Happy New Year to you all! I’m back after a lengthy Christmas break to bring you back up to date with the news
Headline Of The Week
Following a beta test at the end of last year, Sony has finalized the details for its PlayStation Now streaming service.
Whereas during the initial test users had to rent games by time on a per-game basis, a decision that proved unpopular, the final service will adopt a more sensible $20 a month price plan granting access to over one-hundred PS3 titles including The Last Of Us and Racthet & Clank: Into The Nexus. The service will launch in the United States and Canada on January 13th on PS4 initially, with other Sony products (including the Vita and Bravia TV’s) following soon after. Although a UK date has not been set, the service is still set to debut in Europe on the shores of Blighty.
In related PS4 news, Sony announced at a press conference in Japan that they have sold 18.5 million units worldwide, with 4 million of those sales coming during the Christmas period at the end of 2014. The PS4 continues to outpace sales of the PS2 in the UK, which is really quite an astonishing feat given the latter’s dominance during the early part of the century.
In Other News
The UK developer Codemasters, best known for its work on racing games including GRID and F1, is set to layoff staff according to sources close to the studio. Reported on Eurogamer, up to fifty positions are being reviewed with designers, artists and IT departments set to be hit – when probed, a company spokesperson had the following to say:
“As Codemasters continues its programme of strategic realignment in line with market changes, the company has reviewed its current structures to focus on areas of increased importance and decrease resources in areas where work requirements have been reduced…As a result of this review, a small number of roles have been proposed as being at risk of redundancy. Those in potentially affected roles are now involved in a consultation period to discuss the proposal. The proposal does not affect the on-going production of titles in development and no projects have been cancelled as a result of the proposal”
Codemasters have had it rough recently, having yet to launch a game on next-gen consoles and suffering a critical flop with F1 2014. As someone who has admired their output since the days of TOCA Touring Cars, I hope they find their form again soon.
The much delayed Assassin’s Creed film, which will star the talented Michael Fassbender in the as-of-yet unnamed lead role, has been given a release date by 20th Century Fox; it will (apparently) hit cinemas on 21st December 2016. This would put it one week after the first spin-off Star Wars film, so no pressure there. The film was taken back to the drawing board to be rewritten in April of last year
In related Ubisoft news, the developer has been polling fans on potential locations for the next installment of Far Cry to be set. Having covered lush jungles in Far Cry 3 and even popping a visit to Shangri-La in Far Cry 4, possible options for the next game include a Jurassic Park island, a adventure set during the Vietnam War or even Blood Dragon 2…I won’t be alone in saying that all of those options would be a sight to behold
Once again proving their prevalence in modern society, video games managed to be the best selling entertainment products in the UK in 2014 according to figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association.
Sales of games were up by 7.5% over 2013 managing to generate £2.45 billion, ahead of figures of £2.18 billion for video/film and £1.03 billion for music. However neither the likes of FIFA 15, Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Grand Theft Auto V could claim top spot on the individual products chart- that honor went to Disney’s depressingly successful animated film Frozen, which shifted over four million copies. You can see the top twenty entertainment products and their sales figures below – games and videos listed do not account for digital downloads, whereas music does:
- Frozen – 4,012,676
- FIFA 15 – 2,663,296
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – 1,837,025
- ‘X’ by Ed Sheeran – 1,753,226
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 1,550,635
- Grand Theft Auto 5 – 1,341,472
- ‘In The Lonely Hour’ by Sam Smith – 1,296,295
- The Lego Movie – 1,092,486
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 1,078,911
- Mrs Brown’s Boys: D’movie – 1,056,960
- Now That’s What I Call Music 89 – 999,201
- Guardians of the Galaxy – 992,818
- Frozen: Original Soundtrack – 974,067
- Destiny – 937,235
- Gravity – 915,355
- The Wolf of Wall Street – 888,621
- The Inbetweeners Movie 2 – 849,859
- Watch Dogs – 808,799
- Now That’s What I Call Music 88 – 728,683
- ‘Wanted On Voyage’ by George Ezra – 704,069
On the New Years chart front for UK Game Sales, Advanced Warfare continued its assault at the top while Wii U exclusive Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker debuted in 16th spot.
Top Ten For Week Ending 3rd January 2015 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games)
2 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)
3 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)
4 – Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal)
5 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity (Ubisoft Montreal)
6 – The Crew (Ivory Tower)
7 – Destiny (Bungie)
8 – WWE 2k15 (Yuke’s)
9 – Driveclub (Evolution Studios)
10 – Minecraft: Xbox Edition (4J Studios)
A playable version of the highly elusive Star Fox Wii U will be ready by E3, according to Nintendo’s resident legend Shigeru Miyamoto. So little has actually been revealed about the long awaited title (the last full Star Fox game was released in 2006) that the statement seems a little suspicious, but it is expected that the Wii U Gamepad will be heavily utilized for its ‘second screen’ capabilities.
Miyamoto recently claimed that Star Fox will be out before Zelda Wii U as well – could a 2015 release date genuinely be on the cards? Place your bets now…