This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.
Trailer reveals new Pokemon Sun/Moon details
A new Pokemon Sun & Moon trailer has revealed a raft of details for the upcoming games, including new Alola forms of existing Pokemon, six brand new Pokemon, the Poke Ride features, new Z-Moves, and the new Island Adventure quest.
Alola forms are subspecies of existing Pokemon that are “thriving in Alola,” including ice-type versions of Vulpix, Ninetails, Sandshrew, and Sandslash, and a giraffe/palm tree hybrid of Exeggutor.
The six new Pokemon include Gumshoos and Mudbray, which are part of Yungoos and Mudsdale’s evolution chain, and Oricorio, a dancing bird that changes style based on what Alolan island it’s on.
The game’s islands are a major focus in the Island Challenge, which is being pegged as “your rite of passage.” The quest sees your trainer complete trials according to each island’s theme, facing off against special Totem-form Pokemon and fighting Kahunas (island boss trainers).
According to the Sun & Moon website, Poke Ride is enabled by special Pokemon that help you cross impassable terrain. It’s specific to the special Pokemon that help you in each situation.
Z-Moves are theatrical new special moves that can be used once per battle, but there are specific prerequisites to use them. The player will earn a Z-Ring, which they can place Z-Crystals inside. If the Pokemon is holding the same Z-Crystal as the player has equipped, they can then use a Z-move. There’s one Z-Move per elemental type.
The games will arrive on 3DS on Nov. 18 in the U.S. and Nov. 23 in the U.K.
Niantic reveals new Pokemon Go details on sponsorships, new Pokemon additions
According to Niantic CEO John Hanke, Pokemon Go sponsorship tie-ins will help the developer not have to rely on microtransactions.
The game’s first tie-in is with McDonald’s in Japan, which turns 3,000 participating restaurants into Gyms.
“My belief is that the sponsored-location model is a better business model for games. It will provide a compliment to in-app purchase.
“In app-purchase will be the majority of the revenue, but it does take some of the pressure off to us to squeeze hard on the purchase side which would be detrimental to the game.
“The idea with real world games was to build an advertising model that is deeply tied to the way the game itself works… so it doesn’t break the flow of the game. It doesn’t feel like something is grafted on.
“We incorporated [the] sponsored location model into Ingress the day it was launched. The idea was to build an alternative to in-app purchase based on [the] idea that in-app purchases exerts a lot of pressure on game design that can lead to games that are not very much fun to play even if they make a lot of money.”
-John Hanke, Niantic CEO
Hanke also discussed when/how we expect to see new Pokemon.
“You will see new Pokemon come into the game around special events at certain times in certain parts of the world. You’ll see us do some things around events.”
According to Hanke, Niantic will support the numerous events and meet-ups created by users around the world, and may add achievement medals for attending supported events.
“We intend to iterate and work on these specs right up until the moment is ships. Stuff evolves until the last minute.”
- John Hanke
Xbox releases Summer Update
The Xbox One Summer Update, which brings Cortana support, background music, and dashboard improvements, is now rolling out worldwide.
Here’s what in store:
- Cortana: Users in the U.S. and U.K. can use Windows 10’s voice command service, either with their Kinect or headset mic.
- Background Music: Users can play music without having it snapped in the Pandora app at launch, with support coming for Groove Music, iHeartRadio, and other services in the near future.
- UI Improvements: Changes are coming to both the Games and Apps menu and the Xbox Store, with the former receiving a better layout and more information. The Xbox Store converges with the Windows Store to add more search filters, user reviews, and channels. This also sets the framework for Xbox Play Anywhere to work.
- Language region independence: Xbox One no longer chooses a language based on your region.
- Facebook integration: Your Gamertag is now linked with your Facebook account, allowing you to add friends that have done the same.
- Improved sharing: Improvements have been made for screenshots, videos, and achievements.
New features are also coming to the Xbox app on Windows 10 and mobile devices:
- 60 FPS clip recording: The Xbox Windows 10 app’s “Very High” video quality setting now records at 60 frames per second.
- New Game Hubs: The most popular Windows 10 PC games will have Xbox app Game hubs, allowing friends to see that you’re playing them, as well as clip sharing and Xbox messaging
- Improved Game Bar full-screen support: League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2, Battlefield 4, Counter-Strike: GO, and Diablo 3 will now support the Windows Game Bar while running in full-screen mode.
- iOS & Android support: The Xbox App is now available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Gaming pays huge role in Sony’s bottom line
Sony has reported its Q1 financials, and gaming is a huge part of the Japanese company’s bottom line.
According to VentureBeat, Sony generated $3.2 billion in revenue from its game and network services division. That’s up 14.5 percent from a year ago, with operating income of $427 million (a 126.3 percent spike from last year).
Gaming made up 78 percent of Sony’s $546 million of quarterly profit. The increase is mainly due to games rather than hardware sales, however reduced PlayStation 4 manufacturing costs have also helped.
Overall, the company’s financials are down 10.8 percent from last year, while profits dived 42 percent to $546 million. In addition, the company reduced its estimate for full year revenue down to $15.35 billion from $16.2 billion.
Sony cited the Kumamoto earthquake, and declines in smartphone, life insurance, and semiconductor sales as reasons for the decline.
Arkane reveals new Prey details
Arkane Studios revealed new details about Prey.
According to Arkane president Raphael Colantonio, the game is “like a re-imagining of the IP.”
“It is important to note that it’s not just shooting. It’s more like a hybrid game when there’s, like, narrative meets with action meets with a little bit of RPG. You have some weapons, but you also have lots of other things – including powers that you can learn from the aliens themselves.
-Raphael Colantonio, Arkane Studios president
According to Colantonio, there will be familiar weapons along with repurposed scientific gadgets from the space station setting’s science-focused areas.
The game will feature choice and consequence, but isn’t horror.
“The psychological thrill dimension is more around the theme of identity.”
Players will also have the option to play as either female/male as protagonist Morgan.
The game will arrive in 2017 on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows.
August PlayStation Plus games revealed
Sony has revealed the lineup of free games available to PlayStation Plus subscribers in August.
According to the PlayStation Blog, WeirdBeard Games’ physics-based puzzler Tricky Towers will be available for free for PS4 owners next month, along with Double Damage’s Rebel Galaxy space combat game.
Additionally, Yakuza 5 and Retro/Grade will be free on PS3 subscribers, and Patapon 3 will be available on PS Vita. Finally, old-school arcade shooter Ultratron will be available across all three platforms.