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Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, an EA executive reveals the PlayStation 4 is selling twice as many units as the Xbox One, Valve brings out new DLC for Dota 2, beta testing begins for Team Fortress 2 matchmaking, and Bungie reveals its Valentine's Day event for Destiny.
EA executive reveals PlayStation sales double that of Xbox One
The PlayStation 4 may be outselling the Xbox One by a factor of two to one, if comments made by an EA executive during a quarterly results conference call are accurate. Blake Jorgensen, CFO for the publisher, revealed the estimated combined install base of both consoles to be 55 million, and since Sony confirmed earlier this month it had sold 35.9 million units of the PlayStation 4, it theoretically puts Microsoft's console sales at around 19.1 million sales.
While the figure mentioned in the call, reported byArs Technica, strongly suggests Sony is dominating this console cycle at the moment, it may not necessarily mean that much to either company. Jorgensen notes both consoles have exceeded sales compared to their previous versions, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, at this point in their respective life cycles.
"I think our business seems to be operating pretty consistent as it has been over the last couple of years," advised Jorgensen. "The console purchases are up through the end of calendar year '15. Our estimate is 55 million units out there, which has exceeded virtually everyone's forecast for the year and now almost 50 percent higher than the previous console cycle, so all of that is very, very positive."
Dota 2 Winter 2016 Battle Pass offers rewards for challenges, Shanghai Major Compendium
Dota 2, Valve Software's MOBA title, has launched its newest event program, titled the Winter 2016 Battle Pass. Released for the 2016 winter season, the $8 Battle Pass will provide players with in-game extras, including quests that can provide new sets for player-owned characters, among other new features.
Owners of the Battle Pass will be able to follow a "Path" of challenges for various roles within the game, reportsPolygon. Depending on the path chosen, players will have a different set of challenges to complete, with each providing a specific hero set once completed. If the player base complete enough challenges, more set styles will be unlocked.
Players will also be able to bet on matches they take part in, receiving tokens each week that can be used to wager on the outcome of a match. The tokens can be used to earn points to level up the Battle Pass, providing more rewards, with players also able to tip others after a match to reward a decent in-game performance.
The pass also includes a Compendium for the Shanghai Major, an upcoming Dota tournament. It offers an interactive program for the tournament, providing information about players and teams taking part, and giving news updates on the happenings before and during the event.
Valve begins beta tests of Team Fortress 2 matchmaking mode
Aside from Dota 2, Valve is introducing a new change to its other free multiplayer game, though most likely at a much later date. Team Fortress 2 will finally be receiving a competitive matchmaking mode, allowing players to quickly join a game and play against players of a similar skill level.
Gamespotreports a post on Reddit pointed players to a Steam group titled "Team Fortress 2 Competitive Beta," which at least shows Valve has been working on the concept for some time, and is only now bringing players into testing. Outside of this test group, administered by Valve employees, the company has so far declined to give any official announcement about the mode's existence.
Unlike many other modern first person shooter games, Team Fortress 2 requires players to select a server from the server browser, or to allow the game to select a suitable one for them. Neither method allows players to see how good their opponents or teammates are, so a new player may end up being paired up with expert-level players and have a difficult game, or conversely a skilled player could end up being bored by the lack of challenge when playing with beginners. A matchmaking mode that compares skill levels and brings similar players together theoretically means players will be less likely to be intimidated by much tougher opponents, or end up in a match that's too easy for them.
Bungie has revealed details of its incoming event for Destiny, tenuously linked to Valentine's Day. The Crimson Days event will concentrate on players working together in pairs, with a significant focus on competitive Crucible gameplay.
A new gameplay mode called Crimson Doubles involves two-player fireteams in a new 2v2 elimination game, with five round wins needed for victory. As part of the mode, if a teammate is killed during the round, a new "Broken Heart" effect will put the surviving teammate into a "vengeful state" that boosts all of their abilities, making them more powerful and harder to kill until they win the round, die, or revive their dead partner.
Quests and bounties for the mode will be available from Lord Shaxx in The Tower. Rewards for quests include new shaders, Ghost shells rated at up to 320 Light, and Crimson Candy, which provides an experience gain on all equipped weapons of all players in a fireteam for 30 minutes. A selection of new limited edition emotes are also available for purchase during the event.
I'm pretty happy with my PS4 so far (aside from lack of backward compatibility**). It is WAY more stable than the PS3 and so incredibly more capable. Some of that is to be expected just generationally, but I also mean in terms of actual use and flexibility. For example, just plugging a headset into the wireless controller works very well... and then just hit the 'share' button to record videos, with the headset audio, is really nice for YouTube channels. It makes it all so easy.
And, since I'm kind of a controller guy anyway, I can give up on PC gaming now, as the PS4 is so close to anything besides a monster box I wouldn't build anyway.
It's also a bit of a bummer that the communities are so split, despite so many common titles. Could you imagine playing, say Star Wars Battlefront with the Xbox vs PS factions. Unfortunately, some of my friends always go for the Xbox for certain titles and then we can't play together, even on games we have in common.
** I just wish Sony would do a bit better with PS Now and PS2 compatibility. I was disappointed that the PS2 compatibility turned out to be re-releases of a few PS2 titles at pretty high prices, and PS Now is just too expensive to add on to fill in some PS3 games we love but aren't yet available (even in a new version) for the PS4. If their rental prices were a bit more reasonable, or they allowed 'buying' (permanent rental) of certain titles, it would much better serve PS3 -> PS4 upgraders. (Apparently, the target for PS Now is smart TVs and hotels and such, but I think they are missing an opportunity to keep their existing fans happy by going after other markets and ignoring us.)
I saw this PlayStation mini top box set that is the size of Apple TV. I wonder how good it is.
Do you mean the PlayStation TV? It's basically a PS Vita but in set-top box form, which can be used to play older titles and stream video from Sony services. It's main useful feature is that you can use it to play on a PlayStation 4 remotely over a home network, allowing you to get the same experience on a different TV. Handy if you have a large family that dominates the main TV.
@coffeetime: If you go by revenue-friendly but customer-hostile DRM and stupid policies, both Sony and MS screwed up majorly this time around. It's mostly been a game of "Hey, we don't suck as much as them!", as far as I can tell, and I guess MS is sucking even more this time around.
In Japan, anyway, the Xbox One is not doing so well. Where by "not so well" I mean, "You've got to be kidding". Sales for the past three weeks have seen the Xbox One drop by around half every week... which given that they *started* at 300 sold nationwide in Japan is either tragic or hilarious. They literally sold 52 Xbox Ones last week in the entire country of Japan. (Other consoles ranged from 2000 for the PS3 to 25,000 for one of the New DS models.)
@Makosuke: Sounds more like an international issue with Xbox. Whereas in the States Xbox is probably doing better. As for Japan, I think it has to do with their loyalty to their own brands (except Apple..... LOL).
If I live in Japan, I would bought PS4 also. Nothing to do with being loyalty but rather the selections of local games that are only available in Japan. You don't get popular anime titles in Xbox but you do get them on PS4. So generally speaking, you get more out of PS4 investment in Japan than Xbox. This is why Japan game market is hard to crack. But somehow Apple cracked it because of the thousands of iOS games/apps that are brew locally.
Last edited by coffeetime; Feb 2, 2016 at 08:32 AM.