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Tuesday, Nov 07, 2017

  

Ubisoft Financials

Ubisoft reports first-half 2017-2018 sales and earnings, showing an upswing they explain thusly: "Group's outperformance once again buoyed by its strategy of extending game experiences and by new high-quality offerings." As for the big numbers, they say: "Gross margin rose to 83.7% of sales and €390.1 million in absolute value terms (compared with 80.5% and €226.4 million in the first six months of 2016-17). Ubisoft ended the first half of 2017-18 with non-IFRS operating income of €3.1 million versus a non-IFRS operating loss of €61.8 million in first-half 2016-17." One interesting element noted by Gamasutra is that for the first time Ubi's microtransactions brought in more revenue than digital game sales alone. The financial news includes word from the boss:

Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We continue to offer players outstanding game experiences with unrivalled variety - ranging from Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle to Assassin's Creed Origins, and including South Park: The Fractured but Whole. In addition to these new releases, players are engaging with a large amount of additional high-quality content which provides them with longer-term entertainment. This includes Blood Orchid, the recent major update to Rainbow Six Siege, and Ghost War, the highly-acclaimed PvP mode for Ghost Recon Wildlands. And it doesn't stop there: in the coming weeks we will notably release Resistance, a massive free update to The Division, and South Park: Phone Destroyer, a free-to-play mobile game. Our commitment to providing high-quality game experiences and supporting them for the long term is driven by the importance we place on our player communities. This winning content strategy drove a 66% surge in our sales for the first half of 2017-18 - largely exceeding our targets - as well as a sharp increase in our earnings."

Guillemot concluded "The quality of our new releases is the result of our effort to transform our model and make our business more profitable and recurring. Given longer development lead times, our talents can fully express their creative visions and therefore maximize the potential of our games. The success of these releases - notably the 100%2 sales growth for Assassin's Creed Origins - combined with solid live operations demonstrate that Ubisoft is ideally positioned to deliver further growth in future fiscal years, both in terms of financial performance and shareholder value."

Take-Two Financials; GTA5 Now All-Time Bestselling Game in U.S.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reports Results for Fiscal Second Quarter 2018. They show growth in GAAP net revenue, but still declare a GAAP net loss. Like for the Ubisoft results, Gamasutra notes the emphasis this places on microtransactions, saying they account for nearly half of the company's net revenue for the quarter. The results also include word that Grand Theft Auto V is now the bestselling videogame in U.S. history: "Grand Theft Auto V has now sold in more than 85 million units. According to The NPD Group, Grand Theft Auto V is now the all-time best-selling video game, both in revenues and units, based on combined U.S. digital and physical sales across PC, console and portable." Here's more on the results:

Net revenue was $443.6 million, as compared to $420.2 million in last year’s fiscal second quarter. Recurrent consumer spending (virtual currency, add-on content and microtransactions) grew 66% year-over-year and accounted for 48% of total net revenue. The largest contributors to net revenue in fiscal second quarter 2018 were NBA® 2K17, Grand Theft Auto® Online and Grand Theft Auto V, WWE® SuperCard and WWE 2K17, and XCOM® 2.

Digitally-delivered net revenue grew 31% to $302.9 million, as compared to $230.8 million in last year’s fiscal second quarter, and accounted for 68% of total net revenue. The largest contributors to digitally-delivered net revenue in fiscal second quarter 2018 were NBA 2K17, Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, XCOM 2, and WWE SuperCard.

Net loss was $2.7 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, as compared to net income of $36.4 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, for the comparable period last year.

Mass Effect N7 Day

The Mass Effect website celebrates N7 Day, thanking fans for their support for the Mass Effect franchise, which turns 10 years old on November 20th. They offer a Ten Years of Mass Effect video with a look back, along with some celebratory artwork, giveaways, a giant image collage, and a livestream schedule. They note that they "can’t wait to see what the future holds" for the series, though they only had vague thoughts on that future following the end of single-player support for Mass Effect Andromeda and the absorption of developer BioWare Montreal into EA Motive. Here's word:

This year marks 10 years since the release of Mass Effect. In that time, we’ve made friends, fallen in love, and traveled to new galaxies.

We’ve watched our community grow, as all of you shared your love of this universe, wore your N7 with pride, and told us stories about your Shepard and Ryder.

This N7 day, we’re celebrating how far we’ve all come together, and looking back on a decade of Mass Effect.

Thank you for coming with us to the stars and beyond. It’s been a hell of a ride. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Continue here to read the full story.

PUBG Sells 20M

Quickly following news that Fortnite's free battle royale mode has surpassed 20 million users comes a tweet from PLAYERUNKNOWN saying that PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS has now passed 20 million sales (thanks Eurogamer). He promises they are still working hard on improving everyone's experience:

.@PUBATTLEGROUNDS reached an amazing milestone this weekend, passing 20 million copies sold!

I know a lot of you are frustrated by issues w/ the game but the team is working hard to deliver a truly great Battle Royale expierence for everyone. Bear with us, change is coming!

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode 5 Released

Telltale announces the release of Don't Stop Believin', episode five from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Here's a review from a top critic: "I am Groot!" So there's that. Here's a trailer from the new episode, and here's word:

In the aftermath of an unbearable sacrifice, the Guardians finally fracture. With her opposition in shambles, Hala renews her campaign of death and devastation, carving a path of indiscriminate destruction en route to Knowhere. If he hopes to avoid catastrophe (and save his own skin), Star-Lord must search his feelings, reunite his team, and mount one final mission to save the galaxy...again.

Continue here to read the full story.

Telltale Layoffs

Speaking of Telltale, Polygon has the unfortunate news that the studio is laying off 90 staff, approximately 25% of its workforce. They have an official statement covering the news:

In a statement, Telltale said the decision to lay off staff is design to make the company “more competitive as a developer and publisher of groundbreaking story-driven gaming experiences with an emphasis on high quality in the years ahead.”

“Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years,” Telltale Games CEO Pete Hawley said in a statement. “The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team.”

The restructuring is “not expected to impact the release of any of the company’s previously announced projects,” Telltale said.

Hand of Fate 2 Dealt

Hand of Fate 2 is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering a sequel to this virtual card game. You can pick this up on GOG.com and Steam, and each store is offering a launch deal. Here's a trailer, and here's a bit:

Hand of Fate 2 is a dungeon crawler set in a world of dark fantasy. Master a living boardgame where every stage of the adventure is drawn from a deck of legendary encounters chosen by you! Choose wisely - your opponent, the enigmatic Dealer, will pull no punches as he shapes you into the instrument of his revenge.

The table has changed, but the stakes remain the same: life or death!

  • A world transformed - 100 years have passed since the Dealer was usurped and the Game of Life and Death gained a new master.
  • 22 exciting new challenges that will push your deck-building skills to the limit - Hunt fiendish assassins, reunite star-crossed lovers or build up a fortress to withstand a raider assault!
  • Enlist the aid of all new companion characters - team up with them in battle, or have them bend the rules of the boardgame in your favor!
  • Hundreds of new encounters, artifacts and items to earn and upgrade.
  • Enhanced action-RPG combat - shred foes with quick dual-wielded daggers or brutalize them with heavy two-handed hammers. Build up your combo meter to unleash powerful special attacks!
  • Engage new foes united by all-new card suits - Cross swords with disciplined Imperial soldiers, purge corrupted mutants and fend off northern raiders.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

HITMAN: Game of the Year Edition

IO Interactive announces the release of the HITMAN: Game of the Year Edition, which collects the entirety of the recent episodic installment in the assassin-for-hire series. Here's the trailer, and here's an outline of the contents to hopefully justify the game's AAA+ price point of $61.51 USD:

We are super excited to announce HITMAN – Game of the Year Edition!

This awesome package includes The Complete First Season, the brand new 'Patient Zero' campaign, new Escalation Contracts, new weapons, new suits, new challenges, improvements to existing features and new lighting enhancements to all locations that make the game look better than ever - plus we have a few more surprises!

HITMAN - Game of the Year Edition will be released digitally on November 7th 2017 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here's a full rundown of what's included:

  • HITMAN The Complete First Season
  • New: 'Patient Zero' Campaign
  • New: Clown Suit and themed weapon
  • New: Raven Suit and themed weapon
  • New: Cowboy Suit and themed weapon
  • New: 3 themed Escalation Contracts

The full details on all of this content can be found on our detailed blog post right here:
http://www.ioi.dk/hitman-goty-edition-announcement/

Continue here to read the full story.

Nioh: Complete Edition Launched

Nioh: Complete Edition is now available on Steam, offering the promised Windows edition of this action game. We looked for any indication that they've added mouse support, but there are none. The reviews do note that it's not obvious how to access the launcher, but that this is how to enable higher resolutions. Here's a rundown on the game:

Ready to die? Experience the newest brutal action game from Team NINJA and Koei Tecmo Games. In the age of samurai, a lone traveler lands on the shores of Japan. He must fight his way through the vicious warriors and supernatural Yokai that infest the land in order to find that which he seeks.

The Complete Edition contains the full game, as well as the three expansions with additional story chapters: Dragon of the North, Defiant Honor, and Bloodshed's End.

Dragon of the North
This expansion opens up the Tohoku region, where the "one-eyed dragon" Date Masamune is secretly gathering spirit stones.

Defiant Honor
Fight your way through the Siege of Osaka's winter campaign as you follow the story of one of Japan's greatest generals from the Warring States period, the brave Sanada Yukimura.

Bloodshed's End
Join the summer campaign of the Siege of Osaka as the Warring States period draws to a close in this, the final chapter of William's tale.

Steam Exclusive Bonus
Enjoy wearing the "Dharmachakra Kabuto," a helmet exclusive to the Steam version of Nioh! You can claim yours by selecting "Boons" from a shrine.

MU Legend Open Beta

MU Legend is now in open beta testing, offering the chance to check out this Korean action MMORPG based on the action/RPG MU Online. Yes, those titles seem reverse. Here's the open beta trailer, and here are some details:

MU Legend is the highly anticipated action MMO and follow-up to MU Online. It features fluid and stunning hack 'n' slash combat, content that caters to both solo and party play, and a deep and intriguing world that will satisfy new players and fans alike. Players can choose from four distinct classes - Dark Lord, Whisperer, Blader and War Mage - and engage in the endless battle between the world of MU and Pandemonium. MU Legend offers spectacular visuals that will run on lower-end systems and boasts detailed art design with stunning effects.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

It's election day here in the U.S., one of those off-year deals that do not involve the federal government. The big deal this year are two gubernatorial races, but there's an old saying made famous by Tip O'Neill "that all politics is local." I'm not sure actually refers to voting in local elections, but that's the sentiment that's carrying me to the polls today.

Elected Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Open Restaurant.
Blockies.
Links: There's A Petition For Kevin James To Replace Kevin Spacey On 'House Of Cards' & It Sounds Like A Brilliant Plan.
Tiffany's offers a tin can for $1,000.
Stories: Westworld season 2 to premiere Spring 2018, star says.
Is Landscaping Drama at the Root of Rand Paul’s Assault?
Science: Here's One Reason Flu Vaccines Are So Lousy: They're Grown in Eggs.
Nanotextured glass becomes "invisible."
If you enjoy sleeping at night instead of the day, thank the dinosaurs for going extinct.
Media: Unboxing a $500 LED... Thanks RedEye9.
Eight ways to stop dangerous cars.
Follow Your Wildest Dreams. Especially if they involve being naked in Best Buy.
Auction: Original Robby the Robot suit up for auction.
The Funnies: Nectar of the Gods.

Monday, Nov 06, 2017

Get Watch_Dogs for Free

Ubisoft is offering the chance to get a free copy of the original Watch_Dogs for PC through UPlay beginning tomorrow at 11:00 am EST. A tweet earlier today acknowledges an issue redeeming this offer and preloading the game, but a subsequent tweet says this is cleared up now, so if you had trouble with this before, you should try again. This offer will run until November 13th, but you will be entitled to keep the game thereafter.

Injustice 2 Online Beta Opens

Steam is now offering free access, as promised, to the Injustice 2 Online Beta, an open beta test of this brawler featuring DC Comics superheroes. The game officially launches on November 14th, and the beta will run between now and November 10th, featuring one-on-one matches only. Here are the details:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced that the top-selling videogame Injustice 2 is coming to PC (Steam and Microsoft Store) Nov. 14. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, Injustice 2 is being adapted for PC by QLOC and beginning today fans will be able to participate in an open beta that will be available on Steam. For the first time, PC players will be able to experience the super-powered hit game featuring Justice League characters Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, as well as other iconic DC characters such as Harley Quinn and Green Arrow.

Developed by the award-winning NetherRealm Studios, Injustice 2 features a massive roster of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains and allows players to build and power up the ultimate version of their favorite DC characters. Players can fight their way across an epic Story Mode, ever-changing Multiverse and online multiplayer guilds - all while earning rare and valuable gear to fully customize their characters. The game is currently available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Death Coming Early Access

Death Coming is now available for Windows on Steam, offering a non-linear puzzle game with a throwback pixel art style where you get to play as the grim reaper. This trailer shows off that art as well as gameplay, which sadly does not involve challenging death to a chess, Battleship, Clue, Electric Football, or even Twister. Here's what it does actually entail:

Death Coming, the newest title from NEXT Studio, is now released on Early Access. The pixel-based puzzler lets players spend a day deep in Death's work and collecting souls for the afterlife through environmental manipulation. With a splatter of violence and a ton of comedy, Death Coming is wacky (if slightly morbid) fun.

As a recently deceased fellow, you've been given the new job of Grim Reaper. While you can't personally interfere with humans, your powers extend into the environment. With a touch of ghostly power, you can open manholes, drop air conditioners, and mess with beehives to bring souls to the Afterlife.

Be careful though, Angels don't want you messing with the order of the world and will gladly penalize you if they catch you. If you want to take out your targets, you'll need to know your environment, follow the schedules of your targets, and to make sure the deed is away from the watchful eyes of the Agents of Light.
Even with your new task, you can't help but wonder: Why were you chosen? Why are Angels preventing your task? Will you get a second chance at life if you play along? You might have powers other humans may dream of, but you will need to find out these answers yourself.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Mac Overwatch Follow-up

A post on Gadgets360.com has more on the possibility of Overwatch coming to macOS. This comes from a conversation during BlizzCon, though it does not seem to be a direct response to the rumor of a Mac installer for Blizzard's multiplayer shooter (thanks Mac Gamer HQ). They were chatting with Blizzard's Tim Ford, Lead Engineer for Gameplay Systems on Overwatch, and they coincidentally asked him why Overwatch isn't on Mac like most Blizzard titles. Here's word:

“We have no plans of giving this game on the Mac," says Ford. "There are several technology decisions that Apple has made that has made it a little difficult for us to release Overwatch in the way we want it to be consumed, and that is why we haven't pursued it."

Steam Win10 Usage Dips; Win7 Surges

Beta News notes an interesting tidbit picked up from the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey (thanks [H]ardOCP), showing Windows 7 usage surging at the expense of Windows 10. They also seem to have zeroed in on the cause of this shift, noting a large uptick in Chinese users on Steam which seems to correlate pretty closely with the OS change. Here's word:

The latest stats from Steam show Windows 10 shedding a massive 17.38 percentage points, to give it 28.6 percent share. (The 64-bit version accounts for 28.23 percent, and the 32-bit version adds a tiny 0.37 percent).

Meanwhile, Windows 7 has gained a whopping 21.47 percentage points in the same month, climbing to 65.46 percent (63.60 percent for the 64-bit build, and 1.86 percent for the 32-bit edition).

You could be forgiven for thinking that Steam has made a mistake here, or that gamers are turning their backs on Windows 10 in huge numbers, but it seems likely that at least a sizable portion of the change can be attributed to China's influence.

According to the Language section of Steam’s survey, Simplified Chinese surged 26.83 percentage points to 56.37 percent in October, while English fell 13.40 percentage points to 21.24 percent. It seems reasonable, therefore, to assume that Chinese gamers running Windows 7 are responsible for much of the shift we’re seeing here. There's no official word from Steam on this yet.

Call of Duty: WWII Assaults U.K. Sales Charts

GfK Chart-Track is back with their weekly charts detailing game sales in the U.K. for last week. Call of Duty: WWII lands at number one on the PC top 30 chart and the all-platforms top 40. Their write-up highlights the success of Call of Duty: WWII versus its predecessor, Infinite Warfare. Word is: "Week 1 sales of ‘WWII’ are significantly higher than ‘IW’, in fact some 57% higher in units and 21% higher in revenue (last year sales on Legacy / Legacy Pro editions were substantial, which is why overall ASP last year was significantly higher). Ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ drops from a debut at No1 to No2 this week, followed at No3 by EA’s ‘FIFA 18’. Nintendo drop 2 places to No4 with Switch ‘Super Mario Odyssey’ and Sony’s PS4 ‘Gran Turismo Sport’ remains at No5. The only other new entry within the Top 40 is Focus Home Interactive’s ‘Spintires: Mudrunner’ debuting at No24 for PS4, Xbox One and PC." The top 10 from PC chart follows:

LW TW Title Developer Label Publisher
- * 1 CALL OF DUTY: WWII SLEDGEHAMMER GAMES ACTIVISION ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
4 ˄ 2 THE SIMS 4 THE SIMS STUDIO EA GAMES ELECTRONIC ARTS
2 ˅ 3 WOLFENSTEIN II: THE NEW COLOSSUS MACHINEGAMES BETHESDA SOFTWORKS BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
1 ˅ 4 DESTINY 2 BUNGIE ACTIVISION ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
7 ˄ 5 FARMING SIMULATOR 17 GIANTS SOFTWARE FOCUS HOME INTERACTIVE FOCUS HOME INTERACTIVE
3 ˅ 6 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2017 SPORTS INTERACTIVE SEGA SEGA
9 ˄ 7 TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II CREATIVE ASSEMBLY SEGA SEGA
6 ˅ 8 OVERWATCH GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
5 ˅ 9 THE EVIL WITHIN 2 TANGO GAMEWORKS BETHESDA SOFTWORKS BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
17 ˄ 10 THE SIMS 4 GET TO WORK THE SIMS STUDIO EA GAMES ELECTRONIC ARTS

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • AORUS Z370 Ultra Gaming Motherboard on ThinkComputers.org.
  • ASUS ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming Motherboard on Tech ARP.
  • Coffee Lake Z370 Mini-ITX Motherboard roundup on ocaholic.
  • Cooler Master MasterAir MA610P Cooler on Modders-Inc.
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum 32GB Special Edition Torque DDR4 Memory on Mad Shrimps.
  • Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 Mouse on APH Networks.
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GAMING Graphics Card on TweakTown.
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition Graphics Card on Overclockers Club.
  • Thinksound TS03+mic HD In-Ear Headphones on Nikk Tech.
  • ViewSonic XG2703-GS QHD G-Sync Monitor on VGU.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Watching sports over the years teaches one to not have kneejerk reactions to trends too early, whether things are going well or poorly. With things going so far south for the NY Giants I have to admit I am not able to follow that principle, and I am jerking knees all over the place. There are some fans going along with the idea that this is on Eli Manning, but I'm having none of that. From my point of view, which is not unique, GM Jerry Reese has had way too many misses after the earliest rounds in the draft to keep his job. Perhaps if his offseason plan to rebuild the offensive line by talking about how hard our god-awful tackles were working on improvement had worked out I'd feel differently, but that's worked out about as well as one (other than Jerry Reese) would expect. I'm pretty much completely done with Coach McAdoo too. He earned some benefit of the doubt last season that would normally have me holding off judgment, but he has recently had to suspend our best cornerback just a couple of weeks after suspending our second-best cornerback, which sounds way too much like someone who has lost control of his team. Sad days in Giants country. I don't generally relish being proven wrong, but I can only hope things turn around rapidly and I have to eat all these words.

Kneejerk Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Death Car.
Story: Hate Daylight Saving Time? Massachusetts and Maine Are Leading a Charge to Ditch It. Thanks [H]ardOCP.
Media: id Software - Answering machine - June 1992. Thanks reddit.
Sharks Attack Submarine - Blue Planet II Behind The Scenes.
Here's What It's Like To Drive A Formula 1 Car.



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