Ever since it was revealed in 2019, the internet has been making constant jokes about the Xbox Series X’s appearance. To be frank, it looks like a fridge. Most companies would write off these comments as simple jokes and move on. Not Microsoft though. Instead, the tech giant has revealed a genuine Xbox Mini Fridge that you will be able to buy.
As announced at the Xbox and Bethesda E3 conference, an Xbox fridge is on the way. The mini fridge will release later this year at some point during the holiday season. A price point has yet to be given and it is still unclear how many units Microsoft is planning to ship.
Keeping things cool
There’s no doubt that the Xbox Mini Fridge has been released in response to the memes. Companies are well aware that tapping into social media culture the right way can be hugely profitable. Both in regards to actual money but also as an efficient method of marketing.
This isn’t actually the first Xbox fridge that we’ve seen. Last year Microsoft revealed a full-scale Xbox Fridge which was made as part of a giveaway campaign. However, only one was ever made and it was exclusively designed for that competition.
In contrast, this mini fridge will be a regular product that consumers will be able to buy. It seems likely that it will only be available through specific market places like the official Xbox website. Although who knows, it might become more mainstream than anyone expected. Perhaps you’ll even be able to pick one up at your local Walmart.
The Xbox Mini Fridge is hardly the first time we’ve seen Microsoft look to tap into the social media market. Its Twitter account won a poll for the best brand on the platform last March. The account regularly replies to various content creators and often reaches out to its community. People appreciate that personal touch and it’s one of the reasons Xbox is where it is today.
Yesterday publisher Electronic Arts revealed the latest release in its popular Battlefield series. Named Battlefield 2042, it will be an online only near future first-person shooter. But it’s the revealed details of its pricing that has gotten gamers frustrated. Owners of next generation version of Battlefield 2042 will have to pay a premium price compared to the other platforms.
Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S release will cost $70 at launch. In contrast, the PC and current gen versions of 2042 will come in at the industry standard $60. Given that the PC version is likely to provide the best overall experience, the bumped-up price on next-gen consoles is difficult to justify.
Why the added cost?
Truth be told, this increase of price isn’t uniquely a characteristic of Battlefield 2042. Many other AAA games have matched the price hike for a variety of reasons. Chief amongst these is probably just because they can. If the publisher if confident consumers will still buy a product for more, they will inevitably want to take advantage of that.
This is why we don’t see the price hike on PC. PC gamers are generally less willing to spend big due to the sheer quantity of great free-to-play and on sale games available. Unlike consoles, placing 2042 at $70 wouldn’t be profitable on PC.
There are some other genuine reasons for this change too. Video games are more expensive to make now then they have ever been before. 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 was reported to have cost Rockstar a record $200 million to make and a further $250 million to market.
Battlefield won’t be on that level as it doesn’t have a single players campaign. No campaign means there’s no need for cutscenes and expensive voice actors. Regardless, it is a large-scale first-person shooter with a state-of-the-art game engine supporting it. Neither of those are going to be cheap to produce and maintain. However, customers probably won’t buy into the narrative that alone justifies the price increase of Battlefield 2042.
In just two days the next Battlefield game will officially be unveiled. However, thanks to a new leak we don’t even have to wait that long to find out what it’s all about. A Reddit post was posted which details several aspects of the next Battlefield. Chief amongst these is the rumor that it will not be called Battlefield 6, but rather Battlefield 2042.
It doesn’t see too farfetched an idea as several Battlefield games have previously taken place in the year xx42. The original Battlefield 1942 and the futuristic Battlefield 2142 come to mind. Having a near future game that slots in right between them does make sense from a marketing point of view.
The future of Battlefield
According to the leak, Battlefield 2042 will feature a brand-new attachments system. Alongside the attachments equipped to your weapon, each player will also be able to carry two attachments on them. It will be possible to switch these out on the go to better adjust your gun to a specific team fight.
Furthermore, the SQUAD & Heroes mechanic from Battlefront 2 will be making its way across to Battlefield. Called ‘Professionals’ this time around, it will see one player on each squad function as an enhanced specialist unit.
Specialists gain access to a unique gadget that can help give your squad the edge. The provided example is that the Medic professional receives a healing dart that allows for long range healing. Also, the professional of a squad can call down vehicles for transport such as jeeps & ATVs.
64 versus 64 games are expected in Battlefield 2042. To accommodate for this, the maps will be the largest seen to date. Each sector is now made up of three to four smaller capturable objectives. A single sector is roughly the size of a Battlefield 3 map. Given that each map is made up of several sectors, you can expect some huge maps to play on in the near future.
Last month Deep Silver confirmed that both a new Saints Row and Time Splitters were in the works. Ever since fans have been looking forward to seeing what Deep Silver had in store for E3. However, earlier today the German publisher tweeted that none of its big-name franchises will be making an appearance.
The news was posted on Deep Silver’s official Twitter account. The tweet reads: “Our parent company is making an announcement as part of #SummerGamesFest on June 11th. To give you a head’s up, you won’t see Dead Island, Saints Row, Metro or TimeSplitters there. We’ll let you know when we have news to share.”
Not much to show
A look through the publisher’s game library suggest that it will have very little to show at E3. The four named series are by far its most well-known. The absence of Saints Row in particular is disappointing given that it hasn’t received a new instalment since Saints Row IV, released in 2013.
So, what should you expect from Deep Silver at E3? There’s little doubt that Chivalry 2 will make some kind of appearance. The medieval battle simulator is coming out this month and E3 will be a great opportunity to market it.
Otherwise, the only other expect game is King’s Bounty II. The turn-based strategy game was previously delayed but now looks to be ready for an August 2021 release. It is the direct sequel of the original released way back in 1990 on MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and Amiga.
Truth be told, Deep Silver being transparent about its lack of E3 announcements is a good thing. In the past we’ve seen gamers lose their minds over underwhelming events. At least this way expectations are managed and there’s no reason for consumers to get overly upset. Besides, it’s not like there won’t be plenty to get excited about at E3 anyway.
Throughout the 2000s Need for Speed became recognised as one of the most iconic racing game franchises ever made. In recent years it has continued to sell well but it’s those older titles that fans love most. However, soon fans of the franchise will not be able to access these games at all. EA announced earlier today that it will delist several Need for Speed games for good.
Five NFS games have been named for delisting: Carbon, Undercover, Shift, Shift 2: Unleashed, and The Run. Some of these were available on Steam but have already been removed. All five of them are still obtainable on Origin but won’t be available much longer.
After today none of these aforementioned games will be purchasable on Origin. The developers took to Reddit to explain the decision. According to them, the online services for older Need for Speed games were set to be cut at the end of next month.
In preparation for the servers closing, EA has taken the difficult decision to delist the Need for Speed games from sale. Players who already own the relevant products will still be able to play them both online and offline until August 31.
“Decisions to retire games are never made easy, but we are now shifting gears to focus on the future of Need for Speed. But the number of players has come to a point where it’s no longer feasible to continue the work behind the scenes required to keep Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed and Need for Speed The Run up and running.”
Seeing Carbon and Shift go will be particularly upsetting for racing game fans due to their legacy. For many, these were considered some of the last great NFS games ever produced. However, Need for Speed has improved as of late so perhaps EA’s decision to delist these games isn’t without merit. Hopefully it and developer Criterion Games can produce something worthy of taking their place.
Recently, Jess Margera guested on the Behind Closed Doors podcast. Margera is best known as the drummer of rock band CKY. However, it’s not his drumming that has caught the attention of gamers. Whilst on the podcast Jess Margera may have accidentally leaked a new Tony Hawk game.
Around 39:00 into the podcast, Margera begins to talk about the Tony Hawk’s series. More specifically, about how his band’s music has featured in several video games and that it has been a good source of income. What’s interesting is that he claims to believe that CKY will feature in the “new one coming out.”
What new one?
Tony Hawk fans will know that the new game that Jess Margera mentions hasn’t been announced. He even goes on to clarify that he isn’t speaking about the Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake. So this is a reference to an upcoming, unannounced Tony Hawk’s game.
As for what Tony Hawk’s game we can expect, Margera does provide some hints. Throughout this section of the podcast, he discusses how the remasters are great. They take the iconic design of the older games whilst cleaning up their technical limitations.
Given how well Pro Skater 1 + 2 was received plus Margera’s comments, another remaster seems likely. Furthermore, the original Pro Skater 3 and Pro Skater 4 are some of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time. Between them they have an incredible average Metascore of 95%.
All thing considered a Pro Skater 3 + 4 remaster seems perfectly feasible. It would even offer Activision an opportunity to get its hit skateboarding series on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Of course, Jess Margera is by no means an Activision director and therefore, his words on Tony Hawk should be taken with caution. It’s possible that the publisher’s plans will change in the future.
We’ve known for some time that a Destiny 2 crossplay beta has been in the works. However, until now an exact release date had remained a secret. In an official post on the Bungie website, the former Halo developer confirmed that a crossplay beta is coming next week.
The beta will begin on May 25 and end on May 27. It will be available for all players regardless of platform. That means that PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, and even Stadia players will all be able to team up. The crossplay enabled playlist will have Vanguard Strikes as a playable mode. Strikes is a co-op activity already available in Destiny 2.
Crossplay has become an important multiplayer matchmaking tool in many games. It enables players of differing platforms to play together. Although this has become more common in recent years, it was by no means always the case. The first game to see crossplay support on all major platforms was Fortnite in 2019.
An interesting challenge for Destiny 2 regarding crossplay is that it is a competitive PvP shooter. This beta will only cover one co-op activity, but plans for PvP crossplay are expected in the future. Having both controller and mouse and keyboard players face each other can be difficult from a gameplay balance perspective.
Mouse and keyboard inputs offer superior levels of precision. This is the main reason that the majority of FPS esports revolve around PC gaming. Not only are there more keys for custom key binds, but a mouse is significantly easier to aim with than an analogue stick.
However, it has been done before in some capacity. Activision’s popular battle royale Call of Duty: Warzone has had crossplay enabled ever since it launched. It isn’t perfect but it allows friends to team up and enjoy games together regardless of platform. Hopefully, Bungie gathers the required data from this beta to integrate crossplay properly into Destiny 2 once Season 15 releases.
Overwatch isn’t receiving too many updates currently with Blizzard focused on its sequel. However, it has continued to release the annual events. The next event for Overwatch is the Anniversary Event, celebrating five years since the hero shooter first launched.
Ahead of its launch Blizzard has been unveiling various skins that will be coming with the event. The tweets started with Baptiste’s ‘Funky’ skin, a throwback to 80’s Disco culture. After this Moira’s ‘Venus’ plant skin was revealed. Finally, Sombra’s ‘Black Cat’ skin is the last we know as of writing this. If previous events are anything to go by, a further four skins should be announced before the event goes live.
What’s in the Anniversary Event?
Outside of skins, the Overwatch Anniversary Event usually features the return of old game modes. This includes the Archives story missions, holiday specific modes like Lucio Ball, and a one-off competitive game mode. In 2018, Blizzard released competitive 6v6 Elimination as a temporary mode whilst the event was live.
Throughout the event you can expect various game modes to rotate in and out. Newer players should watch out for these as playing certain modes for the first-time rewards free loot boxes. They are usually quick to play through and are a great way of unlocking skins and cosmetics.
Unfortunately, outside of the new skins, no new content should be expected for this event. Blizzard is focused on the development of Overwatch 2. The side effect of that is that the original has not received any substantial new content since the release of Echo in April 2020.
Although this Anniversary Event won’t change that, a recent announcement does at least reassure us that Overwatch 2 is coming. A full showcase of its multiplayer PvP gameplay is planned for May 20. Be sure to tune into the official Overwatch Youtube or Twitch accounts for further details.
Call of Duty: Warzone is no stranger to game breaking exploits. From the infinite stim glitch to the various areas you can clip into, glitches are commonplace. But developer Raven Software has at least patched out one of the battle royale’s biggest exploits. As of today, the Warzone gas mask glitch no longer works.
The gas mask is a purchasable item. When equipped it prevents a player taking damage from the gas. It lasts a total of ten seconds before breaking, causing players to once again take damage from the gas. However, the gas mask glitch made it so that it was possible to extend the duration of the gas mask indefinitely.
There’s work to be done
The gas mask glitch has been one of the biggest causes of player frustration in Warzone over the last month or so. Because it made gas masks indestructible, team’s exploiting it could spend the whole game outside of the zone. This effectively made them invincible as opposing teams couldn’t get close enough to down them.
Now that the gas mask glitch is patched Activision’s hit battle royale should be easier to enjoy. However, there are still other major exploits that need to dealt with. Currently, the exploit plaguing Warzone the most is no clipping.
No clipping is when a player manages to pass through a wall. By no clipping it is possible to reach areas of the map that provide massive advantages over your opposition. Some areas that it is possible to clip into allow you to see enemies through walls even though they cannot see you.
The good news is that Activision has recently confirmed that it is expanding the Warzone dev team. Hopefully, more staff working on Warzone will reduce the likelihood of exploits like the gas mask glitch appearing in the future.
For esport fans there are fewer names more well-known than sinatraa. The former Overwatch League MVP moved to Valorant after getting bored of Overwatch. However, just over a year into his Valorant career he was suspended after evidence of potential sexual assault surfaced. The evidence was shared by his ex-girlfriend @cle0h on Twitter.
Some may have assumed that was the end but sinatraa has recently reappeared on his current girlfriend’s stream. A member of her Twitch chat asked if he was looking to return to pro play. The former San Francisco Shock player replied was saying: “”I don’t know if I’m going to return pro but I’m going to be back streaming no matter what.”
A likely return?
Truth be told, sinatraa isn’t the one who gets to decide if he returns or not. The allegations against him were supported by damning evidence. At the very least, the evidence was serious enough for the Sentinels to cancel his contract.
A return to the Overwatch League seems even less likely given Blizzard’s strict stance. Following the allegations Blizzard revoked his MVP title as well as removing his MVP skin from Overwatch. Players who had previous purchased the skin were refunded. It therefore seems unlikely that the US-based publisher would even allow him to re-enter the league.
For teams it’s going to be a question of risk versus reward. Certainly, sinatraa is one of the most talented esports players of all time. His varied skillset covers mechanical skill, adaptability, and game sense, making him an incredible asset for just any team.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth signing him. There’s the possibility of a huge backlash against any organisation that shows sinatraa support. After all, if the allegations are true than supporting him is the same as supporting sexual assault. If any organisation will take the risk is yet to be seen.