🎮 Video Games on the Go

Edition 32: July 12th to July 18th

Good morning gamers. The gaming world changed last week and we didn't see it coming!

Last week, Valve revealed the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming computer primed to change gaming as we know it. Additionally, Netflix is entering the gaming industry, and Nickelodeon is looking to rival the Super Smash Bros games. You’re going to want to read this edition.

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Steam Deck - A Handheld PC has entered the lobby 

Valve announced the Steam Deck, a brand-new handheld PC gaming system geared to release throughout 2022. Rumours started to surface earlier in the year for what was described as a “Nintendo Switch-like portable PC” codenamed the SteamPal, and now it’s official (with a name change of course). The Steam Deck is already available to be reserved, and comes at three USD price points; $399 is the base model, $529 is the mid version which includes 256GB SSD storage and the $649 model includes 512GB SSD storage, anti-glare etched glass and various Steam profile exclusives. 

What does it do? It is a portable PC that runs on Steam OS. It comes loaded with a full functionality Steam interface where players can download and play any game from the Steam library. There’s even a standalone dock that allows you to connect the device to an external monitor and then use peripherals like a gaming keyboard and mouse to play the games. Additionally, since it’s open-platform, users are free to install outside software like Microsoft Windows, different web browsers or even other game clients like the Epic Games Store or Battle Net. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said it was an “amazing move” by Steam while Xbox Head Phil Spencer congratulated and added that “so many of us are excited to be able to take our games with us wherever we decide to play”. 

How powerful is it? IGN got an exclusive first look testing the Steam Deck and they were quite impressed with the results. The device is far more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, only losing out on the heavier weight, the dramatically worse battery life and the weaker screen resolution than its upcoming OLED counterpart. In terms of consoles, it’s about half as powerful as the Xbox Series S (more so comparable to the Xbox One or PS4) but due to it operating on advanced architecture, the Steam Deck is better optimized to specifically handle some of the more intense games found on PC. It also functions as a pretty strong gaming PC alternative, in-line with a gaming laptop’s performance.

Is it worth it? The Steam Deck was designed for portable gaming while also giving players an alternative solution to PC gaming. This device won’t replace your high-end gaming PCs but it will allow you to take your games on the go without dropping performance. If you have the money, we think it’s totally worth it, especially since it is open-source where you can play games from other stores and services. If you want a more technical breakdown of the Steam Deck you can check out this incredible analysis by Eurogamer.

Netflix and Game?

Earlier in the week Bloomberg reported that Netflix is planning to expand their services into video games. They will reportedly begin offering video games on their platform starting next year, however, there has been no confirmation of an increase in subscription prices. 

Mike Verdu will join the company as Vice President of Game Development. Verdu previously worked at EA and he served as Facebook’s VP working with developers to bring games and content to Oculus. 

PlayStation looks to be getting involved in the action as Dataminer Steve Moser has discovered PlayStation images in the Netflix iOS app code. According to Moser, the images include two controllers, the Ghost of Tsushima cover art and a shark fin. Moser speculates that the project is codenamed “Shark”.

Why? Even though nobody likes to admit it, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are in a gaming arms race. In recent months, the tech giants have been acquiring different studios and companies to get a leg up on their adversaries. However, the success of the Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft’s shift to cloud-based gaming was unexpected. Therefore, Sony teaming up with the streaming giant that is Netflix seems like a counter to Microsoft’s recent moves. Time will tell if it pays off (or if that is even what’s happening at all).

Nickelodeon - All-Star Brawl

Last week Nickelodeon announced that All-Star Brawl is coming in Fall 2021 and the trailer was revealed on YouTube. The Super Smash Bros. style game will be available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. 

The game is being developed by Ludosity and Fair Play labs. According to IGN, there will be 20 different levels to brawl on based on Nickelodeon shows. Players will also have the option to play single-player and multiplayer (local or online) with up to 4 different players. 

The playable characters include Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Leonardo (TMNT), Nigel Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys), Powdered Toast Man (Ren & Stimpy), SpongeBob SquarePants, Sandy Cheeks, Patrick Star, Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters), Lucy Loud, Lincoln Loud, Helga (Hey Arnold!), Reptar (Rugrats), Invader Zim and Danny Phantom.

Rollback Netcode will be a part of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl on supported platforms. This allows for fixes with latency issues by processing local inputs immediately while predicting future inputs from users. The developers answered some questions about the game in the Ludosity discord

Esports Corner 

🥇 Congratulations to NA’VI for winning IEM Cologne 2021.

The Thieves of Fashion 

Los Angeles-based apparel, lifestyle and gaming brand 100 Thieves have announced an apparel collaboration with Gucci. The collection is set to release on July 19 exclusively for those who have registered MY GUCCI accounts. The official collaboration landing page is hosted on Gucci’s website and says “Drawing on the shared values of freedom and self-expression, the House unveils its latest foray into the world of esports through a collaboration with 100 Thieves”. Over the past year, Gucci has partnered with The Sims, Pokémon Go, Roblox and Animal crossing to offer in-game cosmetics and accessories. 

Does Sweden Hate Esports?

The PGL Stockholm Major, an s-tier CS:GO event is in danger of being relocated out of Sweden. Similarly to the issues that arose with Valve's DOTA 2 The International 10, the Swedish government doesn’t recognize esports as part of their official sports federation which makes securing visas for players, coaches and staff almost impossible. The Sweden Esports Association has submitted an official exemption request to grant major international esport events full authority but there have been no new developments according to PGL CEO Silviu Stroie. Ninjas in Pyjamas have now made an effort to unite the Minister of Culture, the PGL and the Swedish Esports Division with an open letter on social media.

Gaming for Charity

Tencent has unveiled the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI), a midseason charity tournament powered by Gamers Without Borders taking place from July 22 to 25. The event will feature 32 of the worlds best teams (across both east and west regions) competing for the $3,000,000 charity prize pool which will be donated to various approved Humanitarian Aid Organizations of their choosing. The PUBG Mobile World Invitational will be the final tournament of the summer season where OnePlus will serve as the event's official smartphone partner and NimoTV as the exclusive media partner. Director of PUBG Mobile Global Esports James Yang said, “we are dedicated alongside Gamers Without Borders to continue the fight against COVID”. 

This Week in Esports

Game Review - The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

It has been 10 years since the original release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Wii. On July 16, the largest and most experimental game of the Zelda series released an HD version for the Nintendo Switch. This Switch port is what most people have been asking for regarding remakes. It is a well thought out upgrade that captures the elements that made people fall in love with this game and gives it a nice boost. Skyward Sword has one of the best dungeon designs in the series and in our opinion, that is what makes Zelda games so great. We give Skyward Sword HD a score of B+.   

Gaming Roundup

  • Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers took his talents to Fortnite. He is joining the game as a playable character in 3 three new looks, one of which is inspired by his new movie Space Jam: A New Legacy.  

  • Ghostwire: Tokyo has been delayed until early 2022. Tango Gameworks released a statement saying their focus remains on the health of their employees and producing the best possible product. The game is being published by Bethesda Softworks. 

  • Ubisoft announced that they’re delaying the launch of Rainbow Six Extraction to January 2022 and Riders Republic to October 28. These delays are meant to ensure that they will deliver the best games that they can for all players.

  • Mario Bros. celebrated their 38th birthday this week since their original 1983 release in Japan. The original cabinet version of Mario Bros. was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi and it was meant to be a Donkey Kong series spin-off.

  • GTA Online is getting an update on July 20 called “Los Santos Tuners,” allowing players to meet up and show off their cars. Players will be able to compete in new races and try out three new rides, the Obey Tailgater S, Vulkar Warner HKR, and Dinka RT3000.

  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) shut down what was believed to be a cryptocurrency farm containing thousands of PS4s. However, upon further investigation, it turned out to be a FIFA Ultimate Team farm selling in-game currency for money. 

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