Game Releases

An adrenaline-packed week with speed, fights, wars and laughing at it all in an inappropriate way.

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Last week saw the following games hit your screens:
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Gran Turismo: Sport
WWE 2K18
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
Fire Emblem Warriors

Nintendo Updates Switch

Software update 4.0 adds a bunch of new features and functionalities.

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Nintendo’s latest software update went live last week and it’s a big one. The features added may not have given players quite the level of support that they were asking for, but it’s most definitely a step in the right direction and we are happy to see it.

Players can now capture video footage in-game and share it directly to social media.

It’s also now possible to transfer data, such as game saves, from one Switch to another.

There is also improved wireless connectivity and players can now enjoy the use of wireless headphones.

As well as a whole bunch of UI updates including the addition of a news feed and more user icons.

EA shuts Visceral Games

Developers behind Dead Space series and Battlefield: Hardline close doors. Future of Star Wars project takes controversial turn.

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EA has built up somewhat of a reputation in its treatment of the studios it’s acquired, and now Visceral Games have become an example of exactly what can happen.

The team had been working on a Star Wars project for the past four years. Now though, the project is moving to another EA studio amongst plans to take the game in a whole new direction.

In a statement regarding the studios closure and the project’s development, EA Worldwide Studios Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund had this to say. “In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game,”

“It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design….. Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”

This new direction has left many people sceptical towards the development of any future single player games coming under the EA umbrella (as multiplayer, easily-monetised games seem to be their forte now) and now Visceral Games can surely testify.

Activision gains a sketchy patent

Patent granted to Activision, which targets players during online matchmaking in order to push micro-transactions.

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The games publisher’s new technology is set up to make the most money out of the current micro-transaction culture of today’s gaming.

In short, what they have developed is a system that effects online matchmaking in their games, pairing players using basic content with players who have spent money on premium content. Essentially turning players into running and gunning adverts for micro-transactions in games, and promoting a culture of pay to win.

The system also has a targeted marketing element to it. If it picks up that a player is going for a certain play style, sniper for example, guess what content is going to appear first on the list of content available- that shiny new sniper rifle supreme, which will make your life ‘so much easier’.

It’s worth noting that although the patent focuses entirely on first-person-shooters, it has been made clear that such systems could easily be implemented across different genres.

This news has come to light in a particularly turbulent time for gaming micro-transactions as there is a lot of controversy surrounding the subject currently.

Activision have stated that the system has not been implemented in any of their games yet, including Destiny 2. It seems difficult to believe that it won’t appear in future releases however, otherwise let’s face it, why develop it and get it patented in the first place…

UK Government responds to Loot Box Petition

Concluded as not gambling, but matter will be kept under review.

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Talking of micro-transaction controversy, an online petition which received over 12,000 signatures calling for the industry to be regulated under gambling law prompted a response from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Rather unsurprisingly, they came to the same conclusion as investigations by UKIE, PEGI and ESRB, which is that there is no evidence of gambling as players will always receive something for their money, even if it isn’t what they wanted.

Tracey Crouch MP commented on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“Where items obtained in a computer game can be traded or exchanged outside the game platform they acquire a monetary value, and where facilities for gambling with such items are offered to consumers located in Britain a Gambling Commission licence is required. If no licence is held, the Commission uses a wide range of regulatory powers to take action,”

So there we have it. A statement that clarifies everything….

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