Doublejump Digest: March 31, 2019

by Doublejump

This week in gaming: Apple acknowledges that gaming exists (again), Borderlands returns with a bang, a “swatter” gets jail time, 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!


FROM DOUBLEJUMP:


MAJOR NEWS:

Apple announces a game subscription service:

After years of ambivalence towards supporting gaming on its platforms, Apple has announced that it is entering the game publishing arena with a Netflix-like subscription service named Apple Arcade. The company noted that, for a flat monthly fee, Apple users will be able to access games from the service’s library and play them on iPhones, iPads, iMac, MacBooks, and Apple TVs.

To further illustrate Apple’s support of its new service, Apple Arcade will be given its own “tab” within the App Store instead of simply being listed as a category. Furthermore, the company also announced that it has signed on to include approximately 100 games from independent developers, such as Klei Entertainment (Don’t Starve) and Giant Squid (Abzû), and major publishers including SEGA.

Apple Arcade will support Family Sharing when it launches later this Spring, but Apple has not announced pricing as of this writing.

Gearbox promises “billions of guns” in Borderlands 3:

Gearbox Software used its PAX East panel to announce the long-awaited sequel to its popular cooperative shooter franchise, Borderlands 3. As in the previous games, players will get to choose from four different playable Vault Hunters – a huge tanky gentleman, a telekinetic Siren, a mech-wielding soldier, and a beast master – but game’s reveal trailer also features prominent characters (including Vault Hunters) from the previous games. Furthermore, it looks like Gearbox has doubled down on the environmental variety that it introduced in Borderlands 2, with Pandora sporting even more colourful locations (including a futuristic city) and new creatures (there’s a dinosaur!).

Gearbox promised to announce an official date for Borderlands 3 on April 4 AUstralian time, but eager fans can soon replay the original game’s Game of the Year Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in addition to returning to Borderlands 2 with an Ultra HD texture update on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Infamous “swatter” gets a 20-year prison sentence:

The Associated Press has reported that US District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Tyler Barris to twenty years in prison as part of plea deal over the latter’s role in the death of Andrew Finch during a “swatting” incident in 2017. The “plea agreement” was reached in November and includes approximately 51 counts of reporting false emergencies and threats, including this particular case, which involved a US$1.50 bet during a game of Call of Duty: WWII.

The prosecution declined to take legal action against the officer who shot Finch thinking that the man was reaching for a weapon when he moved his hand toward his waist. Barriss’s intended target Shane Gaskill and alleged recruiter Casey Viner have been charged as co-conspirators, with the prosecution alleging that Viner had given Barriss an address that Gaskill told him was his own. Both have plead not guilty to their charges. Viner’s hearing is scheduled for this coming Thursday (Australian time) while Gaskill’s one is scheduled for April 23 (US time).

Report: Nintendo is working on two new Switch models:

The Wall Street Journal has renewed speculation (via Kotaku) surrounding updated Nintendo Switch hardware by reporting that Nintendo is currently planning to release two Switch systems: one that is designed to provide improved performance (à la PS4 Pro and Xbox One X) and another, cheaper revision that is designed to succeed the 3DS handheld system.

Valve reveals its own VR headset, slows down Artifact updates:

Valve has quietly revealed that it has developed its own virtual reality headset named Index through a teaser site on Steam. The page lists a “May 2019” release window alongside the tagline “Upgrade your experience” and an image of a headset featuring two front-facing sensors/cameras and an adjustment dial on the top surface. This information points to the possibility that Valve wishes to make its new headset more compatible with varying room and lighting conditions.

“In related news, Valve has taken to Artifact’s official website to inform that players that it will slow down its pace of game updates to focus on addressing “larger issues” affecting “game design, the economy, the social experience of playing, and more”. The company stopped short of providing a specific time frame for upcoming game changes but noted that they will “take a significant amount of time”.

SEGA re-announces the Mega Drive Mini:

The veteran Japanese publisher capped off its Sega Fes fan event by finally unveiling the Mega Drive Mini, which is slated for a September release. The system will feature more than 40 games, retail for AU$139.95, and should be a more accurate emulation package than the shoddy Mega Drive Flashback Classic system that’s currently on sale.

Humble Bundle co-founders step down:

GamesIndustry.biz has revealed that Humble Bundle co-founders Jeffrey Rosen and John Graham have stepped down as CEO and COO of the digital storefront respectively. Rosen told the outlet that the pair intend to remain affiliated with company in an advisory capacity and have tasked Alan Patmore to handle “day-to-day operations” as its new Executive Vice-President and General Manager.


NOTABLE GAME RELEASES:

  • Assassin’s Creed III Remastered (PS4 and Xbox One)
  • Tropico 6 (PC)
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World (Switch)

VIDEOS AND TRAILERS:

Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Official Story Trailer:

B.J.’s twin daughters are on a mission to find their missing father and kill some Nazis in the process.

Mortal Kombat 11 – Old Skool vs. New Skool Trailer:

Kronika must be having a lot of fun watching everyone fighting younger versions of themselves.

The Elder Scrolls – Celebrate 25 Years of The Elder Scrolls:

How many of you guys have been playing these games since the beginning?

F1 2019 – Announce Trailer:

The June release date always seems too late for this series.


OTHER NEWS:

  • The Surge and Conan Exiles are April’s free PlayStation Plus games: EU PS Blog
  • Bethesda won’t show The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield at E3: DualShockers
  • Technomancer leads April’s Games With Gold offering: Major Nelson
  • SNK is going to release a Samurai Shodown compilation: Game Informer
  • Sony is going to shut down DRIVECLUB’s servers next March: DualShockers
  • SWORD ART ONLINE’s upcoming adventure centres around the anime’s current season storyline: YouTube
  • SEGA has officially announced its Tokyo 2020 games: IGN
  • Sakura Wars fans should expect to see a new game next year: Polygon

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