Nintendo’s Q1 financial report reveals top 10 games

Today: Embracer Group picks up 3D Realms in new acquisition spree — The wacky saga of Blue Box Studios and Abandoned continues — Next-generation PlayStation VR details finally emerge

Nintendo profits down but remain strong

Sale boosts fall off but remain healthy

As predicted, Nintendo's COVID-19 adventure is over and quarterly profits are down. The company remains in a strong position though and plans to spend $900 million on a stock buyback.

Net sales dropped by 9.9% to ¥322.6 billion for the quarter, with operating profits down 17.3% to ¥119.7 billion and net profits down 12.9% to ¥92.7 billion. This is pretty much as expected following the surge in console and game sales during the lockdowns, and Nintendo's outlook remains strong.

  • Switch hardware sales pass 89 million, with software at 632 million sales
  • Top Nintendo Switch titles as of June 2021:
     

    1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (37.08 million)
    2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (33.89 million)
    3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (24.77 million)
    4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (23.20 million)
    5. Pokémon Sword and Shield (21.85 million)
    6. Super Mario Odyssey (21.40 million)
    7. Super Mario Party (15.72 million)
    8. Pokémon: Let's Go (13.57 million)
    9. Splatoon 2 (12.45 million)
    10. Ring Fit Adventure (11.26 million)

Zelda & OLED: We will see the results for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD next quarter, and the updated Switch OLED model is scheduled to launch in October.

New normal: Mario Golf: Super Rush has become the second-best-selling title in the series, New Pokémon Snap has already sold over 2 million units outside Japan, and Pokémon Go has kept Nintendo’s mobile revenue stable.

Which Sonic game launched alongside Microsoft’s Kinect?

a) Sonic Free Riders 
b) Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
c) Sonic Rivals 2
d) Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Embracer Group snaps up 8 more studios

They argue a 'strategic rationale' for buy ups

Embracer Group is never done buying studios, and it just forked out SEK 2.7 billion acquiring eight more game development studios, with an additional SEK 2 billion to be paid out if milestones are reached.

The studios are Crazy Labs, Ghost Ship Games, Easy Trigger, Forcefield, DigixArt, Slipgate Ironworks, 3D Realms, and Grimfrost. Embracer expects the investment to start yielding profits by the end of the next financial year.

Big spender: “Brick by brick we continue to improve our operating groups and consequently Embracer as a whole,” said CEO and co-founder Lars Wingefors. Crazy Labs, a mobile game maker, is the ‘most impactful acquisition’ according to Embracer.

Time to bet on Duke: Embracer now owns both Gearbox Software and 3D Realms, which could mean a revival for a certain blond beast. Danish studio Slipgate Ironworks, not to be confused with John Romero's now-defunct studio with the same name, also cut its teeth trying to remake Duke Nukem 3D back in 2010. Have the stars aligned?

Abandoned screenshots leak from PSN

Little is still known about Abandoned

More images of Blue Box Studios' Abandoned have appeared online, thanks to Hasan Kahraman's PlayStation Network account.

Kahraman has confirmed that the images are real, but says that Abandoned has changed a lot since the version in the pictures. The screenshots are from 2019 and the game is running on PlayStation 4.

8K textures: “The 2019 version was a lot different back then. But it was to test the PS4’s max power. It was running on PS4 Pro with native 3840 x 2160 resolution targeting 60 FPS with 8k textures,” according to Kahraman.

IP suspicion: “It did work but the PS4 version wasn’t powerful enough to create a full game.” Some still speculate that Abandoned and Blue Box Studios is actually a front for Kojima Productions, and that the bizarre story of Blue Box Studios and Abandoned is really a viral marketing campaign for a new Silent Hill or Metal Gear game. What do you think? 

Sony brief studios on PS5 PS VR headset

The original PSVR unit is displayed, with a blue background. It's powered on, so the lights are showing

Sony has hosted a private conference for virtual reality developers and shared more details about the upcoming next-generation VR headset for PlayStation 5, allaying fears that Sony was abandoning VR.

Sony started making noise about its next-generation VR offering a few months back, and now technical details are finally surfacing. Not much is known yet, but the headset – codenamed NGVR – will feature an HDR OLED display with a field of view of 110 degrees.

Bells and whistles: The headset will also support resolution scaling and foveated rendering to boost performance, while the controllers have capacitative touch sensors for the thumb, index and middle fingers which can measure how far fingers are from the sensors and not just whether they are being touched.

Blockbusters wanted: Sony wants proper AAA games for PSVR this generation, and also wants more traditional games to feature VR modes so the headset can be used more widely. No launch date has been announced, no mention has been made of backward compatibility and it seems unlikely that the new headset will launch any time soon.

WB Games Publisher Sale up to 85% off

Enjoy big discounts on some big names

It's discount time once again as the WB Games catalogue goes on sale at Humble Store in the aptly named WB Games Publisher Sale, featuring up to 85% off on major titles.

You can find the classic Hitman games, fighting game action with Injustice and Mortal Kombat, more Lego than you can shake a stick at, and spine-tingling horror in F.E.A.R.

Which Sonic game launched alongside Microsoft’s Kinect?

At least it's better than Sonic 06?

ANSWER: Sonic Free Riders!

Sonic has always been a hedgehog of the times, and the fastest thing alive did not hesitate to hop on the Kinect bandwagon. Sonic Free Riders was a launch title for Microsoft’s much-hyped but ultimately abandoned motion-sensing camera, and also the first game featuring the new voice cast after Jason Griffith passed the torch on to Roger Craigh Smith.

Unfortunately, the motion controls were universally loathed and criticized for being far too unresponsive for a high-speed racing game. Kotaku’s Brian Crecente called it “the most broken of the Kinect titles I’ve played,” which is hardly high praise considering the rest of the Kinect software library. Later Sonic Riders games were hardly perfect either, but at least they weren’t weighed down by a technology no-one wanted.

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!