Rocket League shows the perils and potential of going free to play with its server issues and huge player numbers.

Rocket League shows the perils and potential of going free to play with its server issues and huge player numbers.

September 23, 2020, marked a shift in the life of the multiplayer hit, Rocket League. As well as making the move from Steam to the Epic Game Store, it made its football-with-cars antics free-to-play on every platform. Existing Steam players can still use the Steam version, however, and updates will continue.

Rocket League’s move from mid-priced game to free-to-play inevitably disrupted the servers in a big way, however.

It was exacerbated by the shift coinciding with a “new competitive season”. Rocket League took to Twitter to announce that “Tournaments, Challenges, and other Rocket League features are impacted by this degradation”. Whilst they managed to get the servers stable that day, it might have concerned regulars about the game long-term.

It’s been mere days, but the future now looks even brighter for the already beaming game. 

Corey Davis, the co-studio head of Psyonix Studios, took to Twitter to announce that the game had reached a new milestone of 1 million concurrent players. Commenters claim it went as high as 1.4 million. That comes with the caveat that all platforms are being counted given its crossplay support. It encapsulates the PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, Steam and Epic Game Store populations. If you support cross-play, I think you can be permitted the boast.

It’s a big boost in player population for a game that’s mostly averaged 60,000 to 80,000 on Steam since it was released five years ago. Even on Steam, Rocket League has now hit an all-time player high of 129,060 within the last 24 hours. 

For those who somehow have never partaken or just like a good deal, as we reported yesterday you can now secure yourself a £10 coupon if you redeem the game on the Epic Game Store.

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Science and ‘video shame’ writer. Probably looking for political messages about meaningful systemic change in the latest Star Wars game.

Crash Bandicoot, Star Wars and FIFA (sort of) headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

Crash Bandicoot, Star Wars and FIFA (sort of) headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

Do you know which Star Wars games are the absolute best? No, it’s not that new one with Archie Andrews off Riverdale as a Jedi, nor is it Episode I: Racer, or even Knights of the Old Republic. It’s the classic PC flight sims, the ones that came on half a dozen floppy disks: X-Wing, Tie Fighter, and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter.

With that in mind, we are perhaps most excited about Star Wars: Squadrons, a Star Wars space combat flight sim with all the pew! pew! you’d expect. Squadrons has pedigree, too; it’s developed by EA’s Motive Studios, the crew behind the brilliant Star Wars Battlefront II. (That’s the modern, multiplayer Battlefront II with lots of cool ships to fly, not the middling shooter from 2005.)

The other big name on the Xbox One Releases this week is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. Developed by Toys for Bob, the company behind the excellent remasters, publisher Activision hopes that the return of its mascot platformer will emulate the successful return of its other late-90s icon, Tony Hawk.

There’s one other big game this week, but it’s not for everyone. Literally. If you don’t have EA Play, you won’t get to play FIFA 21 on October 2; you’ll have to wait until October 9 like everyone else. But if you do have EA Play – and remember, it’s now included with Xbox Game Pass – you’ll get to try out EA’s big footie sim, FIFA 21, a week before your mates.

Other games of note include Feather, a zen exploration game with beautiful flight, Commander ’85, an intriguing cold war mystery, and Inertial Drift, a racing game with an innovative twin-stick control scheme.

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any late additions to the lineup.

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

If you enjoy Left 4 Dead 2 during its free weekend, you’ll be able to pick it up for just $2 / £1.43.

If you enjoy Left 4 Dead 2 during its free weekend, you’ll be able to pick it up for just $2 / £1.43.

Valve, the company that famously does not make threequels, released Left 4 Dead 2 almost 11 years ago, in November 2009. It’s a co-op zombie first-person shooter and, well, it’s really good.

Unsurprisingly, Valve stopped releasing content updates for it years ago – the last one was the addition of the first Left 4 Dead’s campaign to the sequel in 2010, if memory serves? – but that doesn’t mean Left 4 Dead 2 has been left fallow.

Thanks to Valve’s famously open Source engine (that’s a “famously open engine called Source”, not “Open Source” in the licensing sense), however, fans of Left 4 Dead 2 have been able to keep the updates coming. One of the biggest was Cold Stream, released for PC in 2012 and Xbox 360 in 2013.

Then, just this week, another community-created update – called The Last Stand – was released for Left 4 Dead 2. Once again, Valve gave the community creation its blessing and, as a result, The Last Stand is a very official unofficial update.

To celebrate, Valve is hosting a free-to-play weekend for Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam. The game, including all single- and multi-player modes, will available to play for free all this weekend. Even better, if you enjoy it, you’ll be able to pick up Left 4 Dead 2 for the princely sum of $1.99 / £1.43 until September 28, 2020.

You like free stuff, right? Bookmark our free games page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular free stuff updates.

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

The Metal Gear classics on GOG are looking exactly like they did when they first released. (Which is great, if that’s what you want?)

The Metal Gear classics on GOG are looking exactly like they did when they first released. (Which is great, if that’s what you want?)

GOG like their surprise rereleases of classic games. Today marks the first time Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid, and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance have seen a release on digital storefronts. 

Additionally, GOG sees the launch of the Konami Collector’s Series, which packs in Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Contra and Super C.

Classic @Konami titles now on GOG! 💜#MetalGear, #MetalGearSolid & Metal Gear Solid 2 redefined the stealth genre – a must-play for any Metal Gear fan.

KONAMI Collector’s Series: Castlevania & Contra, with 5 games, is a real treat for retro gamers!

The releases of Metal Gear games are as complicated as its timeline, so I’ll happily bow down to experts on this. The two Metal Gear Solid releases are early 2000s ports that might require some fan patch TLC. 

It’s also not the best shape you’ll have ever seen the games. As The Verge recommends, if you’re looking for better-looking versions, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a remake of Metal Gear Solid that was made for the Nintendo GameCube in early 2004. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is actually an updated version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, but only Sons of Liberty saw HD updates on the Xbox 360 and PS3. 

(And if you’re looking for a primer on what makes Metal Gear Solid 2 so flipping cool, you could do a lot worse than this piece from the Cut Scenes archives, comparing its cinematography to The Terminator.)

Provided you can stomach their raw visuals and a fan patch or two, then, these will be some popular releases.

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

It’s been an odd year. It wasn’t enough for 2020 to have one indie mega-hit in Fall Guys, which recently joined Overwatch as the highest-earning digital launch of a PC title since 2016. Within three months, Twitch propelled the successful 2018 game Among Us from 10 million downloads on Android’s Google Play store to 100 million, and it now has somewhere between 4 million or 10 million owners on Steam depending on your estimate.

As of the time of writing, the 24-hour peak of 357,074 more or less reaches the all-time concurrent player peak of 388,385. It shows no signs of slowing down.

Whatever the true numbers, they’re big. It’s understandable, then, that Innersloth has decided to throw caution to the wind and not disrupt this momentum with a community split. Among Us 2, announced just a month ago, is cancelled. Don’t fret, though: all the intended Among Us 2 content is coming to the existing game. 

It seems like a great pro-consumer move, but Innersloth’s intentions with the sequel were positive, too. In the Steam announcement, Innersloth clarified, “The main reason we were shooting for a sequel is because the codebase of Among Us 1 is so outdated and not built to support adding so much new content.”

In a former post they stated, “frankly, it’s terrifying to add in more things because the game is so fragile. Fixing this would require recreating core sections of Among Us, then making sure everything else still works on top. It’s actually even harder than just making a new game.”

Despite this, Innersloth is going for it. “All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1. This is probably the more difficult choice because it means going deep into the core code of the game and reworking several parts of it.”

Shed a tear for and offer a hearty pat on the back to Innersloth who now face the more difficult job of developing their unexpected success into a workable long-term platform. It feels more than reminiscent of Bungie’s decision to focus on Destiny 2 as a platform over developing Destiny 3.

Among the promised new content are an end to server issues, colourblind support, a  friends/account system, and a new stage.

Does 2020 have room for one more runaway indie success, I wonder?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

Some PlayStation 5 launch game install sizes have been revealed. Among them we see that Bluepoint’s remaster of Demons Souls will consume 66 GB, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales alone will eat up 50 GB, and with an additional remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man in the game’s Ultimate Edition you will reach an ungodly 105 GB. That’s more or less spot-on the install size of Red Dead Redemption 2 last gen. Just about as large as it ever got.

So does it matter? I’m an infamous install juggler myself. Whilst the logical thing as a PC player has always been to have a large HDD for storage and an SSD for performance, I’ve always opted for a lone SSD of only 500 GB or even as low as 250 GB!

The PS5 will have a peculiarly specific 825 GB of SSD storage space. That’s lower than some might be used to from the previous generation, but those 1 TB consoles were all mechanical drives. The PlayStation 5’s custom solid-state storage will be capable of reading up to 5.5 GB a second of raw data. That puts my 530 MB/s or 0.52 GB/s SSD to shame. Even the very top-end PC SSDs only reach a raw bandwidth of around 5 GB/s, with faster speeds reserved for enterprise drives used in data centre applications. As far as console players are concerned, it’s 100x faster than the PS4’s current mechanical hard drives.

Part of the promise of Sony’s next-gen console, then, is an elimination of “long patch installs” and, presumably, long game installs with it. A fast write-speed is all well and good, but fast downloads and installs of a game juggler like myself will need a fast internet speed to take advantage.

We’ll have to see just how these speeds affect the install process when the console arrives on November 19. (In the UK. We’re not still sore about that. Honest.)

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“Sometimes the only thing to do in cold weather is have an ice cream!”© 2020 Thumbsticks | Video game news, features, reviews | PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 3DS, and PC.

Source: https://www.thumbsticks.com/rocket-league-free-to-play-concurrency-servers-09252020/

Rocket League, Psyonix, Epic Games, Fortnite, Nintendo Switch

World news – GB – Rocket League goes free-to-play, promptly breaks concurrency records, servers – Thumbsticks

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