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Pokemon Go Winter Event Begins Soon

Niantic officially revealed their plans for Pokemon Go's seasonal winter event. The celebration begins this Tuesday (12/18/18) and will run into 2019. While the event is active players will be able to earn special bonuses, hatch eggs faster, and encounter Sinnoh based Pokemon more often.

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Pokemon Go Does It Again!

This is the third year in a row Niantic is holding this snowy event and like the years before, it will feature a special Pikachu wearing a unique hat. Along with the unique electric type, Niantic says more ice types and generation 4 Pokemon will appear. The promotional art for the event includes some Pokemon like Snover, Abomasnow, Muchlax, Chingling, and Croagunk.

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The image also features three legendary monsters from the Sinnoh region Azelf, Uxie, and Mesprit, suggesting that the trio will also enter the mobile hit during the event. Finally, Niantic has also announced that Delibird will be available along with its shiny form.

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On top of all the new Pokemon making their way into the game, the app will feature a bunch of new bonuses for players to achieve. Each of these will be distributed every couple of days, from December 18th-22nd, trainers will earn twice as much candy for catching and transferring Pokemon; from the 22nd-26th, they'll receive double the amount of stardust for catching monsters; from the 26th-30th, players will receive double the experience for catching Pokemon; lastly from the 30th to the last day of the event January 2nd, incubators will hatch eggs twice as fast.

Pokemon Go Winer Event Keeps On Giving!

The final bonus Niantic is offering during the event is a guaranteed incubator for a trainer's first photo-disk spin of the day. The mobile game developer also said that an increased amount of Pokemon that will hatch from 7km eggs and trainers have an increased chance of hatching the monsters Smoochum or Azurill.

Those interested in learning more about the Pokemon Go Winter Event can read more about it on the official Pokemon website. For all the latest updates on all things Pokemon be sure to keep checking back here at GigamaxGames.com!

Source: news.blizzard.com/en-us/blizzard/22833558/heroes-of-the-storm-news

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Blizzard Cuts Back Heroes of the Storm Development

Things are not looking good for Blizzard's MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, a title that blended together all of the company's games like Overwatch, Diablo, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft. The president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, and chief development officer, Ray Gresko, announced today that developers are being pulled from the game and being transferred to different projects within the company. 

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In a press release that was made public today, Brack and Gresko said that it was a difficult decision to make and it will ultimately impact the future of the game. 

“Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of,” Blizzard said. “We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.” 

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This Isn't the End for Heroes of the Storm

The company assured they will continue development of the title, supporting the game with new characters and events, but the time between these updates will increase. According to the two executives, this is to set up Heroes of the Storm for long-term sustainability. 

Unfortunately, this news also means that Blizzard had to cancel both of their planned eSports events for Heroes of the Storm. The pro-level tournament, Heroes Global Championship, and the collegiate level contest, Heroes of the Dorm will get the axe. 

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Tough Call for Blizzard

“[A]fter looking at all of our priorities and options in light of the change with the game, the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019,” the press release read. “This was another very difficult decision for us to make. The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.” 

It is a shame that this is the beginning of the end for a game that many enjoyed so much. Blizzard is making a responsible move by reallocating employees internally rather than laying people off. The MOBA space has plenty of competition in today's market and it looks like Heroes of the Storm couldn't keep up with games like League of Legends and DOTA. We here at Gigamax will keep a close eye on these deveopments, so be sure to check back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest details. 

Source: news.blizzard.com/en-us/blizzard/22833558/heroes-of-the-storm-news

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Farming Simulator 19 Breaks Franchise Sales Record

While it hasn't been for out long, Farming Simulator 19 is already proving to be the most successful game in the franchise. 1 million copies of the game have been sold, counting both digital and physical sales. The press release that announced this big achievement also pointed out that Farming Simulator 19 was released on November 20th, around the same time many major titles were also dropped. 

Farming Simulator: 1 Million Copies, 10 Days

1 million copies sold in 10 days represents a new sales record for the series according to the CEO of Giant's Software, Christian Amman. "It's incredible to see the impact of the team's hard work. Farming Simulator 19 offers so many new opportunities and our players are thrilled about them. Never before has a Farming Simulator game reached the one million mark so quickly and we are proud and happy that so many players join us on this amazing journey," Amman stated.

John Bert, COO of Focus Home Interactive, the publisher for Farming Simulator 19,  added that the company is very proud of Giants Software and their commitment to providing fans of their series top notch quality. One look at various score aggregators around the web reveals that the game is being well received by critics. 

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Farming Simulator 19 features a completely overhauled graphics engine that delivers the best graphics the series has ever seen. John Deere has also been added to the game as a new major license. Along with John Deere's precense, gamers will find new locations across America and Europe to start your farming operation, along with a variety of horses to ride around your property. 

It is great to see a game find its niche and really succeed in providing fans exactly what they want. Farming Simulator may not be for everyone, but its sales numbers and reviews show the impact of this unique game. 

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Fortnite Season 7 Has Arrived With Plenty of Changes

Fortnite Season 7 Has Arrived With Plenty of Changes

Epic Games officially kicked off Season 7 of their insanely popular shooter, Fortnite, with the launch of their 7.00 update. As with every other season before it, this is a substantial patch that signifies the start of major changes to the game in the form of an event. In this update, an iceberg has collided with the Fortnite island, which expanded the map, added an icy look over sections of the terrain, added a plane, new skins, and plenty more.

"Discover new areas such as Frosty Flights, Polar Peak, and more," Epic says in the patch notes. "Uncover what’s in the new Battle Pass, rule the skies with the new X-4 Stormwing plane, and change the style of some of your favorite weapons and items with Wraps in Battle Royale."

Take to the Skys

The plane is able to hold five players, the pilot and four other people who ride along on the wings. The flying vehicle features a mounted turret that makes it a devastating mobile weapon.

With the new season also comes a new battle pass that features over 100 new cosmetic items for players to unlock by completing challenges and playing the game. Along with the typical cosmetics, Epic created a new type called Wraps which "allow you to customize your weapons and vehicles with all new looks to match and complement your favorite outfits." (https://bit.ly/2RDLdeb)

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Balloons have been adjusted so that players can still use their guns with the item. Epic also gave the boot to a bunch of items with the start of Fortnite Season 7 including Shadow Stones, Port-A-Fort, Chiller, Clinger, Double Barreled Shotgun, and Shockwave Grenade.

One of the biggest additions to Season 7 is Creative Mode, a sandbox based experience that encourages players to build unique Fortnite adventures either alone or with friends on their own private island. "It's a brand new way to experience the world of Fortnite," Epic said about the mode. "Design games, race around the island, battle your friends in new ways and build your dream Fortnite. It's all happening on your own private island where everything you make is saved."

Fortnite is currently a powerhouse in the multiplayer gaming space and it appears that Epic has no plans of slowing down on releasing updates for their popular shooter. If you'd like to see a full breakdown of all the changes, check out the full patch notes on Fortnite's website.

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Bethesda Reveals December 4th Fallout 76 Patch Notes

Bethesda Reveals December 4th Fallout 76 Patch Notes

Bethesda recently announced that a big patch was heading to Fallout 76 on December 4th, and now the developer has revealed exactly what's coming to the open world RPG.

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One of the biggest changes coming to the game is a huge increase to stash space from 400 to 600 that could go even increase later. The update is also set to include a host of stability improvements to the client and servers that will ultimately improve the game's overall experience.

Fallout 76 Impressions and Gameplay

Fallout 76 will be receiving a variety of balance changes such as increasing the number of loot drops from boss type enemies and automatic weapon damage is being boosted by 20% to help players feel more powerful while traversing the wasteland.

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There are also plenty of bug fixes in the massive update. One fixes an issue where an infinite loading screen would occur if a player got signed out of their console while playing. On Xbox One specifically, the patch repairs an issue that would crash the game upon accepting team invites. Bethesda has also added some UI, survival, and perk changes. For a look at all the changes being implemented to Fallout 76, you can find the full patch notes from Bethesda's website.

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Fallout 76 & Black Ops 4 Did Not Meet GameStop Sales Projections

Fallout 76 & Black Ops 4 Did Not Meet GameStop Sales Projections

The latest GameStop earning report revealed that two of the year's biggest releases failed to meet the company's sales projections. Both Fallout 76 and Black Ops 4 did not sell as well as the major video game retailer expected and Gamestop had some answers on why that could be.

CFO of GameStop, Rob Lloyd said that Black Ops 4 was "Not as successful as we had hoped." As for Fallout 76, the executive attributed the poor sales to the negative review scores the open world RPG received. "Obviously, you can see in the market what the Metacritic scores are around Fallout 76, and that's impacted its sell-through. I'll probably just leave it at that."

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Some of the big name sports games that were released also failed to meet the company's expectations in regards to sales. While Lloyd didn't mention any names, Madden NFL 19, Fifa 19, NBA 2K19, and NHL 19 were all released between August and September of this year.

It's Not All Bad...

Not all of the news from the earnings report was negative, though. According to the CEO, both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Spider-Man PS4 were GameStop's highest selling games. Even though Black Ops 4 did not meet their sales expectations, the game releasing in October instead of November helped boost Gamestop's overall games sales for the quarter by 10%.

GameStop's total global sales which include hardware, software, accessories, and more, rose by 4.8% to $2.1 billion for the quarter, which ended on November 3rd. New hardware sales rose 12.8% due to increased sales from PS4 and Xbox One. Games sales had a massive jump of 10.9% and accessories sales had the biggest gain of 32.6%. Despite these sizable increases, pre-owned sales dropped by 13.4%.

The company posted a loss of $488.6 million for the quarter, which compares to a profit of $59.4 million in the same quarter last year. GameStop says that this loss was attributed to an impairment charge that was worth $587.5 million that it paid as a result of the "sustained decline in the company's share price."

What's Next?

It seems as if the trend in gaming from physical to digital purchases is impacting GameStop in a big way. Physical sales and reselling were once the money maker for the games retailer, but now the company must focus on finding new ways of generating revenue in online markets. We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the future of GameStop, so be sure to keep checking back with GigamaxGames.com for all the latest information.

Source: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4225543-gamestop-corp-gme-ceo-shane-kim-q3-2018-results-earnings-call-transcript

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Cyberpunk 2077 Aiming For Red Dead Redemption 2 Quality

The developer behind the Witcher, CD Projekt Red, plans to make their next major RPG, Cyberpunk 2077, as detailed and refined as the recently released Red Dead Redemption 2. CD Projekt Red's CEO, Adam Kicinski, revealed during an investor call that the western themed shooter has taught the studio that they have to release amazing titles so that they can earn a "nice fat slice of cake." (https://bit.ly/2KwJzYU)

These comments were a response to an investor's question on what lessons CD Projekt Red took away from Red Dead Redemption 2 that will help them make Cyberpunk 2077 even better, and if the studio believes it can score as high critically as Rockstar's title.

CD Projekt Red Confident in Cyberpunk 2077

"Without a doubt, quality is of paramount importance," Kicinski said. "We strive to publish games which are as refined as Red Dead Redemption 2, and recent Rockstar releases in general. That game is excellent, by the way, we are rooting for it. Rave reviews, excellent sales. What does that teach us? Well, it teaches us that we need to publish extraordinary games, and that's exactly what we are planning." (https://bit.ly/2KwJzYU)

Kicinski has seen a trend in gaming today where people focus on more hit releases and ignore titles that don't necessarily capture their attention. Most people don't have much time to commit to games so CD Projekt Red is dedicated to making Cyberpunk 2077 the best it can be.

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"Gamers, it seems, tend to focus more and more on hit releases. There's only so much time one can devote to video games, and while their gaming community is growing, time cannot be stretched," he said. "There is--well, maybe not a surfeit, but a fair deal of good games out there, and playing them consumes a lot of time." (https://bit.ly/2KwJzYU)

"So it pays to be among the best--that's how you get a nice fat slice of cake, businesswise, and the same cannot be said for the lower leagues. In summary, we are rooting for Rockstar and for Red Dead Redemption 2, and we're happy to see that excellent games continue to sell well." (https://bit.ly/2KwJzYU)

Cyberpunk 2077 on the Horizon

Another detail Kicinski revealed during the presentation is what stage of development Cyberpunk 2077 is in. As of now, the team is working on fleshing out the game world and working on making it even more detailed than the gameplay demo that was shown off during E3 2018. Development appears to be on schedule but there is still plenty more to be done before the game is ready for release.

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"We are filling the world with content and tweaking things, and this involves a great deal of hard work on the part of developers," Kicinski said. "What I can say today is that we're progressing fast and according to plan. When we finish, there's also the hugely important phase of polishing all that game content. There was a question about the quality of the game we plan to deliver at launch and our intention is to deliver something of great quality. Once the game is complete, we can begin to patch various bugs, both major and minor, and we are setting aside time to complete this process." (https://bit.ly/2KwJzYU)

Cyberpunk 2077 gives players control of a mercenary named V who can be augmented with a variety of cybernetic augments that improve his/her skills or give the player more abilities. The game is set in the futuristic locale of Night City and plays in first-person as opposed to Witcher's third person perspective.  This title is sure to make the headlines when it releases so be sure to check back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest details.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 Gets New “Together” Trailer

After over a decade of work, Kingdom Hearts 3 has finally finished development. For those that grew up with the series, this is a wild statement and Square Enix released a trailer to celebrate. Most of the previous trailers that the company showed off featured one or two of the Disney characters such as Pooh Bear or Rapunzel, but this one is meant to show off the full scope of the mash-up.

Playing Kingdom Hearts 3 Together

The "Together" trailer, which you can watch above, includes characters and worlds from Frozen, Tangled, Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Big Hero Six, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hercules. These locations join a number of worlds fans will recognize from the series as the game seeks to wrap up Sora's fight against the forces of darkness that plagues these realms.

Square Enix announced in a tweet that development had been completed and also mentioned that now would be a perfect time to play through Kingdom Hearts 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8. Those that want to own all of these games can purchase the Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far Bundle for $40. This includes both of the remastered versions of the main games along with the side adventures; Chain of Memories, Birth By Sleep, and Dream Drop Distance.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 is set to release on January 29th, 2019 and will be the first numbered game in the series since Kingdom Hearts 2 released in 2005. Square Enix and Disney know fans have waited a long time to see the conclusion of this epic story and put in a ton of work to ensure that it was a perfect experience.

We here at Gigamax are certainly excited to see what Kingdom Hearts 3 has in store for us and will certainly have plenty of coverage as the release date draws closer so be sure to check back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest information!

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Bungie Details Destiny 2: Black Armory Launch Plans

Bungie is giving Destiny 2 fans some information on what to expect with their next big paid DLC, Black Armory. The company also detailed issues that players may encounter in the week leading up to the update. Black Armory officially launches on December 4th, and Bungie wants to make sure that Guardians are aware of the changes coming to the popular FPS.

Curtain Lifted Off Destiny 2: Black Armory 

In the most recent Destiny 2 developer blog, the team announced that they were working on a list of temporary changes to keep players informed and encourages fans to post any bugs they encounter on the official help forum so they can get to work on the issue.

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Black Armory will be launched after the start of Destiny 2's next season, Season of the Forge, which begins on November 27th. It will be followed by the Season of the Drifter, which is proceeded by a season that Bungie has yet to reveal. Season of the Forge will add The Dawning event, new crucible content, and a variety of weapons. Holders of the annual pass that access Black Armory will obtain Light and Fury weapons, the new Forges of the Chain activity, a Raid Lair, and new exotics/legendaries.

Are You Ready Guardian? 

Bungie also suggested that the transition into the next year of Destiny 2 will come with a new set of changes and plans for the future. As of now, Bungie has a full year of content planned for the game and hasn't been clear on what comes after.

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"The time has come to begin a new conversation about how the Destiny endgame will continue to thrive in the months to come," says the blog. "What will each Season hold for every player of Destiny 2? How will the Annual Pass add to that experience? These are the questions we want to answer as we introduce you to a whole way to enjoy your hobby as a Guardians with new challenges to conquer and new rewards you’ll want to add to your inventory." (https://bit.ly/2TlxXMz)

This is the first developer update after Activision revealed that Destiny 2: Forsaken failed to meet sales targets. As Bungie moves forward with their plans for the game, they will definitely need to keep their revenue issues in mind. Black Armory is only a couple of weeks away so be sure to keep checking back with GigamaxGames.com for all the latest details on the expansion.

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Xbox Acquires Fallout: New Vegas Developer Obsidian Entertainment

Microsoft officially announced that it will be acquiring Obsidian Entertainment  This is the developer behind some major RPGs like Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Alpha Protocol. The company made the announcement during X018, an Xbox focused fan event that took place in Mexico City.

Microsoft Sets Sights on Xbox Exclusives

"As one of the industry's premiere RPG developers, we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to add their expertise to Microsoft Studios, while enabling the studio to preserve its unique culture and build on its talent and vision to fully realize their creative ambitions," Microsoft said in their statement.

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According to Microsoft, this is only one of two major acquisitions the company will be making, the second being inXile Entertainment, the studio responsible for Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep. Microsoft pointed out that both of these developers make relatively similar games and they will continue to utilize their talents to make games for Xbox consoles.

Big Moves for Microsoft Game Development

The company also mentioned that with the acquisition of both Obsidian and inXile Entertainment, Microsoft Studios is now made of 13 development teams that differ in development expertise. During this year's E3 press conference, Microsoft confirmed that they were acquiring Santa Monica-based, The Initiative, a new studio led by Darrell Gallagher, former Head of Studio for Tomb Raider developer, Crystal Dynamics.

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Microsoft recently purchased State of Decay developer Undead Labs, Forza Horizon developer Playground Games, We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games, and the developer behind Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, DmC: Devil May Cry, and Heavenly Blade, Ninja Theory.

Obviously, Microsoft needs to make up for their lack of unique console exclusives that has consistently kept Xbox behind Playstation. We'll keep a close watch on this story to see what Microsoft has planned for the future for these companies. Be sure to keep checking back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest updates.

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