Welcome to March, everyone. We are drawing ever closer to the spring season and reaching the end of the first quarter of 2021. I’ve covered Valheim the past couple of weeks in the weekly wrap-up so I won’t include the game as one of the five news topics this week. But I do want to recognize that the game has now sold over five million units. It looks like 2021 has been taking shape over the past few weeks as many upcoming releases have been announced and business is still being done. Let’s get to it.
NETFLIX RELEASES DOTA: DRAGON’S BLOOD OFFICIAL TRAILER
In a previous edition of the wrap-up, I noted how the release date of the new DOTA: Dragon’s Blood anime on Netflix was set to premiere on March 25. As reported by Venn, Netflix has released more details on the show that includes a three-minute teaser that you can view above. The anime is based on DOTA 2, a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Valve that is one of the most popular games on Steam. CLICK HERE to go to the game’s website for more information.
Streaming services need to be able to generate exclusive content for their platforms and using video games to create shows isn’t a bad idea at all. Castlevania has done very well on Netflix since its debut in 2017 and now has completed three seasons. The streaming platforms are great for video game anime because they don’t have the same pressures to produce the numbers/ratings they would have to with network and cable television.
By the way, if you are a PC gamer and have never played DOTA 2, it is worth a try on Steam. Being that it is free, you have nothing to lose.
WII U RECEIVES FIRST UPDATE IN OVER TWO YEARS
When the Nintendo Switch made its grand entrance onto the gaming scene in 2017 and ascended to the the top of the console market, there was no expectation that the Wii U was going to receive continued support. Games stopped being developed for the Wii U and even updates came to a halt…until now. This week, the 5.5.5 update was released for the console, marking the first time in more than two years that the Wii U received an update. The patch was put out to address stability issues.
As I shared in Thursday’s post, I had such high hopes for the Wii U during its heyday. The console had some excellent games that Nintendo was intelligent enough to port over to the Switch. But the design represented an unfinished product that served to be the interlude between the original Nintendo Wii and the Switch. In essence, the Switch is what the Wii U should have been in the first place.
EPIC GAMES ACQUIRES ‘FALL GUYS’ DEVELOPER
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was one of the surprising sensations of 2020. The online battle royale platformer launched on the Playstation 4 and Steam last August and immediately won over gamers due to its simple and fun gameplay. Epic Games announced this week that it had purchased Mediatonic, the developer of the popular game. With Fortnite and Fall Guys under its umbrella, Epic Games has a very solid grip on the battle royale market.
This is yet another acquisition in what has been a string of them lately. Last year, Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media (parent company of Bethesda) for $7.5 billion and Electronic Arts bought racing game developer Codemasters (GRID, Dirt 5) for $1.2 billion. In 2019, Sony acquired Insomniac Games (Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales) and THQ Nordic obtained Warhorse Studios (Kingdom Come Deliverance).
The key is to see how these acquisitions eventually pay off for the purchasing companies. Sony has made a ton of money off the Spider-Man games. I am interested to see what the future brings for the Microsoft/Bethesda pairing.
GAME PASS GETS SPORT FOCUSED IN MARCH
Sports gaming fans are getting some love in March as Xbox Game Pass plans to bring NBA 2K21, NHL 21, Madden NFL 21, and Football Manager 2021 to its platform. If you own an Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S, all four of the games will be playable on your system. Game Pass on PC subscribers will only be able to play Football Manager 2021, but if you have the Ultimate version of Game Pass, you will also be able to play NBA 2K21 through the cloud.
Adding sports titles is a smart move by Microsoft. There are probably many sports gamers that have considered Game Pass but declined because of the lack of sports sims available. These games could possiblly bring in more subscribers.
NHL 21 and Madden NFL 21 bring to mind that EA Play is eventually supposed to be coming to Game Pass on PC. The last I heard of it was in December but no date has been given as to when Game Pass on PC subscribers will receive the service for no extra cost as part of their subscription. I would imagine that subscriptions will increase instantly once EA Play is implemented into the PC version of Game Pass. Not only would subscribers get the sports games within the EA library but also the racing games, Star Wars games, Battlefield games, and RPGs such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect. As a Game Pass PC subscriber, I want to see it happen sooner than later.
OUTRIDERS DEMO OFFERS HOURS OF CONTENT
Square-Enix has released a demo for the upcoming Outriders game that has three hours of base content and gives players a chance to play all four character classes. The role-playing shooter is set to launch on April 1. Many users have been praising the wealth of content available in the demo including Forbes magazine reporter Paul Tassi in his recent review.
I appreciate demos because they give gamers the chance to try out a game and see what it is like before purchase. Monster Sanctuary and Ghostrunner were two such demos I played before purchasing the full games. Regarding Outriders, the game will have a tough time winning me over because I have played so many shooters over the years, especially science fiction based ones. I’m sure People Can Fly has developed a great game, but I’m finding myself getting burned out on the genre. Maybe the demo may change my mind. I’ll give it a go this weekend.