Massively popular PC gaming juggernaut PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is getting paid cosmetic crates, but only for a limited time.
On August 3, PUBG players will have the option to temporarily buy special cosmetic loot crates--aka Gamescom Invitational Crates--for $2.50 a piece. The crates are part of a fundraising initiative to help pay for its Gamescom PUBG Invitational event, not unlike Blizzard's recent War Chest for StarCraft II and Valve's Battle Pass program for DOTA 2. Bluehole also says that a portion of the proceeds from the paid crates will be donated to charity.
The developers affirm that this move will allow them to test out the finalized crate system that will be implemented in the game's final release outside of early access, and that the paid crates aren't here to stay. Gamescom Invitational Crates will be sold from August 3 through August 27 for $2.50 a piece, and will contain five special cosmetic outfits. Following August 27 the game will revert to its free-to-open crate system.
Nintendo kicks off its new fiscal year with strong earnings in net sales, operating income, and total profits, solidifying the company's return as a major player in the games market.
Nintendo today announced its first quarter earnings for the fiscal year ending March 2018, showing massive year-over-year growth and strong earnings potential for the rest of the year. In the 3-month period from April 1 thru June 30 the Kyoto-based games-maker pulled in net sales of 154.069 billion yen ($1.37 billion), up a mighty 148.62% year-over-year thanks to tremendous Switch adoption, continual 3DS earnings, and growing mobile revenues from its smartphone gaming segment.
The Japanese titan's Q1'17 operating income saw the most dramatic spike, however: Nintendo reported operating profit of 16.208 billion yen ($144.915 million), up an incredible 415% year-over-year from Q1'16's dismal -5.13 billion yen operating income figures. Total profits are up to 21.260 billion yen ($190.085 million), seeing another big boost by 186.65% year-over-year from Q1'16's -24.53 billion yen.
Nintendo's first party shooter Splatoon 2 is a juggernaut in domestic sales, and is now the top-selling Nintendo Switch game in Japan.
Splatoon 2 has sold 670,995 units in Japan in just 3 days, Famitsu reports. This number, which doesn't digital sales, is over 300% more than the original Splatoon game sold on Wii U at launch. In fact, Splatoon 2 has eclipsed launch sales of other massively popular Nintendo Switch games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which sold 284,823 physical copies during its debut in late April.
Splatoon 2's debut sales have a huge 55.67% attach rate, meaning more than half of every Switch owner in Japan bought the game. The Japanese games magazine reports the Nintendo Switch install base has grown to 1,205,087 units in the region, up from the previous 1 million sales estimate from last month.
You'd think one of the best looking games on the market would be on the PC, but that award might be going to console exclusive Kingdom Hearts III later this year, which features CG rendering that's at times better than the original Toy Story movie.
Kingdom Hearts III features some of the characters and locations from the original Toy Story, so comparisons have been made between Woody and Buzz Lightyear, as well as the various environments in and around Andy's room. Toy Story was released in 1996, and at the time featured state of the art CGI, but now this is all being rendered in real-time, and at times better graphics/effects on a freakin' PS4.
Unreal Engine 4 powers Kingdom Hearts III, with some beautifully realistic lighting effects, and CG-level quality graphics that bring the world to life. Digital Foundry did one of their awesome breakdowns of Kingdom Hearts III and Toy Story, reporting: "Looking to the garden next, the lighting model in Unreal Engine 4's influence is felt heavily. Everything has a sense of depth; with grass properly shaded across the lawn. In fact, each tuft of grass moves underneath Sora's feet dynamically, a big upgrade over the static, rigid foliage geometry of the film".
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is one of the largest Early Access success stories now, with Bluehole's latest shooter ramping up into the Top Grossing PC Titles of June 2017 according to the latest report from SuperData.
The overall PC market dropped a rather large 16% this June compared to last June, but SuperData says that the massive success of Overwatch in 2016 boosted the PC gaming sales of 2016, making it harder to get to those lofty heights this year. But, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is worthy of that challenge and has pushed itself all the way into the #7 position, as it has already sold over $100 million worth of copies.
Battlegrounds is now ahead of Overwatch which is #10, and even World of Tanks at #8. It can't touch the behemoth that is League of Legends, or something like CrossFire or DOTA 2.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continues its massive growth on Steam, selling another 1 million copies in a single month to bring the total to 5 million copies sold.
Bluehole's battle-royale survival shooter is an early access juggernaut. Armed with massively engagement from Twitch streams and an exclusive deal with Facebook, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is fast becoming one of the most popular Steam games of the year. Just last month we reported PUBG sold 4 million copies and raked in $100 million in earnings, but the massively popular multiplayer game just keeps one-upping itself: now PUBG has broken the 5 million sales milestone.
Besides the game's mighty 1 million units per month sales trend, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds also has very strong recurring player counts. Owners of the game are jumping in rather than abandoning it in favor of other popular PC games, indicating PUBG's massive long-term potential as a big moneymaker. In fact, PUBG recently surpassed GTA V in peak players and its average players continue spiking month-over-month as well.
Cloud Imperium Games is getting into the festive season a little early with a tease of Star Citizen's upcoming Alpha 3.0 release, showing off a new Alpha 3.0 trailer. Check it out below.
As you can see, the team is pushing out moon landings, the awesome-looking planetary rover, and the new Nox hover speeder. But there's even bigger news that has happened over the last few days that really overshadows the Alpha 3.0 release, in the fact that Chris Roberts has come out saying that the team plan to launch Star Citizen (whenever that is...) with just 5-10 star systems compared the 100 he teased with the original Kickstarter in 2012.
Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive has an independent gaming initiative that is making games "intended to be AAA titles".
Having already crested the AAA gaming market with billion-dollar IPs like Grand Theft Auto, Take-Two Interactive is now setting its sights on the independent games segment with a new indie-centric initiative. The GTA parent company hasn't revealed specifics about this new indie focus, but it got the ball rolling on the program by purchasing the popular Kerbal Space Program IP and adding it to group of developers directed by Take-Two exec Michasel Worosz.
Interestingly enough, it appears that Take-Two's indie-centered group may be making actual AAA games to supplement the company's release slate instead of crafting AA indies. In a recent interview with Games Industry.biz, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said that Worosz's group, which includes indie devs and other games-makers, is working on a "number of titles that are intended to be AAA products."
"We have a number of titles that Michael Worosz's group is developing with independent developers, which are intended to be AAA products," Mr. Zelnick said in the interview. "We are quiet about it because there isn't much to say. They are in development and we'll bring those to market as and when. And then within that group is also Social Point. If we are successful with the independent games initiative, and if we are successful with growing Social Point, then that will essentially be a third label of the company."
2K Games' new president David Ismailer has laid out a fresh five-year plan for the label that will tap the strengths of its catalog IP including its growing AAA games business and annualized sports titles.
Despite releasing a number of key games in FY17 like Mafia III and Battleborn, 2K Games didn't contributed as strongly to total fiscal year sales earnings as it normally would with such a hefty release slate. Of course it didn't help that Battleborn was quickly swallowed up by Blizzard's Overwatch, and Mafia III was plagued with a rocky start. The current fiscal year, FY18, sees 2K Games' slate much thinner than usual. The label's newly appointed president, David Ismailer, has laid out a new five-year plan that will leverage the label's beefy catalog in strategic ways to help boost earnings.
In a recent interview with Games Industry.biz, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick and 2K Games President David Ismailer discuss the future of the label. The publisher's "huge" new game is still on for FY19, which is likely to be Borderlands 3, and 2K will continue annually releasing sports games from its WWE and NBA IPs to help bolster profits. Ismailer affirms that his new five-year plan isn't dramatically different from 2K's current strategies, but he is aiming to release a new AAA game every year.
Ubisoft reports stellar first quarter revenues and sales driven by strong digital growth across all segments and platforms, including PS4, Xbox One and PC.
French games-maker Ubisoft is transforming more and more of its business into digital revenue streams, and this initiative is paying off big. The company recently announced total sales earnings of 202.1 million euros ($232.78 million) in the three-month period ending June 30, all without even releasing a new game.
What's even more impressive is that 80.4% of these earnings, or 164.2 million euros ($189.07 million) were from digital purchases such as full game sales as well as recurrent consumer spending via microtransactions, DLC and add-ons. Ubisoft categorizes the latter digital monetization revenues as PRI, or "Player Recurring Investment," which also saw tremendous growth in the quarter: the company earned 83.1 million euros ($95.69 million) in PRI, up a mighty 73.4% year-over-year. PRI actually made up 41.1% of the quarter's total sales, meaning almost half of Ubisoft's digital revenues consisted of paid add-ons and other content.