In this week’s TPoI, Sony announces plans to release a new PlayStation VR unit this month, South America’s biggest gaming expo is expected to host over 300,000 attendees, and Ubisoft buys back $4 million in shares to delay hostile takeover.
Sony Announces Updated PlayStation VR headset
Sony announced on Tuesday that a new version of their PSVR virtual reality headset will be available for purchase this month in Japan. GameSpot reports that the new unit will have an integrated set of headphones as well as HDR pass-through. The new headset can be used in conjunction with a controller or their PlayStation Move Controller, which UploadVR reports will be updated to include the more standard Micro USB ports for charging versus the original models’ Mini USB ports. While the updated headset will be available in Japan first, TechAdvisor reports that the headset will become available in other countries throughout the holiday season.
Brasil Game Show Draws Over 300,000 Attendees
Starting next week, over 300,000 videogame fans and industry professionals will be attending Latin America’s largest gaming convention, the Brasil Game Show in São Paulo, Brazil. The New York Times reports that the Brazilian convention, which started in 2009, has now grown to rival established gaming expos like Gamescom in Germany and The Tokyo Game Show in Japan. As global gaming shows continue develop, with new shows like Play Expo 2017 in Manchester popping up, critics are beginning to question why gaming expos in America haven’t grown to the same size.
Ubisoft Buys Back Shares to Fight Corporate Takeover
Ubisoft announced Thursday that the company will buy over $4 million worth of the company’s own shares back from outside parties. VentureBeat reports that this action will help the company defend itself against a hostile takeover from French media conglomerate, Vivendi. GameSpot covered the topic and highlighted the fact that Vivendi has tried to buy out shares of the company since 2015. Neowin reports that Vivendi currently owns 27% of Ubisoft’s capital shares and that Vivendi would just have to own 3% more if they wanted to make a bid for ownership of Ubisoft.
In this week’s TPoI, PlayStation VR sales surpass one million, Valve replaces Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct, and Xbox extends briefing at this year’s E3.
PlayStation VR Sales Hit One Million Units Sold
During an interview with TIME, President and CEO of Sony Shawn Layden disclosed that PlayStation has sold over one million PlayStation VR units worldwide. GameRant suggests that Sony should release more exclusive titles and show off unique features of their VR headset to stand a chance against top competitors like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. GamingBolt expressed positive sentiment towards the reveal, exclaiming, “PlayStation VR is the most successful high end mainstream VR headset worldwide.” VG24/7 points out that while the numbers are good, Sony could have potentially sold more but ran into supply constraints during the initial rollout. DigitalTrends reports that the shortage has been resolved and the numbers of the PlayStation VR sales are expected to rise in the coming months. With E3 fast approaching, outlets are anticipating major announcements and reveals from Sony.
Valve Swaps Steam Greenlight for Steam Direct
After five years, Valve has officially shut down Steam Greenlight, the service that allowed Steam users to vote for indie games to become available on the platform’s marketplace. Polygon reports that Valve will evaluate and determine if the remaining 3,400 titles under Greenlight will be approved for Steam Direct. PCGamer explains that Steam Direct will allow developers to publish their games on Steam directly for $100. The feature is set to launch on June 13th. VentureBeat states that while Greenlight helped Steam figure out what titles users liked and disliked, it was often an expensive and stressful process for developers. Direct will hopefully resolve those issues. Destructoid thinks it’s too soon to determine how effective Direct will be, but believes it’s headed in the right direction and is beneficial to developers and users alike.
Xbox E3 Briefing Expected to Run Over 90 Minutes
For the first time, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has announced that Xbox’s E3 presentation is expected to go over 90 minutes long. GameSpot disclosed that Spencer wanted more time to show off games explaining, “Had some games that just didn’t want to leave out to hit the time, so made a call to just run a little long.” ScreenRant hopes to see teasers and updates for Destiny 2, Call of Duty:WII, and Red Dead Redemption 2 to name a few. In addition, The Escapist states that Microsoft plans to release details on Project Scorpio such as its official name, the release date, and price. VG24/7 is curious to see if Microsoft reveals additional hardware as well, considering the lengthy presentation. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store next week!
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!
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).
Nintendo Aims to Make 2-3 Mobile Games A Year From Now On
In this week’s Q&A session for investors, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima announced that the company plans to make 2-3 mobile games a year moving forward. IGN reports that the company will still primarily focus on the Switch and 3DS, but that it seems Nintendo sees mobile gaming as a serious prospect with potential for long-term gains. GamesIndustry sees the plans as potentially precarious, due to the parallel business risks to manage simultaneously, while iDigitalTimes is a bit more optimistic noting it believes Nintendo will learn what it needs to continue creating classics for a new generation. No doubt that the success and fanfare surrounding Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run played a role in the decision, and it will continue to pursue a strategy of expanding its core IP into mainstream audiences to drive sales of its primary business units.
E3 Opens To The Public For the First Time Ever
This week the ESA announced that 15,000 tickets will be made available for anyone wishing to attend E3 this June, for a price of $250 (or $150 for lucky early birds). Tickets provide access to the show floor, panel discussions, and other related events Tuesday-Thursday of the week. Gamespot noted availability to the public may be in efforts to keep the conference relevant, as major players like Activision and EA have pulled out in recent years. For their part, the ESA has noted the success of the public-facing E3 Live, held outside the convention center last year that drew impressive numbers as the catalyst to give access to the full convention to fans. Our take here at TriplePoint is that there were already 15k “loose”, non-trade attendees already making their way into the show in recent years. With some tightening of the admission process we could see non-trade attendees – like GameStop employees for example – having to pay their way into the show moving forward.
Valve is working on three ‘full’ VR games
This week Valve founder Gabe Newell confirmed that the company currently has three full VR games in development. He noted that, with the HTC Vive on the market, Valve is now in a position to develop hardware and software simultaneously, nodding to Nintendo’s success with the same framework. Engadget added that with low headset sales and the difficulty in persuading developers to make VR software, Valve and their games could turn the popularity and ubiquity of VR around.
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.
Tis the season for gift guides. You can’t click a link in a google search without tripping over a “10 best tech gifts” story. One category of guide is always missing though: what to get for content creators.
More accurately, this guide is for the friend/parent/significant other of a content creator. One of the great things about streaming is the low barrier to entry; people can start with a pretty low-budget setup. What makes it even better is the amount of impact each new piece of hardware can make on your content.
Let’s start off with an area in which a creator can easily improve: audio. Microphones, to be exact. Starting off with your gaming headset’s built-in mic is fine, but people will notice the extra buzz or your breathing. A streamer can spend hours on third-party programs to try to smooth out the audio. Eventually, though, it is time for an upgrade.
My first suggestion is a personal one, as it is the mic I use, the CAD U1. It is a very cheap upgrade option, usually going for $20 – $25. Additionally, I bought and suggest this mic because unlike most microphone suggestions, it is not a condensor mic but is a dynamic mic. This immediately cuts down on environmental noise and, with the $3 foam cover, cuts way down on breathing noises.
If you want to really give them a treat (or treat yourself!) I highly suggest considering the Rode NT-USB. It is 6x as expensive as the CAD and returns to the condenser style of microphone, but provides a lot more options. Additionally, it has a clarity and fullness of sound that other mics just cannot touch. You will need a couple of additional accessories to make full use of the NT-USB but your stream will thank you.
Next up are webcams. You may be using your laptop’s built-in camera or something you dug out of a drawer from the good old days from before the dot-com bust! This is fine to get started, but now it’s time to get rid of that pixelated mess and step up your game.
The first camera almost needs no description. The Logitech C920has become the streaming camera of choice (and for good reason). It will give you a (nearly) flawless 720p or 1080p signal. It may not be one of the fancy new 60fps cameras that have entered the market (such as Logitech’s own C922x) but you won’t be disappointed. Best of all,with new cameras releasing, the price on this slightly older one is dropping and can usually be found for around $60.
Next is if you are really ready to step up your game: the Razer Stargazer which will run you around $150. The first camera to offer Intel Realsense, which uses multiple cameras to perform depth sensing and remove the background of the video even without a greenscreen! On top of that, it does 60fps at 720p. If you don’t have use for either of those features the last camera will cover your needs, but if you stream in a cramped space or do some crazy movements on Twitch’s new IRL category, this is the camera for you.
Lights are an important component, but one of the hardest to find a good brand. A majority of them are of the same quality and will last you a number of years if you treat them right. The best thing is to find a decent deal on a two softbox combo. A quick search on Amazon brought up a pair that are cheaper than the recommended Cowboy Studios from Fancierstudio. Whichever you go with, good lighting is a must. Be prepared to spend around $100.
Lastly, we’re going to get into a couple of miscellaneous and premium add-on items once you have everything else decently setup.
Virtual Reality is starting to really take off but has a rather high barrier to entry. There are options from Oculus and HTC/Valve but both will run you around $800. A slightly cheaper option if you already own a Playstation 4 is the PSVR. No matter which one you gift (or buy for yourself), it will add a whole new dimension to the content produced.
If the content creator is starting to explore the idea of a two-computer setup, you can help them by giving them a capture card. There are a lot of options out there but the most popular among streamers is the Elgato HD60s. They will have to have a fairly modern computer because this card uses USB-C, but it will be well worth it. Real time 1080p 60fps recording with no impact on the gaming PC — truly the next level of recording for just $170.
Finally, if you’ve looked through this list and wondered where the reasonably priced gift idea was, giving a Steam Gift Card of any amount is a great way to support your favorite content creator. One of their largest expenses, year after year, are the games they have to purchase in order to continue to produce up-to-date content. Giving them Steam credit means they will have the funds they need the next time a game launches.
These are all great options but they certainly don’t cover the full spectrum of possible gifts. Content creators are constantly upgrading, whether it is various internal computer components, trying out new web services, or even switching out their chairs in hopes that it will improve their content and allow them to keep making a great show. No matter what you get your favorite content creator (yes, even that ugly sweater), hopefully they are thankful that you thought of them this holiday season.
Welcome back to our roundup of the top news in tech and games! This week Facebook launches an in-app game library, more than 4,200 games have been released on Steam this year, and The Game Awards 2016 winners were announced!
This week in TriplePoints of Interest content creators call out YouTube for demonetizing videos, Quake VR works with Valve to make the HTC Vive wireless, and the first Google Play Indie Games Festival comes to San Francisco this September.
Three weeks later, Pokémon GO continues to generate massive headlines! This week we’ve highlighted notable coverage about Pokémon GO’s San Diego Comic-Con takeover, Mark Zuckerberg’s love for Pokémon GO, and an recent report on Pokémon GO app downloads. Also worth a look: Twitter is streaming esports, Dota 2 adds VR spectator mode, and Doom: The Board Game is coming to a tabletop near you.
This week in TPoI, we covered several important industry news stories outside of E3, including Gawker’s bankruptcy, Overwatch’s first major tournament, and Michael Bay’s journey into VR gaming. Additionally, if you’d like to hear about some of the top announcements at E3 this year, please check out our roundup on the TriplePoint blog, here. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 13
This week, the Clash Royale-playing contingent of TriplePoint PR is devastated that a former low level colleague of ours has ABANDONED our clan. Something about not donating enough giants…we were all ignoring his near-incessant requests for high level cards anyways.
But, in all seriousness, this week’s TPoI is full of developer outrage, VR eSports, and the continued growth of mobile gaming!
Mobile Games Make Money, Lots of It
According to an industry report from Newzoo BV, mobile games are forecasted to generate more revenue that PC and console games in 2016. The Wall Street Journal reports that this will be the first year that mobile games overtake traditional games in revenue, and that mobile platforms will make for 37% of all software sales world-wide this year.
Games Industry Outrage on the Internet – Developer Edition!
Game industry vet Alex St. John penned a byline in VentureBeat this week shaming game developers’ “wage-slave” attitude and criticizing devs who complain about crunch and being overworked. This sparked much outrage in the games space, with many coming out to challenge his arguments – Rami Ismael of indie studio Vlambeer penned a line-by-line retort, and St. John’s own daughter even described his comments as “vile”. One particularly interesting topic that this has kicked off is that of video game developers potentially unionizing to help promote a healthy work-life balance and avoid the dreaded crunch.
eSports + VR = PlayStation VR?
Writing in Fortune, John Gaudiosi writes that Sony is thinking about virtual reality eSports in advance of the October launch of PlayStation VR. While there are no specific plans for VR eSports content just yet, Sony is starting to talk up the eSports potential for VR games like RIGS, a futuristic mech combat game.
Watch out Oculus – GameStop has confirmed that Sony’s PlayStation VR is coming this fall, in this week’s TPOI. Twitch also makes a big announcement as they schedule their next TwitchCon in sunny San Diego. Apple also takes a stand against a federal court order related to the San Bernardino shooter. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of February 15
It’s just one trade show after another! This week is of course the special E3 edition of TriplePoints of Interest. Now sound off in the comments: what is your favorite announcement from the show? A game? A VR headset? Or something different entirely like photos of the awesome crowd and the industry’s gamer spirit shining through? In any case, here are some highlights!
Through the eyes of VR
Much like most trade shows these days, E3 continued to show love to VR. Gizmodo’s Sean Hollister released his list of his favorite games coming out for Oculus Rift, which includes Chronos, a “Zelda meets Dark Souls” game, platformer Lucky’s Tale, and EVE Valkyrie. Any one of Sean’s picks catching your eye?
GameSpot, in particular, was very impressed with Microsoft’s HoloLensHalo demo, saying it should be aptly renamed “HaloLens.”
Shenmue blows the doors off Kickstarter
Following the same trend as Mighty No. 9 and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3, the long-awaited sequel to 2001’s Shenmue 2, reached its funding target of $2 million in under 12 hours, according to GamesIndustry International. This marks yet another major franchise revival game finding great success via crowdfunding. Funds poured in from fans who waited over 14 years for a three-quel after the announcement of the game at Sony’s press conference.
E3’s attendance grows yet again
Over 52,000 people attended E3 this year, up 3,000 from 2014, says VentureBeat. ESA chief, Mike Gallagher, said this year’s show was a testament to the way gamers are revolutionizing how news and media is shared with over 1 million clips uploaded to YouTube from the exhibit halls and 6.3 million tweets referencing the show. The show will return next year to Los Angeles June 14-16, 2016.