The upgrade bug has bitten me and its hard to resist. I’m still rocking my GTX 1080 ti, possibly the best graphics card Nvidia has ever released. This beast still holds up pretty well in 1440p gaming in 2023, and honestly has made a mockery of several generations of Nvidia product. Like, what’s up with the RTX 3070 having 8GB of VRAM? Who thought that was a good idea?
But now that the 4000 series is in full flow, I am finally looking at replacing my card. I think the plan is to put aside some money and hopefully pick up an RTX 4070 toward the end of the year.
For now, though, it’s time to perform some open-heart surgery on my beloved 1080 ti. During my time with it I haven’t replaced the thermal paste once, and the temperatures have been slowly creeping up. It’s a good opportunity to issue a PSA, however: if you’ve been running your card for a few years, consider cracking it open and replacing the paste and perhaps even the thermal pads. Obviously, make sure no warranties will be voided in the process. Don’t worry, it’s usually quite easy and there are plenty of helpful tutorials on the Internet covering a variety of specific cards.
Anyway, without further nonsense, let’s get into the news.
- PS5 Controller Used in Artificial Insemination Process.
- Playstation Showcase Rumoured for the End of May, And Might Include Some Exciting Konami News
- You Can Finally Buy The Remastered Version of Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Marvel’s Midnight Suns Won’t Launch on Switch Anymore, But It’s Still Coming to Xbox One and PS4
- Redfall Falls Flat on its Face
- Pixelopus Has Been Shut Down by Sony
- Alanah Pearce’s Twitch Account Suspended Thanks to Nintendo
- UK Boxed Sales Chart
PS5 Controller Used in Artificial Insemination Process.
Let’s kick of the news this week with something different, shall we?
What is the best way of ensuring future generations are loyal to Playstation? Make Playstation their daddy, of course.
The fine folk over at MIT Technology Review broke this fascinating story and provide plenty of detail about the technology used and what it could mean for the future. As a humble idiot, I’m just going to go over the basics.
In short, a Spanish startup by the name of Overture Life has developed a device that uses a robot to perform IVF, with the hopes that it could make the procedure much easier and cheaper. Currently, embryologists handle this task and earn a decent wage doing so, but getting IVF treatment is typically quite expensive, often putting it out of reach for couples who have not managed to conceive naturally.
According to the report, last Spring the company successfully fertilised two eggs in two women using their machine, which has now resulted in two health girls which the company claim are the first to be born of robotic fertilisation. Which sounds creepy, now that I’ve typed it out.
But where did Playstation come into all this? Calm your tits, I’m getting there. According to the report, “one of the engineers, with no real experience in fertility medicine, used a Sony PlayStation 5 controller to position a robotic needle. Eyeing a human egg through a camera, it then moved forward on its own, penetrating the egg and dropping off a single sperm cell. Altogether, the robot was used to fertilize more than a dozen eggs.”
Let’s just be glad that the controller didn’t suffer from any stick drift.
It really is a crazy and fascinating story, and one that Sony really should jump on by giving these kids every new console they develop or something.
Now, though, I can’t look at my PS5 controller without getting a little bit worried. My bed is in the same room as it. Obviously as a bloke I can’t get pregnant, but does it know that?
Playstation Showcase Rumoured for the End of May, And Might Include Some Exciting Konami News
Fans have been wondering for a while now when Sony will hold a new Playstation Showcase, as the future of their machines has been foggy. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb, well known for having reliable insider news, has been championing the idea of Sony holding a Showcase in May, and now he’s pinned a more firm date on the speculation. According to him, the Showcase is due to take place on the week of May 25th.
This has been backed up by Andy Robinson, the owner and editor of VGC, who Tweeted out the following:
I also heard a Sony Showcase is happening in the usual late May / early June window, with Konami stuff included. I’m not expecting Nintendo to do anything— Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic) May 8, 2023
The Konami stuff he is referring to happened on May 7th when rumours were sparked that Konami have signed some sort of deal with Sony in regards to a few exciting projects. According to XboxEra podcast host Nick Baker, a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Remaster announcement might occur at the next Showcase and could involve some sort of Playstation exclusivity. He did say his source was uncertain, though.
Windows Central’s Jez Cordon then came out and said that he had ” Just heard Sony landed a deal with Konami for Silent Hill, Metal Gear, and maybe even a new Castlevania.”
Potentially reinforcing this idea is that back in 2022 the remake of Silent Hill was announced to be a Playstation 5 exclusive, lending credence to the idea that Konami and Sony may be open to working together on other projects.
And back at the start of the year, a Konami producer stated in Famitsu that 2023 would be a year of big announcements for Konami.
Without a doubt, Sony does need to clear up the future of Playstation because as of right now there isn’t much confirmed. If they do indeed have some Konami related announcements, that could make a huge splash.
You Can Finally Buy The Remastered Version of Marvel’s Spider-Man
Previously you could only get the beautiful remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man by purchasing the Ultimate Version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It was a slightly peculiar move because a re-launching Marvel’s Spider-Man with even shinier graphics seemed like the perfect cash-grab, but presumably, Sony made the call to help boost sales of Miles Morales.
I think most of us assumed Sony would release the remaster as a standalone game around a year later, though. And yet here are, in 2023, only just getting it.
You can pick up the remaster for $49.99 / £49.99 via the PSN, a rather high pricetag for a game that came out in 2018, even if it is all sorts of awesome, as per my review.
But there is a better option because anyone who already owns the game can pay £10 to upgrade to the improved version which runs at 60fps, has a whole bunch of ray-tracing goodness splattered all over it and has heaps of improved textures. I’d highly recommend reading Digital Foundry’s breakdown of all the changes because it’s actually a pretty substantial upgrade.
My point, though, is that you can pick up a regular PS4 copy of the game via Amazon for about £23 and then pay the extra £10 to upgrade, saving yourself £16 in the process.
Exactly why Sony chose to hold off this long to release the remaster is a mystery. I would imagine it was partially to make the fairly recent PC port look even better, but I still think they missed a trick by releasing it a year or so after Miles Morales came out.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns Won’t Launch on Switch Anymore, But It’s Still Coming to Xbox One and PS4
Bad news for Nintendo Switch fans hoping to lead the Midnight Suns into battle as 2K announced earlier this week that the Switch version has been cancelled. No explanation was given. When the game was first revealed in 2021, 2K confirmed it would be coming to Nintendo’s console, so there will undoubtedly be a lot of disappointed gamers.
The good news is that owners of the Xbox One and the PS4 don’t have much longer to wait until they can play Marvel’s Midnight Suns for themselves. The last-gen version will launch on Thursday, 11th May, coinciding with the release of Midnight Suns’s final piece of DLC which will add Storm to the roster, joining the other three DLC characters of Deadpool, Venom and Morbius.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns didn’t sell very well, it seems, meaning a sequel doesn’t seem too likely. However, I really enjoyed the hell out of it and would recommend it to turn-based fans and comic lovers, provided you can handle the cheesy dialogue. The card-based gameplay sounds dull on paper but it’s surprisingly dynamic and strategic.
Redfall Falls Flat on its Face
The new vampire-slaying game from Arkane, a studio that has produced some fantastic games like Dishonored and Prey, was released this week on PC and Xbox. Microsoft has been lacking in terms of first-party games, so Redfall had the hopes of a community riding on its shoulders. And sadly, it collapsed under the weight, dragging down Arkane’s reputation with it. This is the lowest reviewed game they’ve ever released.
Yes, the reviews have not been kind to Redfall and neither have the players. Opencritic currently lists the game at a Weak score of 60. Heavy hitter Gamespot says, “Arkane takes a stab at infusing the genre du jour with its signature style, but the end results are a bloody mess.” before giving it a meagre 4 out of 10.
IGN wasn’t much kinder, slapping it with a 5 out of 10 and stating, “Redfall is a bafflingly bad time across the board. Plagued with bland missions, boneheaded enemies, and repeated technical problems, Redfall simply wasn’t ready for daylight in this state.“
Christian Donlan over at Eurogamer managed to find some positive traits, though: “Redfall ties me in knots. I am contractually obligated to tell you about all the things that don’t work, all the little problems that come together with slightly bigger problems to create a game that probably shouldn’t be out and about in this state. Redfall’s not unplayable by any means, it’s just a bit of a mess, technically, and, I think, in terms of its design. The reviews are low, the user reviews are much lower. Phil at Xbox just apologised for the whole thing. And yet when I go through my day and my alarm beeps and I think, Oh, time for a bit more Redfall! When that happens, I don’t mind at all. I don’t roll my eyes or shudder. I’m happy to return to this place, and that has to count for something.”
In a candid and fascinating interview on the Kinda Funny Games podcast, Phill Spencer of Xbox offered up heaps of interesting information but also specifically talked about the launch of Redfall. There’s a lot to go through so I’d recommend watching or listening to the episode because I’m just going to feature a few quotes from Spencer.
Firstly, he revealed that according to internal mock reviews, a process in which an outside company or individual is hired to “review” the game and provide an idea of how it may be received, Redfall was expected to do far better.
“We do mock reviews for every game we launch, and this is double digits lower than we thought we would be with this game,” Spencer said. “That’s one of the disappointing things. We would never strive to launch a game that we thought was going to review in the low-60s. It’s not part of our goals.”
Presumably, this means Microsoft and Arkane were expecting scores in at least the low 70s.
To Spencer’s credit, he was quick to defend Arkane’s creative vision, saying, “What can we learn? What can we get better? One thing I’ll fight is what went wrong. There’s clearly quality and execution things we can do, but one thing I won’t do is push against creative aspirations of our teams. Then a lot of people will say, hey, you’ve got teams, teams know how to do one kind of game, just force them to go do the one kind of game they have a proven track record for. I’m just not a believer in that.
“Maybe that means I’ll under deliver for some of our fans out there. But when a team like Rare wants to do Sea of Thieves, when a team like Obsidian wants to do Grounded, when Tango wants to go do Hi-Fi when everybody probably thought they were doing The Evil Within 3, I want to give the teams the creative platform to go and push their ability, push their aspirations.”
He does have a point. Developers need to have room to chase ideas they are passionate about and take the risk that comes with it. By all accounts, that’s what Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax should enable – a parachute of sorts for the likes of Arkane to take risks without having to worry about going bankrupt or putting themselves into serious hardship.
However, there’s no getting around that Arkane seems to have launched a shoddy product, or that people don’t seem very interested in the game which lies beneath the technical issues.
Hopefully, Arkane Austin can deliver on the 60fps mode for the console version soon and continue to release updates to fix the game’s many technical issues. Past that, though, I can’t imagine Redfall will have a very long lifespan.
Pixelopus Has Been Shut Down by Sony
Sony studio Pixelopus has announced that it will be closing its doors on June 2nd, 2023. The surprising announcement was made via the studio’s Twitter account on May 5th.
Dear friends, our PixelOpus adventure has come to an end. As we look to new futures, we wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to the millions of passionate players who have supported us, and our mission to make beautiful, imaginative games with heart.— PixelOpus (@Pixelopus) May 5, 2023
We are so grateful! ❤️🙏 pic.twitter.com/rQO2Cgvhnq
In a statement to IGN, Sony revealed that the closure was due to their review process, stating that, “PlayStation Studios regularly evaluates its portfolio and the status of studio projects to ensure they meet the organization’s short and long-term strategic objectives. As part of a recent review process, it has been decided that PixelOpus will close on June 2.”
It’s unclear whether Pixelopus staff will be moved to other studios or laid off. As of 2019 the studio was listed as having around 20 employees, although that number may have increased since then.
Pixelopus was founded in 2014 in a rather interesting way. Following the success of Journey in 2012, SIE’s Foster City (now known as San Mateo Studio) sponsored a game development program at Carnegie Mellon University. They gave the students Playstation Vitas and were impressed with the results. They took 6 students from Carnegie Mellon University and 3 more from San Jose State University, and then added 2 industry veterans to lead them, forming Pixelopus in 2014. The studio would release its very first game, titled Entwined, the same year. The game would receive fairly mediocre review scores but it was still a solid start for the small studio.
It would take Pixelopus another 5 years to release their next game, launching Concrete Genie on Playstation 4 in 2019. The reviews for their second game were better, hauling in a decent Metacritic score of 75. However, the game flew under the radar of most players, and even Sony didn’t appear to have much faith in the game as it received very little marketing.
Still, Pixelopus carried on and in 2021 news began circulating that they were working on an Unreal Engine 5 project for the PS5.
It seems whatever Sony saw in that project didn’t inspire enough confidence in the tiny studio, though, and releasing just 2 games over the course of 9 years isn’t a great track record, especially as the company was initially founded because Sony was impressed with the speed the students prototyped games on the Vita. I don’t want to sound callous, though: Pixelopus made fascinating little projects. Sony is increasingly focused on big blockbusters, and it’s sad to see them closing down a studio that makes niche games for a certain type of player. There’s nothing wrong with the God of War: Ragnaroks and the Horizon: Forbidden Wests of the world, but there needs to be room for smaller projects, too.
The closure of Pixelopus could also spell disaster for other Sony studios. Media Molecule recently announced it was shutting down support of Dreams, a creatively charged project that never really took off the ground. They’ve lost quite a few members of their initial founders, too. Could they be next on the chopping block, if Sony wants to continue streamlining its operation?
It’s always a sad day when a studio has to shut its door and people face an uncertain future. I wish everyone at Pixelopus the very best.
Alanah Pearce’s Twitch Account Suspended Thanks to Nintendo
Alanah Pearce is a well-known figure in the video game industry. Perhaps best known for her stint at IGN, Pearce now works at Sony Santa-Monica as a writer, runs several Youtube channels, runs a few podcasts and even streams on Twitch. She’s pretty busy.
It’s the streaming side of things we need to discuss today, though. Mid-stream, Alanah’s Twitch account was suddenly banned. She has since confirmed with Twitch that Nintendo issued a DMCA claim against, resulting in the ban. However, in an impressively quick turnaround her channel was unbanned after just 70 minutes.
So, why was she banned? Well, it seems like it was to do with what she was watching. Alanah was viewing Skill Up’s preview of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Keep in mind, his preview is on Youtube and is completely endorsed by Nintendo who obviously provided access to the game in the first place.
The likely assumption is that Nintendo, in its zealous purge of anything to do with the recent leaks of Tears of the Kingdom, saw the gameplay on her channel and immediately assumed she was either playing a leaked copy of the game or watching leaked gameplay.
It would appear that Nintendo DMCA'd me for watching approved Zelda gameplay lmao— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) May 9, 2023
It’s yet another reminder that companies being able to claim copyright infringement and almost immediately get people banned and their earnings cut off is a serious issue, especially as those companies do not face any penalty for issuing claims willy-nilly.
Nintendo, sadly, do have a history of abusing the system, firing off hundreds and hundreds of copyright claims against a variety of fans.
UK Boxed Sales Chart
The weekly charts for the sale of boxed games in the UK have once again dropped into our laps, brimming with nerdy numbers to geek out over.
Topping the board is Howarts Legacy which has jumped from 5th place, overtaking the new Star Wars: Jedi Survivor which is still reeling from the backlash over its horrendous PC performance woes. The reason for Hogwarts Legacy managing to Apparate into first place? Launching on Xbox One and PS4. This extra boost in sales will help the game’s already stupendous success, with Warner Bros. announcing that Hogwarts Legacy has sold 15 million copies and doing over $1 billion in sales. The Switch version is due to launch on July 25.
I admit, I had concerns regarding the last-gen ports of Hogwarts Legacy because it’s a big game with an incredibly lavish recreation of Hogwarts itself, and I wondered if the developers would be able to get it running smoothly on the older hardware. It seems those fears were unfounded, though. Youtuber ElAnalistaDeBits published an excellent video comparing the PS5 version against the standard PS4 and the PS4 Pro and it holds up great. Load times are quite a bit longer and it obviously doesn’t look as sharp, but it looks to be a rock-solid port. Have a look for yourself.
The rest of the chart doesn’t hold much of interesting. Despite the initially glowing reviews, probably because EA didn’t send out much PC code, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has seen a 68% drop in sales. That’s not uncommon for any new release, though, as the vast majority of sales are accounted for when it first launches.
WWE2K23 has managed a pretty impressive jump from 11th to 7th. I haven’t been able to identify why, so if anyone has an idea let me know.
And impressively, Minecraft Legends is still in the top 10. I admit, I didn’t expect that as I figured it was going to be a fairly niche game, yet it seems that Minecraft name still holds a lot of sway. That and it does seem to be a genuinely fun game.
Finally, GTA5 has made a mighty leap from 16th to 8th. Okay, seriously, who is still buying this? It’s a decade old and yet somehow it keeps popping up in the charts like its on a bloody trampoline. It’s a staggering success story for Rockstar. According to Wikipedia, GTA V has sold 175,000,000 copies, second only to Minecraft. At this point, I can only assume that every game owns about 5 copies of it.
|Last Week||This Week||Title|
|1||2||Star Wars Jedi: Survivor|
|2||3||Dead Island 2|
|4||4||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe|
|6||6||Super Mario Odyssey|
|16||8||Grand Theft Auto 5|
|9||9||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2|