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The Week in Video Games – March 11, 2018

This week in gaming: a new map for PUBG, Fortnite comes to mobile, and Nintendo reveal new Switch and 3DS games. Here’s our digest of the week’s top news stories from the world of video games.

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Mario Day - Google Map

This week in gaming: a new map for PUBG, Fortnite comes to mobile, and Nintendo reveal new Switch and 3DS games. Here’s our digest of the week’s top news stories from the world of video games.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

It’s been a busy week for all things PUBG, and its rivalry with Epic’s Fortnite. Valve founder Gabe Newell has revealed that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is currently the third best-selling game on Steam. Not too shabby for a game that has only been on sale for a year.

The release of an anti-cheat patch has caused performance issues for some players, with others unable to even launch the game. If you are having problems, follow these instructions. A new update to the PC version also means you’ll no longer be able to block headshots by staying in vehicles.

The Xbox One version of PUBG continues to be updated and optimised. Executive producer Nico Bihary says that the incoming patch 10 will fix a recurring problem with crashes, a revival bug, and will address the double-reload sound, among other small tweaks.

Meanwhile The Verge reports that the next PUBG map will be smaller, and offer “faster, more intense matches with higher player density.” This approach is an apparent response to the popularity of Fortnite Battle Royale.

Speaking of which…

Fortnite getting cross-platform play, and a mobile port

Fortnite Battle Royale is getting cross-platform play on Xbox One. In a blog post, the development team say:

“We’re happy to announce today that in partnership with our friends at Microsoft, Fortnite will feature cross-play, cross-progression, and cross-purchase, between Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS and (in the next few months) Android. Contrary to what may have been implied, Microsoft has long been a leading voice in supporting cross-platform play, connecting players across PC, mobile and all consoles.”

What’s that? Mobile? Yep, Fortnite Battle Royale is officially coming to iOS and Android. The iOS version is getting an invite-only event starting tomorrow.

All in all, Fortnite appears to have shed its copy-cat tag, and is becoming a phenomenon in its own right. According to the latest numbers from TwitchMetrics, Fortnite‘s weekly Twitch viewership is around 140,000 concurrent viewers, with PUBG down to c62,000 viewers.

Nintendo Direct reveals new Switch and 3DS games

This week’s Nintendo Direct pulled back the curtain on a wide range of new games coming to Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Many of them are ports, but welcome ports, nevertheless. Our personal highlights are a Switch release for the overlooked Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – complete with new Super Mario Odyssey stages – and WarioWare Gold, a 3DS compilation of 300 micro-games.

Also announced was a paid single-player expansion for Splatoon 2, and the confirmation that Super Smash Bros. is coming to Switch in 2018. Nintendo must have some grand announcements planned for E3 to let that one out of the bag so early.

“This is violent, isn’t it?”

Leader of the Free World, Donald Trump, held a meeting at the White House this week to discuss violence in video games. The meeting was notionally in response to last month’s tragic shooting in Florida, and attendees included game industry officials, and a number of conservative media critics and legislators.

Russell Brandom’s report for The Verge sums up how odd the meeting was, and the game violence supercut that preceded it has become one of the most popular videos on the official White House You Tube channel.

Inside Xbox returns

Microsoft has relaunched Xbox Insider as a new monthly video show. The first episode was streamed yesterday, and revealed that the Xbox One S and Xbox One X will support variable refresh rate on AMD Radeon FreeSync display. It’s not exactly Super Smash Bros, is it? Overall, however, it was a pretty good show, with Sea of Thieves, PUBG, and Far Cry 5 all getting screen time.

Monster sales for Capcom

Monster Hunter World has shipped 7.5 million copies worldwide – including digital download sales – since its release in January. The game is now officially Capcom’s best-selling title ever.

Rainbow Six cracks down on hate speech

Ubisoft is to issue bans on players using “racial and homophobic slurs, or hate speech” in Rainbow Six Siege. In a post on the game’s subreddit the developer said bans will range between two days, and forever. Affected players will also get to see their name in lights with a global message stating: “Username has been banned for toxicity.”

Rainbow Six Siege continues to perform well, with SteamCharts reporting a recent peak of over than 176,000 players on PC.

“Let’s go!”

Star Wars day, Aliens day, Back to the Future day… If a pop culture brand can claim 24 hours of the year to squeeze a little extra promotion, it will. And henceforth March 10 (or Mar10) will now be known as Mario Day. We would normally moan about this tedious kind of marketing exercise, but there’s no denying that having Mario provide driving directions on Google Maps is super flipping cool.

Warner Bros games come to EA Access

Electronic Arts is adding six Warner Bros games to The Vault as part of Origins Access. Games include Batman: Arkham Asylum, City, Origins, and three Lego Batman titles. Also coming to the program is The Witness, Bulletstorm, and Wasteland 2, among others.

“Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service”

That was the message Oculus Rift users were greeted with during a 15 hour outage this week in which their headsets were unusable. The embarrassing problem was due to an authenticity certificate not being renewed. As recompense, Oculus is offering $15 store credit to users who have used their Rift since the start of February.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Following some cap-related speculation, Activision has officially confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be the next game in the series. The shooter will come to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 12, around a month earlier than is usual for the series. The date change wouldn’t have anything to do with a little game from Rockstar, would it?

Drew Karpyshyn leaves BioWare

Writer Drew Karpyshyn has confirmed his departure from BioWare. Karpyshyn is best known for co-writing Mass Effect 2, his work on Star Wars: The Old Republic, and a range of Star Wars and Mass Effect novels. In a blog post Karpyshyn says he will be working on new projects with Fogbank Entertainment.

And finally…

Grab yourself a coffee and relax with a couple of longer reads this Sunday. First up is an interview and preview by our own Tom Baines that explores What the Golf?, an ambitious and inventive take on the sport from Tim Garbos.

Also worth a read is an interview on the Xbox website with Marcin Blacha on storytelling in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

And finally, read the latest edition of Cut Scenes, our regular column from Josh Wise that explores the intersection between films and video games. This week it’s Jonathan Blow’s The Witness vs. Lost


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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Paper Mario: The Origami King, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe.