The Update for Week ending 23rd November

Hello Fellow Cravers. It’s time to get updated on the weeks news, UK charts and game releases this week.

3) Apple relabel ‘Free’ games as ‘Get’ on App Store

Freemium games and other software with in-app purchases is no longer labelled ‘free’ on Apple’s App Store. Instead, the button users tap to download the software is labelled ‘get’.

The change applies not just to those items with in-app purchases, but to any app previously labelled ‘free’, even if there are no potential future costs involved.

The move comes amid pressure from the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission following a series of cases in which parents have been hit by huge bills – sometimes amounting to thousands of pounds – run up by children playing freemium games.

The European Commission’s guidelines for providers say games labelled ‘free’ should be up-front about their true costs, games should not contain “direct exhortation” to get children to buy items, consumers should be adequately informed about payment arrangements, and traders should provide email addresses for queries and complaints.

2) Elite: Dangerous offering refunds due to online only – but not for Beta Players

Spacefaring MMO Elite: Dangerous last week announced it would abandon an offline mode that had been promised when the game was originally crowdfunded, drawing sharp criticism and complaints. Frontier Developments said it would honor refund requests, but how that is being handled has raised hackles as well.

On Thursday, Frontier said that those who have been playing Elite: Dangerous online, either in the alpha or beta tests that have been held, would not be eligible for a refund — even if they backed the project through Kickstarter. Those who pre-ordered the release version of the game from Frontier’s online store — and have therefore not played it — are eligible for a refund.

Frontier didn’t give a specific rational for why online alpha or beta players wouldn’t get back any money they spent. Broadly, the developer said “We want to make sure we treat each person’s situation with the thoroughness it deserves and have contacted each of them to ask that they bear with us over the next few working days if their circumstances do not fit either criteria above as we look into individual requests.”

The explanation was part of a Q&A with Frontier Developments CEO David Braben about offline support, who reminded that making the game fully online didn’t end single-player play within it. “The single-player game is already there, but it requires a low bandwidth online connection,” he said. Earlier, he mentioned that Elite: Dangerous does “a great deal of processing in the cloud, and this benefits everyone playing.

“We had considered that an online connection is a reasonable pre-requisite for a game delivered online,” he said. “I am really sorry this has upset people, but we have a strong, consistent vision that we do not want to compromise.”

That said, an offline mode was promised back when Elite: Dangerous opened its Kickstarter in December 2012. Answering why Frontier waited this long to reveal it had gone back on that plan, Braben acknowledged that “we should have shared the fact that we were struggling with this aspect with the community, but we were still trying to find a solution.

“As features were implemented, for the best results we chose to prioritise delivery of the online single and multiplayer experiences,” he added, “with a view to providing the offline version later in development. We had to make a decision for the good of the game, and that is what we did.”

Elsewhere, Braben said the solo-play mode has only “a minimal network requirement,” of about 10 kbps, and that he’d been able to play the game while tethering a mobile device to his laptop.

Last week, Braben announced the end of offline support, saying “a fully offline experience would be unacceptably limited and static compared to the dynamic, ever unfolding experience we are delivering.” This week, he followed that up by saying offline play is possible, but would be “fundamentally empty.

“Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty,” he said. “We could write a separate mission system to allow a limited series of fixed missions, but that would still not be a compelling game.”

Elite: Dangerous is scheduled to launch on Dec. 16.

1) Steam’s Autumn Sale begins Wednesday – According to PayPal

An email from PayPal to its customers says the regular Steam Fall Sale begins on Nov. 26 — the Wednesday before Black Friday (the Friday when most Christmas sales are made) — reports VG247.

While Valve has yet to give a date, officially, for its usual Black Friday sale-a-thon, PayPal is spreading the news to induce customers to stock up on Steam Wallet Codes through its online gift store.

No word yet on what’s for sale, but Steam seasonal sales events are usually a doozy, with gamers buying up downloads for themselves as much as (or more than) they are for others.

PayPal’s message says the sale period ends Dec. 1, which would be the Monday after Black Friday , commonly referred to as “Cyber Monday.”


This week sees the return of Rockstar and Take 2 to No1 thanks to the Gen 8 Tuesday release of GTA V. Even before this week the 360/PS3 versions of this game held the record for highest-grossing game in a week (£94m total UK estimate) and also the all-time UK revenue record, reached after just 28 weeks to overtake Call of Duty: Black Ops. In terms of all time units GTA V was right behind Black Ops, so much so that just the Tuesday sales of GTA V on PS4/XO were enough to also claim the all-time unit sales record in the UK. The other big event launch from Tuesday was Ubisoft’s multi-format Far Cry 4, the first in the series to launch outside of the traditional Friday launch day. The original Far Cry launched as a PC-only game in 2004 and the series has been growing in sales success with each iteration, with Far Cry 2 launched in 2008 (360/PS3/PC) and Far Cry 3 arriving in 2012 (360/PS3/PC). Far Cry 4 is by far the most successful in terms of first week sales. Activision’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare drops to No3 after 2 weeks at the top, followed at No4 by non-mover FIFA 15 from EA. There are more big new releases this week with a debut at No5 for EA’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, selling almost exactly the same in week 1 as 2011’s Dragon Age II. 2K/Take 2 climb 13 places to No7 thanks to the new Gen 8 versions of WWE 2K15 and Warner climb 12 places to No11 thanks to the new Gen 7 versions of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Still at No.4:    FIFA 15
New at No.2:      FAR CRY 4
Up 31 to No.1:        GRAND THEFT AUTO V


Amiibos first wave
Super Smash Bros. For Wii U (Wii U)
Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS3/PS4)
Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth (3DS)
Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom (360/PS3/3DS)
Penguins Of Madagascar (Wii/Wii U/3DS)
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition (XO)

So here we are, the Update for week ending 23rd November, tune in to the CTG podcast available every Friday, and next Monday for the update. Plus this Sunday it’s time for a Christmasy Challenge for the Tower of Emerald Bling.

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