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This week in video games: Fortnite Season Four approaches, Tomb Raider returns, and there’s a big update on the way for Destiny 2. Here’s our whistle-stop tour of the week’s top video game news stories.

Fortnite Battle Royale news

As Fortnite nears the end of season three, players are watching the skies as meteors continue crashing to earth. But what will season four bring? At the time of writing it’s looking likely – based on teasers from Epic – that DC character skins will be added to the game. Kapow! And Kerching!

On the business side, Tencent has said it will invest more than $15 million to promote Fortnite in China. The money will be split between backing video content creators, and promoting the game as an esport.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

A new update has been released to the PUBG test servers that – in addition to usual gameplay and balance changes – adds the much-desired Map Select option. Check out the patch notes for the full list of changes.

Over on Xbox One, PUBG‘s Miramar Map is now available on the test server. You’ll need to download the Xbox One PUBG Test Server client to play the map in advance of its full release.

PUBG Corp. has also announced that the inaugural PUBG Global Invitational will be held in Berlin, and take place in July. The event will feature 20 professional PUBG teams who will compete for a $2 million prize pool.

Nintendo gets a new president as Switch sales boom

Nintendo’s 2017 earnings report – in which they confirmed worldwide Switch sales of 17.79 million units – also saw a flurry of other news and announcements of interest to video game enthusiasts.

Current Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima, will retire this summer, and will be replaced by Shuntaro Furukawa. The company also announced a new mobile RPG developed with Cygames, sales of 5 million units for the SNES Classic Mini, and continued support for the Nintendo 3DS

Destiny 2’s Warmind detailed

Bungie has pulled back the curtain on Destiny 2‘s next big update, Warmind. The content expansion sees a return to Mars, and includes new crucible maps, weapons, armour, and a new Strike.

Grand Theft Auto 4 loses in-game music

Rockstar Games has issued update for Grand Theft Auto 4 that removes a number of popular songs from its in-game radio stations. As the game reaches its 10th anniversary it appears that licences have expired on tracks including David Bowie’s Fascination. Polygon has the full list of removed titles.

Chucklefish to publish new RPG

Stardew Valley publisher Chucklefish is working with Pixpil Games to release Eastward, a delightful-looking new RPG inspired by the likes of Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda.

PlayStation division leads Sony earnings

Sony’s end of year earnings report says that its PlayStation division made 177.5 billion yen last year, more than any other division in the company. It also sold 19 million PlayStation 4 consoles, down slightly from the 20 million units sold in 2016.

Harry Potter game’s spell ruined by mirco-transactions

Jam City’s new mobile game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was released with much fanfare this week, but that was nothing compared to the howls of anger from players aggrieved by its use of micro-transactions. US Gamer’s Nadia Oxford looks at the game’s money-making mechanics.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider official confirmed

Square Enix, Eidos-Montréal, and Crystal Dynamics have announced that Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 on September 14, 2018. Camilla Luddington returns as Lara Croft in an adventure to save the world from a Maya apocalypse.

Steam Spy to continue

Sergey Galyonkin, the creator of Steam Spy, has published a new blog post in which he outlines the current capabilities of the stats tracking service in the wake of Valve’s recent privacy changes.

Xbox gaming revenue increases

It’s not just Sony and Nintendo doing well. Microsoft’s Xbox Division is also reporting healthy profits, according to the company’s FY18 Q3 earnings report:

“Gaming revenue increased 18% (up 16% in constant currency) driven by Xbox software and services revenue growth of 24% (up 21% in constant currency) mainly from third-party title strength.

Someone bought a new Game Gear game last month

According to NPD, a single, brand-new copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Game Gear was sold at retail in March. Polygon reports on the mysterious purchase.

Rebellion reveal Strange Brigade

Sniper Elite developer Rebellion has announced a 1930s Mummy-style co-op shooter called Strange Brigade. The game’s teaser trailer suggests a refreshingly frothy Indiana Jones-style action adventure.

The Week in video game mice

Gaming peripheral maker Razer has launched a new entry-level, glow-in-the-dark mouse, the Razer Abyssus Essential.

For Honor, for free, for the weekend

Ubisoft’s multiplayer online combat game, For Honor, is getting another free play weekend in May. The full game will discounted to tempt any new players into a purchase.

Kartridge to support game devs

Kongregate has announced that they will give developers 100% of the revenue earned on their first $10,000 sales via the Kartridge digital store. In a blog post, Kongregate CEO Emily Greer says:

“One of our goals with Kartridge is to help independent developers succeed, and these bonus terms are a way for developers to jumpstart their earnings. These bonuses will be especially valuable to small developers as they look to gain traction with their games and is just another thing we can do to help to set them up for success.”

E3 2018 press conference schedule

The E3 hype train is getting ready to leave the station. Destination: Los Angeles. To prepare for the biggest event in video games we’ve set up an E3 2018 hub where you can keep up-to-date with the latest news, starting with details of the confirmed E3 press conference times and dates.

Video game sales and promotions

It was a big week for new video game sales and promotions, particularly on the PlayStation Store, which gets two sales in honour of Japan’s Golden Week. There’s also a decent RPG sale on the Square Enix store, and if you are a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass you can look forward to playing eight new games on the service in May.

Some Sunday reading…

In this week’s Cut Scenes – our ongoing series that explores the intersection of film and video games – Josh Wise dives into Abzû and Fantasia 2000.

Elsewhere, The Dangerous Kitchen’s Shaun Roopra is the latest game developer to speak to Thumbsticks and share his list of Desert Island Games.

A note from the Thumbsticks editorial team

Global ad revenues are dropping and Thumbsticks is no exception. With the prevalence of ad-blocking technology – particularly in a tech-savvy market segment like video games – and the overall downward trend in online advertising, it’s really starting to bite. Ad revenue just about covers hosting the site and other ancillary costs, but we no longer earn enough to operate a proper freelance budget.

But with new challenges come new opportunities, and with that in mind we’ve set up a Patreon. If you like what we do, then please consider supporting us. Every penny we earn is poured back into the site, into giving new and aspiring writers an opportunity, and bringing you more quality content to enjoy.

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