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Battlefield 1 Leads Mafia III, Gears Of War 4, And Titanfall 2 On October’s NPD Rankings

This year is all about shooters, so it's no surprise that three of last month's best-selling games fall under the genre. Mafia III is also ranked very high, while the previous month's sports games continue to sell well. It's surprising to see Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim back on the list, considering its recent current-gen console re-release, but considering the game's long-term popularity, it really shouldn't be.

1. Battlefield 1
2. Mafia III
3. Gears of War 4
4. FIFA 17
5. NBA 2K17
6. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
7. WWE 2K17
8. Civilization VI
9. Titanfall 2
10. Madden NFL 17

Other highlights from the NPD report for October include growth in hardware and accessories spending since last year, which NPD attributes directly to the quality of the games seen above. Software sales saw a huge jump with a 36% increase over last year.

The Xbox One continued its streak as the strongest selling home console in October, but the 3DS also had a strong month showing continual growth for five months straight. NPD contributes this growth to the upcoming release of Pokémon Sun & Moon and Monster Hunter: Generations.

For September's NPD numbers head here.

 

Our Take
I'm happy to see Titanfall 2 on this list. It's a huge game with lots of marketing muscle, but is the underdog when compared to Gears of War 4, Battlefield 1, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (which is not on this list because it released in November). It's campaign is really good – one of my favorite shooter campaigns in years – and I am rooting for its success.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Uncharted 4 Leads The Pack For 2016 “The Game Awards” Nominations

With 2016 coming to a close soon, we've officially entered awards season. Today Geoff Keighley's organization announced the nominees for The Game Awards, the online offshoot of the now defunct Spike VGAs. 

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End currently sits in pole position for the awards, with a crowd-leading eight nominations. Blockbuster shooter Overwatch and two indie darlings, Inside and Firewatch, tied for second with five nominations apiece. You can see the entire list below:

GAME OF THE YEAR
For a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.

DOOM (id Software/Bethesda)
Inside (Playdead)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Titanfall 2 (Respawn/Electronic Arts)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

BEST GAME DIRECTION 
Recognizing a game studio for outstanding creative vision, game direction and design.

Blizzard (for Overwatch)
DICE (for Battlefield 1)
id Software (for DOOM)
Naughty Dog (for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)
Respawn (for Titanfall 2)

BEST NARRATIVE
For outstanding storytelling and narrative development in a game.

Firewatch (Campo Santo)
Inside (Playdead)
Mafia III (Hangar 13/2K)
Oxenfree (Night School Studio)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/SIE)

BEST ART DIRECTION
For outstanding creative and technical achievement in artistic design and animation.

Abzu (Giant Squid/505)
Firewatch (Campo Santo)
Inside (Playdead)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/SIE)

BEST MUSIC/SOUND DESIGN
For outstanding audio, inclusive of score, original song, licensed soundtrack and sound design.

Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
DOOM (id/Bethesda)
Inside (Playdead)
Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)
Thumper (Drool)

BEST PERFORMANCE
Awarded to an individual for voice-over acting, motion and/or performance capture.

Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay, Mafia III
Cissy Jones as Delilah, Firewatch
Emily Rose as Elena, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Nolan North as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Rich Summer as Henry, Firewatch
Troy Baker as Sam Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

GAMES FOR IMPACT
Honoring exemplary games that take on real-world issues and advocate for social change.

1979 Revolution (iNK Stories)
Block’hood (Plethora Project/Devolver Digital)
Orwell (Osmotic Studios/Surprise Attack)
Sea Hero Quest (Glitchers)
That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games)

BEST INDEPENDENT GAME
For outstanding achievement in a game made outside the traditional publisher system.

Firewatch (Campo Santo)
Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
Inside (Playdead)
Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games)
The Witness (Thelka, Inc.)

BEST MOBILE/HANDHELD
For the best game playable on mobile phones and dedicated gaming handhelds.

Clash Royale (Supercell)
Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)
Monster Hunter Generations (Capcom)
Pokemon Go (Niantic)
Severed (DrinkBox Studios)

BEST VR GAME
For the best game experience playable in virtual reality.

Batman: Arkham VR (Rocksteady Studios/WBIE)
EVE: Valkyrie (CCP Games)
Job Simulator (Owlchemy Labs)
Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)
Thumper (Drool)

BEST ACTION GAME
For the best game experience focused around first or third person combat.

Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
DOOM (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Titanfall 2 (Respawn/EA)

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME
For the best game experience that combines combat with traversal and puzzle solving.

Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
Hitman (IO Interactive/Square-Enix)
Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

BEST RPG
The best game designed for rich player character customization and progression, both offline and online, including massively multiplayer.

Dark Souls 3 (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal/Square-Enix)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Blood and Wine (CD Projekt RED)
World of Warcraft: Legion (Blizzard)
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Monolith Soft/Nintendo)

BEST FIGHTING GAME
For a game designed primarily around head-to-head combat.

Killer Instinct Season 3 (Iron Galaxy Studios/Microsoft Studios)
King of Fighters XIV (SNK/Atlus USA)
Pokken Tournament (Bandai Namco Studios/The Pokemon Co.)
Street Fighter V (Capcom)

BEST STRATEGY GAME
Best game focused on real time or turn-based strategy.

Civilization VI (Firaxis Games/2K)
Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)
The Banner Saga 2 (Stoic Studio/Versus Evil)
Total War: Warhammer (Creative Assembly/Sega)
XCOM 2 (Firaxis Games/2K)

BEST FAMILY GAME
Best game for family play, including toys-to-life, rhythm/music/dance, and other genres. 

Dragon Quest Builders (Square Enix)
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TT Fusion/WBIE)
Pokemon Go (Niantic)
Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Skylanders: Imaginators (Toy for Bob/Activision)

BEST SPORTS/RACING
For traditional and non-traditional sports and racing games.

FIFA 17 (EA Canada/EA Sports)
Forza Horizon 3 (Playground Games/Microsoft Studios)
MLB The Show 16 (SCE San Diego Studio/SIE)
NBA 2K17 (Visual Concepts/2K Sports)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (PES Productions/Konami)

BEST MULTIPLAYER
For outstanding online multiplayer gameplay and design, including co-op and massively multiplayer experiences. 

Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
Overcooked (Ghost Town Games/Team 17)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Titanfall 2 (Respawn/EA)
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

MOST ANTICIPATED GAME
An upcoming game that has shown significant ambition and promise in moving the gaming medium forward.

God of War (Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Horizon: Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Mass Effect: Andromeda (Bioware/EA)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)

TRENDING GAMER
For a notable influencer, online streamer or media personality in 2016.

AngryJoeShow
Boogie2988
Danny O’Dwyer
JackSepticEye
Lirik

BEST FAN CREATION
For fan-created content, such as MODs, fan films, and other player content.

Project A2MR
Pokemon Uranium
Brutal Doom 64
Enderal: The Shards of Order

BEST ESPORTS PLAYER
The eSports player judged to be the most outstanding performer in 2016, irrespective of game.

Faker – Lee Sang-hyeok (SK Telecom T1, League of Legends)
Coldzera – Marcelo David (SK Gaming, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
ByuN –Hyun Woo (Starcraft 2)
Infiltrator – Lee Seeon-woo (Team Razer, Street Fighter V)
Hungrybox – Juan Debiedma (Team Liquid, Super Smash Bros.)

BEST ESPORTS TEAM
The eSports team or organization judged to be the most outstanding for performance in 2016, irrespective of game.

SK Telecom T1 (League of Legends)
Wings Gaming (DOTA2)
SK Gaming
ROX Tigers (League of Legends)
Cloud 9

BEST ESPORTS GAME
The eSports game that has shown creative and technical excellence in 2016 with the best gameplay, community support and content updates.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)
DOTA2 (Valve)
League of Legends (Riot)
Overwatch (Blizzard)
Street Fighter V (Capcom)

You can watch the show Thursday, December 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET on TheGameAwards.com, Facebook Live, PlayStation Network, Steam, Twitch, Twitter, Xbox Live, or YouTube. You can vote for the fan awards here.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Halo Wars 2 Summer Beta Leads To Changes

Earlier this summer, Microsoft invited players to provide feedback for the in-development Halo Wars 2. Today, the publisher and developer Creative Assembly are sharing the fruits of those efforts. 

One of the biggest issues from the beta was connectivity. Those problems have been addressed already. Additionally, Creative Assembly has already started responding to other feedback.

The control scheme has been adjusted, and the team is exploring multiple button configurations. However, that might not be done in time for launch.

Leader powers return in Halo Wars 2, and next time you get your hands on the game they will have improved. Additionally, there will be visual tweaks to bases that more readily reflect their damage status.

Resource requirements for buildings and units has been retooled. This will more evenly ramp up throughout the game. Players will also be able to command a greater number of troops, as the population limit has been increased.

The next Halo Wars 2 beta is scheduled for February 21, 2017. The game will be out on Xbox One and Windows 10 next year. For more, check out our Test Chamber featuring the beta.

[Source: Xbox Wire]

 

Our Take
This kind of feedback following a beta (especially one so early) is a great communication tool. Not only does it inspire people to continue filing bug reports and using the forums, but it evidences care for what the community has to say. I enjoyed the first Halo Wars, and I’m eager to see how the sequel fares (especially since I’ll be able to play with keyboard and mouse). 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

PlayStation 4 Leads June Hardware Sales In The United States

We won’t have full NPD data until next week due to the inclusion of select digital sales data. However, platform holders have chimed in on their performance for June.

Sony didn’t share a formal statement, but the company did confirm to us that PlayStation 4 led console sales in the United States. Microsoft is standing by its decision not to report hardware sales data, but said that more than 1.2 billion hours were played on Xbox One. That’s a platform record and double performance from a year ago. It is not possible to equate those to financial performance or software sales, especially as June was a big month for backward compatibility titles.

Nintendo saw a 39 percent increase in 3DS family (3DS, 3DS XL, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, and 2DS) sales during the month of June. Both Kirby: Planet Robobot and Rhythm Heaven Megamix performed well. The former hit number four on NPD’s retail charts (full list available on July 21). The latter, a digital-only release, sat atop the eShop charts for most of the month.

Of note, Super Smash Bros. hit a milestone on both Wii U and 3DS. On the home console, sales crossed the 2 million mark. The handheld edition surpassed 3 million units sold.

 

Our Take
I’m eager to see how the digital data impacts NPD reporting. For now, this gives us a taste of what to expect. The 3DS surge is quite interesting, and I wonder how much is due to the 2DS price drop in May and how much is related to summer road trip season in the U.S. It also doesn’t hurt that the system continues to play host to great games.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Activision DMCA Complaint Leads To Developer’s Game Being Removed From Steam

Developer Trek Industries woke up yesterday to some bad news from Steam. The developer says that one of its games, Orion, has been removed from the storefront following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint from Call of Duty publisher Activision.

A post by Trek’s David James details how the situation unfurled from the developer’s perspective. Following Activision’s DMCA complaint, Steam opted to remove the game from sale, which is one of the options available to the storefront.

The specific complaint focuses on weapon art and assets that Activision alleges was taken from Black Ops 3 and Advanced Warfare. Images provided by Trek make it hard to draw a comparison, but thankfully users on NeoGAF have matched angles so people can get a better look.

Activision was unable to be reached for formal comment, however Game Informer can confirm that the publisher did issue the DMCA complaint. According to James, Activision has 10 days to provide Valve with a copy of a legal complaint. If the publisher fails to produce one, Orion will be re-listed on Steam.

Trek Industries denies it has used art from the two Call of Duty games. “Regardless, an invalid and malicious act from Activision on wrong or non-existant (sic) evidence,” James says. “They are are multi-billion dollar company coming over what is currently a 50 cent game, without contacting us or requesting anything of us NOR providing any specific assets or images of the offensive content to begin with.”

Trek Industries, which used to be called Spiral Games, has been embroiled in controversy before. The company used lifted art for an older, since replaced set of achievement icons. It was also accused of using art assets from Tribes Ascend, Natural Selection 2, and Primal Carnage (via Gather Your Party).

We’ll update should Activision provide comment.

[Source: Steam (1), (2)]

 

Our Take
Activision is a sleeping giant that is only rarely roused to make a move like this. You rarely hear the company mention other companies by name, preferring to run its own race. The fact that the publisher is taking action here shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I’m interested to see if Activision follows through with a formal complaint or simply chose this moment to send a message. Having a game delisted during a Steam sale is a particularly crafty way to make your point. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Queen Victoria Leads The Charge For England In Civilization VI Trailer

Queen Victoria is one of England's most notable rulers, having led the nation through more than 60 years. She's the ruler of England in Civilization VI, too, and you can see what she brings to the table in an all-new look at the game.

The Queen has a variety of unique units and structures at her disposal, which reflect the era in which she reigned. Naval superiority was important during the Victorian Age, and as such she can build a Royal Navy dockyard and enlist the help of the notorious Sea Dogs. On land, she can send her Redcoats off to battle, and build museums to better serve her nation's growth and research.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Big changes are coming to the series, and you can read about them in our recent interview with the game's lead designer and associate producer. The game is set for a PC release on October 21.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Life Is Strange leads this year’s Games For Change award winners

Last night Dontnod Entertainment took home multiple awards for its 2015 game Life Is Strange at the 13th annual Games For Change Festival’s award ceremony in New York. …


Gamasutra News

Uncharted 4 Leads Strong Month Of Software Sales In May NPD

Today brings news from the NPD group about how the video game industry fared over the course of May, 2016. And the analysis is surprisingly strong, with a number of observations available that show the overall health of the industry.

“Overall trends across new physical software, hardware, and accessories in May 2016 rose by 4 percent, or $ 19.3MM, due to 18 percent growth of new physical software, which offset the 10 percent decline of hardware, and the 2 percent decline in accessories, ” notes The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan.

The clear winner this month is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Nathan Drake’s final big adventure ruled the charts during the month; that’s especially striking given that the game only released on a single platform. The demon-killing fun of Doom was nipping at Naughty Dog’s heels. Overwatch rounds out the top three, but it’s worth noting that Blizzard’s wildly popular new shooter didn’t launch until late in the monthly cycle, so there’s good reason to believe we might see it show up again in the June numbers. Callahan notes that: “When comparing Overwatch sales for days in the market, this title doubled the sales of Doom.”

The NPD also noted that the video gaming hobby has a lot to cheer about right now as far as new console sales; the PS4 and Xbox One have 43 percent higher cumulative sales right now when compared against this same point in the previous generation of hardware sales. 

Here's the rundown of the top ten for the month. Platforms are listed in order by number of sales. 

May 2016

1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)
2. Doom 2016 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
3. Overwatch (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
4. Battleborn (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3,  PC)
6. Minecraft (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
7. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Xbox One, PS4, PS3, 360, PC)
9. MLB 16: The Show (PS4, PS3)
10. Dark Souls III (PS4, Xbox One)

 

Our Take
While some big games offered up equally big sales in the month of May, I found the news about the current state of hardware sales to be the most heartening. While hardware sales are beginning to dip in this generation, the install base for the two big consoles is huge, and that can’t help but be a good thing for anyone excited about games. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Dark Souls III Leads The Pack During A Slow Month In April NPD Report

As everything quiets down for the road to E3, April is usually a quieter month for the gaming industry, and not even Dark Souls could save us from a dip in overall game sales.

Overall, hardware and software sales were down this April when compared to last year. Hardware sales dropped 23 percent since last year. In spite of this, both the Xbox One and PS4 are trending over 40 percent higher in overall sales compared to where the PS3 and Xbox 360 were at this point in their lifespan.

In terms of software, there weren’t too many high performing titles. A few exceptions are Ratchet & Clank and Dark Souls III, which were both the best launches for their respective series. Dark Souls III, in particular, sold nearly double what Dark Souls II did during launch. However, compared to April of 2015, this year just couldn’t compete. Mortal Kombat X, in particular, was such a strong selling title in April 2015 that its sales exceeded the sales of every game released in April of this year by 18 percent.

While overall numbers were down, Microsoft seems to have had a good month.

“Thanks to our fans, April 2016 was the best month in history for global engagement on Xbox One, driven by the greatest games lineup, including the critically-acclaimed Quantum Break, Dark Souls III, and Tom Clancy’s The Division,” says Microsoft’s corporate vice president of marketing Mike Nichols. “We received a strong response to the Gears of War 4 Versus Multiplayer Beta last month, which lasted two weeks and attracted more than 1.6 million unique players who helped us test and shape what is expected to be our biggest game of the year…We look forward to sharing more on our vision and plans for continuing to deliver the best gaming experience on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year at E3 in June.”

Here is the full top ten software list for February 2016:

  1. Dark Souls III (PS4, XBO)
  2. Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
  3. MLB 16: The Show (PS4, PS3)
  4. The Division (PS4, XBO, PC)
  5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)
  6. Minecraft (XBO, 360, PS4, PS3)
  7. Quantum Break (XBO)
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  9. NBA 2K16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  10. Star Fox Zero (Wii U)

 

Our Take
Slumps like this are not a big deal; they’re bound to happen and are nothing to worry about. Last April was fairly strong, so it’s not surprising that this year couldn’t compete, and hardware sales are strong overall. I’m also not surprised that Dark Souls III sold well, but I am happy to see Ratchet & Clank high on this list. I’m also glad that Quantum Break seems to be performing well. Finally, Grand Theft Auto V's staying power really speaks to the quality of Rockstar's work.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

PlayStation Leads Hardware And Software In March NPD Report

March isn’t always a big month for video game sales, but a couple of strong releases in the first part of 2016 are fueling some strong statements from industry leaders.

Sony has released a statement touting its position as the top-selling console and software leader in March. The PS4 maker is also remarking on the success of The Division on PS4; that console has seen the most sales for the new and highly popular Ubisoft game. The PS4 is also known for its exclusive relationship with The Division’s competitor on the market – Destiny – and the news that players are also flocking to the PS4 for the Division is good news for Sony. 

Even so, Microsoft is also hailing the success of The Division as one reason why global hours spent on the Xbox One are up 89 percent over last year. In addition, Microsoft is calling out Killer Instinct: Season 3 for its high engagement numbers; more than 6 million unique players make this March the best month ever for that franchise. 

When looking at software and hardware together, sales in the video game industry were flat compared to the same time last year, but hardware sales dropped by 19 percent, even as software sales rose to fill the gap.

Though hardware sales were down, portable hardware had the highest volume of sales, while new generation consoles tailing. Older generation consoles like PS3 and 360 are now a virtual non-presence in overall hardware sales, accounting for only 2 percent of overall sales.

Along with the previously mentioned success of The Division, which incidentally was the highest selling Tom Clancy title in history, Ubisoft's Far Cry Primal helped establish the publisher in the number one slot for the first quarter of 2016. 

Check out the top 10 games of last month below. 

March 2016

  1. Tom Clancy's The Division (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  2. Far Cry: Primal (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
  4. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  5. UFC 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
  6. MLB 16: The Show (PS4, PS3)
  7. Pokken Tournament (Wii U)
  8. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  9. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  10. Minecraft ( PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)

 

Our Take
The Division is a clear highpoint for the video game industry last month. Alongside the earlier success of Destiny, it's clear that the shared world shooter experience is one that resonates strongly with players. I'm also interested to see that the Wii U continues to see strong contenders in the monthly top ten through Zelda and Pokken Tournament, proving that against the seeming odds, the Wii U still has some life left.  

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed