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Gaming: PlayStation 5 launch makes history, Perfect Dark makes a comeback… and Agent 47 makes a killing
Well, that didn't take long. Even with supply still extremely limited a month after its debut, Sony's PlayStation 5 console shot out the gate in November to race past a big sales record held by its PS4 predecessor, taking over the all-time title as the most successful console launch in gaming history.
Via an analysis for November game sales from the NPD Group's Mat Piscatella, the PS5 enjoyed the highest console sales ever for a new gaming system in the U.S., even as the Nintendo Switch — for the 24th month in a row — actually outsold Sony's new-but-scarce machine in terms of overall numbers.
Though we won't know how many PS5 units were actually sold in its first month until Sony reveals its figures, Nintendo reported sales of 1.3 million Switch consoles (via VentureBeat) during November. That suggests that, however many PS5s made it into players' hands between its Nov. 12 U.S. launch and Nov. 30, the impressive number is still less than Nintendo's chart-topper. Two straight years of monthly sales wins for Nintendo is also a record in its own right, as Piscatella noted.
Even if gaming is a competitive business (both on and off the screen), November's overall sales numbers reveal across-the-board upticks just about everywhere you turn. NPD's analysis found that “consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories reached a November record $7.0 billion,” a remarkable 35% leap beyond the same figures this time last year. In all of 2020, NPD reported that games spending has hit $44.5 billion — a 22% jump over same-date spending last year.
If there's a takeaway from all the number-crunching, it's probably that there's never been a healthier appetite out there to enjoy all kinds of games on all kinds of platforms, whether it's the PS5's Spider-Man: Miles Morales or the Switch's Animal Crossing: New Horizons. While the Xbox Series X hasn't yet gotten its exclusive killer app, that too will change in the coming months — when Halo Infinite welcomes Master Chief to the new console generation in the Fall of 2021.
Speaking of Microsoft-first games, Joanna Dark is about to get a new lease on E.T. espionage life, thanks to the announcement of a new Perfect Dark title in the works from in-house Microsoft studio The Initiative.
Making waves as one of the biggest new game reveals at this year's Game Awards, the reinvented update to Rare's old-school classic sent nostalgic fans into a frenzy with a slick debut trailer that saved Ms. Dark's ultimate unveiling for last.
Originally created by beloved ex-Nintendo (and current Microsoft) developer Rare for the Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark tugs at fans' heartstrings today for plenty of shoot-'em-up reasons. But none is perhaps bigger than the 2000-vintage original game's shared-DNA gameplay with another Rare classic for the N64: the 1997 James Bond shooter GoldenEye 007. In their earliest incarnations, both series featured ahead-of-their time first-person precision, in an addictive cocktail of corridor-sweeping combat that came ready-made for hyper-competitive couch co-op matches — back in the days before online multiplayer gaming had truly found its legs on consoles.
A lot has changed since then, and details about what kind of gameplay the new Perfect Dark will offer — at least beyond the trailer — are still slight. A behind-the-scenes look at the game from the new developers' perspective (shared in the second clip above) hints that they know they've got their hands on a revered classic, which has us all the more hyped to see the world through Joanna's quick eye once more when Perfect Dark — which hasn't been given a release date — lands at Xbox.
It seems we can't get away from this whole special-agent thing…and with Agent 47 in pursuit, there's probably no point in trying. IO Interactive revealed this week a stealth-tastic new look at how everyone's favorite bald, bar-coded anti-hero will take down new targets in the upcoming Hitman 3.
One of the charms of the Hitman series has always been how straight Agent 47 manages to play it against a ridiculous slate of costumes, weapons, and silly takedown scenarios. And if that's part of the magic formula that's endeared previous Hitman games to you, then this clip, peppered with new looks at the gameplay, has no intention of letting you down. This one's got its share of NSFW action in it, so you'll need to be signed in to check out the YouTube clip:
Bricks, garrotes, kitchen knives, or Agent 47's signature dual-wielded Silverballers — there's no tool off limits in Hitman's assassination arsenal, and the wealth of bonkers disguises you can choose from is probably even greater.
In the same spirit, the new game is debuting on the broadest possible lineup of platforms, sneaking onto PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia, PC, and — sometime after its release — even to Nintendo Switch, via cloud streaming. Get your affairs in order now: Agent 47's first stealth mission commences when Hitman 3 releases on Jan. 20.