THE FIVE HEADLINES
#1: Nintendo is reportedly considering Switch Lite
The Japanese publication Nikkei is reporting that Nintendo could planning a revision to Switch for this year that is smaller and more affordable. This follows a report last October from the Wall Street Journal that a 2019 revision would have Switch be “brighter, thinner, and more energy-efficient.” The Nikkei article also talks about how Nintendo Switch Online will be “strengthened with new services that target the system’s core audience.” Whenever a Switch revision announcement arrives, it won’t be too surprising at this point, considering Nintendo has been wanting to pivot from Switch as a one-per-home system, to a one-per-person device. This marketing transition from console-first to handheld-first would make sense, as 3DS support wanes and a new generation of Pokémon is expected to arrive this year on Switch.
This report also comes in conjunction with Nintendo’s latest financial report, where Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fastest-selling Nintendo console game of all time, surpassing New Super Mario Bros. Wii with 12.08 million copies sold in 23 days.
#2: February 2019’s free game deals
The free game deals for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold subscribers have been revealed for February 2019. Sony is offering up For Honor and Hitman: The Complete First Season on PS4, along with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on PS3, Divekick on PS3 & Vita cross-buy, as well as Gunhouse and Rogue Aces on Vita & PS4 cross-buy. This is the last month that PS3 and Vita games will be offered for free through this service, as it was announced a year ago. Going forward, you will still be able to download the games that you have collected over the years in your library.
Microsoft’s game deals include Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon throughout February on Xbox One, as well as Super Bomberman R from February 16th to March 15th on Xbox One. Assassin’s Creed Rogue on Xbox 360 is available in the first half of February and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Xbox 360 is available for the second half. Both of these games are also playable on Xbox One, though backwards compatibility.
#3: Metro takes its Exodus from Steam
4A Games’ Metro Exodus launches on February 15th, but its publisher Deep Silver announced that it will only be available on the Epic Games Store at launch. Interestingly, in the battle of developer cut splits that rage between Steam and Epic, Metro Exodus will launch on Epic for $50 instead of $60, though the UK price remains at £50. While this exclusivity only lasts for a year, it’s another win in Epic’s quest to be taken seriously regardless of tactics, much like their recent Ubisoft partnership with The Division 2 and future titles. Fortunately for customers, all preorders already purchased through Steam will be honored for players there. At the end of the day, it’s just another moment in the historic challenge of the world’s biggest digital PC game storefront.
#4: Quantic Dream goes multiplatform with investment
Quantic Dream – the David Cage-led team behind Heavy Rain, Detroit: Become Human, and other narrative adventures – has received funding the Chinese giant NetEase for the development and creation of next-generation games. While the monetary amount was not disclosed, this is similar to NetEase’s $100 million investment in Bungie for a new franchise outside of Destiny. The biggest impact from this news is that Sony Interactive Entertainment has lost a partner that produced exclusive software for the PlayStation platform. Does Sony respond by acquiring developers for their Worldwide Studios team? It’s anyone’s guess. At the very least, Quantic Dream seems to have their future secured to make their games for multiple platforms, for the time being.
#5: The Wii Shop shuts down
The Wii Shop has officially gone offline, 10 months after players could no longer add points for purchasing digital Nintendo games on the older service. Now, players on Wii can no longer buy games with existing points, re-download digital titles, or transfer content from a Wii to Wii U. Critics do have a point when it comes to the lifespan of digital content, services, and licenses, but it’s important to keep in mind just how outdated this platform was for Nintendo. Today, players have the eShop for Switch, 3DS, and Wii U, as well as entirely new Nintendo Network accounts that are disconnected from the days of Wii and its store points. Regardless, it’s the end of an era and we’ll never forget that classic shop tune.
GAME AND RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Apex Legends (February 4 – TBD)
- Darksiders Warmastered Edition (April 2 – Switch)
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (June 4 – 3DS)
- Dr. Mario World (Early Summer 2019 – Mobile)
- Mario Kart Tour (DELAY – Summer 2019 – Mobile)
OUT THIS WEEK
- Etrian Odyssey Nexus (Tuesday, February 5 – 3DS)
- Evoland Legendary Edition (Tuesday, February 5 – PS4)
- BlazBlue: Central Fiction (Thursday, February 7 – Switch)
- God Eater 3 (Friday, February 8 – PS4, PC)
- Yo-Kai Watch 3 (Friday, February 8 – 3DS)
- Monster Hunter: World – The Witcher DLC (Friday, February 8 – PS4, Xbox One)
Until next time, I’m at @petespeakeasy
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