While last week was filled with big news like Ys Net making Shenmue III fans even angrier and G2A being, well, themselves, this week let us all catch our breath a little. We’ve got new Stadia info from Google, Borderlands 3 and PUBG news, and the library of games coming from Uplay+. Let’s just get right to it, shall we? It’s time to get your weekly dose of PC gaming news!
Will our streaming games live if Google Stadia kicks the bucket?
Reddit’s Stadia subreddit hosted an AMA this week about Google’s upcoming streaming platform. A lot of interesting information that came out of it, including how it will have a friendslist and a service-provided chat. Looking through the list of things that asked, though, I’ve found myself hung-up on one particular non-answer. Redditor InitialLingonberry asked what will happen to Stadia players’ purchases if the service shuts down in the future. To which Andrey Doronichev, Staida’s Director of Product, answered by telling us nothing at all. Instead, he reaffirmed that it’s okay to be nervous about the service and that he has nothing to say to make us feel otherwise. You can see the exchange below.
Going into this AMA, Google must have known that this question would come up. People have asked it since they first announced Stadia. I’m sure that this was the planned answer to the question, but the response of “there is nothing I can say now to make you believe if you don’t” is troublesome. One could easily interpret it as Google having no active plan for if this happens. I hope that this changes before the service comes out.
Let’s consider what Google could do in the event that Stadia shuts down and we’ve built a substantial gaming library. Well, Stadia has partnered with a ton of publishers who might help out. Perhaps they could transfer my copy of Watch Dogs Legion to Ubisoft’s Uplay service through a digital code or something similar. My saved data could even be sent over, since Stadia will let you download game saves and metadata.
It might seem weird that a streaming service would have a back-up plan that supports another company’s similar service. I see it the same way that a loan company who goes bankrupt has its customers defered to another loan company. It might not benefit the publisher (who has just received a ton of Google’s ex-patrons) the same way as a loan company who just received a bunch of new customers that are now paying them interest. Rather, the publisher has just gained more customers to bring into their microeconomies. Maybe some will buy in-game items or continue to use the platform when purchasing future games. It’s money they likely wouldn’t have gotten before.
Sure, this isn’t a perfect plan. But it doubtless would sell gamers more than the current “moving to the cloud is scary” and “nothing in life is certain” responses. If you have your own ideas on how they could remedy this issue, make sure to speak up in the comments below!
PUBG‘s new season could answer the question “Why we dropping, boys?”
Season 4 of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fires off early next week. With it comes a handful of map tweaks, game balances, and the reveal of an overarching narrative. While we’ve been shooting each other for the sake of getting one more chicken dinner, a wild plot has (apparently) played out in the background. After war ravished the island, a young survivor chose to embrace the idea that we find our true selves when faced with death. He decided to periodically gather 100 participants and make them compete in order to discover who they really are. Cameras are set up all over the island so that he can watch the events unfold. It’s sort of like The Truman Show, but we’re not sure if it’s being broadcast anywhere or if this lone survivor just uses it to privately cope with (or revel in) his trauma.
It’s always a plus when games add a story like this. Players have long wondered about the island, its origins, and what exactly is going on with the 100 person deathmatch thing. This update adds a lot of that, but it also gives me the impression that PUBG Corporation and Bluehole want to flesh the game out more in the future. Alongside the above story trailer, the PUBG team also released a Season 4 trailer that discusses the game’s next steps. This reminds me a lot of the Developer Updates that Jeff Kaplan gives on the upcoming features of Overwatch.
It’s clear to anyone that follows PC gaming that PUBG, once the top dog of battle royales, has fallen way behind its competitors. While Fortnite is on the decline, it remains the king of this space. APEX Legends has carved out a pretty big piece of PUBG‘s pie as well. And more competitors are sneaking out of other franchises, such as the Nuclear Winter mode in Fallout 76 and Dying Light‘s Bad Blood. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has to start doing something new to stay in the top tier of battle royale games. Otherwise, they’ll just be the old man shaking his cane and shouting “back in my day, battle royale didn’t need all this fancy lore and interesting reasons for playing.”
I think part of the reason that Fortnite and APEX have amassed the following that they have is that they keep updating the game in a way that makes players want to come back and check it out. Then they get caught back in the gameplay loop. I hope that PUBG plans to expand on its world the same way that Overwatch, Fortnite, and APEX do. Not only would it help bring flavor to the genre’s most bland entry, but it would put it back in the spotlight every few months when they have a character or world update.
Borderlands 3 will have cross-play! But not on day one…
Borderlands is one of the best cooperative gaming franchises. As such, the question of cross-play has been on everyone’s mind for Borderlands 3. Earlier this week, the game’s website teased a “celebration of togetherness.” Thanks to that verbiage, many folks thought this might indicate an upcoming announcement about cross-play. Instead, it turned out to be a tease for a simple trailer. You can see it in all its cheesy goodness below.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford did respond to numerous questions of cross-play on Twitter. He explained that Gearbox is “committed to supporting cross-play for Borderlands 3 […] as soon as practicable after launch.” He even added the hashtag #talklater, so we could get more concrete details before September rolls around.
We’ve been waiting on the answer to if Borderlands 3 would support cross-play essentially since Gearbox announced it. I’d say this is as close to a confirmation as it comes. It looks like the plan is to implement cross-play at some point prior to launch, although I get the impression it isn’t being actively worked on at this time. And honestly, I’m totally okay with that. I’d rather Gearbox spend the time before the game goes gold to make it as fun and rewarding as possible. They have to master the progression of the game and hone in on what makes people want to play the game before they allow more people to play it together.
Ubisoft detailed the Uplay+ game library. Now you know what it will let Uplay
Add one more to the list of game subscription services with Uplay+, announced back at E3 2019. For $14.99 a month, subscribers can play quite a few Ubisoft games on PC and Google Stadia. The company revealed the full line-up of games this week, and honestly, there have quite a number. You can access pretty much the entire Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Tom Clancy, and Watch Dogs series. Not only that, but there are Anno games, Prince of Persia, Rayman, and a bunch more. All in all, the list totals 116 games. Ubisoft boasts that this is over 4000 hours of gameplay. If you didn’t sleep, that would be a gaming session that lasted about six months (please don’t do that). It’d last about eight months if you got eight hours of sleep every night.
I love the developers at Ubisoft. They make some of my most adored games. My all-time favorite franchise in gaming is Assassin’s Creed, but I also love Watch Dogs and Prince of Persia‘s Sands of Time trilogy. That said, there is very little that Ubisoft could offer to sell me on this service. I simply don’t want to spend $15 a month to access their library, even if it has games from previous generations. I think there is a clearer benefit in Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which offers games from many different publishers for the same price as Uplay+. With Game Pass I know it will add at least four new games each month. Ubisoft might release half a dozen games a year, but who knows if they’ll come to the service after day one.
I can see players signing up for one PC gaming subscription service, but not multiple. Put simply, the one they choose will be the one with the best deal, and I don’t believe that’s Uplay+. Sorry, Ubisoft. I’ll still pre-order Assassin’s Creed Ragnorok the day it’s available, though.
That’s News Breach, and we’re out!
These were some of the big stories that happened in PC gaming news this week. Do you have thoughts on the stories mentioned here? How about other news from the past week? Be sure to let us know all your thoughts down in the comments!