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CoD: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, The Division are the best-selling games of 2016

The video game industry should definitely be celebrating right now, as The NPD Group has announced that consumers spent $30.4 billion on hardware, software, peripherals, and in-game purchases in 2016. This is a slight increase over 2015 revenues, which totaled a measly $30.2 billion.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, NPD Analyst Mat Piscatella attributed some of this growth to the emergence of virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. He also cited the “cultural phenomenon” that was Pokemon Go and the subsequent release of Pokemon Sun and Moon on the 3DS.

“Growth in entertainment software consumer spend was seen across the mobile, PC, virtual reality, subscription, portable, and digital console segments,” Piscatella said. “Consumers have more options to purchase and enjoy entertainment software than ever before, while developers have more and easier ways of delivering that content. No matter the delivery platform, entertainment software has never been more engaging, diverse or accessible.”

However, none of those games managed to crack the top ten for 2016, which was once again dominated by Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. Even though it launched to less-than-stellar reviews and a negative fan reaction, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was still the best-selling game in 2016. Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III was also represented in the top ten, at #8.

Tom Clancy’s The Division (#3) and Overwatch (#7) proved that new franchises can still make some noise in the NPD’s annual ranking, but perennial best-sellers like NBA 2K17 (#4), Madden NFL 17 (#5), and FIFA 17 (#9) also sold well in 2016, as did strong sequels such as Battlefield 1 (#2) and Final Fantasy XV (#10).

You can find the NPD’s list of best-selling games throughout all of 2016 after the break. (more…)

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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare repeats as the best-selling game of December 2016

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launched on November 4, and it easily took the crown as the best-selling game for the whole month. Today, The NPD Group revealed the best-selling games for December, and Infinite Warfare managed to repeat as the top title.

While Activision’s shooter series continued to be a favorite among gift givers at the end of the year, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV had an almost equally impressive retail peformance.

“Although a Call of Duty has now topped the December sales chart for the ninth consecutive year, Final Fantasy XV was the best-selling game for the PS4 during the month,” NPD Analyst Sam Naji told GamesIndustry.biz. “Final Fantasy XV was the second best-selling title for December 2016… Final Fantasy XV experienced the best console launch month in the history of the franchise selling 19% more new physical units than Final Fantasy XIII in its launch month and 54% more in total dollar revenue including digital full game sales.”

The remainder of the top ten should look familiar as it contains several of 2016’s biggest games including Battlefield 1 (#3), Madden NFL 17 (#4), NBA 2K17 (#5), Watch Dogs 2 (#6), FIFA 17 (#8), and Pokemon Sun and Moon (#8 and #10, respectively). 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V also cracked the best-sellers list for December at #7.

You can find the complete top ten in list form after the break. (more…)

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment will be released in April

Yacht Club Games has confirmed (via the PlayStation Blog) that Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment will be available in April.

The Specter of Torment expansion will serve as a prequel to the entire Shovel Knight saga, and will actually turn the game into an acrobatic platformer reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden. Body Swap Mode, Two-Player Co-Op, and a Sound Test Mode will also be available as part of the free update.

Fans who want to give Specter of Torment a shot before its Spring debut should find a way to travel down to San Antonio next weekend, because the developer is going to demo the expansion at this year’s PAX South expo.

However, if you’ve never played Shovel Knight before, you’ll be able to dig into the series in a new way this April. New fans will be able to pick up Specter of Torment as a standalone game, and Yacht Club also plans to re-release the original campaign (rechristened Shovel of Hope) and the Plague of Shadows expansions separately as well. Current owners of Shovel Knight will be upgraded to the Treasure Trove bundle, which will also be available in April, and will include access to all future Shovel Knight content.

The Specter of Torment expansion will be available in April for all owners of Shovel Knight on the 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, and Xbox One.

The standalone re-releases (Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, and Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment) will also be available in April for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

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2017 DICE Awards nominations announced and Uncharted 4 leads the way with ten

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced their nominees for the 2017 DICE Awards.

A Naughty Dog leads this year’s pack, as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End scored ten nominations including one for “Game of the Year.” The developer’s swan song for Nathan Drake will be competing against Battlefield 1, Inside, Overwatch, and Pokemon Go for the coveted honor. We’ll hear from all of this year’s “Game of the Year” contenders throughout the ceremony as each earned multiple nominations including Inside with nine, Battlefield 1 with eight, Overwatch with six, and Pokemon Go with two.

The AIAS will hand out two new DICE Awards this year for “Immersive Reality Game of the Year” and “Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.” The nominees for both will be announced at a later date.

A total of 56 games received at least one nomination, and hosts Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot will announce the winners on Thursday, February 23, at 10:30 PM (Eastern Time). Viewers at home will be able to livestream the entire ceremony through the AIAS’s official website.

A complete list of this year’s nominees can be found after the break. (more…)

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Shovel Knight is officially coming to Nintendo Switch; Yacht Club also plans to re-release the expansions as standalone games

Followers of the Code of Shovelry have quite a bit to celebrate today as Yacht Club Games uncovered a massive amount of new information about Shovel Knight on the game’s official site… including confirmation that it’ll be released for the Nintendo Switch.

Yes, the side-scrolling masterpiece will make its way to the Nintendo Switch sometime this year, along with each expansion and all the bonus content like Body Swap Mode and Co-Op Mode. Oh, speaking of Body Swap Mode, it’s finished and will be released alongside the Specter Knight expansion this Spring. And in the spirit of sharing, Co-Op Mode will no longer be exclusive to the Wii U (and the Shovel Knight Amiibo). According to the developer, it will soon be available for all consoles and the PC (but not the 3DS or the Vita) as a free update.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Shovel Knight’s release structure will soon be undergoing some changes, though Kickstarter backers and other current owners won’t notice anything different. Yacht Club has decided to upgrade the game for current owners to the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove on all platforms. Available this Spring, the Treasure Trove will include free access to all updates and expansions. But because the expansions have grown beyond being simple character swaps, Yacht Club has decided to raise the price of the Treasure Trove for newcomers once its available. The game’s new price has yet to be announced, but the current $14.99 price (and its promise of free updates and expansions) will remain in place until the Treasure Trove is released.

For everyone who has yet to purchase Shovel Knight (or for those who might want to rebuy the game on a new platform), Yacht Club has decided to split each of the expansions off into its own standalone game. So the original Shovel Knight campaign will receive a new subtitle (Shovel of Hope), and the expansions (Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment, the King Knight campaign, and Battle Mode) will all be available as individual downloads (and for a lower price) on the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

Finally, Yacht Club has begun to think about life after Shovel Knight, and will soon begin work on their “second” game (depending on how you count the Shovel Knight expansions). Writing in a new Q&A, the developer said, “[I]f you want something new outside of Shovel Knight… we have vowed to begin work on a new project this year!”

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Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone, Fatal Fury, more added to PS Store

It’s the first PlayStation Store update of the year… so let’s kick things off with a big dance party!

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone, the Virtual Diva’s latest starring role, is now available to download for the PS4. According to Sega, Future Tone is the biggest game in the series (if you download both expansion pack), and it’s amped up speed and energy will provide fans with the most intense rhythm game experience yet.

Also new this week is Fatal Fury, a PS4 recreation of the classic arcade game from 1991. As one of SNK’s earliest games, Fatal Fury helped lay the groundwork for the dozens of fighting games the developer would produce over the next two-and-a-half decades. Fatal Fury will be available to download through the PlayStation Store beginning tomorrow, January 12.

More information on all of this week’s new additions to the PlayStation Store can be found after the break. (more…)

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You should watch this great Shovel Knight speedrun race from Awesome Games Done Quick 2017

Awesome Games Done Quick is hosting their first speedrunning marathon of the year this week, and some of the best players from all across the world have descended on the Washington D.C. area to play through a huge number of games as fast as they can. In addition to putting on an excellent show, the AGDQ2017 participants are also raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

It’s a pretty fun week of gaming, and for further proof, just look at this year’s Shovel Knight race. Not only is it an extremely competitive contest, but you can watch two experts masterfully pick apart the new side-scrolling classic. The two players going head-to-head are “Smaugy” and “Munchakoopas,” and they provide a great match featuring plenty of platforming acrobatics, multiple lead changes, and an amazing photo finish.

Yacht Club Games will release the next expansion for Shovel Knight, Specter of Torment, sometime this year.

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Joe Carnahan has finished the script to the Uncharted movie

After years in development, Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, and No Man’s Sky all launched in 2016. With that trio of games now available in stores, we might have finally reached the point where all the vaporware-adjacent video games have either finally been released or officially canceled. Thankfully, the Uncharted movie is the gift that keeps on giving.

The film adaptation was first announced in 2009, and since then, Naughty Dog has actually said “goodbye” to Nathan Drake with the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Before that, but after the Uncharted film was first announced, they managed to produce three sequels to the original game and multiple spinoff titles. Several directors and writers have taken a crack at the franchise over the years, and all of them eventually stepped away. But it looks like director Shawn Levy and screenwriter Joe Carnahan will finally be the ones who bring the franchise to the big screen.

Carnahan got on Instagram this weekend and revealed that the script for Uncharted is finished. This is an accomplishment in itself, but he also seems rather proud of his work. Carnahan referred to the script as “a BEAST” and claimed “[there’s not] a more monstrously cool action script in Hollywood right now.”

The Uncharted movie will begin filming sometime this year, and you can find Carnahan’s Instagram post after the break. (more…)

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