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Overwatch’s Competitive Mode Undergoing Changes

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Blizzard has made Overwatch’s Competitive Season 6 critically important as it eyes to turn the page on what has been a rather rocky Season 5.

No, gamers won’t see a complete overhaul, but they will see a ton of new changes that should help address numerous issues that have plagued Season 5.

Game director Jeff Kaplan discussed all of the changes in Season 6 in a video posted on YouTube, with the big change being that seasons will now be two months long as opposed to three months.

Some of the other changes (h/t Kotaku) include:

  • Changes to skill rating decay. In order to avoid decay, you’ll only need to play five matches per week at Diamond and above. Also, if you do suffer decay, you’ll only lose 25 SR instead of 50.
  • Control maps are changing. “We’ve noticed that an inordinate number of these matches are going into overtime… this is resulting in very long match times,” said Kaplan. To solve this problem, control maps will be best out of three from now on. Due to the lower time investment, Kaplan thinks this will also make losing a control map “sting less.”
  • Placement matches will work differently. In seasons four and five, Blizzard experimented with placing people lower than where their SR should’ve been so they could climb more. This, however, left a lot of people feeling bummed out. “It felt wrong deflating you on purpose just so you would have a sense of progression later,” admitted Kaplan. Placements in season six, then, will more accurately reflect your actual skill level right off the bat.
  • Higher tiered matches should now be more balanced. Players won’t be put in as many matches where they stomp the other team and barely gain any SR, but queues might take longer. “Hopefully it’s not super noticeable for most of us… despite the fact that you might have to wait for a long time,” said Kaplan. If times are out of control, however, Blizzard will change it.

You can see the video, right here:

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Microsoft Bringing Four Games to Rival Consoles

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Microsoft has responded to recent reports that there will be changes to it’s first-party strategy and has confirmed that four game titles will be released on rival consoles.

More specifically, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that ‘Starfield’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ will not be among the four titles heading to other platforms. Both games had a number of candidate platforms, per reports, adding that this is “not a change to our fundamental exclusive strategy.”

“We don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that,” Spencer said, according to GamesIndustry.biz.  “Looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond announced that Activision Blizzard games would begin to be added into Game Pass offerings, starting with Diablo 4, which will be added on March 28th.

Additionally, Bond said that Microsoft is still working on hardware for the future and that their focus regarding the future is “delivering the largest technical leap you will ever have seen in a hardware generation.”

 

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Sega’s Revenue See Rise to $27 Billion

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Sega Sammy has released its financial report for the nine-month period that officially concluded on December 31st, 2023, and that report that demonstrated a rise in overall sales and profit despite a decrease in sales for Sega’s new titles.

That decline was offset by growth in pachislot and pachinko machines, however Sega had lowered its sales forecasts for the full financial year.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net sales: ¥349.9 billion ($2.3 billion, up 28.7% year-on-year)
  • Operating income: ¥54.4 billion ($364 million, up 42.4% year-on-year)
  • Ordinary income: ¥57.2 billion ($383 million, up 42.7% year-on-year)
  • Net sales were up 130.3% to ¥120.2 billion ($805 million) in this segment
  • Ordinary income increased by 521.3% at ¥45.7 billion ($306 million).
  • Entertainment Contents segment, which includes video games, net sales were up 4.2% at ¥219.3 billion
  • Profit decreased by 52.5% to ¥19.7 billion ($131.8 million) as a result of weak game sales

You can read a breakdown of the entire report at GamesIndustry.biz here.

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CVC Capital Partners, Haveli Investments Acquire Jagex

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CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have reached an agreement to acquire RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group, according to Sky News.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed publicly, the Sky News report indicates that CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase of Jagex.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor.

CVC Capital Partners has previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex has more than 700 staff worldwide, and is best known for its RuneScape franchise and is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires sometimes in 2024.

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