Archived News:

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 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.

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:

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.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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.
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.
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