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Pine is free to claim on the Epic Games Store this week
by Vishal Laul
Epic Games Store has put on offer Pine for this week’s giveaway, taking the place of a premium pack for Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms.
Pine is an indie action-adventure title originally released in October of 2019 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It features a simulated open-world with NPCs following a set of rules rather than a pre-defined path or logic. Here’s how the Epic Games Store describes it:
Epic Games Store is offering Pine for Windows but it’s also available for macOS and Linux via Steam where it is priced $24.99 at the time of writing. Here are the minimum requirements:
If you wish to claim Pine, you can find it here. It will be free to claim until May 13, which is when Epic will put on offer The Lion's Song for its next giveaway.
Nintendo's Switch has sold more units than the Game Boy Advance, on track to beat the Wii
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Nintendo released its earnings report for the final quarter of fiscal year 2021, which ended on March 31, though the report focuses on results for the entire year. As usual over the past couple of years, the company posted strong results, with net sales amounting to roughly ¥1.759 trillion ($16.1 billion) and operating profit of ¥640.534 billion ($5.86 billion). These numbers represent an increase of 34.4% and 81.8%, respectively, over fiscal year 2020.
As you might have expected, those numbers were mostly driven by its dedicated gaming hardware, the Nintendo Switch, which sold over 4.7 million units in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year - 3.55 million of the regular model and 1.17 Switch Lite sales - for a total of 28.83 million units sold within the year, the highest number yet for the system. With these sales, the Nintendo Switch has sold 84.59 million units in total, outselling the Game Boy Advance, whose official numbers put it at 81.51 million units sold. In fact, the Switch has now passed the official sales numbers of the Xbox 360, which sat at 84 million before Microsoft stopped reporting sales numbers.
The Switch has consistently broken Nintendo's forecast throughout the year. It initially forecast 19 million unit sales, but the boost from COVID-19-related lockdowns caused the company to revise that number to 24 million in its half-year report in November 2020. That number was revised once again to 26.50 million in February, but it ended up smashing past that target as well.
Software sales were also very strong for Nintendo, with over 230 million units sold, during the fiscal year. The biggest contributor to those numbers was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which sold 20.85 million units, followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - a game released in 2017 - with 10.62 million units sold, Super Mario 3D All-Stars with just over 9 million units, and Ring Fit Adventure with 7.38 million units. In fact, the Switch had 36 titles that sold over one million units within the year, 22 of which were published by Nintendo, and 14 from third-parties. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe remains the best-selling title on the hybrid with 35.39 million lifetime sales, inching closer to the best-selling Mario Kart title ever, Mario Kart Wii, which sold 37.38 million units in its lifetime. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is in a close second place with 32.63 million units sold since its launch on March 20, 2020.
Looking ahead to fiscal year 2022, which has already begun, Nintendo is forecasting a slight decline in its sales figures, projecting 25.5 million Switch units sold within the year. Considering the major boost it got from COVID-19 in the past year, the decline isn't all too surprising, but these figures are likely conservative, a tradition for Nintendo. A Nikkei report from the past weekend claimed Nintendo plans to manufacture 30 million Switch units this fiscal year, and according to Bloomberg, actual targets within the company are between 28 and 29 million.
Even then, based on the official projection, the Switch will have outsold the Wii, PlayStation 3, the original PlayStation, and be very close to the sales of the Game Boy and PlayStation 4. It's worth noting that a lot of those consoles also had significant hardware revisions to help boost sales, while the Nintendo Switch has only received a watered-down variant with the Switch Lite, and a very minor refresh with better battery life.
Reports have pointed to a hardware revision of the Nintendo Switch coming this calendar year, which would likely help maintaining that sales momentum. It's also been said that a strong lineup of games will be coming to help boost those sales, though not much is known right now. Titles planned for the rest of the year include Mario Golf: Speed Rush, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but those titles are either based on existing games or lack the impact of titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We may hear more about how Nintendo plans to hit those numbers at this year's E3, which is just over one month away.
gamescom 2021 will be all digital, ditches hybrid event plans
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The organizers behind the yearly gamescom conference have abandoned their previous plans to host a hybrid event that would offer both digital and physical shows. Now, the presentation and surrounding events aimed at developers will once again be all digital like last year, with Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association going for this route after "extensive discussions with partners and exhibitors".
Last year's gamescom showcase had drawn in over 50 million viewers from 180 countries, featuring content from 370 partners. As expected, the organizers plan to have even bigger attractions for 2021.
Moreover, the 'gamescom now' hub, which features all the new content being revealed and presented at the show, has been "completely relaunched" to present "a revamped and significantly improved user interface, customizable schedules, numerous live streams, events, shows and information about all the games and gamescom partners."
The free showcase will begin on August 25 and continue through August 29. Geoff Keighley will kick off the show with "Gamescom: Opening Night Live", airing World Premieres and news regarding upcoming games. This will be followed by the main event that will run for two days across August 26 and 27.
Keep in mind that before gamescom 2021 kicks off in August with its own announcements, E3 will open its doors next month after a year's break for a reimagined digital event of its own.
Minecraft Dungeons gets cross-platform cloud saves, but you have to sync manually
by João Carrasqueira
Mojang Studios' Minecraft dungeon-crawler spin-off Minecraft Dungeons was launched almost one year ago on all major platforms at the time, but it was oddly missing the ability to carry your save data across different devices if you chose to buy the game on more than one console. Now, the developers have announced that the feature is available as part of today's update for the game, version 220.127.116.11.
Cloud saves will allow players to sync their Heroes to the cloud, which they can then use to play on another console. However, the process isn't as automatic or fluid as some might hope. The game's Hero Select screen will have a new option that allows you to upload a specific Hero to the cloud, as well as download them to your console if you've already uploaded one. You have to do this manually every time you switch platforms, and there's a limit of 20 heroes that can be saved on the cloud at any given time.
Additionally, it's worth noting that DLC purchases don't carry over from platform to platform, so if you have equipped items from a specific DLC pack, they will be removed from your Hero when you load it up on a platform where you haven't bought the DLC. You also can't play on DLC maps unless you buy them on the platform you want to play on.
There have been four DLC packs released since the game's launch, so to be unable to carry over those purchases across platforms is likely going to be a problem for many players, and it takes away a significant portion of the impact of cloud saves. Regardless, if you happen to have bought the game and its DLC packs across more than one platform, this may be good news for you. Earlier this year, Mojang announced that over 10 million people had bought Minecraft Dungeons, so there's a solid fanbase that might have use for the feature.
Aside from that, today's patch includes a number of fixes and tweaks, including multiple crashes that have been addressed and a handful of other issues. The game is also now available in Chinese Traditional and Simplified variants across all platforms.
By Abhay V
Flight Simulator Patch 18.104.22.168 now out, fixes live weather and multiplayer stutter issues
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft has released a new patch for Flight Simulator, bringing fixes that address a couple of minor issues. These include fixes for stuttering issues when using custom liveries on aircraft while running the simulator in multiplayer. The other improvement comes in the way of fixes to the live weather, with the company noting that the patch improves the accuracy of live weather globally.
The live weather feature that lets players mimic real-world weather in the simulator based on their location has been constantly updated across sim updates. As early as last week, the firm shared an updated feedback snapshot detailing the various fixes and improvements being worked on and their tentative release notes. In the snapshot, it also noted that it is working to address another issue with faulty live weather readings with the fourth sim update that is slated to be released on May 25.
This along with the fixes to stutters when using multiplayer mode and flying aircraft with custom liveries, make it a worthwhile update for those that have been suffering from degraded performance. Additionally, those curious to know about the other fixes being worked on can head to the Development Update page to look at the updated Feedback Snapshot.
Other fixes planned for the fourth major sim update include the addition of an off option for excessive icing effects, improvements to phrasing in ATC communications, and more. Some issues such as low texture resolution will see a staggered fix that is spread across multiple updates. The firm is also planning to add real-time traffic later this summer.
You can head to the Microsoft Store or Steam to download the latest Flight Simulator patch version 22.214.171.124.