Daily Deals: Don’t Miss These Early Black Friday Savings at Best Buy

It’s Saturday, but according to Best Buy, it’s already Black Friday. They’ve rolled out a ton of deals on products, some of which are the lowest we’ve ever seen. If you’ve got a few extra dollars just waiting to be spent, make sure you read down below to see what we thought were the biggest and best deals at Best Buy, along with all the other awesome deals we found this weekend.

#1: Vizio 65″ 4K OLED Smartcast TV for $1499.99

$500 Off MSRP

This is a HUGE discount on a recently released 2020 OLED TV. It’s a full $350 cheaper than LG’s 65″ OLED TV and the lowest price we’ve ever seen for a 65″ OLED TV. OLEDs are best of breed, and if price has been the only thing that’s shied you away, this will change your mind.

The Top Best Buy Black Friday Deals So Far

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More Weekend Deals

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More Video Game Deals

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HBO’s Hellraiser Series: Clive Barker Joins as an Executive Producer

Announced last April, though it’s been in development since 2012, HBO is developing a new TV series based on Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, which has David Gordon Green (2018’s Halloween) attached to direct a few early episodes.

Now the news has come in, per Deadline, that horror maestro Clive Barker has joined the series as an executive producer.

Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart was the basis for 1987’s Hellrasier, which Barker himself wrote and directed. Nine more Hellraiser movies followed.

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Barker was recently involved in the film adaptation of The Books of Blood, based on his short story collections, for Hulu and is also currently working on a Nightbreed series (based on his 1988 novella Cabal), with Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat) directing, for Syfy.

Hellraiser will feature David Gordon Green directing the pilot and several more episodes, which will be scripted by vets Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica, Daredevil) and Michael Dougherty (Trick r’ Treat).

The series will remain centered on the demonic Cenobites and their leader, Pinhead. The Cenobites, as the site reminds us, “come from hell to harvest human souls and keep balance between good and evil.”

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Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.

Microsoft Will Celebrate Xbox Series X Launch With Live Gameplay, Charity Drives

The Xbox Series X and Series S both launch on November 10, and Microsoft is planning a day of programming to celebrate. Depending on whether or not you were able to secure a preorder, it will either help you get more excited or make you angrier.

The event begins on November 10 at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET, and it will be shown across the official Xbox YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Gaming channels. There will be Xbox Let’s Play streams during the day, as well as charity drives and global “launch highlights,” but there will not be a bunch of new game announcements. According to head of Xbox Phil Spencer, the company wants the focus to be on players enjoying their favorite games rather than looking ahead to the future.

“This will be a moment of play, not press releases, as next-generation consoles begin to land in the hands of players around the world,” Spencer said. Instead of big announcements, we will mark the beginning of a new era by gaming alongside one another. We will take this moment to have some fun and look forward to having you join us.

Series X and preorders S are sold out nearly everywhere, but you may have some luck purchasing the system in-person on launch day. Best Buy will also get restocks of the system on Black Friday for online orders.

Xbox Series X doesn’t launch with too many enormous first-party games, with the notable exception of Gears Tactics. Halo Infinite has been delayed to an undetermined date in 2021, and recently lost its second director as 343 Industries looks to deliver on the extremely ambitious game.

History Of PlayStation

We’re on the cusp of the PlayStation 5’s launch, so now is a perfect time to look back at the journey that led Sony to this moment, and celebrate PlayStation’s past.

In the video above, Lucy chronicles the history of the Japanese tech giant’s foray into the gaming space, from the wildly successful launch of the original PlayStation back in 1994, to breaking into the American market, to the rapid growth over the last 25 years. From hardware launches, revisions, and partnerships to peripherals, and of course, the games that we love on PlayStation, we delve deeply through the history of the console family.

She also stops to examine the evolution of the DualShock controller, from its humble beginnings to its reinvention as the new DualSense Wireless Controller. We recently had hands-on time with it, and it’s a marked improvement on the DualShock 4. PlayStation 5 launches on November 12 in the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, and on November 19 in the rest of the world.

How A Team Of Silent Hill 2 Fans Transformed A Buggy Port Into The Definitive Version

In every respect, Silent Hill 2 stands alone: in its crowded genre, in its long-dormant series, even in the medium of video games in general. Widely considered one of the greatest horror games of all time, critics have championed James Sutherland’s descent into madness as one of the high-water marks for video games as an artform.

Armchair enthusiasts and YouTube analysts have scrutinized every inch of Silent Hill 2’s dismal lakeside town for clues and symbols, and subsequent generations of horror games have imitated (and even parodied) its twists and tiny touches in equal measure. But while the classic series isn’t getting much in the way of love from Konami these days, a team of more than a dozen die-hard Silent Hill fans have developed an alternate version of Silent Hill 2 that is one of the most impressive fan restoration projects we’ve yet seen. This unofficial patch grants the buggy, broken PC port of the game the superior sound, control, and visual effects of the original PS2 version while also allowing the game to be played at modern resolutions.

“Silent Hill 2 is loved by many and considered the example of a horror game done right,” says one of the project’s key contributors, who goes by the online handle Ratiocinator. “For most who play it for the first time, they quickly realize what makes it so special: The visuals and art direction, the atmosphere, otherworldly audio, character stories, and more. This is what makes the game so special to me and important to revisit to allow others to experience it on modern displays/hardware.”

For those new to the series, Silent Hill can be tough to get into, and I’m not talking about those pesky tank controls. In an era where many classic games are getting remastered, remade, or at least ported to current-day consoles, the Silent Hill series is an unfortunate anomaly. (You can blame publisher Konami for this one; fans certainly do.)

Unless you’re willing to lug your old PlayStation 2 or original Xbox out of the closet, your only real option to play Silent Hill 2 is the PC port of the game, which isn’t available for legal purchase anywhere–save for second-hand copies of the original physical release. There’s also the Silent Hill HD Collection for PS3 and Xbox 360, but fans consider it broken in a variety of ways. Cajoling the original PC port to run on a modern PC without assistance is a Herculean labor; however, thanks to a team of fans behind the decidedly unofficial “Enhanced Edition” of Silent Hill 2, playing the game on PC now is simply a matter of overwriting a few files and editing a text document or two.

As Ratiocinator and project contributor Andrew Bondarenko attest, even at the time of its release, the original PC port of Silent Hill 2 was considered technically inferior–especially in terms of visual effects and audio bugs–when compared to the console versions, though not egregiously so. Such deficiencies were relatively common for PC ports of popular console titles at the time, and Japanese games were some of the worst offenders.

There are quite a few reasons why the PC port didn’t live up to its console counterparts. According to Dean Calver, who worked as the lead programmer at Creature Labs, the tiny UK studio that handled the PC version of Silent Hill 2, the porting effort was brutally short on both time and resources.


Original PC Version vs. Fan-made Enhanced Edition

Though Calver notes that Konami gave Creature Labs “what [it] needed” in the form of source code and art assets, the team struggled to export many of the assets due to technical problems, and they ended up reverse-engineering much of the art from the game’s PS2 and Xbox versions. The source code came with its own set of complications: though the code was in English, its comments were in Japanese, meaning that the studio had to rely on primitive machine translation to explain how various aspects of the game worked. “It was not uncommon to hear one of us randomly laughing as we read some bizarrely translated comment,” Calver says.

The studio only had a scant five months to spend on the project, meaning that some bugs inevitably slipped through the cracks. (Some of these unintended technical shortcomings have made the PC version the preferred platform of speedrunners. For example, loading a quicksave restores James’ stamina, meaning that you can sprint endlessly with little effort.) Because computers of the era had yet to fully embrace the DVD drive–unlike the PS2 or Xbox–Creature and Konami decided to ship the game on multiple CDs instead, which meant that certain parts of the game had to be compressed, especially the audio. Calver also notes that the port targeted lower-end computers that simply couldn’t achieve everything the console versions of the game did.

The Enhanced Edition team only recently uncovered the memory address that controls Silent Hill 2's iconic fog, which allowed them to adjust its movement speed to a more natural flow reminiscent of the PS2 version.
The Enhanced Edition team only recently uncovered the memory address that controls Silent Hill 2’s iconic fog, which allowed them to adjust its movement speed to a more natural flow reminiscent of the PS2 version.

“Our minimum spec was probably two to three times slower than the consoles, and we didn’t have the low-level tricks that the console versions could do,” he says. “That’s why the lighting and shadows are slightly different.”

The fan-made Enhanced Edition that picked up the baton that Calver and co. were forced to put down has come a long way since the project’s inception in 2016. The patch comes in at several times larger than the original game, which is only a couple of gigabytes. As the team tells it, the endeavor started when the project’s producer, Ratiocinator, began to investigate how to play Silent Hill 2 on modern machines, having found that trying to play PS2 or Xbox games on a LCD television produces a muddy, blurry image compared to the intended CRT experience.

What Ratiocinator found was a constellation of different fan-developers working on competing fixes to the game, including one to adapt the game for widescreen monitors by two modders going by the names ThirteenAG and Aero_. Pooling their collective knowledge of the game, Ratiocinator began to submit development tickets on the project’s page, when it was then known as the “Widescreen Fixes Pack.” Over time, as the breadth of these fixes began to sprawl, other developers who were interested in fixing the PC port found the project and began to share their fixes to other aspects of the game, such as its compressed sound. At that point, the project began to resemble a total overhaul of the game from top to bottom, from DirectX integration to controller support.

Some of the changes required the team to fix issues caused by the forward march of technology.
Some of the changes required the team to fix issues caused by the forward march of technology.

In order to achieve their goal of restoring the PC port of Silent Hill 2 to console quality, the fan-developer team had to dump more than 1,500 audio files from the “definitive” PS2 version of the game and transcribe them into the PC version. This required lead developer Elisa Riedlinger to construct custom tools to convert the files into a compatible format, as well as delving into the game’s code to increase its memory buffer to allow it to work with larger audio files.

As a horror game that relies heavily on its atmosphere, the default PC version of Silent Hill 2 has many bugs and visual shortcomings that can tarnish the experience. For example, Riedlinger just recently figured out a way to remove the annoying click sound that plays when the game ends a sound effect prematurely. This involved installing a new DirectSound wrapper into the game to detect when an audio file gets cut off, and then forcing it to fade out and stop without the noticeable click.

Some of the changes required the team to fix issues caused by the forward march of technology. Some modern Nvidia GPUs cause black shaders to appear as white at certain points in the game, for instance. That fix required the team to make their own custom black texture and implant it into the game as it runs. Project contributor “Silent” has focused on upgrading the port’s controller support, allowing the right-stick to be used for limited camera control, which is a must-have in a game where skittering horrors are constantly sneaking up on James. (Interestingly, Silent says they aren’t even a Silent Hill fan–they just enjoy the camaraderie of working on the team.)

Like the above texture fix, many of the tweaks are so subtle that a first-time player might not even notice them, but together they add much to the atmosphere of the game. In the famous opening sequence of the game, which sees James composing himself in a dingy bathroom, the shot that pans from up from a urinal to reveal James uses a cinematic depth-of-field effect that was considered cutting-edge at the time. Such unsettling special effects that were entirely missing from the original PC port were reverse-engineered and implemented by Ratiocinator, Aero_, and Bondarenko.


The cinematic depth-of-field effect that was absent from the original PC port was added back in with the Enhanced Edition.

Some of the improvements have proven to be more elusive than others. For example, Ratiocinator only recently uncovered the memory address that controls Silent Hill 2’s iconic fog, which allowed him to adjust its movement speed to a more natural flow reminiscent of the PS2 version. Project contributor “FrozenFish24” spearheaded an effort to soften the hard-edged shadows of the PC version into something more sophisticated, which eventually resulted in console-accurate shadow behavior after months of playtesting.

Though the project has massively increased the quality of the port of every level, it’s still not quite complete. Ratiocinator is currently investigating how to implement proper shine effects–also known as “specularity”–to some of the game’s scenes and assets. The team is also working on high-resolution versions of all of SH2’s static images, including maps, riddles, and memos, which would essentially make the game entirely high-definition.

For the team working on Silent Hill 2 Enhanced Edition, it really doesn’t matter what Konami does, short of sending them a cease-and-desist letter: They’re going to keep maintaining it.

While the Enhanced Edition remains undoubtedly the best way to experience Silent Hill 2 today outside of the PS2 version on a CRT television, it still comes with a major caveat: Most who play it will have obtained their copy of the game under legally dubious circumstances. The latest release of Silent Hill 2 came in 2012’s misleadingly named Silent Hill HD Collection, which brought Silent Hill 2 and 3 to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, Konami allegedly failed to maintain the original source code of the games, meaning that developer Hijinx Studios had to use a beta build of SH2 as the starting point for the new version, which introduced a raft of complications.

“The HD collection is incomprehensibly broken in the visual/audio department,” Bondarenko says. “It’s not possible to confirm any of the theories [of how it ended up that way], but the Silent Hill 2 in the HD Collection can’t even compare to the default, vanilla PC port.”

Though most of the team members I spoke to say they wish that Silent Hill 2 were easier to obtain in a legal fashion, they also doubt that the situation will change anytime soon. However, it doesn’t affect their desire to work on the project, though Ratiocinator says that wide availability of a legitimate version would make it easier for the team to troubleshoot bugs. Ratiocinator notes that fans often request that Konami release Silent Hill 2, 3, and 4 on the retro gaming storefront GOG. For his part, Calver says that Konami should license the Enhanced Edition from the modding team and re-release the original port on Steam for some easy revenue, especially considering the recent interest in the legendary horror series.


An effort was made to soften the hard-edged shadows of the PC version into something more sophisticated, which resulted in console-accurate shadow behavior.

Given the addition of Silent Hill 3’s Heather and Silent Hill 2’s own famously symbolic antagonist Pyramid Head to the anthology horror game Dead By Daylight–and recurrent rumors of a new Silent Hill entry, perhaps even with staff from the original Team Silent–it’s possible that Konami might make it easier for fans to experience what is arguably the definitive horror video game. But for the team working on Silent Hill 2 Enhanced Edition, it really doesn’t matter what the publisher does, short of sending them a cease-and-desist letter: They’re going to keep maintaining it, despite each having their own full-time jobs and responsibilities. They’re currently hard at work on a new version of the patch that will implement all of their latest fixes.

“The thing I enjoy most is the team and how we have all come together over the past couple of years to work on this project,” says Riedlinger. “Secondly, knowing that I am helping to preserve one of the old classic games. Without work like this on older games, these games would be lost in time.”

Your Best Movie Monster Ever Revealed, Plus Vote Here on the Greatest Slasher

With Halloween right around the corner, and everyone having mainlined horror movies all month leading up to this ghoulish night, it’s time to settle, once and for all, the question of “who is the greatest slasher in all of horror cinema?”

Since Haddonfield’s heinous bogeyman, Michael Myers, kicked off the slasher genre of the the late ’70s/early ’80s in John Carpenter’s Halloween, he’s an obvious top choice. Then there’s Springwood’s nefarious nightmare man, Freddy Krueger, who can creep inside your dreams and murder you after you’ve dozed off watching Netflix. And let’s not forget Chucky, the killer doll who’s been terrorizing kids and grownups alike for over 30 years. And last but not least there’s the Crystal Lake Killer, hockey-masked maniac Jason Voorhees. This is the brawl to settle it all.

There are some fun videos for y’all to check out below that plead our case, followed by a poll where you can cast your official vote for the best scary movie murderer of all time!

And then be sure to also check out the results of our Movie Monster Face Off, where the slashers went against all manner of ghosts, ghouls, and grotesqueries and you, the IGN voter, chose the best!

friday1Are you the outdoorsy type? Do you thrive in nature? Or are you like us and scream “what the f*** was that?” every time a leaf gently brushes against a twig?

Castles have Draculas, remote science outposts have Things, the sewers have ITs (*whispers* and maybe CHUDS), the hills have eyes, and the woods…the woods have Jasons.

That’s right, as we all know, forests are filled with Jasons. Just hacking and slashing their way through campers, hikers, paintballers, skinny dippers, and anyone who’s ever said “Hey, you know what’s fun? Being cold and vulnerable near some trees!”

Jason Voorhees is the People’s Slasher, if you will. The uncrowned champion of indoor kids everywhere. In the realm of horror, Jason is the main event. The headliner. The marquee monster. With his effortlessly famous look — which includes a hockey mask and a machete and sometimes maybe hair — Jason is known all over the world – even to non-horror fans. Show someone a hockey mask and they’re not going to say “that reminds me of olympic gold medalist goalie Jim Craig.” They’re going to say “Oh, that’s the swampy guy who kills all the teenagers. We love him. Specifically because of the teenager killing.”

The Friday the 13th movies didn’t always feature Jason (sometimes it was his mom, occasionally an imposter), but when this backwoods brute got to shine, either as a horror hillbilly or (eventually) an undead zombie, he was the one you rooted for in his movies. He’s battled a telekinetic girl, went on a cruise, visited Times Square, got blown up by the FBI, killed virtual teens in a spaceship holodeck, and clashed with Freddy Krueger. Yes, Jason is the Tintin book series of slasher cinema.

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Follow your dreams, they tell you. Dream big, they say. A dream is a wish your heart makes, Cinderella sang. Well Cinderella and “they” were full of s*** because Freddy Krueger, the infamous Springwood Slasher, can kill you in those freakin’ dreams of yours.

Yes, once upon a time, a cruel and vicious child murderer – that’s right, child murderer – had horror fans eating out of the palm of his knife hand because he ruled over the dreamscape and could turn his victims into puppets, pizza toppings, cockroaches and – er – side-scrolling platformers.

Also, let’s face it – dude had jokes. Watch the video above to hear why you should consider Freddy Krueger as your choice for Greatest Horror Movie Slasher of All Time!

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In the late ‘80s, slasher movies took on a more supernatural feel and Chucky, the creepy doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer from Child’s Play, has been menacing moviegoers ever since. And Chucky was an instant hit because no matter what generation you’re from, there was a toy you simply had to get your rotten mitts on. You know, those must-have gifts that caused all of your parents to hate you.

What? You don’t believe Chucky belongs on Mount Slashmore? You think guys like Freddy and Jason and Michael Myers tower over him? Well, you’re right about that last part, of course, because he ver smol, but Chucky’s been killing it for decades and all seven Chucky movies (not counting the 2019 Child’s Play remake) take place in one timeline. That’s right, there’s no break in continuity. That’s rare for horror (especially Halloween, which is just a multiverse at this point). Watch the silly video above to hear our pitch for why Chucky’s one of the all-time greats!

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In 1978, John Carpenter straight-up scared the s*** out of audiences with Halloween – the story of a mute maniac, Michael Myers, who returns to his hometown after escaping a nearby mental hospital where he’d spent the previous 15 years terrifying his court-appointed psychiatrist. So much that the poor man now thought Michael was nothing but a creepy husk covering pure evil.

Halloween single-knifedly gave birth to the slasher boom of the era. The film’s iconic score, kick-ass final girl (Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode), and instantly mesmerizing maniac made for an unexpected box office smash, launching an entire wave of horror movies that would dominate theaters for the next five years. And of all the maniacs mentioned on this list, Michael is the most relevant today given 2018’s hit rebootquel and the two other films — Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends — that are on the horizon. Anyhow, check out our Michael Myers video above to hear our proud plea as to why “The Shape” is the sinister slasher to beat.

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Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.

The PS5 And Xbox Series X Launch Lineups Are Weak, But That’s Not The Whole Story

With the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S right around the corner, people want to know what the launch lineup looks like for each system. As many have already discovered for themselves, the list of launch titles for both next-gen consoles is not exactly strong when it comes to new releases, but there is more to consider for these new consoles.

That is because Microsoft and Sony have taken new approaches to make this console transition much smoother and more seamless than before, thanks to backwards compatibility and free upgrade programs. For Microsoft specifically, it has also instigated a change in business practices to place less emphasis on exclusives and more of a focus on meeting customers wherever they are.

Backwards Compatibility

Starting with backwards compatibility, each next-generation platform will play thousands of games from the back catalog, and in many cases, older titles will perform better on the new machines thanks to their improved horsepower without any extra effort on the developer’s part. Simply put, many games will look and perform better by virtue of being on the new machines.

For Gears 5, developer The Coalition has been able to dramatically improve the input lag and offer frame rates up to 120fps, which is a first on console for the game. Another Microsoft game, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, is getting 120fps/4K support, which is an exciting thing to think about for Halo fans looking to continue playing the game but now with superior speed and performance. Even Halo 5, which is not getting a dedicated next-gen update, will look and perform better on Series X. On Sony’s side, the library of PS Plus Collection games–which include the likes of God of War, Uncharted 4, and Resident Evil 7–will have faster loading times and better frame rates.

Microsoft seemingly has the edge when it comes to breadth of content, as the Series X will play titles from Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the original Xbox. Basically, it’s everything except Kinect games. The PS5, meanwhile, will play 99 percent of PS4 games–and many more through PlayStation Now streaming–reaching thousands of games in all. For comparison, the Xbox One and PS4 launched with no backwards compatibility support, which created friction for fans looking to upgrade. Now, fans can buy into next gen with the confidence that they won’t lose their games and game saves–and hey, even Rock Band 4 controllers work on PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Launch Games

Simply looking at the number and profile of launch titles, neither Sony nor Microsoft is releasing a giant catalog of exclusives. Sony’s marquee launch titles are the Demon’s Souls remake, Astro’s Playroom, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. However, only the Demon’s Souls remake and Astro’s Playroom are fully exclusive to PS5, with Spider-Man and Sackboy also releasing on PS4. And in a blow to the PS5 launch lineup, Destruction All Stars was recently delayed from November to February 2021.

Looking at the Series X, Microsoft has Gears Tactics–a title originally released for PC earlier in 2020–as its only major new release as a launch title for the console. The launch lineup is sparse because Microsoft’s original plan was to lead with Halo Infinite–the retail boxes for the Series X even come emblazoned with Master Chief–but due to development complications related to COVID-19 and other factors, the game was pushed to 2021.

It was a big blow for the Series X’s launch lineup, as Halo is one of Microsoft’s crown jewels, and it would have marked the first time since 2001 that a Halo title launched with new Xbox hardware. But as Xbox marketing spokesperson Cindy Walker told NYT, Microsoft does not need a marque title like Halo Infinite for the Series X to have a successful launch.

“Having Halo at our launch would have been tremendous,” Walker said. “[But] we are not reliant on massive exclusive titles to drive console adoption. Our players will have thousands of games from four generations of Xbox available to play on launch day.”

Looking back in time, the PS4 had Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack as first-party launch titles, while the Xbox One had Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Zoo Tycoon as in-house exclusives for the console. The third-party lineup of launch titles included the likes of Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Need for Speed Rivals.

Those consoles also included sports games like Madden NFL 25, NBA 2K14, and NBA Live 14 as launch titles. The launch lineup for both consoles was strong relative to this new console generation, but as GameSpot’s Alessandro Fillari laid out earlier this year, both Sony and Microsoft are rethinking the importance of launch titles this time around.

The Game Has Changed For Microsoft

Microsoft is playing a different game. The commonly held idea historically is that you need a strong pipeline of exclusive games to sell consoles, but Microsoft is taking a different approach this year. As Phil Spencer has said in seemingly every interview he gives these days, Microsoft doesn’t care much if you buy a new Xbox this holiday because the company has diversified its offerings and made its games also available on PC and mobile. The name “Xbox” no longer pertains to a gaming console, either–it’s the overarching umbrella name for Microsoft’s gaming strategy all-up. Spencer recently laid this out in an interview with GameReactor.

“Our high-level goal inside of our team, of how we measure ourselves, is how many people are playing on Xbox,” Spencer said. “And when we say ‘playing on Xbox’ it doesn’t mean an Xbox console. It means somebody who is logging in and playing a part of our ecosystem, whether first-party or third-party. And it could be on an Android phone. It could be on a Switch. It could be on a PC. That’s how we think about it.”

If Microsoft’s strategy comes to fruition, it can have its cake and eat it too, by selling every console it can make this year and also bringing more people into the Xbox fold with Xbox Game Pass and its cloud streaming component (formerly known as xCloud). Next-generation consoles–the PS5 and Series X/S–are expected to sell out of stock completely this year. As Spencer recently said, “I am going to predict that we are both going to sell every console we build in 2020.” If Microsoft had its marquee game, Halo Infinite, the situation would have been the same, the only difference being that the Series X would have sold out faster.

Looking at Microsoft’s financials shows how much of an impact content and services–the bread and butter of the games business–has on the company’s bottom line. For the July-September 2020 period, Xbox content and services revenue rose by a whopping $649 million compared to the year prior. There is no question that COVID-19 is driving increased spending on games as people stay home more than ever, but what this really demonstrates is how much money there is to be made from selling games and subscriptions; it’s such a big number that Microsoft doesn’t need to push people to buy a new Xbox (which is a money-loser, anyway).


The real meat and potatoes of the next-gen launch lineups for the PS5 and Series X will be third-party games, and there are plenty of those coming. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be there at launch, while Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is basically a launch title, as it releases on November 13, just days after the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 are released. The enduringly popular battle royale game Fortnite will be available for the PS5 and Series X at launch, while Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2: Beyond Light will as well. EA’s marquee sports titles, Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21, will miss the next-gen launch dates, but they’ll arrive within the launch window, debuting for the consoles on December 4. In short, there will be plenty of options for people on day one, and this is before you even factor in the literally thousands of other games that are playable through backwards compatibility.

None of these games are brand-new titles, but they are getting a new lease on life thanks to the power of the new consoles. You might have already played dozens of hours of Fortnite or Madden, but with the new consoles–with their faster processors and solid-state drives–you’ll ideally get a better experience. As Alessandro said in his earlier piece, Microsoft and Sony appear to be moving into an iPhone-style approach where the content you already own moves with you when you decide to upgrade hardware, and you enjoy the benefits of the increased horsepower. And importantly, in many cases, it won’t cost extra to upgrade your games.

Free Upgrades

Another important factor for this console generation is the free upgrade paths that both Sony and Microsoft, as well as third-party publishers, are offering. Microsoft’s Smart Delivery program makes it so you can buy select games today for your Xbox One and get the upgraded editions on Series X at no extra cost. Not every title supports this, of course, but the list of supported games is extensive and impressive, including the likes of Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, Halo Infinite, Gears Tactics, Marvel’s Avengers, and Borderlands 3, among many others.

Sony doesn’t have an official free upgrade program, but titles like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West will all offer free upgrades from PS4 to PS5. Individual publishers have upgrade promotions, too, such as EA, which has its Dual Entitlement program covering titles like Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21. This is a marked change from the last console cycle with its $10 upgrade fees (if upgrades were available at all). That being said, not every game supports free upgrades, and some next-gen games will cost $70.

Looking Ahead

The PS5 and Xbox Series X might have ostensibly weak launch lineups, but things are different these days. The goalposts for success have changed, for Microsoft in particular with its platform-agnostic approach. Sony, too, doesn’t need a marquee launch title in one of its major established franchises because the PS5 (and the Series X, for that matter) has been positioned as a box that will play the current-gen games you already have with higher fidelity and improved load times. And if you don’t buy in right away, compelling games like Halo Infinite and God of War: Ragnarok, and any number of other exciting exclusives that are in the works, might be enough to draw you in next year and beyond.

For more on what’s to come with PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, be sure to check out our Generation Next hub, which focuses on all the latest news, features and videos focusing on the new era of gaming.

Hitman 3 Requires PS4 Version For VR Mode

VR support for upcoming PlayStation games is a little more confusing than we imagined. If you’re looking forward to playing Hitman 3 in first-person to truly become Agent 47, you’ll actually be doing it with the PS4 version of the game. Yes, even if you have a PS5.

Speaking to UploadVR, Sony explained that because the PlayStation VR headset acts as a backwards compatible unit on PS5, you need the PS4 version of Hitman 3 in order for it to work. The PS4 version includes a free next-generation upgrade if you play it on the newer console, so you should still be able to experience the enhanced visuals when outside VR. The entire “World of Assassination” trilogy is playable both in and out of VR.

It appears No Man’s Sky will be doing something similar to achieve VR support on PS5, using the PS4 version of the game, though the enhanced power of the new console should at least improve loading times and performance.

Thus far, Sony has given no indication about the future of PlayStation VR, not mentioning new VR games or a headset as we approach the launch of PS5. Early PlayStation VR supporter Ubisoft is also developing several games for Oculus platforms, including Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell titles.

However, Sony did recently launch a portal that lets you claim a PSVR adapter for free, which you can use to play your PS4’s VR games on PS5. All you need to do is enter your shipping information and a serial code listed on the breakout box in order to qualify, with orders expected around mid-November.

Now Playing: HITMAN 3 – VR Mode Announcement Trailer

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From Software Mentions Elden Ring, Knows We’re All Impatient

From Software announced its dark fantasy role-playing game Elden Ring back at E3 2019, promising more open-ended design and a world created with George RR Martin’s input. Since then, we’ve heard basically nothing about the game, and the developer knows fans are clamoring for more information.

As part of a thread mentioning the new content update for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software acknowledged players’ enthusiasm for Elden Ring.

Elden Ring will be a return to role-playing gameplay after the action-adventure focus of Sekiro, but it looks like it will be a bigger game than the Dark Souls series. Fans have grown increasingly impatient, making joke conspiracy theory posts claiming the game is going to show up at a variety of events. Some particularly excited fans have even made their own fake lore demo to show off what the game could look like.

Elden Ring has been in development since Dark Souls 3’s DLC was finished, and it’s currently only announced for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Because the new consoles are due to arrive in November, it’s very likely we’ll also see the games on Xbox Series X, Series S, and PS5. In the meantime, you can test your luck with the new Sekiro boss modes. We did, and it did not go well.

Now Playing: Elden Ring Reveal Trailer | Microsoft Press Conference E3 2019

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