#111: Switch Lite seeing higher percentage of female users

TODAY: ZeniMax finally refunding Australian Fallout 76 players - BlizzCon 2019 kicks off today, with the Overwatch World Cup following tomorrow - Death Stranding reviews are in, what do the critics say?

Top Story

Switch Lite sales made up of 57 percent new users, and more females

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa reveals the opening sales data for Nintendo Switch Lite is split between 43 percent being existing Nintendo owners, and 57 percent all-new registered users.

Interestingly they’ve also seen more first-time female buyers with Switch Lite than before. The data is collected via users registering a Nintendo account for the first time via whatever console or handheld they’ve purchased. Studies have shown female gamers tend to favour more mobile gaming habits, which makes the Switch Lite an enticing option.

Switch Lite is a single contained device with no detachable Joy-Cons

“I would say Nintendo Switch Lite generating its own demand, without negatively impacting sales trends for Nintendo Switch,” said Shuntaro Furukawa. “Among these consumers buying Nintendo Switch Lite as a second system, some are doing so to supplement a single Nintendo Switch console shared among the family, while others are opting to buy Nintendo Switch Lite as a compact, lightweight system to take on the go.”

Nintendo will be pushing for more in-store and public demos of the new Switch Lite as hands-on time gives a “deeper understanding” of the handheld. The original Switch also has a handheld mode whereas Switch Lite is a dedicated mobile platform. They will also look at more handheld franchises as Switch Lite sold almost 2 million units in 11 days since September 20.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

In which Diablo game did the Secret Cow Level first appear?

  • Diablo
  • Diablo: Hellfire
  • Diablo II
  • Diablo III

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Death Stranding review round-up

Hideo Kojima’s latest creation Death Stranding is hitting PlayStation 4 November 8, 2019 with a PC release later in Q2 2020. It’s an action game in an open world about reconnecting isolated cities and a fragmented society, with actors Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen among its cast. Here’s what the critics have to say:

  • Push Square (Score 10/10) - ”Following years of mysterious anticipation, Death Stranding delivers on all fronts. An accomplished, fascinating set of gameplay mechanics allow you to make deliveries the way you want to, while social features let the game live on once you've put the controller down. It may become slightly tiresome as you hit the halfway mark, but the phenomenal narrative is on hand to pick things back up again and its outstanding visuals are the cherry on top. Death Stranding doesn’t raise the bar for any particular genre, it creates an entirely new one.”
  • TheSixthAxis (Score 10/10) - ”Death Stranding is like nothing I have ever played; beautiful, heart racing, heart breaking, frustrating, epic, stunning, and utterly nuts. I laughed, I cried, I cursed, and I went to the toilet an awful lot. Death Stranding isn't just my Game of the Year, it's a contender for Game of the Generation too.”
  • EGM (Score 5/5) - ”In the end, Death Stranding’s biggest mystery isn’t any of the elements we’ve had teased in three-plus years of trailers—it’s what people are going to think of it. Even from a man known for making love-them-or-hate-them projects, this may end up being one of the most divisive games ever created. For me, it was an experience that I can truly say was unlike any other I remember. And, if nothing else, Death Stranding makes me respect Hideo Kojima for convincing Sony to invest millions into a game that’s about a man delivering packages to holograms.”
  • Daily Star (Score 5/5) - ”Death Stranding is the most unique big-budget game I’ve ever played, a socially-minded injection of inventive ideas into a genre that has long survived by being lazy and brutish. This ambitious formula-flipper is brimming with empathy and carefully courts cinematic influences, an ensemble cast and a world of eye-watering scale, delivering a sticky gameplay loop to tie it all together and create a console generation-defining experience.”
  • PlayStation Lifestyle (Score 9.5/10) - ”Death Stranding is not a “fun” game, but it’s an important and meaningful experience that earns its payoff through every bit of frustration and slog. Its a look at life and death, connection and solitude; a game about building up what matters most and supporting each other selflessly. You’ll be bored at times and downright frustrated at others, but it comes with a great reward at the end that is made sweeter by the trials that precede it. It’s brilliantly unique in its design and implementation of online elements.”
  • Gamespot (Score 9/10) - ”Death Stranding is a hard game to absorb. There are many intertwining threads to its plot, and silly names, corny moments, and heavy exposition belie an otherwise very simple message. That comes through much more clearly in the game's more mundane moments, when you find a desperately-needed ladder left behind by another player or receive a letter from an NPC thanking you for your efforts. It's positive without ignoring pain; in fact, it argues in both its story and its gameplay that adversity itself is what makes things worth doing and life worth living. It's a game that requires patience, compassion, and love, and it's also one we really need right now.”
  • VideoGamer (Score 8/10) - ”Death Stranding is filled with things that must be seen, a sprawling, genre-spanning sci-fi adventure from a developer like no other. It's tackier clumps of writing and stunt casting seem overwrought, but its direction and its stars shine brightest.”
  • PlayStation Universe (Score 8/10) - ”Death Standing proves itself as a unique, palpable new IP, filled with rich storytelling both in narrative and gameplay. The beginning of the game suffers from long gaps of time intended for learning the ropes, but the ship rights itself once it finally turns the corner. Despite that with a handful of missteps, a deep, potent message of coming together rings through every aspect of Death Stranding that dazzles the game as a whole. If you give it the time, Death Stranding will offer you something most games never do.”
  • Destructoid (Score 8/10) - ”Death Stranding is not the overly-strange inaccessible walled garden the marketing campaign has made it out to be.”
  • Game Informer (Score 7/10) - ”The real issue is that Death Stranding’s gameplay really is as simple as it appears to be, and the elements around it – the story, combat, and lackluster mission objectives – aren’t satisfying enough to anchor the title and get players invested.”
  • GamesRadar+ (Score 3.5/10) - ”Kojima’s mysterious would be epic has its moments but can’t carry the weight of expectation.”
  • IGN (Score 6.8/10) - ”There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey.”

Bluepoint Games with a cryptic and spooky Halloween tweet

Someone’s got a candy-induced sugar rush over at Bluepoint Games as their official Twitter has just made a reference to some major game franchises all in one go. In one tweet they’ve mentioned: symphony, shadow, resistance, black monsters, twisted hills, syphon souls, soft from solid, eco-friendly and metal. All these touch on a particular franchise or two, and they’ve got an unannounced PlayStation 5 title in the works.

Daily Fact

Nintendo wasn’t bananas for a Diddy Kong Racing sequel

There was going to be a sequel to 1997’s Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64. One was first announced in 2001 at E3 and was in development by Rare for the Nintendo GameCube, however it was more of a loose follow-up called Donkey Kong Racing and was expected in 2002. It never materialised though and Rare was bought by Microsoft in 2002 so they moved on.

Another chance for Diddy Kong Racing to return with a sequel was in 2004 when another British developer, Climax Studios, who came up with the idea of Diddy Kong Racing Adventure. The premise was Wizpig would be seeking revenge on Diddy and his friends by teaming up with the Kremlings and turning Kongo Isle into a series of race tracks. Climax showed their idea to Nintendo, but they didn’t bite.

Daily News

ZeniMax owes refunds to some Australian Fallout 76 owners

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has concluded that Bethesda Softworks’ parent company ZeniMax was at fault over the debacle that was Fallout 76 during its opening months.

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“ZeniMax has acknowledged that they are likely to have misled certain Australian consumers about their rights to a refund when they experienced faults with their Fallout 76 game,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement. This decision affects anyone who sought a refund between 24 November 2018 and 1 June 2019, as they are now eligible.

Country Roads, take me home...

“When a consumer buys a product it comes with automatic consumer guarantees, and retailers must ensure their refunds and returns policies do not misrepresent what the Australian Consumer Law provides,” continued Ms Court. Bethesda initially processed those seeking a refund of Fallout 76, but as more started demanding their money back the company shut down the process, in clear violation of consumer protection laws in some nations.

“When a consumer has purchased a product that has a fault which amounts to a major failure, the Australian Consumer Law provides them with the right to ask for their choice of either a repair, replacement or refund.” ZeniMax also claim they are addressing the concerns raised by the ACCC over their customer service procedures and training -- compliance with the law hopefully thrown in for good measure.

Ubisoft reportedly moves away from ‘mechanics homogenisation’ in its games

You might think Ubisoft’s latest additions to its big name brands were getting a bit too much like one another; all going open world, all adopting loot systems and RPG mechanics etc. Ubisoft tends to agree with this assessment.

It’s why they will now apparently be changing up their internal ‘approval process’ for a project, with emphasis shifting to ‘unique selling points’ and not just blending systems together. This abrupt change of direction comes in the wake of Ghost Recon Breakpoint performing very poorly and the backlash it got for introducing too many mechanics that ‘didn’t fit the series’.

Open world? Check. Radio towers? Check. 900 collectibles? Check.

Ubisoft has also announced it would be delaying the releases of three upcoming projects, which includes the new Watch Dogs Legion, Gods and Monsters, and Rainbow Six Quarantine. Some of Ubisoft’s big name franchises have thrived under major system overhauls, like Assassin’s Creed which has become an RPG series with dialogue choices and story consequences.

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier claims that “Ubisoft is changing their mentality big time,” following Breakpoint. “Now it’s all about... you have to pitch your game as being super unique, having a unique aspect to it.” Ubisoft has even mocked its own overly used game systems in the past, with the latest Far Cry 5 cracking a joke about having to climb radio towers yet again to uncover the game world.

Esports Weekly

Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals kick off today

Initially beginning with forty-eight competitors and running throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals have finally arrived. Running from today until November 3rd, the eight remaining competitors will play the Shield-Phase Conquest format through dual tournament groups, and will then move onto the single elimination bracket. These matches will start off as best-of-threes until the semifinals and finals where they’ll increase to best-of-fives.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the build-up to the Global Finals, in Group A we’ll first see RNGLeaoh vs. PNC and Surrender vs. Casie. Group B will also host matches between tom60229 and VKLiooon as well as Fenomeno vs. bloodyface. With $500,000 up for grabs we’re expecting to see some nail-biting matches. A number of players are preparing to use Combo Priest decks - a deck that has solidified itself as top-tier for a while now. Tempo Rogue and Quest and Evolve Shaman decks will also make an appearance.

Viewers will be able to root for their favourites by watching on Twitch. Be sure to check the schedule to avoid missing the action.

New Overwatch content teased today alongside the Overwatch World Cup

Twitch streamer Félix ‘XQC’ Lengyel has announced that he will be streaming brand new Overwatch content at BlizzCon 2019. This news has come as a shock to long time Overwatch fans as XQC has rarely ever been highlighted by Blizzard to show off new content. XQC has had a controversial past with the company, being banned from Overwatch numerous times for abusing the reporting system, amongst other things. As a result, Team Canada are substituting XQC for Liam "Mangachu" Campbell at the Overwatch World Cup.

Unlike the Overwatch League, the World Cup teams are comprised of each country’s best players coming together to become world champions. This gives players who may not take part in the Overwatch League a chance to shine on the big stage as they can showcase their talents for their country. The Overwatch World Cup kicks off tomorrow at 7:15PM GMT and will take place until November 2nd. You can find the schedule for the Overwatch World Cup at the BlizzCon website.

100 Thieves sign Renegades Counter-Strike team

After previously exiting the scene, 100 Thieves has announced their return to CS:GO with their acquisition of the Renegades team. The announcement came via a YouTube video on the 100 Thieves channel. The video outlines the Renegades roster, which will include: Aaron ‘Azr’ Ward as the IGL (In-Game Leader), Justin ‘jks’ Savage, Jay ‘Liazz’ Tregillgas, Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai and Joakim ‘jkaem’ Myrbostad. Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunović also joins as the team’s coach.

Renegades have recently exhibited their potential, having secured their spot in the top four teams in both the StarLadder Berlin Major and StarSeries & iLeague CS:GO Season 8. With the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals scheduled for the end of the year, we’ll be seeing Renegades competing for a spot very soon.

News Bits

Netflix’s The Witcher series finally gets a viewing date

When will this Netflix adaptation of The Witcher be beaming onto our various devices? December 20, 2019 is the official debut date for the 8 episode series, which stars Henry Cavil as Geralt of Rivia. To go with the revelation its coming just before Christmas is a new official trailer. The Netflix series is not connected to CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher, but the original works by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night update for Switch murders load times and lag

The 1.03 patch for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Nintendo Switch has arrived and it reportedly cuts load times by 70 percent, and banishes the input lag it was cursed with. This means battling enemies should now be fun and not just frustrating. Oh, and reading books from a bookcase shouldn’t crash the game anymore. The next patch is already underway. Bloodstained hits PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch in June.

Weekly Giveaway

Anthill on Nintendo Switch

This week's DailyBits giveaway is a cute strategy game for Switch, which is 100% handheld! We are giving away 5 codes for Anthill, a tower defence-style strategy game – with the twist being that you’re also directing your ants to retrieve the dead bodies of enemies for dinner! The Switch version features all DLC, and can only be played in handheld mode.

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to follow Dailybits on Twitter or Facebook. We will choose five random followers over the course of the week, and each will receive a code for Anthill on Switch! It couldn't be any easier.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

In which Diablo game did the Secret Cow Level first appear?

Answer: Diablo II!

With Blizzcon going on right now, probably with an announcement of Diablo IV (finally), we’re looking back at probably the most famous Easter egg in Blizzard history - the Cow Level, which finally made its appearance in Diablo II. The Secret Cow Level features a bunch of powerful cows with halberds, and a boss fight against the Cow King.

However, the Cow Level is widely misremembered as being part of the first Diablo - because that was the rumour spread, that clicking on the cows in the game a certain amount of times would transport you to the level. There was a nod to it in the game’s Hellfire expansion, but the level itself would only appear in Diablo II. And yes, Blizzard returned to the Cow Level - now called Whimsyshire - in Diablo III. Will it be back in Diablo IV? Probably, yes...

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