Is Forza Horizon 5 Shaping Up To Be The Best Looking Next-Gen Game?


GamingBolt 17 July, 2021 - 10:30am 16 views

When will the Xbox series X be available?

When is Xbox Series X release date? Xbox Series X is launching at participating retailers worldwide on November 10, 2020. xbox.comXbox Series X console

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While the games industry as a whole is doing little more than keeping pace with last year's pandemic-inflated sales figures, hardware sales saw a particularly significant spike in June.

The NPD today reported its US game sales figures, showing overall consumer spending on games rose 5% to $4.93 billion for the month of June, following up a 3% rise in May and a 2% decline in April.

While spending on content and accessories were virtually flat, hardware sales more than doubled, up 112% to $401 million for the month.

The biggest driver of that number was the Xbox Series X|S line of consoles, which took the title of best-selling hardware by dollar sales for the first time. The PlayStation 5 has led in dollar sales twice since launch (November 2020 and January 2021), with the Switch claiming the remainder of months. Neither the PS5 nor the Series X|S has yet been able to best the Switch on unit sales in any given month.

On the software side, spending on game content across console, mobile, PC, cloud, and subscription services was up 1% to $4.32 billion.

In the PC and console space, Sony's PS5-exclusive Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart led the way, more than doubling the franchise's previous record for launch month sales, set by 2016's Ratchet and Clank. Other new releases to hit the top 20 included Mario Golf: Super Rush in third place and Scarlet Nexus in fifth.

The chart also saw some big movers, with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 leaping from 51 to 17 after the release of a Switch version and Sea of Thieves rising from 36 to 20 after the surprise reveal of its Pirates of the Caribbean content update A Pirate's Life at E3.

A pair of previous top 10 titles -- New Pokémon Snap and Returnal -- fell out of the top 20 entirely.

Despite the surge in new hardware sales, the accessories market dipped 1% to $207 million. Three of the top four best-selling accessories were PS4 DualSense controllers.

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NPD: Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S were the highest-grossing consoles in the US last month 17 July, 2021 - 09:00pm

US NPD HW - June dollar sales of Xbox consoles set a new record for the Xbox platform, besting the previous high set in June 2011.

— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) July 16, 2021

Current data aside, the Xbox platform also beat its previous dollar sale record, set in June 2011 during the Xbox 360-era.

Despite Xbox's strong figures, Nintendo's Switch remains the top-selling console in terms of devices sold, with the console being the most sold of 2021 so far, whether you look at it from a dollar sale or number of units sold point of view. For Sony's PlayStation 5, it remains the fastest-selling console in US history, if portable consoles are excluded, for its first 8 months.

Overall, the video gaming market continues to perform well, with video game hardware sales jumping by 112% in June 2021 compared to June 2020, reaching a total of $401 million, but this falls short of the $617m figure achieved in June 2008.

Rare's Sea of Thieves, published by Xbox Game Studios, saw a healthy jump in the game charts in June, rising from 36th place to the top 20, no doubt the Pirates of the Caribbean expansion release helped increase interest in the game. Sony's ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was the best-selling game in June, but keep in mind that it launched in June; it hit an all-time record of dollar sales in a game's launch month of any title in franchise history.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart #1, Xbox Series X/S Top in Dollar Sales in June Says NPD

Wccftech 17 July, 2021 - 09:00pm

The NPD Group has released their full North American sales data for June 2021, and it was a solid month overall, with players spending $4.9 billion on games, additional content, and hardware, representing a year-on-year increase of 5 percent. On the hardware front, the big surprise was the Xbox Series X/S – if you count the two consoles together as a platform, they were #1 in June in terms of dollar sales (the Switch still sold more units). What spurred this isn’t entirely clear, but it seems Microsoft may finally getting a decent flow of Xbox Series units onto shelves.

On the software front, it was Sony’s month, as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart nabbed the top spot. Other new additions to the list include Mario Golf: Super Rush at #3 and Scarlet Nexus at #5. Meanwhile, last month’s #1 game, Resident Evil Village, dropped to #6 and the now-multiplatform MLB The Show 21 held surprisingly strong at #4.

Here are June’s top 20 games according to NPD:

And here are the top-10 best-selling games of 2021 thus far:

It seems like we may actually have a real horserace developing between Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen consoles. Can Xbox Series X/S rack up some more wins while the PS5 is supply constrained? We shall see.

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What if: Nintendo came to PC like PlayStation, Sega, or Xbox?

PCGamesN 17 July, 2021 - 09:00pm

Valve's Steam Deck has got us thinking

Here’s my confession, loyal PCGamesN readers: Nintendo delivered my favourite presentation at E3 this year. Sure, it’s neat that there’s a Starfield release date and all, but an original 2D Metroid is finally coming out after all these years, and I couldn’t be more excited. It won’t have high frame rate options or support 4K resolution (even with an OLED Switch), and we won’t be able to play it with a mouse and keyboard or mods. Unless… maybe it would and we could?

You buy Nintendo systems to play Nintendo games, and Nintendo games only exist on Nintendo systems. But as we’ve seen with every one of Nintendo’s major competitors in the console wars over the decades, the platform lines aren’t as solidly drawn as they once were. Sega’s now a multiplatform software company, Sony’s bringing both recent triple-A releases and some of its older catalogue to PC, and Microsoft is treating consoles and computers as part of the same Xbox ecosystem.

What if Nintendo followed in those footsteps? Obviously, there would be a ton of positives, from improved performance to mod support, but Nintendo’s known for never quite giving the fans exactly what they want.

Even in my imagination, I can’t see a Fairy Godmother granting us these great games but a monkey’s paw, and alongside them would come Nintendo-like solutions to problems that have no reason to exist. Let’s imagine a lot of good with a little bad.

Let’s first picture the future if Nintendo follows in the footsteps of Sony. Here, Nintendo ports some of its most popular recent games to PC – a few years after they hit console, of course, so as not to cannibalise the sales and prestige of Nintendo’s own machines. We’ve had Horizon: Zero Down, Death Stranding, and Days Gone, so we get The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Steam. A random, sporadic selection, surely, but great games nonetheless, and ones which we can now enjoy at much higher frame rates and resolutions.

Picture Skyrim's modding community set loose on Breath of the Wild

The thing is, this option isn’t even all that unlikely. Sony is putting its older games on PC in an effort to expose new players to its library of intellectual properties in hopes that those same players will pick up the latest PlayStation hardware to get the new games as soon as they launch. Nintendo is already doing exactly this on smartphones, by making original takes on Mario, Animal Crossing, and Fire Emblem for mobile gamers. Those aren’t ports, admittedly, but they serve the same purpose – introducing a new audience to Nintendo’s library of games and characters.

We’ve already seen what the mod community can do for games like Breath of the Wild through emulation, but the possibilities would balloon with a line of native PC ports. Picture Skyrim’s modding community set loose on BotW. Character model replacements and cheats, yes, but even more important are the quality of life tweaks we might start to see, like an FOV slider and convenience mods (what if you could climb when it’s raining?) Add the possibility of major graphical overhauls and new quests, and we’ve got a very appealing reason to return to Hyrule.

But this is where we have to acknowledge the fact that, even in this fantasy scenario, Nintendo is still Nintendo. Would the company that’s too scared of the internet to put voice chat in Splatoon 2 truly allow mods to run free and unfettered? Or would the lawyers send out the DMCAs the instant a nude Bowsette appeared in a modded version of Smash Bros? Skyrim has a robust mod scene because Bethesda has mostly supported modders and provided tools to help their work. While mod work could continue without that sort of support – ROM hacks are a terrific example of that – the biggest mod scenes have needed the blessing of their respective game makers to reach their true heights.

Under the Microsoft approach, Nintendo publishes its games simultaneously on its own consoles and on PC. This lets you choose whether you want to get your games on a TV-driven device or through Steam, which is nice enough. But that’s the small picture. If we imagine ‘Nintendo’ the way Microsoft now pitches ‘Xbox’ – as a service, not just a console – the possibilities get very exciting.

First, we’re getting cross-save and cross-buy on all first-party Nintendo games. Great. We can start playing a game on a TV with a Switch, pick up the Switch for a bit of gaming on our commute, then download the save to PC to finish the session in the evening on far more powerful hardware. This would extend Switch’s core appeal – flexibility – to whole new playstyles, and hey, Nintendo is already designing games around varied power requirements and different control methods. PC just adds an additional step.

Microsoft has also been building its backward compatibility options through robust emulation efforts in order to provide an even bigger library of games on its platform. Of course, Nintendo used to do this too, with various iterations of the Virtual Console service. Nintendo has the most robust library of beloved classics of any major publisher, bar none, and there’s a reason fans have been pining for the days when Virtual Console was a formalised effort from the company. The Microsoft approach is especially exciting here.

But the real game changer is the possibility of a Nintendo version of Game Pass for PC. Every first-party Nintendo game available on release day for $14.99 USD per month – or $9.99, if you just want the PC versions. You’d have access to a library of classics ranging from Super Mario Bros to Drill Dozer, all in one place, across a variety of machines.

Again, the monkey’s paw closes a finger. Nintendo also likely invests in its own proprietary platform, just as Microsoft did with the Windows Store and Xbox app. We’re talking about a company with a history of touching the internet only in the most draconian ways possible – you still need friend codes to visit somebody’s Animal Crossing island. What horrors does Nintendo unleash in a world where it’s designing its own PC platform?

But, you plead with the monkey’s paw, what if Nintendo goes truly open by following in Sega’s footsteps? Surely nothing can go wrong now? And a future in which Nintendo has to give up the hardware business to focus on software isn’t even totally inconceivable – yes, the Switch is selling far better than the Dreamcast, but the Wii U wasn’t that long ago. These days, Sega simply publishes (almost) all its games on (almost) every relevant platform, and maybe that’s all we really want from Nintendo.

a future in which Nintendo has to give up the hardware business to focus on software isn’t even totally inconceivable

Maybe we don’t get the full back catalogue of Nintendo games on PC in this arrangement, but most of the ones that matter show up in plenty of collections – that’s a ‘yes’ to Super Mario Bros, but an absolute, unequivocal ‘no’ to Mother 3. Getting every big Nintendo game on PC through Steam, without a wait? Sign us up.

One of the coolest things about modern Sega is the company’s open-handed approach to fan games and ROM hacks. Sega has given a broad – though not comprehensive – thumbs up to fan-made games, and even went so far as contracting prominent community developer Christian Whitehead to create an original, official new game with Sonic Mania. The official Metroid 2 remake was great and all, but imagine if Nintendo took the same approach with something like AM2R, allowing the creativity of community developers to be celebrated rather than forcing us to count the days to a cease-and-desist notice for every cool fan project that comes around.

The catch? No more dedicated gaming hardware. Yes, the whole point of this exercise is to imagine a world where Nintendo is on PC hardware, but come on, Nintendo’s consoles are exciting in their own right, too. The Switch can’t match portable gaming PCs for power (just check out the Steam Deck specs), but it easily outclasses them for affordability and ease of use. Maybe the truly open approach requires Nintendo to give up its hardware entirely. Unless…

Imagine Nintendo following in Atari’s footsteps, building up a legacy as a central name in videogames, crashing into a financial nightmare, then bouncing around various owners keen to use the Nintendo brand and IP without any real connection to the original company. Then, decades down the line, the new Nintendo decides to get back to basics, and once again live on the sort of product that made it famous in the first place.

Introducing: the Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s a $400 USD Linux box – technically a PC! – that comes pre-installed with a handful of NES games and a few indies you can already play on Steam. Critics offer superlative praise like “all style, no substance”, and dramatic compliments like “it costs too much and does too little”.

What’s the catch on this one? It’s the only place you can play Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3.

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Dustin Bailey Senior news writer

As an American, Dustin enjoys being asked to write about football and cockney rhyming slang. Besides PC gaming, he's a keen anime and wrestling fan.

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