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Sony And Microsoft Are Rethinking The Importance Of Launch Lineups

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We’re about to enter what is likely the strangest transition to next-gen consoles we’ve ever seen. After months of fragmented online speculation in times of COVID-19, we finally have an idea of what to expect from the release of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S and their respective launch lineups. On the surface, the consoles have all the traditional trappings of new video game hardware–faster performance, more detailed graphics, and bigger, better games. Sony and Microsoft have maintained the forward-thinking approach that encapsulates the promise of next-gen. However, what is different about the upcoming launch of both consoles is that Sony and Microsoft are actively reframing the expectations for the new hardware’s launch window, for the better.

What strikes me as refreshing, and a lot less stressful, about this upcoming generation is that I know that we’ll have plenty of games to play due to continued access to my existing games from the current and past generations. Historically, new consoles have been something of a reboot for existing fans, while also being a fresh start for newcomers. Once we enter the next-gen, it’s essentially a new era with dedicated games, a new infrastructure, and an assortment of features and innovations that put each console several leaps ahead of its predecessors. This change is to be expected with new hardware, and because of this ensuing gap, I tend to keep my older consoles close in case I want to play some games that aren’t accessible on the new hardware.

This divide can often be the decider when looking forward to the consoles, and it’s especially noticeable in the early period of new hardware. Truth be told, when I first bought my PS4, I had some regrets about my purchase. In the months immediately following its launch, the only games I had sunk any time into were Infamous: Second Son and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. So far, based on the messaging from both Sony and Microsoft, the launch of the new hardware seems to be addressing this rut that can often come from adopting new hardware early. Instead of anticipating the usual angst and uneasiness of having a new console with not much to play at launch, I see myself more enthused about buying a new console earlier than I expected.

What we’ve seen with the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox consoles is that they’re putting a much larger stock in having players retain access to the past. With this current generation raising the importance of having a mostly digital library, and away from physical media, there’s a need to have players retain access to the games they’ve purchased. Of course, backwards compatibility isn’t a new thing. The original 60 GB PS3 offered full backwards compatibility with PS1 and PS2 discs, a feature which was then scaled back with newer models. The Nintendo Wii earned significant praise for offering ways to play the classic games from its past via GameCube backwards compatibility and its Virtual Console store. But what makes the upcoming era different is that more of an emphasis is placed on having legacy games being a part of your launch lineup for the next-gen.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon is one of Microsoft's key third-party exclusive for the launch of Xbox Series X/S.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon is one of Microsoft’s key third-party exclusive for the launch of Xbox Series X/S.

To have new hardware actively push the importance of having access to older or even the more recent games on day one can remove that feeling of emptiness when owning new hardware and feeling like what you really want is still a generation behind, or in the distant future. In an interview with the Washington Post, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan stated that “99 percent” of PlayStation 4 games will be playable on PS5. In contrast, the Xbox Series X continues on with its radical and more comprehensive approach of having access to different generations of Xbox games, and that reassures me about next-gen. It’s becoming something more akin to me trading up instead of feeling like an investment in a console that will eventually get a larger library of games.

If anything, the best comparison I can make is that it’s something of an Apple-style approach with its line of iPhones and iPads. Instead of feeling like I’m ditching years of games and experiences, I’m simply getting a better and more efficient way to play some of my older favorites. I’ve put many hours in Bloodborne and God of War, and there’s something very exciting about the idea of replaying them with PS5’s faster processor and solid-state-drive, which are expected to improve the experience of older games in some regards. With this being available at launch, it’ll make me feel less like I’m going to be caught in the middle of two generations, and more in that I’m going to have the latest hardware to continue playing games from both the existing library and the newest games.

In Microsoft’s case, the company is approaching the accessibility to games and your existing library in a few ways. For starters, it’s leveraging the highly successful Game Pass program, which in itself is something of a killer app for Xbox One and PC users. With the expanding curated list of games to play from its standalone subscription service, it’s not only a great way to revisit some old favorites, but also play games you missed over the years. Then you have the Smart Delivery feature, allowing you to play new games like Dirt 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and other major releases on both the Xbox One and Series X/S. While the Xbox Series X lacks some critical exclusives during its launch window, the breadth of games available on day one still presents an enticing way to upgrade. Also, it does a lot to offset the disappointment of Halo Infinite being pushed back to 2021.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is one of the PS5's centerpiece games, and it will also be available on PS4 at launch.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is one of the PS5’s centerpiece games, and it will also be available on PS4 at launch.

Sony’s approach is comparatively less comprehensive. However, it still features a vast library of games for players to gain access to. In addition to the previously mentioned backwards compatibility with a large majority of PS4 games, the company also recently unveiled its new PlayStation Plus Collection program. For PS5 owners with PS Plus, you can play a curated selection of games that include the previously mentioned God of War and Bloodborne, along with other titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Persona 5, and Uncharted 4. Having many of the PS4’s key games available on PS5 as an added PS Plus perk is really cool, and it’ll be great to see where the service can go in the future. While Jim Ryan has stated that the PS5 won’t have backwards compatibility with PS3 and earlier consoles, there’s still great potential for the curated list of PlayStation Plus games to grow in unexpected ways.

It does feel like the PS5 will have to catch up to Microsoft’s library, but there are a solid lineup of games to play on PlayStation Plus collection, and what existing players will bring with them from their PS4 library. One cause for concern is how PS4 games will operate on PS5, which Sony has been mostly vague about. Buying a PS4 game and instantly getting the PS5 release seems to be more on a case-by-case basis, which is different from the more simplified Smart Delivery initiative. While it’s likely the PS5 will be compatible with PS4 Pro versions of current games, there hasn’t been more concrete info about what sort of enhancements will be available at this time. In contrast, Microsoft has stated that earlier Xbox games will receive enhancements for existing games on Game Pass, which has an extensive lineup of games from the 360 and Xbox One eras.

Bloodborne is a fan-favorite PS4 game, and it will be playable on PS5 via backwards compatibility.
Bloodborne is a fan-favorite PS4 game, and it will be playable on PS5 via backwards compatibility.

Both the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 are sticking close to their past libraries, which is very exciting to see. This reframing of what a launch lineup should be is a great attitude to see from both Sony and Microsoft. Not only does it present more value for jumping into new hardware, but it also shows more respect for its existing player base who have heavily invested in their chosen platforms. We’re entering a strange, new generation, but I can’t help but feel like it’ll already be a more welcoming one.

For more on what’s to come with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, be sure to check out our Generation Next hub, which focuses on all the latest news, features and videos focusing on the new era of gaming.

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Now Playing: Has PlayStation Done Enough? | Generation Next

Source: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/sony-and-microsoft-are-rethinking-the-importance-of-launch-lineups/1100-6482378/?ftag=CAD-01-10abi2f

Gaming

Stack Sports and Battlefy Partner to provide sports organizations…

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Stack Sports and BattleFy Logos

“It’s really amazing to see the world of sports and esports coming together,” said Jason Xu, CEO of Battlefy.

Stack Sports and Battlefy are Partnering up to provide sports organizations an all-in-one technology solution for esports tournament and event management. This partnership brings together the platinum standards of technology in sports and esports, to help organizations deliver professional and safe programs to kids around the world.

Battlefy is home to over 230 thousand independently operated esports tournaments and leagues across the globe. Their platform makes it easy for anyone to create, manage, and market tournaments for a huge variety of game and competitive formats. Battlefy provides full flexibility to design and monetize the perfect experience, using features such as automated scoring, match stats, and solo/team competition modes, as well as sponsorship management, loyalty programs, and full service event management for organizations looking for amazing tournaments that are fully managed.

With existing clients such as FIFA, Bundesliga, Turner Sports, Vancouver Canucks, and Red Bull; Stack Sports is confident that Battlefy’s innovative technology is perfect as it’s premier partners in the professional and amateur space. With the growing popularity of esports, partnering to provide innovative technology to traditional sports franchises fits well with Stack Sports mission to increase participation and transform the sports experience.

“Following the addition of esports to the Stack Sports ecosystem and CaptainU recruiting platform this year, we’ve seen consistent growth in these programs,” said Jeff Brunsberg, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer. “We intend to continue to invest in this space and offer sports organizations the very best tools available and we believe Battlefy will help us do that.”

The Battlefy team provides the best-in-class service for event organizers with an open communication platform and a full white glove support team. With a global footprint, the staff offer a level of support unmatched for brands. Spanning from Vancouver all the way to Jakarta, the team operates across New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, and more. This allows them to help organizations think globally about their esports events and activations. This Partnership will continue to grow the capabilities Stack Sports offers while meeting the need for more remote and contactless programming in traditional sports.

“It’s really amazing to see the world of sports and esports coming together,” said Jason Xu, CEO of Battlefy. “I was an active kid growing up, playing soccer and badminton competitively. I learned a lot of life lessons on the field that I applied to playing esports and vice versa. Battlefy and Stack Sports have the opportunity to bring out the best of both worlds, and help kids continue to experience competition and sportsmanship in these trying times.”

About Stack Sports

With nearly 50 million users in 35 countries, Stack Sports is a global technology leader in SaaS platform offerings for the sports industry. The company provides world-class software and services to support national governing bodies, youth sports associations, leagues, clubs, parents, coaches, and athletes. Some of the largest and most prominent sports organizations including the U.S. Soccer Federation, Little League Baseball and Softball, and Pop Warner Little Scholars rely on Stack Sports technology to run and manage their organizations. Stack Sports is headquartered in Dallas and is leading the industry one team at a time focusing on three key pillars — Play, Improve, and Engage. To learn more about how Stack Sports is transforming the sports experience, please visit http://www.stacksports.com.

About Battlefy

Battlefy is the virtual YMCA for esports. Our digital platform is home to over 230 thousand esports tournaments and leagues from the popular game developers, consumer brands, sports organizations, colleges & high schools, professional teams, streamers, gaming communities, and fans. With competitions across every major game title, our mission is to help everyone with a passion for esports build an amazing and authentic experience for their fans, customers, employees, and friends.

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/stack_sports_and_battlefy_partner_to_provide_sports_organizations_global_online_technology_for_esports_tournament_and_event_management/prweb17490991.htm

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AR/VR

League of Legends World Championship to feature immersive Mixed Reality experience through Rokid Vision glasses

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In Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality News

October 22, 2020 – Rokid, a provider of augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) glasses, has today announced that its technology will be available for fans to use at this year’s League of Legends (LoL) World Championship tournaments and opening ceremony for the event finals held in Shanghai, China.

Fans of the popular MMORPG game will be able to use a pair of Rokid Vision AR glasses to experience LoL live at the event and to witness an immersive experience featuring a dragon from the game hovering over the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower and flying up to them in their seats, transforming the spectators experience and transporting fans to the Summoner’s Rift, an in-game location from LoL.

Furthermore, whilst wearing Rokid Vision, fans will be able to witness the space surrounding them change to include personalized features such as highlights of the game, close-ups of a favorite player, team names, logos, and other information.

Rokid first introduced its Vision mixed reality glasses at AWE USA 2019. Through a combination of Rokid’s binocular optics, AR and AI capabilities, the glasses extend existing user interfaces with augmented and mixed reality (via a USB-C connection) for devices including phones, laptops, gaming consoles, helping to enhance productivity, entertainment, and gaming. The glasses are also 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) enabled, allowing users to experience more natural interactions with the 3D virtual content that is projected within their visual field.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, there are limited seats at the 2020 League of Legends Global Finals, and many fans cannot attend in person to watch. This is therefore the first time that League of Legends fans will be able to use AR glasses to watch the finals, thanks to Rokid.

This is not the company’s first time employing the use of its AR and MR solutions to offer event fans new experiences though. In 2018, Rokid, in partnership with Teslasuit, created an immersive experience for Formula 1 fans. The experience utilized data and camera footage collected from Formula 1 vehicles, and using the Rokid Vision glasses and Teslasuit’s somatosensory haptic suit, reproduced tactile feedback that enabled users to experience the visual impact and physical experience of driving a Formula 1 car.

For more information on Rokid and its augmented and mixed reality offering, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Rokid

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

Source: https://www.auganix.org/league-of-legends-world-championship-to-feature-immersive-mixed-reality-experience-through-rokid-vision-glasses/

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Gaming

2020 Videogame Spending Reaches Highest Level in 10 Years

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Overall spending on total physical hardware, software and accessories, and digital console and PC content increased 25% over the same period in 2019, according to The NPD Group. In the most current quarter (July – September) sales were up 7% over the same time period last year.

Overall spending on total physical hardware, software and accessories, and digital console and PC content increased 25% over the same period in 2019, according to The NPD Group. In the most current quarter (July – September) sales were up 7% over the same time period last year.

Gains were seen across each of hardware, software and accessories. Strong growth across Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One led to an overall hardware category sales increase of 46% versus the same period last year. Sales of video game accessories including gamepads, headsets, steering wheels and other peripherals increased 39%.

“During the pandemic, many people have turned to video games not only as a source of entertainment, but as a way to stay in touch with friends and family with online play,” says Joan Ramsay, Industry Analyst for Canada Entertainment for the NPD Group. “What we’ve seen, in addition to new players discovering gaming, is more video game players playing for more hours, while spending more in the process. They are discovering that the industry provides a wide variety of ways to play to meet every budget, interest and device.”

Top Performing Video Game Titles

Among the best-performing titles so far this year are:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • The Last of Us: Part II
  • Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  • Super Mario 3D All Stars
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Marvel Avengers
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
  • NHL 20

“We expect that these strong sales will continue through the end of the year, buoyed by the continued success of Nintendo Switch and the launch of the new hardware platforms for Playstation and Xbox next month,” says Ramsay.

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2020_videogame_spending_reaches_highest_level_in_10_years/prweb17493308.htm

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