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Doublejump Digest: May 2, 2021

This week in gaming: Sony commits to more PlayStation exclusives, Microsoft takes the fight to Steam, Respawn wins the industry’s first Oscar, 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

Sony commits US$183M to exclusives, PlayStation 5 sales pass 7.8M units

Speaking with investors this week, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki revealed (via VGC) that the Japanese company is investing ¥20 billion (approximately US$183 billion) into first-party game development in addition to securing PlayStation exclusives from third party developers.

“We intend to increase development personnel and other in-house costs by approximately 20 billion yen year-on-year, as we further strengthen our in-house software,” Totoki said. “To enhance our software offering, we intend to continue investing in partnering with external studios, in addition to aggressively investing in our in-house studios.”

Furthermore, according to Sony’s latest earning report (via TechPowerUp), the company shipped 3.3 million PlayStation 5s between January and March, bringing the system’s total sales to 7.8 million. The company also revealed that it now boasts over 47.6 million PlayStation Plus subscribers, which is a 14.7% increase over this time last year.

Microsoft matches Epic Games Store’s 12% cut, Xbox sales grew immensely last year

In a surprising move, Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty announced that Microsoft has reduced its cut from PC Microsoft Store game sales to 12 percent down from the industry standard of 30 percent.

Similar to Epic Games’s explanation when it launched the Epic Games Store, Booty explained that this reduced cut was made so that “developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so”.

Elsewhere in the post, Booty also confirmed that Halo Infinite will feature cross-platform multiplayer and save progression support across all platforms in addition to ultrawide monitor support, “advanced graphic options”, and “triple keybinds” on PC.

Not to be outdone by Sony and PlayStation, Microsoft recently announced that its Xbox division enjoyed a 232%(!) increase in hardware sales, 50% increase in revenue, and 32% increase in “content and services revenue” compared to this time last year.

Despite Microsoft being an ally of Epic Games in its legal fight against Apple, Epic’s VP of Business Development, Joe Kreiner, recently revealed that his company hasn’t made Fortnite available on Project xCloud because it sees Microsoft’s game streaming service as a competitor to Epic’s “PC offerings”.

Resawn Entertainment wins the games industry’s first Academy Award

The feel good story of the week goes to Respawn Entertainment, as the developer has become our industry’s first recipient of an Academy Award for its work on the Oculus co-produced documentary, Colette.

Both companies created The Best Documentary (Short Subject)-award winning short film to accompany Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, with the documentary following WWII French resistance fighter Colette Marin-Catherine as she revisits the concentration camp where her brother was executed for the first time since the war.

PlayStation’s latest State of Play stars Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Among Us, and Subnautica: Below Zero

This week’s State of Play starred 15 minutes of gameplay footage from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Insomniac Games’s second game on PlayStation 5.

Creative Director Marcus Smith narrated the presentation, introducing a new Lombax character named Rivet, explaining the game’s various abilities, and describing its use of the DualSense’s haptic feedback in the process.

While Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart stole the show, PlayStation fans were also given a first look at Subnautica: Below Zero as well as news that Among Us is coming to PS4 and PS5 later this year.

Riot Games will start recording Valorant voice chats 

Riot Games has updated Valorant’s Privacy Notice to allow the developer to record all voice chat in the game to better moderate “disruptive behaviour” in-game.

“We know disruptive behavior using our voice chat is a concern for a lot of players, and we’re committed to addressing it more effectively,” the company wrote on its blog. “In order for us to take action against players who use voice comms to harass others, use hate speech, or otherwise disrupt your experience, we need to know what those players are saying. Which is why, moving forward we’ll need the ability to analyze voice data.”

The company noted that it will not keep voice chat recordings if no reports are made and after actions are taken if a report is made.


NOTABLE GAME RELEASES

  • Genshin Impact (PS5)
  • New Pokémon Snap (Switch)
  • Returnal (PS5)

VIDEOS AND TRAILERS

Apex Legends — Meet Valkyrie

Valkyrie takes the fight to the air.

Castlevania — Season 4 Official Trailer

The end is night.

Returnal — Gameplay Deep Dive With Housemarque

Join Housemarque on a tour of Atropos and its lovely neighbourhoods.

Tales of Arise — Environment Trailer

Dahna I look good in this?

Apex Legends — Legacy Gameplay Trailer

3v3 round based combat is coming to Respawn’s battle royale


OTHER NEWS

  • Activision Blizzard’s CEO believes that Ready Player One’s Metaverse could become a reality sooner than later: GameSpot
  • Official PlayStation Magazine is now Play Magazine: Eurogamer
  • The Vault of Glass Raid is coming to Destiny 2: Beyond Light this month: Official
  • Konami has pulled out of E3 2021: GameSpot
  • WePlay dropped TEKKEN 7 and Mortal Kombat 11: Kotaku
  • Report: David Hayter adds fuel to the Metal Gear Solid remake rumour: VGC
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s current-gen upgrade is coming this winter: Official
  • Armello and LEGO Batman: The Videogame lead May’s Games with Gold offering: Xbox Wire
  • Wreckfest, Battlefield V, and Stranded Deep are May’s free PlayStation Plus games: PS Blog
  • Super Mario Party now features online play: Kotaku
  • Epic Games now owns ArtStation: GamesIndustry.biz
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds is now on Steam: PS Blog
  • Microsoft has reportedly fixed the reduced game performance bug in a new Windows 10 update: ghacks
  • Banned streamer James “PhantomL0rd” Vargas won his lawsuit against Twitch: Kotaku

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