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We're still spending record amounts on gaming, a year into the pandemic

Engadget

Video game sales are still smashing records roughly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic led many people to stay indoors. The NPD Group has determined that video game spending in the US surged 18 percent in March 2021 compared to a year earlier, hitting a new record of $5.6 billion. Hardware sales in particular jumped 47 percent to $680 million, breaking a March record that hasn't been touched since 2008 -- yes, the heyday of the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. It won't surprise you to hear that new consoles helped fuel the hardware surge, but it wasn't all up to the new models. The PlayStation 5 is the fastest-selling console in US history both in dollars and units, NPD said. However, it wasn't the strongest seller in March -- that honor went to the four-year-old Nintendo Switch, which outperformed the PS5 in sheer volume.


Ground zero for gaming memes: 10 excellent video game TikTok accounts

The Guardian

ShelbyRenae – @shelbyrenaeyt A Fortnite Twitch streamer and YouTuber, ShelbyRenae makes hilarious (and often very telling) TikToks focusing on her conversations with the strangers she plays with, mostly teenage boys who chuck out endless bizarre insults and gigantically inappropriate comments. Alisha – @alishakins_ Mainly a Twitch streamer, Alisha makes brilliant little TikToks of her experiences playing Call of Duty: Warzone, providing a turbo-charged voiceover, complete with her own sound effects – mostly, "Pew, pew, pew! The latest video shows the amazing full-size cabinet for Sega's Let's Go Jungle, designed to resemble an offroad truck. DKOldies – @dkoldies Similar to the above, DKOldies is an online retro gaming store and its TikTok shows off interesting items from its vast stock including rare games, ancient consoles and weird controllers. Komazawa Isolation – @kmzwisolation A Japanese YouTuber who makes astonishingly accurate real-life reenactments of games such as Grand Theft Auto and Yakuza.


A year into the pandemic, game developers reflect on burnout, mental health and avoiding crunch

Washington Post - Technology News

Like Grenier, other developers speaking to The Washington Post shared that working in the pandemic was challenging from a mental health, personal workload and collaboration standpoint. As offices closed worldwide, developers shifted to working from their living rooms and kitchen tables. Meanwhile, gaming took off as people stayed home, increasing the demand for content and the appetite for multiplayer games and hardware. In 2020, 79% of United States consumers, or about 261 million people, played a video game, up from 73% of consumers, or 241 million, in 2019, according to market research firm NPD Group.


Ubisoft delays Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major expansion to May 13th

Engadget

Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major expansion, Wrath of the Druids, will come out a couple of weeks later than expected. It was supposed to be available on April 29th, but now Ubisoft has announced on Twitter that it will be released on May 13th instead. The video game developer said it pushed back the release date "to deliver a more refined experience" and promised to publish an article that provides transparency and insights into its dev process. To deliver a more refined experience, we're sharing that: Wrath of the Druids will now release on May 13 We're working on an article to provide transparency and share insights on our dev process Thanks for your patience. Keep an eye on our social channels for future news!


'Oxenfree II: Lost Signals' headlines a new crop of Switch indie games

Engadget

The "one more thing" Nintendo had to show off at the end of its latest Indie World Showcase was a sequel to the supernatural hit Oxenfree. Set five years after the original game, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals sees a character named Riley returning to her hometown to investigate strange radio signals that are causing mysterious disturbances. It seems that, as in Oxenfree, you'll need to find the right frequencies on a handheld radio to solve puzzles. Night School Studio's sequel is coming to Switch and Steam later this year. OXENFREE II: Lost Signals from @nightschoolers and @mwminteractive is coming to #NintendoSwitch in 2021! Set 5 years after OXENFREE, guide Riley through a supernatural coming of age story, as you communicate with other-worldly entities.


Watch Nintendo's latest Indie World Showcase here at noon ET

Engadget

A blue Switch Lite wasn't the only news Nintendo had up its sleeve this week. The company will host its latest Indie World Showcase at noon ET today. The stream will run for around 20 minutes and highlight some new indie games that are coming to Switch. You shouldn't expect updates on the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 or any other big first-party games, of course. Still, there could be some big surprises in store.


'New Pokémon Snap' developer discusses the game's big changes from the original

Washington Post - Technology News

"The world in which wild Pokémon live is rendered to the best of the Nintendo Switch's hardware capabilities, and the aim of the game is to investigate that world. Once you've taken a photo, you can edit and share it online with people around the world," Haruki Suzaki, "New Pokémon Snap" director at Bandai Namco Studios, wrote in an email to The Washington Post.


PlayStation 5 owners can finally use extended storage for games with new update

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

An upcoming update for the PlayStation 5 will make it a lot easier to store your downloadable video games. Sony announced Tuesday it is rolling out the first major software update Wednesday for the PS5 since launching last November. The top feature coming to the video game console is support for external USB drives for storing PS5 games. If you run out of space on your PS5, you can transfer games onto an external USB stick to make more room. However, users can't play those games directly from the USB stick or download games directly to the drive, says Sony.


Sony PS5 update enables external storage for next-gen games, with a caveat

Washington Post - Technology News

Sony has stated previously that the console will support additional storage via internal M.2 drives in the future. As such, this update is something of a stopgap that lessens, but doesn't eliminate, the inconvenience of the PS5′s limited storage space. Some of the console's early titles have already run into storage issues, with "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War" requiring over 200 GBs of space when players also include the "Warzone" battle royale mode. Other titles, like "Hitman 3" and "Destiny 2," eat up over 100 GBs, according to a March article from Game Rant.


Creaks, clacks and clicks: Making the scary sounds of 'Little Nightmares 2'

Washington Post - Technology News

Sometimes, the schoolteacher (and other enemies) can be heard from far away, as you crawl through vents or navigate through long hallways. Depending on where you are, those distant sounds may reverberate differently, and they're vague enough that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what they are. To masterfully instill a sense of dread in the player, Vasselbring built an under-the-hood audio system that could simulate how different noises would sound in different spaces.