Game Designer Pontus Hammarberg joins Level Designer Christian Berg Double Eleven and Mojang for the 2020 Minecraft Dungeons – Environments Overview trailer recently released giving a further look into the mechanics behind the most unique spin on the Minecraft universe yet. The dungeon crawler / action adventure RPG to be published by Xbox Game Studios got its first gameplay showing at Gamescom 2019 and Microsoft’s X019 event after being announced at a Minecon event beforehand.
Players are able to sign up now for early access but invites will be sent to a random selection of players only. The full game will release in April 2020 for PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PS4.
Not to be outdone by Sony’s PS4 / PS4 Pro flash sale on Amazon, Microsoft has seemingly approved the discount of their most powerful console which houses a significant processing capability beyond that of the PS4 Pro (X has Native 4K, Pro is checkerboard). But it looks like Xbox might have one-upped the PlayStation in this moment of sales while the industry obsesses over next-gen. These bundles include instant access to the Xbox Game Pass titles, and the ability to play 4K HDR Blu Ray movies.
In what is more than likely a limited time deal, Amazon USA is selling the PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB model for $48 off its normal $299 price (16% discount) and the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB model for $100 off the normal price of $399 (25% discount). There are even some PS4 Slim 1TB “Only On PlayStation” Bundle packs available still which come with the console, God of War, The Last of Us, and Horizon Zero Dawn for $249. Considering how infrequently game consoles reduce in price, these are pretty big discounts. There’s even a few units of the PS4 Pro Modern Warfare bundle going for $351 USD giving 12% discount and a free copy of the latest COD.
In Canada, the PS4 Pro 1TB NHL 20 Bundle is going for $448 CAD (10% discount), and the PS4 Slim 1TB “Only On PlayStation” Bundle is going for $344 CAD (9% discount) but is only available through third party sellers, facilitated through Amazon Prime.
We all know next-generation consoles will be expensive to produce, and although they may only rise in cost by $100 USD (from PS4’s $399 to PS5’s expected $499), Sony may also be taking a loss on top of that, meaning its cost to manufacture at launch could be somewhere around $699 per unit. This is a throwback to the old days in which Xbox 360 launched at a $300 loss and PlayStation 3 shocked the world with the $599 price point during US Recession only to reveal the cost to produce started out between $999 to $1099 per unit.
Of course, costs go down over time, but in order to provide the quality product that users expect with PlayStation 5, Sony has taken it upon themselves to aim higher. That strategy was not cheap either. Sony representatives in a recent interview confirmed that the majority of the parts needed for PS5 have all been secured and noted that the cost of each part has exponentially higher than usual rates for launch units, citing such devices as Samsung’s upcoming S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra (LTE and 5G variants), as competitors for parts and production space in the few plants capable of the output PlayStation 5 will require.
Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 2 has kicked off with the version 11.50 update coming through and adding a limited time game mode, Search & Destroy, as part of the Love and War event bringing in some challenges for various cosmetic/in-game rewards as well as the return of the Riley skin pack. But that’s not all that the 11.50 patch has brought to Fortnite. Unreal Engine 4 itself has gone through a major upgrade and completely replaced the physics engine with a new destructible environment system known as the Chaos Engine or Chaos Destruction.
A major issue is currently plaguing Sony’s PlayStation Network. There are fake accounts trying to entice vulnerable users into something nefarious, perhaps downloading malware or giving up their banking information / passwords. The avatars being used are defaults from PSN’s 2007 days when Sony’s first online console gaming network was first being established.
Many may remember the all too familiar tale of how the original PlayStation started out as a project between Nintendo and Sony for which the deal had gone sour. Upon confirmation that Nintendo would not be using Sony’s disc-based video game console design and instead would go on to create the Nintendo 64, Sony took their designs in-house and built their own empire grossing more video game console sales than any other company (as of 2019). Chief among those, the PlayStation 2 is the highest selling game console of all time with over 155 million units (worldwide sell-through).
Traditionally Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have been hesitant or outright defiant when it comes to opportunities to provide cross-play systems allowing players to interact together across multiple platforms. However, the huge success of Fortnite, pressure from Microsoft and Nintendo, and eventually even Activision signing on for the world’s first cross-play multiplatform Call of Duty game, it is now a very real possibility that xCloud could come to Switch and while PS Now is busy in overhaul phase with Sony’s new deal for Microsoft to host and manage its servers, therefore may not be ready to discuss quite yet, Sony doesn’t want to be left out of this new venture.
As the usual transition period between console generations lingers on and investors squirm awaiting the receding tide of lost revenues, EA and Blizzard have had multiple quagmires marring unfruitful attempts as permanent landmarks representing failure and loss of consumer good will through controversies with tone deaf cover stories.
You would be forgiven for not hearing much about Ubisoft during this time period as the majority of their Q4 2019 games lineup was delayed including unannounced titles as well as heavily anticipated Skull & Bones, Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, plus the potentially innovative Watch Dogs Legion (moved from 2019 to a date TBD 2020-2021).
Ubisoft’s CEO and Co-Founder Yves Guillemot provided insights as to how this would affect the company’s profit margins which saw a projected decrease of €430 – €460 million in non-IFRS operating income as well as a downscaled target of €1,450 million in net bookings from the prior expectation of €2,185 million for Q4. The rest of the year isn’t looking particularly profitable either as strategy seems to be rotating to avoid a catastrophic event like what has befallen peer publishing firms EA and Blizzard.
Nostalgia, familiar faces, and recognizable places; the scenes revealed today by Square Enix in the latest Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer are full of them. A soundtrack re-imagined by the original FFVII Composer Nobuo Uematsu, paired with film-like fidelity achieved through the newest iteration of Unreal Engine 4, have brought this game to life like never before. Spoiler Alert, but this is definitely the trailer the world needed to get fully prepared for Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Over the course of such a legendary career as Vince Zampella, we have to keep in mind that external factors are always going on behind-the-scenes which cannot and will never be spoken about directly out loud. This is due to a variety of reasons, among them being contractual obligations, saving face, or even legality in some cases. His name has made the headlines more than once in the gaming industry, and always for the same reason – this is a highly sought after individual with Activision and EA Games fighting over the talent acquisition numerous times over the past few decades!
Recent news has seen Vince go from the co-founder of Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall, Titanfall 2, Apex Legends, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond) to also head of DICE LA which will receive a new name and re-branding soon. Looking closer, it’s clear Vince is also the calling shots at overhauling EA now – and we are expecting to see the success level of the company improve drastically over the next two years.