the game is so good everything else is hogwash.
Nintendo Announces the New 2DS XL
In a late night announcement this Thursday, Nintendo revealed a brand-new piece of hardware set to launch this summer – the New Nintendo 2DS XL. The new piece of hardware will join the now-discontinued NES Classic Edition and the Nintendo Switch also released this year. Ars Technica has taken to calling the new device, “a handheld for gamers who can’t afford a Switch.” Forbes contributor, Paul Tassi, sees the announcement a bit differently, expressing frustration over understanding Nintendo’s strategy in the hardware space. Tassi writes, “Nintendo’s commitment to producing overlapping hardware remains incredibly confusing,” noting he sees too much overlap in the product market. The Verge took a less critical position, but made mention that the common theme between all the devices Nintendo has launched this year is the constrained supply of units available to consumers.
PS4 Shipments Reach 60 Million Units Worldwide
Sony’s latest sales numbers for the PlayStation 4 are now reported at 60 million units shipped worldwide. Polygon however reports that this figure represents PS4 shipments to retailers, not necessarily sales through customers. Alongside the report of the new sales numbers, Sony states they plan on shipping 18 million PS4’s for the upcoming fiscal year. Hardcore Gamer reports that this estimation is down from the 20 million they sold this year, which tracks for a four-year old console. On the heels of the sales numbers, The Wall Street Journal quoted an analyst that suspects Sony will release its next-gen PlayStation by the second half of 2018.
With the madness of GDC dying down, we here at TriplePoint thought we could sigh in relief. Little did we know…This week’s TPoI features PSVR’s success, Twitch announcing that it will sell games directly, and of course, the launch of the Nintendo Switch! What a week!
How Impressive Are Sony’s ‘Surprise’ PlayStation VR Sales, Really?
In the four short months that PlayStation VR has been available, it has already sold over 915,000 units – beating even Sony’s own projections. The New York Times reports that even the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, had doubts regarding the PSVR and advised a slow approach towards production. Despite this, the PSVR managed to outsell both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive which moved a total of 663,000 units combined. TechCrunch provides insight into PSVR’s strong market performance, pointing out that the PSVR is cheaper than its competitors and an accessory to the already successful PlayStation 4 with over 50 million units sold. In addition, Forbes highlights that the PSVR’s purchase rate is less than 2% when considered alongside the total number of PS4s sold. Beneath all these numbers, however, is the fact that PSVR’s success is a boon to the VR industry and will help it develop faster. In an interview with UploadVR, HTC Vive China expressed this exact sentiment while congratulating their competitor on its success.
Twitch partnering with game devs, studios to sell games on site
Love to donate to your favorite streamer on Twitch? Now you might be able to get a game with that money! According to Polygon, Twitch is edging into the online marketplace for video games, but with a twist. Instead of a simple click-and-buy market, Twitch will allow its users to purchase video games right from their favorite streamer’s page. To sweeten the deal, Twitch will contribute 5% of the sale to the streamer and give the purchaser a digital Twitch Crate, which will contain a randomized item such as a chat badge or game-specific emoji that you can use on the platform. The Verge reports that Twitch’s move into the marketplace will help streamline the purchase process as many gamers watch streams before making the decision to buy or pass up a game. By allowing its users to purchase from the site and contributing a portion of the sale to the streamer, Twitch hopes to be one step closer to being the ultimate hub for gaming on the web.
Nintendo Switch Sells Out All Over The World
Finally! It’s the day that everyone has been waiting for – Nintendo Switch launch day! All the anticipation ends today as every major retailer has stocked their shelves with the new portable gaming system from Nintendo. Or does it? Chances are, if you don’t already have a Nintendo Switch in your hands, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer. Forbes is reporting that the Nintendo Switch is sold out around the world and to expect a trickle of inventory as Switches will continue to fly off the shelves in the upcoming months. According to USA Today, some gamers lined up for more than 12 hours in order to get their hands on the highly coveted device. It’s no surprise as the Nintendo Switch launches with Breath of the Wild, which received a perfect 10 rating from GameSpot. So if you don’t have the Switch yet, keep your fingers crossed and your eyes peeled for restocks from retailers, and if you did manage to get your hands on one, happy gaming!
This week’s TPoI features the first reactions to Nintendo Switch, big shakeups over at Disney and Maker, Nvidia’s transformation into a gaming platform, and the response to the death of Twitch streamer Brian Vigneault.
Nintendo Switch: Here’s What the Critics Are Saying
This week, intial reactions and reviews started to surface from lucky journalists that were able to review Switch, prior to its official launch next week. Overall press reaction has been positive despite these early versions of Switch lacking the crucial “Day One” update that will go live on launch. The update will allow network connectivity, social media integration, and some minor bug fixes. Business Insider reports that the Nintendo Switch is a fast and efficient system that smoothly combines portable and console gaming with the caveat that some games, when played on a TV, have “issues with consistent framerate.” Similarly, Polygon also reports that the fit and feel of the Switch as a finished product is fantastic, but there are some issues with the Joy-Con controllers losing connectivity while the handheld is docked. The trouble surrounding the Joy-Con controller doesn’t end there as Ars Technica also writes that the controllers are, “a little hard to get a solid grasp on.” With the launch less than a week away, the Switch is shaping up to be a great product for those who like to game at home and on the go.
Disney cuts about 80 jobs in digital media unit that includes Maker Studios
LA Times reported that the Walt Disney Company has laid off about 80 employees in its digital media unit, which includes Maker Studios, the digital media company representing YouTube successes such as “Epic Rap Battles of History” and PewDiePie. Earlier this month, Maker severed ties with PewDiePie in response to a story from The Wall Street Journal that alleged anti-Semitic references the creator was including in videos. The PewDiePie scandal, and the recent cutbacks at Maker, have reportedly caused the company to further cull their roster of YouTube creators. Polygon reported that Maker will now only sponsor 300 content creators; the company currently supports more than 60,000. According to Develop, Maker will now look for two qualities in affiliated creators – 1) that the creators have their own established audience and large following, and 2) that the creator material is family friendly and in alignment with Disney’s corporate culture.
In The Wake of Marathon Streamer’s Death, Twitch Community Discusses Healthy Streaming Practices
In what was both a tragic and eye-opening week for Twitch users, Brian “PoShYbRiD” Vigneault passed away last Sunday after attempting a 24 hour charity stream for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Vigneault has done multiple charity streams in the past, raising over $10,000 to date for various organizations by playing, World of Tanks. According to IGN, World of Tanks issued a statement of condolence and to pay their respects to Vigneault’s family. Polygon has reached out to Twitch for comment, but as of yet the company has not made an official statement. In addition, Kotaku reports that Vigneault’s death should help raise awareness towards the unseen pressure on streamers to grow their fan base at the cost of their own health. The outlet also called for Twitch to “choose to take a firmer stance against unhealthy streaming practices.” According to IGN and Kotaku, Twitch has yet to make official comment. His fans have set up a GoFundMe page and turned his Twitch channel into a memorial.
NVIDIA GeForce Has Moved From Graphics Card To Gaming Platform
NVIDIA has set the gaming world astir with hints at a potential announcement of the long awaited GTX 1080 Ti at GDC next week in San Francisco. The company is coming out with all guns blazing, choosing to unveil the previously delayed graphics card on the same day that competitor AMD streams its Capsaicin event to announce its next-generation Vega graphics cards. Although details regarding the announcement and the card itself are still uncertain, Digital Trends implies that both NVIDIA and AMD are racing to make virtual reality the mainstream form of gaming. In addition, according to Forbes, NVIDIA is aggressively competing with mobile, console, and handheld gaming platforms through its GeForce line, which is responsible for the company’s high level of growth and success. Look for the drama between NVIDIA and AMD to unfold in a few days at GDC.
Here’s 3 minutes of the Nintendo Switch menus, thanks to an early shipment
Although details regarding the Nintendo Switch have been kept under wraps by Nintendo, Switch fans eagerly awaiting the console’s launch were treated to an early look at the product this week thanks to one lucky gamer who uploaded videos of their new Switch and its system menus after receiving an early shipment from an undisclosed retailer. Polygon reports that the user interface and system menus have been carefully guarded by Nintendo – though it’s no longer a secret as the video garnered over half a million views in just two hours. According to Business Insider, the short video shows a notable improvement in the Switch’s processor speed and responsiveness from previous handheld consoles. With this level of hype surrounding the Switch, the console may very well outperform some analysts’ projections of 40 million units sold through 2020. In the meantime Switch fans… keep waiting.
UK esports champions Fnatic are getting into mobile gaming
With the popularity of games such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Defense of the Ancients 2, esports has reached a golden age of success and viewership. However, teams such as Fnatic have refused to limit themselves to console and PC games and are beginning to branch out towards popular mobile games such as Vainglory. Fnatic’s growth into the mobile gaming industry reveals the ever increasing popularity and potential of mobile games as the demographic that owns a smartphone is much larger than those who own a gaming console or computer. WIRED reports that Fnatic and others in the esports space see mobile gaming as the next play in esports due to its accessibility and intuitive gameplay. So if you like mobile games and esports, you might be able to tryout for your favorite team in the near future!
Xbox Project Scorpio will finally get some face time at Microsoft’s E3 Event
As E3 draws closer, the gaming world is officially abuzz as companies put the finishing touches on their games and products for the summer event. Earlier this week, Microsoft tweeted an announcement from their official Xbox account regarding Project Scorpio – their next-gen console. The exact specifications of Project Scorpio are still unknown, but what we do know is that it will have the most powerful GPU installed in a console to date, allowing it to run games in true 4K resolution along with VR capabilities. TechCrunch reported that we’re not likely to learn anything else about the project until June, since the company has been very “mysterious” surrounding the product up until now.
In this week’s TPoI; press reaction to Nintendo announcing 2-3 mobile games per year, E3 opens up to the “public”, and Valve confirms VR game development (no proof of Half-Life 3… yet).
This Valentine’s month brings us nothing but love… for Nintendo! (okay, and maybe a bit of controversy)
This week’s TPoI include: Nintendo’s potential VR plans, a Switch Super Bowl commercial, a big fat lawsuit for Oculus, and Nintendo’s Fire Emblem is a gacha!
Nintendo’s Fire Emblem introduces controversial Japanese concept of “gacha”
Nintendo’s first free mobile game, Fire Emblem, is making waves this week as players are lured into purchasing special in-game items in a gambling-like fashion, employing a tactic the company has previously avoided – “gacha”. Bloomberg notes that after Super Mario Run launched on iOS priced at a premium $10 and without in-app monetization, the gacha mechanics in Fire Emblem are problematic, saying, “the Japanese powerhouse is taking a different approach that is potentially more lucrative — and much more controversial.” More information can be found on Inverse.
Nintendo plans to add VR to Switch
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima reportedly discussed potential virtual reality plans for Switch in a conversation relayed by Kantan Games, a Tokyo-based consultancy firm. The company has previously shied away from sharing any VR plans, citing concerns around common VR issues and side effects like nausea or headaches. However, patents emerged in December regarding the design of a VR accessory to be used with Switch. Little is known about the service, but GamesIndustry reported that it will be a monthly and/or yearly service priced between $17.70 and $26.50 and including with a free NES or SNES game every month.
Nintendo Switch-ing it up with first Super Bowl ad
Nintendo’s first-ever Super Bowl ad will feature the Switch, and at $5 million per 30 seconds of airtime, the company is showing how serious they are about the new console. Excitement about the Switch and its fourth quarter slot has been voiced by outlets like The Verge, Polygon, and Engadget. Nintendo’s YouTube channel provides an extended commercial that has broad appeal -speaking to hardcore gamers, families, and everyone in between, mimicking TPCi’s approach last year in revealing a longer commercial before the actual Super Bowl ad aired. The two minute ad features many Switch game previews, as well as hints at the availability of household names like Super Mario, Street Fighter, and Mario Kart. The extended cut can be found here.
ZeniMax lawsuit seeks injunction to temporarily halt sale of Oculus headsets
The years-long lawsuit of Maryland-based game developer ZeniMax and VR leader Oculus has come to a close – with ZeniMax being awarded $500 million on February 2nd, for Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey’s violation of an NDA. After the “win”, ZeniMax reportedly told Polygon that the company was deciding whether or not to file an injunction – which would temporarily stop the sale of Oculus Rift headsets.