Microsoft Reportedly Releasing Fully Digital Xbox One in 2019

A recent rumor reported by Thurrott suggests that Microsoft may be planning to release a version of the Xbox One without a disc drive.

This console wouldn’t be the next generation Xbox Scarlett, but rather a device similar to the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, just another device in the Xbox One family. The rumored console is expected to release sometime next year, maybe even as early as spring, and should retail for $200 or less. 

Alongside this rumor also comes the news of a revised Xbox One S. While the S will keep its disc drive, cheaper components will be used to cut costs and allow Microsoft to sell the console for cheaper.

Microsoft is also reportedly planning a “disc-to-digital” program, in which owners of physical Xbox One games would be able to take the discs to participating retailers like the Microsoft store and trade them for a digital download.

An all digital Xbox One would be a perfect fit for the Xbox ecosystem. Microsoft has been continually pushing for a connected family of devices with content accessible anywhere. The Play Anywhere program, cross-play, Game Pass, and the upcoming Project xCloud streaming service give a console without a disc drive serious potential to become a strong pillar in the Xbox One family of devices. Microsoft’s recent initiatives have all been about options (Xbox One S vs Xbox One X, Game Pass vs purchasing day one, console vs PC, etc.), and this new Xbox, whatever it may be called, is just the next step in Microsoft’s plan for an interconnected gaming platform.

Are you interested in a completely digital console? Where do you stand on the physical vs digital debate? Be sure to let us know down below, and stay tuned to Circle Square Games for all things Xbox.

Sony is Skipping E3 2019

For the first time in the show’s 24 year history, PlayStation will not have a presence at E3.

The company behind E3, the ESA, shared the first details about next year’s event, and Sony’s name is nowhere to be found. The other usual suspects are all there. Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, and the like all have plans to be at the show.

The PlayStation section of the E3 2017 show floor

Sony confirmed its plans to skip E3 2019 to Game Informer. “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” Sony said. “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”

Game Informer asked if Sony had plans to hold an off-site event similar to EA’s “EA Play” event. “We will not activate or hold a press conference around E3,” replied Sony.

Sony also announced earlier this fall that it would not be holding a PlayStation Experience event this year. Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden attributed the cancellation of the fan event to simply not having enough to show, which was a common criticism of the company’s showing at E3 2018, in which they primarily focused on only four titles.

Shawn Layden addresses the crowd at Sony’s E3 2018 showcase

This news, along with the surge of popularity of shows like Nintendo Direct and Inside Xbox, reaffirms the belief held by many that E3 just isn’t as is important as is used to be. E3 used to be where everything was announced, but now with the rise of streaming and video content, companies can put out information when they want and how they want. They don’t have to share the spotlight with their competition either. 

Sony has been shifting away from the E3 stage for some time now. This year’s showing was a more intimate showcase rather than an extravagant press conference. Most of their important announcements, like the release dates for God of War, Detroit, and Spider-Man, things people were sure would be PSX or E3 announcements, were dropped on the PlayStation Blog with little fanfare. They even announced the long awaited and highly requested name change feature in a blog post. Sony’s reliance on the PlayStation Blog to break news will likely ramp up in the next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the release date for The Last of Us Part II or Ghost of Tsushima just showed up on the PlayStation Blog one morning.

Sony might be planning a more direct, fan-centric means of delivering news and content to its userbase similar to Microsoft’s Inside Xbox or Nintendo’s Directs. The company did say they were “exploring new and familiar ways to engage [their] community”, and Inside Xbox and Nintendo Directs are regularly hyped up by fans, especially the latter, and both always make headlines at relatively uncrowded times of the year. Regardless, Sony’s definitely planning some changes. 

What do you think about Sony skipping out on the biggest event in gaming? Be sure to let us know down below, and stay tuned to Circle Square Games for all things PlayStation.

Game Awards 2018 Nominees Announced

After a stacked 2018, nominees for the 2018 Game Awards have finally been revealed. Game of the Year nominees include Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Monster Hunter World, and Celeste. God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 are tied for the most nominations, to no one’s surprise. Here’s the full list of nominees across all categories.

Game of the Year

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Celeste
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Action Game

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Dead Cells
  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Far Cry 5
  • Mega Man 11

 Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Best Role Playing Game

  • Dragon Quest XI
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Ni no Kuni II
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Best Game Direction

  • A Way Out
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Narrative

  • Detroit: Become Human
  • God of War
  • Life is Strange 2: Episode 1
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Ongoing Game

  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Fortnite
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Overwatch
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Best Art Direction

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • God of War
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Best Score/Music

  • Celeste
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Audio Design

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Independent Game

  • Celeste
  • Dead Cells
  • Intro the Breach
  • Return of the Obra Dinn
  • The Messenger

Best Performance

  • Bryan Dechart as Connor, Detroit: Become Human
  • Christopher Judge as Kratos, God of War
  • Melissanthi Mahut as Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Roger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption II
  • Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man

Games for Impact

  • 11-11 Memories Retold
  • Celeste
  • Florence
  • Life is Strange 2
  • The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories

Best Mobile Game

  • Donut County
  • Florence
  • Fortnite
  • PUBG MOBILE
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones

Best VR/AR Game

  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
  • Beat Saber
  • Firewall Zero Hour
  • Moss
  • Tetris Effect

Best Fighting Game

  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Soul Caliber VI
  • Street Fighter V Arcade

Best Family Game

  • Mario Tennis Aces
  • Nintendo Labo
  • Overcooked 2
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
  • Super Mario Party

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 19
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Mario Tennis Aces
  • NBA 2K19
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2019

Best Multiplayer Game

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Fortnite
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Sea of Thieves

Best Student Game

  • Combat 2018
  • Dash Quasar
  • JERA
  • LIFF
  • RE: Charge

Best Debut Indie Game

  • Donut County
  • Florence
  • Moss
  • The Messenger
  • Yoku’s Island Express

Best eSports Game

  • CSGO
  • DOTA2
  • Fortnite
  • League of Legends
  • Overwatch

Best eSports Player

  • Dominique “SonicFox” McLean
  • Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi
  • Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao
  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  • Sung-hygeon “JJoNak” Bang

Best eSports Team

  • Astralis
  • Cloud9
  • Fnatic
  • London Spitfire
  • OG

 Best eSports Coach

  • Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu
  • Christian “ppasarel” Banaseanu
  • Danny “zonic” Sorensen
  • Dylan Falco
  • Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi
  • Janko “YNk” Paunovic

Best eSports Event

  • ELAGUE Major: Boston 2018
  • EVO 2018
  • League of Legends World Championship
  • Overwatch League Grand Finals
  • The International 2018

Best eSports Host

  • Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez
  • Alex “Machine” Richardson
  • Anders Blume
  • Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere
  • Paul “RedEye” Chaloner

Best eSports Moment

  • C9 comeback win in triple OT vs FAZE
  • G2 beating RNG
  • KT vs IG Base Race
  • OG’s massive upset of LGD
  • SonicFox side switch against Go1 in DBZ

Content Creator of the Year

  • Dr. Lupo
  • Myth
  • Ninja
  • Pokimane
  • Willyrex

Favorite Moment of 2017

  • Carol Shaw (Industry Icon)
  • The Game Awards Orchestra (Performance)
  • Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro (Moment)
  • Josef Fares (A Way Out)
  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Game of the Year)

No matter which games end up on top, it’ll be a great show. The Game Awards are on their fifth year and each year has proven better than the last. Of course, there are some kinks that need to be worked out, like the awkward advertisements and sponsors, but overall the show is a much needed opportunity for the entire industry to get together and celebrate the things we love. 

The Game Awards will be streamed live on December 6. You can cast your votes here.

What do you think of the nominees? Will Red Dead Redemption 2 sweep the show? Will God of War get the recognition it deserves? Be sure to let us know what you think about The Game Awards down below.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Will Soon Be Playable at Store Kiosks

A playable demo of the highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will soon be available at Best Buy Nintendo Switch kiosks.

In response to Twitter user @ChaseJ_T, Best Buy confirmed that a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate demo would be rolling out to their store kiosks very soon. Eager fans have already flocked to Best Buy stores to see if the kiosk had been updated with the demo, but very few stores had it installed. It should be available within the week, and although it’s very likely, it’s unknown if it will be available at other stores.

The demo reportedly features the entire roster of fighters, including the newly revealed Ken and Incineroar.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released on December 7, 2018 for exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

How the Grinch Leaked the Smash Ultimate Roster

A recent rumor stated that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be getting another new character in the form of a Square Enix representative, which many believed would be Geno from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. According to a new leak, this looks to be true, but what people didn’t see coming were the six other newcomers.

Earlier today, images surfaced of what appeared to be the final artwork displaying the entire roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Not only is Geno present, but also Shadow the Hedgehog, Banjo-Kazooie, Isaac from Golden Sun, Ken, Mach Rider, and the Chorus Kids. The image was initially shared on a Snapchat story that was quickly deleted, but not before someone saved it.

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While this may just be an elaborate hoax, multiple signs point to this actually being real. The image was shared by an employee of a French print company that specializes in media advertising and promotional material. The employee’s name was visible in the Snapchat video, and he was identified as Eric B. Fans then found Mr. Eric B’s LinkedIn page and pointed out that he cited Bandai-Namco, developers of Ultimate, on it. The page has been set to private as of now.

The image of the complete roster was very blurry, but being a screenshot of a Snapchat story, you can’t expect it to be crystal clear. Some have also pointed out that the image might not be a large poster or some other kind of promotional piece as most thought, but rather an armband, which would explain the blurriness.

What really corroborates this leak, however, are the never before seen materials. An large image of an empty version of the Battlefield stage can be seen, and Nintendo hasn’t shown that before. There were also multiple promotional items for the upcoming Grinch movie that haven’t been released yet. If they’re legitimate, this would prove that the leak did in fact come from a marketing company and that these are completely real. While the Smash leak itself seems pretty legit with all the evidence, it’s the Grinch promotional materials that’ll be the damning evidence if they’re real.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will launch on December 7 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Will Come On 2 Discs

“Hold it, Snake. Time to change the disc.”

Japanese packaging for Rockstar’s highly-anticipated open-world western surfaced earlier this week, and one part of the box very quickly garnered attention. On the back cover near the game’s install size and other things like that, there is an icon indicating the game has 2 discs.

Earlier today, Canadian YouTuber Kofi tweeted photos of a retail copy of Red Dead Redemption 2, which has two discs, one labeled “play disc” and the other labeled “data disc”. He also states that the game comes with a map, a Rockstar tradition. Some fans were worried that the map would be tied to the game’s Special Edition this time around, but luckily, this seems to not be the case.

Double and even triple disc games aren’t new in the games industry, but ever since Blu-Ray has been adopted as the standard, almost every game has been able to fit on one disc. The only two games to come on multiple discs this generation are Gears of War 4 and XCOM 2 Collection, both of which require the second disc for installation purposes only. It looks like Red Dead Redemption 2 will function the same way.

Last gen games came on multiple discs all the time, usually on the 360. GTA V came on two discs. So did Assassin’s Creed III and Halo 4. Final Fantasy XIII and Blue Dragon came on three discs. Lost Odyssey came on four. But those were standard DVDs. Red Dead 2 is coming on two Blu-Rays, and considering the game supposedly weighs in at a heft 100GB, it’s no surprise the game wouldn’t fit on just one.

I can’t wait to stare at an install screen for an hour on release day.

 

 

 

Days Gone Delayed to April 2019

Sony’s exclusive post-apocalyptic zombie biker adventure has been pushed back two months, according to a PlayStation Blog post. Now fans will have to wait until April 26, 2019 to get their hands on Sony’s next first-party exclusive.

Days Gone was unveiled at E3 2016 and was rumored at one point for a 2018 launch, before officially receiving a release date of February 22, 2019 in PlayStation’s Countdown to E3 coverage. Now, the game will be releasing two months later in order to “further polish” the game, according to the game’s developers, Sony Bend. The push back definitely gives the game some breathing room, because three other games are still slated for February 22: Microsoft’s mega-delayed Crackdown 3, atmospheric open-world shooter Metro Exodus, and EA’s Destiny/Iron Man hybrid Anthem.

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The blog post also detailed three other PlayStation games. The first of which is Déraciné, From Software’s first foray into VR. The game will launch exclusively for PSVR on November 6. Concrete Genie, announced at Sony’s Paris Games Week conference last year, hasn’t had much time in the spotlight since its reveal, but Sony has reassured us the game is on track for an early 2019 release. Everybody’s Golf VR, which was revealed a month ago at TGS, finally got a release window of Spring 2019. The game will be playable with either the Dualshock 4 controller or PlayStation Move wands.

Are you bummed about the delay, or do you think Days Gone needs the extra time and polish? How do you feel about Sony’s commitment to PSVR? Be sure to let us know down below, and keep it at Circle Square Games for all things PlayStation.