Xbox rolls the D.I.C.E.

Xbox talks exclusivity while the D.I.C.E. awards take over Las Vegas.

Xbox rolls the D.I.C.E.

The D.I.C.E. awards took place this past week in Las Vegas. Who were the big winners? Also, Microsoft talked about Xbox exclusives and the future of system. Read about it all below.

Xbox talks game distribution and the console’s future

Microsoft held their highly anticipated press conference to discuss rumors that some of their games would no longer be exclusive to the system. During the conference, Xbox head Phil Spencer did confirm that four titles currently exclusive would be available on other systems within the year, but mentioned they were older, and two of them were built for multiplayer.

While he did not specifically mention which games would be included, it is highly speculated that the games will be Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Sea of Thieves and Grounded. Spencer mentioned that for now, games like Starfield and the new Indiana Jones game coming later this year would be Xbox and PC only. One insightful comment from an industry insider:

Some of the other big announcements to come out of the press conference include:

What do you think of the announcement? Let us know in the comments.

D.I.C.E. Awards announced

Baldur’s Gate 3

The Design Innovate Communicate Entertain (D.I.C.E.) awards took place last week in Las Vegas. One of the more prestigious awards in video games, winners are chosen by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) along with votes from over 30,000 industry experts, developers, and studios. Here is a complete list of the winners.

Game of the Year - Baldur’s Gate 3
Outstanding Achievement in Game Design - Baldur’s Gate 3 
Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction - Baldur’s Gate 3
Outstanding Achievement in Animation - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 
Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction - Alan Wake 2 
Outstanding Achievement in Character - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – Miles Morales 
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 
Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 
Outstanding Achievement in Story - Baldur’s Gate 3 
Outstanding Technical Achievement - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 
Action Game of the Year - Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 
Adventure Game of the Year - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom 
Family Game of the Year - Super Mario Bros. Wonder 
Fighting Game of the Year - Street Fighter 6 
Racing Game of the Year - Forza Motorsport  
Role-Playing Game of the Year - Baldur’s Gate 3 
Sports Game of the Year - MLB The Show 23 
Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year - Dune: Spice Wars 
Online Game of the Year - Diablo IV 
Immersive Reality Technical Achievement - Horizon: Call of the Mountain 
Immersive Reality Game of the Year - Asgard’s Wrath 2 
Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game - Cocoon
Mobile Game of the Year  - What the Car?

An Epic year in games

In a recent blog post, Epic Games says players spent $950 million on their storefront in 2023. The post discusses some other interesting facts about Epic’s year, including:

  • The Epic Game Store offered 86 games worth a value of $2,055 per user via its free game program. 
  • The total number of free games downloaded was nearly 586 million
  • Spending on third-party titles decreased by 13% year-over-year to $310 million, meaning Fortnite and other Epic-developed games accounted for $640 million.

Read the full Epic press release.

Dungeons & Dragons stage show

❗ Poynter has a great article on how game investors are failing marginalized developers.

🐉 An interactive Dungeons & Dragons show will start a run off-Broadway this spring

🏅 Esports viewership rose 9% in 2023 while livestreaming dropped. 

MLB The Show 24 continues its Negro League storyline. It also features its first-ever female player

📅 The Nintendo Switch 2 reportedly won’t arrive until 2025

👎🏼 Embracer CEO says layoffs are "something that everyone needs to get through." The company laid off 1,400 employees, and canceled 29 unannounced games between July and December. 

📈 Despite not having a physical release, Alan Wake 2 sold 1.3 million units, and is Remedy’s fastest selling game so far.

🏳️‍🌈 According to a new study by GLAAD, less than 2% of console video games have LGBTQ representation despite 17% of gamers being queer.

🔫 Helldivers 2 developer says it will never add player vs. player gameplay as it wants to “reduce toxic elements” from the community. The game recently passed 400,000 concurrent players on Steam

🎩 Esports professionals are suing Call of Duty leagues for $680 million, claiming they hold a monopoly. 

🥽 Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg compared the Mata Quest 3 to the Apple Vision Pro. Check out a less biased opinion

😢 Yoshitaka Murayama, creator Of Suikoden and Eiyuden Chronicle, passed away at the age of 54

📉 Bandai Namco reveals it recently canceled five games after reporting a 96% drop in year-on-year profits in its game division. 

👴🏽 Sony missed its PlayStation 5 sales target, says the console is entering the “latter stage of its life cycle.” The news caused Sony's value to drop $10 billion.

🦹🏽‍♀️ A former developer of Immortals of Aveum says it was a bad move to make “a AAA single-player shooter in today’s market.”

🐉 Dungeons & Dragons posted official release dates for the latest version of their core rulebooks. The company also revealed upcoming brand partnerships, including LEGOS, Converse shoes and Pop Tarts.

👶🏼 A first-person Mandalorian Game is reportedly being developed by Respawn. 

🎶 Musician Post Malone is curating the soundtrack for WWE 2K24 and will be a playable character in the game. 

🛩️ Microsoft Flight Simulator’s next free expansion: Dune

New Releases this week: 

Last Epoch

Check out 10 new games to play in February.

2/20: Balatro (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
2/20: Nightingale (PC)
2/20: Star Trek Legends (PC)
2/21: Last Epoch (PC)
2/21: Terminator: Dark Fate - Defiance (PC)
2/22: Inkulinati (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
2/22: Pacific Drive (PlayStation and PC)

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