Xbox division head Phil Spencer says Microsoft isn't trying to beat competitors like Sony--it's trying to be the best place for gamers to play and developers to make money. Wait...what now?
Microsoft was utterly smashed in last console generation thanks to the company's E3 2013 blunders: the PS4 completely dominated sales over the original Xbox One. But now that Sony has damaged their brand image with the new 4K-ready PlayStation 4 Pro, the Xbox brand is on a comeback streak, and gamers are starting to seriously consider the Xbox brand again. Microsoft has a bunch of aces of its sleeve this time around, with their new cross-platform initiative that melds Xbox consoles with Windows 10 PCs, Xbox 360 disc-based backward compatibility versus Sony's hideously awkward streaming BC service, explosive sales of the new 4K upscaling Xbox One S, and the new native 4K Project Scorpio system is generating tons of buzz.
But all of these things come secondary to making Xbox the best place for developers to make money and gamers to play, at least according to Phil Spencer: "Developers see [Xbox] as a place where they can deliver their best content, reach the most customers. And while it's not the most sexiest thing to say, make the most money. That's the thing that keeps game development going. I'm listening to them on things like game preview, supporting things like EA Access, and unique business models that publishers and studios are coming up with," Spencer said in an interview with NZ Gamer.
Amazon today announced Twitch Prime, a new initiative that allows Amazon Prime users to get ad-free Twitch streaming for free.
Twitch Prime is included with the annual $99 per year sub as well as the $11 per month Amazon Prime subscription, and also includes monthly freebies like ad-free viewing, games, skins, and add-ons. For example, this month Twitch Prime subscribers will get a new Hearthstone hero, a free indie game, and skins for Paladins and SMITE.
Amazon promises that Twitch Turbo will still be available to those that already have it, but new Turbo subs won't be offered. So if you want the benefits of Twitch Turbo, you'll have to sign up for Amazon Prime to get it. Amazon Prime already has gamer-centric benefits in itself, including 20% off new game pre-orders as well as free Prime shipping on certain games.
NVIDIA has been using Gears of War 4 in its latest marketing, with a free copy of the game for anyone purchasing a GeForce graphics card or GeForce-powered system or notebooks through to October 30.
The company has recently showed off Gears of War fans favorite map, Gridlock, with it being the first total reveal of Gears of War 4's newly imagined Guardian game mode. The new Gridlock mode is explained as:
"Gridlock is a fan favorite map from the original Gears of War that made a return in Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3. This version of Gridlock has a 'Reclaimed Beauty' look, with overgrowing foliage beginning to take over the buildings. The back part of Sniper Tower is slowly being eroded into the sea, while the two towers now have a Hotel and Café look to differentiate the environment. The classic 'Gridlock bell' in the tower is back as well".
The new "Guardian" game mode, sounds like a nice change for Gears fans:
"Guardian gameplay mode is a returning fan favorite mode from Gears of War 2 with the goal of keeping your leader alive while assassinating the enemy leader. New for Gears of War 4, leaders now have a 'Gold Dipped' look to make them stand out more to players. In this mode, killing the leader prevents any more respawns for their team, turns into one life left elimination. In a nod to classic gameplay, the Boomshot still spawns at the Station Arch, and the Longshot is still up in the Sniper tower".
Twitchcon today yields three new games from an unlikely source: Amazon. The online retail and other stuff company's newish gaming division is currently working on a unique sports title, a sandbox MMO, and a survival MMO.
Breakaway is the sports title and features the basic 'put the ball in the hole' premise, except players can fight each other, place structures, and use various abilities and items along the way. As well, the ball will behave differently depending how long you hold it. Amazon is giving it the eSports push, too -- it will be exciting to see if it takes hold or not.
The expectations Microsoft had for the Xbox One seem to be impossibly high, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer saying that they had hoped for 200 million sales of the [at the time] next-gen Xbox One.
Stevivor recently spoke with Spencer, where he said: "The goal that the team had was to figure out how could we sell 200 million game consoles. We've never seen a console sell that many units. The biggest individual console, the PS2, did 120 million or something like that. The approach the team took was people are moving to OTT Video Services [over-the-top, like Netflix and Stan] and television's getting disrupted--and if we could build a console that could be at the center of this transition and really embrace not only people playing video games, but also people with the changing habits in television, you really take the console market and the gaming market and you expand it potentially".
Microsoft had an original vision for what would become the Xbox One, where it was to "start up building TV content as a first-party capability", said Spencer. Xbox Entertainment Studios was a division Microsoft created for TV and film content on the Xbox One, but once Spencer replaced Don Mattrick - who left for Zynga, he repositioned the Xbox brand with gaming, and Xbox Entertainment Studios was closed.
Battlefield 1 is my most anticipated game of 2016, but my obsession of Overwatch will have to stop... at least for a few days. EA has released some new screenshots of the single-player campaign for Battlefield 1, days after that awesome new trailer.
DICE has also detailed each of Battlefield 1's new unique War Stories campaign structure, with each having an anthology-style setup with different perspectives and nations throughout the war. Sadly there's only five campaign missions--our original estimates put it at six.
The five War Stories include:
- Friends in High Places - The allies are losing the war in the air. Britain struggles to compete with the German aces and the average lifetime of a combat pilot is 17 days. You must face these bleak odds and take to the skies for a noble fight over the western front. Intense dogfights, unexpected encounters, and a story of friendship await you.
- Nothing is Written - In the Middle East deserts, Arab tribes rebel against the oppression of the Ottoman Empire. The Empire's devastating artillery engage rebel forces wielding rifles from horseback. As a Bedouin warrior working alongside the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, you must find a way to take on the technologically superior enemy and destroy a deadly railgun.
- Through Mud and Blood - In the autumn of 1918, British forces prepare for a mass assault on the town of Cambrai, France. With tank support, Allied Command believes a breakthrough is a certainty. But the Mark V tank has one major flaw: it is not reliable. Join a dysfunctional tank crew who battle their way behind enemy lines as they learn to work together.
- Avanti Savoia - Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire are deadlocked among the Alps. Braced by snow-capped mountains, neither side can find a way to dislodge their enemy. Meanwhile, the Italian mountaineer regiment Arditi prepares an unorthodox assault. Don your Arditi armor and head up a mountainside as Italian and Austrian forces clash over a strategic fort.
- The Runner - The British Empire intends to open a new front to the war with an unprecedented naval invasion of the Ottoman homeland. The ships gathered for the Gallipoli Landings - the D-Day of World War 1 - carry over half a million men. As an Anzac runner you'll witness the heat of epic bombardments and a beach landing, as well as covert deliveries of urgent life-or-death messages across the frontline.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is looking better and better as new screenshots are released, but the latest ones are the best ones yet. The developer also announced its new distribution plans, with the news of Deep Silver stepping up and joining Koch Media to distribute Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Koch Media has been, and will continue to handle the worldwide distribution channels and main publishing of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, while developer Warhorse Studios is "solely responsible for worldwide PC digital distribution", leaving Deep Silver to handle the physical PC versions of the game.
Warhorse Studios said: "we stand behind the vision of Kingdom Come: Deliverance and retain freedom in the development of our game. We will keep our communication as open and honest as we did from day one of our Kickstarter campaign".
Kingdom Come: Deliverance for 2017 on the PS4, Xbox One and PC.
When the news broke that there was movement on a Portal movie two years ago now, gaming fans began letting themselves quietly excited, and now that excitement ramps up with J.J. Abrams teasing there will be a Portal announcement "fairly soon".
When speaking with IGN at the red carpet premiere of Westworld, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director said: "We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we're very active, I'm hoping that there will be a 'Portal' announcement fairly soon". IGN asked if the upcoming Portal movie would be a continuation of the world in the game on the PC, with Abrams not wanting to spoil anything, he said that he's working with writers who understand and love the world of Portal, and will "get" the game and storylines.
Abrams continued: "We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom...once you said you're doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity you start to find people who are rabid about these things. As someone who loves playing Half Life and Portal, what's the movie of this, it's incredible when you talk to someone who just 'gets' it, it's like, oh my god, it's really the seed for this incredible tree you're growing".
As for when we'll hear about, Abrams said: "I look forward to being able to talk about it and announce who's working on it".
EA has released a new story trailer for Titanfall 2, and I've got to admit - as only played the original Titanfall for a few minutes, the new trailer looks incredible. I wish there was a full CG movie for Titanfall, that would be great - but anyway, check out the trailer:
Titanfall 2 launches on October 28, so we don't have much longer to wait.
So after a bunch of our readers and Facebook fans told me to get Forza Horizon 3 for testing my extensive range of PC hardware, and just finding the damn game in my library after I purchased it was more hassles than I've had since the DOS days of PC gaming.
Seriously. Once you find the damn game, it takes so long to load after you're logged into, and approving 50 different accounts. This is how long it takes to load into Forza Horizon 3, on a Core i7-6700K, 16GB of G.Skill 4000MHz DDR4 RAM, and a super-fast Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe-based M.2 SSD. Ridiculous.
It throws up a message to let me know my drivers aren't the latest set, too.
Then it launches like a 90s game on the PC, where I almost expected 320x240 to be displayed with a full-motion video and full interlaced video goodness.