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Ben Joy
Ben JoyBen keeps the Play Team ticking, helps clients define their digital offering and manages the unruly team. You’ll often find him hitting the golf course too.

Holiday season is in full flow, so the Play Team are a little light on the ground today. But fear not, we won't let that stop us from brining you a roundup. So in the words of Mario, here we gooooooo...

Ben J

We've spoken a lot about our love for Xbox Game Pass, and whether this is a good option for developers. The monetary deals made with game developers to put their title onto Game Pass is seldom ever published, but the consensus is that for the most part, this is a good option for developers who likely often are able to generate profit for the game from the deal without the risk of relying on sales success. We are also seeing more day 1 releases onto Xbox Game Pass, which definitely feels like it is advantageous to most developers who do this, as adding day 1 releases makes Game Pass more enticing to customers, so no doubt Microsoft aren't lowballing the offers. 

But, if you day 1 release on Game Pass, does that actually hurt your sales figures? Well, in the case of The Ascent, the answer is no. Developed by Neon Giant, and published by Curve Digital, the cyberpunk themed action-RPG sold over $5million on it's launch weekend, despite being available on Xbox Game Pass. Not bad for a debut game from an indie studio, and is a record for Curve Digital! Not only that, but The Ascent also made it to the top of the Steam Global chart during the launch weekend as well.

Hats off to everyone involved. As a Game Pass customer myself, I might have to check this one out! 

Gameplay screenshot from The Ascent


It's another big week for investments and acquisitions, as Embracer Group have announced that eight European studios are joining the fold, including Ghost Ship Games (creators of Deep Rock Galactic) and DigixArt (who are making the upcoming Road 96).

Also included in the $313 million spend are Crazy Labs, Easy Trigger, Force Field, Slipgate Ironworks, 3D Realms and Grimfrost.

Elsewhere, it's August now which means we're finally getting near the release of Twelve Minutes. Collider went behind the scenes to chat to Daisy Ridley, James McAvoy and Willem Dafoe about the star-studded title, which comes out on August 19th and is looking very promising indeed. Watch it below!


Ben G 

What's the 7th biggest games console of all time, you ask? Why, as of this week it's the Nintendo Switch. Announced as part of Nintendo's most recent financial results, the Switch has now shipped more than 89 million units, helping it pass both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Nintendo's biggest-selling console remains the Nintendo Wii (101.63 million units) but the company hopes the Switch can surpass that, with another 20.5 million Switch consoles expected to sell in the remainder of the current financial year.

nintendo switch image

Emma B

This week Niantic rolled out changes to Pokémon Go, reverting changes originally made to accommodate the pandemic - to an extremely mixed reaction.

Back when lockdowns were first introduced, the company doubled the distance required to interact with gyms, which enabled players to play without needing to physically gather closely in the real world. It also handed out free incense items, which make Pokémon show up without needing to leave your house.

With the pandemic restrictions now beginning to ease around the world, these changes have been removed, sparking anger from many fans who are still worried about COVID-19 or feel that the changes improved the game for accessibility reasons. A petition on has amassed over 165,000 signatures from players calling on the company to keep the changes.


And we're out for another week. If this simply wasn't enough Play Team for you, why not head on over to our YouTube channel where you can see us interviewing industry experts, dropping our own marketing tips and also checking out a bunch of fun games.

We also have a live show on Twitch every Thursday at 4pm (BST), where we bring you even more industry news, play some games and have a discussion about topics that affect the wider games industry. This week we had ring fit adventure, food partnerships with games, and a doughnut taste test, what more could you want? Check it right here 👇


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