The Week in Video Games – April 16, 2017

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Here’s our weekly round-up of the best video games news from Thumbsticks and elsewhere on the web.

This week we say goodbye to Peter Moore and the NES Classic Mini, and hello to a new Star Wars game from Electronic Arts.

Microsoft mulling digital refunds

Microsoft might not have much to say about games at the moment, but their approach to hardware – of which more below – and digital services continues to fascinate. Engadget reports on the possibility of Microsoft offering refunds for Xbox One and Windows 10 digital game purchases. The Steam-like policy covers games purchased 14 days, and with less than 2 hours of play time. Until then we’ll just have to make do with sales if we need to watch the pennies. Luckily there’s a huge Xbox sale on right now.

Spencer speaks Scorpio

Following on from the Project Scorpio tech spec reveal last week, Eurogamer published a lengthy and in-depth interview with Xbox boss, Phil Spencer. Again, it’s fascinating stuff that explores the tricky balancing act Microsoft has on its hands in creating a super-advanced games console, while ensuring parity with the four-year old Xbox One. You can’t fault the ambition, but even Phil Spencer struggles with the messaging on that particular point.

Directly to you

Nintendo Direct returned this week with an exercise in clearing the decks before E3. We got release dates for most of the upcoming first party Nintendo Switch games we know about, plus a heap of announcements for the 3DS. Closer looks at ARMS and Splatoon 2 showed potential, and, is that another 12 amiibo we need to buy? If we must.

No more NES Classic Mini

On IGN’s NVC podcast, host Jose Otero recently said that Nintendo is the type of company that opens a door but closes a window, and so it proved this week. The small but perfectly formed NES Classic mini is being discontinued. Why Nintendo is stopping production on something that remains in such high demand – and that we adore – we can only speculate. Reasons, we guess.

No more Peter Moore

When the job titles on your resume include President of Sega of America, Head of Xbox, and Head of EA Sports, it’s fair to assume that you’ll have had a significant impact on the world of video games. This week saw the departure of Peter Moore from Electronic Arts, and the games industry. In a letter posted to Twitter he said “I have been fortunate to have borne witness to the amazing growth of this, our wonderful gaming industry.” We’d suggest we were fortunate to have him, particular for his work at Microsoft. Along with the letter, Peter posted this wonderfully sentimental video to YouTube. We wish Peter well with his new career as chief executive of his beloved Liverpool FC. Another pretty good job title to add to the list.

EA finally reveals Star Wars Battlefront II

Despite the trailer leak there was a huge amount of anticipation for Saturday’s Star Wars Battlefront II announcement, and I think it’s safe to say that the full reveal hit the spot. The follow-up to the 2015 hit includes a full single-player campaign, set in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, plus an expanded multiplayer suite that includes characters and location from all three eras of Star Wars.

Remember when we were excited about VR?

Gamesindustry.biz reports on the latest findings from IDATE Digiworld that suggest the adoption of VR is slower than early forecasts predicted. The reports indicates that the long-term prospects for the medium are still bright, but high hardware costs and low software quality are among the factors affecting the short-term outlook. As we look at our long untouched PS VR headset, we can’t help think that some decent games might help in validating virtual reality as something to get excited about.

Dev diary digest

There have been some excellent dev diaries released over the past few weeks, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight a couple of our favourites. The first is Andy Ritson’s look at developing the art style of Snake Pass. And we also enjoyed Tequila Work’s second Rime Dev Diary, which looks at how artwork and music shape the gamplay experience.

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