MMO Week in Review: Astellia Online gives up, Guild Wars 2 gets classy

Classy as in elite specs, that is. Yes, Guild Wars 2 fully revealed its first three End of Dragons elite specs this week, making fans of the Mesmer, Necro, and Guardian happy. Or not happy; it's really hard to tell with GW2 players. Meanwhile, Astellia Online threw in the towel, Blade & Soul set a […]

Battle Bards Episode 199: World of Warcraft tavern tunes

At the start and end of a long day of adventurin', the Battle Bards love to kick back with a frosty mug of (ginger) ale or a stein of (root) beer at their favorite taverns. And what watering holes have better music than World of Warcraft, which actually released a full album of it? In […]

The MOP Up: Warface's Hidden War is revealed

This week, Warface kicked off its Hidden War season: "The season update adds a new PvP-map called Ruins for capture mode where players can use traps against their opponents to change the map topology and gain a tactical advantage. Two new series of weapons and a set of armor complement the collections of players. Soon, […]

Lineage W is yet another mobile version of the MMO series 'strategically developed for global users'

At this point, the Lineage series is going to undergo so much mitosis that it will finally become a multi-cellular organism that will randomly wander the world and unleash massive AOEs on the planet. Until that time, there's word of another mobile entry in the MMOARPG series known as Lineage W. And as the lede […]

The Stream Team: Firing up the transdimensional steam engine of Voidtrain early access

When news of the early access survival sandbox Voidtrain crossed our desk, it perked a few ears in the staff. One of those perked ears belong to MOP's Chris, which is an anomaly because survival sandboxes usually aren't his bag, but who doesn't love trains? Interdimensional ones at that? Join him at 12:00 p.m. EDT […]

Destiny 2 covers changes coming to armor and mods in Season 15

Last week, Destiny 2 offered players a look at PvE changes due for Season 15, and this week the game's newsletter focused in on armor and mod changes that the new season will be bringing. The post goes through a variety of adjustments, including some tuning to Exotic armors that refund Super energy and buffing […]

One Shots: Flying into bugs at 90 mph

Flight may look cool on the superhero travel powers selection screen, but what they don't tell you in the shop is that it comes with a whole bunch of drawbacks: neck cricks, sun damage, collisions with amateur drone conventions, and a face full of bugs smacking into you at 90 miles per hour. You keep […]

The Daily Grind: What's the dumbest thing you've seen an MMO dev do on social media?

The great thing about social media is that it can be a great medium for people to communicate in real-time and let everyone know what you're thinking. The worst thing is… exactly that. But however bad it is when you accidentally say something that a bit more thought would have told you that it was […]

EVE Online creates the Fleet Up program to support IRL community events, starts testing its Mac client

Some people are starting to feel confident enough to meet up and gather in real life again, whether it's for smaller get-togethers or some larger events like, say, a community-run meetup for fans and players of EVE Online. CCP Games is hoping to facilitate and support player events for the spaceship MMO, and it's willing […]

World of Tanks celebrates 11 years with new tank presents and the return of Frontline

Dang, does it feel as if World of Tanks has been around 11 years already? Apparently it has, otherwise celebrating its 11th birthday would be a really weird flex. Anyhow, Wargaming got you a present. You're not gonna say no to a present. "World of Tanks' August Heat is hotting up even more with their […]

ZeniMax goes into detail on Elder Scrolls Online's latest graphics upgrades

If you haven't heard this already, Elder Scrolls Online is about to roll out some very nice graphical and performance upgrades to both its console and PC editions when its Waking Flame DLC drops at the end of the month. It's the sort of announcement that prompts several follow-up questions, which is exactly what WCCFtech […]

Book of Travels explains how its skills work for players in new video

Skills! Who doesn't like skills? People who don't have any skills, that's who. Book of Travels will have skills just like any other game, although some of the uses of those skills will be quite different from how other games use them. A new video explains how the game's skills are meant to work, with […]

LOTRO Legendarium: Exploring Lord of the Rings Online's choose-your-own-ruleset

Earlier this summer when Lord of the Rings Online kicked off its second batch of progression servers — the slow Treebeard and speedy Shadowfax rulesets — I wasn't on board with it. I hadn't really returned to LOTRO yet, for one thing, and felt as though I had gotten most of what I wanted from […]

Guild Wars 2 deep-dives elite specs, previews August 17 balance changes

If you were looking to find out more about the three elite specs that were revealed by Guild Wars 2, then you might want to set aside about an hour of your time to check out a beta preview livestream that talks all about the classes. The stream effectively provided a deep dive into the […]

WRUP: Forward and back edition

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The Daily Grind: What SWTOR class story and combat style will you combine with this year's expansion?

The announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic's upcoming expansion certainly seems to have called more than a few lapsed Jedi and Bounty Hunters back to its fold. I've seen a lot of renewed excitement in BioWare's MMORPG because of Legacy of the Sith, but not because of anything to do with the continued story. […]

Betawatch: Ship of Heroes rolls out its public mission beta event

It's time for Ship of Heroes to go full-on into beta testing for a while as it runs its mission beta event. If you're curious about how the game feels at this point doing actual content? Good news, we've got a whole write-up for you! There's also discussion from the developers about strategies and difficulty […]

Bless Unleashed plans weekend events, patches fixes to frame-limiting and chat

Bless Unleashed's newly launched PC version is a flurry of activity and events this weekend. First, Round8 is running a "push" event that essentially rewards players for logging in. If you log in each day this weekend within the right time periods, you'll walk away with a reward chest and as many as eight tickets. […]

Final Fantasy XI has kicked off its Return to Vana'diel and discount campaigns

Why not come back to Final Fantasy XI? The developers will be your friends! Well, maybe that's a bit far to go, but it's a remarkably active game for a title that was supposedly in some kind of maintenance mode at one point, and that will never stop being hilarious. And you can laugh right […]

Ragnarok Origin opens NA preregistration and teases free Tesla giveaway

Ragnarok Online is a classic MMO that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves, but maybe it will get its day in the sun again as Gravity Co. is rolling out a mobile entry in the franchise called Ragnarok Origin. Pre-registration for North America has begun already, and it's running a pretty unusual giveaway: If […]

AdventureQuest 3D invites players to celebrate Friday the 13th with new content at the House of Oddities

Regular players of AdventureQuest 3D know that Friday the 13th is something of a beloved holiday in the game, and while the Camp Gonnagetcha content will still be making a return next week, the game is seeking to start a new tradition focused entirely on the House of Oddities. This new "seasonal" content will see […]

New World kicks off the Tales of Aeturnum series with the Angry Earth

It's going to be a little longer until you get to try out New World, but the development team is doing its bets to keep you entertained with a new video series, Tales of Aeturnum. The whole idea here is to show off the lore and setting information behind the game's various enemy factions, with […]

Project M is a mobile shooter from NetEase that strongly resembles Valorant

As the old expression goes, if you can't beat 'em, make something extremely close to what they're making in order to infringe on the market share of 'em. That seems to be the motivating philosophy of NetEase's Project M, which looks enough like a mashup of Valorant on a mobile platform that you could be forgiven […]

The Elder Scrolls Online promises 'a peek at what is on the horizon' at digital QuakeCon 2021

Bethesda will be hosting the digital QuakeCon 2021 event on its Twitch channel next week, and fans of The Elder Scrolls Online are apparently going to want to tune in to the event, as there's promise of some details, reveals, and more slated for the MMORPG's portion of the show. ZeniMax Online studio head Matt […]

Nexon CEO blasts crunch and the 'charade of launch timing'

It's Friday, which means it's time to play one of my favorite weekend games: Check out what a top-tier gaming executive is saying about the industry. Today's subject is Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney. Readers will recall that Nexon posted its second quarter earnings earlier this week, admitting that it had performed poorly because of a […]

Mortal Online 2 will launch early access October 26 – apparently with a sub

Yesterday, Mortal Online 2 developer Starvault announced in its Discord that it's planning a final stress test for the beginning of September with an early access slated to launch October 26th. But what has everyone on Reddit and the Discord buzzing is the revelation that the early access will be accompanied by a mandatory subscription, although […]

Star Citizen talks about the development of 'Jumptown 2' and Arena Commander updates

PvP is probably one of the larger portions of entertainment for players of Star Citizen (or one of the larger pain points, depending on who you ask), and the latest episode of Inside Star Citizen is all about PvP, talking up how PvP is overall good for PvE players since it helps the devs balance […]

Elyon talks up its skill system ahead of the MMORPG's second closed beta test

Skills. Skills skills skills skills skills. Skills for kills and thrills. Skills that go boom. Skills that go zippity-zappy. Skills that don't have any actual visual effects but provide boons because they're passive. Skills in Elyon. A video about skills in Elyon. Skilly skill skills. Skill time, skillets. As one might expect, classes in Elyon […]

Crowfall plans a new system for initiating sieges, shares another roadmap of content updates and additions

Crowfall's ACE Q&A livestream for the month of August has come and gone, and the devs are looking ahead to the RvR MMO's next major update. This new patch for the game will introduce a handshake system for initiating keep and castle sieges, which should hopefully prevent players defending a location from logging in en […]

Vague Patch Notes: The lesson hidden in the Astellia shutdown

A couple years ago, an MMO launched named Astellia. It was fine. It wasn't bad. It wasn't good. It was just fine. It was perfectly acceptable as a buy-to-play game, but a lot of people were waiting for the free-to-play conversion right out of the gate. It had nothing to stand up and make you […]

Mythic Legions Tactics: War of the Aetherblade is a multiplayer optional tactical game based on a toy line

So there's apparently a line of action figures known as Mythic Legions that has something of a large following; created by Four Horseman Studios, it's designed around the land of Mythoss and features six inch-tall, highly articulated, and very detailed figures, if the looks at some of them are anything to go by. We bring […]

Lost Ark previews the Martial Artist and its four advanced classes

Amazon is pushing onward with reveals and deep-dives for Lost Ark's classes: This round is all about the Martial Artist. "Martial Artists are quick-footed fighters who like to rush the enemy with combined attacks at lethal speeds that can only be described as breakneck. Players interested in the quick and nimble Martial Artists can pick […]

Overwatch League loses more sponsors as workers expose Activision-Blizzard's toxic culture

The fallout from the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard just keeps on dropping. Yesterday, more sponsors of the Overwatch League pulled support from the esports giant. Kellogg told Polygon that it "will not be moving forward with any new programs this year, but will continue to review progress made against [Blizzard's] plans." Kellogg […]

EverQuest II's Toil and Trouble update brews up unholy dungeon runs

A dark and twisted summer treat arrived for EverQuest II players this week in the form of Toil and Trouble update. At the core of this patch are a variety of new dungeons, including raids, heroic, and solo editions, as well as additional collections and missions to accomplish. "In the Loping Plains' village of Somborn, […]

The Daily Grind: Are there MMORPGs you try to ignore?

I've joked before that several of our writers allow me the luxury of ignoring some MMORPGs. I don't have anything against Final Fantasy XIV, for example – I've even voted for it to be our GOTY a few times – but I'm extremely grateful that Eliot's expertise allows me to sort of tune out of […]

Massively Overthinking: What's your favorite type of MMORPG raid?

Raiding is one of those very simple MMO concepts that has somehow become a contentious one in the broader discourse. A "raid" in MMO terminology is just a relatively large group of players engaging in some sort of coordinated PvE combat – that's it. There shouldn't be anything wrong with this idea; it encompasses everything […]

World of Warships adds submarines to ranked, a new Dutch cruiser to early access, and an anime crossover

It's been a long time since World of Warships first announced the arrival of submarines to the game in 2019, and over the course of many rounds of testing, tuning, and talking, the time has come for subs to finally make their way to the game in full. Sort of. Update 0.10.7 has indeed brought […]

Aion gets cat scratch fever with a cat magician event and two cat transformations

Aion is apparently feline very catty with its latest events. From meow until Septempurr 1st, players can take part in an event that sees them grow a humble Cat Egg into a fully grown Grand Magister Cat by earning Catnip Stones and purrgress their egg through eight diffurent evolution levels. If you're curious on how […]

Gamigo's multiplayer MOBA hybrid Skydome has entered founder early access

Last spring, Gamigo surprised everyone by announcing that it was plotting several new game launches across the span of 2021. One of them turned out to be Skydome, a 4v4 MOBA-slash-tower-defense multiplayer title from Kinship Entertainment, and it's surprisingly pretty. And as of yesterday, you can actually play it, assuming your account has the right […]

Bless Unleashed PC celebrates a new China server's opening and holds a contest for Japanese players

These are (hopefully) happy times for Asian players of Bless Unleashed on PC. For one thing, the China server list is getting a fourth server starting this afternoon, which is being marked by a server-specific celebration event with 10% boosts in XP gain and five free bag expansion tickets for those who hop into the […]

Krafton's IPO launch didn't go to plan thanks to China and Tencent

Yesterday was supposed to be a huge day for Krafton, the South Korean gaming giant behind everything from TERA to PUBG, as it launched its initial public offering. As GIbiz notes, its IPO share price was 498,000 KRW (about $430 US), but as the market opened, shares were already trading down 10%, sinking to 20% […]

Legends of Runeterra prepares for its Beyond the Bandlewood expansion's arrival August 25

It's very nearly expansion time for Riot Games' CCG Legends of Runeterra. This Wednesday, August 25th, will see the launch of Beyond the Bandlewood and the devs of the game are stirring up the hype with some preliminary details and a new trailer. Beyond the Bandlewood will introduce the game's last region of Bandle City […]

Ship of Heroes shows off the end boss fight of its mission beta while discussing difficulty

The smart way to take on the big showdown at the end of the Iris arc currently playable in Ship of Heroes' mission beta event is to take the time to pull enemies out of the central chamber one at a time. That's not the way the players choose to take on the content in […]

EA fires Apex Legends lead designer over past sexist and racist remarks

Daniel Klein, a lead game designer on the battle royale shooter Apex Legends, has been fired from his position by Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment as a result of sexist and racist remarks he had made in various blog posts across different websites as far back as 2007. The posts in question were discovered on […]

Blade & Soul is getting its Unreal Engine 4 upgrade on September 8

It's time for Blade & Soul to look better with the game's upcoming engine upgrade to Unreal Engine 4. That feels like it's been something that's been "coming soon" for half of forever, but it's really about to happen with the imminent arrival of the patch on September 8th. A better-looking and better-performing version of […]

The director for Riot Games' Runeterra MMO turns his mind to character customization

Mark Yetter, the director for the in-development MMO set in the world of Runeterra, has character creation on the brain, at least according to a couple of tweets from his personal account, where he poses a TDG-like question: "Being able to build your character identity that is just right for you is a rare 'have […]

WoW Factor: What do changes in Blizzard management mean for World of Warcraft?

Blizzard is going through some changes at the moment. This is a good thing, as Blizzard has made it clear that it is a gigantic open sewer long filled with vile predators and people who enabled those predators via inaction. You probably don't need to be reminded that J. Allen Brack is out and a […]

No Man's Sky hits five years with a 'stronger player base,' teases next update

Five years ago, No Man's Sky was the eye of a nerdstorm of unbelievable proportions. The highly anticipated title launched with many of its promised features missing and bugs abounding. Yet the team at Hello Games chose to stick by its product rather than abandoning it, slowly but surely shaping No Man's Sky into an […]

Astellia Royal has announced its sunset now too after less than a year online

Earlier this week, we passed along the sad but not unexpected news that Astellia Online, which had dwindled in playerbase and seen its forums overrun by spammers, was planning a sunset at the end of October. At the time, we noted that Astellia Royal, the free-to-play spinoff of the original title, was missing its Steam […]

Lord of the Rings Online hopes to start rolling out monetization changes in the next year

One of the longstanding criticisms of Lord of the Rings Online revolves around the game's antiquated and frankly expensive business model. We found out earlier this summer that SSG is drawing up plans to modify or replace the model (and we even gave SSG a few suggestions of our own). Happily, it sounds as though […]

How to Start Siege of Paris DLC in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Jumping into Assassin's Creed Valhalla's latest DLC, Siege of Paris? Here's everything you need to know about getting started.

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Super Rare Mixtape Vol 1. Could Be the Retro Flashback You Need

Super Rare Games is releasing an indie game mixtape. No, we're absolutely not making this up and it looks rather cool to boot.

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Here's Call of Duty: Warzone Season Five's Patch Notes

The patch notes for Call of Duty: Warzone season five are here, following the game's update yesterday.

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Greak: Memories of Azur Review

Greak: Memories of Azur looks and sounds lovely. It's just a shame its gameplay is brought down by its multi-character mechanic.

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The Best Four-Player Multiplayer Games on Xbox Game Pass

Two's company, three's a crowd. Four's an epic gaming party.

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Sorry Foreclosed, I Just Can't See it Through 'til the End

A cyberpunk action-adventure game designed to feel like a living, breathing comic book, Foreclosed should be fun. Sadly, it's not quite.

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How to Get Past Turrets in Foreclosed

Part way through playing Foreclosed, there's a stressful section in a nightclub that sees you need to get past several turrets. How do you do it?

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How to Save Your Game in Foreclosed

Playing cyberpunk action-adventure Foreclosed and wondering how to save you game? Here's what you need to know.

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11 Bit Studios has Announced Frostpunk 2

Post-apocalyptic colony management game, Frostpunk, is getting a sequel, set thirty years after the original.

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Tips for Playing Hades

Let us help you try to escape from the Underworld.

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Sheltered 2 Will Take You Underground This September

Grimy survive-em-up Sheltered has a sequel, Sheltered 2, and it's dropping this September.

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Scarlet Hollow's Co-Creator Looks Back at the Game's Early Access Launch

The co-creator of Scarlet Hollow has posted an invaluable look at what it's like to fund, launch and promote an indie title.

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Nerf Legends Turns the Foam Toy Range Into a Colourful FPS

Nerf Legends takes the famous foam-dart firing toys and transplants them into a colourful sci-fi blaster.

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Post-Brexit Sim Not Tonight is Getting a USA-centric Sequel

Post-Brexit doorman game Not Tonight is getting a sequel that will take you across the United States of America.

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The Best Single-Player Games on Xbox One

Love single-player games and own an Xbox console? Here's our list of the best games that offer epic single-player experiences.

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Disciples: Liberation Preview: A Deep Strategy RPG

Blending multiple tried and tested mechanics yet somehow feeling unique, Disciples: Liberation may charm strategy RPG fans this October.

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Hades Door Guide: What Does Each Door Symbol Mean in Hades?

Knowing what reward lies ahead in Hades is incredibly useful – so it's important to know what every door symbol means. Let us help.

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The Five Best Boons in Hades

There are a lot of boons in Hades, and so knowing which ones to equip can be difficult. Let us help.

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Hades Weapons Guide: What's the Best Weapon in Hades?

With multiple weapons to choose from in Hades, how are you meant to know which one is best? Let us help.

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Does Hades Have Co-op or Multiplayer Options?

If you're jumping into Hades for the first time, you might be wondering if it has co-op or multiplayer options. Here's what you need to know.

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Sony And PS5's Performance In Japan Is Becoming A Grave Concern

The newest sales reports from Japan paint a very stark and interesting picture – the top 30 software sales charts for the week are all Nintendo-only. There is not one single PlayStation game in the top 30. And while it goes without saying, it bears repeating – the top 30 is all Nintendo, while being one system, which is obviously the Switch. One system has total and absolute domination over the software sales in an entire major market. This has quite literally never happened since the heyday of the NES (the Family Computer, or Famicom, in Japan), and it paints a rather sordid picture for the state of Sony's prospects in Japan going forward.

This is honestly shocking, because even though Nintendo has traditionally done very well in Japan, Sony has always held the lion's share of software sales in the country. The PS1 and PS2 were absolute monsters, the PSP was where most Japanese games migrated to even as the industry struggled with the transition to HD; the PS3 eventually managed to rally most of the Japanese industry behind it, with the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita forming a combined ecosystem that saw a lot of Japanese publishers continue to prioritize and emphasize PlayStation systems for their projects. Once the PS4 came on to the scene, it took a while to get going, but even while it was finding its footing, the PS3 and PS Vita held up the fort, and eventually, the PS4 and Vita continued that ecosystem further.

The issue is, PlayStation wasn't getting Japanese third party support because of any particular effort by Sony, or quality inherent to PlayStation platforms. It was getting that third party support because there were quite literally no other platforms for those games to go to. Xbox consoles are a non-factor in Japan – they're out of reckoning for this one (though Xbox has been gaining some good ground with the Series consoles in the land of the rising sun the last few months, surprisingly enough). So it always came down to PlayStation or Nintendo.

There, the answer was always obvious – yes, the Wii had sold more, but the audience it had cultivated wasn't particularly interested in buying RPGs, action adventure games, or visual novels – the types of games Japanese developers thrive at making. Yes, the DS was massively successful, and its audience did want to buy just about any game you could put on it – but it was extremely weak in terms of hardware, meaning a lot of games couldn't come to it even if the developers wanted. The PS3 and PSP became the platforms to go to by default, essentially.

The 3DS was a clear attempt at courting the PSP audience, and it actually did make inroads there, but the Vita allowed for easy cross-porting between it, the PSP, the PS3, and the PS4, which as a combined ecosystem was still far more valuable (and easier to get into) than the bespoke and singular 3DS could manage. So in spite of the 3DS' monstrous success in Japan, and the Vita's relative failure, most third party support in the country still went to PlayStation. The Wii U was an abysmal misfire, meaning it was never in reckoning, in turn making the PS4 the default system to go to.

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Essentially, then, what Nintendo needed to do was to come out with a device that was capable enough to host games Japanese developers like to make, cultivated an audience that liked buying the kinds of games Japanese developers like to make, was easy to develop and publish games for, and which had a big install base. Until the Switch, one or the other of these factors has always been missing, which had only reinforced Sony's position as the de facto, default place to go to for Japanese developers. But that's the thing, if your success is built not off of your own merits or anything you have done, but rather, the competition's consistent misfires, then eventually you're going to lose the top spot. Unless you make active efforts to solidify your position, and just rely on the competition bumbling, it will come back to bite you.

Sony has not only not made the appropriate efforts to cultivate the Japanese market, but has, in fact, done everything in its power to alienate and diminish it. From closing its local in-house Japanese development studio to imposing arbitrary content and administrative restrictions on Japanese games and game creators, to simply arrogantly throwing their weight around, with things as trivial as their reversal of the X and O button functions in the PlayStation UI and the lack of support extended to local developers, Sony has been burning bridges with a lot of Japanese developers and publishers for a while now.

So between Sony's consistent sidelining of Japan, and Nintendo finally getting a system out that checks all the boxes, what has happened? We have ended up with a situation where a PlayStation system is no longer the default, where at the very least a lot of the Japanese support it commanded as de facto exclusive (because, again, where else would those games go?) has become at least multiplatform (such as with long running PlayStation exclusive franchises such as Atelier), or outright exclusive (such as with Disgaea). We've ended up at a point where Japanese games sell more on Switch – not just in Japan, but worldwide now.

None of this is really new information – but it does tie into a broader point about Nintendo and Sony's contrasting strategies, and how they are indicative of the broader directions the two companies have chosen to take for their respective brands. Sony has decided to go all in on the high end, the prestige associated with the next blockbuster big budget release. Those are the games Sony chooses to highlight and associate with – which isn't to say smaller fare isn't allowed on PlayStation, of course, it is, but Sony really doesn't care about any of that. This is why indie games have also suffered a similar fate as Japanese games on PlayStation – they are mostly sidelined, because Sony wants all eyes on the next big blockbuster, whether its own, or from its partners.

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And to be fair to Sony, those partners might well be indie or Japanese too. Sony does highlight Japanese games – such as Final Fantasy. Sony does highlight indie games – such as Kena: Bridge of Spirits. But all those games are carefully curated and selected high end "blockbusters", even within their own niches, and so they get Sony's approval. In contrast, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim can be an award winning, critically acclaimed game that is PS4 exclusive (not even on PC!), and Sony doesn't even acknowledge it on its own store page.

This is the reverse of Nintendo's strategy. Nintendo has embraced the mid-tier of the market, that segment of the market that the transition to HD all but killed until the Switch gave it a thriving ecosystem to subsist in. This is why Nintendo has no trouble holding 30 minute long streams dedicated to nothing but indie games every few months. This is why low- to mid-tier Japanese games such as No More Heroes III or Rune Factory 5 get showcased in their presentations so frequently. Nintendo has zero trouble highlighting the high end, of course – when it has high end games coming to its system, it pushes them for all they're worth. But to Nintendo, there is no distinction or difference between a high end game or a mid tier one, and as long as it's an appealing game, it will get marketed by the company.

What this has led to, in turn, is two very different software markets and ecosystems on PlayStation and Nintendo. Amusingly enough, they each seem to be imbibing what the other was like in the past. In the past, PlayStation was the platform that democratized game development, and highlighted and pushed everything. That's why so many of these once small developers and franchises, such as Persona, grew on PlayStation platforms to begin with. Nintendo was known to highlight a "premium software" strategy, where carefully curated hits, its own as well as from select third party partners, were what were marketed. This led to two very different software markets and ecosystems across the platforms – PlayStation owners were more willing to buy out different kinds of software, rather than just the next big hit, and a lot of smaller games and developers saw massive success on there as a result. On the other hand, Nintendo owners were likely to just wait for the next big hit – almost always just a Nintendo game, but sometime a carefully selected third party title too, whether it be Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on the N64 or Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube.

Right now, we're seeing the opposite of that. Sony has cultivated the blockbuster audience – the audience waiting for the next big hit from Sony, or the next major AAA blockbuster drop. This audience is focused on the latest and greatest, and as a result, a lot of it isn't really too interested in picking up a random indie or Japanese game that looks like it was maybe cutting edge back on the PS2. And that's obviously fine – there's nothing wrong with preferring the cutting edge as a player, and there's nothing wrong with Sony choosing to focus on that, given how successful they are right now.

monster hunter stories 2

Nintendo players, on the other hand, thanks to Nintendo taking the initiative to actively cultivate an audience that is willing to try out a whole bunch of things – from the newest indie game that looks even slightly interesting to the newest Japanese game in a long running niche series – are now taking more risks, a broader approach with what they choose to buy. Obviously, given the Switch's freakishly high software attach rates, they're pretty happy with what they get when they experiment with these games too, leading to this kind of software support for the platform being further perpetuated, and customers being exposed to an even broader array of games. There's a reason that where once, smaller games would become huge on PlayStation before maybe migrating over to other systems, the opposite is happening now – there's a reason that Hollow Knight and Hades were big on Switch before they were on any other console, and that reason is that Nintendo has created an ecosystem where developers and customers alike are likelier to have an affinity for broad, varied software across the spectrum, rather than just sticking to the next big blockbuster.

This kind of embrace of all games is why the Japanese industry has ultimately rallied around the Switch at this point, why the Switch is the Japanese games industry, in fact. Obviously, the PS5 will continue to get Japanese support – high end Japanese games such as Resident Evil can't go anywhere else, and even with the smaller tier stuff, a lot of it will probably come to PlayStation because a multiplatform release strategy makes sense, with the ease of porting for modern systems. But more and more, we're going to start to see the kind of ecosystem PlayStation cultivated over two decades to slowly migrate over to Nintendo going forward – assuming, obviously, that Nintendo doesn't decide to pull a Nintendo and mess things up with the Switch successor.

Nintendo is probably going to mess things up with the Switch successor.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Will Have 16 6v6 Maps at Launch – Rumour

With Call of Duty: Vanguard seemingly edging closer to its official reveal soon, notable Call of Duty leaker Tom Henderson has been teasing out some interesting details of late. One detail in particular that has caught the eye of many series fans is the fact that the game is supposedly going to launch with quite a few maps, with the total number currently standing at 24.

According to Henderson, of those 24 maps, 16 maps are going to be for 6v6 games. Henderson says that though he had previously heard there would be around 8-10 6v6 maps in the game, there's apparently been a major "ramp up", and the final number is going to be more than expected.

Recent Call of Duty releases, Black Ops Cold War in particular, drew criticism from fans for their low map count at launch, so it's good to see that Vanguard is addressing those issues. Of course, this is all unconfirmed right now, so treat it as such.

We'll find out soon enough though, so stay tuned for more details.

Halo Infinite – Leaked Footage Shows a New Map, Launch Site

Halo Infinite leaks have been doing the rounds quite frequently of late. Just last week, we got details on four multiplayer maps from the game that had yet to be officially revealed by 343 Industries, one of which had a Saber preparing for takeoff as one of its dominating characteristics, with clear inspiration from Halo: Reach's Countdown.

Now, new footage has leaked online that shows more of that map. As shard by @LeakyHalo on Twitter and then further in a Reddit post, the map clearly focuses on verticality in its design, while it seems like there might be some dynamic elements as well. It's hard to be too sure about the exact characteristics of the map at this point (there's clearly some placeholder stuff in there), but it does give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from it. According to the game's files, the map is going to be called Launch Site.

Recently, spoilers from the game's campaign have also found their way online, so make sure to avoid those as best you can. Meanwhile, leaks also indicate that a battle royale mode might be in the pipeline.

Halo Infinite is due out this Fall for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.

The Callisto Protocol Director Shares New Teaser Art

Survival horror fans have quite a bit to look forward to in the near future where the AAA space is concerned. Dead Space is making a long-awaited comeback with EA Motive's remake of the first game (which is rumoured to be targeting a late 2022 launch), but of course, the people who created Dead Space to begin with are also working on The Callisto Protocol at Striking Distance Studios, a brand new science fiction survival horror IP which looks to be capturing much of the same crowd.

Glen Schofield, studio head and director of the title, recently took to Twitter to share some new teaser art for the game. It doesn't show a whole lot, and you shouldn't expect to get any ideas about the gameplay from it, but it's a cool reminder of the sort of aesthetic the game is going for- gleefully disgusting and horrifying. Take a look at it below.

The Callisto Protocol is currently targeting a 2022 launch for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. An exact release date for it hasn't yet been confirmed.

xCloud Works Well on Steam Deck, Phil Spencer Says

The Steam Deck is shaping up to be an exciting device, not only because it's essentially going to be a proper, well-powered handheld gaming PC, but also because, with its promise of being an open platform, it'll allow users to run third party applications as well, including other storefronts. Of course, as you'd expect, you'll also be able to use the Steam Deck to stream Xbox games via xCloud- and how exactly is that going to perform?

Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently took to Twitter, and according to him, it's actually performing very well. As it turns out, Spencer has had a Steam Deck in his possession for about a week, and has been trying out games on it, including the likes of Age of Empires and Halo, which he says "feels good." According to Spencer, xCloud "works well" on the Steam Deck- so there you have it. That's yet another use for Valve's upcoming device.

Steam Deck is getting a limited launch in some regions of the world this December (with more waves of stock following later in 2022), so we'll find out soon enough exactly how well the device runs games via xCloud.

Metroid Dread is the Most Pre-ordered Switch Game Over the Last Couple of Months, According to GameStop

Metroid Dread has been a long time coming, and as the first new 2D Metroid game in nearly two decades and the first new Metroid title since 2010, it goes without saying that series fans are quite excited for the game. And for once in the series' history, it seems like that's going to be reflected in solid sales as well- at least if pre-orders are anything to go by. 

GameStop recently sent out emails to its customers (via Nintendo Everything), in which the retail chain revealed the top 10 most pre-ordered upcoming Switch games over the last couple of months. Metroid Dread topped the list, beating out major upcoming games such as Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Shin Megami Tensei 5, Mario Party Superstars, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and many more. 

Metroid has historically not been a very high-selling series, which is probably why Nintendo hasn't focused on it as much as fans would have liked, so it's great to see that, according to early indications, Metroid Dread might turn out to be a much more commercially successful game. Here's hoping, for the series' sake, that this continues.

The full top 10 for the most pre-ordered Switch games (starting June 8) can be found below.

Metroid Dread launches for the Nintendo Switch on October 8.

No. Game
1. Metroid Dread
2. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl Double Pack
3. Mario Party Superstars
4. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
5. Shin Megami Tensei 5
6. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond
7. WarioWare: Get it Together!
8. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus
9. Sonic Colors: Ultimate
10. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Upcoming Action RPG Faith of Danschant: Hereafter Impresses with Gameplay Debut

Major upcoming AAA games from lesser-known Chinese developers have really been making waves of late. Since its reveal last year, Black Myth: Wukong has continued to look impressive, and recently, developer Beijing Joyfun revealed their own new game, Faith of Danschant: Hereafter, with an impressive gameplay debut around a dozen minutes long.

Faith of Danschant: Hereafter is an action RPG based on Chinese mythology that serves as a sequel to the 2017 title, Faith of Danschant. Its gameplay debut shows densely wooded environments, with a focus on fast and kinetic combat. Something else that's highlighted is slick traversal, with the protagonist running up and along tall bamboo trees, and even using them in interesting ways during combat (such as cutting off a tree and then kicking the cut off part into an enemy). Check out the full debut below, courtesy of IGN.

Faith of Danschant: Hereafter is being built on the Unreal Engine (though there's no word on whether its UE5 or not). The game will feature support for RTX and DLSS. It's confirmed for PC and consoles (though the developers haven't specified exactly which consoles it's targeting), and does not yet have a release date.

Psychonauts 2 Devs Talk About Psychic Gadgets in New Video

With Psychonauts 2 finally coming up at long last to put years of anticipation to an end, the developers at Double Fine Productions have been talking about various aspects of the game. Recently, in a newly released video, the devs spoke about a couple of the psychic gadgets you'll be using in the game, in addition to Raz's own abilities.

The gadgets on display here are the Thought Tuner, which essentially allows you to read peoples' thoughts floating around in the world, while the second is the Otto-Shot Camera, which will function as a photo mode in the game, complete with editing tools, filters, and what have you. Both gadgets can be obtained from the lab of Otto Mentallis, the quartermaster and one of the six founders of the Psychonauts. Check out the video below.

Psychonauts 2 recently wrapped up development and will be launching on August 25 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Marvel's Avengers Spider-Man DLC Still Planned for 2021, Crystal Dynamics Says

Marvel's Avengers has added two DLC characters in the form of Kate Bishop and Hawkeye so far, and the third, Black Panther, is right around the corner as well. One of the first DLC characters to be announced for the game, however, was Spider-Man, who was confirmed as exclusive content for those playing the game on PlayStation consoles. It's been a while since we got any updates on his addition to the game's roster though, so when exactly can we expect him to arrive?

According to Crystal Dynamics, the plan is still to bring Spider-Man to Avengers by the end of this year. Speaking in an interview with Screen Rant, senior game designer Scott Walters said that the Spider-Man DLC is still on track for 2021, and Crystal Dynamics will have more details to share on that front later in the year.

"In terms of what we can say now, we've always scheduled and looked to bring Spider-Man out in 2021 for PlayStation owners," Walters said. "That is still on track, so we'll have more announcements later on this year."

With Crystal Dynamics currently focused on the Black Panther DLC, it makes sense that they're not going to be talking about any other upcoming content until that's been wrapped up. Whether or not they can stick to their planned timeline for upcoming content for the year following that remains to be seen.

Black Panther – War for Wakanda is launching in a couple of days, on August 17, for all platforms.

New Twisted Metal Game Reportedly in the Works

Sony's got a large number of beloved first party franchises under its belt that have been dormant for way too long, and there's a legion of fans who keep hoping for their revivals. One such franchise is the vehicular combat series Twisted Metal, which hasn't seen a new game release since the 2012 PS3 title. That, however, might change soon.

According to well-known leaker Tom Henderson, a new Twisted Metal game is currently in the works and is, for now, planning a 2023 launch. Henderson's tweet is a brief one, so there's plenty of questions surrounding the game right now- whether this will be a remake, a reboot, or something else entirely remains to be seen. Twisted Metal TV series is also in development, so maybe this could tie in with that.

Of course, in spite of Henderson's solid track record with leaks, there's no guarantees that this is accurate. That said, Andy Robinson of VGC recently also took to Twitter to state that he's been told that a new Twisted Metal game is indeed in the works.

Meanwhile, Twisted Metal might not be the only dormant Sony franchise gearing up for a comeback. A recent leak also claimed that a new WipEout game is in the works for PS5 and PSVR 2. Read more on that through here.