• Duncan Robertson

The Biggest News In Gaming (Week Beginning 23/03/20)

Updated: May 7, 2020

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Multiple Video Game Sales Records Smashed Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns

Video game sales are experiencing a new surge amidst the widespread outbreak of COVID-19.

Much to the credit of new releases such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal, and an increase in peoples' free time, sales records have been broken in multiple marketplaces around the world.

Firstly, Steam has seen the highest number of concurrent players on its service this week, with a new peak of 22.6 million players worldwide.

Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners shared the news on Twitter, saying "Steam just achieved a new peak concurrent user record of 22 million, one day after reaching 21 million and six days after reaching 20 million.

"Global lockdowns and self-isolation due to COVID-19 have led to at home gaming becoming a safe form of entertainment to pass the time."

In terms of individual game sales, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has broken records in the UK to become the fastest-selling Switch game in the country since the console's release.

The critically acclaimed New Horizons has outsold the combined launch sales of all previous installments in the franchise.

The game has become the fastest-selling Switch game in its opening weekend in Japan, too. According to Forbes, New Horizons has sold 1.88 million physical copies in the Japanese marketplace alone.

It should be noted, however, that the current sales figures only take physical sales into account as digital sales numbers have not yet been released.

Similarly, DOOM Eternal has also broken a franchise record for opening weekend sales and has seen double the initial revenue of its 2016 predecessor. In addition, it has been the best selling title on Steam this week, seeing a concurrent player count of 100,000.

GDC 2020 Online Talks Made Free and Available For All

Although GDC 2020 was officially postponed, a few of the conference's talks still took place. These talks have now been made free and available to all for viewing online.

The announcement was made via a press release on the official GDC website which says "Game Developers Conference organizers are excited to announce that the insightful talks delivered by game industry experts during GDC 2020 last week are now available to watch on the GDC Vault!

"The unique challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic demanded some quick thinking on the part of GDC presenters, and this year organizers were proud to work with a number of GDC 2020 speakers who recorded their presentations at home for broadcast over the GDC Twitch channel."

These pre-recorded virtual talks have been uploaded to Twitch and the GDC Vault, and the event's organisers have said they plan to upload them to GDC's YouTube channel in the near future.

After controversy surrounded the event's cancellation due to the lack of refunds to those who purchased tickets, these talks have been made available to everyone, not only GDC Vault Members or ticket holders.

A smaller GDC summer expo has been organised for August 4-6 2020 in San Francisco.

Nintendo Force IP Purge of Media Molecule's Dreams

Nintendo has demanded the removal of all content which aims to recreate the company's intellectual properties from Media Molecule's new creation game, Dreams.

After one player announced via Twitter that their created character model of Mario had been removed from the game, Sony has confirmed that it is working to purge all Nintendo-themed content from the game.

"Sony Interactive Entertainment is notifying the affected users that an IP Infringement Notice has been received from Nintendo and that the content will be removed", said Sony in a released statement.

"We cannot comment on the volume of content to be removed, this is done on an individual case by case basis."

"Piece of Craft" the Twitter user who first announced that their Mario creations were being removed, broke their disappointment on Twitter, saying "We flew too close to the sun boys! A big video game company who i will keep nameless obviously didn't read my "be cool" note in dreams.

"no worries though have a back up plan. But for now Mario projects in dreams are on hold until i put said plan into effect".

"Piece of Craft" later said that they had received an email from the legal and business affairs division of SIE which said that Nintendo objected to the use of its IP within the PS4 game.

Nintendo has not offered public comment on the story at this time.

Disgruntled Animal Crossing Players Tear Down Game on Metacritic

Unsatisfied purchasers of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have begun to "review-bomb" the game on aggregator site Metacritic after frustration with the game's multiplayer features.

Despite the majority of fans enjoying the game and many positive reviews from critics, some fans are angry that the game only allows one save file per console.

Many of these fans have taken to Metacritic to post their user reviews, saying that "If you have more than one person in your home that wants to play the game, you need two Switches.

"Worst decision I have ever seen, this even beats EA. Congratulations Nintendo, you have officially become the worst video game company this year!"

Another player, who gave the game a score of zero, said "The limitation of one island per Switch (not per cartridge, per Switch) is nonsensical. It‘s obvious Nintendo is just trying to sell more Switch consoles... Sorry but this is an instant 0/10."

The most recent installment in the Animal Crossing franchise currently has a Metascore of 91, with publications such as GamesBeat saying in their review that "Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fantastic. It is the best Animal Crossing game ever made."

Despite its lofty critical acclaim, the title's user score currently sits at a contradictory 6.2.

Develop: Brighton Postponed Until November 2020

Develop: Brighton, the biggest video game developer conference in Europe, has been delayed from its originally scheduled July date until November 2nd, 2020.

The event will now run from the 2nd of November until the 4th, with the Develop: Star Awards taking place on the 3rd. The event will still take place in the Brighton Hilton Metropole.

Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events said "We're obviously disappointed to be making this decision but it wasn't a difficult one given the current uncertainty -- the health and wellbeing of everyone is paramount

"By moving the event to November, it means the show will go on and we can look forward to seeing everyone in Brighton, albeit a few months later."

The lineup of speakers and events at the conference is said to be subject to changes, but Todd Howard will still be delivering a keynote, and receive the Develop Star Award.

All purchased passes and tickets to the event will be valid for the new set of dates.

Image Credits: GamesPress, Tandem Events, Nintendo, Game Coping

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