Gaming News - Page 132
Nintendo expects to sell less Switch games and hardware this fiscal year, lowering total earnings throughout the year. This could telegraph lower Switch exclusives.
It's possible Nintendo's rumored Mario remasters will be the only major first-party Switch games launched this fiscal year. The company just reported stellar FY2020 earnings thanks to major first-party sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokemon: Sword and Shield, both of which surged software sales by 42% . The Switch Lite's strong 6.19 million start also helped push Switch hardware sales to 21.03 million fro the year.
This momentum won't continue for this year--at least Nintendo doesn't think so. For this fiscal year, FY2021, Nintendo laid out conservative forecasts. The company expects net revenues to drop by 8.3% to $11.24 billion, operating income to dip by almost 15% to $2.81 billion, and total profits to plummet by 22% to $1.874 billion.
The new Assassin's Creed Valhalla trailer was absolutely amazing, but there's just one issue: It wasn't really representative of the Xbox Series X gameplay experience. Ubisoft says actual gameplay is coming soon, though.
The latest Inside Xbox show felt rushed and lacked the kind of next-gen magic we were expecting. But we can't fault Xbox too hard, especially with the coronavirus pandemic going on right now. Still, though, it might be too soon to get excited about third-party games on next-gen, especially when we don't see actual gameplay footage from big games like AC: Valhalla. We were hyped quite a bit and did our fair share of hype contribution for Inside Xbox...and it just didn't live up to expectations.
That'll change soon enough. Valhalla's creative director Ashraf Ismail assures gamers that this is just the beginning. Ubisoft is currently executing a huge marketing campaign and a lot more Valhalla content, gameplay, and features will be revealed in the coming months, likely during Ubisoft's new special digital showcase.
id recently teased a look at Doom Eternal's first major campaign expansion, revealing two locales: Urdak, aka Heaven, and what appears to be Earth.
In Doom Eternal's campaign, we pretty much destroyed Heaven. Not only did we kill its second-in-command archangel (Khan Makyr), we pretty much wrecked Urdak, the celestial capital of the above-world. Doom Slayer left so many damn bodies in his wake of destruction, both angelic and demonic alike. Now he's back for more.
The first expansion will take us back to Urdak for more chaos. The sky-city sure has changed since we saw it last, though. Urdak used to be brilliantly-lit and glowing with a kind of wonder. Now it has all the appeal of a haunted house and is probably filled with ghosts and other horrors.
What would pockets of humanity like Chinatown look like on faraway alien worlds? Gamer and skilled builder THInterloper answers the question with this amazing custom No Man's Sky base.
No Man's Sky has a thriving base-building community. Gamers come together to share their custom creations, offering a more colorful sci-fi vibrance than something like Minecraft or Fallout 4. Many creations, like THInterloper's Chinatown complex, are quite elaborate and capture the neon-lit signs, plentiful eateries, and stores of the real-life square in SoHo. We got in touch with the builder to ask a few questions.
The base was made in Euclid, the game's first starting galaxy, and took two weeks on and off--or about 40 hours--to make. That's pretty impressive. I've spent a lot longer in Fallout 4's base building and my stuff never turned out like this. The build was made possible due to some clever glitches and tricks, which gives creators a lot more freedom.
Nintendo's handheld-only Switch Lite is a huge success right out of the gate, and came close to the original Switch console's massive 2017 debut.
While combing over Nintendo's recent earnings report, I found something interesting: The Switch Lite has sold 6.19 million units in its first six months on the market. But how much is that really? To put things in context, I compared the Switch Lite's figures up against the original Switch's 6-month sales in 2017. The results speak for themselves.
The Switch sold 7.65 million units in its first 6 months on sale, just 1.44 million units higher than the Switch Lite. The cheaper $199 portable shaves off a number of features--no TV docked play, for instance, and a lower-clocked GPU that's locked at 302.7MHz--but the $100 price drop is a huge driver for widespread adoption. The system has been accretive to Nintendo's business. Despite releasing only halfway into the fiscal year, the Switch Lite contributed nearly 30% to the total 21.03 million Switch consoles sold in the FY2020 period.
The Xbox Series X has the flexibility, software, and storage hardware to shrink game sizes...but there's no catch-all solution that will reduce every game. It's up to developers to find that compromise.
Games are getting way, way too big. Warzone is over 100GB, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the same, and even Final Fantasy 7 Remake clocks in at 80GB. The Last of Us II could also be 100GB on two Blu-ray discs. Next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X have the potential to dramatically reduce the size of games through a combination of hardware and software, both of which revolutionize how console data is managed, stored, and processed. Speed is a big part. The console's new ultra-fast 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD can blast compressed data through at 4.8GB/sec to the new SoC-based decompression block, which then rapidly decompresses the data and sends it to the RAM, CPU, and GPU for processing. Once it's decompressed, the SSD can deliver stored uncompressed data at 2.4GB/sec to the rest of the system. The new Velocity Architecture makes this pipeline possible, and Microsoft's new DirectStorage API also reduces CPU overhead by helping load textures through the accelerated pipeline as you play. DirectStorage also lets developer use the SSD as a virtual RAM buffer that prepares assets for the 16GB of GDDR6 shared memory, which then blasts it out to the SoC for processing.
Storage is also mitigated by the SSD itself. Not only will games load and run faster thanks to the optimized storage tech synergy, but they'll be more efficient. But how efficient the game is remains up to developers. Remember that SSD's have no seek times, and developers don't have to load tons of redundant textures and assets onto the SSD. A portion of a game's storage is replicated data and textures, which is no longer necessary. This allows devs to shrink their games right out of the gate.
Capcom plans to start leaning out and trimming the fat from its books with a new digital diet.
Capcom just reported its third straight year of record profits, and digital sales helped spark the milestone. Now that Capcom has had a taste of digital, it wants more. The company confirms it will double-down on digital games in an effort to reduce costs. The plan is simple: Capcom wants to reduce overall expenses by reducing physical media costs. Selling retail games requires manufacturing costs, shipment costs, and warehouse costs--all of which add up fast. Capcom won't stop selling physical games, and retail games won't simply dry up, but it's making a conscious effort to lean into digital.
"One of the reasons for increased profits in the fiscal year under review is the expansion of digital download sales. The Company will continue to accelerate the focus from physical packaged sales to digital sales in step with advances in internet technology and the overall trend of digital transformation."
Capcom just reported its third consecutive year of record profits, raking in a strong $150 million in net income in FY2019.
Although Capcom only released a few games last fiscal year, its total FY2019 earnings have once again beat expectations for the third year running. The Resident Evil maven generated a total of $767.3 million in net sales, down nearly 20% year-over-year. Capcom says this drop was the result of lower packaged sales in the year, which makes sense considering Monster Hunter: World was the only game Capcom released in FY2019. Less games means less purchases in the critical holiday period. Digital sales of key games helped offset the thin slate.
Operating income and total profits both spiked by over 25%, though. Operating income jumped to $214.7 million, up 25.8% YoY, driven by continued strong monetization in Monster Hunter World as well as digital purchases of hits like Resident Evil 2 Remake (remember, RE3 Remake released in April, outside of the fiscal year cutoff period).
Here at TweakTown we've hyped up next-gen consoles quite a bit. With the impressive 8-core Zen 2 CPU specs, high-end RDNA-powered Navi 2 GPUs, ultra-fast PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, it's hard not to get excited. But it could be a while before we see proof of amazing third-party games running on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles.
Today's Inside Xbox event drove one point home for me: Developers aren't ready to show off their major next-gen game innovations just yet. And until they are, it might be harder to get totally excited about next-gen. Every single game shown at the event came with a disclaimer warning consumers that hardware hasn't been finalized, and the footage wasn't actually captured on an Xbox Series X console. "Game and console in development, footage representative of expected Xbox Series X gameplay," reads the disclaimer.
Ubisoft's new Assassin's Creed Valhalla footage stole the show, but like every other game, it was recorded on a devkit or PC hardware that approximates final Xbox Series X specs. The truth is next-gen console hardware production is only just now starting en-masse. Sony and Microsoft will order the chips from AMD in Q2 and start ramping up for the 2020 hardware launch.
Like every other publisher in the games industry, EA is currently ramping up for next-gen with a slate of new games and IPs.
EA is cooking up something special for next-gen. Madden NFL 21 will lead the charge, but Battlefield 6 will be the main spectacle on a newly revamped Frostbite, followed by Dragon Age 4. But there's also lots of new games in the pipeline, including fresh new IPs. This is a big deal for EA, a company that typically makes the bulk of its billions from annualized sports games like FIFA and Madden.
In its recent FY2020 earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson re-confirms new IPs are indeed on the way and that the upcoming slate is more exciting than ever. Bear in mind these new IPs might be wholly-owned titles, and as such, they'll be gateways to live service monetization. That's EA's bread and butter, after all (EA made $2.8 billion from microtransactions last year, or over half of total revenues).