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By News Staff
Some Nintendo Switch games are up to 33% off for Prime Day
by João Carrasqueira
As part of the many sales going on as part of Amazon's Prime Day, some Nintendo Switch games are being discounted by up to 33%. Usually, video games tend to get discounted significantly over time, but Nintendo likes to keep its games at their launch price for long, so some of these sales are interesting.
Among the discounted games, there's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is one of the crown jewels of the Nintendo Switch's library of games. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has also received a lot of praise and it's equally discounted today. While some of the deals going on today do require a Prime membership, some discounts are available for everyone. Here's the list of deals:
Game Regular price Discounted price Requires Prime? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($44.99 without Prime) Super Mario Party $59.99 $39.99 No New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe $59.99 $39.99 No Splatoon 2 $59.99 $39.99 No Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($44.49 without Prime) Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee! $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($49.94 without Prime) Yoshi's Crafted World $59.99 $39.99 No Mario Tennis Aces $59.99 $39.99 No Fire Emblem: Three Houses $59.99 $39.99 Yes ($49.94 without Prime) If you're not just looking for games, there's also a pretty significant discount on a bundle of a Nintendo Switch Online family membership and a Switch-branded SanDisk 128GB microSD card for $39.99, down from $69.98. The Switch-branded microSD cards are usually much more expensive than regular ones, but with this bundle, you're basically getting the card for $5, since the Switch Online membership costs $34.99 on its own. You can find the bundle here.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
Steve from Minecraft is joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Nintendo held a new YouTube presentation to show off the next fighter to join the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the Fighters Pack Vol. 2 expansion. As it turns out, Nintendo and Microsoft are once again cozying up to each other, as the new character to be added to the brawler is Steve, from the blockbuster game Minecraft.
In fact, Steve isn't the only Minecraft character joining the fight. Alex, Zombie, and Enderman are all going to be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though the technicalities of how these characters will be implemented weren't detailed. It's likely that each character will be treated as an alternate costume for the same character slot, as we've never seen multiple characters being counted as a single addition to the roster.
Playing as the new characters, you'll see familar elements from Minecraft, such as the placement of blocks, which allow players to gain height or trap enemies in structures. It's also possible to craft explosives, swords, and other offensive items. Additionally, there also appear to be multiple stages, or variations of a stage, being added, building on the idea of different biomes and the ability to craft pathways.
The brief video didn't go into details of the character or stages, though the game's director explained that implementing Minecraft characters was a challenge due to the nature of the game, as existing stages had to be reworked to allow the placement of blocks. A new presentation will be held on October 3, just ahead of Minecraft Live, to show off the news in greater detail. We should also hear about a release date by then. This is the second Microsoft-owned character after Banjo and Kazooie were added last year.
The Crown Tundra expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield arrives on October 22
by João Carrasqueira
The Pokémon Company today revealed additional details about the second part of the expansion pass for Pokémon Sword and Shield, called The Crown Tundra. The Expansion Pass was revealed at the start of the year, with the first part, the Isle of Armor expansion, being released in the summer. The Crown Tundra expansion will arrive on October 22, roughly three and a half weeks from today.
In a YouTube presentation, CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara showed off a new trailer for The Crown Tundra, giving fans a better look at some of the content in this snow-covered area. The presentation confirmed that all legendary Pokémon from previous games will be returning in the expansion, specifically through a new feature called Dynamax Adventures. In this mode, players can team up locally or online to explore dens, where they need to make their way through a series of Dynamax battles and potentially find one of these legendary Pokémon at the end.
The trailer also revealed a new feature in the expansion, the Galarian Star Tournament. After adventuring in The Crown Tundra, players will be able to participate in a tournament, teaming up with various characters found in the original Sword and Shield games, as well as in the Isle of Armor expansion. Other characters will team up as well, with different combinations depending on who the player teams up with. It's unclear what rewards will potentially come from this, however.
To celebrate the release of the second part of the Expansion Pass, players can obtain special Pikachu wearing different hats worn by Ash in the Pokémon anime series. These Pikachu will be distributed through Mystery Gift passwords over time, and the first one is available today, featuring the hat from the original series. More codes will be posted on this page, and you can claim them using the Mystery Gift option in Pokémon Sword and Shield, even if you didn't buy the Expansion Pass.
The presentation also revealed news about Pokémon HOME, the cloud storage service that allows players to store up to 6,000 Pokémon, trade, and see additional information about Pokémon, moves, and abilities. Later this year, the service will add support for the mobile title Pokémon GO, allowing players to transfer creatures from that game into Pokémon Sword and Shield.
As a reward for transferring Pokémon from GO into HOME, players will be able to activate the Mystery Box in Pokémon GO, which allows them to capture the creature Meltan. At the same time, a Mystery Gift will show up in Pokémon HOME, containing a special Melmetal (Meltan's evolved form) that is capable of Gigantamaxing, which is the first time this creature can be legitimately obtained in the games.
As mentioned above, the second part of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, The Crown Tundra, will be available on October 22. If you have yet to buy the base games, however, a new edition including the Expansion Pass will be available in retail stores on November 6. You can read our review of the game if you're on the fence about buying it.
By Brandon H
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Discuss: What does the future of gaming look like?
by João Carrasqueira
For decades, the gaming community, or part of it, has gotten used to the famed “console wars”. The race between each console manufacturer has, for a long time, been a topic of discussion for fans, as have the consequences of losing the console wars. Especially after the Sega Dreamcast - the company's last traditional console after a series of failures in the market - the idea of a company becoming a software-only company was a scary one. I distinctly remember how people would discuss the possibility of Nintendo going the same route during the Wii U era, and how worrying that thought was to fans like me.
But as we head into another generation of gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the gaming landscape is changing, and I think it’s very fair to say that Microsoft is spearheading that change.
When it first introduced Xbox Game Pass in 2017, Microsoft gave Xbox what is arguably one of the best deals in gaming, with over 100 games available from the get-go at a monthly cost that’s a fraction of the price of a single game. It instantly gave gamers access to a huge library of games from Microsoft and third-party developers, and that was a huge advantage for Xbox consoles. But since then, it’s become increasingly clear that it’s not about consoles.
Last year, Microsoft introduced Game Pass for PC, and with that, you didn’t even have to buy Microsoft’s hardware to get access to a long list of games, once again, for a very low monthly fee. Sure, it requires a Windows 10 PC that can run games, but most gaming PCs already run Windows 10 (based on the latest Steam hardware survey), and the hardware requirements would be there even outside of Game Pass. And this month, the next step - game streaming from the cloud officially launched on Android as part of Game Pass Ultimate, and now you don’t even need a PC or a Windows license. Plus, you can play your games anywhere, and not have to worry nearly as much about the specifications of your device.
Microsoft knows this transition to cloud gaming isn’t going to be instant, so of course the new consoles still have a reason to exist, but the sales numbers for that hardware are hardly going to matter. It’s no longer a “console war”, but a more generic gaming war, and eventually maybe just a service war. And after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Bethesda earlier this week, plus bundling EA Play into Game Pass, it’s clear that it’s willing to put down the money and effort to lead the next generation of gaming. Truth be told, Game Pass is completely unmatched in terms of scope and value.
But I can’t help feeling like I’ve seen a lot of this before in another medium. At the dawn of the 2010s, Netflix was the video streaming service. You’d hardly ever hear about any other service of the kind, and almost any show or movie you could want to watch was on there. And all of that came at the low cost of $9 per month, so there was almost no reason not to use the service.
But eventually, other media companies caught on, and today, the video streaming landscape is a mess. CBS All-Access, Disney+, Peacock, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more are fighting it out, and while most of these haven’t posed a major threat in terms of subscriber numbers, they’ve slowly chipped away at Netflix’s library, pushing the company to create more original content – resulting in more costs and potentially smaller returns.
We’re at the dawn of a new era of gaming, and just like Netflix did 10 years ago, Microsoft is undeniably leading the transition to this new method of bringing games to users. But eventually, other companies will catch on, and Microsoft knows that. I feel like that brings about a ton of questions on how the gaming market will develop, and whether Microsoft will be able to leverage its head-start to stay ahead in the future.
Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has said that it doesn’t necessarily see Sony and Nintendo as rivals, and instead points to companies like Google, which has its own Stadia service, and Amazon, which just announced its Luna cloud gaming service yesterday. But we're still early in the cloud gaming days, and both Stadia and Luna are from offering the value Microsoft offers with Game Pass Ultimate. Neither of those companies had the experience with building games, or the relationship with existing developers to kickstart a new gaming platform with major experiences on board. A lot of that done has to be done from scratch for these companies, and it will take a while for them to even have the chance to become as attractive as Game Pass Ultimate now is.
But then, what about the companies that do already have these relationships – Sony and Nintendo? An argument that can be made for Google and Amazon entering the race against Microsoft is that those companies have the cloud capacity to back that kind of gaming service, but I don’t think that means they have to create one such service to be successful. Amazon has a major cloud infrastructure, and it does offer Prime Video, but Amazon Web Services are also the backbone of services like Netflix. Amazon is still making money from the streaming market by offering its infrastructure to other services.
So what’s to stop these companies from doing that again with gaming, with Sony and Nintendo coming in to create their own distribution platforms, building on their existing properties and their relationships with existing developers and publishers? I think there’s room for the market to evolve in this way.
When other companies come into the fight, regardless of who they are, Microsoft will have to face a more serious fight, and I wonder if the company can be a leader in that market. Companies will start fighting harder for exclusive titles, and just like Microsoft acquired Bethesda, other big acquisitions could happen to rival it. At some point, the game streaming market will likely go through the same problems we’re seeing today with video streaming, and I’m not sure it will necessarily be better for consumers. You don’t see many shows running on different video subscription services at the same time, and it’s possible that more games will become exclusive to specific services in the future, potentially forcing customers to buy into more services to get access to the games they like.
One last question I have, especially being a Nintendo fan, is what will happen to dedicated gaming hardware. Nintendo is known for two things – making a profit on hardware sales and designing games around specific hardware features. Most games can be played with traditional controllers, but a lot of the experiences Nintendo promotes involve some kind of gimmick exclusive to its hardware. ARMS for the Nintendo Switch used motion controls as its primary control method, and the minigames in something like 1-2-Switch are based on many different Joy-Con features, including motion, the IR camera, and HD rumble. While it’s not impossible to imagine the company developing games with more traditional controls in mind, I feel like that would take away a lot of what makes Nintendo unique. Maybe controllers and accessories can deliver these experiences on different devices, rather than having to be tied to a console, or, who knows, maybe Nintendo will try to live on as a console manufacturer in this new landscape.
Nintendo's ARMS has you throwing punches in real life So, let me pass these questions on to you: how will the gaming market evolve once companies start rivaling Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass? Which companies do you see becoming players in this new landscape, and which ones do you think will drop out? Which ones offer their own services, and which ones will only make games? Will dedicated gaming hardware become unnecessary, particularly in the case of companies like Nintendo, which usually designs many of its games around specific hardware features? Will console exclusives be replaced with service exclusives and make the game streaming market as troublesome as the video streaming market? What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know!