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PlayStation and UN join forces with Playing for the Planet climate alliance

Sony also hopes leaving the PS5 on standby will have a far lower environmental impact than the current generation of consoles.

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Sony also hopes leaving the PS5 on standby will have a far lower environmental impact than the current generation of consoles.

Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced on Sunday that Sony will partner with UN Environment. The aim of the joint initiative, dubbed “Playing for the Planet,” to combat climate change by lowering console emissions. Ryan said that he would join other gaming industry leaders at this week’s UN Climate Summit.

“At SIE, we have made substantial commitments and efforts to reduce the power consumption of the PS4 by utilizing efficient technologies such as System-on-a-Chip architecture integrating a high-performance graphics processor, die shrink, power scaling, as well as energy-saving modes such as Suspend-to-RAM. For context, we estimate the carbon emissions we have avoided to date already amount to almost 16 million metric tons, increasing to 29 million metric tons over the course of the next 10 years (which equals the CO2 emissions for the nation of Denmark in 2017),” Ryan wrote in a post on the PlayStation Blog.

“I am also very pleased to announce the next-generation PlayStation console will include the possibility to suspend gameplay with much lower power consumption than PS4 (which we estimate can be achieved at around 0.5 W). If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.”

Sony joins a climate movement

Sony’s efforts arrive amid a wave of youth-driven climate activism. On Friday, an estimated 4 million people took to the streets worldwide in “climate strike” protests. The video games industry’s connection to young people, Ryan said, motivated UN Environment’s decision to partner with industry leaders.

Ryan said that Sony would complete a carbon footprint assessment, though he did not provide a timeline. Additionally, Sony will provide information for users who want to learn to live more sustainable lives. The company will also provide resources who want to include climate-related themes in their games.

The games industry produces millions of tonnes of plastic each year, despite the increasing prevalence of digital-only games. Hopefully, Sony can be a leader in reducing plastic waste as we head into the next console generation, following on from the example set by SI Games with Football Manager 20.

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Andrew King is a news and sports reporter by day and a freelance games writer by night. He likes immersive sims, 3D platformers and open-world games. Find his writing at GameCritics and The Hillsdale Daily News.

News

Ukie report outlines regional impact of UK video games industry

The Ukie “Think Global, Create Local” report outlines the regional economic impact of the UK video games industry.

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Ukie think global create local report
Ukie

The Ukie ‘Think Global, Create Local’ report outlines the regional economic impact of the UK video games industry.

Ukie, the UK video game industry trade body, often undertakes research. This is to help the body to best advise its members and policymakers, and to assist with lobbying for the industry as a whole.

Its latest report, ‘Think Global, Create Local’, examines the regional impact of the industry on the UK’s economy. Building on BFI’s 2018 ‘Screen Business‘ report, which showed that the UK games companies directly employed full-time roles and collectively generated £2.87b, Ukie examined the impact of the games industry on the regional economy.

Spoiler alert: London isn’t the only show in town.

Admittedly, four of those eight games hubs mentioned are in the South East, within a stone’s throw of the M25. But it’s still heartening to see the likes of Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Leamington Spa represented among the biggest video games industry hubs.

That’s backed up by figures that show 55% of roles are based outside of London and the South East, and that Scotland generates £131m GVA (Gross Value Added) annually.

Ukie Think Global, Create Local – Key findings:

  • Eight games hubs contributed over £60m in GVA to their local economies: Edinburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Leamington Spa, Crawley and Horsham, Manchester, Guildford, Slough and Heathrow, and London.
  • 55% of game development roles are based outside of London and the South East.
  • The North West, East of England, West Midlands, Scotland and the South East all employ over 1,000 FTEs in development studio roles.
  • London’s game sector is a billion-pound industry, generating £1.4bn in GVA for the economy and directly employing over 5,100 FTE roles
  • 23 towns and cities across the UK are home to more than 20 local game companies.
  • Scotland is home to a thriving games industry, with three major hubs generating £131m in GVA for the nation.
  • The North East games industry has the biggest impact on the local economy outside of London, contributing £1.90 of every £1,000 of regional GVA.
  • 99.5% of UK games companies are officially SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises, employing less than 250 people), which collectively contribute £1.6bn in GVA.
  • £339m in GVA is generated by micro-businesses of less than 10 employees, representing 13.7% of the industry total, and employing 3,664 FTEs.
  • The very largest games companies, each employing over 250 people, are hugely important to the UK economy, alone contributing £840m in GVA and employing over 4,200 FTEs, or 26% of the industry workforce.

You can read the full report on the Ukie website.


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Fair play, Apex Legends – that was an entertaining character reveal

Apex Legends apparently just murdered its latest character in a “televised interview” stream.

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Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends apparently just murdered its latest character in a “televised interview” stream.

Last week, Respawn announced Apex Legends season four, subtitled Assimilation, launches on February 4, 2020.

Along with all of the other new season content, Apex Legends would also be getting a new hero, called Forge. He’s a big dude with a mechanical arm, who will excel at punching enemies. (Yes, he’s basically white Doomfist from Overwatch.)

Forge was not the character fans had been expecting. In the run-in to the season four reveal, fans of Apex Legends had been expecting the next character to in fact be Revenant. Revenant is a scary looking person in a red mask, who has been cropping up around Apex Legends since Halloween 2019.

So when Forge was announced, and was subsequently confirmed by Respawn in a dev stream, it left fans confused. Who was Revenant? Why were they being teased for the past three months? Was this all some sort of joke? Well, yes, as it happens. The Forge reveal was part of a larger and more elaborate plan to–

Why don’t you just watch for yourself?

So that’s Revenant, turning up while Forge is being interviewed, and murdering him. It’s a clever bit of trickery from Respawn, and is the sort of stunt that helps keep focus on a service game as interest inevitably wanes over time. In an extra neat touch, if players visit the location of the interview in-game, they can even find Forge’s death box.

Presumably, that means Forge is out of Apex Legends, and Revenant is now in? We’ll find out for sure when series four kicks off next week.


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Final year one DLC for The Division 2 is going to Coney Island

“So goodbye, farewell, so long forever; goodbye my Coney Island babe.”

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The Division 2 Coney Island
Ubisoft / Thumbsticks

“So goodbye, farewell, so long forever; goodbye my Coney Island babe.”

The Division 2, Ubisoft’s absolutely-not-political loot shooter that’s set in the ruins of modern America, released almost a year ago. In that time, Ubisoft studio Massive has put out three pieces of post-release content:

  • Prologue – Invasion: Battle For D.C
  • DLC 1 – D.C. Outskirts: Expeditions
  • DLC 2 – Pentagon: The Last Castle

And now the fourth and final piece of year one DLC for The Division 2 has been revealed. It looks like we’re going on a trip to Coney Island.

In the trailer, operators from the titular Division are tasked with travelling to Coney Island to rescue a scientist who might just have a cure for the global pandemic that wiped out huge swathes of the population.

For some reason, some criminals are keeping the scientist in a box? In the middle of a theme park? Look, the exposition isn’t perfect. It rarely is in The Division. But it’s time to don your glowing orange wristwatch, exercise your second amendment rights, and shoot some US citizens who’ve fallen on hard times and turned to a life of crime in understandably difficult circumstances.

The Division 2’s Coney Island excursion – called Coney Island: The Hunt – will release in February 2020. We’ve not been given an exact date, yet, but Year One pass holders will get to play it seven days earlier than everyone else.

Expect to see more post-release content for The Division 2 in its second year, as Ubisoft looks to maximise the lifespan of (and therefore, its return on investment in) the game. The developer and publisher will be changing its strategy in 2020 after “a sharp downward revision in the revenues expected from Ghost Recon Breakpoint and, to a lesser extent, The Division 2.”


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How to get a refund for Rocket League on Mac and Linux

Rocket League developer Psyonix is ending support for the game on macOS and Linux. Here’s why, and how you can get a refund for the game on Steam.

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Rocket League developer Psyonix is ending support for the game on macOS and Linux. Here’s why, and how you can get a refund for the game on Steam.

Psyonix announced last week that support for the Mac and Linux versions of Rocket League will end in March 2020. A final update for the game will disable all online functionality, including in-game purchases, and online multiplayer modes.

Why is support ending for Rocket League on Mac and Linux?

In a post on the Rocket League sub-Reddit, Psyonix has provided detail on the decision to end Mac and Linux support. The studio’s Psyonix_Devin explains that the forthcoming update to DirectX 11 is the primary factor, saying:

“Unfortunately, our macOS and Linux native clients depend on our DX9 implementation for their OpenGL renderer to function. When we stop supporting DX9, those clients stop working. To keep these versions functional, we would need to invest significant additional time and resources in a replacement rendering pipeline such as Metal on macOS or Vulkan/OpenGL4 on Linux.”

Coupled with the fact that macOS and Linux users account for only 0.3% of the game’s active player based, it becomes a little easier to see why the decision was made, however infuriating it may be.

Psyonix has now opened a refund programme on Steam for anyone who purchased the game on Mac or Linux. Its launch was not without a few problems, but things now appear to be running smoothly.

How to get a Steam refund for Rocket League on Mac and Linux

To get a refund on the Mac or Linux version of Rocket League, follow the following instructions.

  • Visit to the Steam Support website
  • Select Purchases
  • Select Rocket League
  • If necessary select View complete purchasing history
  • Select I would like a refund
  • Select I’d like to request a refund
  • From the Reason drop-down menu, select My issue isn’t listed
  • In Notes, enter the following statement: “please refund my Mac/Linux version of Rocket League, Psyonix will be discontinuing support”
  • If you encounter any issues, you can also try raising a ticket via the Steam Support page

Good luck!


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Save up to 90% in three new Xbox One sales

Another glut of video games get big discounts in this week’s new Xbox One promotions.

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This week’s new Xbox One sales include savings on another glut of video games, including games from the Batman and Darksiders franchises.

The THQ Nordic sale includes a smattering of overlooked gems and cult classic remasters. Our picks include inventive painting platformer De Blob, and sci-fi FPS Red Faction Guerrilla. All three mainline games in the Darksiders series are also on offer with big discounts.

This week’s Spotlight deals include generous price cuts for both Batman: Arkham Collection and Batman: Arkham Knight. Annual EA Sports blockbusters, FIFA 20 and Madden NFL 20, are also reduced by a whopping 50%.

This week’s Deals with Gold highlight is the Yooka-Laylee: Buddy Duo Bundle. The double-pack includes both games in Playtonic’s retro-inspired platforming series.

The discounts are valid through to February 3, 2020. Visit the Xbox One digital store or the Microsoft online store for more details. Here are some more of our favourite sale titles.

THQ Nordic Sale Highlights

  • Aces Of The Luftwaffe – Squadron – 50% off
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar – 75% off
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition – 80% off
  • Darksiders III – 67% off
  • Darksiders Warmastered Edition – 80% off
  • De Blob – 80% off
  • Elex – 60% off
  • Fade To Silence – 67% off
  • Lock’s Quest – 80% off
  • MX vs ATV All Out – 70% off
  • Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered – 75% off
  • Sine Mora EX – 80% off
  • This Is The Police 2 – 70% off
  • Titan Quest – 75% off
  • Wreckfest Deluxe – 20% off

Deals with Gold Highlights

  • Agatha Knife – 40% off
  • Blood Bowl 2 – 75% off
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – 35% off
  • Lost Sea – 80% off
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter – 80% off
  • Songbringer Bundle – 70% off
  • V-Rally 4 – 65% off
  • Yooka-Laylee: Buddy Duo Bundle – 50% off

Spotlight Highlights

  • Batman: Arkham Collection – 67% off
  • Batman: Arkham Knight – 60% off
  • EA Sports FIFA 20 – 50% off
  • Injustice 2 – Legendary Edition – 50% off
  • Madden NFL 20 – 50% off
  • Mortal Kombat 11 – 60% off
  • Sublevel Zero Redux – 75% off
  • Tennis World Tour – 65% off
  • WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship – 90% off
  • Zombieland: Double Tap- Road Trip – 40% off

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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you like what we do and want to support free, quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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