This week in gaming: Fortnite skips the Google Play store, Vainglory goes multi-platform, EA revamps FIFA Ultimate Team, and more!
In the spirit of keeping our readers up to date with what’s happening in the video game industry, the Doublejump Digest is a brief collection of the major news stories from the past week. Keep an eye out for the Digest every Sunday night, and head on into the archive for news from weeks gone by!
- Kristian made his solo debut by explaining how Guitar Hero Live took too many risks in changing the series’ business model, thereby crashing and burning as a sad result.
Fortnite skips the Google Play store for its Android release:
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has confirmed to Eurogamer that his studio’s hit title, Fortnite: Battle Royale, is going to bypass the Google Play Store when it comes to Android later in the year.
“Epic’s goal is to bring its games directly to customers. We believe [that] gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Android,” Sweeney wrote in the accompanying FAQ. “Competition among services gives consumers lots of great.”
Doing this will mean that Epic will not have to pay Google a 30% share of purchases made within the game since it will not be distributed through Google’s official store.
“The 30% store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70% must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. There’s a rationale for this on console where there’s enormous investment in hardware, often sold below cost, and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers,” he explained. “But on open platforms, 30% is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service.”
Sweeney noted that his company would have done the same on iOS if Apple did not create such a closed software ecosystem on its mobile platforms.
Vainglory goes cross-platform:
Announced in Super Evil Mega Corp’s latest Developer Update and still “a very early alpha”, the Mac and Windows client makes Vainglory the first MOBA to cross the bridge between mobile and PC gaming. The PC client is a faithful port of the current mobile offering, allowing players to play with all of their friends – both on mobile devices and PCs of their own – across all of the game’s modes and providing access to the full out-of-game experience.
The client was also announced alongside a free skin to celebrate the game’s appearance in an advertising campaign for the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip, the next two heroes set to be released in Updates 3.6 and 3.7, and a number of long-awaited quality of life improvements. Those interested in testing Vainglory on their PC or Mac can learn more here.
FIFA 19 Ultimate Team is getting a nice revamp:
The highlight of this revamp is the Division Rivals game mode that replaces Online Seasons and works somewhat like the ranked modes seen in games like Overwatch and Rocket League; after a series of qualification matches, players will be placed into a division that they’ll play in for the week, with rewards to come at the end of each week. Division Rivals also replaces the Daily Knockout Tournament as the new way to qualify for the competitive Weekend League, with Champions Points acquired through gameplay the means of qualification. Notably, Champions Points can be stacked, meaning that players who qualify can choose which Weekend League they enter, rather than being entered into the next one.
Elsewhere in Ultimate Team, players will see:
- A revamped FUT Champions hub with button input display and the ability to skip to key moments in the match;
- New pack opening cutscenes;
- Champions and Europa League items that work in the same way as Team of the Week items;
- A new card sorting system: flick the right analog stick up to send items to the transfer list, down to quick sell, and push it in to send them to your club;
- The “Player Pick” pack type that lets players choose a card from between two or five offers; and
- The long-awaited disclosure of pack odds.
On top of all of this, EA Sports has also announced the first batch of Icons to come to FIFA 19: Roberto Baggio, Fabio Cannavaro, Johan Cruijff, Eusébio, Steven Gerrard, Miroslav Klose, Frank Lampard, Claude Makélélé, Raúl, Rivaldo and Clarence Seedorf.
Report: Spyro Reignited Trilogy physical copies also come with a huge download:
Activision Publishing has not dismissed speculation that Spyro Reignited Trilogy will ship with just the first game on the disc, with players having to download the other two games in the compilation.
“The global launch date of Spyro Reignited Trilogy is Sept. 21; and we’re excited for fans to play all three reignited games on that day,” the publisher told press outlets. “As with most games today, downloading an update after purchase is quite common. The language on packaging and on the web is to let players know the requirements for Spyro Reignited Trilogy.”
This statement was released not long after Twitter user Nibellion posted the following Xbox Store image (via ComicBook.com) showing that players will need to download the second and third games in the compilation.
Sony has now sold 82 million PlayStation 4 units:
The company announced in its latest earnings report (via GameSpot) that it shipped approximately 3.2 million PS4 systems in the quarter ending July 31 and bringing the total units sold to more than 82 million worldwide.
While the 3.2 million figure is down from the 3.3 million one from last year, Sony expects to ship 17 million systems by March 31 next year – which is up from its previous prediction of 16 million units.
New report suggests that two-thirds of indie developers plan to self-publish:
According to research conducted by engine creator Unity Technologies, approximately 67% of the 1445 independent game studios polled stated that they would like to self-publish their games in the future. Similarly, approximately 72% were developing primarily for release on PC with mobile devices following closely behind at 57%, consoles at 29%, 24% for virtual reality devices, and 16% for augmented reality devices. Just over half (53%) of the polled studios were looking to release their games as one-off purchases (“premium” titles) and 36% plan on releasing them as free-to-play (“freemium”) ones.
Report: Flash Sales returning to Steam:
YouTube channel Valve News Network has reported that Valve is planning on reinstating temporary Steam “Flash Sales” based on new text found by a Steam Translation Server volunteer (via PC Gamer). Furthermore, developers and publishers may finally get to control whether their games are discounted for 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours. Valve itself has yet to confirm the validity of this rumour as of this writing.
Msdossary takes out FIFA 18 crown:
Mosaad “Msdossary” Aldossary of Saudi Arabia has been crowned the FIFA 18 World Champion, following his 4–0 triumph in the final, over Belgium’s Stefano ‘StefanoPinna’ Pinna. Msdossary takes home US$250,000 in prize money and the FIFA eWorld Cup trophy, backing up his win in the FUT Champions Cup back in April. Natively an Xbox player, he won the first leg on PS4 with a scoreline of 2–0, before cementing the result with a 2–0 scoreline on Xbox. He also coasted through the semi finals with an 8–3 aggregate win over Michael “Megabit” Bittner. StefanoPinna’s semi-final was a lot closer after he came from behind 2–1 in the first leg to clinch victory in extra time of the second leg with an aggregate score of 4–3.
Notable game releases:
- The Banner Saga 3 (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
- Yakuza 0 (PC)
Videos and trailer releases:
F1 2018 – Official Gameplay Trailer – Make Headlines:
Codemasters is working on its most ambitious career mode yet.
Destiny 2 – Solstice of Heroes Trailer:
Get your grind on!
Life is Strange 2 – Official Teaser:
Expect a full reveal in just over two weeks.
JUMP FORCE – Bleach Trailer:
I want to be a Shinigami so bad!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Bring The Crunch DLC Trailer:
1980s teen horror is alive and well in this piece of DLC.
Graveball is now available on Steam:
Goin’ Yumbo’s chaotic cross between Quidditch, football and basketball launched on Tuesday at the low price of US$4.99. It’s only available on Windows and can be bought at a 10% discount as of this writing.
2064: Read Only Memories is coming to Switch as 2064: Read Only Memories Integral:
MidBoss’ cyberpunk narrative adventure, which features a voice cast of Telltale Games veterans and WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, is set to hit Nintendo’s flagship console on August 14 and carry a price tag of US$20.64. Considered the definitive version of the game, Read Only Memories INTEGRAL will include a jukebox feature, never-before-seen video clips, and the “Punks” side story fully remastered exclusively for the Switch.
The game is available to preorder now, with a 10% discount applied right up until launch.
Not A Hero is out now on Switch:
Devolver Digital and OlliOlli developer Roll7 released the Super Snazzy Edition this past Thursday, featuring the “Me, Myself & BunnyLord” campaign that finally allows players to play as the BunnyLord himself in three all-new missions with new settings, enemies and challenges.
Interesting reads from other outlets:
- After decades as a damsel-in-distress and love interest, Marvel’s Spider-Man finally gives Mary Jane the chance to be a hero: Polygon
- Sea of Thieves has reached five million players as its latest expansion launches: GI.Biz
- Logitech acquires microphone manufacturer Blue: PCGamesN
- Physical copies of We Happy Few to arrive a week later in Australia: Press Start
- Gran Turismo Sport players can now purchase any car under Cr. 2,000,000 through microtransactions: Official Site
- MapleStory M sees three million downloads in its first week: GI.Biz
- Lords of the Fallen 2 has a new developer, and it’s starting from scratch: Eurogamer
- EA takes down open-source SimCity 2000 remake: PC Gamer
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf becomes the franchise’s best-selling title: GI.Biz
- Steam’s active user count has declined more than expected; PUBG to blame?: GI.Biz
- Overwatch’s Nerf weapon line adds D.Va’s blaster: Gamasutra