Archived News:

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021

Fallout 4 DLC Lawsuit

VentureBeat has details on a class action lawsuit Bethesda is facing over the lifetime Season Pass for Fallout 4. In 2015 Bethesda offered the pass for $30 to entitle purchasers to all the DLC ever made for the game: "To reward our most loyal fans, this time we’ll be offering a Season Pass that will get you all of the Fallout 4 DLC we ever do for just $30." Then a couple of years later they began offering the Fallout 4 Creation Club, which offered new premium content not available through the previous season pass. Hence the lawsuit. Here's more on what's going on:
The lawsuit charges Bethesda with breach of contract, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel (breaking a promise, even in the absence of a legal contract), deceit or fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, tort arising out of breach of contract, breach of express warranty, and violation of Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act.

Margaret Esquenet, a counsel for Bethesda, filed an answer to the lawsuit, denying most of the legal claims. We’ve asked for additional comment. On its face, Bethesda’s defense is that the new content wasn’t DLC. The company itself was one of the pioneers of selling DLC, which goes back to the mid-2000s. It includes content that is developed as an addition to a game, released either with the game or after it comes out.

Paradox Interactive Financials

An Year-end Report 2020 from Paradox Interactive has the latest financials from the publisher/developer. Word is: "2020 was the best year in Paradox’s history, with strong growth in revenue, profits and players. Our established brands continue to develop and grow with new players and new content, and the successful launch of Crusader Kings III in the third quarter gave us a further boost." Here are some numbers:
Fourth quarter 2020

  • Revenues amounted to MSEK 433.7 (MSEK 381.3), an increase by 14 % compared to the same period last year.
  • Operating profit amounted to MSEK 79.5 (MSEK 163.5), a decrease by 51 %.
  • Profit after financial items amounted to MSEK 78.6 (MSEK 156.7), and profit after tax amounted to MSEK 59.5 (MSEK 130.5).
  • Cash flow from operating activities amounted to MSEK 387.1 (MSEK 265.4), and cash flow from investing activities amounted to MSEK -207.3 (MSEK -135.4).
  • By the end of the period cash amounted to MSEK 767.6 (MSEK 554.2).
  • Earnings per share amounted to SEK 0.56 (1.24) after dilution.
  • Revenues in the quarter are mainly attributable to Cities: Skylines, Crusader Kings III, Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron IV and Stellaris.

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January 2021 Digital Games Market Analysis

SuperData now offers January 2021 worldwide digital games market analysis, saying earnings were up by 15% compared with January 2020. Other points of interest are a rebound in player count and earnings in Valorant over the prior month due to new content, a drop-off in World of Warcraft player counts as Shadowlands mania subsides, and how sales of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC and now outstripping the console versions. Here are all the data:
Worldwide digital games earnings rose by 15% year-over-year to reach $11.6B in January 2021. Revenue was up annually across all device types. Mobile revenue grew by 6%. During the time period, PC earnings rose by 31% and console revenue increased by 24%. While January marks yet another month of revenue growth above 10%, it is one of the last months where year-over-year comparisons to game revenues before COVID-19 will be available.

Top Grossing Titles by Category
Worldwide, ranked by January 2021 earnings
PC CONSOLE MOBILE
1 Dungeon Fighter Online Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Free Fire
2 League of Legends NBA 2K21 Pokémon GO
3 Crossfire Grand Theft Auto V Peacekeeper Elite
4 Fantasy Westward Journey Online FIFA 21 Honor of Kings
5 World of Warcraft West Fortnite Candy Crush Saga
6 Valorant Apex Legends Coin Master
7 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 Roblox
8 Roblox Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Homescapes
9 World of Tanks Assassin's Creed Valhalla Last Shelter: Survival
10 Fortnite Genshin Impact Gardenscapes
Source: SuperData Arcade. Please visit http://bit.ly/sdarcade for more info.
© 2021 SuperData. A Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved
SUPERDATA
A NIELSEN COMPANY

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Anno 1800 DLC, Free Weekend Inbound

New Docklands DLC is now available on the Epic Games Store for Anno 1800, kicking off Season 3 in Ubisoft's historical strategy game. This is also available as part of a Season 3 pass. Alongside the DLC comes Game Update #10 for the base game, and you can read all about that in the patch notes. To celebrate the occasion, they plan on making the base game free to try all weekend starting on Thursday. Here's the Docklands Launch Trailer, and here's what to expect from the DLC and the new patch:
Starting today, Anno 1800 players can build in Docklands, the first DLC of Anno 1800’s third season. Players will be able to build a modular warehouse district starting with the main building inspired by the world-famous “Speicherstadt,” the world’s largest warehouse district and an UNESCO World Heritage site in Hamburg, Germany. Each added module comes with a different effect, including increased loading speed or faster repair times. Docklands can integrate naturally into every game session, giving players more options for individualization and ways to reach certain goals easier.

Alongside the first DLC of Season 3, Anno 1800 is releasing a free Game Update #10 for all players, containing:

  • Improvements to the trade route menu
  • Possibility to turn harbor quays into streets to connect buildings
  • Cosmetic DLC ornaments to improve a city’s attractivity

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone Battle Pass Details

The update of the day on Season Two for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone covers the Battle Pass. Word is: "Get to know all 100 Tiers of the Season Two Battle Pass System, including the two free weapons, new Operator Naga, and the first Reactive Weapon Blueprint. Also: a look at the first week of Store Bundles and the debut of Samantha Maxis as a playable Operator." Here's a Season Two Battle Pass Trailer and here are selected highlights:
Season Two Battle Pass highlights include:

  • A new Operator - Naga
  • Park Operator Skin and Mission
  • Wellington Safari Watch
  • Seasonal XP Boost
  • New Free Base Weapons - the FARA 83 Assault Rifle (Tier 15) and LC10 SMG (Tier 31)
  • New skins for Operators and "Tactical Roll" Finishing Move
  • Three Free War Track Packs
  • New Weapon Blueprints

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Curse of the Dead Gods Graduates from Early Access

Curse of the Dead Gods is now out of Early Acces and officially available for Windows and consoles. You can get the PC edition from the Epic Games Store. Here's a Launch Trailer for this action/roguelite from developer Passtech Games and publisher Focus Home Interactive. Here's more on the launch:
A year of early access and incredible feedback from the community resulted in a massive amount of new content and features available today in Curse of the Dead Gods on all platforms, including a brand-new final thrilling encounter and more. Players will discover hours upon hours of adventuring within a variety of game modes boasting hundreds of combinations of items, relics and curses.

And now is the perfect time to jump in! For a limited time, Curse of the Dead Gods is available for 10% off on all platforms. What’s more, PC players can grab the Curse of the Dead Gods original soundtrack now on Steam and the Epic Games Store as either standalone content or bundled with the game at an additional discount.
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From Rust Becomes Wastenauts; Playtest and Kickstarter Next Month

Developer Razbury Games announces Wastenauts is the new title for their upcoming collectible card game formerly known as From Rust. This means the title will no longer be confused with Rust, Facepunch Studios' survival game. Of course it's still possible to mix this up with the Wasteland series, but we won't waste any more time speculating about that. They also announce plans to kick off a Wastenauts Kickstarter at the end of next month, and say they are offering signups on Steam for those interested in an alpha playtest that will begin on March 23rd. A new Wastenauts Website is online, offering a new Announcement Trailer. Here's more on the game:
In Wastenauts, robots have taken over Earth, and humanity has been forced to flee to city-ships hovering just above the surface. Players take on the role of Divers, mercenaries hired to parachute down to the surface and gather resources for the floating cities. Once there, they have a limited amount of time to grab what they can and head back to the sky.

While hunting for salvage, players can make use of a library of ability cards, craft gear to gain the upper hand, and augment their attacks in dozens of different ways. Along the way they’ll find mechs, hostile scavengers, and other baddies in the deck to fight. Coordination, strategy, and using the right tools is the only way to make it to the end of the deck.
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etc., etc.

Bloodlines 2 Delayed Again; Developer Removed

A Development Update on the Bloodlines 2 Website reveals another delay to Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. Paradox Interactive also announces they are removing Hardsuit Labs from the project, which will continue on with a new developer. They cannot project a new release date, so they are no longer accepting preorders for the game. At this point, it almost seems like Bloodlines 2 is cursed, as it's already suffered a couple of delays, the removal of writer Chris Avellone following a scandal, and a previous shakeup of the development team. The latest delay is not a complete surprise, as it was foreshadowed in December. Perhaps the whole franchise is jinxed, as Troika, developer of the original Bloodlines, closed down before the game was even released. Here is the latest news:
As you have noticed, we’ve been keeping pretty quiet for a while. With this in mind, the first piece of news we have for you is to confirm that Bloodlines 2 is still in development.

Secondly, we have made the hard decision that Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading the development of Bloodlines 2 - which also means that we will not be releasing in 2021 as previously planned. Since we cannot at this time communicate a new release date, we've also decided to stop accepting pre-orders for the time being.

This game is very important to us and it has been an ambitious project from the very start. In order to meet our goals for it, we’ve come to the conclusion that a change is needed and, as a result, more development time is required.
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Journey to an Unsupported Planet

A post on Reddit details how Journey to the Savage Planet users are now stranded on that Savage Planet without proper support (thanks Kxmode). The game's developer, Typhoon Studios, was acquired by Google Stadia in 2019. According to Kotaku, all of Typhoon was subsequently let go as a consequence of Google ending internal game development. The Stadia version of Journey to the Savage Planet is apparently riddled with bugs and technical issues. A user who reached out to Google for help was told to contact 505 Games, the original publisher of the title. 505 informed that user that Google is actually the game's publisher on Stadia, and is also the owner of the game's source code. So at this point the situation surrounding the game is a pile of hot garbage, to borrow the title of the game's DLC. All may not be lost, as a tweet from Stadia says they are working on a fix (thanks 9to5Google). Oddly they still refer to their "partner publisher," which should be them:
Thanks for the details. We're aware of this and our team is diligently working with our partner publisher on a fix. We'd suggest keeping an eye on our social channels for updates. We appreciate your patience!

PC Getting Days Gone and More PlayStation Games

Sony tweets that Days Gone will be coming to PC this spring, offering a new way to play this survival game. There's an interview with PlayStation’s Jim Ryan on British GQ (thanks Gematsu) saying this will be followed by more PlayStation games:
Fair enough. So releasing PlayStation games on PC was something that Sony PlayStation held back on for a long time. Now it sounds like you’re very much on that bandwagon. What changed?
I think a few things changed. We find ourselves now in early 2021 with our development studios and the games that they make in better shape than they’ve ever been before. Particularly from the latter half of the PS4 cycle our studios made some wonderful, great games. There’s an opportunity to expose those great games to a wider audience and recognise the economics of game development, which are not always straightforward. The cost of making games goes up with each cycle, as the calibre of the IP has improved. Also, our ease of making it available to non-console owners has grown. So it’s a fairly straightforward decision for us to make.

This is following on from your publishing Horizon Zero Dawn on PC in August last year. How did that go?
We assessed the exercise in two ways. Firstly, in terms of the straightforward success of the activity of publishing the game on PC, people liked it and they bought it. We also looked at it through the lens of what the PlayStation community thought about it. There was no massive adverse reaction to it. So we will continue to take mission steps in this direction.

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new version 21.2.3 Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition Drivers for AMD graphics cards running under Windows. These fix a couple of issues and offer support for the new DIRT 5 Energy Content Pack:
Support For

  • DIRT 5™ Energy Content Pack

Fixed Issues

  • HDMI Audio Devices may fail to install on Radeon RX 400 and Radeon RX 500 series graphics products.
  • Hot plugging HDMI TV displays in multi monitor system configurations may sometimes cause a system crash or hang.
  • An application crash or hang may occur in Substance Painter™ on Radeon RX 6000 series graphics products.
  • A system crash or hang may occur on the HP Reverb G2™ when connected to Radeon RX 6900 series graphics products.
  • Radeon Software may sometimes fail to gather the latest available Radeon Software versions when performing or checking for updates.

Persona 5 Strikers Strikes

Persona 5 Strikers is now available for Windows and consoles, offering an action/RPG that mashes up Persona 5 with the Dynasty Warriors series. You can find the PC edition on Steam where there is also a Digital Deluxe Edition which includes additional content. Here's the striking Launch Trailer and a description:
Persona 5 Strikers takes players on an epic road trip with the Phantom Thieves, where they strike back against the corruption overwhelming cities across Japan. A summer vacation with close friends takes a sudden turn as a distorted reality emerges; reveal the truth and redeem the hearts of those imprisoned at the center of the crisis!

New story and sights - Persona 5 Strikers features a deep story campaign and thrilling combat that makes for a true Persona experience. Visit 6 different cities across Japan, cook tantalizing regional recipes, and lend a helping hand to those in need; then fight against the Shadows to uncover the source of the corruption within the Metaverse dungeons. Jump into the story whether you are a newcomer to the series or a longtime fan!
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Two Point Hospital: A Stitch in Time Released

Two Point Hospital: A Stitch in Time is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam, offering a new expansion for the madcap medical game. This offers the chance to go back to the future and forward to the past, as shown in the Launch Trailer. Here's word on this voyage through the fourth dimension:
Two Point Hospital: A Stitch in Time offers players a fourth dimension of simulation gameplay, with new challenges and even more unusual illnesses. Step into The Yesterizer and visit three new locations set in medieval, pre-historic and futuristic time periods, while curing 34 anachronistic ailments, such as Jester Infection, Bone Head and Reptile Dysfunction. Decorate your hospitals with items from across the ages, like the much-desired Wormhole Bin or the Map of Time, which might come in handy...or not.

A Stitch in Time opens by taking players to the Medieval town of Clockwise, plagued by ruptures in space and time, where patients have started (dis)appearing out of mysterious holes in the ground. Could those holes be portals to past? In the second level, the search for the missing patients leads to a forgotten age, to the dawn of all civilization, the pre-historic era. Awkwardly, there aren't any time portals in this era to send patients back to the future. The final level brings players to a futuristic city, built high above the uninhabitable earth below. The Future is now overflowing with patients from all different time periods. Maybe Captain Yesterday can help send them home, preferably in one piece.
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Rainbow Six Siege Getting NVIDIA Reflex Support

NVIDIA announces the upcoming implementation of NVIDIA Reflex in Rainbow Six Siege, making Ubisoft's tactical shooter the next addition to the list of products that support this latency reduction technology. They also announce DLSS support for Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. This can improve framerates by up to 58% and 50% respectively. Word is Reflex support for Rainbow Six Siege will be available via the test server later today:
Rainbow Six Siege players with a GeForce 10 Series GPU and newer can now download the public test server, run the Vulkan version, and try out NVIDIA Reflex before it comes to the main game. Just go to the display options menu and enable NVIDIA Reflex Low Latency.

Being a fraction of a second late on the trigger is the difference between winning or losing the engagement, so reducing system latency can be a huge boon for Rainbow Six Siege players. With NVIDIA Reflex, system latency is significantly reduced, making it easier to target enemies and improve your pc’s responsiveness.

BANDAI NAMCO Takes Limbic Stake

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe announces the acquisition of a minority stake in Limbic Entertainment. Word is the deal was actually struck at the end of last year:
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe (BNEE) today announced the acquisition of a minority stake in German development studio Limbic Entertainment effective December 30, 2020. This news follows the acquisition of Reflector Entertainment in September 2020.

In order to achieve one of its key priorities of creating and owning more IPs, BNEE announced that it has acquired a minority stake in German developer Limbic Entertainment. The studio, comprised of more than 80 employees, will leverage its expertise working on titles such as Tropico 6, Memories of Mars, and the Heroes of Might & Magic brand to develop two brand new franchises for BNEE.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

The last few snowfalls around here have all been lighter than expected after the dramatic storm that buried us in a couple of feet of snow a couple of weeks ago. But no matter how little snow they leave behind, the crew has dutifully shown up to clear the parking lot. It's a pretty crazy process, as they come and start plowing the middle of the lot and blaring on the horn to notify us to move our cars so they can plow that area as well. They work so fast that I have to rush like crazy to get out of their way. The good news is the whole process usually lasts less than 10-15 minutes, but it's enough of an adrenaline rush trying to get out of their way that I can probably start skipping my coffee on snowy mornings.

Plowed-out Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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