It’s your video game industry news update for March 15th, 2018 – A celebrity-filled stream of Fortnite sets Twitch viewership records, Microsoft is setting up plans for its biggest E3 ever, and Twitch reveals its own premium monthly free game plan. The video game industry changes every day and your time is important. Let’s get you caught up, starting right now, on Games in Time!
It’s one thing to tell the still-growing story of Fortnite – the long-in-development tower defense commercial failure, which borrowed battle royale elements, turned free to play, and is currently one of the most popular games in the world. But Fortnite’s history just added an epic new chapter, however, due to a recent broadcast on Twitch.
The streamer known as Ninja – who just recently became the first Twitch broadcaster to pass 3 million followers – was able to bring in rapper Drake to his Fortnite gameplay session and Discord voice chat. Following Drake’s Twitter promotion, the view count skyrocketed, which brought in rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster as additional players. By the end of the night, over 607,000 viewers tuned in at once, which was a new Twitch record for concurrent viewers for a single stream, disregarding major esports events.
This follows the announcement that Fortnite will be coming to mobile in the coming months, featuring the same gameplay, as well as cross-play and cross-progression with its console and PC counterparts. Additionally, Fortnite will host a special Celebrity Pro-Am Party Royale match with 50 celebrities and 50 pro gamers during E3 2018.
Microsoft has announced that their E3 2018 plans are their biggest ever, but it’s not exactly what you think. Eagle-eyed game enthusiasts noted a diminished presence from Microsoft on the LA Convention Center floor plan for the show, but this is because Xbox is taking over the aptly-named Microsoft Theater across the street, in the LA Live complex. This is surely to give more space for public attendees, as the theater will host the Microsoft press conference, Xbox FanFest events, and gameplay demo booths. Fun fact – the Microsoft Theater used to be named the Nokia Theatre, which is where Nintendo usually hosted their stage-based E3 press conferences. Inside the convention center, Microsoft’s show floor presence will promote their streaming platform, Mixer. At the end of the day, this means little for those who watch E3 from home, so we’ll see if these big plans mean that there are big game announcements to match.
Those E3 2018 press conference plans are already starting to come together, as Microsoft’s show will be on Sunday, June 10th at 4 PM ET. Bethesda has marked their place for that Sunday as well, but at 9:30 PM ET. Meanwhile, EA has announced that their separate EA Play event is back this year, from June 9th-11th. So, while it’s expected that their keynote will kick things off on that Saturday again, this is still unconfirmed, as are Sony, Ubisoft, and Nintendo’s plans.
Going back to Twitch news, the Amazon-owned game broadcasting site has announced that it will give Twitch Prime members five PC games every month to keep, starting today. The five games in March are Superhot, Oxenfree, Mr. Shifty, Shadow Tactics, and Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation. Highlights from April include SteamWorld Dig 2 and Tales from the Borderlands. A Twitch Prime subscription can be purchased separately, or carried over for free from an already-existing Amazon Prime account. This is surely an attempt to compete with PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold’s monthly free game installments.
- After days, months, and years of leaks, whether on a subway train or in a website’s source code, Shadow of the Tomb Raider has been revealed as the conclusion to the Lara Croft reboot trilogy. A full reveal is coming April 27th and the game launches September 14th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
- The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia has been confirmed as a guest character in Soulcalibur VI. This follows up CD Projekt Red’s speculation that Geralt would make an appearance in another game this year. Soulcalibur VI is still expected to release in 2018.
- Ubisoft has announced that The Crew 2 will launch on June 29th, which means that we’ll still have to hear about it at E3.
- Toys ‘R’ Us will be closing or selling all of its U.S. stores after failing to meet restructuring agreements, following September 2017’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This tragic downfall was precipitated by Toys ‘R’ Us’ parent company saddling the toy store chain with billions of dollars of debt in 2005, thus creating an inability to properly adapt to changing retail markets.
- And finally, here are your recent notable game releases:
- Devil May Cry HD Collection is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC
- The Long Reach is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, and Vita
- Burnout Paradise Remastered comes to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on Friday, March 16th
- Kirby Star Allies comes to Nintendo Switch on Friday, March 16th
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