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“Triple-A” releases will continue, but Ubisoft sees a “great opportunity” to expand its audiences through free to play.
When Ubisoft announced last week that its next Division game, called Heartland, will be free to play, we wondered if it was a sign that the publisher was pursuing the success that Activision has enjoyed with the free-to-play battle royale Call of Duty: Warzone. The short answer is yes, it is—but its ambition is not limited to Tom Clancy shooters.
Ubisoft chief financial officer Frederick Duguet said during today’s earnings call that the company’s previous commitment to release 3-4 premium, “triple-A” games per year “is no longer a proper indication of [Ubisoft’s] value creation dynamics.” Instead, while it will continue to maintain “a high cadence of content delivery including powerful premium and free-to-play new releases,” the goal is to grow audiences “by widening our brand at the top of the funnel”—in other words, convincing more people to try Ubisoft’s games by making them free at the entry level.
It’s a financial decision—Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the company’s revenues “are more and more recurring,” referring to player purchases within games that are often free to play, and their growing importance compared to single-purchase premium games—but Duguet said that the company is not looking to cash in on low-budget work: “We are building high-end free-to-play games to be trending toward triple-A ambitions over the long term.”
“We think we have a great opportunity to meaningfully expand the audience of our biggest franchises,” Duguet said. “We’ve taken the time to learn from what we did last year with Hyper Scape. We’re also learning with the launch we’ll be making on Roller Champions, we’ve been learning a lot with Brawlhalla that is rapidly growing, and we think it is now the time to come with high-quality free-to-play games across all our biggest franchises, across all platforms.”
The Hyper Scape acknowledgement is interesting. In case you’d forgotten, the free-to-play sci-fi battle royale launched last year (yes, it was released in 2020) and almost immediately fell off the map. But there’s no doubt that free-to-play games can be highly polished and incredibly lucrative, as games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends have demonstrated. Hyper Scape missed the mark, but the familiarity of The Division should give Heartland a big leg up, and if Ubisoft continues that strategy across game series like Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy’s Everything, even bigger changes on the free-to-play scene could be in the offing.
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Xbox Social Media Manager Explores Zeta Halo Using PS5 Controller – Pure Xbox
Artists Show Off Slick Concept for Xbox Series X Elite Console – GameRant
The Xbox Series X will inevitably receive an updated model, and one creator shows off their design of what it may just look like.
The Xbox Series X is the current flagship console for Microsoft, and one of the most powerful consoles ever made. Like previous generations, the Xbox Series X is bound to receive a sleeker new model, perhaps even with upgraded specs, and one content creator has shared what they think it may look like.
When Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X in 2019, its design was attention grabbing, and some might say for the wrong reasons. There is nothing outwardly strange or offensive about the design, but its size, shape, and color immediately saw comparisons between the Xbox Series X and refrigerators. Micosoft saw this as a great marketing opportunity, however, releasing an offical Xbox Series X mini-fridge that has quickly sold out practically everywhere. With the last generation of consoles, Microsoft released the Xbox One S and Xbox One X towards the end of the Xbox One's lifecycle.
A YouTuber by the name of Concept Creator has designed a mock-up of what the next Xbox Series X console variant may look like. Originally covered by Ilse Jurrien of LetsGoDigital, graphic designer Jermaine Smit of Concept Creator trims away the fat of the original Xbox Series X design, making it much more slender, sleeker, and recognizable, thanks to some key implementations. Size-wise, the Xbox Series X Elite, as Jurrien is calling it, evokes the jump from the Xbox One to the Xbox One X but to a much higher degree, with the Elite nearly shrinking the original Series X in half. The most eye-catching change of the Elite is the sharp, raised cross-piece that cuts across the top and front of the console, with LEDs that glow Xbox green on both sides.
Despite the additions, many of the key Xbox Series X design features are retained in the Elite's mock-up. On the left side of the console is the disc-tray, power button, and four USB ports that appear smoothly chiseled out of the console's body. Likewise, the signature venting that appears on the top of the original Xbox Series X returns on the right portions of the Elite, providing a nice blend of textures that dissuade easy comparisons to DVR boxes. Concept Creator's Xbox Series X Elite design also has a white variant, channeling the design of the Xbox Series S, the original console's little sister.
As it stands, not much (if anything) is known about the next iteration of the Xbox Series X. Microsoft's next family of consoles have been out for over a year, and while the Xbox Series S sold very well during Black Friday this year, still not everyone who desires one of these systems has been able to get one yet. With that in mind, while it is fun to think about the future of these systems and what they may look like, Microsoft's priority should still be in making its current lineup more available. Unless the Xbox Series X Elite magically doesn't require microchips, it will likely fall into the same issues as the current console lineup.
MORE: Xbox Game Pass Game Trek to Yomi Explained
Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint opens up in an interview in regards to his feelings towards the controversial author J.K. Rowling.
Recent graduate just trying to start conversations about video games. Can often be caught playing Halo when he really should be working on his backlog.
Sony's wild new PS5 controller concept could be a game-changer – Creative Bloq
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By published 17 January 22
It’s fair to say we weren’t enamoured with the design of Sony’s DualSense controller when it was revealed last year. Like the PS5 itself, the controller is somewhat, er, chonky – but it seems Sony is already working on slimmer design concepts.
A new patent filing reveals the company is working on a new controller design featuring a collapsible control stick. This means the joystick could retract into the body of the controller itself, allowing for a more svelte (and potentially more comfortable) design. And while it might just be a patent, at this rate it might well arrive before the next PS5 restock.
The patent filing itself offers little in the way of information about how the controller will work, simply describing: “A controller, thumbstick, or system comprising a thumbstick body, a thumbstick shaft coupled to the thumbstick body wherein the thumbstick shaft is configured to retract into the thumbstick body and wherein the thumbstick body and the thumbstick shaft is freely rotatable together around a pivot centre within the controller body.” (You know when you read a word so many times that it loses all meaning? Yeah, thumbstick.)
But it seems the concept is all about comfort. “Analog nubs are portable but also very uncomfortable for the user,” Sony says in the filing. “The user moves the flat surface or rough area with pressure from their thumb. This can become quite uncomfortable after a while because the required friction between the user’s thumb and the surface.”
As with all patents, whether this design will ever see the light of day remains to be seen, but it’s certainly intriguing – and we can’t help but wonder if it’s offering us a glimpse of the next generation of DualSense. If a PS5 ‘Slim’ ever makes it to market (hey, every PlayStation generation has had one), perhaps it’ll arrive complete with a redesigned controller?
Indeed, a collapsible thumbstick could potentially transform the feel of the controller for gamers, offering a much more personalised and therefore comfortable experience. And it could do wonders for storage too – perhaps we’ll even end up with some kind of ‘DualSense Slim’ charging case. And we’re sure it could look pretty cool – better than that horrendous McDonald’s DualSense concept anyway.
It seems Sony is finally ready to give gamers more options when it comes to the look of the PS5. From those new coloured faceplates to rumours of a console redesign, the days of being restricted to Sony’s reverse-oreo (sorry, white-on-black) design are coming to an end. And perhaps in the near future, we’ll have a brand new controller to enjoy too. Want to start gaming right now? Check out today’s best games console deals below.
Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an ‘iSheep’, but he’s fine with this. It doesn’t bother him at all. Why would it? They’re just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.
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