epic games store

Epic Games Store Launches as Alternative to Steam

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Although many big publishers and game companies have their own digital stores, like EA’s Origin and CD Projekt’s GOG, none have managed to get anywhere close to Steam’s stranglehold on digital PC gaming. Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, hope to change that with the newly launched Epic Games Store. The Epic Games Store is currently in soft-launch mode with a handful of PC games. It’s aiming for a larger launch, and include Android games, in 2019.

Epic Games is set to be far more attractive to developers and publishers with a more lucrative revenue sharing percentage. Epic Games will take only 12% of sales on its store, leaving 88% for the developers and publishers. For developers that use the popular Unreal Engine in their games, Epic will cover the 5% royalty fee as well.

For comparison, Valve takes 30% of game sales through Steam.

“As developers ourselves, we wanted two things: a store with fair economics, and a direct relationship with players. And we’ve heard that many of you want this too! We’ve built this store and its economic model so that Epic’s interests are aligned with your interests,” writes Tim Sweeney, founder, Epic Games, in a blog post. “Because of the high volume of Fortnite transactions, we can process store payments, serve bandwidth, and support customers very efficiently. From Epic’s 12% store fee, we’ll have a profitable business we’ll grow and reinvest in for years to come!”

epic games store

Developers will have full control over their game store pages. Consumers won’t find ads or links to other games. Purchasing a game will subscribe that player to the official news feed, where developers can provide a steady stream of news and updates.

Epic Games is also embracing Youtubers and Twitch streamers via the Epic Games Suport-A-Creator program, allowing influencers to receive a share of revenue by driving traffic to the store page. Epic will cover the first 5% of creator-based revenue for the first 24 months.

Only a few games are currently available on the Epic Games Store, including Darksiders 3, Ashen, and Supergiant Games’ newly announced Hades.

The Epic Games Store will offer free games every two weeks to help encourage newcomers. The first is underwater survival-crafting game Subnautica, which is available for free from Dec. 14-27. Starting Dec. 28 you’ll be able to snag Super Meat Boy for free through January 10, 2019.

anthem

Sign Up for the Anthem Closed Alpha

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If you’re excited about BioWare’s upcoming Destiny-with-Mechs online co-op game Anthem, you could be among the first to play it next weekend. EA and BioWare are offering a limited Closed Alpha test that will run the weekend of Dec. 8-9. Sign ups close Monday, December 3, however, and it’s on a first come basis.

The Anthem Closed Alpha will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will require PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold memberships to play on those platforms. It’s limited to 18 and older, and you can only sign up for one platform.

The Closed Alpha will also require an EA Account, and the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. That means anyone playing the Closed Alpha will be not be able to share their thoughts, screenshots, or video streams. The Alpha is primarily to test sever loads and provide feedback directly to EA and BioWare via a private forum.

How to sign up:

  • Head to the EA Community Playtesting site.
  • Sign in with your EA Account.
  • Choose your platform and time. Once your choices are completed, click Submit.
  • Signing up does not guarantee you’ll be invited to take part, it’s on a first come first served basis.
  • If you’re in, you’ll see a confirmation on the Community Playtesting site and you’ll get an email from us letting you know how to download the Anthem Closed Alpha game client. You will be able to pre-load the Alpha before the test time.

Anthem is the latest game from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect developer BioWare. BioWare is known for making blockbuster RPGs. Anthem represents a departure as an online multiplayer action-RPG. Players take on the role of Freelancers who have access to Javelins, powerful mech suits that are used to combat threats on the alien planet. The co-op action gameplay has been closely compared to Activision and Bungie’s Destiny series.

Anthem was officially announced at E3 2017, with a tentative release date of Q4 2018. It has since been delayed to the new launch date of February 22, 2019. It has not yet been rated.

nintendo

Nintendo Switch Becomes Best Selling Nintendo Console in History

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As we predicted in our Holiday Gift Guide, the Switch is the hottest gaming product this holiday season. Nintendo has officially confirmed that the Switch became the best selling console in Nintendo’s history over the five day Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales weekend (Nov. 22-26) in the U.S.

Thanks to online stat-tracker tool Adobe Analytics, Nintendo has announced that the Switch was the top-selling video game product, and one of the most purchased items online during the sale period, beating out even the Wii motion control craze from a decade ago.

In total sale-savvy shoppers spent over $250 million on Nintendo products, including consoles, games, and accessories.

This year’s sales for Nintendo were a huge increase compared to last year, to the tune of 115%. First party Nintendo games sold a million units, an increase of 78% over last year. The big new sellers included Super Mario Party, which surpassed one million units since its launch in October, becoming the fastest-selling Mario Party game and the fifth Switch game to reach the million-seller tier.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! also sold very well, reaching over 1.5 million units sold combined. (read our review).

Nintendo’s mini classic consoles also sold well again this year. The Super NES Classic Edition reached 2.5 million units, with its older brother NES Classic Edition reaching 2 million units.

Nintendo helped lead the way on a record-setting Cyber Monday, which saw consumers spend $7.9 billion in online shopping, making it the single biggest shopping day in U.S. history.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime had previously told Yahoo Finance that the holiday sales season is critical, making up about 60% of the company’s yearly revenue.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Online Beta Saddlin’ Up This Week

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A major part of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the multiplayer component, called Red Dead Online. Like Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games had delayed the multiplayer until about a month after launch. Now we know the details of how the beta will roll out this week.

This week Red Dead Online will first be available in beta form to those who purchased the Ultimate Edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 on Tuesday, November 27, at 8:30 am Eastern/11:30 am Pacific.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the beta will open up to everyone who played Red Dead Redemption 2 on launch day (Oct. 26). After that, anyone who played within the first three days of release (through Oct. 29) can join in beginning on Thursday, Nov. 29.

The beta will fully open to everyone who owns Red Dead Redemption 2 on Friday, Nov. 30.

This staggered roll out allows Rockstar to steadily increase the server load over the week, though if history is any indication, expect large server woes to accompany your multiplayer cowboy sojourns. As per the official online beta description, “As with most online experiences of this size and scale, there will inevitably be some turbulence at launch. We look forward to working with our amazing and dedicated community to share ideas, help us fix teething problems and work with us to develop Red Dead Online into something really fun and innovative.”

Red Dead Online is freely available to anyone who owns Red Dead Redemption 2 – though you’ll still need either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold to play online.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s rated M for Mature.