Welcome to the Weekly Knockout, our weekly round-up of the biggest gaming news for the week ending 16th July. This week, not content with taking over people’s phones, and subsequently their lives, Pokémon Go is also attempting to take over the Weekly Knockout.
NOTE: Audio version of the Weekly Knockout can be found on iTunes, or at the bottom of this page.
This Week’s 10 Biggest Stories
1) Pokémon Go
As I hinted in the intro, this week is jam-packed with Pokémon Go news. To help you wade through the Wailord-sized Muk, we sorted the news into a nice and Joltik list, that should help you catch all the news in a flash. (Sorry for the Gastly puns!)
Pokémon Go to Receive Bi-Weekly Updates
Speaking to Game Informer, the founder of Niantic, John Hanke had the following to say; “There will be new clients and server iterations pushed bi-weekly … Sometimes they’re small features, sometimes they’re big features that get rolled out. But we treat it as an ever-evolving game. It’s not something that just sort of minted and then issued on launch day and not changed.” In terms of what you can expect from said updates, Niantic is currently is working on adding the following features:-
- Trading Pokémon
- Global leader boards
- AR technology improvements
- Customising Gyms
- Fixing excessive battery drain
- Improve GPS accuracy and stability
Hour-Long Bans for Cheaters
Users of Pokémon Go have noticed that GPS spoofing – the act of fooling software into believing you are in a location that you are not – will get you banned from the game for approximately one hour. Comically, when a player is banned, they aren’t forcibly logged out of the game, but instead won’t be able to receive items from Pokestops, battle at Gyms, and wild Pokémon will run away from banned players.
Pokemon Go Sales
According to Superdata Research analysts, Pokémon Go generated $14.04 million during the first four days after its launch. For reference, Pokémon Shuffle Mobile has only raised $14.03 million over its year and a half lifespan. Another researcher, SmiliarWeb has released information concerning the game’s current usage on Android phones in the US, which shows that Pokémon Go is being used daily by 3% of all measured phones, and is on course to overtake Twitter’s daily active users, which sits at 3.5%. Pokémon Go was installed on an estimated 5% of all Android phones in US only two days after launch, which equates to an estimated 5.4 million devices. That’s not taking into account the popularity of the game of iOS devices, or across the rest of the world.
2) Nintendo is Re-Releasing it’s NES Console
Yes, Nintendo will be re-releasing its beloved NES console later this year on 11th November, for the pretty price of $60. Titled the NES Classic Edition, the console will be a miniaturised version of its namesake, and will support 30 pre-installed games (Listed below). The console will not support internet connectivity, external storage devices, or use physical media of any kind, meaning that only those games which come pre-installed on the device will be playable. The console will feature HDMI support (Although the games will not be HD), and is powered by USB. Consumers can purchase additional NES controllers for $10 a pop, or you can use either a classical controller, or classical controller pro. The NES controllers (Both those sold with the unit, and separately) can be attached to a Wii-mote for use with NES Virtual Console games on the Wii U.
- Balloon Fight
- Bubble Bobble
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon II
- Final Fantasy
- Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- Mega Man 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
- SUPER C
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
3) Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC & Offline Mode
At this year’s Star Wars Celebration, EA revealed new details for Star Wars Battlefront, including providing details for both upcoming DLC packs. First off a new offline mode will be coming to Star Wars Battlefront this coming Wednesday (20th July), titled Skirmish. Skirmish allows players to play games of Walker Assault and/or Fighter Squadron (Two of the games multiplayer modes) against bots, either by themselves, or with a friend in co-op mode. Skirmish will be a free-download for anyone who owns Star Wars Battlefront.
Next up, EA showcased a new trailer for Death Star, the third DLC coming to Battlefront. The trailer, which you can watch below, showed off a huge space battle (Another much requested mode for the game), and the famous Death Star Trench Run. The Death Star DLC will also include two new heroes, Bossk and Chewbacca, new vehicles, blasters, and star cards. Death Star will release sometime in Autumn.
Finally, EA revealed the previously untitled fourth DLC pack for Battlefront will, as long expected, focus on the upcoming movie, Rogue One. The DLC will include maps from the fictitious planet Scarif, the main location of the feature film, and two new heroes; Jyn Erso and Director Orson Krennic, the film’s main protagonist, and antagonist.
4) Trials on Tatooine VR Experience to Release Monday for Free
Trials on Tatooine, a Star Wars VR experience, will release for free on HTC Vive starting Monday, 18th July. Trials on Tatooine is a first-person experience set after the events of Return of the Jedi, where players assume the role of Luke Skywalker’s apprentice, and features basic lightsabre combat.
5) Batman: The Telltale Game Series Release Date Revealed
The first episode of Batman: A Telltale Game Series will release as a digital download this coming August, with no release day set at the time of writing. A physical edition of the game will be releasing the following month, 13th September. Note: While the physical edition of the game will feature the first episode, future episodes will have to be downloaded although there will be no additional cost. Batman will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and mobile.
6) Sea of Thieves Release Date Leaked?
It appears as if Xbox Australia revealed the release date for upcoming Microsoft exclusive, Sea of Thieves. Speaking on Twitter, Xbox Australia had the following to say; “Ship-REKT! Sea of Thieves [CTC] is coming to #XboxOne Feb 2017”. The Tweet was later deleted, and Xbox Games Global Marketing Chief, Aaron Greenburg reminded fans that Sea of Thieves has no release date as of yet. That being said, considering that the official Xbox Australia account tweeted out the ‘announcement’, and that February is not the end of a quarter (Which is when placeholder dates are usually set for), it would appear as if February 2017 is the current target release date for Sea of Thieves. With that being said, take this information with a pinch of (Sea?) salt – After all, when Sea of Thieves was announced at E3 last year, it was slated for a 2016 release date.
7) Fallout 4: Vault-Tec Worksop DLC Release Date Revealed
Bethesda has revealed that Vault-Tec Workshop, the fifth of six additional content packs coming to Fallout 4, will release the Tuesday after next i.e. 26th July. Vault-Tec Workshop allows players to create their own vaults in the wasteland RPG, which you can customise and furnish, before attracting settlers, who you can then train to defend their new underground paradise. For more on Fallout 4, be sure to check out Jordan’s review of the game’s major DLC, Far Harbor.
8) Sony and Microsoft bail on Gamescom
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it will not be conducting its usual Gamescom press conference, opting to hold a Fan Fest instead; “While will not be hosting a media briefing this year, we’re planning a new and more intimate Xbox FanFest experience for our fans across Europe and worldwide attending gamescom 2016.”. Attendees will be able to go hands on with upcoming titles such as Forza Horizon 3, ReCore, Gears of War 4, and more. This was then followed by reports from Jeux Video, that PlayStation France representatives told them; “There will be no PlayStation conference at Gamescom”. The reports that Sony will not be holding a conference have yet to be confirmed, although it is worth noting that Sony did not hold a press conference at Gamescom last year, opting to hold off for Paris Games Week, which takes place after Gamescom.
9) Evolve Celebrates 1 Million Players
Last week we reported that 2015’s Evolve went free-to-play, and the move seems to have been a success, with the game reaching over 1 million players in less than one week. To celebrate, Turtle Rock Studios is giving away a free skin for the hunter Griffin to anyone who logs into the game before Monday 18th July 10AM PST. Turtle Rock has plans to make Evolve free-to-play on console, but no release date has been announced as of yet.
— Evolve (@EvolveGame) July 13, 2016
10) Gears of War 4 Xbox One S Announced
Microsoft have announced that a Gears of War 4 themed variant of the upcoming Xbox One S console will be releasing this September. Priced at $450, the bundle will include a 2TB console – with both the console, and the accompanying controller, featuring gritty, battle-weathered, Gears of War 4 inspired art work – a digital copy of the game, the season pass, 4-day early access to the game, and other digital items.
Also announced was a JD Fenix Controller, which features blue and grey artwork inspired by the aforementioned hero of the upcoming title. The controller will be sold for $75 exclusively at the Microsoft Store and GameStop (Non-American partners have yet to be announced), from 13th September, alongside the blood-red controller featured in the limited edition console bundle.
This Week’s Financial Report
IT’s NOT AS SCARY AS IT SOUNDS! Here’s the weeks latest sales figures and financials for games, developers, publishers and hardware manufactures.
Nintendo Shares Skyrocket by 70%
When Pokemon Go released last week, Nintendo shares jumped up by 10% overnight, and have now skyrocketed to over 70% of their value prior to the game’s release. Nintendo’s market value is up £6.6 billion to £19.6 billion from £13 billion. This is the biggest increase in market value that the company has seen since 1989, when Dragon Quest was released in the US, which itself, was only a 35% increase. You can read more on Nintendo’s stock from the original report by the BBC.
This Week’s Spotlight
This Week’s Spotlight is a new section I’m demoing (This week in a hopefully lovely orange, instead of the unreadable yellow), where I shine the spotlight on my favourite article published on Ground Punch over the past week. This week, the light from above is landing on Sam Young, and his most recent article, A Month With the Vive: Q&A. Yes, our resident Canadian has gone ahead and purchased a Vive VR Headset to take video game escapism to the next level (I guess Canada really is that bad!). Do you have questions about the software line-up, or lack thereof, how bad the motion sickness is, or if it leads to your eyes no longing being circular? If the answer is yes, or if you just want to see Sam try and justify spending over $800 on a device that he is currently using as a glorified paint brush, check out his article below.
And that’s a wrap on this weeks’ Pokémon centric news, be sure to come back next week for another news round-up, including all the latest details from Bungie’s live stream for Destiny’s upcoming expansion, Rise of Iron. And if you simply can’t wait, don’t worry, I will be doing a live blog of the reveal, followed by a full round-up where I’ll throw in my two penneth on top. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the Weekly Knockout on iTunes.