Updated: Jun 26, 2019 12:18 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019

Tim Sweeney on EGS' Impact

A lengthy series of tweets from Tim Sweeney looks to address some of the concerns gamers have expressed over Epic Games Store exclusives and other issues:

This question gets to the core of Epic’s strategy for competing with dominant storefronts. We believe exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry.

For example, after years of great work by independent stores (excluding big publishers like EA-Activision-Ubi), none seem to have reached 5% of Steam’s scale. Nearly all have more features than Epic; and the ability to discount games is limited by various external pressures.

This leads to the strategy of exclusives which, though unpopular with dedicated Steam gamers, do work, as established by the major publisher storefronts and by the key Epic Games store releases compared to their former Steam revenue projections and their actual console sales.

In judging whether a disruptive move like this is reasonable in gaming, I suggest considering two questions: Is the solution proportionate to the problem it addresses, and are gamers likely benefit from the end goal if it’s ultimately achieved?

The 30% store tax usually exceeds the entire profits of the developer who built the game that’s sold. This is a disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike, so I believe the strategy of exclusives is proportionate to the problem.

If the Epic strategy either succeeds in building a second major storefront for PC games with an 88/12 revenue split, or even just leads other stores to significantly improve their terms, the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs.

Will the resulting 18% increase in developer and publisher revenue benefit gamers? Such gains are generally split among (1) reinvestment, (2) profit, and (3) price reduction. The more games are competing with each other, the more likely the proceeds are to go to (1) and (3).

So I believe this approach passes the test of ultimately benefitting gamers after game storefronts have rebalanced and developers have reinvested more of their fruits of their labor into creation rather than taxation.

Of course, there are LOTS of challenges along the way, and Epic is fully committed to solving all problems that arise for gamers are for our partners as the Epic Games store grows.

Schofield Heading New PUBG Narrative Game Development

PUBG Corporation announces that Glen Schofield is the head of a new studio called Striking Distance. Schofield was a cofounder of Sledgehammer Games after his prior stint at Visceral Games where he helped create the Dead Space series.  Word is the new studio is going to develop an original narrative experience within the PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS universe:

PUBG Corporation today announced that it has named Glen Schofield as the CEO of its new game development studio, Striking Distance. Schofield is building a world class development team from the ground up to create an original narrative experience within the PUBG universe. A proven leader and industry luminary with more than 28 years of experience, Schofield was instrumental in the creation of the Dead Space franchise and more recently, helped shape and lead development on the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise.

“As a company, we have focused on developing and making content available for global audiences through close collaboration with international teams located across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. That vision is taken to the next level as our development and service portfolio expands and diversifies with Glen Schofield and Striking Distance,” said C.H. Kim, CEO at PUBG Corporation. “We are thrilled to welcome Glen to the company. His unique blend of proven leadership and boundless creativity will help us create great synergy.”

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Mesa Xen Technical Beta

An announcement on Steam reveals the Black Mesa Xen Technical Beta is now underway:

We are excited to release our tech beta! It’s the first 3 maps of the Xen chapter (which has 6 maps total), continuing Gordon’s adventure from the cliffhanger ending of Lambda Core. With the full Xen campaign clocking in at 19 maps, the beta is only a taste of what’s to come.

The purpose of this beta is to collect bugs and feedback on a range of different computers. We have made significant improvements and changes to the Source engine, and we want the game to run as smoothly as possible. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of testing, opt into this beta. If you want the polished, complete Xen experience, you should wait. It won’t be long!

The Sinking City Rises

The Sinking City is now available, offering a mystery/horror game for Windows and consoles based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The Launch Trailer offers a look at what to expect, and the game's official website is where to purchase a copy. Here are the details:

Bigben and Frogwares Studio are happy to announce that The Sinking City is now available on PC, PS4TM and Xbox One.

Taking place in the ‘20s, The Sinking City is an action and investigation game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the master of horror. The player embodies Charles Reed, a private detective, who comes to Oakmont, Massachusetts in order to investigate the cause of an unprecedented supernatural flood. Within this oppressive, murky atmosphere, the player must discover the origin of whatever has taken control of the city and the minds of its inhabitants.

Throughout the adventure, the player must also manage his mental health or risk succumbing to his visions. Free to form his own opinions, Charles is faced with heart-breaking choices and heavy consequences for this city, one which is already only a shadow of itself.

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Squad Launched

Steam News announces the official launch of Black Squad, a free-to-play military first-person-shooter. Word is: "Players can master their skills and show off their strategies with a wide range of game maps, modes, and weapons to choose from. Join thousands of FPS players worldwide in one of the most played games on Steam!" Here's more:

Black Squad provides endless possibilities:

  • 48 Maps
  • 10 Game Modes
  • Custom Games to play how you want!
  • 89+ Weapons
  • 11 Characters
  • 462+ Skins for customization

ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS Announced

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment announces ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS, saying this fighting game based on the popular anime series will come to Windows and consoles. A punchy Announcement Trailer accompanies the news, and the announcement has word on what to expect:

Leading developer and publisher of anime video games, will be coming to the Americas for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, and PC. ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS is an action-fighting game and is the first console game based on the wildly popular Shonen Jump® series ONE PUNCH MAN.

ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS will feature 3 vs. 3 battles, where players can form powerful teams using their favorite characters as they fight in a universe where attacks from powerful villains are the norm. Players can take the role of Saitama, a salaryman-turned-hero who can obliterate the strongest foes with a single punch. Players will also be able to play as other fan-favorite characters such as Genos, Hellish Blizzard, Speed-o’-Sound Sonic and Mumen Rider.

“ONE PUNCH MAN: A HERO NOBODY KNOWS is the perfect game for ONE PUNCH MAN fans and those who are ready to jump into the ONE-PUNCH universe,” said Abelina Villegas, Associate Brand Manager at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “Players can really immerse themselves in the ONE-PUNCH MAN world and form their own teams, develop their skills and fight to see who is the strongest of them all!”

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today marks the half-way point in our relocation of the BlueTower. Our possessions were moved off on Monday, and yesterday we completed the sale of our old home. We are now living out of a hotel, and today will conduct a walkthrough of our new place. The closing for that is tomorrow, and the delivery of our stuff is scheduled for Friday. It's all been rather exhausting, but we also feel like the hardest parts of this are behind us. Once again, thank you for any patience you can muster for how this has impacted updates here this week. I'm certainly looking forward to things returning to normal.

Normal Links: Thanks Ant.
Satire: Gaming Addict Attempting To Slowly Wean Self Off Of Real Life.
'Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled’ Delivers Speed, Savagery, And Fun I Haven’t Felt Since My Third DUI.
Stories: US government is investigating the chicken industry.
Science: Brain Activity Measures Whether Students Have Grasped a Concept. Thanks Max.
'Living drug' offers hope to terminal blood cancer patients. Thanks Max.
Mitochondrial DNA can be inherited from fathers, not just mothers. Thanks Max.
Media: WWE Superstar Vs. Gamers - Fighting Games Challenge.
High frame-rate footage of vintage guns malfunctioning.
The Funnies: Abstruse Goose. Thanks ViperFour.
Savage Chickens.


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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019

Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Blog announces the Steam Summer Sale featuring the Steam Grand Prix 2019 has begun! Start your engines and read on for details:

Start your engines, everybody… the Steam Summer Sale has begun! For the next 14 days, enjoy great savings on a huge selection of games and join in the Steam Grand Prix 2019 event until July 7th 10AM PDT.

Choose your team from a selection of five fabulous racers: tortoise, hare, cockatiel, pig, and corgi, each with their own unique style of vehicle. Compete with your rival teams to earn points by participating in quests or earning achievements from games in your library. Every day is a new race, and a chance for a new team to win! As a daily reward for burning rubber on the track, contributing racers from teams that come in first, second or third place have a random chance to win a game from your wishlist. For Teams that place in the final, all contributing racers have a chance to win!

In addition to helping your team race to the top of the podium, you can swing by the Grand Prix Pit Stop to exchange tokens you earn for rewards such as emoticons, backgrounds and more at the Grand Prix Pit Stop.

Ubuntu 32-bit Reprieve

A post on BetaNews says Canonical is backtracking on their plans to scrap 32-bit support in Ubuntu. It seems this would mean Valve will be able to continue to support this Linux distro in Steam. Word is:

Thanks to the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community, we will change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

We will put in place a community process to determine which 32-bit packages are needed to support legacy software, and can add to that list post-release if we miss something that is needed.

Community discussions can sometimes take unexpected turns, and this is one of those. The question of support for 32-bit x86 has been raised and seriously discussed in Ubuntu developer and community forums since 2014. That’s how we make decisions.

Ring of Elysium Launches

Ring of Elysium is now available on Steam, following an Early Access run for this first-person battle royale game for Windows. This post has the news along with details on a new event that's now underway:

Ring of Elysium has left Early Access and officially released! Through this 9-month journey, countless passionate players around the world have shown us love, support, and provided us with valuable feedback so we could continue to improve. Our community has helped us tremendously throughout this journey in making ROE into something unique. Today marks a new beginning for Ring of Elysium, and we can't wait to show you what else we have planned. With your help and support, we are excited to see what the future holds!

Here are the full details for this update:

Event: FREE M4A1 Weapon Skin: Stella - INTO THE WILD

  • Introducing the latest FREE weapon skin event: a limited, Stella-themed M4A1!
  • Event period: June 25th to July 1st (Pacific Time)
  • During the event, log-in to get the 14-day free-trial version of the skin immediately
  • You can get 10 points for daily logins and 5 points for completing daily tasks
  • Reach 100 points during the event period to earn the permanent version of the skin for FREE!
  • This weapon skin is limited to this event. After the event, this skin will not be sold in any form. Make sure to not miss this opportunity!

Event: Daily Check-in

  • Daily check-in continues from June 22 to June 28 (Pacific Time), check-in for 7 days and receive 200 E-Points, a "Dynamite" portrait, an "Aurora Studio" accessory, and traversal equipment skins!

Gameplay

  • Based on player feedback, we have disabled the Duo matchmaking mode on AS and EU servers to ensure a smooth matchmaking experience for players

Automachef Cooks Up a Release Date and Demo

Team17 announces a July 23rd release date for Automachef for Windows and Switch. In the meantime, Steam now offers a playable demo for the PC version, providing a sampler menu of this puzzle/management game set in an automated kitchen. This post has the details, including how to check out a livestream of the game that's currently underway as well as a Release Date Trailer. Here's word:

Today we’re very excited to announce that Automachef will be launching on Steam on 23rd July this year!

To mark the occasion we’ve just released a new trailer from your very human friend, Robert Person:

Get ready to take over the world… Of automated kitchens.

Free Demo!
You can try your skill at building an automated kitchen empire RIGHT NOW with the free Steam demo. Dive into two tutorial levels before taking on three early campaign levels here.

Let us know how you get on over in the forums!

Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Video

Official Gameplay Demo (Extended Cut) offers a fuller look at gameplay from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the upcoming Force-powered action game. Here's the description:

Order 66 has been executed. Once, staying alive meant hiding your abilities. Now, you must embrace them. Use the Force to manipulate your environment, master lightsaber combat, explore dangerous terrain, and remain one step ahead of the Empire.

Become a Jedi on November 15, 2019.

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Mesa Xen Gameplay Video

IGN now offers a moment of Zen with about six minutes of gameplay footage from the upcoming Xen chapter from Black Mesa (thanks RedEye9). Word is: "Take a look at the opening six-or-so minutes of Black Mesa: Xen, the brand-new alien dimension campaign for the long-gestating Half-Life 1 fan remake." Also, according to Valve News Network, a beta release for the Xen chapter is "imminent."

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI-ac on Modders-Inc.
  • Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Case on Guru3D.
  • [M] Razer BlackWidow Lite Silent Mechanical Keyboard on Mad Shrimps.
  • Silverstone Primera SST-PM02B-G Mid-Tower Chassis on TweakTown.

Out of the Blue

We are off today to close on the sale of the BlueTower. This brings mixed feelings as we'll miss this place and our friends, though we are not moving so far that we'll be unable to see them. But it also very exciting to start a new chapter, and quite a relief to think we're near the end of what has been a drawn-out and difficult process. Thank you once again for your patience with how this is affecting updates here this week. We will be quite happy when things return to normal.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Stories: Mark Hamill Takes On The Iconic Role Of Chucky In Reboot Of 'Child's Play'. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: Dog has time of his life playing with backyard water hose.
Are you the favourite person of anybody? - Touching Short.
Show Us Your Junk! Ep. 18 - Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth).
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.


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