The Holidays are just days away, but before everyone takes a well-deserved break prior to 2023, Microsoft has responded to the FTC regarding the contentious Activision Blizzard purchase.
Microsoft has published its response to the FTC’s lawsuit regarding the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Similar to Microsoft’s response to the UK’s CMA. The gloves are now seemingly off as Microsoft has pointed out that Sony has been adding “exclusion” terms on deals for third-party games on Playstation for years. This includes titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 16, Silent Hill 2 Remake, and From Software’s Bloodborne, which will most likely never see the light of day on an Xbox console.
According to Microsoft:
“In addition to having outright exclusive content, Sony has also entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the “exclusion” of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on. Some prominent examples of these agreements include Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix), Bloodborne (From Software), the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI (Square Enix) and the recently announced Silent Hill 2 remastered (Bloober team).”
It’s odd that the FTC as well as the CMA have taken the position of protecting Sony, which is the market leader, and have been adding exclusionary terms in contracts with third-party publishers, blocking popular titles from appearing on competing platforms. That seems anti-competitive to me, but not to the FTC and CMA apparently.
All in all, it appears that Microsoft is preparing to build a case and fight this in court if the FTC and CMA attempt to block the deal. According to the terms of the merger, Microsoft would owe Activision Blizzard $2 to $3 billion if the deal is blocked by regulators. So it is pretty safe to assume that Microsoft is not just going to give up.
Consumer electronics company TCL, which makes decent TVs at competitive price points, really wants you to believe that Sony and Microsoft are going to be refreshing the PS5 and Xbox Series X soon. So you really should be considering upgrading your boob tube.
According to Polish news outlet PPE, TCL presented at an electronics conference in Poland and the company believes that a “PS5 Pro” and “new Xbox Series X|S” will arrive between 2023 and 2024.
TCL’s presentation showed a history of consoles, starting with the original PS4 and Xbox One in 2013. TCL then notes that the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X were released a few years later. The presentation goes on to show the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2020. Naturally, that means a refresh should come out next year or so, right? RIGHT!?!
At the end of TCL’s presentation, they claim that Series X / PS5 PRO will provide 60-120 FPS resolution at 4K, and have the ability to display 8K. TCL also believes that the new consoles will have AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT technology. Shit, the TV that I bought specifically for my PS5 and Xbox Series is a total piece of shit now. I should consider buying a fancy new TV from TCL.
Sorry, TCL, but I think a mid-generation refresh is a bit further out, given that the current builds of the Xbox Series X and PS5 are still relatively hard to come by.
Bethesda has announced via Twitter that both Starfield and Redfall are delayed until 2023.
Given that these are both hotly anticipated titles with a ton of hype following them, I cannot fault Bethesda or wanting more time.
With that said, I cannot say that this isn’t disappointing news, as I was looking forward to playing these during the holidays. However, I totally understand the need to put out the best possible game to launch a new IP. Look at what happened to Cyberpunk 2077.
Even though videogame sales saw an overall decrease of 8% between January and March of this year, compared to 2021, most likely because folks are returning to work from the pandemic, Xbox hardware sales saw a massive increase in the US compared to the same time last year.
And when we say massive, we mean fucking massive, to the tune of a 92% increase, according to the NPD.
The NPD Group’s consumer spending report for Q1 2022 shows that hardware spending has decreased by 15% compared to Q1 2021, however, Xbox hardware saw a huge 92% increase.
NPD has given no specifics for the increase, but the fact that you can actually find an Xbox Series S on store shelves easily, and the Xbox Series X is attainable relatively easily online are certainly possibilities. Who knew, if you make your shit available, people will buy it.
Even though the Xbox is doing well, it cannot touch the mighty Nintendo Switch, which was the best-selling console during the same time frame in terms of total units sold.
The Xbox Series X and Playstation have been hard finds for over a year since they launched. A global chip shortage is one of the many reasons for the short supply, and according to Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, the short supply will continue until 2024.
In a recent interview on CNBC Data Check, Gelsinger who previously mentioned that the chip shortage will last until 2023 has updated his prediction, tacking on another year. Mr. Gelsinger believes that shortages are likely to continue because essential manufacturing tools are not readily available, so manufacturing cannot keep up with increasing demand.
“That’s part of the reason that we believe the overall semiconductor shortage will now drift into 2024, from our earlier estimates in 2023, just because the shortages have now hit equipment and some of those factory ramps will be more challenged…”
– Pat Gelsinger via CNBC
For what it’s worth, things do seem to be improving as availability has improved. One can’t simply walk into a store and purchase a new Xbox Series X or PS5 easily, but if you stay on your toes, patient gamers are finding them online.
On the Xbox Series X|S front, in particular, people are getting their hands on console. Could be the reason why they are selling so well. Who would have thought.
Last week, it was reported that Microsoft is working on a program that will allow ads in free-to-play Xbox games. Internal sources have stated that the ads wouldn’t disrupt gameplay and will be similar to billboards in a racing game, as to be unobtrusive.
Of course, whenever Microsoft does something hot button, the Playstation fanboys hem, and haw and go on and on and fucking on until I puke. Then all of a sudden Sony announces that they’re doing the same thing and all is quiet.
The in-game ads on Playstation games are expected to launch by the end of this year and similar to the Xbox, will be limited to inconspicuous areas, like the aforementioned billboards.
Achievement tracking website, TrueAchievements has revealed that two accounts by the names “BIGsheep” and “xtinamcgrath” have unlocked achievements in an unannounced Goldeneye 007 on Xbox. It also just so happens that the Gamertags “BIGsheep” and “xtinamcgrath” belong to Rare employees James Thomas and Christina McGrath.
Of course, this could mean nothing, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
The Xbox Series S has topped all other consoles at this year’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza. The little next-gen console is turning out to be a savvy move from Microsoft. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, the Xbox Series S has dominated sales in what is usually the busiest shopping day of the year.
Even though everyone is talking about the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5, which have both been out for over a year, as well as the Nintendo Switch OLED, those consoles have been incredibly difficult to find. The Xbox Series S however, began to show up in decent quantities just before the Thanksgiving Holiday and shoppers began swallowing them up.
Of course, the Series S is at least $100 less than its competitors as well as the Series X, while still able to play next-gen exclusives like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite, as well as third-party titles like Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty Vanguard. Pair the tiny console with a Game Pass subscription and you got a very compelling console.
Hell, I picked up one to put in the family room and to act as my travel console, because I cannot help myself.
Halo Infinite‘s Campaign co-op will be delayed to May 2022 and Forge may be delayed even further according to 343 Head of Creative.
In an interview with Eurogamer, 343 Head of Creative, Joseph Staten, has confirmed that with the extension of Halo Infinite Season 1 by 3 months, Forge and Campaign co-op, which was always intended to be launched with Season 2 anyway, will be pushed out as well.
Season 1 was originally planned to span 3 months, but it will now run for 6 months, so it makes sense for everything to push out accordingly. Hard and fast dates however have not been confirmed.
“We can’t commit to any hard dates right now, because as we’re seeing with this multiplayer beta, other things might move up in the priority stack for us. If it turns out that our progression system just isn’t working the way that we intended, if we need to move some of these bigger rocks sooner, then we as a team will make those decisions and will clearly communicate to our fans why we’re why we’re doing certain things.”
Joseph Staten via Eurogamer
At this point, I can’t really fault 343 for taking their time to ensure that everything is top-notch. I have been thoroughly enjoying the multiplayer which is highly polished. If the campaign launches with the same level of quality then we’re in store for a good time. 343 seems to be outputting quality with the additional time so I say let them have it.
Come on Playstation fans, did you really think Microsoft would let this come out on the PS5?
In an in-depth article on GQ UK covering Phil Spencer’s tenure at Xbox, Spencer essentially puts any and all speculation to rest.
“It’s not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow… But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls VI. That would be true when I think about any of our franchises.”
Seems pretty definitive to me. I mean, he does not outright say exclusive, so I guess the door is ever so slightly open.