Everything Valorant Episode 2 So Far

Lets break down what we know so far about Episode 2 of Valorant, which begins on January 12th!

Quick list:

  • Classic burst fire update
  • Omen Nerfs
  • Brimstone Buffs
  • New Battle Pass
  • New Agent Yoru

Classic pistol burst fire gets a small nerf, it seems the recoil just increases if you spam the right click a lot, but it doesn’t look like it should affect gameplay that much.

Here are changes to Omen and Brim. Omen has been a long time high pick hero, while Brim has become one of the least picked heroes since most teams only end up with 1 smoke hero and Omen being preferable almost every time. These new changes could shakeup the pick with 2 big nerfs to omen and brim getting a buff on almost all his skills.

Everything Valorant Episode 2 So Far 1

This video shows you a rundown of the entire battle pass:

Lastly we have the new agent’s abilities:

Cyberpunk 2077 Becomes the Game of 2020 for All of the Wrong Reasons

The release of Cyberpunk 2077 was easily one of the most anticipated events of the year, and what a year it was!

And boy did it not disappoint but perhaps for all of the wrong reasons.

That’s because there is no game more emblematic of the weird and strange time that is 2020 than Cyberpunk 2077, a game that started development back in 2011 and still retains all of the conventions of that era – to its detriment.

Envisioned for the now previous-gen consoles with ports to PCs and next-gen consoles as well, the debut of CD Projekt Red’s latest masterpiece on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was less than stellar.

In fact, for many people, the game did not run up to par with constant crashes breaking immersion and glitches even breaking entire quests and features. Two massive patches later and the game is still somewhat laughable on previous-gen consoles.

Things got so bad, in fact, that CD Projekt Red offered consumers a refund on their game and Sony even pulled it from retail on the online PlayStation store.

Nonetheless, having sold some 8 million copies as of press, the game has made back its development and market many times over (a fact not lost on CD Projekt Red and one of the first things they touted about the game’s launch).

Yet, in a year when many people are out of work and feelings are strained already, Cyberpunk 2077’s broken launch on previous-gen consoles, combined with its laughably dated gameplay mechanics, has soured many gamers that used to be frequent passengers on the hype train. Whether this will last or not remains a question for the future but more than a few people with PS4s and Xbox Ones feel like they were ripped off in order to fund the “future promise” of a game that will likely only be realized on next-gen hardware.

Those with long memories will recall that Skyrim launched on the original PlayStation 3 and later achieved its zenith with updates and subsequent re-releases to everything but a Nokia handheld. That’s one way of saying that holding out hope for Cyberpunk 2077 is not a fool’s errand. Even so, there are some really odd mechanical choices in the game that have many of us scratching our heads here.

For one, it seems to borrow heavily from the conventions of MMORPGs: Tons of quests and factions with areas on the map where enemies are “tougher” and areas where they are “easier.” But, oddly, it forgets that genre’s attention to details with things like factions. There are many factions in the game, one of which, the Aldecaldos, you can possibly join as part of the narrative. That’s cool and all but, over 100 hours deep and having completed all of the Aldecaldo related quests, I still aggro’d them when I bothered them in Night City. Completing quests for factions, killing their members, or anything related to factions has absolutely no impact whatsoever on their opinion of you. You’re not rewarded for choosing to complete one faction’s quests over another and everything has this odd, disconnected vibe that, again, hearkens back to an MMORPG that lets you (and wants you) to take your time.

Except for here it is simply filler material since no one is paying a monthly sub to play this. There are many such conventions in the game where your choice doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things outside of trying to win over a dead rockstar with adolescent political ramblings and a genocidal bent. All of this is to say that the glitches are just one of the many things that Cyberpunk 2077 has going against it right now.

Given that, it was a fun time and, like many have said, one of the best Fallout games I have ever experienced (and I’m a huge Fallout fan). But it is not GTAV, not even close, a game that came out two years after the idea for Cyberpunk 2077 was born.  

Have you had a chance to play Cyberpunk 2077? What’s your opinion of the game? What do you think of the controversy surrounding its release? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out our other video game articles at this link right here.

The Empire Expands: EA Outbids Take-Two Interactive for Codemasters

There is one bright spot in many investors’ portfolios this year and that is the video games sector. Experiencing record rates of growth while other industries falter under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, game companies are looking for more ways to move the bottom line and drive the stock price up. One of the most popular methods for doing just that is for larger titans of the industry to gobble up smaller players with solid portfolios. This is basically what EA has done for its entire corporate history.

And they just outbid another massive player in the industry as EA walks away with Codemasters for $1.2 billion, snatching the British developer of F1 and Dirt out of the hands of rival Take-Two Interactive.

Take-Two’s original bid of $971 million was bested by Electronic Arts which seeks to further its portfolio of sports-themed games.

A press release from Codemasters read in part: “ The Codemasters Board has considered various aspects of the EA Offer and considers the EA Offer to represent a superior offer for Codemasters’ shareholders as compared with the Take-Two Offer.”

The deal is a pretty big one for EA, too, as it marks their largest acquisition to date. As we hinted earlier, EA isn’t shy about buying other companies so the fact that Codemasters commanded the highest premium yet should give us some insight into EA’s plans for its properties.

This also recalls the deal Microsoft made for Fallout and The Elder Scrolls’ home, Bethesda, earlier this year. Is consolidation fever sweeping the industry? Many analysts say that is exactly what is happening and the end goal is a greater share of a rapidly growing market.

Head of tech, media and telecom research at Mirabaud Securities wrote in a letter about the deal, “In some respects, EA’s move feels defensive, because they are already under attack from Take Two and many of their franchises are becoming second rate relative to leaders.”

Indeed, bolstering their portfolio of sports-related titles is exactly what EA is doing. The company can leverage Codemasters’ portfolio of games with EA’s access to a massive audience of gamers to amplify existing properties and maybe even spawn new ones. A huge reason for EA’s aggressive actions in the sports gaming space is that many of these titles are iterative in nature and thus bring in a stable or reliable amount of income on a yearly basis.

Why take a risk on the Cyberpunk 2077s of the world when you can just pump out another Madden or other sports title, this thinking goes. There is also the company’s massive online presence and infrastructure as well as their increasingly intimate ties with the eSports industry to consider when looking at Codemasters’ games.

What do you think of EA’s purchase of Codemasters? Do you think consolidation is good for the video game industry or a bad sign? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Be sure to read some of our other video game news at this link right here.

Cyberpunk 2077’s Disastrous Launch Doesn’t Put a Dent in Video Games’ Boom

Whenever there is an economic downturn, investors often turn to safe havens to protect their earnings. These are typically industries such as consumer staples and, most often, includes things like tobacco or liquor firms. And the question always arises during these times: Are video games a safe-haven investment?

Well, if 2020 is any guide, it would seem so because this year is going down in the books as one of record-breaking revenues for the industry.

The major concern is whether or not this will continue as life returns to normal.

Many analysts think that this trend will continue, if not accelerate, in the coming years as gaming is normalized as a form of entertainment and as an alternative choice to streaming television, music, or movies.

Nielsen’s analysis firm SuperData backs this up, citing the willingness of consumers to invest in expensive new hardware even as the economy itself is relatively unstable.

“Even in this economic state, we see a lot of people willing to put down $500 for a new console…We don’t foresee anything sort of gaming crash due to economic factors because there are a lot of people stuck at home, shifting discretionary spending into gaming,” said SuperData’s Carter Rogers to CNN.

What makes all of this even more impressive is the fact that 2020 also witnessed some major failures in the industry. Besides the titular Cyberpunk 2077 that has called hype culture, gaming reviews, and everything else into question, massive failures such as Microsoft’s Twitch challenger Mixer and Amazon’s clumsy attempts at making a video game stand out not just because of who backed them but also due to the amount of money seemingly set on fire with those projects.

Oddly, one player that had failed to make much of a case for its existence, Stadia, is seeing renewed industry exactly because of Cyberpunk 2077’s failures on current consoles. The game not only runs well on Stadia, it looks spectacular. True, the Stadia didn’t roar out of the gates the way everyone expected it would (or at least hoped), its performance with 2020’s most hyped game is noteworthy.

The problem is whether or not Google will tough it out or cut and run just as it is getting good.

They seem to be aware of this very wariness on the part of gamers, too.

Stadia games director Jack Buser told CNN: “The games business is a tough business… There’s a reason why there hasn’t been a major new entrant into the gaming space since the Xbox in the early 2000s….Have we made mistakes? Absolutely. Have we learned from those mistakes? Absolutely. Will we make mistakes in the future? I’m sure we will. Right. And that’s part of what it means to be in this business. But one thing is for sure: we are committed to it.”

One thing that is really promising about Stadia, especially in light of the Cyberpunk debacle, is that it truly offers developers an almost unlimited amount of processing power to put their dream to silicon. It will be interesting to see where the cards fall for it moving forward.

What do you think the new console generation is going to be like? What are some things that you are looking forward to in the near future? Where do you see VR landing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Check out some of our other video game news at this link right here.

Survey Shows Everyone Plays Video Games Now

There’s little doubt that COVID-19 has proven tough for a lot of people. But when the going gets tough, apparently, the tough start gaming because a recent survey shows that huge numbers of people picked up our favorite holiday during the pandemic.

And we’re not just talking about a little bit of lockdown smartphone Candy Crush here and there.

As we’ve reported in the past several weeks, games are selling like wild and many people attribute that to the unique conditions this year has brought. I mean, Animal Crossing was a thing at one point in the popular media, let’s not forget that. If you had told me ten years ago that Animal Crossing would be a thing and discussed on a massive scale, I would not have believed you but here we are.

Yet it’s not like this hasn’t been a huge year for games in general. Surprisingly, the arrival of next-gen consoles has not slowed the pace of triple-A blockbuster games coming out this year. It seems like everyone is having their day in the sun and helping the industry break records at the same time in terms of revenue.

A survey by NPD Group revealed that a whopping 79% of US consumers play games regularly now. One of the biggest demographics to show an increase in gaming is the 65+ age group, a segment that will get quite large as more and more people retire in developed nations around the world.

But back to the 79%. That’s not a small number. You mean to tell us that 8 out of 10 people game now? Does gamer mean anything?

How that is possible we’ll never know but we’re certain this dataset includes the occasional smartphone gaming. There’s also proof that’s not all that is going on out there.

Take, for example, Cyberpunk 2077’s record-shattering one million concurrent players on Steam the other day. That’s an awful lot of people playing one game and it speaks to the broader movements in the industry. Another interesting number out of the Cyberpunk 2077 saga is that a full 80% of sales so far were for digital-only copies of the game. If you were wondering when the sea change to digital and streaming was coming, it’s looking like the tide is coming in if 2020 is anything to use as a judge.

The biggest question that analysts – and likely investors as well as game company management – has right now is whether or not 2020 is a blip on the radar in terms of the growth of the industry or if we’re seeing the beginnings of a new age of gaming. Sadly, to be cliche, only time will tell.

What do you think about the concept of everyone as a gamer? Do you see evidence of this among your friends and contacts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Be sure to check out all of our other video game content on this website here.

China Permits First Korean Game in 4 Years

There’s little doubt that the Chinese market is growing fast and that the economy will soon displace the United States if not rival it for years to come. That said, the video game industry is still somewhat in its nascent stages even with titans like Tencent on the scene.

And, just like movies, you better have a toehold in the domestic market in the PRC because there is money to be made there.

So you can only imagine how painful it must have been for Korean game developers to be denied access to this massive and growing market for nearly four years. Yet that changed just recently with the first approval of a Korean game for release in the Chinese domestic market.

The game Summoners War was permitted for sale in the Chinese market it appears as a result of cooling tensions between the governments of South Korea and China. Developed by Com2us, the game is a landmark in many ways unrelated to gaming, namely because it is the first to get through but also it calls attention to the whole reason this embargo existed in the first place.

The Financial Times reports that the reason no new games were approved for domestic consumption in China from Korea is because of the ROK’s decision to permit a United States missile defense system on their soil. Ostensibly to protect the ROK from an attack from its neighbor to the North, the system could, theoretically, be used against the PRC as well.

This story draws attention to the fact that some pretty tough measures can be implemented by the Chinese government should its trading partners displease it. Other examples of this exist in sports as well as movies with content adjusted to meet political correctness standards and athletes and officials being criticized for perceived anti-PRC statements. For South Korea, long enjoying the economic boon that the export of its products and popular culture has created, such partnerships are crucial to its overall trade strategy.

On the trading side of things, analysts see this as a positive development between the two countries.

SK Securities’ Lee Jin-man told the Financial Times of the deal, “It is certainly a positive signal for Korean game makers and entertainment firms as China is a very important market for them…But it remains to be seen whether China will begin to open its market for Korean cultural exports in earnest, because their decision is closely linked to geopolitical issues.”

It just goes to show you that video games can be about more than, well, fun and games. The interesting thing to watch in the future will be how this impacts gaming in a broader sense as Chinese games and the domestic market there become more influential.

What do you think of China’s presence in the gaming industry? Do you think the country will become a major market for gaming? How about developing games? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out all of our other awesome video game content here.

CD Projekt Red Won’t Discuss Cyberpunk 2077 DLC Until After the Game’s Launch

We’re a little over a week away from one of the most anticipated game releases of the decade and already our minds are turning to what’s next.

It’s gotta be tough being a developer with that kind of audience, eh?

But maybe we’re just so excited about Cyberpunk 2077 that we already can’t get enough. Or maybe we are just gamers and this is what we do.

Either way, CD Projekt Red is going to be absolutely mum on DLC for the gaming until the actual product ships.

Like we said, that should be soon but this game does love its delays. In fact, so much so, that delaying Cyberpunk is becoming an expected cultural feature on the gaming landscape.

Yet we did get some glimpses of the impending future in the form of boxloads of game discs waiting to go out. Apparently, it is happening folks.

As for what kind of DLC the game will bring, who knows on that front. What many people have latched on to in the past several days though is the dev’s promise of a multiplayer mode. This isn’t unexpected given that the property is itself drawn from a tabletop RPG IP but it does point towards an interesting future for the game should everything pan out.

President and joint-CEO Adam Kiciński of CD Projekt Red is quoted as saying, “The initial plan was to do it before release, but after the recent delay, we decided to wait for the release to provide gamers with the game and then start talking about future projects. So, after release.”

Video Games Chronicle also reports that KiciĹ„ski promised the Cyberpunk 2077 would have as much additional content as The Witcher III. That’s quite a bar to set for the company given that The Witcher III had no less than two major story expansions and tons of content in between. Games cost so much to make these days that it is really no wonder that publishers want to get the most out of it, but this is especially true when the game has taken this long – and built up this much hype – to come to shelves.

As for the multiplayer add-on, it is being treated as its own game in terms of production.

“It’s a separate dedicated production, a big production…And we plan — we think about it as a standalone product. Obviously, it’s not entirely standalone as it comes from the universe of Cyberpunk and is very much related to the concept of single-player Cyberpunk. …It’s another independent production and [an] independent team of people works on it…. I said already we are not focusing right now on talking too much about other future products, products that are to be released after Cyberpunk. So please be with us in the first quarter of next year when we plan to share some strategy update. And I believe Cyberpunk multiplayer will be possible.”

Are you picking up Cyberpunk 2077 on day one? What are your expectations for the game – and any DLC we might see down the road? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other gaming content on this website at this link here.

So, Video Games Are Good for Your Mental Health? New Study Says “Yes”

When it comes to the mainstream media, video games don’t often receive the most positive press. Blamed for everything from isolation and depression to school shootings, games are still very much misunderstood as an entertainment medium.

It often seems like anything that reinforces that narrative gets amplified while everything else good about it gets drowned out.

Like how Games Done Quick has raised millions of dollars for charity or how vibrant some local gaming communities can be.

So when something good comes along about video games and, more importantly, the actual act of playing them, we’re here for it.

And it looks like research is starting to point in the direction of gaming being a good thing for your mental health, the New York Post reports.

A recent study done by none other than Oxford University in the United Kingdom shows that video games could actually be quite beneficial for your mental health as a gamer.

The Oxford Internet Institute worked with large video game publishers like EA to get data on things such as play length and a gamer’s relative enjoyment of that title. Unlike previous surveys that had relied upon gamer-reported data for time spent playing, this study uses precise measurements provided by the game makers in cooperation with the OII. 2,756 players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons were surveyed along with 518 Plants vs. Zombies players across the English-speaking world including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Animal Crossing, in particular, had a curious moment at the beginning of the year. The latest installment for the Nintendo Switch was embraced like few other titles in the series. It also happened to drop right around the beginning of many global lockdowns for what that is worth.

What they found is that simply playing games had a positive impact on the person’s mental health with the time element being of negligible contribution to the overall impact of the gaming (that is people did not report playing longer and being happier doing so in any significant number).

The Oxford Internet Institute’s director Andrew Przybylski told the New York Post, “Our findings show video games aren’t necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors which have a significant effect on a persons’ well-being. In fact, play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health – and regulating video games could withhold those benefits from players.”

That’s pretty good news for the industry as a whole which has had one of its best years ever. While many industries have lagged because of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy, video games have thrived as more people embrace indoor activities.

Do you think video games are good for your mental health? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out our other video game content on this website by clicking this link here.

Marvel’s Avengers Sees Massive Drop in Number of Players on PC

One of the biggest gambles publishers and devs can make these days is on a game that needs to sustain a massive player base in order to make everything work right.

And it looks like Marvel’s Avengers might have a hard time maintaining momentum if recent reports on the drop in active players on the PC are anything to believe.

How bad is it? Apparently, some 98% of the PC players have ditched the game which only came out back in August.

Is this just the natural progression of things or is something else going on with this game?

Well, reviews weren’t that glowing to start. Many cited the repetitive nature of the gameplay as one of the factors that had turned them off by the end game. Although it is hard to imagine that being a bunch of superheroes could be boring, somehow the devs accomplished this feat. 

Where are people getting these numbers? None other than Steam it seems. While that might not be the most scientific analysis, some people are speculating that the numbers could be similar on consoles even though we don’t have numbers for that.

The reasons why we should take these figures with a grain of salt are numerous, least among them of which could be the vastly different audience on Steam versus consoles. Yet, doubts aside, that’s a pretty massive drop for any singular platform so it is hard to imagine that the game is somehow more compelling to users on others.

Aside from the questionable endgame gameplay, the game also seems to have turned fans off with an art style that doesn’t resemble the movies, a bizarrely dark story, and in-game bugs that continue this long after launch. In other words, it’s just your typical triple-A game mess that should have gotten cleaned up a long time ago back when people had patience.

Now they don’t. As to what effect this could have on any planned content coming for the game in the near future we don’t know because, again, this is all just a bunch of anecdotal conjecture at this point though veteran gamers know how this oft-told story ends.

Or it could just be that Marvel’s Avengers has a lot more competition out there in terms of games. The next-gen consoles have just arrived and it isn’t like we are starved for triple-A stuff. With Cyberpunk 2077 just around the corner, how much time did anyone think Marvel’s Avengers had anyway since it didn’t quite come roaring out of the gates at launch.

Have you picked up the Avengers game? What do you think of it? What are some of your issues with the game or what are some the things you enjoyed? How can they stem the tide of losses in their player base moving forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Check out some of our other video game content by clicking here.

Atari’s Video Game Hotels Just One Part of Larger Movement to Take Gamer Culture Mainstream

One of the themes of 2020, aside from social isolation and COVID-19, is how popular video games are.

And we’re not just talking about the actual gaming aspect of things, either.

From live streams to conventions to adaptations, gaming is growing into its own as a major media and cultural force. For some of us, this is a shift that is long overdue. Yet for the wider public, it’s like they’re discovering games for the first time.

That said, there is one brand name that is a touchstone for pretty much everyone (especially OG gamers) and that is Atari.

Atari has gone in and out of business more times than we care to count and they have had so many gaming iterations it is hard to keep up with at the end of the day. One constant that threads through all of this and that is that Atari, for a largely (marketable) cohort, means video games.

Perhaps that’s why the concept of an Atari-themed hotel chain is not that outlandish, particularly when you look at the growth of eSports, the Games Done Quick series, and Nintendo’s partnership with Universal Studios for Super Nintendo World.

With outlets opening in Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, and San Jose, the Atari Hotels promise to offer guests a fully immersive gaming cultural experience with entertainment venues and game-themed bars and restaurants.

GSD Group’s Napoleon Smith, III, specifically cited nostalgia as one of the many forces that Atari hopes to tap into when guests arrive. The design aesthetic touted by the group so far shows off a retro 1980s look with nods towards gaming and cyberpunk motifs.

“It’s definitely a place for gamers, but it’s also for families. We always believe that a family that plays together stays together…We really want to bring some stuff that you only see in games to life.”

To that end, Atari hotels will come equipped for gaming and even events centered around gaming. That makes perfect sense seeing as how businesses that cater to gaming as a lifestyle are expected to post record growth numbers in the years to come.

“I think we [as a society] went too far digital in our entertainment, and now people are clamoring for something tactile, something that they can touch and be a part of…We want to see how much fun we can make one place for families and people who just want to feel that kid at heart that they’ve forgotten for a while. I think it’s kind of needed, especially after what we’ve gone through this past year.”

What do you think of the rise of eSports, films and shows about games, and destination locations like Super Nintendo World and the proposed Atari hotel? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below if you like.

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