Square Enix recently published its third quarter earnings report, and things are looking good for the Final Fantasy publisher. Total nine-month net sales are up by 24% year-over-year thanks to strong game sales, but the most interesting tidbit is the rather massive earnings spike the publisher expects to see at the end of the fiscal year. In fact, corporate expects net sales to rocket in just three months time, pushing its net sales to just over $2.2 billion.
In a nine-month period from April to December 2016, Square Enix generated a total of 190 billion yen in net sales, or about $1.68 billion USD. Three of Square Enix's four yearly quarters have passed, leaving the last three-month quarter (Q4 2017) which ends on March 2017. The publisher's forecast for the entire net sales of Fiscal Year 2017 is 250 to 270 billion yen, which is at least approximately 60 billion yen over their current nine-month earnings. The timing is key here: Square Enix will have a three month period from Jan. 1 to Mar. 31 to generate that 60 billion yen, or about $533.4 million dollars.
What could be responsible for this massive spike? Square Enix obviously has tons of confidence in their current and future lineup, so I decided to take a gander at Square Enix's confirmed 2017 software lineup calendar for games that release during the Q4 timeline. I found six games: KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, RIDE 2, I Am Setsuna (Nintendo Switch), NieR: Automata (PS4), Kingdom Hearts 1.5 & 2.5 HD ReMIX (PS4), and the newly released Mobius Final Fantasy. Two of these (NieR and Kingdom Hearts) are heavy-hitters. Other releases like Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, Dragon Quest Heroes II, and Final Fantasy XII Zodiac Age will release past the cut-off point. So might we be able to expect a surprise release?
Final Fantasy XV took quite some time to develop and represented a big investment on Square Enix's part. We don't know exactly how much the publisher spent to make the game, nor do we have official details on the game's regional sales figures--there's been speculation that it didn't meet its sales projections in Japan despite strong interest in the West. What we do know for sure, however, is that the game isn't being sold at a loss.
Hajime Tabata, who oversaw Final Fantasy XV's development, recently told DualShockers' Giuseppe Nelva that the experimental action RPG recouped Square Enix's full investment cost in its first day. In lieu of official figures, Square Enix confirmed Final Fantasy XV shipped 6 million digital and physical units across the globe to become the fastest-selling game in the entire franchise.
Square Enix has also just announced its Q3 2017 earnings so we can get a better picture on how its major flagship games like Final Fantasy XV performed during the quarter. The prepared slides show Square Enix games sold a lot better in North America and Europe than in Japan; combined digital and disc sales from April to December hit 20 million in the West and only 3.61 million in Japan and weaker still in Asia.
Bethesda have released their new High Resolution Texture Pack for Fallout 4, which weighs in at a damn hefty 54.7GB - but there are some people, myself included, who can't download it.
Fallout 4's own DLC tab doesn't appear for me, but those with mods installed have no issues. If you're having a problem finding, or being able to download the 54GB high-res texture package, here's a trick that should help you.
Right click 'Fallout 4' in your game library, and click 'View Downloadable Content'.
You should see the High Resolution Texture Pack in the menu, with the checkbox - untick it, close the DLC tab. Reopen the DLC tab, and tick it again - and you should begin downloading the Fallout 4 High Resolution Texture Pack.
Bethesda has confirmed that the upcoming High Resolution Texture Pack for Fallout 4 will be a massive 58GB, and is now available to download on Steam.
The developer explains the new patch as: "Experience the wasteland like you've never seen it before with the Fallout 4 High-Resolution Texture Pack! From the blasted buildings of Lexington to the shores of Boston Harbor and beyond, every location is enhanced with ultra-deluxe detail".
We reported on the High Resolution Texture Pack a week ago now, as the developer had listed an AMD Radeon RX 490 8GB as a recommended GPU - something that was quickly fixed.
Cloud Imperium Games will have regional servers for Star Citizen available earlier than previously expected, with Chris Roberts saying that regional servers will be moved up into Alpha 2.6.1 patch.
The new regional servers will let Star Citizen players choose a server that is in their geographic location, with servers for the US, Europe, and Australia. Roberts explained: "Once these are running, we'll be able to run more tests to assess whether more locations will be needed".
Star Citizen's upcoming Alpha 2.6.1 patch will bring a few things, with Roberts saying that it's "progressing nicely". He added: "There's still some UI work to complete and stability issues to iron out, but, as you can see in our updated production schedule report, we're almost ready to get this latest patch into the players' hands".
For Honor enjoyed a closed beta a few days ago, and now Ubisoft are ramping up towards the open beta, before the full game is released on February 14. Now, we have a new trailer to enjoy: check it out below.
The new 'In the Battle' video from Ubisoft throws you into the middle of a three-way battle between the factions in For Honor. The motion captured 360-degree battle looks amazing, with sheer madness happening on screen. Ubisoft has started pre-loading the For Honor open beta has begun, with the open beta taking place between February 9-12.
For Honor will feature 12 playable fully customizable fighters, a single-player campaign, and five multiplayer modes. The game launches on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on February 14.
Square Enix is experimenting to see how high-end PC hardware can push Final Fantasy XV's internal game engine in a series of closed-doors technical demos. This could very well be the foundation for Final Fantasy XV's PC port, which would be a technical feat tailor-made for high-end rigs.
According to reports from DualShockers' Giuseppe Nelva, Square Enix is actively experimenting with powerful NVIDIA GTX 10-series video cards within Final Fantasy XV's beefy Luminous engine. To conduct these tests, Square Enix's Business Division 2 paired dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs together in SLI in the test bed system to see how far the hardware could push Final Fantasy XV's engine's performance and visual fidelity.
Nelva was shown the internal tests during a visit to Square Enix's Tokyo offices and actually saw the test in action: "I will admit that for a moment I couldn't believe my eyes. Vegetation, draw distance, density, detail... Everything on the screen appeared extremely vivid and lifelike, and considering that I'm used to what games look like nowadays, for a moment it was difficult to believe that all that visual glitz was actually running in-engine. It certainly looked like Final Fantasy XV, but pushed to limits of graphical fidelity that I didn't even imagine while playing the game. And yet, there it was, running right in front of my eyes."
Nintendo has released even more info on its new Switch handheld-console hybrid, and now we know the full battery capacity of all the components, including the detachable JoyCon controllers.
According to freshly updated specs from Nintendo, JoyCon controllers each have a 525mAh rechargeable lithium-ion cell battery. The detachable JoyCon controllers have about 20 hours of battery life apiece, and take about 3.5 hours to fully recharge to maximum capacity. The devices are only recharged via Nintendo's unique rail system, so they can only receive power when attached to the Switch console itself or when attached to a JoyCon Charging Grip. Remember that the console's bundled JoyCon Grip will not charge the JoyCons, and the Charging Grip is sold separately. Plus you'll have to pay Nintendo to repair/replace the JoyCons' internal batteries too.
Given the JoyCons feature advanced tech such as HD Rumble haptic feedback, IR motion sensing and acceleromter and gyroscopic tracking, an interesting question arises: will games like ARMS or 1-2 Switch, which use more of the JoyCons features, drain the internal batteries at a faster rate? A quick bit of match sees 525mAh divided by 20 hours to give about 26.26 mAh / hour power drain, and I'd be interested to see if specific games drain the battery faster.
Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid is all about one thing: giving players freedom to play games on a console and a handheld in one device. Major players in the games industry including Microsoft and Sony have taken notice--and even Metal Gear Solid creator Hide Kojima has said the Switch is the "gamer's dream."
As someone who owns a PS4, Xbox One and a PC, I know all to well the frustrations of re-buying multi-platform games. Microsoft has made great strides for consumers by giving free Xbox One copies of Windows 10 games with Play Anywhere, but all-in-all publishers love the idea of you re-buying games on a different platform (look at Rockstar with GTA V). But Nintendo has just disrupted the market with the Switch, and this disruption could trigger a massive change to gaming platforms as a whole.
Speaking with IGN, Hideo Kojima went so far to say the Switch is the gamer's dream, and that it fully realizes his original vision for Transfarring--which ultimately lead to Sony's Remote Play with the PS Vita. "You might be familiar with the fact that for a previous game that I did, we had a specification that we called 'Transfarring' where you could take the saved data from the PS Vita and move it over to the PS3 and back and forth like that. I believe [Switch] is an extension of that idea. The fact you can play something at home and take it outside, this is the gamer's dream. The Switch is an evolution of that."
Based on the cryptic and eerie teaser clips starring Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo Del Toro and Norman Reedus it's easy to think Death Stranding will be some dark alter-reality story with horror themes. But Hideo Kojima says his new creation won't actually be a haunting journey in the darkness of his mind--in fact it'll have a little humor.
Death Stranding might be one of the most unique-looking games I've seen in a long time...but we haven't actually seen any real gameplay footage for it. Alas I'm intrigued, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. According to Hideo Kojima, who's new studio Kojima Productions has found a home at Sony Interactive Entertainment, the main reason for the teasers was to show us something that breaks the mold and makes us think. But don't expect it to be a horror game--it'll be a "different kind of game than we're used to" with action elements thrown into the mix.
"I don't have a dark mindset in particular. Death Stranding is not a horror game. I just wanted to make something that looks very unique, something you haven't seen before, something with a more artistic slant to it. I'm not pursuing a dark aspect to the game," Kojima said in a recent interview with Glixel.