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by Jacob Siegal via BGR

Nintendo’s incredible rebound year got even better this week as The NPD Group on Thursday released its sales report for the month of August, revealing that the Switch once again outsold the PS4 and Xbox One in the US to take the top spot in console sales. This marks the fourth time in the past six months that the Switch has earned the title, with the PS4 beating out the Switch in May and June.

While the Switch has become the console to beat ever since it launched in March, NPD says that the PS4 is still the best-selling console of 2017 so far. The group doesn’t release specific numbers, so we don’t know how close the two consoles are, but it appears Sony’s two month head start has given it the cushion it needs to maintain its lead. It will be fascinating to see if Sony can stay on top throughout the holiday season, though if Nintendo can’t produce enough Switch consoles to meet demand, it won’t be much of a competition.

While hardware spending year-to-year dropped 6% to $168 million in August, total hardware sales for 2017 are actually up 17% to $1.7 billion, due in large part to Nintendo’s resurgence. In fact, with the holiday season and the launch of the SNES Classic Edition fast approaching, 2017 could end up being a massive year for hardware sales, despite the fact that Sony and Microsoft are four years into their console cycles.

Some other interesting tidbits from the August report: Nintendo has three games in the top 10 for software sales, accessory sales are up 10% and Grand Theft Auto V is somehow the second best-selling game of the month.

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It organizes data into chunks that can be deleted if not needed.

Annual E3 Gaming Industry Conference Held In Los Angeles

by Mallory Locklear via Engadget

Microsoft has been working on a new feature for Xbox One and Xbox One Xthat stands to save users a ton of storage space, Eurogamer reports. Called Intelligent Delivery, the system allows for game data to be sorted into chunks allowing players to delete bits they don’t need and free up space on their hard drives.

Here are a few ways that could be prove to be super useful. For FIFA games where the download is largely taken up by all of the various languages supported by the game, users would be able to delete all of them except the language they need. Another example — players with Xbox One consoles wouldn’t have to download all of the 4K assets used by X consoles, which they wouldn’t need because their system doesn’t support them anyway. And further, for games like Call of Duty, players that only want to focus on either single-player or multiplayer modes, can delete the one they aren’t using and then reinstall it whenever they want to use it.

Additionally, Intelligent Delivery will support games on multiple discs, with the primary disc holding all of the necessary data and additional ones (up to 15 total) carrying extra data chunks that players could add in as needed. Right now, Microsoft is only supporting two discs, but game developers wanting to use more can work that out with the company on a case-by-case basis.

Of course all of these features depend on game creators sorting their games into data chunks, which they may not want to do solely for Xbox One and for some things — like separating campaign and multiplayer modes — it may not be so simple. But Intelligent Delivery offers some smart tools that stand to have a big impact on storage space and download times.

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by Irwyn Diaz via Twin Infinite

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is the latest entry in Adol’s ongoing adventures and is slated to release on the PS4, PS Vita, and PC. While the game will be releasing on the two former platforms later this week, NIS America has announced that there will be a delay with the PC version. Posting on Steam, the company claimed that the release date has been pushed back to improve the gameplay quality.

If you’ve already pre-purchased Ys VIII on the said platform, NIS America is offering a refund here. Unfortunately, they haven’t revealed an official release date for the PC version, so fans will have to wait for now.

The game follows Adol and his new motley crew who must escape the mysterious Isle of Seiren after a monster attack caused their ship to sink. He and his team must explore the island that’s swarming with dangerous enemies to locate other survivors and ultimately find a way to escape. Along the way, Adol learns about a woman named Dana in his dreams who seems to have a strong connection to the island.

Ys VIII was released yesterday, Sept 12th for the PS4 and PS Vita.

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by (@NE_Brian) via Nintendo Everything

All indications thus far point to NBA 2K18 being very solid on Switch. Aside from some graphical differences, the Switch version matches up well to its counterparts on other platforms.

In an interview with Gamereactor, senior producer Rob Jones discussed the approach to creating NBA 2K18 for Switch in a bit more detail. From day one, Visual Concept’s president spoke about making it “the same exact game that was on PS4 and Xbox One”. It goes without saying that doing so was no easy task.

Jones’ full words:

“Well the main thing that our president said from day one is that the Switch had to be the same exact game that was on PS4 and Xbox One, so by starting there, you know, the bar was already set extremely high, because we were already working really, really hard just to get it on platforms we already knew, and then suddenly to take that and miniaturise it for the portable, you know, the portable Switch (obviously it also plays when it’s docked), but to get all those features working on there was kind of a gargantuan task.”

“We actually had a second team just dedicated only to doing the Switch version just because it would have been impossible within the confines of VC […] So obviously we delivered a good experience. It’s not the same exact graphics because the Switch can’t push them, you know, but the experience itself – you’re not missing out on anything from the Switch version [compared] to the main consoles version.”

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by Rob Thubron via TechSpot

It seems PC fans — myself included — agree with PC Gamer’s recent top 100 list: The Witcher 3 is the best game you can play right now. The publication asked its readers to vote for their favorite titles and added the results to its own list, which was put together by editors and contributors.

Participants picked two games from the Top 100 and recommended two others that didn’t appear. The list would then be reordered based on reader selections, and games with the fewest votes were replaced with the most popular new suggestions.

While there were some significant differences, the amazing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt retained its number one position, and while PC Gamer put the evergreen Half-Life 2 in the number 11 spot, readers boosted it up to second place. On the subject of CD Projekt Red’s classic, make sure to check out this heartfelt Witcher 3 10th anniversary video.

Another game that fans still love is the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The epic RPG was the magazine’s 26th best game, but the revamped list saw it move up to third.

Some titles appearing on the reader’s list that weren’t in the original included League of Legends at 18 (Dota 2 fell from 54 to 73), Fallout 2 at 11, and Borderlands 2 taking fifth place. Both Life is Strange and Rimworld also made the new version.

A notable name to drop off PC Gamer’s list was Spelunky. Its tenth-best game didn’t even make the readers’ top 100. You can check out a direct comparison of the lists on this spreadsheet. Also as a side note, here’s TechSpot’s shortlist of 10 PC games you should play — last updated in March it’s due for an update next month.

Meanwhile, here’s the readers’ top 20 (entries not on PC Gamer’s list are in bold):

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

2. Half-Life 2

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

4. Dark Souls

5. Borderlands 2

6. Fallout: New Vegas

7. Mass Effect 2

8. Doom (2016)

9. BioShock

10. Doom 2

11. Fallout 2

12. Deus Ex

13. Portal 2

14. Life is Strange

15. Starcraft

16. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn

17. Grand Theft Auto 5

18. League of Legends

19. Diablo 2

20. XCOM 2

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x1

by Paul Tassi via Forbes

One question I get asked a lot is “If you weren’t reviewing video games for a living, would you still buy [X thing]?”

Most of the time, the answer is yes. Granted, while I don’t know what my schedule or income would be working some other job, most of the games I buy, the consoles I purchase, I would still be buying even if I wasn’t doing this for a living because well, I love video games. But after just shelling out $500 plus tax and delivery for an Xbox One X pre-order, this is one of the first times when I genuinely don’t think this is something I would have bought myself.

As Eurogamer noted in a great piece this weekend, Microsoft has not done a good job selling the Xbox One X from the start, and didn’t do so in what will probably be its final high profile sales pitch at Gamescom. With very few recent, exclusive games that can only be played on Xbox generally, the Xbox One X’s main selling point is that it will play multiplatform third party games better than everyone else as “the most powerful console ever made.”

I will say what Microsoft has done with the Xbox One X’s tech is impressive, extracting power from places no one’s even thought of before to really put a ton of horsepower into a home console. But that’s put the system in a weird position where even if $500 might actually be a logical, even great price for the capabilities of the system, it’s…still a $500 console in a market where its closest competition, PS4 Pro, is $100 less than that, and most consoles, including Microsoft’s own Xbox One S, are half the price instead.

This leaves me wondering who exactly this console is for, which is something I have not really understood from the start. There’s my crowd, game journalists, and there are Microsoft fans so devoted that they have already bought it blindly and will likely appear in the next few minutes in the comments of this article disparaging my character. But that is not a very large crowd. If Microsoft was putting out exclusive games on par with Horizon, Uncharted, Nier, etc. that would be one selling point, but just offering to be a “better” version of shared games is less convincing.

xbox-one-x-forza

Microsoft is also not being clear about what “better” means, in most circumstances. Some games like Forza 7 are designed to be native “true” 4K and 60 fps. If that was a metric that could be hit across the board for all titles, that would be gamechanging to be sure, but it’s unclear that even with all the tech Microsoft has jammed into the X1X, how often that will be possible. For all its talk of “true” 4K, there appear to be very few games that are actually capable of running at that native resolution, and these “enhanced” games will have improvements spanning from major to minor, but what specifically is improved will vary on a case by case basis.

If anything, PS4 Pro has made me more wary of “enhanced” games, which is making me cautious about the Xbox One X’s claim to do the same thing. While some games are clearly better with the Pro, namely Sony’s own in-house titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted: Lost Legacy, with many “enhanced” titles, it’s hard to tell. Recently, I got through an entire playthrough of Prey not realizing it hadn’t been patched for Pro, and once it was, I logged back in to find…literally no noticeable difference whatsoever. Maybe the X1X with all its power will display this convincingly, but I have not seen enough specifics where I can believe that, and I’m still not sold on the concept of “incremental upgrade” consoles generally, especially after owning a Pro.

The other problem with the “best place to play” selling point of Xbox One X is that for these cross-platform games, ultimately my decision to play them on PS4 or Xbox may rest on a factor outside of Microsoft’s control, where my friends are playing. Maybe Destiny 2 will look and play better on Xbox One X, but almost everyone I know is going to be playing that game on PS4, meaning it would be incredibly hard to make that switch for that reason alone. Repeat that for essentially any multiplayer game you want to play with friends. But yeah sure, I guess I’ll pick up Assassin’s Creed Origins for X1X. Maybe. But is this really what I bought a $500 console for?

In short:

  • The Xbox One X does not seem like it will do enough to convince PS4 owners to make the switch, due to a lack of exclusives and a smaller playerbase.
  • It is clearly not the console for people who don’t own any new-gen systems yet, as it has the highest price on the market by a wide margin.
  • For those who desperately care about power and specs above all else, the term for that group is “PC gamers,” who will likely own machines that can outperform the X1X already. Not to mention all Xbox One exclusives going forward will be available on PC and can be played with an Xbox controller there.
  • That leaves die-hard Xbox fans, though many of them may still not be able to justify a $500 purchase even if they do want the console.
  • Pretty much anyone, in any category, who buys an Xbox One X must have a 4K HDR TV or they will not be utilizing the main selling point of the unit. While 4K is clearly where the market is moving, adoption rates are still low at this point.

Microsoft seems to realize all this, and is playing up expectations accordingly, positioning the X1X as something “for the fans,” and a “premium experience” that isn’t for everyone. But with the current state of the Xbox brand and its market position lightyears behind PS4, it seems like an odd decision to release such a niche console that’s a very, very tough purchase for almost the entirety of the gaming public.

Initial pre-orders have sold out, but we have no real context of what that means, and we won’t know more until the system is actually released this fall. But yep, I’m getting one, and I guess I’ll see if it’s worth it then. If you bought this system early, what was your rationale? I’m genuinely curious.

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From the PlayStation Europe Twitter account. Credit: Sony

by Dave Thier via Forbes

Because who doesn’t like a good teaser? PlayStation Europe has a perfectly cryptic message up on its Twitter account that appears to be teasing some sort of announcement ahead of Gamescom. It says only “we’re gearing up for the reveal of something new,” with a gif of red cloth sitting over some unnamed object. Sony didn’t announce a Gamescom press conference, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bringing some kind of surprise, possibly to offer something to take attention away from Microsoft’s Xbox One X. The company’s North American accounts didn’t echo the tease, so whatever it is may only apply to Europe.

Beyond this, we have absolutely nothing to go on, but that’s never stopped us from wild speculation before. The red cloth could seem to indicate a physical object, and for some reason, the commentariat of the broader gaming community have jumped on the idea of a portable. This is almost certainly not going to happen: Sony hopefully learned its lesson with the Vita, and woe be to the company that challenges either the 3DS or the Switch. A much more reasonable assumption would be some kind of Knack-only console that promises to enshrine the wonder that is Knackfor future generations— a Knackstation if you will. Support for Knack 2 is unannounced at this time.

If I had to take an actual guess, I’d say this this is some sort of special edition PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, some of which have been region-specific before. Sony isn’t doing any sort of presentation at Gamescom, so it’d be a pretty unusual move to come out with some kind of large-scale reveal without any warning. Not impossible, mind you, just unusual. Sony is having a press conference at Paris Games Week in October, so if it has something bigger for the Holiday season that might be a more reasonable time to unveil it. But who knows? We’ll find out soon, it would seem.

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