In a conversation with nascent games hub Glixel, Uncharted 4 creative director Neil Druckmann talks “fun” and how the notion of making a game “fun” can get in the way of enjoyment. …
Sega is in the process of shifting strategy in its video game business that is starting to yield some success. The company has decided to focus on fewer games and mainstay IP.
In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 continues rake in money. Europeans continue to faithfully purchase Football Manager, which has been a viable franchise for a decade.
Sales were down 5.1 percent to ¥347.98 billion ($ 3.2 billion). Profits climbed out of the red to ¥5.37 billion ($ 49.3 million).
The new fiscal year, which began on April 1, will see the release of the long anticipated Persona 5 from Sega subsidiary Atlus. The company will also be releasing Total War: Warhammer for PC this month. In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 will be arriving on PlayStation 4, though there is still no word from Sega on a Western release.
Western gamers have been clamoring for a Phantasy Star Online 2 release, and given the success in Japan there might be money in it for the publisher. For the coming year though, Persona 5 is the game with the biggest potential in Japan and the West. It’s looking great and the series now has the name recognition to compete in a season that also sees Final Fantasy XV.
Microsoft has canned Project Astoria-an upcoming “Windows Bridge” that would’ve let devs easily port Android games to the Windows Store-to focus its attention on its iOS porting tool. …
Bethesda will be in attendance at GDC to talk a bit more about Fallout 4’s development. The focus will be on how the studio created a number of unique environments in a relatively short amount of time.
The session, titled “Fallout 4’s Modular Level Design,” will feature senior designer Joel Burgess and lead artist Nathan Purkeypile. The two will discuss how modular tools allow them to create complex, varied open worlds.
They’ll also discuss how the process can be applied to smaller teams. GDC will be held in San Francisco from March 14 through 18.
Chinese publisher Gaea Mobile has picked up several games, and will begin running them soon; the San Francisco-based Kabam will focus on Marvel Contest of Champions and other hits. …
The company had veered toward using its IP for pachinko and other gambling products, but plans to change its focus back to video games. …
Back in October, Bungie introduced cosmetic microtransactions to its blockbuster hit, Destiny. That major change was dropped in, leaving some fans confused about what it meant for the game’s second year.
On that same day, Kotaku reported that Bungie and Activision were abandoning the DLC model in favor of the in-game purchases. That meant that mini-expansions like The Dark Below and House of Wolves wouldn’t be repeated in year two.
Two months later, Bungie has now confirmed this. Speaking with Eurogamer, senior designer Derek Carroll spoke plainly about what players can expect.
"With Taken King we are moving to a more event-based model – things like Festival of the Lost and Sparrow racing, which is our winter event, and then smaller events such as Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris every weekend,” Carroll says. "Rather than doing these giant, monolithic DLC packs, this way everybody who's an owner of Taken King can enjoy these things."
He goes on to suggest that instead of the longer lead time promotion, the events, like Sparrow Racing League, are designed as surprises. He also hints (without outright committing) that the same format will be in place for future events. In other words, players will be able to participate for free, but cosmetic items will be sold for real money currency (called silver).
You can read the entire interview at Eurogamer. For more on Destiny, including major balancing changes hitting today, check out our previous coverage.
While it would have been better for Bungie and Activison to pair the microtransaction announcement with the up-side (players won’t be paying for DLC content), there might be some reason behind the timing. While unlikely, there was a chance that the microtransactions might not have been profitable. With those revenues taking the place of fixed-price DLC, the publisher probably wanted to have some evidence of success before committing to the plan.
Update: Microsoft will not be using console shipments as its primary metric for success beginning with this quarter, we have been told. The company is more focused on engagement, leading it to choose Xbox Live usership as its leading statistic.
While that doesn't mean we won't hear about console shipment statistics, it won't be something we should expect to see every quarter. Microsoft also indicates that the 39 million Xbox Live users reported today are more narrowly defined now. We've been told that this metric now reflects users that have logged in within the past month. No differentiation has been made between gold (paying) and silver (free) members.
Original Story (October 22 at 4:29 p.m. Central):
Microsoft has announced the results of its first fiscal quarter for the current year. The company has not revealed how many consoles it shipped, which is a change from past reporting practices.
The company does indicate that total gaming hardware revenue is down year-over-year, attributing the decline to lower sales of Xbox 360. A further breakdown across console types is unavailable. Xbox Live has seen a boom over last year at the same time, though. Usership is up 28 percent to 39 million.
The Xbox group is now reported as part of Microsoft’s personal computing division. With the release of the New Xbox One Experience next month and deeper integration with PC since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft appears to be unifying that category.
Click to enlarge.
Gaming revenue was up 6 percent when adjusted for constant currency. Corporate revenue dropped year-over-year by 12 percent to $ 20.4 billion, with net income up 2 percent to $ 4.6 billion.
We’ve inquired with Microsoft about Xbox One shipments and will update should we receive a response.
This move away from console shipment reporting may be in line with Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s recent statements that the company isn’t as focused on the competitive nature of the sector. I suspect that after the holiday quarter, there might be good news enough to share more specifics, though.
A press release from From Software announced recently that the studio is establishing a new studio in Fukuoka, Japan in October.
According to the release, the studio is being established to work on creating assets and won't radically change From's development trajectory.
From Software has been actively developing video games for various platforms and they will continue to do so. The establishment of the new studio will expand their development capabilities to create globally competitive products.
The Fukuoka studio will focus on creating 3D CG assets for games while working closely with the original studio in Tokyo.
The studio will be established next month and being operating in January 2016.
Dark Souls III is on our cover this month, and as a result we have all kinds of Dark Souls features. You can find them by clicking the banner below
It's unlikely this will negatively impact the work being done on Dark Souls, whatever is next for BloodBorne, or spread the studio thin. It just seems like an atypical way of expanding its workforce. I'm curious if it will be creating 3D CG assets for studios other than for use in From Software's games.
We talk to Tom Francis about what happened when the central mechanic of his game Heat Signature–the mechanic that he named the game after–ceased to be the central mechanic …