Next Generation of Consoles Could See “Imminent” Launch

Consoles come in stages, from the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox to the Ps4, Wii and Xbox One, consoles are always launched around the same time leading to a large hype in people’s purchases as new games and technologies are revealed to the gaming community. According to the COO of GameStop, the new consoles could see “imminent” launch.

The statement was made during GameStop’s 2016 Investors Day, the companies Chief Operating Officer said that the company was happy to see new technologies being introduced, stating that things like virtual reality may play a big part in the next generation of consoles. Even going so far as to say that the rumoured new console could see an “imminent” launch.

This news shouldn’t be overly large, with companies like Nintendo constantly hinting at the NX while rumours were spread about the Playstation 4 getting an upgrade to run 4K content. With no word from companies regarding when or what the next consoles would officially feature, all we have is rumours and suggestions from fans and “sources”, including ones that point to upgradable versions of the Xbox consoles hardware.

With the last generation of consoles being released back in 2013 featuring the Wii U, Xbox One and PS4, gaming and technology has come a long way since then with virtual reality and 4K content becoming more than just an occasional venture, leading people to hope that the latest steps in technology will soon be released to the console gaming market.

Postal Redux Dev “Microsoft Lacking in its Commitment to Gamers”

Prior to the Xbox One’s release, Microsoft managed to forge a huge player base and competed with Sony despite being the major underdog. While part of this is down to Sony’s mistakes with expensive hardware and the overly complicated Cell architecture, you have to give Microsoft credit for the Xbox 360’s superb library. Granted, they did lose a lot of respect with the Red Ring of Death fiasco. Although, it’s important to remember Sony consoles also experienced the Yellow Light of Death but this was to a lesser extent. Unfortunately, Microsoft reversed much of their hard work during the Xbox One’s launch and angered the core gaming demographic.

Reports about banning the use of pre-owned games, having to check in online every 24 hours and the focus on US sport shows didn’t sit well with Xbox 360 fans. Eventually, the company’s management realized this and appointed Phil Spencer to the leading role. Despite making numerous changes and showcasing Microsoft’s passion towards core games, it seems this viewpoint isn’t shared by everyone. In a recent interview with Gamingbolt, Running with Scissors’s CEO Vince Desi said:

“[Microsoft lack] a commitment to gamers,”

Running with Scissors is the development team behind Postal Redux and this is an extremely bold claim to make. While there have been some rumours circulating about Microsoft’s management being unhappy with the Xbox division, this is purely speculation. Furthermore, Microsoft have invested money into development studios and funded excellent games like Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive. It’s clear they are lingering behind in the console market and struggling to compete with Sony. It’s interesting to see their renewed focus on the PC platform and trying to bring PC gamers and console players together through a single ecosystem. At the moment, it’s not working out too well due to the UWP restrictions and the technical mess seen on a number of  games.

Do you think Microsoft is committed to gamers?

New Assetto Corsa Console Trailer Has Been Unleashed

Racing simulators including rFactor 2, Grand Prix 4, Race 07, iRacing and loads more usually remain exclusive to the PC platform. This is because the complex physics models require significant processing power and racing enthusiasts demand a stable minimum frame-rate of 60. If a simulator suddenly drops below this, it can impact on your racing line and ability to nail the fastest possible lap. Another reason why many of these games never come to consoles revolves around cost. Sim racers can spend over $1000 on wheel setups, modded frames, seats and other equipment to enhance the immersion factor. While some console players use wheels, it’s nowhere near as prevalent.

Some time ago, Kunos Simulazioni launched the final version of Assetto Corsa after being part of Valve’s Early Access programme. Prior to the release of the earlier versions, I quickly became mesmerized by Assetto Corsa’s in-game footage and fell in love with the exceptional graphical fidelity. I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of the game and try out the physics model using various setups. Without going into too much information, I honestly believe Assetto Corsa is one of the best simulators ever produced and easily worth the asking price. It’s challenging but fair and has a progressive physics model to help players of various skill levels.

In a rather surprising move, Kunos Simulazioni announced the upcoming release of the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This is absolutely brilliant news for sim racing fans wanting to enjoy Assetto Corsa on a modest setup. It’s quite rare to see this kind of accessibility in a racing simulator. Today, the company unveiled the latest console trailer entitled ‘Engineered to Perfection’:

Even if you only have a passing interest in motorsport, I’d recommend checking out the video to see why there’s so much excitement surrounding this game.

Dear Esther to Arrive on PS4 And Xbox One This Year

Dear Esther is possibly the first commercially successful release opting for almost zero gameplay which spawned a brand new genre focussing on a game’s plot instead of its core mechanics. Commonly referred to as ‘walking simulators’, the genre contains numerous examples of highly revered titles including Gone Home, The Stanley Parable and lots more! On the other hand, some users feel many of these experiences cannot be classified as games and offer a poor value proposition. Even though Gone Home received widespread critical acclaim, there’s many consumers who believe it’s wildly overrated.

Whatever the case, my introduction into this genre stems from Dear Esther. At the time, I found a little peculiar and couldn’t really comprehend the game’s premise. Once again, it seems to divide opinion according to the user reviews on Steam. Dan Pinchbeck the creative director of Dear Esther’s announced today that the game will be releasing on the current generation consoles sometime this year:

We’ve always known that Dear Esther would continue its story,” 

“.. and we’re delighted to be writing that story with Curve Digital. Dear Esther is a hugely important game to us, so it’s great to know it’s in very capable hands – we’re excited to see the reaction from PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players.”

The console editions will feature “subtle tweaks” to modify the experience to better suit the console audience. Furthermore, a brand new director’s commentary mode offers an insight into the development process. There’s no current word regarding the price point and if the game will receive a physical release. I expect this to be disclosed in the coming months. I’m interested to see the reaction from console players and sales because Dear Esther has already been in a Humble Bundle basic tier package. Perhaps, this will impact on the sales figures, but then again, consumers might simply want to add it to their console collection.

PlayStation Plus Satisfaction Rate Nosedives

Sony originally launched their PlayStation Plus service way back in 2010 to offer an enticing package of monthly games with a monetary value which far outweighed the monthly fee. This rightfully received a warm reception and helped Sony to forge a harmonious relationship with the PlayStation community. It’s also important to remember that during the PlayStation 3 days, online play remained free, and PlayStation Plus wasn’t a requirement. Sadly, this was changed once the PlayStation 4 launched and players have to pay the subscription fee to play online.

This isn’t a shocking revelation because Microsoft employed a similar tactic with the Xbox Live subscription service. Not only that, Microsoft even required this to use the Internet Explorer web browser! Thankfully, they have seen sense and granted free access to programs and media applications using a free account. It’s evidently clear that the monthly line-up of PlayStation Plus games has deteriorated in recent years and caused many users to show their displeasure. Even though indie games provide stunning experiences, consumers want to see more mainstream titles to enhance the service’s value proposition. It’s not that simple though because the PlayStation 4’s game library is pretty small compared to the PlayStation 3. Saying that, there’s more than enough third-party games and Sony IPs to keep consumers entertained.

According to a PlayStation Reddit poll, user satisfaction of the service has dropped to a miserable 21.3%. Furthermore, 65.2% felt dissatisfied by the service in one form or another. In comparison, an internal Sony poll in 2012 concluded that over 95% were satisfied. As you can see, this is a drop of more than 70% in just three and a half years. Of course you have to remember that the sample size is fairly small with 3923 responses and might not reflect widespread opinion. However, it’s large enough to provide an indication of user frustration and I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were similar using a larger sample.

Are you happy with the current PlayStation Plus service?

AMD Earnings Call Suggests New Consoles Are Coming in 2016

Even though the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are less than three years old, there’s numerous reports which indicates both console manufacturers could release refreshed models with a higher specification. This is unprecedented for the console industry as the usual business strategy revolves around long hardware lifecycles and encouraging developers to eke out every last inch of performance through optimization. Saying that, the situation in 2016 is quite different due to the rise of mobile and impressive profitability on the PC platform. Furthermore, the current consoles are technically outdated and struggle to maintain 30 frames-per-second at 1920×1080. There’s even been instances where the resolution has been reduced to 720P on the Xbox One which really does showcase the performance problems.

Arguably, Sony is creating a much more powerful version of the PlayStation 4 to coincide with the launch of PlayStation VR. Virtual reality requires a great deal of processing power and the current model will struggle to offer a pleasant user-experience. According to information acquired by Go Nintendo, AMD’s earning call predicts future hardware launches this year and reads:

“In our EESC segment, we had record shipments of our semi-custom SoCs powering the Playstation 4 and Xbox One game consoles,”

“Demand for game consoles looks strong for 2016 and we remain on track to generate additional revenue from new semi-custom business in the second half of 2016.

“Game consoles – we see units going up 2016 to 2015. We’ve also said in the enterprise embedded and semi-custom segment that we will be ramping some new design revenue in the second half of 2016. We have new products being introduced in both the businesses with the new design wins in the second half on the semi-custom side.”

It’s important to remember that this might not be a new Xbox or PlayStation 4, and could refer to Nintendo’s upcoming console, the NX. Whatever the case, I cannot wait to see the announcements during this year and look forward to testing new hardware. Also, if these reports are true, I’m eager to know how console players will react.

Dark Souls 3 Will Run at 60 FPS on PC Says Developer

Earlier we reported that Dark Souls 3, the latest in the series that’s known for making grown men reap as they die time and time again, will be limited to 30 FPS on PC. This has now been overruled with the series official Twitter posting that the latest game will run at 60 FPS on PC.

Frames per second is a huge issue for developers and gamers alike. Some claim anything about 30 FPS doesn’t matter while others go so far as to say that anything below 60 FPS just makes them feel uneasy and unwell. When the directory of Fallout 4 claimed the game would run at 30 FPS on “everything”, the community gathered arms asking if this included PC’s who keep upgrading their graphics cards and feel like they shouldn’t be penalised for the slow catch-up of consoles have in regards to their graphical power.

From my experience, you can see the difference when playing a game, with consoles normally stuck at 30 FPS and PC’s being able to go well above 60 FPS. For a game as graphically fine as Dark Souls 3 will be, the last thing you want to experience is a slow or stuttering feel as you try to fight for your life in a brutal world.

Fallout 4 Update 1.4 Now Available for Download

Fallout 4 is still going strong and I’m sure many of you are either still walking the wasteland or, at least, you’re planning to get started on the latest Bethesda developed epic. The new update brings a lot of patches and they’re certainly welcome, as with such a big game it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of bugs.

The new patch brings with it a few general performance improvements, which are always a welcome addition for any format, as well as support for add-ons, more metal and wood door variants, and a nice range of bug fixes. Can’t say I’m bothered about the new doors, though, as with PC mods, I’ve already got dozens more than standard anyway.

Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect to find when you update your game to version 1.4:

New Features

  • General performance improvements
  • Support for add-ons
  • Additional art customization added to Workshop:
  • Super Mutant clutter including meat totems, meat bags and meat cart
  • Raider clutter including raider poles, cages and tents
  • Abstract and portrait paintings
  • Variety of new signs
  • More metal and wood doors variants

Fixes

  • General stability and performance improvements
  • During “Getting a Clue” quest, Kellogg’s desk will remain a working container
  • During “Rocket’s Red Glare”, resolved issue where companions could not be dismissed after completing the quest
  • Fixed an issue with “Kremvh’s Tooth” quest item not spawning properly
  • Settlements under attack will now display an updated message with the results of the attack if player does not respond
  • Fixed an issue with screen effects not clearing away properly after using a scope
  • Fixed an issue with trying to sprint while in third person with a minigun equipped
  • Rank 4 of Demolition Expert perk now properly increases the area effect of explosives
  • The Scrounger perk now includes additional common ammo types
  • Fixed an issue where Calvin Whitaker would disappear in Vault 81
  • Fixed an issue where Ninja and Sandman perks combined would apply the incorrect damage bonus
  • Fixed an issue where Rank 3 of Grim Reaper’s Sprint did not fill critical meter properly
  • Fixed an issue with key cards not spawning correctly in Vault 75
  • Fixed an issue where enemies would stop spawning during “Airship Down”
  • Being in first person while wearing power armor and quickly switching weapons will no longer cause the Pip-Boy to be stuck
  • Fixed an issue with the autosave counter getting incorrectly reset
  • Fixed issue that would cause the Pip-Boy menu to turn invisible while swimming
  • Fixed an issue where scrapping larger quantities of a single item would inadvertently scrap a legendary item
  • Fixed issue where exiting workbenches would cause third person to stop working properly
  • The Scribe can now be assigned consecutive settlements properly
  • Fixed issue with duplicating scraps shipments
  • Fixed issue with vendors not properly exchanging caps after several consecutive transactions in a row
  • Fixed issue with the quicksave and autosave message persisting through loading screens
  • Fixed an issue where updating to the latest patch would cause Options settings to reset back to default (Xbox One)
  • Fixed an issue with loading save with a placed object in water, not properly floating

Consoles Could Delay Kingdom Come: Deliverance PC Release

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is set for release this summer by developer Warhorse Studios, and if what we’ve seen of the game so far is anything go by, it can’t come soon enough! The game is already looking absolutely amazing, but it seems that those of us eager to play it may have a longer wait on their hands than expected. Warhorse Studios have been in talks with some publishers, and it looks like the PC release of their upcoming RPG epic may have to be held back by the console version of the game.

“The idea was to release the game in the summer and then to follow up with the console versions. Right now we are still indie developers but we are in negotiations with publishers to, well, we need someone to bring the games into the shops, so we need a distributor, and he kind of wants us to synch it with the console versions. We are still in negotiations, we will see.” said PR Manager Tobias Stolz-Zwilling.

This isn’t great news for PC gamers, especially given that the game was on Kickstarter and funds were raised for it based on it being a PC focused title. Of course, the developers will be looking for their best return on investment, so hopefully the delay means they’re not wanting to half-arse the PC edition, but get all up to scratch by release time.

“Best case for you will be summer this year for the PC version and then with the follow-up for consoles; or if the publisher wants us to synch it we will release everything let’s say by the end of the year, so we will see about that.” added Tobias.

Are you looking forward to Kingdom Come and did you back it on Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments section below.

Three New Resident Evil Remasters Coming to Consoles

The early Resident Evil games are some of the best survival horror experiences ever devised due to the tense gameplay, and atmospheric setting. Unfortunately, the franchise has struggled in recent years to recreate this winning formula and received a very mixed reception. This is especially the case with Resident Evil 5 and 6 which felt uninspired. On the other hand, the Resident Evil: Revelations spin-offs are underrated and evoke a similar feel to the older titles. If you’re looking for a classical horror experience, then they are well worth a look!

In the modern era, there’s a whole host of horror games to choose from including Slender: The Arrival, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This means independent studios are the ones providing a terrifying experience, which properly honours the original PlayStation Resident Evil games. Honestly, Resident Evil 5 and 6 didn’t evoke that scare factor for me, but this is all down to an individual’s personality. The current console generation is sorely lacking in new IPs, and relying far too much on HD remasters. It makes sense for publishers to release slightly improved versions of existing games, because it makes them money without huge investments. However, it’s really quite feeble to see so many remasters, and I expected a lot more from this console generation.

According to a press release, Capcom will be re-releasing Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4:

“Resident 4, 5, and 6 will all be available digitally for MSRP $19.99 / €19.99 / £15.99 each starting with Resident Evil 6 on March 29, Resident Evil 5 in summer 2016 and Resident Evil 4 in fall 2016. Physical disc versions will also be available in the Americas.”

Console players prefer to own physical media and have a huge collection proudly displayed on a shelf. It seems bizarre to restrict the retail editions to the Amercias, because this is bound to alienate people who dislike digital distribution.

Do you think the current console generation has too many HD remasters?

Developer “Guarantees Nintendo NX Won’t Have Third-Party Support”

Nintendo’s upcoming console codenamed, ‘NX’ is shrouded in secrecy, and no-one really knows what the latest device will entail. There are various rumours stemmed from patents which suggest the product will be a hybrid mobile/home console unit and create a brand new experience. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s previous effort, the Wii U, fared quite badly due to poor marketing and a lack of third-party support.

The Wii U branding confused consumers and made them believe it was an accessory for the original Wii. Furthermore, the console’s lacklustre power and strange launch date before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 alienated third-party developers. It didn’t take long for key publishers including Ubisoft to discount the system because of the small user-base and terrible sales. This has been a major problem in the past few generations for Nintendo, as they rely too much on first party titles. While their IPs are incredible, the company cannot ignore third-party support for a prolonged period.

Despite this, it appears Nintendo hasn’t learnt anything from their mistakes, and could struggle to entice third-party developers to support the platform according to The Ori and the Blind Forest director, Thomas Mahler:

“This is actually THE singlest most annoying thing for every dev out there. We also talked to Nintendo and got absolutely nothing – I’ll never understand that. And just to be clear, it’s not just Nintendo, every hardware manufacturer is treating their devkits and their unreleased consoles like they’re the second coming and are insanely secretive about it to a stupid degree in todays time. It’s not even that the hardware isn’t finished (duh), but you could at least give me the goddamn specs, so we’d know what to build s**t for!”

“What’s needed to sell hardware is goddamn good software. With Nintendo not having any devkits out there at this point and probably even wanting to sell it in 2016, I can already guarantee that they’ll just not have any software support, since nobody can just jumble games together in less than a year. I mean, you can, but it’ll be garbage.”

“The same is true for Engine Support – Get Unity and Epic to support these consoles WAAAAY ahead of release. By the time the console launches, it should be EASY for developers to develop games for these systems, things shouldn’t just only start at this point. I want the goddamn devkits or at least proper hardware specs ideally 2 years before release – Keep all the developers updated, start a forum where devs can chat and figure out all the problems everyone’s having, instead of everyone just having to deal with it. None of that’s happening anywhere and it’s just braindamaged.”

If this is the case, Nintendo really doesn’t understand the current market, and cannot rely on their first party games forever. There will be a point when dedicated Nintendo fans begrudge the lack of third-party games and need to purchase another console to access other titles. Clearly, this might not be true and an example of a developer venting frustrations online. However, it doesn’t look good, and raises questions about Nintendo’s management.

Ubisoft Denies Holding Back PC Version of The Division

Ubisoft has been running into controversy after controversy with their games these days. After an unnamed developer made comments that could have been interpreted as Ubisoft holding back the PC version to make the consoles look better, Ubisoft has come out to correct the record. The controversial statement noted that Ubisoft had to “keep [PC] in check with consoles because it would kind of be unfair just to push it so far away from [consoles].”

While that statement is plausible, The Division has been pretty good on the PC thus far. Despite the host of usual bugs and performance optimization issues, the game does offer a lot more eye candy and features for the PC version of the game. Ubisoft responded quickly, saying:

“It has come to our attention that a comment from one of our team members has been perceived by some members of the community to imply the PC version of The Division was ‘held back’ and this is simply not true. From the beginning, the PC version of The Division was developed from the ground up and we’re confident players will enjoy the game and the features this version has to offer. And the feedback from PC players who participated in the recent closed beta supports this.”

While the statement notes that the PC version of the game won’t be held back graphically at least by the consoles, maybe there is something else to it. Perhaps the A.I. was made weaker to better match that of consoles or other technical design choices, we may never know. Hopefully, Ubisoft will live up to their promises to focus on PC and do right by PC gamers. I for one am certainly looking forward to The Division.

The Division’s Developer Speaks Out About Not Pushing PC Graphics Further

Tom Clancy’s The Division, created by Ubisoft Massive is a third-person cover shooter set in a chaotic New York City. During its initial E3 unveil, the game received a great deal of praise due to the absolutely stunning visual fidelity. However, it’s quite common for the graphical quality to be reduced by a significant margin due to the limitations of the current console generation. Furthermore, industry demos are usually run on very high-end PC hardware. This doesn’t mean that those with premium hardware shouldn’t be able to access the game’s maximum potential though and that’s the reason why the PC incorporates various presets. Ubisoft Massive is primarily a PC focussed developer and The Division is still a gorgeous title. Although, according to the recent beta, it does require some pretty hefty hardware to run at higher resolutions.

In an interview with YouTube channel, Team Epiphany, Ubisoft Massive explained the considerations when making the console and PC versions:

“One good thing about The Division is we’ve always considered the PC as a separate platform. We do have to keep it in check with the consoles; it would be kind of unfair to push it so far away from them. But it’s been good having a dedicated PC build for this game.”

As you can see, the developer is stating that the PC version cannot be overly superior otherwise it would impact on the console. Honestly, this is a baffling notion and downgrading the graphics to ensure fairness seems completely unfair! Console players are still going to experience similar gameplay, and those without a gaming PC, are fully content with the version they receive. This means, it makes no sense to negatively downscale the PC edition just to appease disgruntled console players. The only positive I suppose to come from this is at least The Division doesn’t implement parity between various platforms and features a host of PC exclusive features.

Further Hints That Final Fantasy XV is Heading to PC Discovered

Final Fantasy XV has been a long time coming, and while many Final Fantasy games have been moved to PC in recent years, some a lot later than others, we still have no concrete details for the PC version of the latest in the series. We’re pretty certain that it will come to PC, given the track record of recent releases in the series, but as with most developers, Square Enix are keeping impossibly tight-lipped about the whole thing.

Thankfully, for those of us who are eager for even the smallest morsel of proof that it’s coming to PC, there’s been some  information discovered by NeoGAF member ‘KupoNut.’  As you can see in the image below, there’s already references to the PC version in the code of the Final Fantasy XV Uncovered Event website.

The only downside is that this is still a rumour, I mean, the information is there, but until Square Enix put it in black and white, you have to be sceptical to a certain degree. There’s evidence to say they will bring it to PC, that much is a given, but will it launch at the same time as consoles, or will we have a couple of years wait? I certainly hope the latter is not true.

With Square Enix hosting their Uncovered Event on March 30th, we can cross our fingers and hope for a PC reveal, but if not, I’m sure there will still be some exciting information being revealed about the game in general.

Until we have more information, how about another run through the early just one more time?

I’m sure you’re looking forward to Final Fantasy XV, but which format would you rather play it on, PC or consoles? Would you be willing to wait longer to see it on PC if it launched on consoles first? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Hard Reset Redux Edition Announced

Hard Reset is a very underrated first-person-shooter by Flying Wild Hog set in an atmospheric, cyberpunk world. Originally, the game was released in 2011 and received fairly mixed reviews from professional critics. However, the studio decided to include their expansion at no additional cost which deserves a huge amount of credit! Hard Reset adopts a very fast-paced “old school” approach, similar to Doom and Quake with health packs, ammunition and secrets throughout each level. Despite this classic feel, the game features a two weapon system which might at first appear overly restricting. Thankfully, each weapon can be modified to add-on rocket launchers, grenades, a plasma rifle and stasis modules.

Another interesting decision is the game’s tough difficulty. Even on the lower settings, it can be a challenge to defeat a large number of enemies. This had to the potential to infuriate certain players while offering an extreme challenge to seasoned first-person-shooter gamers. The publisher, Gambitious Digital Entertainment has just announced a Redux version of Hard Reset which features an upgraded visual engine and rebalanced gameplay, along with new enemies and weaponry (cyber-katana!). Furthermore, it’s been updated to suit modern audiences so I’m very interested to see how different the gameplay is.

To mark this occasion, the publisher decided to release a trailer to showcase the game’s intense action and unusual story. Honestly, the story is hard to follow and fairly forgettable after a few chapters. Although, you really play this kind of game for the gunplay. Hard Reset Redux should be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC very soon. The original PC version still looks fantastic so I’m not convinced this released is designed for PC players. On the other hand, it’s great to see a modernized version for the current console generation and should be fairly popular if the price point remains low.

Homefront: The Revolution Will Feature a 30+ Hour Campaign

The overwhelming majority of first-person-shooters prioritize the multiplayer component and overlook the single player experience. For example, the Call of Duty series’ success relies on the heated online battles between players, and some users disregard the campaign without even trying it! Unfortunately, the single player story usually lasts a mere 5-6 hours, and doesn’t offer compelling value. The Call of Duty campaigns tend to be passable due to the cinematic feel and intense action. On the other hand, DICE always struggles to create a captivating single player aspect and the end result is almost excruciating. Some time ago, the now defunct THQ produced a new IP entitled, Homefront. The game adopted a very dark, serious tone and showcased the horrors of war with children being slaughtered in the streets. Bizarrely, the campaign started off rather slowly, and followed a horribly linear path. Not only that, just as the story became interesting, the game suddenly ended a mere 4 hours in.

Despite this, I enjoyed the multiplayer and saw a great deal of potential for the series. Thankfully, Deep Silver acquired the rights and decided to make a sequel. Homefront: The Revolution from the initial screenshots looks interesting and according to the press release contains a mammoth 30+ hour single player campaign:

Homefront: The Revolution is this team’s most ambitious project yet. In addition to our epic 30-plus hour single-player campaign, we expect to launch Resistance Mode with 12 Missions, packed with re-playability, and hope to release another 20 Missions within the first year. To ensure our community can always play together, all Resistance Mode Missions will be free to download.

This is fantastic news for single player gamers and offers superb value-for-money. Homefront: The Revolution is scheduled for release on May 17 in North America and May 20 in other territories. Please note, this release date applies to all platforms including Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Quantum Break Rated For PC in Brazil

Remedy Entertainment is a legendary development studio best known for the Max Payne series and wowed survival horror fans with the release of Alan Wake. Originally, Alan Wake launched as an exclusive Xbox 360 title, and eventually made its way onto the PC platform. The long wait was worth it though due to the impressive array of graphical enhancements and good optimization. Back in November, the company’s co-founder, Sam Lake commented about Quantum Break’s current exclusivity and hoped it would eventually end up on the PC platform.

In an interesting twist, the Brazil Advisory Rating Board has rated Quantum Break for PC in addition to the Xbox One version. Clearly, this doesn’t mean the game is suddenly going launch on PC but it raises hopes about a PC version being considered. Perhaps, Microsoft is going to adopt a similar approach to Rise of the Tomb Raider and keep the game a console exclusive for some time while offering a PC release fairly quickly. I’d love to see Quantum Break on PC and I’m sure this sentiment is shared by the majority of PC gamers. Sadly, there are some Xbox One owners out there yearning for every exclusive to remain only on the Xbox One. I really do not understand this mindset, and it’s purely an act of selfishness to justify their purchase.

Given the success of Alan Wake on PC, it makes sense to launch Quantum Break in a similar fashion. Although, I’m hoping it doesn’t take as long. The Xbox One’s current market position is quite weak and a major disappointment for Microsoft. As the situation continues, they might become more open to the PC platform and release titles simultaneously. Although, this is a rather optimistic viewpoint. Whatever the case, it looks likely that Quantum Break will arrive on PC but there’s no indication when this will happen.

Top 10 PC Games Revenue Destroys Consoles During 2015

The demise of PC gaming and its impending doom is a common misnomer which doesn’t reflect how well the platform is doing financially and in terms of total players. For example, earlier this month Steam managed to hit an astonishing figure of 12 million concurrent users. According to a NeoGAF thread, the most played title during the peak period was Dota 2, with 940,373 concurrent players. New research from SuperData has tracked the total revenue by platform and makes for some very interesting reading. As you can see, the top 10 console revenue results pale in comparison to the PC and exemplifies how profitable the platform is. Unbelievably, League of Legends managed to amass $1,628 million during 2015, which is more than four times the amount from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Not only that, the top PC results actually outperformed the mobile sector, which is a surprise given the financial benefits via microtransactions. So what do these numbers actually mean? While the console market is still more popular, it’s not as financially successful and PC gaming revenues continue to rise at an impressive rate. The yearly research explains:

“Despite a heavy industry focus on mobile gaming, the combined earnings of digital PC games for the top titles came in higher, totaling $6.3B in sales compared to $6.18B for mobile. PC-based gaming–consisting of free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, social games and PC downloadable games–earns over $32 billion annually, well above the $25.1 billion generated by mobile games. Three of the year’s top five digital PC games (Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3) were released in 2015, indicating that PC gamers have made significant progress transitioning to purchasing games digitally.”

Clearly, the modern gaming scene has changed substantially and the PC is a very profitable platform. Furthermore, this is down to an increased player base which illustrates how promising the future is for PC gaming as a leading platform.

Ubisoft Massive Proclaims: “PC Is Incredibly Important To Us”

Ubisoft is guilty of making disparaging comments about the PC platform including remarks which brandish the audience as pirates. Not only that, Ubisoft has consistently treated the PC as an afterthought and released games in a buggy, unoptimized state. As a result, the PC community is very suspicious of any Ubisoft release and wary that the game might not live up to their marketing prowess. However, early reports indicate The Division is prioritizing the PC version and implementing multi-GPU support, HBAO+, an uncapped framerate and high resolution monitors. Additionally, Creative Director Magnus Jansén released the following statement to Rock, Paper, Shotgun on The Division and outlined the importance of the PC platform:

“PC is incredibly important to us. There are plenty of incentives to do a good PC version. Personally it’s important – a I play on PC whenever I can and I want the thing they play at home to be the best possible version. That is not to be underestimated as a driving force. Secondly, both of the studios, Massive and Red Storm started out on PC so it’s a matter of pride, or heritage and pedigree if you will. We feel kind of ashamed if we don’t do the PC version really well. It really is something that we care about.”

“We’re a very technical studio as well. Sweden is a very technical country – we’re good at infrastructure and design, and a lot of our staff come from the old demoscene as well. There’s a lot of that heritage in the Swedish dev community and that is true here at Massive as well. It comes very natural to us. The engine, Snowdrop, enables the artists to do all of that great UI work and makes it relatively easy to expose all of those options on PC.”

Clearly, the developer seems very passionate towards the PC, and it’s great to see. However, the proof will be when the game actually comes out and we hear reports from users on a wide range of hardware configurations. I’m cautiously optimistic, as surely they wouldn’t praise the platform so much if the game has performance related problems.

315,000 Game Consoles Were Sold in The UK During Black Friday

The UK’s Black Friday shopping spree resulted in a number of fairly decent promotions with the current generation consoles being a popular choice for Christmas presents. According to veteran games industry website MCV, retailers revealed a total of 315,000 units were sold during the Black Friday period. Please note, the term Black Friday doesn’t actually refer to one date, and sales began way in advance. Nevertheless, this is a very impressive number and showcases the popularity of console gaming in 2015. Additionally, the PlayStation 4 was the best-selling console during Black Friday with approximately 139,000 units sold while the Xbox One shifted almost 134,000 units. This is a pretty good result for Microsoft considering their terrible Xbox One reveal and large number of customers defecting to Sony.

On the other hand, the Xbox One was discounted by a fairly decent margin with some excellent bundle deals. For example, one particular bundle includes a 500GB console, Ori and the Blind Forest’ & ‘Rare Replay’ downloads for £229.99. This is still cheaper than a basic PS4 console on its own. Clearly, Microsoft needs to try to shift units through cheaper deals, while the PlayStation 4 doesn’t really need help to report good sales figures. Overall, there was a huge increase in console sales compared to last year’s Black Friday event. MCV reported:

“PS4 sales are up 28.6 per cent over last year’s Black Friday, while Xbox One sales are up 23.3 per cent.”

Personally, I was very disappointed with the Black Friday sale and retailers didn’t really offer anything spectacular. Strangely enough, the best deals came from Amazon France, and Amazon Germany. Importing a console from these regions while exploiting the current currency conversion allowed for some breathtaking deals! Also, due to EU law, there’s no import duty, for anything sold throughout EU territories.

DiRT Rally Rated For PlayStation 4 And Xbox One in Taiwan

The DIRT franchise progressively moved away from traditional rallying and began to incorporate Gymkhana events. Furthermore, Codemasters received a great deal of criticism for the blatant vehicle DLC in DIRT 3 which tried to sell additional content during the car selection screen. Clearly, the studio’s management decided to target the American market, and widen DIRT 3’s appeal. The worst title in the series by a significant margin is DIRT Showdown. This was a feeble attempt to replicate the chaotic driving style from Flatout Ultimate Carnage and shouldn’t have been released with the DIRT name. In recent years, Codemasters have disappointed racing enthusiasts on a regular basis which raised questions about their long-term future.

Undoubtedly, the studio dropped its simulation roots and made the series more friendly to newcomers. However, from absolutely nowhere, Codemasters unveiled DIRT Rally which I honestly believe is their best creation in the last decade. Despite launching in early access, DIRT Rally quickly gained a reputation among PC gamers for being a very difficult but rewarding experience. Unlike its predecessor, DIRT Rally focuses on time trial contests and has an impressive rallycross mode. On another note, damage transfers over between stages and helps you to gradually improve.

Codemasters initially launched the game as a PC exclusive which makes sense given the early development stage and simulation features. Console players generally don’t have many real simulators to choose from with Project CARS being the main exception. While some people refer to Forza or Gran Turismo as a similar, it really isn’t in the grand scheme of things. Whatever the case, a listing for DIRT Rally on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has appeared in Taiwan. Here we can see the actual listing including platform, publisher and game title:

https://twitter.com/lifelower/status/671855736318590976/photo/1

This is very exciting news for the console market and I cannot wait to see how DIRT Rally performs on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s certainly one of the best racing games I’ve played and I really hope this listing turns out to be correct.

Nicalis Founder Claims The Wii U Isn’t Much More Powerful Than The PlayStation Vita

Since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo’s consoles haven’t been the most powerful systems on the market. However, in the wider scheme of things, this doesn’t necessarily matter given Nintendo’s incredible line-up of first-party exclusives. Even the Wii had a great selection of hidden gems, and iconic classics such as The Last Story. On another note, it’s easy to forget the Nintendo Gamecube is technically more powerful than Sony’s PlayStation 2.

Clearly, the Wii U is underpowered which resulted in a complete lack of third-party support. Arguably, this impacted on the system’s sales figures and made the console perform extremely poorly. On the other hand, Wii U owners are generally very happy with the console and purchased it for Nintendo’s core line-up. According to Tyrone Rodriguez, founder of Nicalis, the Wii U is only slightly more powerful than the PlayStation Vita:

This isn’t a shocking revelation given the Wii U’s fairly mediocre technical specification. To reiterate, this doesn’t really matter providing Nintendo’s core software line-up is strong. While the Wii U is lacking in games, the titles on the system are overwhelmingly fantastic from Bayonetta 2 to Mario Kart 8. It’s all well and good having a good specification, but on consoles, the software line-up is vital.

Currently, Rodriguez is working on the Binding of Issac: Rebirth for current generation consoles and struggling due to technical limitations:

Honestly, this is just another example of a developer making public outbursts on social media. While his point has some validity, the manner in which he’s voiced this opinion is only bound to cause unnecessary drama. Furthermore, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a Wii U exclusive which contains a map larger than Skyrim, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 combined! This really puts Rodriguez’s comments into perspective and outlines the importance of software optimization. While he might be a champion for the PlayStation Vita, Sony has pretty much abandoned first-party support for the system.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Delayed – New Release Date Revealed

Deus Ex is widely perceived as a masterpiece and one of the first major titles to offer various playthrough styles. Its sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War focused on the console market and featured fairly basic mechanics. This was a massive disappointment and didn’t honor the original’s innovative gameplay. On a brighter note, Deus Ex: Human Revolution exceeded people’s expectations and even managed to impress the hardcore demographic. As you might expect, the latest entry entitled Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is gathering a great deal of enthusiasm.

However, Eidos Montreal boss David Anfossi announced the game will not launch until August 2016 in a blog post today which reads:

“We’re confident and proud of the game so far,”

“However, as we are now playing through the game in full we can see that it will require more time in post-production for tuning, iterations and refinement to meet our high standards.”

“We are sorry to disappoint you with this news, and also thank you for all of your support and comments. This game is a huge part of our lives, and we don’t want to compromise on its quality.”

“So please be patient with us a little longer, and thanks as always for your passion and support – through thick and thin. It’s a huge responsibility to work on Deus Ex Mankind Divided – we know, but also a huge privilege. We’re determined to deliver the best game we can.”

While this is a disappointing turn of events, I would rather experience a polished delayed game instead of a rushed and poorly optimized version. Furthermore, with native DirectX 12 functionality, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will provide an indication into the performance gains using an optimized API.

EA Doesn’t Want to “Nickel And Dime” Their Customers Via Microtransactions

EA has an atrocious reputation among the gaming community and often ridiculed for their obsession with DLC, microtransactions and pre-order exclusives. This viewpoint isn’t unwarranted when you take into account EA’s anti-consumer decision-making and treating the customer like a cash-cow. While other publishers implement similar strategies, EA is usually the main target of people’s hostility. Some critics have argued, EA’s blatant use of premium extra content will hurt their sales in the long-term.

During the UBS Global Technology Conference, EA’s Chief Financial Operator, Blake Jorgensen said:

“I do think there’s a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they’re getting nickle and dimed all the time. And a lot of mobile games don’t allow you to have fun unless you’ve paid for it,”

“So we’re looking at new models of ways to try to alleviate some of that fatigue that’s going on. Some of those might come in the form of subscription-style, but some of them might simply come in different ways to play games over time so you don’t feel like you’re always getting nickel and dimed.”

“It could a subscription, a subscription that has extra content as part of it, or a sole subscription, or it could be simply an upfront payment to a game that has extra content coming over time,”  

“What we want to do is give the consumer a great value for their money and keep them deeply engaged in something they love to do.”

“The fundamental way that we as an organization think about [microtransactions and subscriptions] is all around engagement,”

“How do we engage the consumer as long as possible? In the old days, people played Madden for a few months and then stopped playing. When the Super Bowl finished, they were completely gone. Today, with Ultimate Team, they engage for 12 months, all the way up until the time you start playing a new season.”

Jorgensen’s comments come across as a PR exercise trying to alleviate concerns about Star Wars Battlefront’s DLC model. Furthermore, he’s certainly correct about gamer fatigue and users becoming sick of paid content just after a game’s launch window. Despite this, EA is part of the problem and consistently releases digital deluxe editions at absurd prices. Additionally, they have to take responsibility for implementing microtransactions in $60 titles. I realistically cannot see EA’s reputation changing unless they end anti-consumer measures. This isn’t going to happen anytime soon, due to the profit margins from microtransactions.

Do you purchase season passes?

IGN Video About PC Gaming Shows You Can’t Spell Ignorant Without IGN

Gaming journalism is possibly one of the most distrusted professions and there’s a great deal of scrutiny surrounding critical scores. This is expected though as people are very passionate and knowledgeable about their favourite game franchise. Additionally, becoming a professional gaming journalist is a dream for many people and it can be frustrating to see hired individuals showing a complete lack of knowledge. IGN’s readership is absolutely massive, but also known for inconsistent reviews scores, and poor standards of writing.

Recently, during a round-table discussion, one journalist claimed PC gaming didn’t have any major recording software and lacked in this department compared to the Xbox One. This is laughable as prior to the latest consoles, recording footage on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 required a dedicated piece of hardware. In contrast to this, the PC has a huge array of software including XSplit, Fraps, Open Broadcast Software, MSI Afterburner, Shadowplay, Dxtory and more! Once again IGN’s complete incompetence surrounding the PC gaming industry and hardware defies belief.

The journalist in question, Sean Finnegan, attempted to defend his comments and said:

This response doesn’t evoke a sense of confidence and exemplifies IGN’s atrocious journalistic standards. To be fair, mistakes can happen, but this is a simple concept and doesn’t require years of industry experience to be aware of. Windows 10 now integrates a capture feature to make sharing footage incredibly easy. It’s no wonder gaming audiences around the world distrust journalists. Without sounding too harsh, it makes me question how someone could attain such an important job position while spouting rubbish. Finnegan’s remarks are akin to something you would hear from a devout Xbox fanatic.

As modern media changes, traditional print outlets are being closed down. Furthermore, IGN is becoming a laughing stock among a certain core demographic and these ignorant comments won’t help matters.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Delayed to May 2016

Mirror’s Edge revolves around intense parkour gameplay which provides a tense, enthralling experience. Instead of relying on weaponry, you have to evade enemies and quickly scale buildings. The game rightfully received critical acclaim for being completely unique and it holds up remarkably well. After an agonizing wait, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was finally announced. Although there were some concerns about the parkour element being diluted to allow for more combat.

Today, an official statement has been released by Senior Producer, Sara Jansson about the game’s release date which reads:

“Years ago, we set out an ambitious vision for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Achieving that vision and delivering the best possible experience is equally inspiring and challenging. And it takes time. We set out to create a vast city to explore, full of stunning vistas, majestic skyscrapers, and mysterious tunnels. We’re building the most immersive action-adventure game with fluid movement and combat in first person. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will be an all-new playground with a deeper and more engaging story – and we want to accomplish all these goals to the highest quality possible.

So we’ve made the decision to bring Mirror’s Edge to the world starting May 24, 2016. We will use these few extra months to make sure that when you step into the massive City of Glass and experience the rise of Faith, it’s as entertaining, impressive, and memorable as it can be.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has received an incredible response from fans around the world over the past months. You’ve been eager to see the return of Faith and the unique style and gameplay that only Mirror’s Edge can create. Witnessing your positive reactions has been amazing motivation for me and the rest of our passionate team at DICE.

Thank you again for your patience and support. Keep the Faith.”

While the news is a little bit disappointing, i’d prefer the final product to be optimized, visually stunning and a wonderful single-player experience. If this means waiting until May 2016, then I’m sure the delay will be a worthwhile sacrifice.

SEGA Could Re-Release Shenmue I And II

SEGA has been sorely neglecting the Shenmue franchise for over a decade despite the passionate pleas of its fanbase. One could argue it was down the soaring costs of Shenmue and financial risk. However, the series desperately deserved a final chapter to finish the story and remaster of the original classics. The term genius can be applied too loosely in modern society, but Yu Suzuki is a genius of game design.

Thankfully, the advent of crowdfunding helped Suzuki find a platform to produce Shenmue 3 and ask fans for help with the development costs. Initially, the project was a resounding success but the rate of financial payment reduced quite rapidly. This caused some concerns as critics believed the raised amount wouldn’t cover the costs to produce an authentic Shenmue experience.

Whatever the case, it seems Shenmue 3 has multiple sources of revenue and it’s finally happening after all these years! Up to this point, SEGA has remained fairly distant but it seems like they are more open to revisiting the series and possibly releasing a HD remaster. SEGA Europe’s marketing director Jon Rooke told Marketing Week:

“Yes, we want to innovate and back smarthphones and virtual reality but our key purpose is to go back to what the brand used to stand for,” 

“I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy,”

“Over the next few years, we want to use engaging content and marketing to remind the public why they fell in love with Sega in the first place.”

Would you buy Shenmue I and II if a remaster came to PC?