From the USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.
It's the year before a new round of consoles, and the next-gen leaks have begun in earnest. The latest batch is a set of photos purporting to show the back of an Xbox Series X prototype, and it's pretty interesting if it's real.
The images, first gaining traction off a NeoGAF post and later backed up by Thurrott's Brad Sams, shows a single HDMI port, two USB-A ports, Ethernet, and generally everything you'd come to expect from an Xbox Series X.
After a render from TurboSquid was used in AMD's CES presentation earlier this year, showing two HDMI ports, there's been curiosity over whether the Xbox Series X might do HDMI pass-through like the Xbox One. Microsoft later denounced that render, and today's leak shows a single, lone HDMI port.
Despite a confirmation from another source, this is still worth taking with a sizable chunk of salt. There's been some valid questioning of the image, and in the age of 3D printers, it's fairly easy to fake a box. It doesn't help that the Series X is built like a PC tower.
Without something like an HDMI pass-through or other unique hardware quirk, the Xbox Series X certainly seems a lot like a PC for your TV. But that's the future we've been moving towards for years, and if it's powerful as Microsoft is claiming, then you can forgive the Brutalist approach to console design.
From the Rumor Mill
- Sony is reportedly working on a new horror IP. I know, the phrase "Silent Hills" popped into my head too, but calm down. This one's a bit thin at the moment.
- Kingdom Hearts 3's Re Mind DLC has leaked online. Here are the supposed endings. We'll have more on it once the game is out, but it seems like in lieu of new games to talk about, we're back in the midst of Kingdom Hearts fever, one year later.
- Multiple game companies seem to be crunching hard thanks to the recent round of game delays. Studios like Naughty Dog and Crystal Dynamics are working overtime to wrap games on time, and CD Projekt Red even said it was crunching on its own press conference call.
News and Tidbits
The NPD numbers for 2019 are out, and a number of surprises came from the sales report. First up is that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has become Respawn's best-selling game ever, off just a few months of sales. Alongside Apex Legends' success, this puts Respawn Entertainment in a strong position within the Electronic Arts ecosystem. It's not surprising, in that respect, that CEO Vince Zampella has been tasked with reinventing DICE LA.
Alongside the Star Wars success, MLB The Show 19 became the all-time best-selling baseball game in the United States. Backyard Baseball is still the GOAT in my book, but that's some important context for why The Show's move to multi-platform audiences could be a big deal this coming generation.
This week also saw the end of a long legal saga, as a court in Dallas ruled that a patent asserted against Nintendo's Wii Remote was not valid. This nullifies a 2017 jury award of $10.1 million against Nintendo and invalidates the last of six patents brought against Nintendo, originally asserted in 2013. The other five were found invalid in 2016.
Tencent, a massive company that already owns stakes in companies like Riot Games and Epic, announced a voluntary cash offer to acquire full ownership of Funcom. The Conan Exiles developer is currently working on a game set in the world of Dune, so the company might be staking some claim in the next major multimedia fantasy fad.
Also, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recorded a Twitter shoutout for CODE-CWA, a growing movement to organize employees in the tech and game industry. If you want to learn more about their efforts, check out our interview with the campaign lead.
EVERY game runs badly until you optimize for the hardware in the final push before gold. https://t.co/5uTQ14EfE5- Cory Barlog Little Creep League (@corybarlog) January 22, 2020
The conventional wisdom is that you can figure out roughly how many copies a game has sold on Steam by taking the number of user reviews and multiplying it by 50 (on the pessimistic end) or 100 (on the optimistic end). A thread! (again, sorry - threads are the worst!)- Bennett (@bfod) January 22, 2020
This notebook was updated post-publication to include an additional story.