PUBG gets dated for Xbox One, Super Mario Odyssey breaks records, and critics review the Xbox One X. Here’s your roundup of the week’s most important video games news.
This week in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Microsoft has confirmed that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will be released on Xbox One via the Xbox Preview Program on December 12, 2017. The game will be priced at $30 for a digital copy, and will include the PUBG Warrior Pack, the PUBG Accessory Pack, and the PUBG Tracksuit Pack limited-edition cosmetic packs.
The PUBG development team has also apologised for impact cheaters are having on the game. In a post issued on Steam they said:
“We will continue our research and development to establish a better system for combatting cheaters. We will take stronger actions to find and ban cheaters, while at the same time taking good care to not harm innocent players. Next week, we will be deploying yet another patch related to cheat detection.”
The Xbox One X review roundup
The Xbox One X will be released in a few short days. Critics are impressed with grunt and performance of Microsoft’s new console, but the lingering question of ‘Why?’ still hangs in the air.
Richard Leadbetter’s superb Digital Foundry review, examines the technical aspects of the Xbox One X, but also looks at what this means for the player. He’s particularly impressed with the console’s backwards compatibility features:
“If you’ve stayed with Xbox across the generations, you’re in for a real treat here. There’s a sense that Microsoft is paying homage to its roots, honouring its past successes and making genuine efforts in curating a great library – all at no cost to the user.”
Arthur Gies at Rolling Stone says that the X lives up to Microsoft’s marketing bluster:
It’s worth being clear here: the Xbox One X is, thus far, largely delivering on the promises Microsoft is making with regards to power and 4K games, something many believed to be nothing but hype, and it’s happening in a small, $500 console.”
Kat Baily at USGamer offers a more cautious take, saying:
“The Xbox One X is a pretty niche offering. It’s nice that it exists, but it’s hard to recommend without reservation, and support for its full feature set is currently extremely variable.”
And about those downloads…
One thing everyone agrees on is that the Xbox One X’s 4K patches are huge, and it won’t be long before the console’s 1TB hard drive is full to capacity.
Over 50% of Destiny 2 sales are digital
It turns out that Destiny 2 sold rather well. We don’t have exact figures, but Activision’s latest financial reports states that the game is the best-selling console release in the US year-to-date, and that over 50% of purchases were digital, a new record for the publisher.
Call of Duty: WWII review roundup
Activision’s other big shooter returned this week. Due to various kerfuffles regarding review events, and limited access to multiplayer, many reviews are provisional. Broadly speaking, its slower-paced campaign has been warmly received.
Miranda Sanchez, in her IGN review, says:
“(The campaign) is a great primer that shows how well Call of Duty’s combat adjusts back into a historical setting for the first time since 2008’s World at War, and, more importantly, tells a good story with some fun action movie-style spectacle.”
Miguel Concepcion, writing at Gamespot, says:
“The booming cacophony of gunfire is fittingly accompanied by the crispness of the weapon reloads. And it’s a journey rich in scenic environments that poignantly contrast against the death and destruction that surrounds you.”
Russ Frushtick, in his Polygon review, is not as impressed:
“While it returns to the era of classic Call of Duty, it neither captures the surprise of the early games nor the ambition of modern entries.”
Super Mario Odyssey sets sales records
Mario’s latest adventure is off to a great start. Super Mario Odyssey has so far sold over 2 million units worldwide, with 1.1 million copies sold in the US alone. Odyssey is now the fastest selling Mario game ever in the States, overtaking the Wii’s New Super Mario Bros. It’s also become the fastest selling Nintendo Switch game since the console’s launch in March.
On that front, Nintendo has increased its Switch sales forecast from 10 million to 14 million units. Should that number be reached, the Switch will have eclipsed the total sales of the Wii U within a year of release. So far, 7.5 million consoles have been sold.
And Super Mario Run doesn’t
It’s not all good news for our favourite Italian plumber, however. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has stated that despite achieving over 200 million downloads, the Super Mario Run mobile release has failed to meet expectations.
“Although we have not yet reached an acceptable profit point, we have learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment that we want to take advantage of moving forward.”
Star Craft 2 goes free-to-play
The ever-popular StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty is going free-to-play. The news came from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime at BlizzCon 2017. The game’s additional campaigns – Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops – will remain available to purchase separately at $14.99 each.
World of Warcraft: Classic confirmed
Also revealed at BlizzCon was the news that World of Warcraft will be getting an official vanilla server: World of Warcraft: Classic. It’s not happening anytime soon, and may not use the original release’s mechanics. WoW executive producer, J. Allen Brack, said:
“This is a larger endeavor than you might imagine, but we are committed to making an authentic, Blizzard-quality Classic experience. We want to produce the game experience that we all enjoyed from the original Classic WoW, not the actual launch experience.”
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth was also announced as the game’s latest expansion. Check out the trailer.
Assassin’s Creed DRM ding dong
Ubisoft have denied that Assassin’s Creed Origins’ DRM protection impacts performance of the game on PC. It’s alleged that the performance hit stems from the game using both VMProtect, and the notorious Denuvo system. Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett cracks the story open.
Runic Games close down
Runic Games – developer of the Torchlight series, and the recently overlooked Hob – has been closed down by its owner, Perfect World Entertainment. Runic’s studio head, Marsh Lefler, posted a statement saying:
“We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world.”
PlayStation at Paris Games Week
It was a busy week for Sony and the PlayStation 4 at Paris Games Week, with a raft of new announcements and trailers. Highlights included another look at Spider-Man, a gruesome return to the world of The Last of Us, and the best announcement of the week, the reveal of Spelunky 2.
Sony also announced that it has shipped 67.5 million PlayStation 4 consoles since 2013. In the year to March 31, 2018, Sony expects additional shipments of 19 million consoles, a 1 million increase over the previous forecasts.
If you’re getting an Xbox One X this week, you might want to start preparing for your new arrival, particularly if you are upgrading from an older Xbox One model.
The Xbox Wire team have pulled together two useful articles to help. The first looks at the console transfer process, and the second is a helpful explainer of the new technology the X is bringing to the party.