The past week was quite eventful with Resident Evil 8 definitely taking center stage. Other than that, we had gamer backlash produce some positive effects with Microsoft, IO saying goodbye to Agent 47 with excellent sales, EU taking a stand against geo blocking Steam keys, and more.
Microsoft reverts the price of Xbox Gold after backlash
Microsoft had a rough PR week after announcing the price increase for their Xbox Live Gold subscription. If you aren’t in the know, Microsoft, seemingly out of nowhere decided to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold, going as far as doubling the price for a yearly subscription. This was on top of the fact that Xbox is the only platform where you need to pay a subscription to online play free-to-play games. Predictably, this caused a massive backlash from gamers who threatened to boycott the service and switch over to competitors.
And, also predictably, this caused Microsoft to quickly backtrack on their decision and revert the original prices. They also went ahead and removed Xbox Live requirements for free-to-play games. So this is definitely a win for the gamers and goes to show what a little healthy backlash can do, even to giants like Microsoft. For more details on the price increase and the subsequent decrease, check out our original news coverage.
Resident Evil 8 gets a release date and an exclusive PS5 demo
The daddy franchise of horror – Resident Evil Village got a release date and it’s just a short 4-month wait, on May 7th. This means the game will release less than a year after it was announced which I appreciate a whole lot more than having to wait for a game for multiple years after the announcement.
Besides the release date, we also got a new trailer featuring some of the villains skulking around the insanely creepy setting. The owners of the PS5 were also treated to a demo in which they are able to play as an unnamed female character in a fruitless escape attempt from the castle’s dungeon. It’s just a taste of things to come since the demo features no combat or enemies and just draws you into the thick atmosphere.
Hitman 3 had the biggest launch in the franchise history
Just a few days after release, Hitman 3 sales have already made the game top the physical sales charts in the UK, Both developed and published by IO Interactive since the buyout from Square Enix, Hitman 3 is officially a bestselling indie game. Almost half of Hitman 3’s physical sales have been on PS5 alone while the rest was equally sold on both the Xbox and the PS4.
This is nothing strange, as not only did the game receive raving reviews from multiple outlets, but it also marks the conclusion to the widely popular World of Assassination Trilogy. IO interactive has since moved on to making a James Bond game and it will be some time before we see Agent 47 and his shiny head on our screens again. For more information on the launch and sales of Hitman 3, check out our original news coverage.
The EU commission fined Valve, Zenimax, and others over geo-blocking
The European Union is hard at work to establish and enforce a Digital Single Market. Essentially, the strategy seeks to remove barriers to cross-border e-commerce and access to online content. Gaming companies are often on the chopping block of this strategy and now some giants have paid the price. Valve, Zenimax, Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, and Capcom were fined due to restricting the activation of Steam keys in certain countries.
Out of the six, Valve was the only company that didn’t cooperate with the Commission and was the only one to pay the full fine while others received reductions. While the fines are nothing to write home about considering the financial status of these companies, it’s definitely a jolt in their sides that will hopefully make them think twice before partaking in similar business practices in the future.
God of War developer is working on another, secret game
Even though Santa Monica Studio is hard at work on God of War: Ragnarok, they still somehow find the time to work on another project. Of course, there’s no concrete information yet besides a job listing for a new art director. The ad states that the position is tied to a ‘large-scale project’ that’s intended to be a ‘genre-defining’ game.
That’s all for now folks, but given the level of quality we are used to from the talented people at Santa Monica, we are inclined to believe the ad that this is going to be something special. Don’t hold your breath for an announcement any time soon, at least not until Ragnarok thunderously crashes into the stores.
The hunt is on as Predator and Terminator join Fortnite Chapter 2
Fortnite Chapter 2, season 5 is all about the hunters and badasses of various gaming and film franchises. First, they surprised us with the Mandalorian but now the T-800 Terminator and the Yautja Predator also join the fray. Both skins are a faithful recreation of their movie counterparts and look absolutely amazing. Of course, they come with a whole host of thematic emotes, cosmetics, banners, and emoticons. Predator scream and lava thumbs up included!
Cyberpunk 2077 got its first major patch focused on bug fixing
Every bird is singing the story of Cyberpunk 2077 having a less than stellar launch. CD Projekt Red has also shifted their attention from producing new content to making the game as bug-free as possible which is proving to be a daunting task. The first, 1.1 patch weighs around 10GB on PC, and just under 17GB on console. As mentioned, the patch mostly focuses on performance and bug-fixing.
Mainly, it addresses memory usage for the game’s various systems like characters, navigation, foliage, traffic, and more. It also fixes various bugs affecting save games and stability. Patch 1.2 is expected soon and according to CDPR, it will be even more substantial than the first. Hopefully, after that, they’ll get around to finishing the game’s half-baked systems like the police spawning on top of you when you are wanted.