Triplepoints of Interest – Dec. 4

In this week’s TPoI, Sony’s PlayStation 4 sells over 70 million units worldwide, Ubisoft delays their 2018 lineup, and EA reevaluates monetization strategies for Battlefront II.

PlayStation 4 Sells Over 70 Million Worldwide
Early Thursday morning, Sony announced that over 70.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles have been sold worldwide since the system’s launch in November 2013. The Nikkei reports that Sony, which expects to log it’s first record profit in over two decades, has benefited greatly from the PlayStation 4’s record sales as well as the success of games and other media built for the platform. Polygon reports that the console’s continued success has pushed Sony to revise their sales goal for the 2017 fiscal year from 18 million units to 19 million units. Forbes speculates that the PlayStation 4 is on track to outperform last generations PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 but it may not outperform the PlayStation 2, which sold over 155 million units over its lifetime.

Ubisoft Delays 2018 Lineup
In an effort to develop more engaging and higher quality experiences, Ubisoft has delayed 3 of their upcoming titles including Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, and a currently unannounced game. Eurogamer speculates that this announcement comes as a result of Assassin’s Creed Origins achieving critical acclaim after the game was delayed to improve the gameplay experience. Forbes featured the new release dates for Ubisoft’s upcoming games, which have been shifted between a month to a quarter from their originally planned dates.

EA Rethinks Star Wars Battlefront II Microtransactions
Only a week after launching to mixed reviews and a sharp backlash from fans, EA has annouced that they are considering alternative microtransaction methods for Star Wars Battlefront II. Seeking Alpha reports that EA projected revenues have fallen to $1,149 million. Glixel speculates that EA and Dice may have been pushed to pursue alternative strategies not only due to community feedback, but also due to government pushback as the US government evaluates the legality of microtransactions in games. While PC Gamer note that while the developers have made progress in updating the game’s character progression system, the community is still upset and hope that the game will improve in the near future.

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of October 17

Image credit: Rockstar

It would be an understatement to say a lot went on this week. Here is a collection of the top tech and gaming news for the week of October 17th! Get a first look at Nintendo’s next game system, the Nintendo Switch; Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming in fall of 2017; and unionized video game voice actors are on strike.

Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of October 17

TriplePoints of Interest – Week of August 10

 

When we read we begin with ABC. When we sing we begin with Do Re Mi. I wonder when Google is going to choose musical notes for their next project name (even though A, B, and C are also music notes).

ABC is easy as 123

Google made waves earlier this week when it announced Alphabet, the name of its newly-created parent entity to encompass the “sprawl of businesses” it has entered according to New York Times. Google as the search engine that started it all will be one such entity under Alphabet, of which founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be at the helm.

New York Times also reported on a trademark issue the company ran into when BMW revealed it was the owner of the domain “Alphabet.com” and its trademark. Google has yet to provide comment, but it should be noted Alphabet’s website is already housed at domain “abc.xyz.”

It takes an Evil Genius to know how to rake in cash

The Dota 2 International tournament wrapped up last weekend with Evil Geniuses taking home the $6 million prize. Forbes highlighted Valve’s ability to rack up the large sum of money through selling an in-game item, making the prize pool partially crowdfunded as well. Writer, Paul Tassi, wonders if other companies like Riot and Blizzard will also follow the crowdfunding model to raise the prize pool for future major tournaments.

The function of luck in games

PopMatters released an insightful post on the role that chance plays in game design. Writer, Erik Kersting, references tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, which rely on chance (the roll of dice) to determine outcomes, leaving the ability to make smart deductions about chance the most important skill a player can have. Mr. Kersting explains how adding an element of chance makes a game more accessible for lower skilled players while also keeping a game interesting with high replay value for higher skilled players. He also touches on the use of Critical Strikes, a mechanic that relies on chance while allowing the player being able to manipulate its likelihood of occurring in games like League of Legends and Dota 2.

An A+ in CS:GO

Universities aren’t the only educational institutions embracing eSports. High schools in Sweden are now offering eSports courses as part of the curriculum, said Daily Dot. Students can train in the ways of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 in the 2015-2016 school year. Perhaps it’s not long before you can get an A in Pokémon video games AND TCG!

Casual vs. Core: no contest

EEDAR released data on the sales performance of this generation’s console market, with a special look at the Xbox One and PS4. GamesIndustry International‘s Rob Fahey concludes that the hardware and software sales for those platforms together paints a complex picture of the health of core gaming amidst the rise of casual, “bite-sized” games on mobile. Overall, however, Mr. Fahey asserts that casual games can never squeeze out core games due to the tastes of the players themselves and that consoles can only “die” if said core experiences are replicated on other devices like mobile. He still raises the question of whether return on investments for creating core AAA games will help companies stay sustainable in the long run due to rising costs of production due not to competition from casual games, but to the plateauing expansion of the core gamer audience against the exponential rise in technology.

Photo from The Guardian

The Next-Gen War Has Changed: The Long Road Ahead

It’s been almost eight years since the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii launched. It was quite a spectacle; the gaming industry boomed and helped create new ventures in e-Sports and online broadcasting. Gaming became a mainstream phenomenon.

Yet, there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for the new console launches.

When the PS3 and 360 were announced, my jaw literally dropped when I saw what was in store for me and my friends. It was impossible to contain the excitement and buzz for those consoles. We wanted it. We couldn’t wait. Our fingers were ready to push buttons and wobble joysticks like fiends.

This year’s launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 had no magical sense of excitement like the one that I felt with its predecessors. The graphics look spectacular, but it’s not a major leap from where we left off. The launch lineup for both consoles is mediocre, with no title taking the lead as a must-own.

It feels so… underwhelming.

Yet, that hasn’t stopped both consoles from having record-breaking sales on their launch days. It’s a sign that there has been a shift in the industry: the conversation has moved from the “measuring sticks” debate on who has better processing power or visuals to a battle over the ultimate living room experience.

Graphics are no longer the key selling point. The extended capabilities each console has to offer – instant streaming, a stronger online community hub, social media and app integration – will be the heart of the console generation marathon. The PS4 and Xbox One are no longer just about playing games, but also about creating an extension to the gamer’s life. Games will always be part of the deciding factor, but now mainstream consumers have the option to choose how they want their experience enhanced.

One of my favorite features right now on PlayStation 4 is the remote play feature, allowing me to play AAA next-gen titles away from my actual console. My roommate, on the other hand, is completely sold on the Xbox One’s Kinect voice commands, letting him go hands-free to complete simple tasks to enhance his entertainment experience. It shows that Sony and Microsoft are really trying to provide similar but unique experiences to their user bases.

This (next) gen is also all about socializing. The last generation built an online foundation and paved way for the rise of e-sports. The integration of social media, online streaming, and game recording is going to be an integral part of the gameplay experience. Who knows what else Sony and Microsoft will have in store for us in the future?

The dust hasn’t settled and we probably won’t know who the real winner of this console generation is for a long time. With the limited fanfare, it’s hard to tell. Sure, Sony won the hearts of many with its policy on being DRM-free, but that quickly flatlined as Microsoft caught up with its own changes. I’ve got a good feeling that all of this is just a calm before the storm; I’m expecting the battle to heat up next year during E3 2014 as both companies start landing on their own two feet.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share them with me on Twitter @RahottieR or @TriplePoint.