USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.
Like most other people, I've spent the last few weeks, months, however long it's been sequestered away in my home. I've gone through the usual keeping-busy routine: clean the whole place, start on some books, whittle down my gaming backlog.
But I had one other objective for this quarantine era: build a new PC. My current setup is getting on in years, and especially after last year's Extra Life stream, I wanted to move to a two-PC setup. I anticipated that the current global environment might make this task difficult. Even then, I didn't know how much I'd underestimated that task until I was in the thick of it.
Even several months ago, outlets were predicting possible shortages. With a new line of hardware on the way, I figured some parts would be in bountiful supply still, as builders anticipated the shiny new toys and stopped caring about earlier parts. I was wrong.
My particular build—a from-scratch setup with an AMD Ryzen 3600X CPU and 2070 Super, if you're curious—was not just in high demand, but in short supply. A recent thread on the Build-a-PC subreddit shared my lamentations. "Now would be the most convenient time to have one, but the worst time to build one," one user wrote.
Stocks are low, and prices are being set high by resellers who still have in-demand parts. Other parts are on back-order, with availability ranging out to July. Some analysts, according to Computer Weekly, have attributed this to the massive move to working from home. In other cases, it might just be that many others shared my brilliant plan of building amid lockdown.
After a week and a half of monitoring sites for renewed stock and normal prices, I still managed to get my build finished. (I did have to drive a fair distance to pick up a few parts, though.) I wouldn't necessarily dissuade anyone reading this from doing the same, but really, just be aware of what it's like building a PC right now. If you can, unlike me, hold off on it, it'll hopefully be a less bothersome task in the future. As it stands, my last part is due to arrive in a few days, and then I'll finally have my Frankenstein complete, even if it cost a lot of time and a tank of gas to make it happen.
Here's the rest of what's been happening this week in gaming news.
From the Rumor Mill
- P.T. may be gone, but Silent Hill rumors will never leave us. Manga artist Suehiro Maruo dropped a cryptic tease of more to come following yesterday's Dead by Daylight x Silent Hill crossover. I'm not sure this fully revives hopes of a Silent Hill revival following Konami's denial of recent rumors, but we take what we can get nowadays.
- It seems likely that a PlayStation 5 digital showcase is set for next week, following reports from Bloomberg and VentureBeat. It's the right time to finally see some more of what Sony has, especially as Microsoft ramps up its Xbox presence.
- The World Ends With You resurfaced as, weirdly enough, the cover art for the canceled Anime Expo 2020. The Switch version, Final Remix, left things on a cliffhanger, but I'm wary of how impactful this will ultimately end up being. It's one of my favorite games ever, so I'm trying not to set myself up for disappointment.
News and Tidbits
GOG's Summer Sale is taking a leaf from Steam's recent festivals by featuring a number of demos for upcoming games, including the System Shock remake. Other games include Desperados 3, Destroy All Humans, and a few notable indie hits. This new trend of digital demos is interesting to see develop, and I'm hoping it stays the same even after lockdowns lift. Check out GOG's big bash here.
Valve launched Dota 2's annual Battle Pass, the grandpappy of all battle passes since, and it's a doozy. Despite the tenth International being delayed a year due to concerns over COVID-19, this Battle Pass might be one of the most stuffed yet: multiple Arcana (that's the highest tier of cosmetic in Dota, usually carrying a massive makeover of the hero in question), minigames, challenges to complete, and activities to participate in. It's also still gathering prize pool money for the delayed TI10, which as of this writing, currently sits just below $10 million. And in case you were wondering if I'm back on my Dota 2 kick, I think I've finally got an answer.
The next Trackmania game, simply dubbed "Trackmania," will have three different pay models. In a new blog from Ubisoft, it was announced that a Starter Access version would be freely available on the Epic Games and Uplay stores for free, allowing players to race on quarterly official campaigns as well as player creations on the arcade. Standard Access gets players full access to replays, track editors, and map review servers, as well as other official features for $9.99 per year, while Club Access adds a few more customization options and the ability to form clubs for either $29.99 per year or $59.99 for three years. It's an interesting approach, but one I hope brings more people into the magic of Trackmania's player-created maps.
The constant update of digital showcases is making the next few weeks, if not longer, look absolutely packed. As I said in last week's Notebook, even without E3, there is going to be a lot of summertime game reveals.
The first Wholesome Direct aired yesterday and it was, as you might guess, absolutely wholesome. There were a lot of cool games shown off, both new and old. Be sure to check out its full lineup if you missed it. While most game showcases use these calmer and more relaxed games to punctuate the blockbuster action of big games, it was nice to see a whole swathe of them band together to highlight a lighter side of gaming.