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Latest Dwarf Fortress video highlights new art and menus by taking the bins out

As we’ve written about before, Dwarf Fortress is getting a Steam release with an official tileset, a new UI, and mouse controls. The latest video from Kitfox Games, who are handling the polished release, features original DF co-creator Zach Adams talking through new menus and artwork… while taking his fort’s bins out.

Survival game Nightingale delayed until first half of 2023

Another game which intended to release in 2022 has posted a JPG to Twitter. This time it’s Nightingale, the survival game which was one of our favourite games from not-E3, which has announced a delay until “the first half of 2023.”

EA say it’s “fair” that players can buy controversial loot boxes in FIFA 23

FIFA 23’s Ultimate Team mode will follow previous games by including loot boxes, EA have confirmed. In the past few years, several studies have linked loot boxes with gambling, and several European countries have moved to regulate them. In a statement given to Eurogamer, EA said that Ultimate Team packs are “a part of FIFA that players love” and that “Giving players the choice to spend if they want to is fair.”

DraftKings League of Legends Esports DFS Rundown (LEC) – August 12, 2022 – FantasyCruncher.com DFS Articles & Insights – fantasycruncher.com

High Dollar Option

We enter the last week of the Summer Split and three matches to go for teams. There is only one team who has clinched a playoff spot as of now and that is Mad Lions, though only one game separates them from the #1 seed and the #5 seed. Astralis, Excel, and Fnatic all sit at 7-8 for a battle for the #6 seed, and G2, Misfits, Rogue, and Team Vitality all sit tied at 9-6. This is shaping up to being one of the wildest last weeks and likely wildest Playoffs as it really feels like anyone’s race. So we are looking at some incredibly high-stress matchups this week. It is hard to ignore the top with Misfits this week, despite being the most expensive option at four of the five positions. Despite the price, the data begs us to play them as they are averaging 14.1 kills per game going against a team averaging 14.5 deaths per game. Misfits team death total has crept down every week – now at 13.5. Misfits have also yet to lose a game with Zanzarah as their new jungler. After starting the split 0-4, they have gone 9-2 since.

Outside of Misfits, Rogue and Vitality are my next preferred options. Excel has now lost four straight games and all in pretty big fashion. It is the wrong time to go absolutely ice cold, but having to face off against Rogue is not the matchup that will straighten this team out quickly.

Value Option(s)

For the value this week I am looking at Astralis against Fnatic. Fair warning, I have struggled to get Astralis right this split, but they have been a pretty inconsistent team who has sometimes played up to competition, but also played down and taken losses. While Fnatic is favored here, the kill data points in Astalis’ direction more as they have a team K:D of 0.99 while Fnatic is at 0.87. Astralis is averaging around a kill more a game and half a death fewer when compared to Fnatic. Some objective data is also incredibly equal here, as only 0.07% separates the Dragon% from both teams here so we can expect some battles for objective here. Fnatic has led the league in creeps per minute and Astralis leads in damage. While Fnatic has a strong CPM, the jungle play has greatly favored Astralis with Xerxe holding the best CS score, gold, and highest KDA in the entire LEC. With just average top and mid-lane play, the jungler figures to play a huge role in this one. Without exaggeration, this is likely the biggest game in Astralis’ history in the LEC and while they are just 1-6 lifetime against Fnatic, this is not the same Fnatic team from the last two years. The winner here has the inside track to a playoff spot.

$ Tier CPTN TOP JNG MID ADC SUP TEAM
High Neon (12.3k / 37.035) Irrelevant (6.8k / 18.81) Haru (7.2k / 19.43) Vetheo (8k / 20.98) Neon (8.2k / 24.69) Mersa (6.4k / 17.29) Misfits (5.8k / 18.19)
Comp (11.7k / 40.005) Alphari (6.6k / 17.76) Zanzarah (7k / 19.07) Perkz (7.4k / 19.81) Labrov (5.6k / 15.32) Team Vitality (5.4k / 16.84)
Medium Perkz (11.1k / 29.715) Broken Blade (5.8k / 19.21) Xerxe (6.4k / 19.82) Caps (6.8k / 21.65) Carzzy (7.2k / 21.43) Targamas (5.2k / 14.85) G2 Esports (4.6k / 12.66)
Carzzy (10.8k / 32.145) Kobbe (7k / 21.70)
Zanzarah (10.5k / 28.605) Flakked (6.8k / 19.52)
Kobbe (10.5k / 32.550)
Low Flakked (10.2k / 29.280) Vizicsacsi (5.6k / 13.89) Jankos (6.2k / 18.60) Dajor (6.6k / 20.09) JeongHoon (5k / 13.23) Astralis (4.4k / 12.17)
Xerxe (9.6k / 29.730)

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The thrill of it: dopamine, loot boxes and gaming investments – iGaming Business

In the latest edition of his column, Tom Waterhouse of WaterhouseVC turns his attention to the video gaming sector. Here, he notes the potential of developers focused on live-service products, which include loot boxes, but says there is a balance to integrating these features.

Dopamine is responsible for the pleasure arising from any ‘feel-good’ activity, such as exercising, music and indeed gaming. In video games, dopamine is released when players receive a reward for participation and/or skill, such as achieving a kill, scoring a goal or opening a loot box. Casinos know this mechanism works in gambling, through hitting a jackpot or hearing the sound of a slot machine. 

One crucial question we ask when looking at both gaming and wagering products is “Will the product be exciting for the customer? Is there a thrill?” In gaming, that thrill might be large jackpots or small but frequent rewards. There has to be a feature keeping the player engaged.

Changing the game

There are 3 billion video gamers globally and 54% of frequent gamers believe that gaming helps them connect with their friends, according to a survey from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

The first PlayStation was released in 1994 and the first Xbox followed in 2001. Runescape was released in 2001, paving the way for the growth of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), allowing millions of players to connect, chat and compete together. 

Number of active video gamers worldwide (billions). Source: Statista.

When PC and console gaming increased in popularity in the 1990s, developers derived their entire revenue from the upfront sales of the games and no additional content was added to the game after its initial creation. CDs were typically sold for $40 (£32.70/€38.70) and that was the end of the relationship between the player and the game developer.

As technology advanced, online stores emerged, such as the Xbox Live Marketplace, where gamers can complete software updates, buy additional games and make in-game purchases. 

Technology advances combined with the popularity of the MMORPG to support the proliferation of ‘live services games’. In live services games, new content is added to a game post-launch to increase the amount of time and engagement a player has with each game, whilst significantly increasing the game developer’s revenue per player. Companies recognised the significant revenue opportunity in live services games as early as 2010. 

“I used to buy a whole bunch of titles and play them for three weeks and move on and never look at them again… the business model needs to evolve and recognise a little bit that there’s a big service component.” – John Riccitiello, Electronic Arts’ ex-CEO (2010).

Live services games, such as Fortnite and GTA V, introduce new weapons, skins, maps, player clothes, missions, NFTs… The possibilities are endless. We touched on the incredible value of the ‘virtual worlds’ in games in our August 2021 newsletter. For example, nine years after its 2013 launch, GTA V (owned by Take-Two Interactive) continues to generate over US$250 million of revenue per quarter.

Grand Theft Auto V Quarterly Revenues. Source: TweakTown

Electronic Arts (EA): it’s in the game

Founded in 1982, EA is one of the largest digital entertainment companies, delivering games, content and services to 580 million active players, across consoles, PCs, mobiles and tablets. The US$36 billion company owns a portfolio of the highest-quality brands, including Apex Legends, Battlefield, FIFA, F1, Madden NFL, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies and The Sims.

 ‘Live Services and Other’ is EA’ fastest growing and largest segment, representing 71% of total revenue in FY2022, compared to 59% in FY2017. This has been primarily driven by FIFA Ultimate Team and Apex Legends. 

Electronic Arts’ Net Bookings History and FY23 Title Slate. Source: Electronic Arts.
Electronic Arts’ ‘Live Services and Other’ segment has grown at a revenue CAGR of 11.7% and now represents 71% of the company’s total revenue. Source: Electronic Arts.

Apex Legends is among the top live services games in the industry, with more than 113 million active players, including 28 million new players who joined in the year ended 31 March of this year. FIFA is the largest and most popular sports video game franchise in the world, having sold more than 325 million copies since its launch in 1993. The franchise has far outsold all other popular sports video game franchises.

Franchise Number of Games Sold (millions)
Pro Evolution Soccer 111
NBA 2K 118
Madden NFL 130
FIFA 325

EA’s mobile opportunity 

In 2021, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that he expected EA to more than double its mobile business to US$2 billion in annual net bookings by 2024. This vision is supported by the global adoption of mobile devices, which has particularly increased the popularity of mobile free-to-play games. 

The live services business model allows consumers to play these games free of charge and monetises them through in-game purchases. For example, EA has developed the FIFA franchise to include FIFA Mobile, a free-to-play mobile offering. In its most recent quarter, FIFA Mobile recorded its largest quarter ever by revenue, with unique new players increasing nearly 80% over the prior year.

Loot boxes, an element of chance

Players purchase loot boxes with real money to reveal the contents of in-game ‘mystery boxes’, which are unknown items that can be used in games, such as skins, new player features or upgraded weapons.

Loot boxes have been prevalent since around 2010 but have come under particularly strong scrutiny recently for their gambling-like attributes, considering that real money is used to purchase an unknown virtual item. In March, EA successfully appealed a fine it faced in the Netherlands over loot boxes in FIFA Ultimate Team. The reason for the decision came down to the court’s definition of FIFA Ultimate Team as primarily “a game of skill”, with loot boxes that “add an element of chance”. It said that a central factor in determining that the products were not gambling was that the prizes available were only in-game objects rather than a product that could be available separate to the game.

An Overwatch Anniversary Loot Box. Source: Activision Blizzard.

While loot boxes improve the player experience and undoubtedly contribute to the release of dopamine, video game companies must always ensure that they are not a central feature of games. Loot boxes are only a viable revenue source for video game companies if they are integrated ethically and seamlessly.

Valuation metrics

EA is highly cash generative, with operating cash flow of US$1.9 billion in 2022, funding around US$1.5 billion of share buybacks and dividends in 2022. The business is currently valued at 11.4x EBITDA compared to its peer group’s 17.4x median EBITDA multiple. 

Company 5 year EPS CAGR (%pa) Current EV/EBITDA Current free cash flow yield (%)
Activision Blizzard +11.1 17.4 3.5
Bandai Namco +14.4 13.5 0.0
Capcom +30.0 19.4 4.3
CD Projekt SA -4.6 22.1 0.1
Keywords Studios +36.2 19.3 3.3
Konami Group +17.7 9.8 6.8
Nexon +41.0 24.0 3.4
Nintendo +42.9 10.5 0.0
Paradox Interactive +0.5 19.1 0.6
Square Enix Holdings +18.1 9.4 0.0
Take-Two Interactive Software +17.4 22.8 0.6
Ubisoft Entertainment +9.8 5.3 11.7
Electronic Arts +12.4 11.4 4.7
Median +17.4 17.4 3.3
Source: Sentieo 

All the best,

Tom

Since inception in August 2019, Waterhouse VC has achieved a total return of 1,957% as at 31 July 2022, assuming the reinvestment of all distributions. See our long-term performance table below:

Please note the above information in relation to Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, CD Projekt SA, Keywords Studios, Konami Group, Nexon, Nintendo, Paradox Interactive, Square Enix Holdings, Take-Two Interactive Software, Ubisoft Entertainment and Electronic Arts is based on publicly available information in relation to the company and should not be considered nor construed as financial product advice. Waterhouse VC has a position in Electronic Arts. The information provided in this document is general information only and does not constitute investment or other advice. Readers should consult and rely on professional investment advice specific to their individual circumstances.

Nightingale Early Access Launch Pushed To 2023

Nightingale, the Victorian first-person survival action game, has had its early access launch pushed to the first half of 2023. The game is the debut by Inflexion Games, a team consisting of former Bioware developers, including ex-general manager Aaron Flynn. 

In a message posted to Twitter, Inflexion explains it delayed the launch for two reasons. One, it’s migrating the game to Unreal Engine 5. Two, it needs the extra time to ensure it’s polished and packed with content before players can begin testing it out. You can read Inflexion’s full message below (click the image to enlarge). 

Nightingale debuted during The Game Awards 2021 and is a PvE crafting and survival game that can be played alone or in co-op. Players find themselves stranded in a Victorian Gaslamp fantasy world connected by a network of portals. To survive, they’ll have to harvest materials such as wood and ore to construct weapons, equipment, and buildings. Jumping through portals transports players to new biomes such as deserts, swamps, and jungles. Nightingale’s appearance during this year’s Summer Game Fest introduced Realm Cards used to unlock new areas and influence the type of content, such as enemies and resources, they contain. 

So far, Nightingale is only confirmed to launch for PC via Steam.

Charge up your game controllers with 100 AA batteries for £13

This is a bit different from what we normally cover, but I was going to order this for myself and thought it might be of interest to you, dear reader, as well. Anyway, you can get ten years’ worth of AA batteries – 100 in total! – for just £13 at Amazon right now. This normally costs £18, so that’s a nice little savings – and of course it’s far cheaper per item than buying batteries in smaller packs.

Fortnite players urge Epic Games to fix the Loot Chests disappearing bug – GamingonPhone

Fortnite is a globally famous sandbox game with an active player base that is dedicated and loyal because of the constantly evolving in-game content. With games that have constantly evolving in-game content, player feedback is one of the most important things to keep everything smooth and hassle-free. Fortnite in the past has been very quick in resolving issues inside the game with their hotfixes and major weekly updates. But numerous Fortnite players have now encountered a loot chest bug that is getting on their nerves.

The Bug in Fortnite makes the Loot Chest disappear and leaves players with no loot

Recently during the v21.30 update, Fortnite introduced the No Sweat No Summer event. It also added the Prime Shotgun which is considered to be the most powerful in Chapter 3 Season 3. But the update left a bug that is now testing every player’s patience.

The Loot Chest bug happens when a player tries to open a loot chest, the chest just teleports to a nearby location leaving the player with no loot. This makes it extremely hard for players to continue playing the game. It hinders the overall experience for players and also results in players losing matches.

Over the last few days, thousands of players have taken to social media to get Epic Games’ attention and force them to resolve the bug.

Players have been constantly posting videos of the issues caused by the bug. They have also stated that their gaming experience has been affected by the bug. Some players have even said that they lost matches because of this bug.

FNCS players are also affected by this bug and they are more than upset

Not just normal gamers, FNCS players have also been adversely affected by the loot chest bug. A couple of FNCS players have expressed concerns that the bug in the game could cost them important competitive matches. These are united casual gamers and professional Esports athletes calling on Epic to resolve the bug from doing any further damage.

Fortnite has not put out an official statement about the issue yet. However, players have continued to discuss the issue on social media platforms which will get Epic’s attention. Keeping in mind Epic Games’ extreme dedication to players’ feedback and improving user experience, we might see the issue is resolved soon.

For more Mobile Gaming news and updates, join our WhatsApp groupTelegram Group, or Discord server. Also, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and Google News for quick updates.

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Could MultiVersus be the “Fortnite of fighting”? – Rice Digital

Yes, yes, I know, I know, I cringed while writing that headline too, but having spent a bit of time with MultiVersus this afternoon, I think it’s a valid comparison to draw — and I’m not the only one who has been making such comparisons, either.

For the unfamiliar, MultiVersus is the new platform fighter (read: Smash clone) from Warner Brothers. It’s currently available in open beta, and it follows a free-to-play model. It’s free to download and get started, but acquiring new characters requires either grinding in-game currency through playing, or paying up for the game’s hard premium currency to unlock things immediately. There’s also a Battle Pass which, as always in this kind of thing, has a free and a paid premium tier, allowing you to unlock a series of rewards over the course of a “season”, with the more interesting rewards, of course, being on the paid track.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

MultiVersus is everything I feel like I should hate and detest — and the fact that I’m not a particular fan of many Warner Bros. characters in the first place either doesn’t help matters — and yet I found myself actually having a good time with it. Moreover, even despite jumping immediately into online play against other people rather than cowering in the corner with bots like I usually do, I didn’t find myself immediately demoralised and never wanting to touch it ever again. Rather, I found the experience quite invigorating and enjoyable, and I’m actually curious to give it a bit more of a go later.

This is the Fortnite angle. Take an established formula that has traditionally been regarded as fairly hardcore — first- and third-person shooters in the case of Fortnite, fighting games in the case of MultiVersus — and make it more accessible. Remove the barrier of entry completely by making it free to get started, provide incentive for people to keep playing after they’ve given it a quick go with various drip-feeds of rewards, and implement a solid matchmaking and netplay system to allow for constant competition where you never have to wait long for an opponent.

I typically eschew free-to-play games because I tend to find the business model intrusive, particularly in the case of story-centric games with gacha mechanics. It’s why I ended up bouncing off things like Granblue Fantasy and Fate/Grand Order despite their solid storytelling and characterisation, and it’s why I’ve never even bothered installing Genshin Impact.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

But for titles like MultiVersus this model makes a lot more sense. There is absolutely no attempt to contextualise anything that is going on here; it’s simply a toybox where various Warner Bros. characters battle it out to prove who is the “best”. Why? It doesn’t matter. It’s just a game. With that in mind, it somehow feels less obtrusive when you stumble across parts of the game that you need to pay up or grind for. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be tearing this game a new arsehole if it was a full-price release, because that shit has no place in a title you’ve already paid anywhere between £20 and £60 for — but as a free-to-play game? It works.

The limitations imposed on you when you start playing MultiVersus are a good means of getting to know the game. With just a few characters available to you across the “Brawler”, “Tank” and “Support” archetypes, you’re encourage to find the basic play style you’re most comfortable with, and then start getting to know one character a bit better.

Each character has a “mastery” level, which allows you to unlock new features — including passive “perks” that can benefit both you and any teammates you have — and thus there’s incentive to spend some time familiarising yourself with one of the initial lineup. And that initial lineup are easy to handle and understand, too; their various moves make sense and you’ll quickly find it easy to understand the best times at which to make use of them.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

MultiVersus’ combat is Super Smash Bros. with a few twists. For starters, there’s no “up to jump” nonsense here, which eliminates one of my most consistent frustrations with Smash’s controls. Here, you have one button to jump and another to dodge, with the latter working both on the ground and in the air. Then, you’ve got one attack button (with four different attacks assigned to it according to whether or not you’re pushing a particular direction when you press it) and one special button (likewise with four options). That’s all you really need to know to get started.

A brief, rather tedious but nonetheless reasonably helpful tutorial introduces platform fighter newcomers to the basics of the genre, and is worth completing because it rewards you with a playable character. From thereon, you have the option to play against bots or real players, and in both cases you can take on 1 vs 1 fights, 2 vs 2 team battles, or 2 vs AI survival fights. There’s also a training room called The Lab where you can practice your moves against a customisable opponent, and this can be accessed while you’re waiting for matchmaking if it’s taking a while.

Online performance was absolutely flawless while I played; there was no evidence of stuttering or lag, and controls felt completely responsive at all times. There was no point at which I felt I was battling against other people’s connections rather than their characters, and the experience was as smooth as if I was playing against offline bots. There’s obviously been some real effort made with the netcode for this game, which is sure to please those who care particularly strongly about such things.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

Social features are pretty limited right now; there’s no real-time chat, for example, and communicating with other players is perhaps best handled through external software such as Steam right now. You can, however, browse people you’ve played with recently, check out their MultiVersus and Steam profiles where applicable, and invite them to play in a party with you. Matches also default to a “best of three” format if all the participants agree; any player is free to drop out at any time, however.

Positivity is encouraged through the ability to “Toast” other players after you have played with them — though rather peculiarly it requires another in-game currency to do this, and it’s not made altogether clear how you acquire it. At the other end of the spectrum, blocking toxic players or cheaters is a simple matter of hitting a button in the social panel.

Speaking of cheaters, the game’s PC version makes use of the Easy Anti-Cheat (aka EAC) software, which some players will doubtless be averse to — though note that EAC is a fairly widely adopted anti-cheat solution at this point, appearing in a variety of different games including, yes, Fortnite.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

Anti-cheat software can sometimes be a bit of a pain in the arse on PC, but outside of MultiVersus taking a little longer to load than one might expect for a game like this, it didn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on the in-game action. Let’s just hope MultiVersus’ implementation of EAC doesn’t suffer any account-locking bugs — Apex Legends was in the news recently for incorrectly banning players’ accounts should they suffer simple connection errors, for example.

There are some particularly praiseworthy features about MultiVersus. An extensive glossary of in-game terms makes picking up game-specific lingo very straightforward. A ton of optional tutorials allow you to practice more advanced skills beyond the initial lesson. And in-game feedback is absolutely excellent, with a fully customisable interface making it clear how the match is going, what the status of each character is and even the effects that various offensive and defensive moves apply when successfully performed.

My one hesitation with MultiVersus right now is that there just aren’t any characters that I really care about. Wonder Woman is neat, yes, and I’ll always have a soft spot for Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry, but there just isn’t the same “magic” that Smash has in terms of the roster. I’m sure this will change over time — Warner Bros. has a vast catalogue of characters they could potentially draw from over the long term, after all — but right now Smash absolutely still has a significant lead in terms of making me excited to try different fighters.

It also has a lot more for the single player to enjoy, while MultiVersus is very much about a simple, straightforward competitive fighting experience. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but it does mean that the package as a whole has a bit of a different focus to Smash.

MultiVersusMultiVersus

There’s no risk getting involved with MultiVersus, though — unless you pay attention to the tinfoil hat-wearing people who really don’t like EAC — so even if you, like me, are not at all sure about the game’s roster or competitive focus, it’s still worth giving a go. You might just find yourself with a new gaming obsession — and in the long-term, perhaps it’ll convince more fighting game makers to consider taking the free-to-play approach. It looks set to be a good means of bringing a lot more people into the community if the early performance of this game is anything to go by.

Multiversus is available for free in open beta now for PC via Steam and Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One/Series boop.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete is Rice Digital’s editor, and a proud champion of any and all games involving pretty girls hanging out, saving the world or both. His first waifu was Rit from Rod Land.
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Your Foot Will Save The World In Soccer Story, An Open-World RPG Coming To Console And PC

Developer PanicBarn and publisher No More Robots are working on a “comedy open-world RPG” where you save the world with a magic soccer ball. Soccer Story is slated to release later this year for PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Switch, PC, and Stadia.

Your role in Soccer Story begins one year after an event called The Calamity, which apparently has made soccer illegal. A magic soccer ball chooses you to be the so-called Savior of Soccer, a role that will also help heal the world.

No More Robots states Soccer Story delivers over 15 hours of gameplay unfolding through story-based missions and side activities. You’ll apparently square off against sharks, toddlers, old-age pensioners, and ninjas as you complete these tasks and solve puzzles using the ball.

In addition to the single-player campaign, Soccer Story features a four-player local multiplayer mode, with each team led by an animal captain.

Soccer Story is not developed by SideBar Games, the team behind the wonderful Golf Story title, but it does appear to draw plenty of inspiration from it, including the name.


Let us know what you think of this surprising game announcement in the comments section below!