Minecraft Cancels Graphical Update

Minecraft cancels graphical update after it proved to be too technically demanding. Mojang made the announcement on the official Minecraft site earlier today saying that the Super Duper Graphics Pack was no longer in development and that it was canceled. The announcement stresses that they weren’t happy with how it performed across devices. But, they are “looking into other ways for you to experience Minecraft with a new look.”

Minecraft

The Super Duper Graphics Pack was announced during E3 2017 and many were looking forward to its release. But, it is good to hear they won’t be completely abandoning the idea of a graphical update. It will be interesting to see where they take things next. For now though, here’s the full statement from Mojang.

 

Some of you might remember us announcing the Super Duper Graphics Pack during E3 2017. Super Duper was an ambitious initiative that brought a new look to Minecraft but, unfortunately, the pack proved too technically demanding to implement as planned.

We realise this is disappointing to some of you – there was a lot of enthusiasm for Super Duper from inside and outside the studio – but unfortunately, we aren’t happy with how the pack performed across devices. For this reason, we’re stopping development on the pack, and looking into other ways for you to experience Minecraft with a new look.

Minecraft is available on a wide range of platforms, and we’re constantly trying to make the most of the technical architecture of each one. We’ll be able to share more on that subject very soon.

Thanks for your patience, and sorry for not following through on our plans!

 

Source: Minecraft Official Site

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Roblox Has 100 Million Users, Overtaking Minecraft

Roblox has 100 million users, which means that it is now more popular than Minecraft, which in March was reported to have 91 million monthly players. Roblox’s user count is in monthly active users and quite impressive for a 13 year old game. Although it is rarely discussed by games media Roblox is one of the biggest video games in the world. An amazing 40% of their playerbase are female and most of its audience is on the younger side. Which is perhaps why it has been so neglected by the media. Although, MMOGames’ very own former writer David Jagneaux has written the bestselling Roblox guidebook the Ultimate Roblox Book: An Unofficial Guide.

ROBLOX

In a recent quote founder and CEO David Baszucki said, “We started Roblox over a decade ago with a vision to bring people from all over the world together through play. Roblox began with just 100 players and a handful of creators who inspired one another, unlocking this groundswell of creativity, collaboration, and imagination that continues to grow.”

Recently Roblox held a Stranger Things 3 collaboration in which players could solve clues and get Stranger Things themed rewards. More recently they’ve had a Liverpool Football Club collaboration in which players can represent their favorite Liverpool footballer by wearing the brand new Liverpool home kit. Quite impressively they seem to have events like these every couple of months at the very least.

 

Source: Eurogamer

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Minecraft Earth Closed Beta Begins Today

The Minecraft Earth closed beta started today for those who preregistered and are lucky enough to live in either London, Seattle, Stockholm, or Tokyo. If like all of us at MMOGames you aren’t lucky enough to live in one of those cities you can go onto Youtube or Twitch and see people playing it. As you might expect, at the moment the gameplay isn’t all that exciting or interesting. People are just getting settled in and learning how the game works. But with time it is sure to get more grand and more interesting to watch.

One cute feature of the game that wasn’t highlighted in any announcements is that if you’re in a car while in the game your character will ride in a minecart. Because why wouldn’t they? It’s little features like this that will really make Minecraft Earth stand out.

There is no word yet when or even if Minecraft Earth’s closed beta will open up to other cities. There also hasn’t been a release date announced for the game yet. Mojang has warned players however that progress will be wiped throughout the beta process. So, from the sounds of it beta might be going for a while.

“The integrity of your builds and data is super important to us, making sure that your creations and collection stay intact is a top priority. That said, we will wipe everything at least once during the beta period- Inventory, stats and build plates. That is because this is a true beta designed to test a huge amount of things. After the beta period ends, what you collect, build and own will stay there.”

According the new FAQ Minecraft Earth does include some iOS only features. “Minecraft Earth will use Apple ARKit’s People Occlusion to show people directly inside their life-size builds, and Motion Capture to trigger pre-set character animations in the game. This is part of ARKit 3.0 in the upcoming version of iOS, version 13.”

Players will need to remain active if they want to stay in the beta. Players who aren’t actively playing in a 7 day period will be removed from the beta and go back into the beta pool.

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E3 2019: Xbox Press Conference

E3 got off to a hell of a start and if I’m totally honest I feel ok declaring here and now that the Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference was the best we’re going to see this year. Yep! Pack it up boys, we’re done here. Nevermind that we’re only getting started. We picked out just the online and multiplayer games and we’ve got the info about them below plus the trailers.

 

Bleeding Edge

Need a new 4v4 game in your life with some really unique looking characters? Of course you do! Ninja Theory debuted Bleeding Edge, a 4v4 third-person melee combat game. It looks and feels a lot like Overwatch if we’re being perfectly honest. Technical alpha for this game starts on June 27th. The game will be available on Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

 

Minecraft Dungeons

It looks like someone developing Minecraft played some Trove and loved the idea so much they did it for themselves. Yes, Minecraft Dungeons is exactly what it says on the tin. You go in some Minecraft style dungeons. It’s a 4 player co-op RPG with local and online multiplayer. The game will be playable starting Spring 2020.

 

Cyberpunk 2077

The biggest highlight of the night was easily when Keanu Reeves came out on stage to fans cheering around the world for him. He’s going to be in Cyberpunk 2077 which will release on April 16th, 2020. Yes! We finally have a release date for this game we’ve been waiting for years to play. The game is available for pre-order now, including a collector’s edition with a number of collectibles, including a 10-inch statue of the game’s Protagonist, V. Along with bringing Keanu Reeves out on stage we saw an all-new cinematic trailer that reveals one of the key characters, Keanu Reeves himself…as Johnny Silverhand.

 

Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

While they were quickly going through a few different indie games, in a blink and you’ll miss it type of moment we saw Lord of the Rings Living Card Game. What is it? Well, other than a card game we just don’t know yet. But we’re going to be keeping an eye out for it so watch this space.

 

Phantasy Star Online 2

It isn’t every day you see hype for an 8-year-old game. But with Phantasy Star Online 2 FINALLY coming to the West that’s exactly what we saw during Xbox E3 2019. Fans of the original have been waiting for this for a VERY long time…and now they have to wait a little longer. Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to the West early 2020 and it will be free to play! Add this to our must play list for next year!

 

Project Scarlett

The moment we were all waiting for came at the very end when the next generation of Xbox was announced, currently called Project Scarlett. For the record, they missed out on a hell of a trick by not getting Scarlet Johannson involved in the announcement for this. As you would expect it’s the most powerful, most gamey game machine that ever game machined. Oh yeah, and it’s launching with a new Halo game, because of course it is. Project Scarlett is coming just in time for the holiday season in 2020 and Halo Infinite will be right there with it!

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Minecraft Earth is Taking on Pokemon Go This Summer

Have you ever been playing Pokemon Go and said to yourself “I wish this had more Minecraft in it?” Well if you have then you’re in luck, and maybe a little weird, not that we’re judging. Microsoft and Mojang have announced a new Augmented Reality game that is going to be taking the world by storm this summer, Minecraft Earth. Minecraft Earth will be a free to play game on Android and iOS and a closed beta is scheduled for this summer.

As you explore in Minecraft Earth you can find treasure chests, clusters of blocks, or mobs which have been given the nickname of “Tappables.” You’ll also be able to come across Adventures, which overlay a full Minecraft-like area with resources you can collect and mobs you can take out. The studio has also promised that we will see new mobs and new variants that are unique to Minecraft Earth. Of course, it wouldn’t be Minecraft if it didn’t have some building component to it. You’ll be able to find Build Plates where you can put together small environments that become life-sized when they’re placed. Best of all, there will be multiplayer, unlike a certain pocket monster game that shall remain unnamed.

If you want a chance to take part in the closed beta you can head over to the official site for Minecraft Earth and register now. As a way of saying thank you for registering so early, you’ll be able to get your hands on a free skin for Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Bedrock. If you want to know more about the game, and let’s admit it, you kinda do. Mojang has been kind enough to provide a pretty extensive FAQ that includes information about player safety amongst other things.

 

Source: Minecraft Earth Official Site, Gamespot

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Notch Will be Excluded from Minecraft Anniversary Events

Just a month after the news broke that references to the creator of Minecraft were being removed from the game we’ve learned that this wasn’t the end now we know that Notch will be excluded from Minecraft Anniversary events that are coming quite soon. A press event is being held in Mojang’s office in Stockholm on May 17th, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iconic game.

Minecraft

Speaking to Variety a representative of Microsoft was quite forward in stating their reasons for not including Notch in the events. “His comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft.” Basically confirming what everyone already knew, Notch’s social media statements are toxic to the Minecraft brand and Microsoft wants to distance themselves as much as possible.

These days Notch is somewhat notorious on Twitter for his distasteful political views. In the past, he has tweeted support for a heterosexual pride day as well as having what was considered by many a white privilege meltdown. He’s also known for using the term feminist as an insult and has called a female game developer an fing c-word, just…with the proper words used. His bigoted views are a stark contrast from the very family friendly game that he created.

While it is very sad that Notch won’t be involved in the 10th-anniversary event being held, after all, Minecraft, a 10-year-old game with more than 91 million monthly players was his creation, it is also important to remember that Notch hasn’t been involved with the game since 2014. So while his contributions to the game can’t be denied his importance has faded and it is the Mojang team who are deserving of the praise and attention.

Congratulations Mojang on 10 years of Minecraft! Here’s hoping for another 10.

 

Source: Variety

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Minecraft Removes References to Notch

Five years after it was sold to Microsoft Minecraft removes references to Notch, the man who originally created the game. His name still remains in the credits, but references to Notch in the main menu that previously read “Made by Notch!”, “The Work of Notch!”, and “110813” have been removed. For anyone who has followed Notch on social media, this won’t come as a surprise at all. He has turned out to be quite a controversial person when it comes to politics. In the past, he has tweeted support for a heterosexual pride day as well as having what was considered by many a white privilege meltdown. He’s also known for using the term feminist as an insult and has called a female game developer an fing c-word, just…with the proper words used. His bigoted views are a stark contrast from the very family friendly game that he created. Many of Minecraft’s very large audience is younger children.

The removal of the references was first noticed a Twitter user and then it was later confirmed by PC Gamer. So far, Microsoft hasn’t responded to press requests for comments. They came as part of a patch that added a status effect called Hero of the Village as well as an accessibility button on the title screen. They’ve replaced the references to Notch with “Don’t worry, be happy!” and “Go to the dentist.”

Removing Notch references from the main menu will make it less likely that new Minecraft players will learn about Notch. Having him in the credits is still entirely safe because let’s be honest, outside of Marvel movies no one actually sticks around for the credits. If we’re perfectly honest, it’s really surprising that this day hasn’t come sooner. Notch has been notorious on Twitter for the last couple of years.

 

Source: PC Gamer

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MMO Money: Star Citizen Reaches $200 Million Milestone

This week we have a few last third quarter reports to take a look at. This time for NetEase, who is currently in the public’s eye for their work on Diablo Immortal and Tencent who have been having a terrible year as far as their gaming division goes. Star Citizen also reached an all new fundraising milestone, which was received about as well as you might expect. Finally, just a week after DayZ went into beta they reached a milestone of their own.

 

Star Citizen Reaches $200 Million Milestone

This was the week that Star Citizen reached $200 million fundraised for their game. As you might expect though it wasn’t all celebrations. In a letter to the fans, Chris Roberts said that there are supporters from 171 different countries stretching from one end of the globe to the other. He also talks about how far the company has come in the last 6 years, in particular growing from just a handful of staff to more than 500 employees in 3 countries. The letter also goes into some detail about the future, talking about a new alpha build that is coming up and plans for a Squadron 42 roadmap.

However, on Reddit, and indeed across the internet this proved to be the perfect time for those who have issues with Star Citizen to speak out. For all the money that Star Citizen has continued to bring in, there have been a lot of issues and concerns that the studio isn’t going to deliver on the promised game. As time goes on the voice of discontent grows louder causing even more of a rift between those who still have high hopes for the game and those who have given up all hope.

 

Source: Roberts Space Industries, Reddit

 

Tencent Gaming Revenue Continues to Decline

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

If you don’t already know, there is much more to Tencent than just making games. In fact, in China, they are a massive multi-armed internet company that has music services, social media companies, e-commerce, and even movies. Warcraft, Wonder Woman, and Venom are just a few titles they’ve done that you might have heard of. Unfortunately, while the company as a whole is doing amazingly, revenue is up 24% year on year, the gaming division is still taking a massive hit. Online gaming revenue is down 4% in Q3, much of that decline is from the PC sector. Mobile gaming, however, has seen a bit of a boost which did offset some of the damages. This seems to suggest that gamers are moving away from PC gaming into mobile.

During the quarterly report to investors, Tencent didn’t mention the freeze on game licenses in China. Instead, they focused on the fact that they released 10 games last quarter and they have 15 approved for monetization in the works. This should give them a bit of a boost as they do still have a bit to work with. The company may actually be able to weather this storm after all. But, so long as the news from the Chinese government continues to be grim Tencent’s gaming division will keep feeling the pain.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

DayZ Sells 4 Million Units

DayZ3

Just a week after transitioning into beta testing Bohemia Interactive have announced that DayZ has sold 4 million units. The game has been playable in Early Access since December 2013. By January 2015 it had reached the 3 million user mark. Meaning that it took nearly 4 years to get another million on top of that. In that time, of course, the industry has gone through quite a lot of changes. Most notably is the rise of the Battle Royale genre which has spawned some of the most popular games in the world. Meanwhile, the zombie survival genre, which DayZ helped usher in is barely a faint memory at this point. A number of games inspired by DayZ were released which then spawned other survival games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles. These days DayZ has acknowledged that they are a niche game for a niche audience and they aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. They’ve also announced that they fully intend to stick to their 2018 launch date, which means they have just over a month left to go. When the game does finally launch it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see a small boost in purchases. But at this point, it seems likely that anyone who was going to buy the game has already done so and launching is merely a formality. Development will continue on the game well past launch as the studio continues to tweak the game to meet their goals.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

NetEase Quarterly Sees Growth

Diablo Immortal

Things are looking good for NetEase in the third quarter report with net revenue up, mobile gaming up, and success in their endeavors to bring Western games to China. Net Revenue is up for the company 35.1% year on year, bringing it up to 16.9 billion yuan, $2.5 billion USD. Of that online gaming accounted for $1.5 billion which is up 27.6% year on year. In Q3 the company released a number of quite successful mobile games. They also launched World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth in China which saw the number of subscribers and the revenue go up. They aren’t likely to feel any backlash from Diablo Immortals until Q4. Though the expected backlash financially isn’t expected to be nearly as bad as the outcry about the game would suggest. Minecraft in China got another 50 million players between the Q2 and Q3 reports. During the report, they talked about the global audience and how it has benefited them.

“Additionally, we have taken a more global view of our online games business. As a result, our international expansion, took another leap forward this quarter, contributing more than 10 percent of total online game net revenues for the first time in our company’s history. We are also very excited about our collaboration with Blizzard to bring one of their biggest games to mobile players, increasing our visibility and expanding our foothold in the global online games market.”

 

Source: Quarterly Report

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Mojang Announces Minecraft: Dungeons

Minecraft has had its MineCon Earth event wrapped up for another year, but this year’s event has provided something notably different for the popular boxy sandbox title. A Minecraft: Dungeons announcement was made, unveiling a new standalone co-op game that pretty much sounds like what you’d expect from its title.

minecraft: dungeons announcement

Minecraft: Dungeons will let up to four players band together to experience dungeon crawling gameplay in the Minecraft universe. Fans can expect to see all new mobs and bosses in various biomes like canyons, swamps and mines, and can look for new loot to take on greater challenges in classic dungeon delving fashion.

The game is a totally new standalone title being developed by a team in Stockholm, Sweden. The announcement calls Minecraft: Dungeons the team’s “passion project”, which looks to have been in development for a pretty long while.

Of course, MineCon wasn’t just about the new game. The event also announced the new Village and Pillage update; increase customization options for add-ons; and Inspiration Island, a free content update due later this year that looks to help players get acclimated to creating things in Minecraft. All of the event’s reveals are compiled here.

As for Minecraft: Dungeons, that will make its way to PC at some point in 2019. A trailer is below.

Our Thoughts

A Minecraft dungeon crawler? Kind of surprised that sort of game didn’t exist already! We’re certainly interested to see just what makes this particular slice of digital dungeon delving stand out from others, but consider us curious in the meantime.

Source: official site

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MMO Money: Tencent’s $20 Billion Loss and Fortnite’s Decline

After having taken a little bit of time off for the end of convention season the weekly online gaming business article is back with more amazing news. We have Superdata’s latest gaming revenue charts, the UK’s weekly gaming chart, a little bit of lockbox news, and a company that lost $20 billion in value and is still going strong.

 

Superdata July Charts

Fortnite's Decline

Superdata released their monthly look at the gaming charts around the world with some interesting findings for July. First up, League of Legends drops down to second in terms of earnings on PC. It was overtaken by Dungeon Fighter Online which is massively popular in the east. In fact, only 2 of the top 5 PC games at the moment are from the West; LoL, and Fortnite. Speaking of Fortnite, the game’s earnings were only up 2% in July over June which is prompting many to say that the game’s peak is now behind us and Fortnite’s decline is imminent. However, it is still growing…for now. And, if they can get past all the security issues, Fortnite does still have the Android release coming which will be massive for the game’s population and revenue.

Overwatch, despite having a very stable player base is seeing revenue continue to drop month after month. In fact, the game is no longer charting at all but looking back as far as December, this isn’t the first time that has happened this year. It was also the case in February and April. In December 2017 and January it was number 10 on the PC chart. It hasn’t appeared on the chart for PC again since then. Looking at the charts for all of 2017 Overwatch ranked number 2 on the revenue charts for all Premium PC games. So, while it may not be on the charts right now, there is every chance for it to come back as it has done previously. On the other end of the spectrum, No Man’s Sky had its best month since it launched, and GTA V had its second best.

Fortnite still hasn’t managed to make it into the charts for Mobile games and in fact, the mobile chart changed very little from June to July. The one change was Fate/Grand Order overtaking Monster Strike. Until Fortnite has a global release on Android we’re unlikely to see it push into the mobile charts. Even then, the early security issues may have done enough lasting damage to make sure they don’t chart.

Source: Superdata

 

Tencent Market Value Drops by $20 Billion…but its ok

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

If any other company besides Tencent had lost $20 billion in market value the company would be done for. For Tencent though, that was just 5%. While they did lose a massive amount of money, the real story is why. China has been cracking down on games from other countries for quite some time. Tencent has been able to profit off of this. They know the laws better than any Western studio so they can offer to publish the game in China and deal with all the red tape themselves, but recently China has been making it even harder for game studios.

What triggered this massive loss for Tecent was China’s new regulation that will restrict the number of new online games that are released as well as implementing age-appropriate restrictions on games, including how long you can play them. The reason they give for doing this is the massive number of nearsightedness found in Chinese youth. Though there hasn’t been any scientific backing of the claim that screen time has any impact on vision. All of this puts Tencent’s current business model in jeopardy and they will have to make some changes if they want to continue. If you’re interested in reading more on this check out our recent news post that goes into more detail.

 

UK Charts Gaming Charts

Minecraft MMO Money: Tencent's $20 Billion Loss and Fortnite's Decline

The UK is one of the few countries that release gaming charts on a weekly basis. We’ve decided to add them to our weekly business article as they give us some idea of how games are performing, not just in the UK but among all western audiences. At the top of the charts this week was F1 2018, managing to hold out against a new game on the chart, PES 2019. In third is Grand Theft Auto V which actually climbed one place from last week. PUBG managed to climb up from 11th to 7th this week. Amazingly, Minecraft is still in the top 20, last week it was at 14 and this week it dropped to 20. Check out the top 10 for the week ending on September 1st below.

This Week Game Last Week
1 F1 2018 1
2 Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 New Entry
3 Grand Theft Auto V 4
4 Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy 3
5 Yakuza Kiwami 2 New Entry
6 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 5
7 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 11
8 God of War 6
9 Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate New Entry
10 Fifa 18 10

Source: Press Release

 

Lootboxes

Overwatch Winter Wonderland - Christmas Loot Boxes

There hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about on the lootbox front. It seems like the world is slowly moving on and forgetting the topic altogether. Or maybe there’s a whole lot going on in the background that is going to take time to come into being. Either way, the big news recently is that Blizzard is disabling Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm lockboxes for Belgian players. Earlier this year Belgium was one of the first countries to investigate lootboxes in online games and issued threats to ban multiple games. Valve very quickly took action for CSGO and Dota 2.

Blizzard announced that they would be doing this on the official forums. In it they said…

“In April 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission published a report that was endorsed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice in which they concluded that paid loot boxes in Overwatch are considered gambling under local law. While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.

No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible. While players in Belgium will no longer be able to purchase paid loot boxes in Overwatch and loot chests in Heroes of the Storm, they’ll still be able to earn them by playing the games, and they’ll still have access to all in-game content.

These measures will be implemented shortly. We also remain open to further discussions with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on this topic.”

Source: Overwatch Forums

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