This week in video games: PUBG continues to grow, Humble Bundle is bought by IGN, and Super Mario goes all Fred Astaire. Here’s your round-up of the most important news from the wild world of video games.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sells 15m copies, reaches 2m concurrent players
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to make headlines. This week, data from Steamspy confirmed that PUBG has now sold over 15 million copies. It’s an impressive performance, and when you consider that 5 million of those sales have come within the last month, it’s truly mind-blowing.
PUBG also passed 2 million concurrent players earlier this week, and is now firmly established as the most popular game on Steam. At the time of writing PUBG‘s player count sits at 2,291,190. Crikey.
Original Xbox Backwards compatibility is still due in 2017
Remember that well-choreographed cheer at E3 when Phil Spencer announced OG Xbox backwards compatibility? Well, things have been a little quiet since then, but Gamespot managed to get an quick update from Spencer at last week’s Brazil Games Show:
“We’re close, we’re really close. I have a little dashboard I go to and I can see all the games [and] where they are in getting approvals in the pipeline. I know the games that are coming for the original Xbox but I don’t think we’ve announced them all. We have to do this in partnership with partners, but we’re still on track. I feel really good. The games look great.”
Humble Bundle is acquired by IGN
IGN has purchased Humble Bundle, the company best known for selling indie games at pay-what-you-can prices, and then splitting the profits between the developers and charities. The deal raised a few eyebrows on grounds of impartiality, but IGN have stated that they intend to operate Humble Bundle independently. IGN co-founder Peer Schneider issued a statement to USGamer outlining their approach, saying:
“First, we will keep a rigid separation between IGN’s editorial team and the Humble Bundle team. Second, we will provide full disclosure whenever IGN creates content about a game, bundle, or subscription created by or funded by Humble Bundle.”
Sega Genesis Flashback HD review round-up
Never mind the PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One, the real console war took place in the early ’90s when Nintendo and Sega battled for 16-bit supremacy. The recent release of the SNES Classic Mini, and AtGames’ Sega Genesis Flashback HD, sees the war reignited on a miniature scale. Nintendo’s latest micro-console was well received, but what about the Sega alternative?
Chris Kohler, writing at Kotaku, says that the latest units mostly fix the issues that plagued the initial batch released in July:
“While not every issue with the Flashback HD has been addressed, the major ones have. The controllers work, and the emulation is no longer choppy. That means the system now fulfills its basic promise of letting you play accurate Genesis games on your HDTV.”
Polygon‘s Christopher Grant, however, still finds plenty to fault with the hardware, its emulation, and its interface:
“As a one-time Genesis kid whose nostalgic sweet spot is a Sega Genesis, I feel qualified to say that the Genesis deserves better from its owner. But as long as Sega is willing to license out its platform instead of making its own hardware, it seems unlikely to get better than this, the most declarative console war victory imaginable.”
Hats off to Cuphead
StudioMDHR’s has announced that Cuphead has sold over 1 million copies since its release on PC and Xbox One earlier this month. In a blog post Chad and Jared Moldenhauer thank players for their support.
600 games enter 2018’s Independent Games Festival
Organisers of next year’s Independent Games Festival have announced that nearly 600 entries have been accepted into the competition. The festival runs alongside the annual Game Developers Conference, and will culminate in the 2018 IGF Awards in March next year. Head over to the IGF website to browse through the full list of entries.
The Good Life fails to meet its goal
Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s Fig campaign for the The Good Life ended this week, having raised $682,000, some distance short of its $1.5 million goal. Swery then took to Twitter to explain the reasons for the failure, which Gamasutra have summarised. We can now look forward to the game getting a Kickstarter campaign later this year. Such joy.
The PlayStation 4 gets a new line of compact controllers
Nacon and Hori are releasing a new range of compact controllers for the PlayStation 4. In addition to the standard control inputs, some Nacon models include an LED display that shows in-game information such as player number or health status. Well, that sounds, erm, useful. We much prefer the new HORI Wired Mini Gamepad, which is dinky, robust and colourful.
Oculus gets a another price drop, and a game from Respawn
Oculus has announced that it’s reducing the price of the Oculus + Touch headset bundle to $399. This is the third price cut the bundle has received this year.
In related news, Respawn Entertainment has unveiled a new game produced in partnership with Oculus. The new project is teased in this earnest developer video, and in a blog post by Respawn’s Peter Hirschmann:
“The sense of scale, the sense of presence, there’s nothing else like it. It’s the difference between using your mouse to rotate an object in an editor and walking around it in real life. It is a true privilege to build a game in this kind of immersive world.”
Super Mario Odyssey gets a live-action music video, and an Edge 10
Nintendo has released a marvellous Broadway-inspired trailer for Super Mario Odyssey. The video features new gameplay footage, a lot of dancing, and is backed by the insanely catchy ‘Jump Up, Super Star!’ Super Mario Odyssey also received its first review in the November issue of Edge magazine, and was awarded with a rare 10.
Assassin’s Creed Origins DLC detailed
Ubisoft have announced details of their DLC road-map for Assassin’s Creed Origins. In addition to the combat-free Discovery Tour, players can look forward to a new story expansion, a boss battle mode in which you take on Egyptian gods, and, I shit you not, a horde mode.
The increasing prevalence of loot boxes in games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Destiny 2, and Star Wars Battlefront II is causing concern for many video game players. USGamer’s Kay Bailey looks why loot boxes are here to stay.
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