This week in gaming: Sony amps up PS5 production, Xbox talks Game Pass, Vulkan embraces ray tracing, 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!
Ty reviewed Watch Dogs: Legion, which he found to be “an ambitious effort with a lot of unique ideas that…doesn’t quite stick the landing.”
Sony plans to amp up PS5 production following biggest console launch ever
To call Sony’s PlayStation 5 launch a resounding success would be an understatement, with Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan telling Russian News Agency TASS that absolutely all of Sony’s current stock has been sold. Due to the unprecedented demand for the next-generation console, most retailers have been out of PlayStation 5 stock since launch day; they’ve occasionally offered one or two systems that have become available for various reasons, but outside of that, the only way to find a PlayStation 5 at the moment is through scalpers.
Ryan noted that he’s been “spending a lot more time on trying to increase supply to meet [the] demand”, and Sony took to the official PlayStation Twitter account to “confirm that more PS5 inventory will be coming to retailers before the end of the year.” At this point in time, however, most of that “second wave” of PlayStation 5 consoles is also spoken for.
Microsoft (finally) explains its Xbox Game Pass revenue sharing
Xbox Game Pass is a tremendous deal for gamers, but it’s taken until earlier this week for Microsoft to reveal exactly how it’s handling revenue sharing with participating developers. In an interview with The Verge (which we really recommend that you read or listen to in full), Head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed that the company’s deals with developers vary on a case-by-case basis based around the “developer’s needs”; for example, while some developers are happy to put their games on Game Pass for a flat price, others prefer deals that factor in “usage and monetisation”.
Spencer’s revelations about Game Pass revenue sharing point to a fair, equitable system for all, but it was good to see Microsoft’s most lovable person admit that the company still might not having it all wholly “figured out”. Nevertheless, this peek behind the curtains falls in line with Microsoft’s efforts to be more transparent and customer-oriented — which are in stark contrast with how obtuse and closed off competitors Nintendo and Sony have seemed at times.
Vulkan debuts new platform-agnostic ray-tracing API
Khronos Group has announced that it has added built-in support for real-time ray tracing to its DirectX competitor Vulkan, so developers should now be able to add more realistic lighting to their games regardless of whether they’re optimising for NVIDIA (most gaming PCs) or AMD-based graphics hardware (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S).
Dubbed Vulkan Ray Tracing, this new set of tools serves as an alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing (DXR) that only support Windows and Xbox Series X|S, NVIDIA RTX (which Vulkan can tap into) that only supports NVIDIA hardware, and AMD’s own ray tracing tools that are designed for its own hardware. Thus, Vulkan’s new toolset should simplify multi-platform development for studios and encourage more developers to integrate real-time ray tracing to their games.
CD Projekt RED shares PlayStation 4 Pro and 5 Cyberpunk 2077 footage
Given that CD Projekt RED has an exclusive marketing deal with Microsoft, it isn’t too surprising that the first footage of Cyberpunk 2077 running on Sony’s systems has come so close to the game’s (hopefully) final release date. It’s also not a major surprise that there’s nothing in this footage that we haven’t seen before, either; it’s just comforting to see that CD Projekt RED looks to have gotten the game running brilliantly on both the PlayStation 4 Pro and the PlayStation 5 (via Backwards Compatibility). Strangely enough, though, the Polish developer neglected to release any footage from the base-model PlayStation 4 — whether that’s because it’s not running as well, or just because the studio didn’t see the point, is yet to be determined.
After myriad delays, Cyberpunk 2077 is set to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (via Backwards Compatibility), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (via Smart Delivery) and Google Stadia. Native PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions are slated for 2021 at this stage.
Square Enix commits to improving employee work-life balance:
Having seen the benefits of remote work throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, Square Enix has committed to evolving its working model to enable staff members to work from home permanently, if they so choose.
The company announced the commitment in an official statement earlier this week, noting that the program will begin this coming Tuesday, December 1. The hybrid working model will still involve some office-based work, but will also provide remote options to better accommodate employees’ individual situations and create a more “flexible and diverse working environment, but also…further bolster productivity and help employees achieve the optimal work-life balance.”
With many companies forced to spend much of 2020 working remotely, and seeing the benefits thereof, we won’t be surprised to see more of them adjusting their working models in a similar fashion.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
Football Manager 2021 (PC)
Blightbound gets its biggest update yet:
Ronimo Games and Devolver Digital’s Early Access multiplayer dungeon-crawler has a wealth of new additions and improvements after today’s update, starting with a new region to explore, complete with a new boss to face. The Arcane Glamour update also features two new enemies and a new playable character: Roland of Stendhall, “an untouchable exhibitionist on the battlefield with a lock-down and long distance kill.” Players can now also choose heroes before matchmaking, find a bunch of new items and see more detailed hero stats to help them get the best out of every run.
Black Legend demo is now available to all:
After its popular run during the Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition, Belgian developer Warcave has made the demo version of its upcoming dark, turn-based strategy RPG, Black Legend available on Steam. The demo shows players the first hour of the full game, giving us an idea of the classes, weapons, quests and enemies we’ll be seeing early on in our Black Legend experience.
The full game is headed for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X in the first quarter of 2021.
Epic Games is launching a Fortnite subscription service: Engadget
David Beckham is earning more for his appearance in FIFA 21 than he did from playing football: The Mirror
BioWare and Ubisoft veterans found Yellow Brick Games: GI.Biz
DOOM Eternal is coming to Switch next week: Engadget