Hello! It’s the Geeky Brummie games roundup yet again, with possibly the quietest week for news and releases ever. This week we talk EA’s financials, the expansion of Xbox and free-to-play Titanfall.
MICROSOFT PLANS TO EXPAND REACH OF XBOX LIVE
Microsoft have announced that they plan to bring Xbox Live to more platforms including mobile and, more interestingly, the Nintendo Switch. Aspects of this exist at present, with Minecraft on Switch and certain Microsoft-owned mobile titles offering up an Xbox Live sign-in to facilitate cross-play, but the new plan promises to expand this further.
Microsoft will be releasing an Xbox SDK, meaning any developer wishing to integrate Live functionality into their games will be able to do so. This functionality will allow multiplayer cross-play, cross-saving and access to features like achievements. It’s a sign that Microsoft are eager to continue pushing for cross-play, which players seem to be welcoming.
I personally think this is an excellent idea. It seems like it’s going to work in the same way as other in-game sign-ins such as Battle.net or Uplay, and anything to encourage the use of cross-play services is a win in my book. Plus Xbox Live has gained a reputation of being a quality service (last week’s glitches being a blip, of course!), so giving developers access to that infrastructure would be a huge benefit.
No word on Sony getting in on this, but considering their continued reluctance to embrace cross-play with rival consoles, it seems unlikely. Missed opportunity, I feel.
EA REPORT A DISAPPOINTING YEAR
EA have reported a disappointing quarter in their most recent financial report. While they still made a profit of $262 million, this was apparently not enough for EA, as they aren’t happy with this.
It’s perhaps unsurprising they’re underperforming though. EA have been in the doghouse with gamers since at least the Star Wars Battlefront 2 debacle. With Star Wars games getting cancelled all over the place and Battlefield V making some controversial design choices, it seems that players are starting to turn their backs on the publisher. Not enough to prevent them being profitable, of course, but enough to make the shareholders disappointed. Quite possibly they took the CEO’s advice of “don’t like it, don’t buy it” and acted on that.
Meanwhile, comment threads and forums across the Internet have been asking, when is Disney going to strip EA of the Star Wars license? And the answer is, apparently, never. Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that they largely stay hands-off with the licensed games because of difficulties in their publishing endeavours in the past. Basically, it seems that the reason Disney isn’t getting up in arms about public reaction is because they simply don’t know about it. Which is odd.
DEAD SPACE DEVELOPER SETS UP NEW STUDIO
Former Dead Space director Michael Condrey is reportedly setting up a new studio working with 2K Games on an unannounced game. Not much is known right now, but Take-Two have been pointing to the team’s background in Dead Space and Call of Duty as part of what prompted the partnership.
Of course, the Internet being what it is, there are hopes being expressed that this will lead to a new Dead Space. This conveniently ignores the fact that EA still hold the Dead Space license, but a spiritual successor of some kind would be awesome. As someone who loved the first two Dead Space games, I’m interested to see what happens here.
Bit of a slim week for new games this week. We have God Eater 3 (PC, PS4), which is a big anime hack and slash action title. Don’t know much about this myself, but from trailers I’m seeing big swords, big monsters and lots of angry discussions in ruined cities. If that sounds like your jam, God Eater 3 is out today.
This week also saw the announcement and release of Apex Legends (PC, PS4, Xbox One), the new game from Respawn. It’s a free-to-play battle royale title set in the Titanfall universe. But no, it’s not Titanfall 3! It looks like a cross between Fortnite and Overwatch, built around elements from Titanfall, so if that interests you, then you might want to check this out.
Even better, it’s a new month, so that means there’s free stuff! If you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, it’s a pretty good month for the service. Both Hitman and anachronistic brawler For Honor are free on PS4, while the final month of free PS3 games gives it a great send-off with Metal Gear Solid 4 and Divekick.
Xbox Game Pass this month sees the free access to Shadow of the Tomb Raider and The Walking Dead Season 1. Meanwhile, on the Switch, this month’s free NES titles are Super Mario Bros 2 and Kirby’s Adventure, so you can finally play them if you’ve somehow missed them in their 30-year existence so far.
And that, sadly, is it for this week. Like I said, it’s been a quiet one. We will be back next week, as always, with more news and releases from the world of gaming!
Find Leigh on Twitter at @TheCheapFerret