Animal Crossing for Switch gets delayed

Source: Tech News – Enterprise

Fans had few expectations rolling into Nintendo’s E3 Direct that were more pronounced than hopes for more details on Animal Crossing for Switch.

We got some insight into the title’s storyline, but the bigs news is that the originally announced 2019 release timeframe is getting pushed back. Now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as it’s being called, will be released March 20, 2020.

“To ensure that this game is the best it can be, we must ask you to wait a little bit longer than we thought,” Nintendo executive Yoshiaki Koizumi said during the company’s presentation.

In terms of game details, it looks like you begin the game being flown to a deserted island courtesy of character Tom Nook’s “Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package.” From there, it seems that a lot of the gameplay should be pretty familiar, chatting with animals, getting them out of jams, customizing things, feeding Tom Nook’s perverted brand of capitalism etc. etc.

The gameplay seems to incorporate many of the evolutions the series has seen in the past few games, including Nintendo’s mobile title. You can craft furniture and really change the outdoor environments. It looks like there’s some significant updates to multiplayer as some of the footage multiple human characters onscreen, there still seems to be a good deal we don’t know.

The delay is disappointing news, especially after Nintendo’s announcement that Metroid Prime 4 had to restart development. It’s of course positive to keep the quality of titles high, but it seems Nintendo is having some issues keeping their core IP on track for the original estimated release dates.


Animal Crossing for Switch gets delayed

Microsoft teases 8K Xbox

Source: Microsoft more

Microsoft is working to create its most powerful Xbox yet as it gears up for the next wave of gaming console hardware. Xbox shared some details on its next hardware at E3 and it sounds appropriately next-gen.

The company teased some huge factoids in a teaser about what it’s calling “Project Scarlett.” The upcoming console will have 8K capability, will be able to handle frame rates up to 120fps and will utilize SSD storage to keep load times low. The hardware will be powerful enough to enable real-time ray tracing.

“This generation is going to be a bigger leap than any generation before,” a video describing the new hardware detailed. Microsoft says the new hardware will be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X.

The next-generation console will be arriving in the holiday season of 2020, the company says. It will be launching alongside a new Halo title, Halo Infinite.

“A console should be designed and built and optimized for one thing: gaming,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said onstage at the company’s E3 presser.

We’ve already heard a bit about PlayStation’s plan for their next generation console, mainly details regarding the system’s transition to SSD storage and its reliance on a third-generation AMD Ryzen CPU.

We’ll see how the systems stack up against each other as we hear more.


Microsoft teases 8K Xbox

Microsoft acquires Psychonauts-maker Double Fine Productions

Source: Microsoft more

As it did last year, Microsoft used its Xbox E3 keynote to announce its moves in bulking up its in-house gaming content.

At its press conference, the company’s Xbox Game Studios head announced that Microsoft had acquired SF-based Double Fine Productions, a game creator that’s been around since 2000 and was founded by LucasArts’s Tim Schafer. As is the case with past acquisitions, it sounds like Double Fine Productions will continue to operate largely externally, now beneath the Xbox Game Studios entity.

There may be more studio acquisition announcements on the way, we’ll keep this post updated if so…

Double Fine Productions notably raised around $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign to create a title, later called Broken Age. The idea of crowdfunding a game was pretty novel at the time when they did it 2012. It is of course, more commonplace now.

The company’s first title Psychonauts was released in 2005. Following the acquisition announcement, the studio showed off a trailer for Psychonauts 2 which is coming to Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One and PC.

Acquiring a host of small indie game studios seems to be Microsoft’s recent strategy in building out its content on Xbox Game Pass, bringing the service its own constant stream of original content.


Microsoft acquires Psychonauts-maker Double Fine Productions

Game Pass Ultimate brings Xbox subscriptions together at a discount

Source: Microsoft more

Xbox wants the future of the gaming business to lean heavily on subscription services. The company’s Game Pass service has let users download games from a pool of dozens of titles, now Microsoft is trying to make the offer too good to refuse by bundling Xbox Live Gold with the service for $14.99.

Xbox Live Gold offers online play, but the extras included with the subscription like free games and Store discounts represent some of Microsoft’s more aged strategies in getting more revenue per user and building out Xbox loyalists. Game Pass brings users unlimited access to a library of 100+ games that include some console classics.

Live Gold retails for $9.99 per month as does Game Pass so the combo offers a nice discount and will likely be an easy sell to existing Live Gold users who are already ponying up subscription fees to Microsoft.

We’ll hear more about Microsoft’s plans with Game Pass Ultimate at their press conference, which begins soon.


Game Pass Ultimate brings Xbox subscriptions together at a discount

Microsoft shares pricing details for Xbox Game Pass on PC

Source: Microsoft more

Ahead of the Xbox E3 keynote this afternoon, Microsoft has dropped the pricing for their Xbox Game Pass plan which gives PC users access to a library of top games. The Service will be launching at a very reasonable $4.99 per month (though they note that’s an “introductory price”).

The Windows 10 service operates much like the console variety, letting you get access to titles on a subscription basis. Users can play the titles in an unlimited capacity as a subscriber and can buy the games at a 20% discount if they decide they want to own it.

You can join for $1 per month ahead of its official launch though the library looks to have just around ten titles during this period. When the full service launches, the company says you’ll have access to 100 titles and there are some hits among them including Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Gears of War 5 and Forza Horizon.

We’re down at E3 in Los Angeles gearing up for Microsoft’s keynote in a few hours, where we’re expecting to hear a lot about new Xbox services products and a bit about some new hardware on the horizon.

It’s interesting that they are adopting the Xbox branding for this PC gaming-focused service. We’ll likely hear a lot more about the Xbox strategy beyond PC today.


Microsoft shares pricing details for Xbox Game Pass on PC

Microsoft starts selling developer ‘mixed reality’ headsets online

Source: Microsoft more
 Microsoft “mixed reality” headsets are finally available (for developers) on the Microsoft store. The company opened pre-orders for the headset back in May; now developers can get their hands on Acer’s headset for $299 and an HP model for $329. Specs-wise, the two headsets are pretty much identical. Read More
Microsoft starts selling developer ‘mixed reality’ headsets online