Few people remember back in the mid-90s where there was a little bit of trouble with the Nintendo 64. For one thing, there have been plenty of delays. Another thing is that the company has stuck with the cart format which has been made obsolete with the advent of CD based consoles. The Nintendo 64 has ultimate lost to the Sony Playstation as the last cart based Nintendo system. The next console would be CD based like the rest of the consoles. Some of the stronger sales in Nintendo gaming systems has been the Nintendo Wii.
Nintendo has recently released the Nintendo Switch which has been one of the stronger selling systems. As a matter of fact, the company has recently announced that it has sold 10 Million units in just 9 months. This is a strong release. Nintendo has definitely shown an ability to adapt with the times. It has also shown that it can include people of all ages. The Nintendo Gamecube and Wii have been known to be very kiddie as consoles. When the Wii U came out, Nintendo has started including more mature gaming content remembering that it has fans of all ages.
The Switch marks the return of some fighting game franchises such as Street Fighter II. Among the games that have been released to the Switch exclusively is Ultra Street Fighter II, which is likely going to be the last version of Street Fighter II released. Fans still have the other games like Street Fighter III IV and V available on different consoles. Even if The Switch does not beat out the Wii, it is very likely that it is going to have a strong sell for the holiday season. The only thing that remains to be seen is if it is going to keep up the selling strength for the year of 2018.
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last month then you’ll surely know how much trouble EA seems to have gotten into with the problems that loot boxes have given the company. EA’s most prominent title of 2017, Battlefront 2, was so riddled with microtransaction problems that there was an internet-wide revolt against the title, plummetting EA’s stock prices as a result. Many have weighed in to argue that loot boxes are just an extension of gambling and as such should be regulated or eliminated. It looks like New Zealand’s government may not agree.
New Zealand’s prominent regulation group, the Gambling Compliance Department, weighed in on loot boxes and came to a surprising decision. The group made a comment to Gamasutra earlier this week saying, “The Department is of the view that loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling.” Department head Trish Millward admitted that loot boxes do appear to be a form of gambling, because you are paying money for the ‘chance of improvement’, but that the legal definition is vaguer Millward went on to say that her department would continue to monitor loot boxes in case things change in the future.
Right now the problem of loot boxes in gaming reaches far and wide and players seem to be close to giving up on them altogether. Unfortunately, a smaller percentage of gamers is more than willing to pay for the chance to be better than their opposition. This means that money is continuing to flow in and thus gaming companies have no reason to go away from the lucrative concept.
EA. reacted to internet-boycotts by saying that they would re-evaluate how the company approaches items held in loot boxes. Previously, gamers could obtain items that severely increased their ability to win in matches. Now, EA is considering using more aesthetic items that improve your cosmetics rather than your actual ability while playing the game. The question is, will EA follow through?
Gamers who are more socially inclined should be looking to Grand Theft Auto Online, even years after the title first hit the shelves. The developers at Rockstar recently announced that they would be putting out what is known as the Doomsday Update. Gamers who love how crazy the Grand Theft Auto world can get will surely dig this new update. Let’s dive into what exactly this DLC offers along with what gamers can expect to do once they get the patch installed.
To start with, the new Doomsday DLC is going to be a pretty hefty update. There are three different Heist acts that tell the entire story known as the ‘Doomsday Heist’. You’ll run through different vehicles, tactical set-ups and freemode missions which allegedly culminates in one of the most epic and insane finales of any GTA story mode. Along the way, gamers will also be able to try and accomplish ‘elite challenges’ which are considered ‘hardcore’ and tough to satisfy.
Of course, as soon as we mentioned different vehicles the majority of readers instantly probably locked on to that aspect. The newest vehicle that people will want to get their hands on is called the ‘Avenger’. Described as a ‘flying fortress’ that showcases ‘experimental weapons’, the Avenger sounds like just our type GTA:O weapon. Of course, this isn’t the only new addition to the game. Players will be able to unlock new clothes, new weapons, more vehicles and even special customization for their characters. Did we mention that there will even be new radio stations to listen to as you play?
Grand Theft Auto Online has by far been one of Rockstar’s most electric triumphs. The new Doomsday update figures to satisfy longtime fans of the franchise as well as those new gamers who are planning on getting into the property. With Grand Theft Auto Online under control of Rockstar, it looks like the game will stick to pumping out these high-quality updates.
There is something so uniquely and intimately satisfying about creating a character in the hit Nintendo series ‘Animal Crossing’ before spending hours shaking trees, fishing and talking to animal-people. Nintendo’s quirky series has been one of the staples in their massive library of IP and now it is going mobile. ‘Animal Cross: Pocket Camp’ hit mobile application stores last week and it ascended quickly to 15 million downloads, making it the second largest mobile game launch in Nintendo’s history — right behind Super Mario Run.
Nintendo has made a habit of giving fans a new ‘Animal Crossing’ title with each generation of their console release, dating all the way back to the Nintendo 64. Fans were notably worried that nothing had been announced in 2017, up until about two months ago when news of ‘Pocket Camp’ first hit the internet. Fans were initially put off by the idea of a mobilization of such a deep and unique game, but those fears have turned out to be unfounded as critical and commercial success has followed the title.
In ‘Pocket Camp’, gamers create a character like they traditionally do in other ‘Animal Crossing’ titles. Afterwards, each player is given a special RV Camper that they can decorate and expand, much like their home. The big twist here is that your character does not live in a village. Instead, you have your own ‘campsite’ that can be completely and uniquely decorated. You can invite other animals to come hang out at your campsite while you perform tasks for them in order to build your friendship. Of course, there is plenty of exploration too. An overworld map allows your character to travel to a handful of different areas, including beaches, parks, and forests, in order to catch bugs, go fishing, and meet new animals and players.
Nintendo has taken a relatively hands-off approach in terms of monetization for ‘Pocket Camp’ which is likely why the title has been so popular, so far. You don’t need to pay a cent to enjoy the game unless you would like to speed up certain tasks or buy specialty aesthetic items to decorate your camp.
If there is one thing that Nintendo has mastered, with almost no competition from other major brands, it is the platformer. With Mario setting the tone and every iconic character after to follow, Nintendo has cornered the style of gameplay almost entirely. Now it looks like the Nintendo Switch is picking up its next great piece of IP in the retro platformer genre, “Yooka-Laylee”. Ignoring the obvious play on words, there looks to be a lot of depth in this title and fans of the style should be eager to get their hands on it when it drops on December 14th, 2017.
Yooka-Laylee was originally supposed to release on the PS4, XB1, and Wii U this past April but a slew of technical issues changed the ramping up of the release. Instead, the developers at Playtonic Games decided to hold back and refine their product with a new release window during the Holiday Season for the Nintendo Switch. Over the past several months the team at Playtonic have been focused on technically optimizing the quirky, colorful platformer in order to make it a homerun for Nintendo Switch owners around the world.
For fans of the Yooka-Laylee that have already played the title on the PS4 or XB1, there will be new content and additional gameplay elements that come with the Nintendo Switch. What we do know is that Playtonic Games focused on incorporating the impressive Joy-Con controls as much as possible during their optimization process. You can now play all eight mini-games with just one of the Joy-Con controllers. You can also enjoy a brand new camera system, refined controls, and even a dialogue skip button for the truly impatient gamers.
The Nintendo Switch has turned into one of the biggest console surprises of the past decade. The Switch has completely flipped the Wii U’s relative failure on its head, becoming one of Nintendo’s hottest selling systems of all time. With titles like Yooka-Layle in the fold, gamers are only going to keep coming back for more.
It has not been a great launch period for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Electronic Arts’ (EA) much awaited continuation to the Battlefront franchise was almost immediately panned by fans and critics as “pay to win”, where players could pay money for items that improved their performance in-game. To that end EA pulled the system, but such actions did not appease the Belgian Gaming Commission from launching an investigation into the practice. EA attempted to shift the blame to the Star Wars license, but their pleas seem to have fallen of deaf ears.
Which is when the bad news for EA keeps getting worse, as France may begin to take a closer look at the loot-crate practice. French senator Jérôme Durain reached out to several consumer advocacy groups recently, expressing concern that the boxes may be harmful to children. A translation reads: “Quite aside from the acceptance of the practice, some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling.” He highlights several avenues of resolution, including perhaps adopting Chinese models which include transparency win chances. Fortunately for EA, he also says that he is not at a point where he believes legislation is strictly necessary.
Charles Coppolani of ARJEL, the regulatory oversight board in France which monitors all gambling within the country, replied the practice poses, “risks for our fellow citizens and in particular for the youngest. These risks are very close to those that characterise gambling addiction money; it is necessary to be very vigilant.” He further stressed consumer protection may indeed become a necessity before long.
Elsewhere, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee voiced similar concerns last week. It would seem EA’s loot box policy was only a straw that finally broke this particular camel’s back.
We are currently living in a pop-culture world that is completely dominated by the teams at Disney and Marvel. With fans clamoring for the trailer to the anticipated ‘Infinity Wars’ Marvel film, it seems like everything is in the palm of Marvel’s hands. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite extend to the gaming world. Marvel Heroes was released in 2013 as a sort of Diablo-like take on the dungeon-crawling genre. Fans played with their favorite heroes from throughout the MCU. The title recently expanded to the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 after being first launched on the PC. Despite the recent expansion, it turns out that Marvel Heroes is being shut down and fans everywhere are absolutely devastated.
Marvel Heroes was one of Disney’s first big F2P games that focused more on a freemium experience rather than a massive investment up front. As a result, the game instantly became a fan-favorite for followers of the Marvel Universe. The game was developed by Gazillion Entertainment and it was through them that the closure was announced. Gazillion Entertainment took to Twitter to say, “It is with great sadness that we announce the close of Gazillion Entertainment.” The tweet went on to say, “As a result, we are no longer able to operate Marvel Heroes Omega until December 31 as originally planned.” This tweet, of course, meant that Marvel Heroes was to be shut down essentially immediately.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Marvel Heroes was likely heading for the dumps but that the company would hold on until the end of the year to allow gamers to enjoy some time with the product before shutting it down. Instead, the sunset period began immediately. Microtransactions were immediately pulled from the title, and nearly every employee on the company’s roster was let go from their job. The studio finally revealed that there was no way that they could continue supporting the title and as a result, it was gone. At least we still have ‘Infinity War’, right?
If you were like us, then you spent the summer of 2016 outside with your eyes locked on your phone as you captured as many Pokemon as possible in Pokemon Go. Developed by Niantic, Pokemon Go became a resounding success and a true game-changer for the mobile market. Augmented reality has begun to showcase itself as a viable platform for major IPs to take their product on the road. Now, it looks like Harry Potter is getting its own Pokemon Go styled augmented reality experience, and the investment money is truly rolling in.
Niantic Labs announced their new Harry Potter augmented reality title just over a week ago and since then the title has been gaining massive attention from investors everywhere. Through the Wall Street Journal, it was announced that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite had already found nearly $200 million in Series B venture capital funding. Niantic will be utilizing this money in order to further the world of augmented reality. Fans of Pokemon Go and Harry Potter should be ecstatic that Niantic isn’t willfully sticking to their wheelhouse. Instead, it appears that the company is intent on pushing technology forward in order to change the platform forever.
Niantic Labs used to be owned by Google but now the company is standing alone and rising as a result. Niantic Labs saw several major investors come to the table during their Series B investing, including Spark Capital, Meritech, and Javelin Venture Capital. With more companies working alongside Niantic Labs, it appears that Niantic CEO John Hanke has more in mind than just launching another piece of IP. Niantic Labs has a very real chance to fundamentally change the world of mobile gaming forever, and if they are successful then this could mean that there will be a complete proprietary change to the way we use our phones. We’re rooting for Niantic to bring some magic out with Wizards Unite. The question begs to be asked, will they succeed or enter a sophomore slump?
Although the game has waned from being popular among mainstream news cycles, “Pokémon Go” will be offering its players the chance to capture another legendary Pokémon. The blazing phoenix-like Ho-Oh will now make appearance during raid battles., Niantic’s go-to method for bringing players in touch with legendary Pokémon like Mewtwo and the trio of birds that serve as mascots for the game’s three teams.
While raid battles are group encounters that have up to 20 players teaming up to tackle one super-powerful Pokémon, the mention of a Ho-Oh raid seems relatively unforeseen. Those unfamiliar with Niantic’s social media presence or who fail to keep up with the screen dedicated to sensing raids would easily miss this news. As befits a creature of its majesty and scarcity, raid encounters with the blazing bird of legend will not be around for very long. To be specific, Ho-Oh raids will only be operable from now until the 12th day of December this year.
Any player seeking to capture Ho-Oh during a raid must first obtain a Raid Pass item within the game. This item can be acquired either from going to a gym or by purchasing a Premium Raid Pass from the in-app store. Once a raid battle begins, all participating players must defeat a “Raid Boss” within a 5 minute time limit. Upon defeating the Raid Boss players can see a Pokémon egg that will hatch once the 5 minute counter reaches 0:00. In addition to the chance to get rare and unique pokemon, players can also receive free items like Potions, Berries and “Technical Machines.” Raid battles were one feature added to the game during a massive update in June 2017.
Pokémon Go’s inception can be traced back to a partnership April Fools’ Day joke in 2014 between Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Google Earth. After several test runs in limited regions, the first build of the complete game was released in July of 2016.
GameStop has seen their stock drastically drop over the last few years as digital video games become increasing more popular. A large set of video game fans are simply unwilling to go to a physical store to buy a game when they can download it directly to their console without ever leaving their home. GameStop is looking to combat the rise of digital downloads by offering a new subscription rental service later this year.
The new service offered by GameStop is called Power Pass, and it will allow subscribers to rent an unlimited amount of pre-owned games from their local GameStop store for a period of six months. Sign ups for the GameStop Power Pass program will begin on November 19, and it will cost everyone an upfront fee of $60. You must sign up before the end of January 2018 if you want to take part in the new rental service. A GameStop PowerUp Rewards account is also needed in order to sign up.
Everyone that signs up for Power Pass will get to take home one pre-owned video game from their local GameStop store when the program begins. You can then exchange that game for another pre-owned game at any time. There are no restrictions on exchanges, so you can get a new game every day if you desired. There are also no restrictions on the games that can be rented with Power Pass. If the pre-owned game is sitting on the store shelves, then you can take it home with your Power Pass subscription. It does not matter if it is a new release for the PS4 or a classic game from the original Xbox. Once the six-month program is over, you will get to keep the last game you rented.
GameStop ran a similar program for three months this summer in select cities, and it looks like it was a success. This is a great deal for both parties involved. Video game fans get to enjoy six months of endless games for a low price, and GameStop is finding a way to monetize their large used game inventory.