Hello everyone and welcome back to This Week in Gaming. Apologies for the late posting this week, the unforgiving god of electricity Eskom decided to smite me down this morning, taking lesser god of ADSL, Telkom, with it. The good news things have finally started rolling in 2014. This week sees massively disappointing sales predictions for Nintendo, 2013 sales figures for the US settle the score, Valve talks Steambox and Virtual Reality, a limited edition controller, games that are coming to next-gen (and games that aren’t) and a whole load of other news, videos, and highlights for the week. Jump in.
This week, in a shareholder’s meeting I’m guessing no one was looking forward to, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata broke the bad news – the company would be slashing their console sales forecasts for 2014. Drastically.
The Wii U’s estimated sales have been cut from an unrealistic 9 million to an overly optimistic 2.8 million, while even the 3DS saw a cut prediction from 18 million to 13.5 million.
Basically, Nintendo is predicting another full financial year of losses, cutting a prediction of 55 billion yen profit to an unfortunate 25 billion yen loss. Ouch.
However, forsaking Japanese tradition of immediate resignation, Iwata has promised to stay on at the company until he’s set things right; at which point I assume he’ll fall on his sword.
It’s a bit odd that Nintendo have had to issue bad news over the 3DS, considering the NPD reports for the US this week revealed the 3DS to be the best selling console of the year, with the PS4 managing to edge out the Xbox One. The Nextbox did manage to outsell the PS4 in December, but Sony was quick to make the excuse that that was a stock issue due to “overwhelming demand”.
Valve has launched itself into the hardware game with the Steam controller and other Steam Box shenanigans, but what about this virtual reality stuff Mr. Carmack is all worked up about?
Valve said this week that it is investing substantially into the VR market, but isn’t planning on doing anything themselves just yet.
All that being said, the company’s resident tech guy Michael Abrash says the company has been working with the people over at Oculus Rift on their latest prototype. Valve has an interest in driving the technology forward, they just aren’t planning on developing their own first party hardware just yet.
Our last bit of console news for the week is a limited edition Xbox One controller to be released alongside Titanfall this year. It’s modelled on one of the guns, releasing March 14th, and looking pretty damn badass. Check it out:
So the NPD released their sales chart for the North American market this week, allowing various publishers to finally drop their pants and compare for 2013.
Activision is looking particularly smug with TWO Call of Duty games making the list (Ghosts and Black Ops II), which is kind of hilarious. Top honours goes to the shoe-in GTA V, while Battlefield 4 sits in lowly 4th place beneath Madden and just above Assassin’s Creed.
GTA V’s top spot is in no small part due to the epic GTA Online, but like every online game there’s always a few spoilt kids who like to ruin things for everyone else.
Rockstar promised this week to crack down on cheaters who are ruining the economy by illegally generating a “game-breaking amount” of cash. This is different from the legal-illegal ways players usually generate currency.
The gamers on the naughty list are going to be put in a playpen just with each other, or banned outright. If you’re just an innocent bystander, you may be relieved to see this:
“Anyone that innocently received GTA $ as a result of these exploits but did not engage in cheating to acquire it will not face any further action – the funds will just be removed , and you’ll be able to keep any items you currently own.”
Alright, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. The bad news is that there’s no plans for Dark Souls 2 on next-gen consoles just yet. This week the game’s co-director, Yui Tanimura, said that the studio “hadn’t put any thought into it yet”.
The good news is that all of you fancy pants Xbox One owners might get to play Diablo 3 on it sometime in the near future.
A bunch of online retailers listed an Xbox One version of the game with the tag “Coming Soon”. It was hastily taken down, of course, but this is the internet and there’s always a screenshot.
There’s been no official announcement just yet, but this looks like a pretty clear indication.
Great news for indie developers; Valve is planning on getting rid of Steam Greenlight sometime in the near future. That’s not as bad as it sounds – they’re planning on axing the need for a voting system at all.
As big man Gabe Newell himself puts it, “Our goal is to make Greenlight go away. Not because it’s not useful, but because we’re evolving.”
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has a looming release date of February 14th, and it’s causing quite a buzz amongst those who are into that sort of thing. Just to pique your interest, here’s a couple of new videos showing some sweet battles.
We believe in equality here at NAG Online, which is why I occasionally put up news and videos for the six people in South Africa who own a PS Vita. Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD landed this week for the underused handheld, so this video is for you guys. Oh, I suppose I should mention you can get it on real consoles and Steam too.
Naughty Dog’s Last of Us was easily one of the best games of 2013, and the studio is seeing in the new year with a new single-player DLC titled ‘Left Behind’. Here’s a new trailer so you can see if it might be worth it to you.
Finally, we have a new gameplay trailer for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. This multiplayer online 3rd-person battleground looks like a whole lot of stupid fun, and a good opportunity to blow your friends away.
Best of NAG
The Need for Speed franchise is still going strong, hell, there’s an even a movie coming out this year. They games tend to wax and wane in quality, so is the latest release, Rivals, worth your time? Miklós Szecsei will tell you exactly that.
The only thing better than an indie game is a local indie, and this week Ben Myres did a spotlight on the surprisingly difficult archery game, Archer9000. Check it out.
My column this week looked ahead for the new year, listing five games I’m excited to get my hands on in 2014. However, I’m more interested in what you’re looking forward to. Check out my list, then head to the comments and share your own.
Finally, we have resident NAG Online overachiever and hardware guru, talking you through AMD’s new CPU-GPU combo in more detail than you thought possible. It’s a great read, and if you have any interest in the hardware at all you really need to read it.