Star Wars Battlefront II stumbles at retail, PUBG will be changed for China, and Pokémon reaches a new sales milestone. Here’s your roundup of the week’s most important video games news.
It’s been a reasonably quiet week in the world of video games, with most news revolving around last week’s Black Friday bargains. However, we can always rely on PUBG, loot boxes, and Nintendo to keep us busy.
Star Wars Battlefront II sales
The controversy around Star Wars Battlefront II rumbles on. EA’s game entered the UK software chart at number two, but sales were more than 60% down on its 2015 predecessor. Although digital sales – which are not included in the ChartTrack measure – will make up some of the difference, it seems highly likely the PR disaster around the game’s use of loot boxes has hurt its initial performance.
In an effort to circumvent the game’s tedious grind, some users have resorted to using rubber bands on their controllers to earn credits the easy way. As Yoda once said: “In a dark place we find ourselves.”
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will change for China release
Gaming giant Tencent has negotiated the exclusive rights to release PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in China. With the Chinese government voicing concern over the content of violent games, the publisher has said it will be making changes to the popular shooter. According to a statement received by Reuters, Tencent will “make adjustment to content and make sure they accord with socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture and moral rules.”
Valkyria Chronicles 4 announced
Sega has announced that Valkyria Chronicles 4 will be released on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One in 2018. The tactical RPG will be a reboot of sorts – featuring a brand new cast of characters – but it will retain the series’s signature watercolour art-style, and have a new score from Hitoshi Sakimoto. According to the most recent issue of Famitsu, development on the game is 90% complete.
Pokémon is popular
Also speaking to Famitsu magazine was Pokémon Company president,Tsunekazu Ishihara. He said that the Pokémon series has reached cumulative sales of over 300 million units since the Japanese release of Pokémon Red and Green in 1996. This figure does not include downloads of Pokémon Go, which at the last count has reached 100 trillion billion installs.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are also off to a solid start, selling over 1.2 million copies in Japan in their first three days on release.
Loot box aren’t gambling, says UK body
On the subject of loot crates and micro-transactions, the UK Gambling Commission has issued a statement saying that under the letter of the law, loot boxes are not considered to be gambling. That doesn’t mean the situation will go unmonitored, however:
“We are concerned with the growth in examples where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred. Where it does meet the definition of gambling it is our job to ensure that children are protected and we have lots of rules in place, like age verification requirements, to do that.”
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp review round-up
Remember when we all wanted Nintendo to release mobile games? With the Switch such a big hit, it doesn’t seem quite so important, but nonetheless, here they are. This time Animal Crossing gets the mobile treatment, in a game that has divided critics with its use of, you’ve guessed it, micro-transactions.
Eli Hodapp, writing at Touch Arcade, says:
“Many people critical of Pocket Camp’s pay model seem to have forgotten that at their core, Animal Crossing titles have always played like a freemium game, Nintendo just got you to pay $40-60 up front for it.”
Nintendo Life‘s Liam Doolan, appreciates the depth of content:
Even as a free-to-play title, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp goes above and beyond expectations; it’s certainly a great introduction for first-time players thanks to the charming and accessible design.
Jonathon Dornbush, in his IGN review, says the game overcomes its deficiencies with smart design:
“Limitations like an always-online connection and frequent loads can make the on-the-go experience occasionally frustrating, but I continually found reward — both literally in-game and metaphorically — in working toward building a better campsite.”
Nintendo has also issued an apology to players affected by the game’s ongoing server issues, along with 20 free Leaf Tickets.
Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris news
The second of three Destiny 2 Curse of Osiris livestreams was broadcast this week, drip-feeding more details of the game’s forthcoming expansion. The stream covered the new Lighthouse social space, new story strikes, heroic adventures, and the Mercury Public event. Head over to Bungie’s Twitch page to catch up on the new additions, or read Eurogamer’s comprehensive round-up.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sales pass 500K
Ninja Theory has confirmed that their self-proclaimed ‘indie AAA’ game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, is now in profit after reaching 500k sales. The studio has released a new video dev diary detailing the game’s launch and sales performance.
Can the Switch handle Grand Theft Auto V?
Is it coming to Switch? That’s the clichéd question asked in response to every new game announcement. And despite the Switch’s lower powered tech, publishers such as Bethesda and Rockstar have managed to nip and tuck the likes of Doom, Skyrim and LA Noire to work on Nintendo’s console. The beady-eyed folks over at Digital Foundry have scoured the latter to see if a Switch version of Grand Theft Auto V Switch is a possibility. Personally speaking, I’d rather see ports of Bully and GTA IV first.
Desert Bus for Hope 11
Desert Bus For Hope 11 concluded after 158 hours, having raised $651,031 in donations. All money raised by the event will go to the charity Childs Play, which supports the lives of children in hospitals and shelters.
Wolfenstein 2 and Project Cars 2 get demos
The post-release demo continues to be used as sales tactic for AAA games that underperformed on release. This week, two more AAA titles received free demos. The first is Wolfenstein II – which had the misfortune of being released on the same day as Super Mario Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Origins – and the second is Project Cars 2 – which faced stiff competition GT Sport and Forza 7. Both demos are available on Xbox One, PC and PS4.