Nintendo Switch has been released in China for about 1 year and has already sold over 1 million units!

Tencent Holdings Ltd says that since Nintendo launched the Switch China exclusive in China in late 2019, total sales have exceeded 1 million units!

According to an exclusive report by Hong Kong’s Reuters, the Switch China Edition console has sold a total of 1 million units in China, a staggering sales figure that even surpasses the combined sales of the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One during the same period – making Nintendo the dominant player in the Chinese console market. The Switch has made Nintendo the dominant player in the Chinese console market.

Microsoft’s Xbox entered the Chinese market in 2014, while Sony’s PS4 console came to China a year later in 2015.

The Switch was only launched in China on December 10, 2019, and was initially limited by the low number of games and the epidemic that shut down the city, but was then boosted by the recovery of the economy and the launch of the fitness game Ring Fit Adventure on August 20, 2020. The Switch’s sales were boosted by the launch of the fitness game Ring Fit Adventure on August 20, 2020.

A spokesperson from Tencent told Reuters that “the pricing of RMB 2,099 (about TWD 9,100) is a good start” and that “the games released on Nintendo Switch (exclusive to China) have been well received in the market.

As Nintendo’s distributor in China, Tencent has already released 13 games on the Switch China platform, but big titles such as the global hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing) have not yet been approved.

Nintendo and Tencent also partnered to launch the Switch console, and only after the first game, New Super Mario U Deluxe, was approved by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on October 29, 2019, did they dare to move forward with plans to launch the console. Three months after the launch of the Chinese version of the Switch, two more games, Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition and Super Mario Odyssey, were released, and then the fourth game was finally approved for the “China version” of the Switch until August 2020.

In the Chinese gaming market, the home console market is still regarded as a niche market, while local Chinese game companies mainly focus on the mobile game market. The reason is that console game sales are regulated by the Chinese government and consumers can only buy games that are approved by the relevant regulatory authorities; console games were not allowed in China until 2014 and consumers could only play them by buying parallel imports.

With the success of the Switch’s introduction to China and the upcoming launch of the next generation of home console juggernauts PS5 and Xbox Series X, research firm Niko Partners forecasts that China’s home console market will reach US$2.15 billion in 2024, double the revenue forecast for 2019.

Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad said, “The Chinese market is very important to Nintendo because China has not yet established a culture of home console gaming, which represents a growth opportunity for the company.

Nintendo General is forecasting global Switch sales of 24 million units in fiscal year 2020, which ends in March 2021.


More Nintendo Switch Consoles “Are on the Way” Amid Global Shortages

Nintendo has assured customers that more Nintendo Switch consoles are on the way amid unit shortages around the world. In a recent note delivered to Japanese customers, the company stated that those who reserved a console included the limited edition Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch, will receive their units this week.

Standard retail shipping has been halted last and customers had no information if it would be halted again the following week. Nintendo’s official statement is that stock shipments have been “delayed.” Product shipping has been slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a spike in demand due to the crisis, as well as the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Switch sales jumped over 150% in March across several markets, and although manufacturing of the console has also taken a hit because of the pandemic, a Nintendo rep told: “Nintendo Switch hardware is selling out at various retail locations in the U.S., but more systems are on the way. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

In other gaming news, Sony unveiled its new DualSense controller for the upcoming PlayStation 5.


PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: Here’s how the two consoles stack up

We finally have hard details about the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. Both new consoles will deliver up to 8K resolutions, high frame rates, powerful processors and speedy SSDs. But if the PS4 and Xbox One are anything to go by, the two consoles may not be all that similar beyond that. Which of the two systems will be a superior gaming machine — and which of them will offer the better library?

Truthfully, we can’t answer those questions just yet. Without full game lineups, pricing details and hands-on experience, any judgment on the “better” system would just be speculation. But after a detailed blog post from Microsoft and a comprehensive live stream from Sony, we can at least compare the systems’ specs and see how they measure up to each other.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X price and release dates

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: Neither the PS5 nor the Xbox Series X has a confirmed price yet. The PS4 launched at $400, while the Xbox One launched at $500, but remember that those consoles launched seven years ago in a very different market. Sony had to recover lost ground from the PS3, while Microsoft believed it had a machine that would fundamentally change the media landscape on its hands.

Most rumors and expert analyses put both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X around $500, but the truth is that there’s no way to know for sure until the companies make official announcements. If you’re starting to save up now, aim to have $500 put aside, and you’ll probably be within a $100 margin of error.

We have a more solid handle on release dates, however. Microsoft and Sony both intend to launch their consoles during the 2020 holiday season.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X specs

PlayStation 5 Xbox Series X
Release Date Holiday 2020 Holiday 2020
Exclusive Games Godfall Halo Infinite, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Backwards Compatibility Almost all PS4 games, including optimized PS4 Pro titles All Xbox One games / Select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games
CPU 8-core 3.5 GHz AMD Zen 2 8-core, 3.8 GHz AMD Zen 2
GPU 10.3 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 12.0 teraflop AMD RDNA 2
Storage 825 GB custom SSD 1 TB custom NVMe SSD
Resolution Up to 8K Up to 8K
Frame Rate Up to 120 fps Up to 120 fps
Optical Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray 4K UHD Blu-ray

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X graphics and performance

If you examine the chart above, you can see that the Xbox Series X has slightly more powerful specs. Whether the Xbox Series X will necessarily deliver slightly better performance and graphics than the PS5, though, is hard to say.

First, let’s take a look at the hardware involved. There doesn’t seem to be a tremendous difference between the CPUs, although the Xbox Series X’s is slightly faster. The GPU processing power — 10.3 teraflops for the PS5 and 12 teraflops for the Xbox Series X — seems a little starker. A teraflop refers to how many operations per second a piece of hardware can handle. Since a single teraflop can account for 1012 operations per second, a difference of 1.7 could represent a significant difference in graphics.

But remember, too: Just because a GPU offers 12 teraflops of computing power, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every single game will take full advantage of them. It also depends how well a game is optimized, particularly third-party games that will have to offer relative parity between their PS5 and Xbox Series X versions.

The SSDs may also have a big effect on game performance. Since both consoles will come with built-in SSDs, games should load much faster than before. But so far, only Sony has provided concrete details about how quickly its SSD could load games, and how the PS5 compares to SSDs currently on the market. This is another metric that will likely vary from game to game.

For the moment, we’ll say that both systems seem quite powerful, and that the Xbox Series X has a potential edge, especially when it comes to rendering graphics.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X design

The Xbox Series X has a huge advantage when it comes to physical design — namely, we actually know what it’s going to look like. Microsoft’s next console will resemble a vertical PC tower, with a sleek black chassis and a small, tasteful Xbox logo in the upper-left corner. There’s a disc drive on the front of the console as well. The whole thing looks pleasantly geometrical, and you’ll also be able to position it horizontally, in case your entertainment center doesn’t have enough vertical space.

The PS5’s design is, at present, still a complete mystery. Online rumors have suggested all sorts of outlandish possibilities, from an odd-looking Sony patent, to fanciful “PS4, but sleeker” renderings. (One memorable prank even slapped the PS5 logo on a refrigerator.) For what it’s worth, PS5 dev kits seem to resemble the Sony patent, but dev kits often look very different from final products. Without concrete information, speculation about the PS5’s final appearance is fun, but ultimately not very useful. We’ll have to wait and see.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X backwards compatibility

Both Sony and Microsoft have been very open about how backwards compatibility will work on their systems. At present, the Xbox Series X appears to have more robust options, but the PS5 should have plenty of older games to play as well.

Microsoft has promised that every Xbox One game will be compatible with the Xbox Series X. Furthermore, Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system ensures that if you buy an Xbox One game that’s also available on the Xbox Series X, you’ll automatically get the Xbox Series X version once you upgrade your console. Additionally, a handful of select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games will also work with the system. (If an Xbox 360 or original Xbox game currently works on the Xbox One, it will also work on the Xbox Series X.) That’s pretty straightforward.

Sony’s approach is a little less concrete. The PS5 will use a sort of universalized software to run PS4 games on the PS5. Games that were optimized for the PS4 Pro will still have their enhancements in place. But because the software is sort of a catch-all application, not every title is guaranteed to work equally well.

Sony has stated that most of the top 100 PS4 games (by playtime) run very well on the PS5 so far, and should be available for launch. But we’re not yet sure whether Sony will release backwards compatible games piecemeal, or let users try anything and see what works. In any case, it’s not quite as inclusive as what Microsoft has promised.

PS5 vs Xbox Series X exclusives

At the moment, there’s not much to compare between the two systems when it comes to exclusive games. The Xbox One X will get Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, and the PS5 will get Godfall. All three games will also be available on PC, however, so none of them is a true exclusive.

In fact, it seems likely that every Xbox Series X exclusive game will also be available on PC, as has been Microsoft’s habit for the last few years with Xbox One titles. Over time, however, we’ll probably get some true PS5 exclusives. We theorize that franchises like God of War, Spider-Man and Gran Turismo will get new installments, but Sony has been pretty quiet about when they might come out.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X subscriptions

This section will be a little speculative, as neither Microsoft nor Sony has outlined exact plans for their game-streaming services on next-gen consoles. But both companies have cloud gaming infrastructure in place, and it’s silly to think that they would toss all of those resources out the window by the end of the year.

PlayStation Now is Sony’s game-streaming service. For a flat subscription fee ($6 – 10 per month), players can stream (and occasionally download) a variety of PS2, PS3 and PS4 hits, up to and including beloved exclusives like God of War (2018). I imagine that the PS5 will also offer PS Now options, although whether it will ever stream PS5 games is harder to say. You can stream PS Now games to a PC as well, although it doesn’t work with smartphones, streaming players or smart TVs.

Microsoft’s Project xCloud is arguably a more ambitious technology, although it’s still in beta, so we’ll have to wait and see whether it lives up to its promise. This cloud gaming platform lets users stream a variety of Xbox games to their Android or iOS devices. There’s also the Xbox Game Pass ($10 per month) program, which lets users download more than 200 games to their Xbox One consoles. I have to assume that this program will continue to exist on the Xbox Series X, perhaps even with Xbox Series X titles in its library. If this technology works together with Project xCloud, it could give Microsoft a huge edge in the subscription marketplace.

Hopefully we’ll learn more concrete details about subscriptions later. For now, the infrastructure is present for both Microsoft and Sony; the implementation is a mystery.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X virtual reality

One area where the PS5 has a clear advantage over the Xbox Series X is in virtual reality. The PS5 will be fully compatible with the PlayStation VR headset (and, presumably, the PSVR library of games). At the same time, there may also be a new PSVR headset in the works for the PS5, at least eventually.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has no plans for an Xbox Series X VR headset. We never got one for the Xbox One either, suggesting that Microsoft may not be terribly interested in this kind of technology. Whether this elicits frustration or indifference will largely depend on how invested you are in VR tech.

PS5 vs. Xbox Series X outlook

It’s important to remember that neither the PS5 nor the Xbox Series X has shown us much about their games. We have very little idea what games will be on each system at launch, much less how each game will perform. At the risk of invoking a cliché, it really is all about the games — particularly system exclusives. It will be easier to start differentiating between the two consoles once we have a better idea of their libraries.

On the other hand, the Xbox Series X does look a little bit better, at least on paper. It has more powerful hardware, better backwards compatibility and an attractive design. Project xCloud has the potential to be more comprehensive than PS Now.

For the moment, I wouldn’t personally rush out to pre-order either machine. There’s still lots to play on the PS4 and Xbox One, and we still want to learn a little more about each system’s library and capabilities at launch.


PS5 Specs: Sony Reveals CPU, GPU, SSD, TFLOPs Details And More

As part of Sony’s big PlayStation 5 information blowout during a GDC livestream, the company officially announced the specs for the next-generation console. In short, it’s a very powerful machine that supports backwards compatibility, although just how it stacks up with Xbox Series X remains to be seen.

PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny is discussing the PS5 hardware as we speak, but during the stream, Digital Foundry published a feature revealing the system’s specs. Its CPU features 8 Zen 2 cores, and its GPU–using custom RDNA 2 architecture–offers 10.28 TFLOPs of power. It comes with 16 GB of memory and an 825 GB SSD, and it allows for storage to be expanded with an NVMe SSD slot. In other words, you don’t need a proprietary drive from Sony to increase your storage, but there are specific requirements that a drive will need to meet. As a result, you shouldn’t go buying an SSD for your PS5 just yet. Additionally, Cerny revealed you’ll be able to use an external drive to play PS4 games and to store PS5 games, but like with Series X, you’ll need to move those PS5 games to an appropriate SSD before they can be played.

Cerny noted during his chat that TFLOPs alone aren’t the ultimate measure of performance; you can’t simply compare compute units or FLOPs from PS4 to those of PS5, for instance. While that TFLOPs figure is lower than that of the Xbox Series X, Digital Foundry states, “Sony’s pitch is essentially this: a smaller GPU can be a more nimble, more agile GPU, the inference being that PS5’s graphics core should be able to deliver performance higher than you may expect from a TFLOPs number that doesn’t accurately encompass the capabilities of all parts of the GPU.”

PlayStation 5 Specs

Component Spec
CPU 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU Architecture Custom RDNA 2
Memory/Interface 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 448GB/s
Internal Storage Custom 825GB SSD
IO Throughput 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage NVMe SSD Slot
External Storage USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive

For comparison, the Xbox Series X will feature 12 teraflops of performance, built off AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture. The GPU will feature 16GB of GDDR6 memory across a variable memory bus–10GB will run at 560GB/s, while the remaining 6GB will run at a slower 330GB/s. The Series X will support two types of external memory, allowing you to expand SSD storage with a proprietary drive from Seagate or store games on an external HDD (in the same way as the Xbox One).

Cerny shared many new details on the PS5’s system architecture, and he spoke about how Sony plans to push the future of games with this new hardware. One part of this is the PS5’s new SSD, which speeds up loading times and offers a number of other benefits to developers.

The PS5’s new system architecture will allow for faster rendering, which means more environmental objects and textures will populate at a faster rate. Like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 will also have ray tracing support to help developers make better-looking games.

The PS5 also has a new controller that features haptic feedback instead of the standard rumble technology used by many companies for years. As an example, crashing a car in a racing game will feel different than making a tackle in a football game. The new PS5 controller also has “adaptive triggers” that can be programmed by developers.

We also know the PS5 will have a disc drive for physical games and 4K Blu-rays, and that disc capacity will be 100 GB. The PS5 will also require players to install their games, but with the option to choose what part of a game to install.

The PlayStation 5 is due to launch this holiday, though a price point and official games launch lineup have not been announced yet. For its part, Microsoft is also releasing a next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, this holiday season with Halo Infinite as a launch title.


Three years of Nintendo Switch: Here are the best games so far

It’s been three years since Nintendo started its big comeback from the Wii U days with the release of the Nintendo Switch. Yesterday, we took a look at how the console has performed in the three years since its debut, as well as where it could be headed in the coming months, so be sure to give that a read if you haven’t already.

Today, though, we’re celebrating the library of games that have already graced the platform by taking a look at some of our favorites from the past three years. To do that, I enlisted the help of some of our forum members, as well as a contribution from YouTuber AJ McRae from the Fanatix Four channel.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Not many videogame consoles have the privilege of debuting alongside one of the best games in their libraries, but that’s exactly what happened with the Switch and Breath of the Wild. Thanks in no small part to the terrible performance of the Wii U hardware, Nintendo opted to wait and release the game on Switch alongside the Wii U version, and that means the console launched with what is my personal favorite game of all time.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was Nintendo’s first attempt at a truly open-world Zelda title, and for someone who typically doesn’t like open-world games, I had some worries. But the world in Breath of the Wild is so engrossing, beautiful, and rewarding, that I couldn’t go without looking at every nook and cranny I could find, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Even prior to the release of the DLC, I had nearly 300 hours of playtime on record, and that only increased once the DLC was made available. The two DLC packs, The Master Trials and The Champion’s Ballad, were released later in 2017, and they were both great. The latter expanded the story with some more backstory, but I was actually a big fan of the Master Trials as a format, it was really challenging and forced me to make good use of the items in the environment.

I absolutely recommend both the game, which you can buy on Amazon, and the expansion pass, which costs $19.99 in the eShop.

Super Mario Odyssey

Just like ZeldaMario is a franchise that no Nintendo console can go without, and the company wasted no time in following up one great game with another. Super Mario Odyssey brought some significant changes to the franchise’s formula, starting with large, connected, and semi-open worlds that the player can explore to their own content, but still with some guidelines to make the story progress.

The sheer number of Power Moons to collect and the variety of missions required to obtain them were a breath of fresh air. Likewise, the ability to take control of enemies, characters, and inanimate objects to navigate the world was another big change for Mario, which has typically been based on power-ups like the Fire Flower, and it allowed players to traverse the world in ways that weren’t possible before.

Nintendo also started to show signs of its intent to support its games over longer periods of time, starting with the 8-bit Luigi challenges that gave players an extra reason to explore the game world again. More notably, though, Nintendo eventually released a free update that added a new mode called Balloon World. In it, players can hide balloons and look for balloons hidden by other players from all around the world, and it gave me motivation to master the controls and learn about some of the hidden portions of the game map.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

2018 was a relatively slow year for Switch releases, but Nintendo saved its trump card right until the end of the year. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate generated a lot of hype and became the fastest-selling game in the history of the franchise, and that’s for a good reason. The game includes every character that’s ever been in the franchise and then some more. If that wasn’t enough, the company added more via DLC over the course of 2019, and there’s still more on the way. It also has the biggest number of stages and music tracks in the franchise, so it truly lives up to its name.

There are even more things that make this the biggest Smash Bros. title yet, including the fully-fledged adventure mode called World of Light and a Spirits mode that brings in even more characters from a myriad of franchises. Still, the game shines the most thanks to its multiplayer modes, and even though I haven’t played it myself, AJ McRae is still putting quite some time into it more than a year later. Here’s why he likes it so much:

“Super Smash Bros Ultimate is by far the most important Nintendo Switch game in my library and that’s for a few good reasons. First and foremost, it’s a fantastic celebration for gaming’s biggest franchises. If you love a big name gaming property, chances are it’s represented on some level in this game. Second, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to games that I’d pull out to play with a group of gamers regardless of skill level. Everyone knows that it’s a fantastic game to play with a group of family and friends for all of the chaotic items on high, random stages, 8 player smash you can handle. A lesser known fact though, it’s a really solid competitive game with a breadth of interesting characters to learn to play as and play against. It’s for those reasons that it’s my most played Switch game by a LONG shot and will continue to be so – likely for the rest of the platform’s life.”

Astral Chain

Nintendo and PlatinumGames had quite a surprise for fans in 2019 when, instead of releasing Bayonetta 3, the companies decided to announce Astral Chain. It’s still very much the kind of action game you’d expect from PlatinumGames, though, and that means it’s phenomenal at what it does.

I reviewed the game when it released last year, and found that there wasn’t much to criticize aside from some platforming sections of the game. Combat is fast and fluid, and most importantly, very fun. There’s a lot of main and side missions to get through, and it keeps adding new ways to tackle the challenges ahead of you until the very end. On top of that, there’s extensive upgrade system and customization options, which help make the experience more unique to your tastes.

Add to that the fantastic art direction that makes stellar use of the Nintendo Switch’s processing power and exudes a strong anime vibe, pretty great voice acting, and a soundtrack that pumps you up perfectly for each fight, and it’s just a fantastic package overall.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

26 years after it was originally released, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening got a remake last year. Jumping from the GameBoy to the far more advanced hardware of the Nintendo Switch brings along a ton of improvements to the controls, graphics, and sound quality.

The art style Nintendo went with for this remake really won me over. It makes for a very unique-looking world and facial expressions are nothing short of adorable. The music is also as good as you’d expect from a Zelda game. I reviewed Link’s Awakening when it came out and found it a little too confusing to get through, but our forum member and moderator, Brandon H., quite enjoyed it:

“I loved the Links Awakening remake. Some people didn’t like the art style in it but I thought it fit well with the game. I never got the chance to play through the original gameboy version of the game so being able to play with updated controls/graphics is always welcome for a good classic. was the first game I got when I got my Switch Lite and thoroughly enjoyed beating it in a single weekend”

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

The Switch has been a captivating platform for ports of games from other consoles, and Square Enix jumped on that trend by bringing over the definitive edition of Dragon Quest XI, dubbed Dragon Quest XI S. It includes all of the original content of the game, but it does bring a fully orchestrated version of the original soundtrack.

It also includes a handful of new story content, with story portions focusing on each of the main characters of the game, English and Japanese options for voice acting, and a plentiful list of other improvements. I personally didn’t play the game, nor am I familiar with the Dragon Quest series, but our forum member +forster has had some fun with it:

“Dragon Quest 11 was really stand out for me this year, drove many hours into it. Also I think it stood apart, enough, from its previous ports due to the tweaks and extra Switch content. Graphics great, music great, really shows what a switch can do!”

Ring Fit Adventure

I understand that this isn’t exactly an experience for most gamers, but Ring Fit Adventure actually delivers really well on its promise. It brings together exercise and a plot that gives you extra encouragement to keep working out, which actually works on me, as someone who tends to prefer gaming over exercising. There’s a ton of variety to the exercises you can do, and if the story mode is restrictive, there are mini-games and routines you can create for yourself to focus on what you want.

The Ring-Con looks really simple at first, but it offers plenty of resistance and it’s really surprising how hard it makes you work. It’s the first game to make use of the Switch’s alarm feature to remind you to keep exercising on a regular basis. It’s not a gym replacement, but it’s probably cheaper and easier to accommodate in your schedule. And, if you want to exercise while watching TV or something, the Ring-Com can be used standalone and it will keep count of how many times you press or pull on it.

It’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to exercise or stay active, and going out isn’t always a valid option, then this is definitely something to consider. The game is currently sold out at most retailers, but you can keep an eye on the Amazon listing if you want to grab it.

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion is one of those rare Nintendo franchises that doesn’t have that many entries in its history, and the third iteration makes me glad that the developers had plenty of time to work on it. The spooky adventures of Mario’s green-clad brother have always had a very unique charm to them, but Luigi’s Mansion 3 is bigger, better, and more varied than its predecessors.

I chose not to review this game, and usually, I do that with games I don’t like that much, but that is definitely not the case here. Everything about Luigi’s Mansion 3 feels stellar. The hotel you have to explore this time around is larger than the mansions in previous games, and the different floors for each theme offer so much variety in terms of visuals and mechanics that I enjoyed it through and through. For a game with base mechanics as simple as these, it’s honestly surprising how varied the gameplay is throughout the adventure.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a charming adventure that kept me hooked every second of the journey, but it’s a kind of fun that’s not easy to put into words. It’s just a fantastic game and one that I absolutely recommend.

Pokémon Sword and Shield

The last and most recent games on this list are Pokémon Sword and Shield, and I’ve already talked at length about why I love them in my full review. These are easily the best games in the franchise, and that’s because they drive it forward in many ways. The freedom of movement is bigger than ever, especially in the Wild Area, and seeing Pokémon on the fields, and seeing them react to your presence adds a whole new level of interaction with the game, while also removing some of the annoying parts (that is to say, random encounters).

In general, the game just wastes a lot less of your time. Many animation sequences have been sped up or shortened, some features are easier to access through quick shortcuts, you can manage your party and boxes from anywhere. And all of that comes in a beautiful package, despite some of the places where textures may appear too simple. It’s a huge step in the right direction, even if it’s not where some of us hoped the franchise would be at this point.

Our forum member and moderator Brandon H. is also a big fan of the latest entry in the Pokémon franchise. Here’s what he had to say:

“I fell out of Pokemon games around Diamond/pearl due to getting bored with them. I tried Black/White, X/Y, and Sun/Moon but never beat any of them due to just getting bored part way through. Sword/Shield are the first Pokemon games I’ve thoroughly enjoyed again. I didn’t feel like I had to grind all the time just to progress so that helped keep my attention. The story actually seemed good and kept my attention as well. The wild lands are quite the interesting concept that I like; what little grinding I did have to do was made easier by the early access to the wild lands and the areas of stronger pokemon it had. Can’t wait to see how the DLCs expand the wild lands along with the new areas.”


Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Which Xbox is best for you?

The Xbox One has had a rocky lifecycle, but Microsoft is looking to change its fortunes this next console generation with the Xbox Series X.

The company’s champion for the holiday 2020 hardware gladiator fight against Sony’s PS5 is looking strong, thanks to hot features such as ray tracing and 8K support. But with the Xbox One set to get support well beyond the next year, the choice of Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One isn’t a totally obvious one.

As it did with 2017’s Xbox One X, Microsoft is seemingly banking on the Series X’s raw power being enough to win the holidays. And by console standards, the Series X is looking powerful indeed. Since a bit of concrete info is available about the upcoming console, let’s start discussing if you should save your pennies for the Xbox Series X or go with the more affordable Xbox One.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Release date and price

The Xbox One came out in 2013 and has since seen many iterations. There’s the $299 Xbox One S, the $249 Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (which has no disc drive), and the $499 Xbox One X. The first two are basically smaller, less expensive variants of the original Xbox One, while the Xbox One X is a more powerful, and more expensive Xbox One that can play games in 4K.

The Xbox One X’s power is soon to be dwarfed by the Series X, which is arriving holiday 2020. The One X currently retails at around $500 but has seen many, many sales. It’s unlikely Microsoft’s going to charge over $500 for the Series X and shoot itself in the foot like Sony did with the PS3’s launch price, so you might be wise to pass on a One X if the price gap between the two systems is negligible.

If you want a deal, though, the other models of the Xbox One have had their prices dip south of $200. Still, ponder whether you’ll want to drop somewhere between a third to a fifth of the price of an Xbox Series X on old Xbox hardware that’s soon to be outdated. Also, factor in that the overwhelming majority of existing Xbox One exclusives are also on PC for dirt cheap, so that’s another deterrent against getting one of the current gen systems.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Design

Like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X will be a box. However, unlike the Xbox One, the Series X will not be shaped like a fat VHS (launch model One) or a tiny VHS (Xbox One S and Xbox One X). Instead, the Xbox Series X will be a rectangular prism that looks a bit like a gaming PC tower and can be positioned either vertically or horizontally to best fit your setup.

Microsoft has yet to release any hard info regarding the size of the Xbox Series X, so only time will tell if the company has learned its lesson about releasing chunky monkeys like the original Xbox One.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Specs

The Xbox Series X will have a whopping 12 teraflops of GPU power, a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU, custom NVMe SSD, and GDDR6 memory. What this means for gaming is fast loading times, fancy visual features like ray tracing, better hair animations, 4K resolution gameplay at 60 FPS, as well as support for 8K resolution and 120 FPS gameplay.

Meanwhile, the Xbox One X has only 6 teraflops of power, a custom 2.3-GHz AMD CPU and 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. It’s expected that even with superior GDDR6 RAM, the Series X will also have more GB of RAM than the One X. And as for the teraflops, that’s just a nerdy way of saying the Series X’s performance capabilities will be far greater than the One X.

Remember, the Xbox One X often has to choose between 60 FPS, 4K, or “ultra” graphics settings in games such as Anthem and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Not to mention, the other Xbox One models aren’t even in the 4K/60 FPS race. So, while still observing the law of diminishing returns (do casual gamers really care about 8K or 120FPS?), the Series X’s hardware will hopefully help the industry progress technologically, which in itself might be a compelling case to opt for the Series X—to help fund the future.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Controller

Since the Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamepads look and feel similar, it stands to reason we’ll see another incremental evolution with the Series X. The One’s gamepad astronomically slimmed down the 360 iteration’s design to the point where there’s not too much left to shave off the controller, so the Series X’s differences might not be as noticeable.

In terms of confirmed changes, we know the new Series X controller will have these elements: a share button, dynamic latency input (DLI) so your inputs sync better with on-screen character movements, and a new “hybrid d-pad.”

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Features

The Series X is going to have some neat new features, including “Quick Resume” and “Smart Delivery.” Quick resume will allow players to bounce between multiple games on the fly, suspending them in place and returning to them in an instant without being bothered by start-up menus and loading screens.

As for Smart Delivery, this feature ensures that if you buy a game for your Xbox One, the superior version will automatically be available on your Xbox Series X. Microsoft has guaranteed this feature for first-party titles, though it will also be an option for third-party publishers and developers, hence why Cyberpunk 2077 will have smart delivery. In that sense, it’s a shared feature between Xbox consoles, much like how backwards compatibility will be available on both systems.

But what about Kinect, you ask? Will the Series X have everyone’s favorite motion-sensing peripheral? It seems unlikely Microsoft is going to foist another Kinect upon gamers like it did with the Xbox One at launch. Who knows, though; it’s Microsoft. Maybe it’ll have an incredible Kinect 3.0 integrated directly into the box itself, or make the Series X compatible with existing Kinects.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Games

The Xbox Series X looks to continue the Xbox One’s beloved backwards compatibility capabilities, meaning all currently existing backwards compatible games will work on the Series X, as well as all Xbox One games. This means you can play Vanquish on your Xbox Series X, which is a huge get. As far as brand new games go, the Series X will have a few of those, too.

There’ll be standard-issue multiplatform games like Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed title, whatever the next annual Call of Duty is, and probably even The Elder Scrolls VI, if it ever comes out. Confirmed Xbox Series X games such as Outriders and Watch Dogs Legion will also come to Xbox One, so you won’t need to rush out for a next-gen console to play them.

But Microsoft also has some first party games on the way for the Series X, including Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II and Halo Infinite. Hellblade II is slated for “Xbox and PC,” which may or may not include the Xbox One. Halo Infinite is coming to the Series X, Xbox One, and PC. So if you want the Series X for true exclusives, you should probably hold out; most Xbox Game Studios games will also come to PC and Xbox One for the foreseeable future.

Xbox Series X vs. Xbox One: Outlook

At the moment, the Xbox Series X looks like little more than a souped up Xbox One X, so if you have an Xbox One, there’s not a ton of incentive to upgrade. And if you have a gaming PC, there are no Series X exclusives to tempt you. Still, if you want to enjoy top-of-the-line performance for games like Halo: Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077 and don’t want to invest in an expensive computer, the Series X may be for you.

Microsoft will likely have more surprises in store as the months roll on and the company attempts to build up hype for the new Xbox, so be sure to check Tom’s Guide for all the latest news about why the Series X might be worth buying. For now, though, save your cash and just decide on whether to get a cheap Xbox One model or gaming PC to experience the best in Microsoft’s game library.


PES 2021 release date, PS5 and Xbox Series X details, features wishlist and everything you need to know

PES 2021 on PS5 and Xbox Series X is a tantalising prospect. Already reinstalled as the purists’ favourite football game – even if its sales are dwarfed by the FIFA series – Konami has hinted at a new engine on next-gen, which in theory could see it recapture the magic of its PS2 years. But will it be out at launch, and what else is in store following the generational leap? Delve deeper into GR’s PES 2021 guide to find out…

PES 2021 release date: could it be a PS5 and Xbox Series X launch title?

Unlike EA – who seems sure to have FIFA 21 and Madden 21 ready for day one – Konami has never been concerned with PES being available for a new console’s launch day. PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One all emerged without Pro Evo. Meaning there’s a strong chance that you have to wait until sometime next year for PES 2021 on PS5 and Xbox Series X – if indeed it ever emerges at all. With whispers of a new engine, Konami may decide to skip a year and instead reboot the series with PES 2022.

Things are more straightforward on current-gen. PES 2018 hit stores on 12 September, PES 2019 on 28 August, and PES 2020 on 10 September. So you’re likely looking at a PES 2021 release date of early September on PS4 and Xbox One, around three weeks ahead of rival FIFA 21.

PES 2021 on PS5 and Xbox Series X: Dawn of a new engine

Excitingly, Konami has hinted that next-gen will bring a new engine to the PES series. Dauntingly, it hasn’t given any idea as to when that might occur.

“Our plans focus on the version of the game that is relevant at this time. Updating such technologies is a very risky step. Before creating or releasing anything, you need to evaluate all the risks,” Konami’s Kei Matsuda told WinPes in 2018.

“In the future we plan to change the main engine, but this will not happen before the time when a new generation of game consoles will appear. On the current generation, the Fox Engine will remain forever. We are not planning any changes.”

The Fox Engine has been in place since PES 2014, and generally been a success. A switch for PS5 and Xbox Series X ensures 8K visuals, and hopefully a significant upgrade to the series’ presentation elements: in terms of commentary and graphical overlays, it lags way behind contemporaries such as NBA 2K21 and even WWE 2K21. The always-active community has plenty of other suggestions for how to improve the series too. On which note…

PES 2021 features wishlist: what do the fans want?

A comprehensive overhaul of Master League, once the series’ marquee feature, comes top of the hardcore fans’ wishlist for PES 2021. Superrandy on Reddit offers a detailed breakdown of how it could be reconfigured to mirror its glory days: “The menus need an overhaul again; the organization and naming of items needs [to be] redone. Get rid of followers, it’s stupid and meaningless. Konami also needs to fix release clauses. They need to let you recall loans. They need to give you more control over your budget allocation split. They need to make your budget grow with success.”

“They need to have an actual transfer list where you can see a filtered view of your listed players,” he continues. “They need preseason tournaments and friendlies. More injuries and longer term injuries, to affect teams and gameplay. Add the ability to edit players inside ML. Add the ability to change your stadium inside ML. Add more depth to scouting… and overhaul how potential works. Increase the rate of growth for high potential players. It shouldn’t take a FB like Reece James five years to move to an 80 overall. That’s dumb programming. I’ve had young players tear it up and barely increase in ability, that’s not acceptable. If a player is playing well they need dramatically more gains.”

On the dedicated Evoweb forum, moderator Chuny predicts that the Unreal Engine will be used on PS5 and Xbox Series X – and knows what he wants to see from it. “[Konami is] already familiarised with it because they’ve been developing the mobile version under that engine for two years now,” he says. “We could finally have actual dynamic lighting and weather. Which would really add a lot to the immersion: Live shadows not only in broad daylight but also at night with different shadows casting in player’s faces, etc.”

“The most important thing this might bring is key elements to gameplay,” he adds. “Perhaps more refined, cleaner code. Better AI. More animations, because the new engine could handle them faster, and calculate which one to choose better, than the obsolete Fox Engine.”

PES 2021 licenses: Who’ll be exclusive to Konami?

Last year we ran a FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 comparison, charting which teams were exclusive to which game – and the line-up looks similar this year. Announcements for PES 2021 are a little while away, but we do know that Juventus are exclusive to PES 2021: it signed a three-year deal with Konami before the release of PES 2020.

These are the other partners clubs you can expect in PES 2021, if it follows the precedent set last year:

– Juventus (fully exclusive, so kits and stadium are only in PES)
– Barcelona (stadium exclusive to PES)
– Manchester United (also in FIFA due to EA’s Premier League license)
– Bayern Munich (stadium exclusive to PES)
– Arsenal (also in FIFA due to EA’s Premier League license)
– AC Milan (also in FIFA)
– AS Monaco (stadium exclusive to PES)
– Celtic (stadium exclusive to PES)
– Rangers
– Palmeiras
– Flamengo
– Sao Paulo
– Corinthians
– Vasco da Gama
– Universidad de Chile
– Colo-Colo
– Schalke


3 years later, here’s why Nintendo Switch is my favorite gaming console ever

Pound for pound, the Nintendo Switch is the finest console I’ve ever owned.

That’s not to discount or ignore the sheer variety and unmatched ingenuity found on the PlayStation 2, nor the history made on Nintendo’s own Super Nintendo. But the Switch is now the console I see myself playing for years to come, mostly because the games on it are already tested and proven to be timeless classics. Three years after its release, it’s the one platform that consolidates so many fantastic games, all in a single, attractive and deceptively powerful handheld device.

First of all, the Switch is stacked with games that generally populate the “greatest video game of all time” conversation, and they come from far-flung generations of gaming. As a result, in three years, the Switch has accumulated four of my five favorite games of all time: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017), Dark Souls (2011), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) and Resident Evil 4 (2005). The only one missing is the classic PlayStation exclusive: Shadow of the Colossus.

These four games are time-tested classics. I’ve previously spent hundreds of hours on each of them, but I willingly did it all over again for their Switch releases. There’s a calming comfort that’s hard to describe, knowing that four of the five games I’d bring with me to a deserted island would actually be playable on a deserted island (for as long as the battery lasts, at least).

The Switch’s nature as a portable hybrid has actually made it easier for me to play through these games. There’s less of a commitment to play a Switch version of the game (thanks to a hassle-free rest/sleep mode that makes it easier to walk away), which makes me more inclined to play it.

The Switch’s handheld mode has also fundamentally changed the way I approach my favorite genres. With Dark Souls, I dive into light leveling sections and map cleanup, or maybe I want to do a quick, no-fuss online duel. With Zelda, I can do quick sweeps of certain smaller sections of its large map. That soothing old pop of zombie heads from Resident Evil 4 hits different when you’re lying in bed.

There’s also something magical about playing games which seem impossibly large on a handheld device — most notably The Witcher 3. The Witcher series has often been a benchmark for testing your latest PC builds. But developer Saber Interactive did a miraculous job porting this massive, next-generation experience into the handheld. Every spoken word, trinket and adventure is packed into a 32 gigabyte cartridge.

And I’ve already spilled enough ink praising the Switch version’s exclusive pairing with PC’s cloud saves. It’s a practical companion purchase for anyone who already owns The Witcher 3 on PC.

There’s simply not enough space to talk about the dozens of other multiplatform games that somehow made their way onto the weakest console (in terms of hardware specs) on the current market. It has almost every single DOOM game between 1993 and the spectacular 2016 update, as well as the upcoming DOOM 64 and DOOM Eternal. Diablo 3, to this day, is still the greatest looter dungeon crawler ever made, and even after I spent hundreds of hours on the PC release years ago, I still spent a hundred more in its Switch port.

Bayonetta 1 and 2 and Devil May Cry 3 are three of my four favorite action games ever made. They all run 60 frames per second on the Switch. Somehow, even Mortal Kombat 11 runs at 60 frames per second. It’s amazing how much modernity is squeezed out of the aging Nvidia Tegra mobile chipset.

One of the Switch’s defining strengths is how it welcomes and encourages innovation and great ideas thanks to its limitations and smaller scale. Big budget games are huge investments, so they tend to play it safe. Not so for handheld games (particularly for the lower-powered Switch). Games can be released quicker, and studios can explore genres and gameplay types which are overlooked on the big platforms.

And sure, many of these games, including Hollow Knight, Undertale, Celeste, Stardew Valley and Untitled Goose Game, are available on other platforms. But other platforms also don’t have Nintendo games.

Exclusive Nintendo games are the best reason to own a Nintendo console. Super Mario Odyssey was Nintendo’s finishing flourish for 2017, arguably the best 3-D outing for Mario. Then there’s the best version of Mario Kart around. There’s the best version of Super Smash Bros. with Ultimate. It’s also great that a 2D platformer as inventive and exciting as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe didn’t die on the Wii U. It joins another Switch port, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, to round out the Switch’s Nintendo-exclusive platformer offerings.

The Fire Emblem series is there for the tabletop strategists. It’s even got two full-sized Pokémon games now. The Switch boasts the best class of first-party Nintendo games since the groundbreaking titles of the Nintendo 64 era.

I won’t belabor this point too long, because most of us can agree that Nintendo’s first-party titles are mostly unmatched in the industry. Nintendo has always had that — even on the Wii U.

The Switch is far from a perfect console. It is not the best console by any objective, measurable standpoint. As I mentioned, it’s weaker, so just as Switch players may get a variety of indie titles, they’ll miss out on more luxurious, resource-intensive titles like Devil May Cry 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2. And although Overwatch helps buttress the Switch for competitive shooters, the Switch is the one platform that could use a Call of Duty title or two.

And its online capabilities are by far its biggest weakness. I don’t play many online games, but I am addicted to Fortnite, since it’s the only game that isn’t attached to Nintendo’s archaic online network. When it comes to digital infrastructure, the Switch is barely better than the first Xbox (released 19 years ago). Animal Crossing: New Horizons, while highly anticipated, comes with the worrying caveat about how our saves would be digitally stored.

The Switch’s value would only increase if Nintendo somehow remembered that it has the deepest, most beloved back catalogue of games from previous console generations. Sure, it’s nice to revisit Zelda: Link to the Past and Yoshi’s Island on the subpar Nintendo Switch Super NES app. But there are dozens of “Virtual Console” purchases on the past Wii, Wii U and 3DS systems that lay dormant, because of Nintendo’s refusal to acknowledge our past purchases. Being frustrated at Nintendo’s services while being enchanted by their games is part and parcel of being a Nintendo fan.

But the bottom line is this: The current Switch library has the characteristics of my other three most celebrated consoles. The Switch library has the creativity and charm of the Sega Dreamcast, the quality and variety of the PlayStation 2, and the convenience (and Nintendo games) of a Nintendo 3DS.

It’s definitely not the most influential, most varied or most capable console. But after three years with it, the Nintendo Switch is simply my favorite.


PS5 news: Six million PlayStation 5 consoles due to sell by next March

The PS5 is coming – assuming its ever revealed – and it’s going to be huge. In terms of features, it’s due to pack the potential to game in 8K resolutions, an enormous modular solid-state drive and display silky-smooth motion thanks to an increased framerate capability. 

When it comes to sales, it will be big. How big, exactly, we’re not sure, as it’ll face stiff competition from the Xbox Series X and potentially even the Nintendo Switch Pro. However, some analysts are already looking at the early buzz and making predictions as to how popular the consoles will prove in the early stages of their lifespans. 

  • PS5: Release date, price, specs, and more
  • PS5 games: Every confirmed game for 2020 and beyond
  • PLUS: HTC Project Proton is the VR headset of the future

Japanese analytical firm Ace Research Institute’s Hideki Yasuda believes the PS5 will sell at an unprecedented rate. According to Yasuda, both PS5 and PS4 should ship 6 million units by March 31, 2021. As PS4 production winds down, it’s expected that PS5 orders by retailers will swell as they anticipate a busy holiday period. There’s sure to be a PS5 under quite a few trees this Christmas.

In addition, Yasuda believes another 15 million units will be shipped the following year, up to March 2022. The PS5’s first full year of production will tell us a lot about how its going to fare during its lifespan, and given that over 102 million PS4s have been sold worldwide, it’s safe to say expectation is high for the PS5. RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…

There’s no word on how this compares with the Xbox Series X, as there appears to be no prediction from ARI on how Microsoft’s console will fare just yet. However, the relationship between the consoles (which one has a lower price, which console carries exclusives and so on) will affect the final figures. 

One caveat is necessary: this analysis was actually published at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, we’ve seen several high-profile events cancelled such as Mobile World Congress, and Sony also left PAX East citing coronavirus concerns. 

Device launches have been delayed and manufacturers such as Apple and Nintendo are scaling back on production as Chinese supply chains are disrupted. If the outbreak continues to snowball, this could interrupt the PS5’s production, causing a big issue for Sony when attempting to fill large orders of consoles at launch. 

As the situation is still in flux, it’s impossible to tell whether the international panic will have any effect on Sony’s launch plans. However, we’d be very surprised if Sony did not have a contingency plan or two up its sleeve to account for some disruption as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s a strong prediction from Yasuda, but can Sony live up to the hype and fend off its rivals to fulfil this promising forecast? We can’t wait to find out, as that tentative “Holiday 2020” release date inches ever closer. 


Microsoft just accidentally confirmed a huge feature for Xbox Series X

Microsoft and Sony have been so infuriatingly quiet about their next-gen consoles in 2020 that desperate gamers have been scouring every corner of the internet in search of clues about what the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 might have to offer. For the most part, there hasn’t been much to find, but even the tiniest of details is enough to set off a firestorm, which is what happened when people started poking through the GDC 2020 schedule.

Spotted by Wccftech on Wednesday, Microsoft will be hosting a session at the 2020 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco called “Building Audio Gateways Into Immersive Worlds With Spatial Sound.” This might not sound like the most exciting talk of the week, but check the description to see why it caught our eye:

Learn from the audio designers of Borderlands 3 and Gears of War 5 around how a collaboration between Microsoft, Dolby, and our middleware partners kicked off a revolution with spatial sound that turns any pair of headphones into a multi-dimensional gateway to another world. Attendees will dive deep into the audio design pipeline (Project Acoustics) and the relationship to dedicated hardware-acceleration on newer generation Xbox consoles.

When Microsoft officially announced the Xbox Series X last December, we learned several interesting details about the power of the new console, such as its custom AMD processor, its ability to play games at up to 8K resolution and 120FPS, and its next-gen SSD which will “virtually eliminate load times.” Microsoft didn’t say anything about audio at the time, but thanks to GDC, we seemingly now have confirmation of hardware-acceleration.

Once again, this is incredibly vague, and Microsoft did mention hardware acceleration as it relates to ray tracing in its blog post about the Xbox Series X, but this is the first we’re hearing about how Microsoft plans to improve the audio of the next Xbox. It’s also worth noting that Sony already committed to using hardware to enhance the audio experience of the PlayStation 5 when Mark Cerny spoke to Wired last year:

The AMD chip also includes a custom unit for 3D audio that Cerny thinks will redefine what sound can do in a videogame. “As a gamer,” [Cerny] says, “it’s been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

All of this will be cleared up when Sony and Microsoft finally host events to fully unveil their next-gen consoles, but for now, tidbits like these are all we’re getting when it comes to leaks.