This week marked the launch of Todd “it just works” Howard/Bethesda’s shiny new RPG, Starfield. Starfield went supernova, instantly becoming the biggest Bethesda launch of all time, and since its release it has hoarded over 6 million players, with over a million concurrent players shooting into the stratosphere when counting over all platforms. With official mod support coming next year, PC players have had the hardest time since release, with Intel and Nvidia systems copping the brunt of the issues. Todd Howard’s response for people with PCs?
Unity, no longer for the gamer
Unity, the game engine behind Rust, Hollow Knight, and Pokémon Go, and the controversial Creative AI Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, has introduced a controversial new fee for developers. The Runtime Fee, set to take effect in 2024, is a per-install fee that will apply to games that reach a previously established annual revenue threshold and a lifetime install count. Indie developers are concerned that this new policy will kill smaller games with the new system severely affecting their bottom line, and leading devs of free-to-play games questioning if they’d end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more under the new system. Unity’s attempts to provide clarity have so far only fueled devs’ frustration and spawned more questions from those with both currently active and in-development games using the engine. This has led to warnings from industry professionals such as creative director at Necrosoft Games, Brandon Sheffield, stating in an op-ed for Insert Credit, “But now I can say, unequivocally, if you’re starting a new game project, do not use Unity,” and “If you started a project 4 months ago, it’s worth switching to something else. Unity is quite simply not a company to be trusted.”
After regrouping on the evening of September 12, Unity clarified their previous statement, claiming that they will only charge for the initial installation of a game, reversing their previous stance that multiple charges would be made for reinstalls. Unity also stated that the fee will only apply to monetized titles and that charity games and bundles are exempt; however, the announcement has raised further questions about the impact on the free-to-play genre, as well as demo installs. Further, concerns remain about how installs will be tracked, with the potential for abuse by bad actors, and devs concerned about the need to implement third party DRM (Digital Rights Management) in their games.
E3 is Dead, Long Live E4?
With the earlier announcement this week that PAX organiser Reedpop and E3 had cut ties, it may come as unsurprising news that E3 2024 is in doubt. The Entertainment Software Association or ESA who runs E3 have also informed the longstanding home of E3, the LA Convention Center, they will not be there in 2024. However, according to news site GamesIndustry.biz they are “working on a complete reinvention of the E3 show for 2025.” We live in hope.
And now for some Gaming Bytes.
About to load up Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty DLC? Best check your system with Lead Scene Programmer CD PROJEKT RED Filip Pierściński imploring gamers via tweet to check system stability and to “please check conditions of your cooling systems in PC.”
And feeling old? Well Steam turned 20 on the 12th of September , and 25 year old fansite AtariAge has been acquired by Atari.
Now for some upcoming games.
Friday September 15, Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party comes to Pc, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, and tech themed 3D platformer Boti: Byteland Overclocked comes to PC.
Tuesday September 19, start your week with an open-world high-fantasy strategy RPG Dragonheir: Silent Gods, coming to PC. Or, race to your parking space in You Suck At Parking coming to PS4 and Switch. Can you become a real boy in the Pinocchio soulslike Lies of P, coming to PC, Xbox and PlayStation. And lastly for Tuesday, Mortal Kombat 1 comes to PC, PS5, Xbox Series X and Switch.
Wednesday September 20, kick animal butt in the brawler/party game Party Animals, coming to PC, and Xbox. And, put the shooting or spell slinging in the S of FPS in the dark fantasy roguelite shooter Witchfire, coming to PC.
And finally, Thursday September 21st brings free-to-play medieval warfare PVP Warhaven to PC. Want to release your inner Addams family Thing within to defeat some feet? Then play Super Adventure Hand! coming to PC and Switch. And to finish, Payday 3 is coming to PC and next gen consoles.