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Report: Valve Asking Developers To Show More In-Game Screenshots On Steam

As part of its upcoming "Discovery 2.0" update to Steam, Valve is asking developers to use more screenshots that show off the actual game, instead of concept art or stills that may not be representative of the final product.

The news comes from an update addressing Steamworks developers, later shown to Polygon. In the update, Valve outlines two requests for action it seeks from developers: the first, to tag any screenshots a developer felt were "inappropriate" to better filter them out of the Steam pages of users who would prefer not to see offensive content.

The second request asked developers to upload fewer images of concept art or stills from trailers for their games' store page, and more shots of the games in action. "When the 'screenshot' section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game," wrote Valve UI designer Alden Kroll in the update, "it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at."

Valve cited a game of their own, Dota 2, as a major culprit. The game's store page previously featured concept art for the game's characters instead of actual in-game shots. Currently, the page features more in-game shots, showcasing characters using the in-game character viewer instead.

According to the update, the Discovery 2.0 update, "is still a couple weeks away from going live."

[Source: Polygon]


Our Take
The first culprit for the change in policy is likely No Man's Sky (which currently has a lawsuit against it in the UK for false advertising), but it's not alone. Lots of games have concept art on their pages (like Dota 2), and it can alter players' expectations of the game. No matter what caused it, this is a good change to see.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Sony Financials Report PS VR Sales ‘On Track’

Today Sony released its financial results for the second quarter (July 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016), showing declines in certain aspects, while PS VR sales are yet to be officially counted.

Sales of the company's Game & Network Services division fell 11.3 percent (to $ 3.17 billion) compared with the previous year, but Sony says this was "primarily due to the impact of foreign exchange rates and the impact of a price reduction for the PS4 hardware." The company's financial statement goes on to say that this drop was partially offset by an increase in PS4 software sales. The division's operating income decreased 20% (to $ 188 million) due to the price reduction of the PS4 and a decrease in PS3 software sales.

Sony shipped 3.9 million units in this second quarter – down 100,000 from the same quarter last year.

On the horizon for the company is the release of the PS4 Pro on November 10, and sales for the newly released PlayStation VR have yet to be tabulated. The company says PS VR sales are "on track."

[Source: Sony (1), (2)]

 

Our Take
I imagine when a company drops the price of a system, that loss of income is supposed to be offset by an increase in overall sales.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Blizzard Store Leak Reveals Artwork Of Possible Overwatch Character Sombra

Last night some artwork hit Blizzard Entertainment's official merchandise store that showcased Sombra, the long-rumored addition to Overwatch's hero roster. Though Sombra has been at the heart of the elaborate ARG and several leaks, Blizzard has not confirmed the character is joining the game anytime soon.

However, a recent post set in Overwatch universe detailing the exploits of Sombra, as well as this leak on the eve of Blizzcon suggests there might be some news on that front soon. Here's the image:

It's worth noting that the name at the bottom right hand corner of the piece is John Polidora, an artist who works on Overwatch.

[Source: Reddit]

Our Take
Leaks upon leaks. It's likely we won't get any official word on any Overwatch additions until Blizzcon, which is luckily just around the corner. Still, the image definitely gives fans something to be excited about until then. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Nintendo To End Wii U Production

According to Eurogamer, Nintendo's Wii U is set to end production on Friday. The publication says that it has several sources that have confirmed the console, which debuted in 2012, is to cease production.

This news follows on the heels that the company will be unveiling details about its new console, Nintendo Switch, early next year. This would also make sense, given that Nintendo implied earlier this year that the Wii U would cease production in 2016.

[Source: Eurogamer]

 

Our Take
If this is true, it's certainly not that surprising. After its successful launch, the Wii U has struggled to maintain stellar sales numbers and consumers have seen hesitant to embrace the console thanks to a lack of solid third-party support. With a new console on the way, it does make sense for Nintendo to clean house.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Nintendo President Kimishima Confirms The Switch Won’t Replace 3DS

The Nintendo Switch's reveal this month has created a crazy amount of buzz and a lot of questions. Because it's being marketed as a "unified" console that blends on-the-go gaming with console gaming, many have wondered how Nintendo plans to move forward with the 3DS after the Switch's launch.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed that the company has no plans to discontinue the popular handheld console. "Thanks to our software, the 3DS hardware is still growing," he says. "So that business still has momentum. And certainly rather than being cannibalized by the Switch, we think the 3DS can continue in its own form."

Kimishima further explains that the team "didn't just want a successor to the Wii U or the 3DS," but rather an altogether new experience of its own, which is how they came up with the concept of a unified platform that is "both stationary and one you can take outside to play with anyone you want."

The interview also touched on the subject of virtual reality, which Kimishima says Miyamoto in particular has brought up frequently. "It's not that we’re uninterested. In fact, we have a lot of interest," Kimishima says. "VR offers the experience of playing in a new way. But that depends on the software and how you use it to play."

You can watch the Nintendo Switch reveal, how it works, and more by heading here. You can also read up on what the Game Informer staff hopes to see from Nintendo's new console. On January 12, Nintendo will be revealing more information, including launch date, games, and price, surrounding the Switch. The Nintendo Switch will release in March 2017.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 

Our Take
The 3DS is one of Nintendo's great successes, so it seems like a safe bet that they will continue to support the handheld device for a while longer despite the launch of the Nintendo Switch. Particularly with big games like Pokémon Sun and Moon releasing next month, the 3DS still carries a lot of weight in terms of profitability for Nintendo. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: That’s A Touchscreen On The Nintendo Switch

Last week, Nintendo revealed its latest console, the Nintendo Switch. The console's most interesting aspect, from what we know so far, is its ability to be used as a standalone handheld gaming device or as a traditional console while docked. Nintendo says it's saving additional details on the system for a January Nintendo Direct, but Eurogamer is reporting some interesting information in the meantime.

The biggest takeaway is that the screen is a capacitive multi-touch screen – the same technology that's on the overwhelming majority of mobile devices. The Wii U and DS family of handhelds have used inferior resistive touchscreens. According to Eurogamer's sources, the screen is 6.2" and supports 720p resolution.

Check out Eurogamer's story for additional information, including some speculation on how touch-based inputs might work when the system is in its dock.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Street Fighter V’s Sales Are Tanking

It's no secret that Street Fighter V had a rough launch. Capcom was slow to rollout several features – the game's arcade, challenge, and story modes were all missing at launch. This bare bones release didn't help reviews (here's ours) when the game launched, and it doesn't seem to have helped sales over the last several months.

Back in May, Capcom announced that Street Fighter V had sold over 1.4 million copies since its launch in February. Capcom recently updated that online financial report, and Street Fighter V's needle hasn't moved. Since Street Fighter's sales still sit at 1.4 million, that means the game has sold less than 100,000 units over the last six months. Even Capcom's continued support of the game and a steady stream of
DLC
hasn't seemed to help encourage players to pick up the game.

[Source: NeoGAF via PVPlive]

 

Our Take
For a game of Street Fighter's caliber, these are really sad numbers. This is a hard lesson for Capcom, but hopefully the publisher has learned not to limit a game's content before release. Unless this is some kind of clerical error, it's not likely that we see Street Fighter V's numbers move up dramatically anytime soon. Hopefully, this isn't a bad sign for the future of the series.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: The Nintendo Switch features a multi-touch capable 720p display

Though it hasn’t been confirmed by Nintendo, sources are saying the tablet of the recently revealed Switch console features a touchscreen and will be the company’s first multitouch capable device. …


Gamasutra News

Report: Uncharted Movie Back On Track, Lands A Director

You can never count Nathan Drake out. After last
month's reports
of the forever-in-development
Uncharted film being delayed indefinitely,
Deadline
is
reporting
that the project is back on track with Shawn Levy signing on as
director.

Levy has directed a number of comedies in the past, including
the Night at the Museum trilogy and the
Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson buddy flick, The
Internship
. His recent credits include directing two episodes of Stranger Things (with more slated for
season 2), and producing the upcoming sci-fi drama, Arrival.

September's indefinite delay was rumored
to be
so that the film's script writer, Joe Carnahan, could direct the
movie as well, but Deadline is
reporting that Carnahan is instead focusing on Bad Boys For Life, which he was previously committed to. Deadline says the movie is now on the
fast track, though we still don't have an ETA on when the film will be
released, or who will be playing the series' all-important roles.

[Source: Deadline]

 

Our Take
As I said after the
recent news of a
Gears of War movie
, fans should temper their expectations. A lot can happen
during the pre-production process that can lead to delays or cancellation. That
said, the announcement of a director coming on board is certainly promising
news, especially after the project being delayed indefinitely. Here's hoping
everyone involved with the project is smart enough to cast NATHAN FILLION as
Drake!

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Sports Games Dominate September 2016 NPD Report

The recent NPD report offers a mixed picture of the video game industry in September 2016, but it’s notable that sports games continue to dominate the early fall. NBA 2K17, Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, and NHL 17 took home the top-selling spots. Both NBA 2K17 and FIFA 17 included detailed story-driven modes, which might have been attractive to many users. Even so, those top-selling sports titles couldn’t carry the industry to higher software, hardware, and accessories compared to last year; overall sales were down by 23 percent in September. 

The Xbox One continued a streak as the best-selling hardware in September, accounting for 37 percent of the overall hardware sales. “This was not enough to counter a revenue decline in total hardware,” says NPD analyst Sam Naji. “Due to average retail price declines for consoles and a decrease in hardware units sold for the PS4 and the Wii U, total hardware dollar spending declined by 25 percent since September 2015." At the same time, the PS4 Slim launched in September, and was the third best-selling hardware SKU. Nintendo had some good hardware news, as the 3DS continued a four-month trend of increased hardware sales, possibly in thanks to the resurgent popularity of the Pokémon brand.

There’s very little good news for the once booming toys-to-life market, which saw a whopping 75% drop in sales of accessories between last year and this year in the September time frame. However, it should be noted that last year saw the release of Lego Dimensions, Skylanders: SuperChargers, and over a dozen new amiibos in September, while this year’s Skylanders game had an October release, and thus is not accounted for in this report. 

Here’s the full report of the top selling physical sales of software for September 2016:

1. NBA 2K17
2. Madden NFL 17
3. FIFA 17
4. NHL 17
5. Bioshock: The Collection
6. Destiny: The Collection
7. Grand Theft Auto V
8. Overwatch
9. Forza Horizon 3
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops III

 

Our Take
September wasn’t a banner month for the video game industry this year, but many of the biggest holiday titles aren’t yet out. Followers of this sort of data would be wise to look at the full holiday season sales at the end of the year before drawing any sort of firm conclusions about the state of hardware and software sales for the latter part of 2016. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed