THE FIVE HEADLINES
#1: Bungie splits Destiny from Activision
Bungie and Activision have announced a partnership split, in which Bungie will retain the rights to the Destiny franchise, as well as publish future iterations of the game. This concludes eight years of what was originally a ten-year publishing agreement. Activision has confirmed that Destiny 2 will remain on their Battle.net service on PC, but that’s no guarantee for future releases. Much like last week’s story with the Second Dinner Marvel game, the Chinese company NetEase has invested $100 million in Bungie to develop a new game on the side.
I’d love to know what you think in ten seconds of video or less on Twitter, but if you want my take, while this is absolutely liberating news for Bungie, the excuses stop here. Now that they are able to develop and publish the game that they want to make, without any corporate tensions, there’s no scapegoating the overlords anymore if it fails. Just consider that while the player base loves Destiny 2: Forsaken, something in the financial numbers meant that Activision was OK with letting Bungie walk and take Destiny with them. Regardless, this will be a fascinating story to follow over the next few years.
#2: Ubisoft chooses Epic over Steam
Ubisoft is the latest company to forgo publishing their biggest PC games digitally on Valve’s Steam, as they have selected the Epic Game Store as their storefront of choice outside of Uplay, beginning with the launch of The Division 2. This is another win for the recently-launched Epic Store, which features an 88/12 revenue split for developers, instead of Steam’s 70/30 ratio. At the end of last year, other publishers took their biggest games elsewhere as well, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on Battle.net and Fallout 76 on the Bethesda Store. If software hemorrhaging moves like this continue, it may force Steam to reconsider their revenue split this year. The Division 2 arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15th.
#3: Battle Royale comes to Red Dead Online
Alongside several important updates to Red Dead Online, “Gun Rush” mode is now playable, as it drops 32 players into an ever-shrinking map to procure weapons on-site and become the last cowboy standing. This shows the continuing strength of the battle royale game format in the industry, but Rockstar’s moving and shooting controls may be a burden for some players. While this is the closest game mode comparison to the Fortnite phenomenon, some players point out the “Make it Count” mode that was available at launch in Red Dead Online. Players in that mode started with and could primarily use a bow and arrow, instead of the variety of options now in Gun Rush.
#4: PS4 passes 90 million units sold
The console market is surely alive and well, as Sony announced sold-through sales figures for the PlayStation 4 and its games, as of the end of 2018. With 91.6 million consoles and 876 million games sold, Sony is the clear winner in this hardware generation. Another figure of note is Marvel’s Spider-Man passing 9 million units sold, as of November 25th, 2018. So as this point in time is noted, make sure to consider how the next generation may play out, with console announcements possibly coming this year. As Microsoft puts stock in subscription services and streaming, while Nintendo banks on the versatility of portability, Sony’s next move is anyone’s guess. Bring it on, 2019.
#5: Resident Evil 2 gets a 1-SHOT, 30-minute demo
Two weeks before its official launch, the remake of Resident Evil 2 has a demo that is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It uses the intriguing tactic of being a one-shot demo, in that players only have 30 minutes to try the game. Outlets are reporting that this is actually the same exact demo that was available to show-goers at E3 2018, which you think would be a more common practice in today’s digital marketplace. The full Resident Evil 2 game is available on January 25th.
GAME AND RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Catherine Classic (OUT NOW – PC)
- Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn (March 8 – 3DS)
- Yoshi’s Crafted World (March 29 – Switch)
- Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster (April 16 – Xbox One, Switch)
- Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (April 23 – Switch)
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (April 30 – Xbox One, Switch)
OUT THIS WEEK
- Onimusha: Warlords (Tuesday, January 15 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode 3: “Broken Toys” (Tuesday, January 15 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
- YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG (Thursday, January 17 – PS4, Switch, PC, Mac)
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Friday, January 18 – PS4, Xbox One)
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (Friday, January 18 – Switch)
Until next time, I’m at @petespeakeasy
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