Greetings NAGilteejans, and thanks for coming back for the sweetened, full-fat This Week In Gaming, now with 100% more snark. In the news this week the crypto miners get even more ridiculous, an Early Access title announces a controversial event, Nintendo posts their Switch numbers, Call of Duty gets hammered on Steam, Pokemon devs talk about the worst event ever hosted, the most disappointing Kickstarter ever somehow gets more disappointing and Overwatch makes their loot boxes more appealing. All that, some videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Cryptocurrency mining is getting even more out of hand
You may remember a while back news broke that a global shortage of graphics cards was happening due to cryptocurrency miners hoping to get rich for zero work – an appealing prospect indeed.
Bitcoin is like, sooo 2013 right now – if you’re into mining, it’s all about Ethereum, and now it’s come out that the big miners are renting Boeing 747s just to ship massive amounts of graphic cards.
This isn’t your standard nerd-in-the-basement quintupling the family’s electricity bill, these are massive organisations that can’t afford to wait for slow shipping options. Due to the volatile nature of cryptocurrency in general, waiting a month or two for your pallet of GPUs to come via sea just isn’t an option.
According to the big players, it’s not a matter of being able to afford to rent planes – it’s about not being able afford to not to.
The bubble should burst soon enough as Ethereum gets harder and harder to mine and thus the opportunity cost swings in the other direction, at which point maybe we can go back to using graphics cards the way they were intended – screenshotting our FPS numbers.
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds to have its first big esports event next month
This Early Access phenomenon has exploded onto the scene, and with it being a staple of Twitch streamers and already pulling big viewing numbers, giving it the e-sports treatment was inevitable.
So how do you take a Battle Royale game and make it an esport? The game will feature 80 invited players who will compete in a three-game set, with competitions in all the modes – solo, duo, first-person duo, and squad.
As is custom with esports events these days, it’ll boast an impressive prizepool – $350,000, according to developer Bluehole.
Not everyone in the community is too pumped about the event, however. Many players are pretty miffed that an Early Access game that, according to players, is suffering from a multitude of bugs and server issues is jumping the gun with an e-sports tournament.
It would be easy to make the case that Bluehole may not have its priorities in the right place, as organising an event such as this would take a lot of the team’s limited resources that should be spent on improving the game that people have already paid for.
But, I suppose I don’t need to point out for the seventeenth time how damned stupid the Early Access model is.
Nintendo Switch comes out swinging
Following the massive flop that was the Wii U, Nintendo should be thrilled with the Switch’s 4.7 million units sold since the console’s release in March.
Keep in mind in the last quarter the Switch sold 1.97 million units, which means the portable-home console combo is maintaining sales momentum through the year.
On the software front, The Legend of Zelda is unsurprisingly the big winner with 3.92 million units sold lifetime, representing 83% of Switch owners. Mario Kart 8 has even more momentum, however, selling 3.54 million units since its April release. This means three quarters of Switch owners own Mario Kart and one quarter don’t know what the hell they’re doing.
The 3DS also continues to do well, selling a million units this quarter and close to 6 million in software sales.
Call of Duty Remastered gets rekt on Steam
Oh boy, the angry pitchfork-wielding teenagers have arrived, and they are PISSED.
The Modern Warfare remaster, previously attached exclusively to Call of Duty: Space Nazis, got its standalone release on PC, after Sony’s timed exclusivity had expired of course because eat shit, PC gamers.
The game has gotten the “Not Recommended” tag due to all the negative reviews, complaining about everything from the price (R630 in SA), performance issues and the oldest of chestnuts – cheaters in multiplayer.
Supply drops have also been poo-poo’d (and rightly so, get out of here with your changes Modern Warfare was PERFECT) and the map pack which they have to pay for.
What’s perhaps most worrying, however, is that on the day of the game’s release the multiplayer numbers peaked at 452. That makes me very hesitant to jump in on our side of the equator, as I can imagine some pretty dead servers and perennial Team Deathmatch.
Pokemon Go dev explains their disastrous event
I’ve gotta be honest – I can’t imagine anything more soul-suckingly lame than a Pokemon Go event. Everyone gathers together to stare at their phones and throw digital balls at the world’s worst augmented reality animations ever.
Things went awry however when nobody could play the “game”. Servers crashed, networks were overloaded and logins were broken, forcing some terrified members of the crowd to have actual face-to-face interactions.
There were supposed to be co-op challenges which would unlock the game’s first legendary, but all that went to hell when nobody could do any of the challenges.
Ultimately, everyone got a full refund, $100 in Pokecoins and the two legendaries were unceremoniously unlocked globally.
As for the explanation, it was pretty much what you’d expect – Niantic fully anticipated and prepared for potential issues, and everything went to hell anyway. Don’t worry though, they are “listening to feedback”.
Mighty No. 9 couldn’t get any worse, but somehow does
This may be one of the most disappointing releases of all time. Storming Kickstarter with its promise of epic, old-school sidescrolling action, Mighty No. 9 got the hype machine into overdrive due to its creator – video game legend Keiji Inafune, the man behind Mega Man.
What was delivered was a total mess, which was infamously referred to as “better than nothing”. Aside from the game being pretty bad, the delivery of Kickstarter rewards was handled awfully and many of the game’s builds were delayed.
The final insult, however, came this week. For $60, Kickstarter backers were promised a boxed edition of the game. This was supposed to come with, I quote, “the printed instruction manual already inside, with the Western-style box patterned after the NES Game box dimensions and style“, and “an actual, physical, full-colour instruction booklet to go along with your actual, physical game box – just like the old days!”
Got that picture in your head? Pretty snazzy, right? What backers actually got was a flat piece of cardboard that they had to fold themselves into a box shape, and a greyscale manual THAT DOESN’T FIT INSIDE THE BOX.
Honestly, it’s almost too perfect.
New Overwatch patch “drastically” reduces amount of duplicates
I’m getting a strong feeling of déjà vu here. Didn’t I already talk about this? Was I talking about this patch one day coming?
Either way, the patch is here, or is here again, or I’m from the future to tell you that you’ll get less duplicate items now. You’ll also get more credits from loot boxes.
This is apparently something people were complaining about, no doubt those suckers who drop three times the amount the game cost on gambling for digital cosmetics that have no value. What a time to be alive.
The Wolfenstein franchise is one of few that can still inflate my balloon, but I’m going to try hard not to watch this 90 minutes of gameplay. See if you’re strong enough.
Echo is a new game from former IO Interactive employees, and it looks super interesting and unique. Have a look at this one.
Input lag is a big concern when you’re a l337 fragger like me, so if you’re looking for the crispest FPS experience consider this showdown between the big boys.
And now for something completely different, Descenders answers our prayers for a game about extreme downhill bike-riding.
Best of NAG
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Finally, as always, put those tired feet up, close those weary eyes and have some you-time with the NAG Online Podcast. You’re worth it.