This week in gaming: Epic Games updates its Store, Rocket League upgrades its cross-play, Machinima ditches YouTube, 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!
- John spent some time with the Aussie-developed Screencheat: Unplugged, a great game whose “locked-off content and straight-laced gameplay [keep] it from party greatness.”
- We decided to start the new year off by bringing in some new staff!
- Abir shone the spotlight on Overwatch’s “Ellie” situation, and discussed why it’s a worrying sign for the games industry as a whole.
- John was back on the Switch as he reviewed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a game that “aims to please everyone – and actually succeeds.”
- Our Game of the Year coverage kept everyone occupied for the first couple of weeks of 2019!
- Damon reviewed Pokémon: Let’s Go, a “successful first step into home console territory” that’s sure to be fun for Pokémon fans of all ages.
Epic Games updates refund policy to match Steam’s, secures The Division 2 as an exclusive:
Epic Games Director of Publishing and Strategy Sergey Galyonkin took to Twitter to reveal that the company has updated its store return policy to provide refunds for games purchased within 14 days and with less than two hours’ of play time.
This echoes that of Valve’s Steam refund policy, however, unlike on Steam, players will need to contact Epic Games directly for a refund instead of using a “self-serve solution”. Galyonkin later revealed that the company is also planning to introduce reviews to its digital marketplace but was still developing a way to combat review-bombing.
In related news, a company representative confirmed to Variety that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on will launch through the Uplay store and the Epic Game Store with no Steam release planned at this time. This is a massive development for the industry and consumers alike, as it marks the first AAA title to forego a Steam release in favour of the new Epic Games Store.
Rocket League follows Fortnite as the latest true cross-platform game:
This past Monday, developer Psyonix announced that the game has entered Sony’s PlayStation Cross-Play Beta program, becoming only the second title to do so after the platform holder relaxed its policy on cross-play this past September.
Machinima pulls entire library from public YouTube:
Otter Media, the company responsible for running popular YouTube network Machinima, has confirmed to Kotaku that it has begun pulling its videos from public view on YouTube and similar services.
“We are focused on creating new content with the Machinima team, which will be distributed on new channels to be announced in the coming months,” Otter Media wrote. “ In the meantime the Machinima network of creator channels continues to showcase the talents of the network. As part of this focus on new content, we have pivoted from distributing content on a handful of legacy operated channels.”
Neither Otter nor Machinima explained its definition of “legacy operated channels”, however, it may be safe to assume that Machinima’s content may become exclusive to channels owned by its parent company AT&T.
Bungie splits from Activision, keeps Destiny rights:
Bungie has announced that it has ended its ten-year publishing deal with Activision Publishing early and has kept the rights to the popular franchise in the process. This means that Bungie will be “self-publishing” the game going forward, but the studio stopepd short of revealing how exacly its separation will affect the franchise going forward.
EA cancels unannounced open-world Star Wars title:
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has learned that the project, which EA Vancouver took over from Visceral Games when it shut down in 2017, was to see players controlling “a scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe.” According to “two people familiar with what happened”, EA’s board cancelled the game because it wanted a Star Wars release earlier than the open-world project’s planned release date, and has reallocated its resources to “a smaller-scale Star Wars project that’s now aimed for much sooner.”
In positive news, though, EA has not announced any layoffs after the cancellation. That’s somewhat against the grain as of late, and because of that, “some at the studio…hope that [the project] might be restarted after this new project is finished.”
NVIDIA unveils RTX 2060, RTX-powered laptops, and wider G-SYNC monitor support:
At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, graphics hardware manufacture NVIDIA officially announced the RTX 2060, which is designed to make real-time ray tracing (i.e. RTX) affordable for the majority of PC players. Early tests show that the new card matches and even bests the ageing GTX 1070 at most resolutions and that, as with the higher-end 20-series cards, running games with RTX On significantly reduces frame rate. NVIDIA’s own RTX 2060 is set to retail for AU$599 while other manufacturers have set higher prices for their own (often superior) designs.
Alongside this announcement, NVIDIA also revealed that the first batch of RTX-equipped laptops are set to launch later this month and also unveiled a new program to allow certain FreeSync-enabled monitors to work with its proprietary G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology. The company has enabled this support through its latest GeForce drivers, however, only a dozen or so monitors have actually passed the company’s strict tests to be labelled “Validated”, while FreeSync monitors owners can try and enable the feature using their “Non-Validated” screens.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES:
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS:
Mortal Kombat 11 – Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer:
Oooh, that *crunch* sound when bones shatter is so satisfying!
Mortal Kombat 11 – Official Fatalities Trailer:
This shit’s as brutal as ever!
Mortal Kombat 11 – Official Story Prologue Trailer:
Dark Raiden is best Raiden. Discuss…
The Division 2 – Story Trailer:
Massive Entertainment’s take on an urban Destiny returns for another instalment.
The Division 2 – Multiplayer Trailer: Dark Zone & Conflict:
Why does every post-apocalyptic story centre around humans killing each other?
ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN – Launch Trailer:
Take to the skies once again in this beautiful action game.
DiRT Rally 2.0 – World RX in Motion:
This offering looks like a great improvement from the original.
YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG is now available:
Ysbryd Games and Ackk Studios’ “surreal Japanese-style RPG” was released onto Mac, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch this past Friday, with a PlayStation Vita version to follow later this year. The game boasts more than 30 hours of content and a voice cast whose previous credits include Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Tales of Zestiria, Disgaea 5 and Attack on Titan. It’ll set players back US$19.99 on all platforms.
Necrosphere Deluxe comes to consoles on January 31:
Already available on Windows and Mac, Cat Nigiri’s Sony-published two-button platformer comes to Switch, PS4 and Vita at the end of this month, with an Xbox One release to follow at some point later this quarter. Coming in at a measly US$9.99, the console version of the game includes optimisations to graphics and performance as well as support for extra languages.
- Gearbox Software and its former studio lawyer are trading lawsuits: Kotaku, ArsTechnica
- Take a look at Days Gone’s Collector’s and Special Editions: EU PS Blog
- Celeste and WRC 6 lead this month’s Games With Gold offering: Xbox Wire
- Cybersecurity firm claims to have uncovered a Fortnite security flaw: ZDNet
- Steep and Portal Knights are this month’s free PlayStation Plus games: EU PS Blog
- Judgment will not be edited for its Western release: DualShockers
- Resident Evil 2’s one-shot demo has been downloaded more than two million times: VideoGamer
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