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Updated: 25 min 28 sec ago

007 No Time To Die: Bad Guy Artist Billie Eilish To Perform Title Song

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 03:37

While the James Bond series has focused around villains with world-ending plots only for the titular hero to stop, one of the most memorable parts of the movie is the opening title sequence. In each movie, a performer that epitomizes that era of music brings the viewer into the world of James Bond. And for this April's 007 film--the 25th in the series--the opening music will be performed by Billie Eilish, known for her breakout song "Bad Guy."

Revealed on James Bond's Twitter, Eilish wrote the theme to the upcoming movie along with her co-writer and brother Finneas. This marks a special occasion for the 007 series as Eilish is the youngest artist in history to write and perform the Bond theme song.

Eilish joins a group of iconic performers that kicked off each Bond movie, like Tom Jones, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Adele, Duran Duran, and more. The score for the film will be composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer.

Back in December, the upcoming film got a new trailer, which will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective). The film stars Daniel Craig as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny, and Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swan. Joining them for the first time will be Rami Malek, Billy Magnussen, and Ana de Armas.

No Time to Die arrives in theater in April 8.

PlayStation 2019 Wrap-Up Shows Your Most-Played Games

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 02:35

Sony has opened a personalized PlayStation 2019 Wrap-Up site, which gives you all sorts of neat facts and stats about your PS4 playing habits over the last year. Simply visit the site and log in to your PlayStation account to see your own year-in-review.

The stats show the number of games you played and your top games, with hours spent in each. It also notes your top genre (based on number of games, hours played, and trophies earned), total hours played, and even your most common time of the week to play. It also runs through some other stats like Trophies earned, and gives you a 2019 title like "Action Hero" or "Speed Demon." There's also a button to redeem prizes including an avatar and free theme.

This tool is similar to one Nintendo put out for the Switch late last year. It also showed your top-played games along with a handful of other statistics. Like the Nintendo version, the PlayStation page is checkered with notes about upcoming games, reminding you to keep up with your gaming in 2020.

If you still need more recommendations to catch up on last year's top games while waiting for the 2020 crop, check out our picks for the Best PS4 Games of 2019. The list includes Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which also won top honors as GameSpot's Game of the Year 2019.

Sony is preparing to launch the PlayStation 5 this holiday season, but we're not sure exactly when to expect more details on the new hardware. The company recently announced it will be skipping E3 for the second year in a row.

PS5 And PS4 News And Announcements

Epic Announces Weekly Free Games Will Continue Through 2020

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 02:00

Launched in December 2018, the Epic Games Store just wrapped up its first full year as a PC games website and launcher. To celebrate its first year in business, Epic promised it would give away a new free game every two weeks on its storefront, and about halfway through 2019, that turned into one or two free games every single week. While the program was meant to end in December, Epic announced on Tuesday it will continue its weekly free game program through 2020.

In case you're unfamiliar: Epic's free games are available to anyone with an Epic Store account (which is also free to create). After you add them to your library, they're yours to keep forever. Epic gives away one or two free games every week, with new games rotating in on Thursdays at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET. The quantity depends on a game's rating--if a game rated M or PEGI-18 is included, Epic will offer a second game that's more accessible to younger users.

Epic has given away 73 games since the program began in late 2018. It's been an impressive group of giveaways so far, including Subnautica, What Remains of Edith Finch, The Witness, Alan Wake, Celeste, Superhot, and many more. Even if you've never bought a game from Epic, you could easily have dozens of free games in your library right now if you've been claiming the store's freebies over the past year. According to Epic, the games given away over the past year have totaled $1,455 in total value.

Sundered: Eldritch Edition, a chaotic Metroidvania, is the current free game on Epic. It's available to claim until Thursday, when it will be replaced by the next giveaway, platforming adventure Horace.

Best Deals This Week

New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Will Be Revealed In A Livestream This Week

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 01:57

The next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter will be revealed this week, Nintendo has announced. Game director Masahiro Sakurai will unveil the character during a livestream that is set to take place on Thursday, January 16, at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET.

According to the Nintendo Versus Twitter account, the livestream will run for approximately 35 minutes and feature an "in-depth look" at the upcoming DLC character. You'll be able to watch the stream on Nintendo's YouTube and Twitch channels.

Join Super #SmashBrosUltimate director Masahiro Sakurai on 1/16 at 6am PT for a roughly 35 minute video livestream featuring an in-depth look at an upcoming DLC fighter, which he will unveil in the video! pic.twitter.com/aOz0ilAiXU

— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) January 14, 2020

This will mark the fifth DLC character to arrive in Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the game's Fighters Pass, and the sixth total to be released to date (including Piranha Plant, who was offered as a free bonus to early adopters). The previous four Fighters Pass characters are Persona 5's Joker, Dragon Quest's Hero, Banjo and Kazooie, and Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard.

Whoever the fifth Fighters Pass character turns out to be, they won't be the last newcomer to join the brawl. Last September, Nintendo confirmed that even more DLC characters are in development for Smash Bros. Ultimate, although the company hasn't dropped any hints as to who those fighters will be.

Each new Smash DLC character is typically released alongside a new stage and several music tracks taken from their series. These individual fighter packs run for $6 USD / $8 AUD / £5 GBP, while the Fighters Pass costs $25 USD / $37 AUD / £20 GBP. If you missed the cut-off date to receive Piranha Plant, you can also pick it up for $5 USD / $7 AUD / £4 GBP.

In other Smash Ultimate news, the game's next Spirit Board event kicks off on January 17 and introduces several new Spirits from Astral Chain. Nintendo also recently rolled out a minor update for Smash Ultimate that added support for the upcoming Dark Samus and Richter Belmont Amiibo figures.

Vin Diesel's Violent Sci-Fi Movie Bloodshot Gets Wild Second Trailer

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 01:39

Vin Diesel will return to the franchise that made him a star with the ninth Fast & Furious movie this summer, but ahead of that, we have Bloodshot. The movie is an adaptation of the comic book series and stars Vin Diesel as a former soldier who is brought back from the dead via advanced nanotechnology. The second trailer has now been released.

While October's first trailer was slightly more story-focused, but this one is more interested in delivering gory hi-tech action. Diesel is one of several super-soldiers who are sent on missions to blow things up and kill people, with Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3) plays the shady doctor in control of his life. It's got a distinctive comic book vibe to it and looks very over-the-top and violent. Check the trailer out below.

Bloodshot also stars Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver), Sam Heughan (Outlander), Lamorne Morris (New Girl), Toby Kebbell (Kong: Skull Island), and Talulah Riley (Westworld). It's directed by Dave Wilson, who worked on the acclaimed Netflix animated anthology Love Death + Robots, and releases on February 21, 2020.

Bloodshot was created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton and first appeared in 1992. He was one of the main characters for Valiant comics, which was set up in 1989 by former Marvel editor Jim Shooter. The Bloodshot film is part of a five-movie deal with Sony to bring various Valiant characters to the screen.

As for the Fast & Furious 9, the first trailer is set to be released at the end of January--we'll presumably find out the movie's title then too. For more, check out GameSpot's guide to everything we know so far about Fast 9.

MLB The Show 20 Pre-Order Bonuses, Release Date, Anniversary Edition, And More

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 01:36

We're roughly two months away from baseball season, which means we're due for another entry in the MLB The Show baseball sim from SIE San Diego Studio. MLB The Show 20 releases for PS4 on March 17, about a week before Opening Day, and Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez graces the cover. It's the 15th entry in the acclaimed series, and PS4 owners can lock in their pre-orders right now. You can even get four days early access with a few of the editions.

Let's address the elephant in the room first. In December, Sony revealed that MLB The Show would no longer be a PlayStation exclusive. The change doesn't go into effect until 2021, though. It's too early to say which platforms MLB The Show 21 will release on, but based on tweets from Nintendo and Microsoft, Xbox One/Series X and Nintendo Switch owners will probably get to play one of the best sports sim series of all time next year.

This year, it's all about the PlayStation 4. A closed beta is running until January 20. Unfortunately, you can no longer sign up for a chance to partake in the early festivities.

Though the game is just two months away from launch, SIE San Diego hasn't outlined any new features or improvements just yet. We should learn more closer to launch, but there's no reason to worry. MLB The Show has yet to have a bad outing. The series continues to improve year after year, becoming a more realistic approximation of America's favorite pastime.

MLB The Show pre-orders always come with useful in-game perks for dedicated baseball fans. Pre-orders are available now for both physical and digital editions of MLB The Show 20.

MLB the Show 20 has four different editions to choose from.

MLB The Show 20 pre-order bonuses

Pre-ordering any edition of MLB The Show 20 will net you an extra Gold Choice card pack for Diamond Dynasty, the card-collecting online mode where you assemble and improve your own squad. If you pre-order from the PlayStation Store, you'll also get a Javy Baez Flashback card for MLB The Show 19 and 5,000 MLB The Show 20 Stubs to use in Diamond Dynasty. Those who pre-order at GameStop will also get a Gear-Up pack for Diamond Dynasty.

Pre-order MLB The Show 20 standard edition

The $60 standard edition comes with any pre-order bonuses and an additional Gold Choice card pack.

See at Best Buy See at Walmart See at GameStop See at PlayStation Store Pre-order MLB The Show 20 MVP edition

For $80, you can get the MVP edition, which comes with a bunch of great perks in addition to the pre-order bonuses. Most notably, you'll get four days early access, so you can start playing on March 13. Physical editions come with a steelbook case with a variant cover design. You'll also get the following in-game bonuses:

  • Diamond Variety Pack
  • Gold Choice Pack (x2)
  • The Show pack (x10)
  • 30 team avatars
  • 10,000 Stubs
  • Double daily login rewards
  • Gear-Up pack -- GameStop exclusive
See at Best Buy See at Walmart See at GameStop See at PlayStation Store

Pre-order MLB The Show 20 Digital Deluxe edition

Exclusive to the PlayStation Store, the $100 Digital Deluxe edition comes with four days early access, the pre-order bonuses, and the following in-game items:

  • Diamond Variety pack (x2)
  • Gold Choice pack (x5)
  • The Show pack (x20)
  • 30 team avatars
  • 25,000 Stubs
  • Double daily login rewards
See at PlayStation Store

Pre-order MLB The Show 20 Anniversary editionMLB The Show 20 Anniversary edition

The $100 Anniversary edition is exclusive to GameStop. Along with the pre-order bonuses, it comes with the MVP edition steelbook case, a flat brim New Era baseball cap, four days early access, and a bunch of in-game bonuses.

  • Diamond Variety pack
  • Gold Choice pack (x2)
  • The Show pack (x20)
  • 30 team avatars
  • 25,000 Stubs
  • Double daily login rewards
  • Digital version of New Era baseball cap
See at GameStop

Best Deals This Week

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Delayed, Now Coming In April

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 01:21

The Final Fantasy VII Remake for PlayStation 4 has been delayed from its March 3 release date. A note from producer Yoshinori Kitase says the FFVII's new release date has been set for April 10, to give the team a little extra time for finishing touches.

"We are making this tough decision in order to give ourselves a few extra weeks to apply final polish to the game and to deliver you with the best possible experience," Kitase said in a message from the studio. "I, on behalf of the whole team, want to apologize to everyone, as I know this means waiting for the game just a little bit longer. Thank you for your patience and continued support."

The release of long-awaited remake is not actually that of the full game. Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in episodic fashion, dividing the game up into distinct chunks. This initial one consists of the Midgar portion of the original game.

Recently the demo for the game was leaked and datamined, leading to spoilers circulating the internet. We even got to see the opening movie, a nostalgic recreation of the original 1997 classic. Square Enix has not given word regarding when the demo may be released to the public. For more on the FF7 Remake, check out everything we know so far.

This was one of two Square Enix games that announced delays almost simultaneously. The other was Marvel's Avengers, which was pushed all the way to September. It had previously been scheduled for May.

Final Fantasy VII Remake News

Square Enix Delays Avengers Game To Fall 2020

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 01:20

The upcoming Marvel's Avengers game has been delayed, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have announced. Previously scheduled for launch in May, Avengers' release date is now set for September 4, 2020. The news coincides with the delay of Final Fantasy VII Remake, another much-anticipated Square Enix game.

In a post written by Scot Amos and Ron Rosenberg, the co-studio heads of Crystal Dynamics, the two describe their desire to "deliver the ultimate Avengers gaming experience." They say the delay is necessary to make that happen.

"As fans ourselves, it's an honor and a privilege to work with these legendary characters and we know what these super heroes mean to us and true believers around the world," the two wrote. "When we set out to bring you our vision for Marvel's Avengers, we committed to delivering an original story-driven campaign, engaging co-op, and compelling content for years to come. To that end, we will spend this additional development time focusing on fine tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve.

"The worldwide teams working on Marvel's Avengers sincerely appreciate the support you've shown us. We thrive on your enthusiasm and feedback and we can't wait to show you more. We apologize for the delay. We're confident it will be worth the wait."

After being announced back in 2017 as The Avengers Project, Marvel's Avengers was unveiled at E3 2019. At the time, the game received criticism for some for the look of its characters, as well as unclear messaging about what form the game would take. We've since gotten some clarity on the structure of the game and changes have been made to its visuals.

When it arrives in September, Avengers will be released for Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Google Stadia. You can learn more about it in our Avengers pre-order guide.

Marvel's Avengers Game News

Phil Spencer Confirms That Xbox Will Attend E3 2020

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 15:58

Earlier today, Sony announced that for a second year in a row, PlayStation will not be attending E3. Last year, Sony's no-show meant that a lot of focus was on Xbox and Microsoft, and it seems like that will remain the case in 2020, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer confirming that the company will once again attend.

In a brief tweet on the matter, Spencer promised that the team at Xbox is working on their E3 showing for the year, and that they "look forward to sharing with all who love to play what's ahead for us."

Our team is hard at work on E3, we look forward to sharing with all who love to play what's ahead for us. Our artform has consistently been propelled by the cross-section of creativity and technical progress. 2020 is a milestone year in that journey for Team Xbox. #XboxE3 #E32020

— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 14, 2020

This likely means that Microsoft will show games coming to the Xbox Series X at E3 this year, as it's due to release before 2020 is over. However, all games coming to the Series X at launch will also be coming to other consoles, as it will have no next-gen exclusives. The console was unveiled during the 2019 Game Awards; as of yet, Sony has not revealed the PlayStation 5, and many of its features remain secrets.

Whether or not Microsoft will have a good showing remains to be seen--here's an argument for why Sony skipping E3 is a good idea.

The Batman Actor Compares The Movie To Something Very Unexpected

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 15:49

One of the most-anticipated new comic book movies is DC's The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson in the title role. While there has been a lot of news about the casting, very little is known about what the movie will actually offer in terms of story or tone. Now, actor Peter Sarsgaard has provided some fresh insight, and his comments are anything but traditional.

Sarsgaard--whose role in The Batman is yet to be confirmed--told CinemaBlend that the movie has the vibe of a Pixies concert from decades ago. He said The Batman feels "young" and and edgy, thanks in part to its cast, and not unlike the iconic alt rock band.

"The cast is so awesome. It seems different from other Batman movies to me, just with the cast," Sarsgaard said. "There's something about it that has an edge, it's young. To me, just my perception of it, it reminds me of when I was in college, and I went to go see The Pixies play, and looking around and feeling the vibe at a Pixies concert. That's what it felt like to me, a song like 'I Bleed.' That it has the energy and that sort of thing, and isn't so specifically targeted to a very young audience, or a very old audience, but has that power of chaos in it…"

Sarsgaard went on to say the kind of connection he felt with the audience at Pixies concerts is similar to what he feels with his castmates in The Batman.

"The Pixies were my favorite group of all time. I went to like 20 concerts, and it was that feeling of all of us in this. And it's very emotional. The Pixies were incredibly emotional band, and I think this Batman is very emotional in that way," he said. "I think it will be very powerful."

The Batman is not Sarsgaard's first comic book movie, as he portrayed Hector Hammond in the disappointing and unsuccessful Green Lantern movie back in 2011. Another connection Sarsgaard has to comic book movies is through his wife, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who starred in The Dark Knight.

The Batman is scheduled to hit theatres in June 2021. It's directed by Matt Reeves, who previously directed Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes.

In addition to Pattinson as Batman, the film features Jeffrey Wright as Comissioner Gordon, Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Alfred, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone.

New Black Widow "Special Look" Trailer Releases For The MCU Phase 4 Movie

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 15:37

During the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night, Marvel released a new "special look" trailer for the studio's new Black Widow movie releasing in May. It sees Scarlett Johansson return to the role of Natasha Romanoff.

The 90-second trailer features a lot of the same footage from the first trailer, so don't expect to get a ton of new insight into what the movie is all about. However, Marvel has added in some new scenes, which offer a look at Taskmaster. Watch it below:

Black Widow is set before the events of Avengers: Endgame, and co-star David Harbour told IGN recently that it takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Beyond Johansson in the title role, the cast includes Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Harbour as Alexei (AKA Red Guardian), Rachel Weisz as Melina, and O-T Fagbenle as a character named Mason.

With its May 1, 2020 release date, Black Widow will officially kick off the MCU's Phase 4. Black Widow is directed by Australian director Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome).

This is the second Marvel-centric trailer we've gotten recently. Sony's Morbius trailer also dropped, and while it's not a Marvel Studios film, it does feature some unexpected MCU connections. For more on that, check out our Morbius trailer breakdown.

Marvel News

Cyberpunk 2077: This Dreams Demake Imagines A 1997 PlayStation Version Of The Game

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 15:07

Cyberpunk 2077 has received the demake treatment courtesy of one fan. YouTuber Bearly Regal has created a partial demake of the game inside Dreams, the early access version of Media Molecule's game builder for PS4.

Cyberpunk 1997, as the demake is called, starts in the player's apartment, before they move through the market and into the main city, where the camera moves from first-person to an overhead perspective, ala the original Grand Theft Auto. A lot of attention has been paid to the 90s user interface--it's a bit higher fidelity than games made during the period, but the aesthetic is right.

The game is "coming soon to Dreams," which releases on February 14, 2020. It will be interesting to see how far the Dreams engine is pushed, and how faithfully the Cyberpunk experience carries over.

Bearly Regal has been working on this for a while--in July 2019, he released a video of the work-in-progress version of Cyberpunk 1997, and showed how he was working in Dreams to develop it. He's also previously imagined how Death Stranding might look as a PS1 game.

Cyberpunk 2077, meanwhile, releases for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on April 15, 2020. Here's why it's one of our most anticipated games of 2020.

Why Sony Is Smart To Skip E3 2020, Even With The PS5 Coming Up

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 14:27

For the second year in a row, PlayStation is skipping E3. The announcement might have come as a shock to some, given that 2020 is the year of the PlayStation 5. But Sony has good reason to abandon E3 again this year--the show just doesn't make sense for PlayStation right now. The company is, by all signs, better suited to break from the pack and hold its own events. By bypassing E3 this year, Sony does not have to share the limelight with Microsoft, and that works out well for both companies during this all-important year.

There are numerous elements at play here. We've analysed the key news and announcements to (try to) make sense of it all.

Why Is Sony Bowing Out?

A Sony spokesperson confirmed that the company conducted a "thorough evaluation" and ultimately decided to skip the show because it didn't align with its own ambitions.

"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020," Sony said. "We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year."

Sony won't be at E3 this year, but the company said it plans to take part in "hundreds" of consumer events across the world to promote PS4 and PS5 games. The full details of this plan remain to be seen, but you can expect more details to populate in due course.

Behold, the PS5 logo

It Makes Sense

Sony removing itself from E3 again this year might seem shocking at first glance, given the company's overall history with E3, but it's not all that surprising of a decision. The show's profile and popularity is generally understood to be diminishing. E3 remains a major event on the calendar, but for a heavy-hitter like Sony, the event is becoming increasingly irrelevant--and the decision to abandon the show for two years in a row is clear evidence of that. The appeal for E3, at least during a time, was that it provided huge mainstream media attention. That may still be true for some companies and developers, but Sony does not necessarily need to be at E3.

Like Nintendo, Sony is in the enviable position of being able to generate a huge amount of attention from mainstream media and fans alike from holding their own event.

People had an easier time understanding Sony's absence from E3 2019 because that year, the company had relatively fewer high-profile games coming out, and it was also too soon to start talking about the PlayStation 5 in an official capacity.

Some have commented that Sony's absence from E3 this year is especially curious given 2020 is the year of the PlayStation 5 and The Last of Us: Part II. But Sony can generate as much or more attention by conducting its own briefing, on its own terms, whenever it wants.

Separating from the pack gives Sony the opportunity to cut through the noise and blast its signal loudly and to more people than it might have otherwise were it confined to E3. Not only that, but floor space at E3 is not cheap, so this move saves Sony some scratch during a year where budgets are likely tight already with the ramp-up to release for the PlayStation 5.

For the PlayStation 4 reveal in February 2013, Sony rented out the ritzy Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City for a multi-day event that led to international news attention for weeks. While not confirmed, you can expect Sony to do something similar for the PlayStation 5 reveal--creating an event that's dedicated to the system and what's coming next for the PlayStation brand. The PS5 logo reveal at CES 2020 was a start, but Sony is surely planning something much bigger and brighter to showcase the PS5's most exciting new features.

Sony Is Not Alone

Sony isn't the first company to take this approach. Nintendo stopped conducting live, in-person E3 keynote speeches years ago, instead opting to hold pre-recorded Nintendo Direct briefings. Nintendo still holds a Nintendo Direct during E3, but the company has also padded out the Direct schedule with briefings throughout the year focused on different areas of its business. The company successfully dominates the news cycle with this approach, and it's not hard to see why Sony would seek to emulate some of that, especially with the PS5 coming up. In fact, Sony has already begun doing this with its own Nintendo Direct-style "State of Play" briefings.

Microsoft, too, is expanding and differentiating its announcements events. While Microsoft still does attend E3, and it's expected that will continue in 2020, the company has changed things up in recent years. Microsoft now holds its Xbox events at E3 at the nearby Microsoft Theatre instead of the Los Angeles Convention Center itself. Additionally, Xbox recently brought back its XO event, which was held in Mexico in 2018 and London in 2019, both of which featured major news announcements that had space and time to breathe. Microsoft also recently started its Inside Xbox remote video briefings where it is known to make significant reveals.

The landscape of major news events for gaming companies is clearly changing, and Sony is smart to create its own dedicated events for its portfolio of products.

A Window Of Opportunity For Xbox At E3 2020

With Sony bowing out of E3, that leaves room the opportunity for Microsoft to dominate the news cycle in a very important year for the Xbox brand. The next-generation Xbox Series X releases this holiday, with Halo Infinite as a launch title. Even if Sony does come out with some major news about the PlayStation 5 and its games ahead of E3, Microsoft has the chance at E3 this year to demonstrate the power and appeal of this new console and the wider Xbox ecosystem without Sony getting a rebuttal just hours later.

A report from Video Games Chronicle cites unnamed sources who said Microsoft has been planning for its E3 2020 briefing with the understanding that Sony wouldn't be there. Microsoft is said to be scaling up its plans for the show to take advantage of Sony's absence.

The Xbox One got off to a terrible start in 2013 with poor and confusing messaging related to the Xbox One and its digital practices and policies. With Xbox boss Phil Spencer now at the helm (Don Mattrick was the top boss back in 2013), Microsoft has another opportunity to start a new console cycle on the right foot. A strong E3 would go a long way toward instilling consumer confidence in the brand.

Both Microsoft and Sony will be just fine, whether they attend E3 or not. For Sony, the company is coming off the incredibly successful PlayStation 4, which stands as the No. 2 best-selling console in history, only behind the PlayStation 2. There is a huge audience of people eager to buy into what's coming next and enjoy next-gen features like faster loading times and expanded backwards compatibility, among other items.

Microsoft, too, has been riding high of late, in particular thanks to the Xbox Game Pass which already has millions of subscribers and is helping expand the number of types of games people play. The Xbox Series X looks to be a powerhouse of a console, even if you might struggle to fit it into your entertainment center. And with Xbox Game Pass getting folded into xCloud, Microsoft may truly be on the precipice of creating the elusive "Netflix of Gaming." The real money in video games is in software and services, not hardware, and Microsoft is strongly positioned.

What Sony Misses Out On

While it can be stated that E3 as a show is not as popular or important as it once was, Sony's decision to skip the show might cost the company in some regards. Not only will Microsoft have the upper hand as it relates to driving conversation at E3 and leaving the casual fans wondering, 'What about PlayStation?' but Sony won't be able to use the show to respond to Microsoft or to pad out its announcements in a way it is historically known to.

If history is any indication, fans can expect Sony to officially announce and discuss the PlayStation 5 during a dedicated event of its own before E3. For the PS4 reveal, the console was announced in February 2013 and then further detailed during E3 a few months later. This provided the company with the ability to space out its reveals to drive engagement and conversation around the console over the period of many months.

Sony also very smartly capitalized on the Xbox One's poor messaging in 2013 by using its own E3 briefing to take a shot at the Xbox One's used-game policies. It was a very memorable moment for Sony, and it must have embarrassed Microsoft and led some to doubt Microsoft's proposal. Of course, Microsoft would later reverse those policies, but the Xbox One was never able to climb out of the hole it dug itself into at the start of that generation.

Sony stuck it to Microsoft back at E3 2013 over the Xbox One's since-reversed use-game policies

Sony of course can still hold its own, separate events throughout the year to discuss the PS5 and its new features and games. But even with the scaled-down nature of E3 this year, Sony is giving Microsoft the opportunity to win the event and get all the attention.

Who Runs E3?

E3 is run by the Entertainment Software Association, which is a group that represents the interests of the video game industry in Washington, D.C. The group has not been without its controversies, as the organization most recently failed to protect the personal information of its attendees. Home addresses and other personal details were discovered to be publicly accessible. As a result, some people remarked that their trust in the ESA was eroded. To this date, the ESA has yet to formally and officially respond and address what it will do to ensure it doesn't happen again.

The ESA also generated heat for its defense of microtransaction practices. The company firmly believes in self-regulation instead of political action. The ESA is said to have dispatched lobbyists to try to kill legislative proposals that would have impacted games with microtransactions.

Also of note is an expose from Variety Gaming that shone a light on former CEO Michael Gallagher's reportedly harsh leadership and his favoring of Donald Trump. Gallagher was reportedly forced out of the ESA after membership called for his resignation.

The ESA is now run by president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis.

What This Means For E3 Going Forward

For its part, the ESA--which organizes E3 every year--released a statement of its own in response to Sony's announcement. The group said E3 2020 aims to be an "exciting, high-energy show" that will include new "experiences." Basically, the company is trying to get the message across that E3 2020, even without Sony, will be the same as you remember--and even bigger and more exciting this year. It remains to be seen if that will be the case, however.

"E3 is a signature event celebrating the video game industry and showcasing the people, brands and innovations redefining entertainment loved by billions of people around the world. E3 2020 will be an exciting, high-energy show featuring new experiences, partners, exhibitor spaces, activations, and programming that will entertain new and veteran attendees alike," it said. "Exhibitor interest in our new activations is gaining the attention of brands that view E3 as a key opportunity to connect with video game fans worldwide."

E3 as a show appears to be at something of a crossroads, and Sony bowing out again this year is a bad look for a show that bills itself as the biggest and most important gaming event of the year. (For what it's worth, Gamescom regularly dwarfs E3's attendance many times overr). The ESA is clearly failing to inspire Sony to see E3 as a must-attend show, and that isn't a great sign for the event.

The show will go on---E3 2020 isn't screeching to a halt just because Sony won't be there. Microsoft, Nintendo, and others are expected to attend yet again when the show kicks off on June 9, but the event may well again feel muted and lacking. Time will tell.

What This Means For Sony Going Forward

By skipping E3 this year, Sony is taking further control and command of its future. Working inside the confines of a major media event like E3 comes with its own set of limitations, either perceived or otherwise. By branching out and charting its own path, Sony gets to completely control the narrative, and it's not hard to see why this is an attractive proposition for the company, especially during an important console-release year like 2020.

Sony--and Microsoft and Nintendo for that matter--remain dues-paying members of the ESA, so the announcement to back away from E3 does not appear to portend that Sony will soon--if ever--abandon the ESA altogether. The ESA, after all, is hugely important to game companies by the manner in which it acts on the behalf of and defends video game companies on Capitol Hill.

The ESA was instrumental in helping knock down the 2011 violent video game bill that sought to limit the sale of some video games, and the group leads the charge on numerous other important issues that, while not as high-profile as the 2011 case, are still important. This may well be way Sony continues to support the ESA as a member, even if it has chosen to skip the past two E3s.

It is up to the ESA to create a show that is compelling enough in its value offering to make Sony want to come back. Whether or not that will ever happen remains to be seen. For now, Sony will do things its own way, and who could blame them?

What do you think about Sony skipping E3 again this year? Let us know in the comments below!

PS5 And Xbox Series X Reveals Have Negatively Impacted GameStop's Business, Retailer Says

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:07

The holiday season is historically the most important sales period of the year for retailers, but unfortunately for GameStop, things did not go so well. The Grapevine, Texas-based retailer announced its holiday earnings today, and they dropped significantly.

For the nine-week period ended January 4, 2020, GameStop generated revenue of $1.83 billion, which is down 27.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Store sales fell 24.7 percent, which is a dramatic result given sales increased 1.5 percent during the holiday period last year.

GameStop said the downturn in sales this holiday was due in part to the "overall trends impacting the video game industry," adding that the drop-off was also impacted by the "accelerated decline" in new console and game sales, "particularly in the month of December."

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console sales have been dropping for months now at GameStop and other retailers, with the more recently released Nintendo Switch the only major home console experiencing growth in 2019. It's expected that PS4 and Xbox One sales have fallen recently, as the systems are at the tail end of their lifecycles, having been in the market since 2013. Additionally, people may be holding off on buying a new PlayStation or Xbox right now because next-generation consoles from each company are due out this Holiday.

"We continued to see growth in the Nintendo Switch platform, which supports our view that our sales will strengthen as new consoles and innovative technology are introduced," management said.

As for game sales declining, GameStop--which trades mainly in physical media--is likely suffering at the hands of increasing digital game sales. Multiple major publishers have announced that the percentage of new games sold digitally are increasing, at times to record highs. For example, Borderlands 3 sold 70 percent of its launch copies digitally, while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also set digital sales records.

GameStop CEO George Sherman said the retailer anticipated a "challenging sales environment" for this holiday season. "Our customers continue to delay purchases ahead of anticipated console launches in late 2020," he said.

Due to the poor sales results, GameStop is downgrading its fiscal 2019 earnings guidance. The company believes it has the "right long-term action plans in place" to help improve profitability for the company year, though no specific strategies were announced.

One way GameStop is cutting costs is by closing stores. As part of GameStop's ambitious "GameStop Reboot" initiative, the company is closing 180-200 "underperforming" stores by February 2020, with more store closures to potentially come later.

Around 55 stores are already confirmed to be closing in the United States, while more than two-dozen EB Games locations are closing or have already shut in Australia. (GameStop owns EB Games). GameStop also cut staff from its Game Informer magazine recently.

GameStop announced its holiday sales report and confirmed the downgraded projections at the end of the day on Monday, so it will be interesting to see how anaylysts and investors respond when the stock market opens on Tuesday. GameStop is currently trading at around $5.43 per share, which is close to an all-time low for the company.

PlayStation Opts To Skip E3 For Second Year In A Row

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:04

Sony will once again be skipping E3. Despite the PS5's imminent launch this holiday season, the company has told GamesIndustry.biz that it will not have a presence at E3 2020.

"After thorough evaluation SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020," Sony said. "We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year."

In lieu of attending E3, Sony says it will be "participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe" this year to promote PS4 and PS5 games. "Our focus is on making sure fans feel part of the PlayStation family and have access to play their favorite content. We have a fantastic line up of titles coming to PlayStation 4, and with the upcoming launch of PlayStation 5, we are truly looking forward to a year of celebration with our fans," the company said.

The ESA, which organizes E3, has released a statement stating that it expects this year's show to be as exciting as previous years. "E3 is a signature event celebrating the video game industry and showcasing the people, brands, and innovations redefining entertainment loved by billions of people around the world. E3 2020 will be an exciting, high-energy show featuring new experiences, partners, exhibitor spaces, activations, and programming that will entertain new and veteran attendees alike. Exhibitor interest in our new activations is gaining the attention of brands that view E3 as a key opportunity to connect with video game fans worldwide."

This marks the second year in a row that Sony has opted out of the annual gaming expo. Last year, Sony said it would not be attending E3 because it was looking for other "inventive opportunities" to connect with its own community.

"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," a PlayStation representative said at the time.

E3 isn't the only big gaming event that Sony has pulled away from in recent years; the company also hasn't hosted its annual PlayStation Experience convention since 2017.

While E3 has traditionally been a major venue for video game and console reveals, this wouldn't be the first time Sony has unveiled a system outside of the expo. Back in 2013, Sony officially pulled back the curtain on the PS4 during a special "PlayStation Meeting" media event instead of at E3. It's possible the company will host another such event to divulge more details about the PS5 sometime this year.

Sony revealed the first tidbits about the PS5 last May, and since then the company has been gradually drip-feeding more information about the next-generation console. Most recently, Sony unveiled the system's completely unsurprising logo during its CES 2020 briefing. SIE president Jim Ryan concluded the segment by promising that further specifics about the PS5, including the game lineup and other features, will be announced at a later date.

Sony has not yet announced a release date for the PS5, but it is slated to launch sometime in holiday 2020, around the time that Microsoft's rival Xbox Series X console will hit the market. You can read everything we know about Xbox Series X so far in our roundup.

PS5 And PS4 News And Announcements

Pokemon Go Trade Evolution Guide: Which Pokemon Evolve By Trading

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:45

Pokemon Go has introduced a new way to evolve some Pokemon. Just as in the mainline series, you can now evolve certain Pokemon by trading them to a friend. However, this works a little differently than it does in a traditional Pokemon game, so we've put together this explainer detailing how to evolve Pokemon through trading in Go.

How To Evolve Pokemon By Trading

In mainline Pokemon games, a handful of monsters can only be evolved by trading them to another player, but in Pokemon Go, these creatures could be evolved the same way as most other Pokemon: by feeding them a set amount of Candy. Now, however, there's an alternate method of evolving them: if you receive an eligible Pokemon through a trade, its Candy requirement will be completely removed, essentially allowing you to evolve it for free.

While this new evolution method has only been recently added to Pokemon Go, it retroactively applies to past traded Pokemon. That means if you've previously received one of the eligible Pokemon through a trade, its Candy requirement to evolve will also be removed.

Which Pokemon Evolve By Trading?

The new trade evolution method applies to the same Pokemon that evolve by trading in the mainline games:

  • Kadabra -> Alakazam
  • Machoke -> Machamp
  • Graveler -> Golem
  • Alolan Graveler -> Alolan Golem
  • Haunter -> Gengar
  • Boldore -> Gigalith
  • Gurdurr -> Conkeldurr
  • Karrablast -> Escavalier
  • Shelmet -> Accelgor

In the main series, a handful of other Pokemon--such as Scyther and Onix--also evolve by trading if they're holding certain items, but their evolution method in Pokemon Go has not been changed, so you cannot trade for a Scyther and then evolve it into Scizor without spending any Candy; only the Pokemon listed above will have their Candy requirement removed if obtained through a trade.

Boldore, Gurdurr, Karrablast, and Shelmet are among the newest Gen 5 Pokemon to arrive in the game. However, a handful of other Gen 5 Pokemon can only evolve using a new item called the Unova Stone. You can read more about how to obtain one of those and which Pokemon it works on in our Unova Stone guide.

Pokemon Go News

Best Gaming Deals This Week At Best Buy: Huge Nintendo Switch Sale, Headsets, And More

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:40

Now that we're halfway into January, retailers are settling back into their weekly sales, and Best Buy's latest round of discounts is available now online. The retailer's most notable deals this week are for Nintendo Switch digital games--Best Buy is price-matching certain game deals available in the Nintendo Eshop as part of Nintendo's New Year Sale. On top of that, you'll find a few good PS4 and Xbox One game deals as well as discounts on accessories like headphones and capture cards.

While over 1,000 games are currently marked down in the Eshop, a handful of games are available at the same price at Best Buy as digital downloads. First-party Switch games are $18 off, a notable discount considering Nintendo's first-party titles rarely go for less than $60. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Kirby Star Allies, Yoshi's Crafted World, Arms, and Splatoon 2 are all available for $42 as part of the sale. Resident Evil fans can snag the original Resident Evil for $15 and Resident Evil 4 for $20. Other notable Switch deals include Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition for $40, Gris for $8.49, What Remains of Edith Finch for $14, and Hotline Miami Collection for $12.49.

Pickings are slim for PS4 and Xbox One owners, but you can snag Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for $35, down from $60. Some of 2019's biggest games--Borderlands 3, Resident Evil 2, and Devil May Cry 5--are all discounted to $25 each.

If you're looking to pick up Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, which releases this Friday, there's a nice freebie available at Best Buy. Not only will you get the game's pre-order bonuses for buying early, but you'll also get free two months of anime streaming service FunimationNow Premium Plus. Kakarot isn't currently discounted, but with Best Buy's price-match guarantee, you should be able to get the game for $50 due to it being on sale at Amazon and Walmart.

Check out more of our picks from Best Buy's weekly sale below. For more gaming and tech deals, you can check out the full offering of discounts at Best Buy.

See more deals at Best Buy

Best game deals at Best Buy this weekNintendo Switch digital game saleMore game deals (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)More great deals Corsair Void Pro Wired Gaming Headset

$48 ($80)

See at Best Buy

Corsair Void Pro Wireless Gaming Headset (Only at Best Buy)

$70 ($130)

See at Best Buy

Elgato Game Capture Card HD60 S+

$170 ($200)

See at Best Buy

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, Neon Green (Only at Best Buy)

$70 ($80)

See at Best Buy

Best Deals This Week

Apex Legends "Meteor" Isn't A Season 4 Tease After All

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:20

Apex Legends players thought they may have caught a glimpse of a teaser for the coming season, but it turned out to simply be a very unusual bug. A falling object that appeared to be a meteor was actually an error involving Gibraltar's Ultimate ability.

GamesRadar reports that the rumors have been swirling since October, when several players started seeing a meteor falling from the sky. At least one captured and shared the sight, and it certainly looks like a meteor streaking through the sky and crashing into the ground.

Anyone else spotted this??? Please Share #apexlegends #season3 pic.twitter.com/qyCfAW0kmr

— c3sour (@c3sourstreams) October 17, 2019

The fan community has been working to understand the sight, and Reddit user PenPineapplePen recently discovered how to reliably replicate the bug. It comes from triggering Gibraltar's Defensive Bombardment ultimate ability, but if he's killed after calling the airstrike, the missile comes in horizontally. More datamined sleuthing from Twitter user That1MiningGuy explained further disparities, like if his beacon grenade falls through the map.

Apex Legends Season 3 began in October, but Respawn hasn't made clear when we can expect Season 4 to follow. Launched last January, it was one of GameSpot's Best Games of 2019--in part because of the updates that kept us coming back.

"Apex Legends was one of those games we kept coming back to throughout the year, whether it was to dig into new updates or just enjoy the thrill of claiming to be champions," wrote Michael Higham. "Never have we, the staff at GameSpot, been this excited to ask the question: where we droppin'?"

Cyberpunk 2077: Take A Look Inside Dark Horse's Deluxe Art Book

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:59

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of our most anticipated games of 2020. While its April 16 release date is only three months away, we're still looking for every bit of sweet, sweet Night City content we can get our hands on to make the wait seem that much less painful.

In the game, players will take control of a fully customizable character for an RPG experience by CD Projekt Red, the studio that brought us The Witcher series. With FPS-style combat, celebrity cameos, and a massive, sprawling world full of rival gangs vying for power and control, Cyberpunk 2020 will plunge characters into the gritty underworld of Night City.

Luckily, Dark Horse has us covered on that front, with a deluxe hardcover edition of The World Of Cyberpunk 2077, a massive artbook compiling in-game lore, history, and worldbuilding to fully immerse and prepare you for your upcoming trip to the not-so-distant future. Take a look at some of the goodies you'll find inside of the deluxe edition, including:

  • An exclusive Night City map cover

  • A slipcase featuring Night City graffiti

  • A set of temporary Cyberpunk 2077 tattoos

  • A poster of Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves)

  • And a set of vehicle postcards

The World Of Cyberpunk 2020 cover, courtsey of Dark Horse

The World Of Cyberpunk 2077 includes 192 pages of Night City goodness and hits shelves April 22, mere days after the game debuts on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia.

See at Amazon

What's New To Disney Plus This Week? Movies, TV Shows, And Originals

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:33

It's still the new kid on the block, but the streaming service Disney+ is still living up to the hype, offering up movies, TV shows, and original programming for you to check out. This week, a new original series debuts, and there is a lot more coming. Check out the full release list below, along with our recommendations.

On Friday, another episode of The World According to Jeff Goldblum debuts. In the 11th episode of the first season, Goldblum goes on the hunt to look at the world of swimming pools, to better understand why people like them so much. Watch as the host of the show learns the history of his topic, all while remaining confused that people who are so infatuated with pools.

There is a new original series arriving this Friday called Diary of a Future President. In this new show, a young girl named Elena has her life chronicled. One day, she'll grow up to be President of the United States, but this comedic series will follow her ups and downs as she traverses life through middle school.

Below, you'll find everything coming to Disney+ this week, and for more streaming news, check out everything coming to Netflix this week.

New to Disney+ this week:Wednesday, January 15
  • America’s National Parks (Season 1)
  • Continent 7: Antarctica (Season 1)
  • Dog: Impossible (Season 1)
  • Marvel Super Hero Adventures (Shorts) (Season 2-3)
  • Muppet Babies Show and Tell (Shorts) (Season 1)
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja (Season 1-2)
  • The Lodge (Season 2)
  • Wild Russia (Season 1)
Friday, January 17
  • Diary of a Future President: Episode 101 - "Hello World"
  • Encore!: Episode 111 - "Ragtime"
  • Marvel’s Hero Project: Episode 111 - "Thrilling Tokata"
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum: Episode 111 - "Pools"
  • One Day At Disney: Episode 107 - "Jose Zelaya: Character Designer"
  • Pick of the Litter: Episode 105 - "Meet Your Match"

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