Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Without a proper optical audio out port, Xbox Series X will instead deliver audio through HDMI 2.1 which has increased bandwidth to carry up to 8K visuals and Dolby Atmos audio through a single cable. Since HDMI has become the standard for most audio equipment and televisions it's not surprising that Microsoft opted to remove the optical audio port this time around. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/20/ps5-vs-xbox-series-x-full-spec-analysis-next-gen-console-watch"] When asked about plans for headset support on PS5, Astro said on Twitter it is waiting for additional information from Sony and will "make a separate compatibility statement" once that information becomes available. Currently, the PS4 does include an optical audio out port, so it will be interesting to see if Sony omits this on PS5. Xbox Series X and PS5 are both expected to launch this holiday season, although both consoles may be in limited supply due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Still not sure which console you're going to get? Check out our chart breaking down the key differences. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matthew Adler is a News and Features writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him stream on Twitch.
We are working with our partners at Microsoft to roll out a firmware update for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station and A20 headsets by launch of Xbox Series X. This update will include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB. Stay tuned for future updates. pic.twitter.com/W65AXflRvk— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 31, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
Could Next-Gen Consoles Be Delayed to 2021?Speaking to IGN via email, several analysts agreed on one thing — the coronavirus is likely to have some effect on the production of the new consoles, the extent of which remains unknown. DFC Intelligence noted that the sheer amount of uncertainty that hangs over this new console generation makes the short term ramifications hard to predict. “The current amount of uncertainty is unprecedented. We expect that demand will be greater than supply, probably by a significant margin. The only certainty is uncertainty and anyone who says otherwise has a crystal ball we don't have access to,” DFC said. The gaming industry overall has certainly seen the effects an increase in demand as countries adopt shelter-in-place orders. Steam just had its highest day of concurrent players ever — just around 20 million players online simultaneously. PlayStation, meanwhile, has decided to limit game download speeds in major markets like North America and Europe. It’s worth noting that Sony is also home to the fourth-best-selling home console of all time with 100 million PS4s in homes across the world. YouTube has adopted a similar policy to Sony’s, defaulting to standard quality playback worldwide for at least a month. Everyone’s feeling the strain on their networks as more people access online entertainment from their homes simultaneously across the globe. “At some point, if product is limited or price of components becomes too high, Sony and Microsoft will have to make a tough decision about whether to launch in very short supply or delay launch until the supply chain is comfortably running. We do not expect this decision to be made in the short-term.” Echoing those sentiments, Wedbush Securities’ managing director of equity research, Michael Pachter, isn’t expecting a delay either. “It’s highly likely that we will be well past the curve of the virus in most areas where manufacturing takes place by the time manufacturing must commence in June,” Pachter told IGN via email. “That suggests that both consoles will be in stock by November, so I don’t expect a delay in their respective launches.”
A Delay May Not Be Likely, But What About Limited Availability?Both Sony and Microsoft have recently issued comments around COVID-19’s impact on the production of their respective consoles, and neither indicates any need for long-term concern. Even retailers like Gamestop have said they see “no indication” of outright PS5 and Series X delays on the way. Despite reassurances from the companies themselves that all will be fine, the very uncertain nature COVID-19’s curve in each country across the world means so much is still up in the air. With the situations in majorly impacted regions like North America, China, and more changing by the day, many analysts do see at least some impact on the console launches — perhaps in the form of a constrained launch. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=9-sequels-that-would-make-ps5-a-force-to-reckon-with&captions=true"] In a statement provided to IGN that was also sent to Niko’s clients, senior Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad says he sees the situation as very dependent on the next few months. The company also noted that the reality of so many factories producing parts for these consoles means any definitive prognostication is unclear at this time. “The closure of factories since the Lunar New Year and the slow return to work for many will result in minor global console shortages in Q2 2020 and beyond. We do not expect significant shortages in Q2 as console sales are seasonal and most sell-through takes place towards the end of the year.” “If the coronavirus outbreak is contained within the next month or two then we would expect console manufacturers to be able to meet demand for the holiday quarter, both for current gen consoles and next gen console launches,” Niko’s statement reads. “If manufacturers are unable to operate at full capacity before the end of Q2 2020 we could see an impact on the launch of next gen console launches, with either limited supply or delayed releases becoming the likely outcomes.” [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=xbox-series-x-reveal-images&captions=true"] That’s ultimately the biggest factor in how launches might be impacted — when COVID-19 can be contained enough to allow production and work to resume at a normal pace. While the curve of China’s number of infected cases has flattened in comparison to other countries and, according to the New York Times, the nation claims to be significantly halting the spread of COVID-19, there are also serious concerns about its reported numbers. The Times reports that, as China is starting to lift lockdowns, its number of cases is reportedly not counting those testing positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, which could indicate a larger, undocumented spread. Meanwhile, Japan initially suspended the Olympic 2020 games, with the event now set to take place a year later in July 2021. And America has now become the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than 86,000 confirmed cases. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations predicts a continued rapid rise of cases in the US through at least May, with a peak in April, followed by a steady, smaller stream of new COVID-19 cases through to August, where its projections end. The range of manufacturing may not take place in the most impacted countries, but parent and wider companies themselves may still feel that impact. Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty has said, “Each studio is facing unique challenges and constraints depending on its particular location, and many of our external development partners around the world are similarly affected.” [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/20/ps5-vs-xbox-series-x-full-spec-analysis-next-gen-console-watch"] Dr. Serkan Toto of Kantan Games, who had initially spoken to IGN about a possible console launch delay, saw the strong showings of Series X and PS5 tech as a relieving sign that both companies will push through to a holiday release. “I was skeptical about the PS5 release schedule because of Sony's silence at first,” Toto said. “But as Microsoft already reconfirmed ‘Holidays 2020’ as the launch date, there is no other way for Sony than to keep up. “They will not watch their top competitor gobble up holiday sales while they sit on the sidelines with the PS4.” Even if there are issues in manufacturing, Toto believes Microsoft will remain on course. “At least for Microsoft and at least for now, the coronavirus-related dents to the supply chain seem to be manageable as far as the next-gen roll-out goes,” he said.
How Worried Are Consumers?Speaking with IGN via email, Spiketrap, an analyst firm co-founded by former X-Play host Adam Sessler that tracks online social sentiment, took a snapshot of online discourse and found that, at least through the first few weeks of March, fans don’t seem particularly worried about console delays. Spiketrap’s data, viewable in the graph above, saw only about 1,300 online engagements around the idea of a delay, specifically after DFC Intelligence’s thoughts on the possibility were first published. The relevant conversation has largely been around either COVID-19 or AMD, the manufacturers behind chipsets in both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, the conversation has remained minimal online, with only one day in March peaking above 300 engagements on the topic. That said, we’d still like to hear from you all directly: are you concerned about console scarcity and possible delays? Specifically, would you be willing to purchase a re-sold console online if you can’t get one at launch, or would you be willing to wait for new consoles at a later date? Cast your vote in the poll below, which, as of press time, sees nearly 90% of voters willing to wait until consoles are available rather than buying a higher-priced resell on eBay or a similar site. [poilib element="poll" parameters="id=0b3e594c-eec7-4b02-b6af-101b2b4c6b64"] We discussed these analysts’ insights in the last episode of our weekly show Next-Gen Console Watch, which you can catch with new episodes on IGN on Fridays at 6 am PT and 9 am PT. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jonathon Dornbush is IGN's Senior News Editor, a panelist on Next-Gen Console Watch, and host of Podcast Beyond! Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.
Beginner's GuideHere's how to start your ACNH adventure off right including a walkthrough for your first few days.
- How to Restart or Reroll Your Island
- All Potential Starting Villagers
- Beginner's Guide and Tips
- What to Do on Your First Days (Walkthrough)
- Difference Between Miles and Bells
How to Play MultiplayerIt takes a village to turn an island into a community! Here's how to play 2-4 player local couch co-op (aka Party Play), how to play local wireless and online, how to play with friends, how to add people to your best-friends list, and how to message and talk to friends. Plus a detailed break down on how the Call Islander and Best-Friends List NookPhone apps work alongside the real-life Nintendo Switch Online App (aka NookLink). [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/25/how-multiplayer-works-in-animal-crossing-new-horizons"]
Tips and Tricks
Ultimate Unlocks and Upgrades GuideHere's how to make progress in ACNH by unlocking more tools, buildings, and facilities and upgrading what you already have. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/24/animal-crossing-new-horizons-how-to-get-the-able-sisters-shop"]
- How to Unlock Every Tool, Ladder, and Vaulting Pole
- How to Unlock Nook's Cranny
- How to Upgrade Resident Services
- How to Get More Villagers
- How to Unlock K.K. Slider
- How to Unlock Terraforming (Permits for Cliffs and Water)
Money Making Guide (Get Bells Fast)Bells rule everything around you in ACNH. Here's how make a lot of them quickly. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/25/animal-crossing-new-horizons-how-to-make-big-bells-from-a-money-tree"]
- Money Guide
- How to Plant a Money Tree
- How to Create Spider Island (Tarantual Farming)
- Daisy Mae - Turnip Guide
Cheats and Secrets
This is a guest column from Juha Vainio, an Executive Producer at Remedy Entertainment, the development team behind our 2019 Game of the Year, Control. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
I've never been one to chase achievements or trophies in games. I usually play the main storyline, some side quests, and that's it. Prior to launching Control, I had zero Platinum trophies on PS4. But, Control being my game, I decided well in advance that Control will be the first game I platinum - to. collect all the trophies.
So I got to it and played the game diligently, finished the main storyline, all the side quests and started hunting all the trophies. CONTROL is not the hardest game to platinum so the progress was decent. I believe it was October 2019 when I got all the trophies but one, the "Master Parautilitarian", awarded for unlocking all of Jesse’s abilities.
I had still a few powers missing, so I went on getting them and was pretty excited when I was enabling my final ability, supposedly triggering the trophy. But... the trophy didn't trigger – meaning neither did the Platinum.
Clearly a bug, I asked our QA if they had bumped into anything similar. They hadn't. I then went to our community management and asked if they had noticed anyone complaining about something similar - they hadn't, either. So it must have been quite a rare bug.
Finally, I approached our programmers and asked how this could happen. At first, they denied it could even happen at all. Then, with minor pushing, they checked the code and confirmed there's no chance that could happen. When I presented them with visual evidence, they said, in that voice that only programmers can do, "Interesting".
After a few days, the programmers came up with a possible cause: they had made some fundamental changes to how abilities were counted just before launch. Apparently, I had played the pre-release build and some of my abilities were counted using the old system, the rest with the new. So the system thought I didn't have enough abilities for the trophy, even though I did. I asked the team how long would it take to fix this so that I could get my trophy but without anybody else getting screwed. "Too long," they said.
Of course, as the Executive Producer of Control, I'm responsible for the bug priorities, so this naturally went straight to the top of the to-do pile! That is, until the team asked, "do you want us fixing this, or do you want us working on The Foundation expansion?". As much as it pained me, The Foundation was more important, so the bug was left unfixed.
That didn't mean I gave up, though. As a trusted Sony developer, I had access to the developer support portal. I went and explained the situation to Sony’s support team and subtly asked if they could just flip the switch on the back-end and unlock the trophy for me. "No", they said. "All the trophies need to be unlocked from within gameplay". Which makes lots of sense, but didn't make me any happier.
I continued harassing our programmers every once in a while, but they didn't budge. But suddenly, as an inadvertent answer to my prayers, one of our designers came up with the idea of being able to reset all the ability points. Unaware of my particular predicament – he was trying to solve another issue with it – the idea got my full support. The programmers and I weren't actually sure if that would fix my problem or not, but it was our best shot, so I took it.
For weeks and weeks, I held my breath and waited, in pain, to see if it would work or not. The feature was part of the March 25 Control Update, and on that day I anxiously sat beside my PS4 while the update loaded. I launched the game. I went to a Control Point to access my ability tree. ... and noticed I needed to farm 30.000 Source to be able to reset the Ability Tree!
[widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=control-the-foundation-screenshots&captions=true"]
After about 30 minutes I had collected enough Source to be able to reset the tree. So, once again, I again located a Control Point, accessed the ability tree, and reset everything. Then I proceeded, with shaky hands, to enable the abilities one by one. I almost couldn't finish, I was so afraid that it wouldn't work. I was almost sure it wouldn't.
But it did! I got my "Master Parautilitarian", followed closely by my First Platinum Trophy ever!
Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord is a prequel to 2010’s Mount and Blade: Warband. Set in the waning days of the Calradic Empire, Players control warriors from European-inspired tribes as they engage in siege warfare with rival factions. Players can utilize strategy elements and control large armies and siege weapons, but can also engage in 1-on-1 combat, which puts players in the heart of the action during warfare. Mount and Blade 2 has been in development since 2012, but TaleWorlds delivered weekly developer blog updates since 2017 and rarely mentioned anything about a console version of Bannerlord. It should also be noted that it took six years for Mount and Blade: Warband to be ported from PC to the PS4 and Xbox One. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/30/mount-blade-ii-bannerlord-first-19-minutes-of-gameplay"] IGN will continue to cover Mount and Blade 2, so check back for more updates on Bannerlord soon. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.
Sorry, but we have been saying in dev blogs and interviews for years that consoles will come further down the road, as PCs are our primary platform.— Mount & Blade (@Mount_and_Blade) March 30, 2020