Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily look at the top gaming headlines.
April sales figures: Xbox One outsells PS4, Mortal Kombat X tops game sales
The Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US in April, according to NPD’s monthly industry report on game and console sales. The top-selling packaged game was Mortal Kombat X.
“As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month. Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global [Xbox One and Xbox 360] users grew 24 percent.”
-Mike Nichols, Xbox marketer
“PlayStation continues to lead software sales for April 2015 and PS4 remains the cumulative sales leader in the U.S.”
Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS sales “increased by nearly 50 percent” in April, year-over-year, according to the company. Total Wii U sales in 2015 “increased by nearly 15 percent over sales during the first four months of 2014,” with Super Mario 3D World sales now accounting for over two million sales in the United States.
On the software charts, which don’t count digital downloads, Mortal Kombat X led chart heavyweights and sports updates like Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield: Hardline, MLB 15: The Show, Minecraft and NBA 2K15.
3DS release Xenoblade Chronicles 3D was April’s fifth best-selling game, despite only being on the Nintendo portable. NPD’s game sales charts are cumulative across all platforms.
Overall console and physical game sales were up three percent year over year from $580 million to $596 million with game sales up 13 percent year over year to $228 million.
Destiny 1.2 patch released; Bungie warns on legendary engram issue
Destiny developer Bungie has rolled out version 1.2 of the game after a brief delay, according to the studio.
The update, which prepares Destiny for the upcoming House of Wolves DLC, introduces changes like the elimination of the Commendations system and features like the ability to exchange materials at the Speaker. Version 1.2 also includes numerous bug fixes related to weapon perks, and Bungie updated the Destiny mobile companion app to make vendor items, damage types and perks available to let players see what Xur is selling without booting the game.
However, Bungie did mention a problem with the update: Following its installation, players may find the Cryptarch not able to recognize some legendary engrams. The studio advises Guardians to hang onto all purple engrams acquired in Destiny until you update to version 126.96.36.199.
As of that update, the Cryptarch will no longer turn legendary engrams into shards; possible rewards will only include legendary or exotic gear. Version 188.8.131.52 will also add a new “Connection Recovery” feature, and will make Daily Heroic missions generate Motes of Light instead of shards. In addition to delivering a host of tweaks to the reward system for the Crucible, patch 184.108.40.206 will add The Dark Below’s three maps – Pantheon, The Cauldron and Skyshock – to all playlists.
Diablo 3 stricken with ‘cowpocalypse’ to celebrate third anniversary
Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the third anniversary of Diablo 3 with cows, according to a post on Battle.net.
“We’ve recently heard rumors of an invasion. Not one of a demonic nature, mind you, for those we are quite accustomed to. No, these rumors allege that townships throughout Khanduras are being overrun by bipedal, bardiche-bearing bovine who are luring weary adventurers to the proverbial slaughter through moosterious orange portals.
“There are no homicidal heifers. There is no invasion. And, more specifically, there is no cow level. Anyone who claims otherwise is full of bull and simply milking this terrible prank for all that it’s worth.”
-The Battle.net post
The event is a homage to Diablo 2’s The Secret Cow Level, where players fight bovine foes. It ends on “dusk on May 21.”
Stretchmo is Nintendo’s newest 3DS free-to-play experiment
Nintendo has released Stretchmo for Nintendo 3DS, a new game in the Pushmo series, that is the follow-up to Pushmo, Crashmo and Pushmo World. Stretchmo is being sold in the 3DS eShop with a free to try pricing model, with players paying for additional puzzles.
Developed by Intelligent Systems, Stretchmo adds a new spin to the Pushmo puzzle series with a new mechanic. As Mallo, players push and pull blocks, and can now stretch certain blocks to extend each side to reach the goal flag.
The game’s first few levels are free to play, and these early levels serve as a tutorial for the rest of the game. The other puzzles are sold on their own or in bundles. After completing the tutorial levels, players can purchase the following level packs.
- Mallo’s Playtime Plaza ($4.99): 100 progressively challenging levels to introduce the game’s basics
- Poppy’s Sculpture Square ($2.99): 50 puzzle levels shaped like animals and objects
- Corin’s Fortress of Fun ($2.99): 50 levels featuring gizmo obstacles and enemies
- Papa Blox’s NES Expo ($2.99): 50 levels based on classic NES characters
All four add-on packs can be purchased for $9.99, and other bundle options are available if players have purchased one of the level packs. Purchasing any of the add-on packs will give Stretchmo players the option to share and play custom levels.
Stretchmo (Fullblox in Europe) is available to download now.
Splatoon freeplay returns to Wii U one more time
Wii U owners will have another chance to check out paint shooter Splatooon for free in another G lobal Testfire, according to Nintendo.
To go hands-on with the game, players need to download the Splatoon Global Testfire software from the Wii U’s eShop. The game’s 4-on-4 multiplayer turf war mode will be live on May 23 from 3-4PM PT (6-7PM ET, 11-12AM May 24 GMT).
The game hits stores, and the eShop, on May 29.
Komani cheers Nevada law allowing skill-based gambling machines
Konami appears to be placing more emphasis on its gambling properties, which should get a lot easier and more profitable after a new Nevada law was passed.
Skill-based gambling is now legal on the state’s gaming machines, where in the past only games of chance (like slot machines) were allowed. This means that “bonus rounds” can be tacked on to a regular game of chance, with a payout corresponding to a player’s skill at them.
The change comes with the passage of Senate Bill 9, which the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) lobbied for. AGEM’s president is Thomas Jingoli, president of Konami’s gambling division. Konami is a “gold member” of the organization.
The skill-based payouts could incorporate traditional video gaming features like driving, shooters, sports and more. Konami – or anyone else – would be able to design a slot machine not only visually based on the game, but incorporating their gameplay as well.
STALKER developer is back with Cossacks 3
Late last year GSC Game World, developer of the STALKER games, returned from its self-imposed exile. Now, the studio has announced Cossacks 3, a remake of their real-time strategy classic.
Scheduled for release “this year, when it’s done,” according to Sergei Grigorovich, founder of GSC Game World, Cossacks 3 will include 12 playable nations, including France, England, Russia, Ukraine , and Prussia/Austria. Each will have their own unique forces and structures. Coming to Linux, Mac, and Windows, it will include five historical campaigns and multiplayer.
“Besides the historical campaign mode, including reenactments of the great battles of the period, Cossacks 3 will give players a choice of single-player and multiplayer modes with a flexible setup. For instance, Skirmish is a game against AI on a randomly generated map. At the beginning, the map will be hidden by the fog of war and using small groups of soldiers for scouting will come in handy.”
-Valentine Yeltyshev, GSC public relations director
To excel at the game, players will need to learn the quirks of each nation’s weapons, as well as how to fight with period firearms and artillery pieces.
Terrain will play an important role in determining range for weapons and the effectiveness of their fire, but skilled players will also be able to use the terrain to their advantage as they maneuver larger forces into position.
“It’s possible to hide from the enemy’s artillery behind mountains and high plains, and then later to use these same plains as a ground for your own cannons. Fortifications also add a tactical variety.
“Multiplayer modes will allow up to seven players on the same map. They can be every map for himself, or joined into teams, and include a mix of humans and AI. It’s even possible to play against six AI enemies at the same time.”
There will also be a complex map generation tool, adjustable resource availability, and a countdown clock for the beginning of hostilities.
“One of the most popular variants of rules in the original Cossacks was to allow opposing players one or two hours to build up and develop their bases and their armies, and only after that to try their strength against each other on the battlefield.”
At some point after its release, the team plans to support a total of 20 unique nations, and increase the unit count beyond 8,000 – the number officially supported by the first Cossacks at release.
Full mod support will be baked in at launch. The plan is to distribute Cossacks 3 with an editor, one that includes the same in-house tools used to build the game, according to Grigorovich. They’ll be powerful enough to practically rebuild the game from scratch.
“We will give modders lots of simple mechanisms to tweak the game, add new content, redesign interface, AI, change balance and gameplay or even make a completely new game with goblins and orcs.
“We will support popular mods, as well as give them official status and provide mod makers with help, making their work better and smoother.”
Casey Hudson joins Microsoft to work on Xbox, HoloLens
Casey Newton, a 16-year BioWare veteran, who oversaw projects like the Mass Effect series, is now a Microsoft Studios creative director, according to an Xbox Wire post.
“As Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, my primary focus will be the creative direction of HoloLens Experiences. I am extremely passionate about the potential of this kind of technology, as anyone who’s talked with me over the last couple of years can attest. I feel that the work being done at Microsoft on mixed reality and holographic computing will have a tremendous impact on how all of us interact with technology in the coming years. It’s an honor to be able to join such an incredibly talented team, and to work on something that will fundamentally advance the roles computers play in our daily lives.
“I will also be working with innovative new Xbox titles, helping them to find success through clear direction and creative vision. I will be involved in driving a creative focus for Xbox and Windows gaming, and I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in that. The projects I’ve seen in development so far are amazing, and it’s going to be an awesome experience helping these teams cross the finish line.”