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Saturday, 17 October 2020

PS5 vs. PS4 UI – 10 Big Changes You Need to Know

Sony finally revealed that PlayStation 5's user interface in an extensive State of Play video and while every function wasn't covered, there was still a lot of really great stuff to see. Let's take a look at some of these new features and how they differ from the PlayStation 4's UI.

New Home Screen and Control Center

Presented in crisp 4K and HDR, the user interface is sharp and snazzy but not overtly busy. Icons for games and gaming-related functions in the Home screen are smaller and arranged closer to the top compared to the PS4's UI. Hovering over an icon will see its hub expanded, which features a lot of space in the middle of the screen; Trophy progress, price and the game's cover art on the right side; and the "Play" button on the bottom left. Pressing down from the "Play" button allows access to the new Activities tab, official news for the game, video clips, DLC and so on.

But what if you're currently playing something? This is where the Control Center comes into play. When playing a game, hit the PlayStation button and a row of icons, from the Home button and game icon to online friends, the controller and even the power button, will be brought up below. This is also a convenient way to access Activities, screenshots and official news while playing, and doesn't go to a completely separate screen like the PS4.

Activities

PS5 UI

You'll notice several colorful cards in the Control Center but what are Activities specifically? They're essentially "gameplay opportunities" and allow for jumping into different elements immediately, like a specific level for Sackboy: A Big Adventure. The card will indicate the total percentage completed along with estimated time left for the various Objectives. But open it up, hit Resume at the very top and you're back into the level immediately. Some Activity cards can also utilize the new picture-in-picture functionality, letting you pin Objectives to the side of the screen while remaining in-game.

It's also worth noting that when playing an online title like Destruction AllStars, you can hop into specific playlists like 8v8, Solos and Challenge Series from Activities. The Control Center can be brought up on the Home screen as well, letting you quickly navigate to any Activities for a game or specific console functions immediately.

Objectives

PS5 UI_03

Another key new feature are Objectives. These are little missions that you can fulfill for a specific level. In the case of Sackboy: A Big Adventure, this could be locating specific costume pieces and emotes. Three Objectives are displayed at a time though there's also a "View All Objectives" option beneath. Essentially, this allows players to more easily hunt down collectibles and other items in-game.

Game Help

PS5 UI_04

And if you're really stuck when it comes for certain Objectives, there's the new Game Help system. Some Activities will offer this and provide hints for certain Objectives. For example, when looking for a specific costume part in Sackboy, Game Help will provide screenshots, directions and even a small little video walkthrough. These can either be viewed in the card itself or pinned to the side of the screen to view while playing. Game Help will be available for PlayStation Plus subscribers for some PS5 titles.

Screen Share

PS5 UI_06

Joining parties is a lot more intuitive on the PS5. It's possible to join or view a party from an interactive notification, which is easily accessed via the PlayStation button and, once again, doesn't take you out of the game. It's also easier to hop into a party from the Control Center thanks to Activities. However, even more interesting is the new Screen Share function. This allows for viewing games that other people are playing, which can be pinned to the side of the screen as you continue to play your own game. This is a real game-changer for co-op titles with friends able to share their screen when stuck or requiring assistance.

Join Multiplayer Games Seamlessly

PS5 UI_05

If some friends are already in a multiplayer match, say for Destruction AllStars, then it's much easier to join than before. Simply open the Control Center on the PS5, navigate to a Card which shows the match in progress and join with a single button press. This will immediately open the game up and let you jump into a match. The sheer speed of everything is incredible thanks to the PS5's SSD.

Screenshots and Video

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The Create button can be used to capture screenshots and record video, much like the Share button on the PS4. However, it opens up as a small tab at the bottom of the screen instead of the left-hand side. Furthermore, screenshots and video are captured at up to 4K resolution. These can then be edited and shared to platforms like Twitter or parties via messages. One particularly nice feature is the spoiler function. If the person viewing the media hasn't unlocked the Activity showcased and it may contain spoilers as per the developer, there will be a spoiler warning attached.

Voice Dictation for Messages

PS5 UI_09

Favorite parties for sending messages and media can be made so even if you're not interested in hopping into voice chat, you can still participate in a party. But when composing messages, you don't have to rely solely on the on-screen keyboard. Voice dictation for multiple languages is supported – press the Microphone button, record your message and send it off. So you can stay out of voice chat and still keep up with the conversation at a reasonable pace!

Explore

PS5 UI_07

Back in the Home screen, just left of one's games is the Explore icon. This collates all of the official news from PlayStation along with any games you're following, from new details and announcements to trending media. Sony noted that the feature would be tested more in the US at launch and not everyone would have access to it on day one. Still, as a means for quickly viewing all of the latest news for PlayStation games and services while also making it easier to view all of their related media in one place, this is a pretty convenient feature.

PlayStation Store

PS5 UI_02

Finally, we have the PlayStation Store. Go left from the Explore icon and you'll notice something. That's right – the PlayStation Store no longer opens up as its own separate app like on the PS4. On the PS5, it's fully integrated into the console, making it easier to browse for games and even access features like PlayStation Plus Collection for available backwards compatible PS4 titles. Though Sony didn't show off too much of the new PlayStation Store, it did indicate that there would be room for personalization.


Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Review – To the New World

When it released in 2005, Age of Empires III was considered something of a disappointment. I should know; I still have an original copy. Part of it was expectation: Age of Empires II is a masterpiece and remains one of the best RTS games ever made. Age of Empires III is… fine. Or at least it was at release. But when you go from a masterpiece to just fine, disappointment is bound to follow. Part of it was the setting: the colonial era just didn't feel as interesting as the middle ages; the Home City mechanics, while good in theory, never really felt good; putting deck building into an RTS was weird; maps were smaller; there were fewer campaigns and civilizations; the addition of firearms made melee units almost worthless; and while Age of Empires II followed real historical figures like Joan of Arc and El Cid through real battles, Age of Empires III's campaigns were historical fiction. Age of Empires III isn't bad – but it never felt like Age of Empires. Even Ensemble knew this: they tried to change the game's name before release. Obviously, that didn't work.

Rather than view Age of Empires III's shortcomings as a problem, however, developers Forgotten Empires and Tantalus Media seem to have viewed it as a challenge. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is less a remaster and more an overhaul that makes a deeply flawed game significantly better without fundamentally changing the parts of it that worked.

Age of Empires 3 Definitive Edition

"The Definitive Edition looks gorgeous. The game supports 4K resolutions and features rebuilt 3D assets. Almost everything has been retouched, from textures to lighting and particle effects, animations, and physics."

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first: the Definitive Edition looks gorgeous. The game supports 4K resolutions and features rebuilt 3D assets. Almost everything has been retouched, from textures to lighting and particle effects, animations, and physics. Age of Empires III is fifteen years old, and you can occasionally see it when you look at the game's character models, but this is a very pretty game. The game's sound design and soundtrack have also been enhanced, with new music for each civilization. Age of Empires has always had an excellent soundtrack, and these new tracks and enhancements make everything sound better. All of this stuff is expected from a modern remaster, but that doesn't change the impressive work that the studios have done to make Age of Empires III look and sound the best it ever has.

As impressive as the visual and audio improvements are, they pale in comparison to the work that's been done on the gameplay. The most obvious improvement has been made to the game's UI, which now supports 3 different options to choose from, including the setup that appeared in the original game. While I think the best UI setup here is the one the game defaults to because it looks like a UI that you'd see in a modern RTS, it's nice that the developers have given folks the ability to choose what they want. The addition of progress bars over buildings, more zoom levels, new naval formations, and the ability to check your tech tree in game, which was, bafflingly, not in the original release, are just icing on the cake.

Okay, so it looks good and it sounds good. In terms of gameplay, Age of Empires III plays a lot like it used to. You select from one of the 16 civilizations on offer and turn your small base into a thriving settlement. Workers chop down trees, mine metal, and collect food, which can be used to build buildings, train armies, and advance to the next age, which unlocks new technology and bonuses. As you play, your settlement will gain experience, which can be used to request shipments from your home city. These shipments can vary from food and supplies to soldiers or permanent buffs and they're essential to keeping your army in fighting shape, upgrades researching, and your settlement growing. Success means exploring the map, securing valuable resources, finding hidden treasures protected by dangerous NPC, and establishing trade routes while fighting off your enemies or establishing strategic alliances. In true Age of Empires fashion, you don't have to win via military conquest. You can achieve victory by holding more than half of the trade routes on the map, killing the enemy Regent in Regicide mode, or holding the hill in King of the Hill. Age of Empires III unfortunately doesn't feature the varied win conditions of its predecessors – you can't just build a Wonder and hold it for a couple hundred years – but it does give you more options than more traditional RTS games.

"Okay," you might be saying. "That sounds a lot like the same game that released in 2005. What are these new gameplay improvements you're talking about?" Well, the first is that all of the Home City cards/shipments are unlocked off the bat this time around, so you don't have to level up to build the deck you want. The Definitive Edition also features several pre-built decks for each faction, so you can just jump right into the game if you're like me and don't want to think about deck building in an RTS. The AI has also seen significant improvements: it will build more diverse armies, use hit-and-run tactics, and retreat from losing fights. There's also a the new "Extreme" difficulty if you're looking for a serious challenge.

Forgotten Empires and Tantalus Media have also added two new modes to the game: The Art of War and Historical Battles. The former is a series of challenge missions meant to test your skills and help players bridge the gap between the single-player and multiplayer modes. The game gives you the basics via an introduction video and missions objectives, and offers hints if you're struggling while you play. You're scored based on how well you do, so there's incentive to stick with it, and it's a good way to learn the game's deeper mechanics. Historical Battles are essentially mini-campaigns that drop you into real events, much like earlier games in the series. If you missed the more history-focused campaigns from Age of Empires II, this is the mode for you.

The Definitive Edition also features all 8 of the campaigns from the original game and its expansions. There's 54 missions here altogether, so you'll have plenty to do. The developers haven't been resting on their laurels here, either. A lot of the content here has been revamped and improved to meet modern standards, which makes the game more fun to play. By far the most work has been done to the Native American civilization. Their portrayal in the original game was historically inaccurate, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. The studios have taken these criticisms to heart, having a writer of Native American descent fix the errors and rewrite the entire second act of the campaign. In addition, they've also redone several of the faction's mechanics, which simultaneously makes their representation of Native Americans more accurate and more compelling to play.

Age of Empires 3 Definitive Edition

"The Definitive Edition also adds two new civilizations, the Incas and the Swedes, who bring completely new playstyles to the table."

The Definitive Edition also adds two new civilizations, the Incas and the Swedes, who bring completely new playstyles to the table. Age of Empires III's various factions never felt quite a big as II's did, but the flip side is that they all feel unique, each with their own variation of buildings and units that add up to completely different playstyles. The Chinese, for instance, recruit their armies in bulk and by forging alliances with European nations, while the Native Americans trade for furs instead of mining and can call on special buffs to enhance everything from their unit's combat prowess to the speed at which they train. Each of the fourteen different factions feel different, and adding two more into the mix is icing on an already excellent remaster.

If the game's extensive campaign and skirmishes against the new and improved AI aren't enough for you, you can also check out the game's multiplayer. The game has been rebalanced and features matchmaking, ladders and leaderboards, several new maps, a spectator mode, and rebalanced gameplay. There's even mod support. I wasn't able to test the multiplayer pre-release, but it is built on the same backend as the Definitive Editions of Age of Empires and Age of Empires II.

All told, Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition continues Forgotten Empires' trend of releasing remarkable remasters. There's been a ton of work done here, an Age of Empires III is a better game because of it. It doesn't fix everything wrong with Age of Empires III. The game's pacing often feels remarkably slow, especially in the early game. The campaigns, while better, aren't as good as Age of Empires II's, and though the Home City isn't a terrible idea, the focus on deck building and experience often feels out of place. It just doesn't fit. And while each civilization feels different, they also feel remarkably small, lacking both the grandeur and variety of Age of Empire II's civilizations.

Age of Empires 3 Definitive Edition

" If you don't already like Age of Empires III, this edition is unlikely to entirely change your mind. I still don't love I, but I do like it better than I did in 2005."

Age of Empires III was a daring game when it came out; it still is. Ensemble Studios had the bravery to experiment with their most successful franchise after their greatest successes, and that deserves praise. Age of Empires III does a lot of things right, but its willingness to experiment means it gets a lot wrong, too. How you feel about the game will largely depend on how much you like the concept of the Home City, and your tolerance for its particular brand of historical fiction. I still don't particularly care for several of the campaigns, though the addition of Historical Battles goes a long way. I still don't love the Home City, though it's undoubtedly better than it used to be.

Age of Empires III remains a deeply flawed game, but Forgotten Realms and Tantalus Media have done an excellent job of remastering it. If you don't already like Age of Empires III, this edition is unlikely to entirely change your mind. I still don't love I, but I do like it better than I did in 2005. The additions of the Historical Battles, new civilizations, and revamped campaign fix a lot of the game's issues. But several of Age of Empires III's issue are baked into the game foundation. It would have been impossible to fix them without fundamentally changing how the game worked. Forgotten Realms didn't do that. What they did was polish what was there to a mirror sheen, and add things that fill in the gaps of what we expect from an Age of Empires game. Age of Empires III isn't Age of Empires II, and it never will be. But this version is very, very good. And for a game that many view as a disappointment, that's more than good enough.

This game was reviewed on PC.


Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Lore – Who are the Tinkerer and Roxxon Corporation?

It's often said that a superhero is only as good as their villains, and it's hard to think of many superheroes that have a rogues gallery as good as that of Spider-Man. Insomniac have used this lineup of villains to great effect in their own take on the Spidey universe so far, with the likes of Doctor Octopus, Mister Negative, Electro, Rhino, and many more making strong appearances in 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man

It's exciting to think about what villains we might be facing off against in the sequel- but before that, there's something else to look forward to as well. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales launches this November, and though its Miles in the driving seat this time around, we're still curious about who the bad guys in this story will be.

So far, Insomniac have revealed a fair bit of details on the game's narrative setup. Like any good Spider-Man story, it looks like this game's story will put plenty of emphasis not only on Miles as Spider-Man, but also on Miles as, well, Miles (or at least we hope it does)- just as the 2018 game did with Peter Parker. As far as Miles is concerned, he's been training with Peter for a year and has fully stepped into the role of Spider-Man. His mom is campaigning for City Council, which means he's got plenty going on in his personal life. 

marvel's spider-man miles morales

But, of course, being Spider-Man (or Spider-Man, at least), he doesn't have too much time for a personal life. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is going to see Miles encountering his first real challenge as New York's new protector, which will come in the shape of a gang war between Roxxon Corporation and a high-tech criminal organization known as the Underground, who are led by an engineering and mechanical genius known as the Tinkerer.

These are names that will be familiar to many Spidey fans- Roxxon and the Tinkerer have appeared as antagonists in many Spider-Man comics and stories. Roxxon Corporation, in fact, has often come up against other Marvel superheroes as well, including the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. The company has been notorious for its single-minded efforts to basically increase their profits- for which they seem to stop at nothing, often even resorting to backing or outright facilitating large scale violence.

In the comics, Roxxon Corporation has at various points had a sample of the Venom Symbiote, worked with Doctor Octopus, and caused plenty of nuisance for Spider-Man. Though Roxxon Energy Corporation didn't have an outright role in the story of Marvel's Spider-Man, the company is obviously a known quantity in this universe- in fact, you can even see their logo and their own building in Manhattan. 

The question, of course, is- how much of an emphasis will Marve's Spider-Man: Miles Morales' story place on the corporation? With it and the Tinkerer both being set up as antagonists, will the latter end up taking more of the limelight, or will the story delve deeper into the shady dealings of Roxxon as well? If it does, it could find ways to rope in some other villains in interesting ways, perhaps even set up more villains still for appearances in future games.

Oh, and speaking of the Tinkerer, he has historically been one of Spider-Man's more interesting villains. What's interesting about him is the fact that he doesn't really have any real superpowers. All he works with is his ingenuity when it comes to engineering and mechanics. The Tinkerer (or Phineas Mason) is a master inventor, and he's often provided deadly weapons to various villains and supervillains from across the Marvel universe. 

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales' take on the Tinkerer looks to be significantly different from how he's usually been portrayed, however. For starters, Insomniac's Tinkerer is a female version of the character, and given that she's leading an army of criminals equipped with high-tech weaponry, she is also clearly taking on a much more active antagonistic role than the Tinkerer usually does.

However, it does seem like there is some reference from Marvel's own universe that Insomniac might be taking cues from for their take on the Tinkerer. In Marvel's Ultimate Marvel imprint from the early 2000s, the character was overhauled quite significantly. For instance, Elijah Stern, not Phineas Mason, is the Ultimate version of the Tinkerer. Stern is a former employee of the Roxxon Corporation, goes after his former boss, Donald Roxxon, to get revenge for getting fired, and also hired other villains like Vulture and Killer Shrike in the process. 

Stern eventually winds up being forced to work for Nick Fury at S.H.I.E.L.D., but he still finds ways to go about his villainous ways. Not only does he try to use his Spider Slayer robots to kill Spider-Man, when the Green Goblin (aka Norman Osborn) approaches him to make new weapons for the Sinister Six, Stern agrees. Eventually Stern is attacked by the Prowler, who breaks into his lab to interrogate him about Norman Osborn, and then kills him. The Prowler, of course, is Aaron Davis, the uncle of none other than Miles Morales.

The Ultimate version of the Tinkerer has ties to Roxxon Corporation and ties to Miles Morales' version of Spider-Man, so it's easy to see why we're assuming Insomniac may have turned here for inspiration. The whole central conflict of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is centred around this gang war between Roxxon and an army led by the Tinkerer- or that's what triggers it, at least. It will, however, be curious to see how closely this sticks to the source material.

Clearly, the Tinkerer in this game, a female version of the character is neither Phineas Mason nor Elijah Stern, so it's hard to gauge just how much Insomniac are going to tap into stories from the comics, and how many new twists of their own they're going to introduce. Given Insomniac's track record with portraying Spider-Man characters (and villains in particular), we can't help but be optimistic about the Tinkerer's role in the upcoming game. 

If there's one thing that's been abundantly clear since the fay Marvel's Spider-Man came out over two years ago, it's that Insomniac are building their own larger Spider-Man universe, and are setting up various stories, characters, and arcs that will play out in future games. There was plenty of that going on in the 2018 game and even its expansions, and we're hoping the same will be true for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. With the Tinkerer and Roxxon Corporation, it certainly seems Insomniac have the tools to do just that.


Star Wars: Squadrons Guide – How to Divert Power and All Mission Medals

star wars squadrons

It's not quite like the space combat titles of yore but EA's Star Wars: Squadrons presents a pretty good X-Wing and TIE Fighter experience overall. Key among its mechanics is the ability to divert power. This allows you to send power to specific parts of the ship when needed.

When starting out, your ship will have a Balanced power set-up, which means every component is receiving an equal amount of power. Diverting power to the engine is done by pressing Left on the D-Pad or "1" on PC. This allows for increased speed and when completely maxed, it will charge the ability to speed boost. Diverting power to weapons is done by pressing Up on the D-Pad or "2" on PC. This increases blaster recharge speed and allows for building up an overcharge ability.

To divert power to shields, press Right on the D-Pad or "3" on PC. Along with increasing the recharge speed of shields, it also helps build up the overshield ability. Press Down on the D-Pad or "4" to return to a Balanced power set-up.

Power should be diverted based on one's situation. When damaged, for instance, it's a better idea to divert power to the engine instead of shields to get away quickly. When you've got the drop on an enemy, get them weak first and then divert power to weapons to finish them off. Managing these systems is the key to victory.

All Mission Medals

Each mission in the single-player campaign has a set of medals to earn. While they're not tied to unlocking components or currency, they do contribute to unlocking Trophies and Achievements. Check out the videos below for tips on earning all of the medals in the campaign.


Bethesda Games Won't Need To Be On Other Platforms For Acquisition To Be Worth It, Says Spencer

xbox bethesda acquisition

It was in September, just before pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and S went up, that the video game industry was shaken with the announcement that Microsoft has purchased Bethesda in full with all their IPs and studios. While we obviously won't see the effects of that for another year at least, it is something that essentially realigns the market as we know it. There's strong feelings many ways about it, but one question remains: will Bethesda titles be on other non-Microsoft supported platforms? There has yet to be a concrete yes or no answer there, but it seems the head of Xbox is leading us down the road to an eventual no.

While logic dictates that all of Bethesda's output will now be exclusive to the Xbox-ecosystem (which includes as of now the Xbox One, Series X, Series S, PC and Xbox Cloud Gaming), some have hoped that it's possible Microsoft will still allow Bethesda titles on other platforms because, apparently, the plan is still to allow Bethesda to publish titles under their brand. Xbox Head Phil Spencer has also danced around the question, saying that exclusivity would be on a "case-by-case basis."

In an interview with Kotaku, Spencer once again addressed the question. When asked if they would have to put Bethesda titles (specifically in relation to the next Elder Scrolls title) on other platforms to make the mammoth $7.5 billion dollar worth it, he dismissed the idea. He said that the addition of Bethesda's many titles and IPs to the likes of Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming would extend the reach and audience of those programs. That is all it needs for the deal to "work for" Microsoft.

"I don't want to be flip about that. This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: 'How do we keep other players from playing these games?' We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games. But I'll also say in the model—I'm just answering directly the question that you had—when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don't have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means."

So while again Spencer does not directly answer the question, it seems reading between the lines that the answer we're going to end up on is to not expect Bethesda titles on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms going forward. Though, one could argue that Spencer, or anyone at Microsoft, not answering the question directly is strange. Is it possible that part of the deal is not decided, yet? While we know the amount that was paid for Bethesda, we have no idea what the finer details could be and what concessions where made on both sides to make it happen.

Though, that is probably wishful thinking more than anything. It's probably for the best to just assume going forward that if you want to play anything under the Bethesda umbrella, you'll need something Xbox-related.


GoNNER 2 Out on October 22nd

GoNNER 2

Art in Hearts' GoNNER 2 releases on October 22nd, according to the developer and publisher Raw Fury. It will be available on Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch while also launching on Xbox Game Pass. It will arrive for PS4 and Xbox Game Pass for PC down the line.

GoNNER 2 follows the first game and sees Ikk helping death after a strange presence invades his lair. This means more crazy (and aesthetically appealing) colors and procedurally generated environments to go with the roguelike platforming action. Levels are nonlinear, meaning you can plot your own path throughout all of the madness.

Players can also unlock new guns and upgrades along with new heads. There are various secrets and mysteries to discover, though what exactly those are remains to be seen. Check out the release date announcement trailer below for a better idea of the gameplay and stay tuned for more details on GoNNER 2 in the coming week.


Watch Dogs: Legion Confirmed To Be Playable Offline; Cross-play Coming In Future Update

Watch Dogs Legion

October will end with Ubisoft's next entry in the Watch Dogs franchise, Legion. It'll mark an ambitious move for the series, as it will allow you to recruit anyone to your cause, all while promising a strong story and unique enough characters. We'll have to wait to the month's end to see if it manages to reach those heights, but in the meantime, we got a tidbit of info that will make some happy.

In a Reddit AMA, Producer Lathieeshe Thillainathan fielded questions about the game. One answer he gave that's sure to be relieving to many is that the game does not require an online connection to play, meaning you'll be able to play the game offline if you wish, even if some online-specific features will obviously be limited. When asked about cross-play for the game's multiplayer, which you can read more about through here, he said that while it will not be at launch, it will come in a patch that should come in the Year 1 update for the game. You can read the full AMA through here.

Watch Dogs Legion will release on October 29th for most major systems. For a breakdown of everything you'll need to know about the game before release, we have you covered through here.


Switch Sets Record For 22nd Consecutive Month Of Best Selling System In United States

nintendo switch

While Nintendo has never truly been on the verge of financial ruin (despite the beloved Nintendo is Doomed memes), it's not hard to look at the company's previous home console, the Wii U, and its handheld, the 3DS, and not see quite a downturn. The Wii U was an outright flop, and while the 3DS sold well, it was sharp drop from the DS. Nintendo chose instead to create a hybrid in the Switch, and well, it seems to have worked out.

As was reported earlier today, the NPD confirmed that the Switch was the best selling hardware of September 2020 in the United States. Going all the way back, the Switch has been the number 1 hardware since December of 2018, making that 22 consecutive months. That breaks the previous record of the Xbox 360, which was #1 hardware for 21 months from August 2011 to April 2013 (thanks to NintendoEverything for those stats).

It's very likely the Switch will also take the #1 spot in October as well, and some analysts have even predicted that Switch could still be on top on the holiday seasons due to stock issues with the launch PS5 and Xbox Series consoles. That means it's within the realm of possibility we could see a continued streak of 24-25+ months with the Switch at #1 in the US. There's also rumors floating around that Nintendo is planning another, more powerful, revision of the system for early 2021, so don't expect Nintendo to go anywhere soon.


Phil Spencer Thinks The Xbox Series S Will Be The Bigger Long-term Hit

xbox series s

Microsoft's next generation begins in roughly a month's time, and this go around the company's strategy is a unique one. They will be launching two systems, the Xbox Series X as the high-end system, and the Xbox Series S, a more low-end console. The systems will be able to play the same games, just with lower resolutions and framerates (at least on paper, we've yet to see it in practice). The big exclamation point for the Series S is its price point, which Phil Spencer thinks will carry it to greatness.

In an extensive interview with Kotaku, Spencer talked about various aspects of the upcoming next generation and revealed that he felt the Series S will ultimately be the long-term hit of the two systems. While he said he expects both Sony and Microsoft will see the initial stock fly off shelves, even saying he expects the Series X will be the bigger seller in the beginning, the Series S price will help it have stronger legs.

"I think we'll sell every unit of both of them that we can deliver. I think demand is just going to outstrip supply of pre-orders. For us and PlayStation, I think that the manufacturing supply chain is going to dictate [market] share more than anything else.

I think, over the generation, our expectation would be that price really matters and that you would see the Series S sell more."

It seems the reception to the Series S has been mixed in some circles with some worrying that the power gap could be an issue for both developers and customers. However, with a price tag of only $299, it definitely seems primed to move, but only time will tell. The Xbox Series S will launch alongside the Series X on November 10th, and you can check out the launch lineup for the systems through here.


Assassin's Creed Valhalla Has Gone Gold

Assassin's Creed Valhalla_02

Less than a month ahead of its worldwide launch, Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed Valhalla has gone gold. This means that the game is being sent off for disc manufacturing and distribution. But it also indicates that principle development is complete, even if a day one patch can be expected.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is set in Anglo-Saxon England and focuses on Eivor, a Viking originally from Norway. Eivor creates a settlement in the region and runs afoul of royalty while conducting raids and expanded his influence. Gameplay-wise, this means attacking forts and villages while making allegiances.

Various supernatural elements also come into play though. Eivor can battle with mythological beasts and monsters or take a potion from Valka the Seer to travel to Jotunheim and Asgard. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is out on November 10th for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PC and Google Stadia while the PS5 version releases on November 12th. Stay tuned for more details.


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