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Ubisoft turns off online services for over 90 games

In a post on its website, Ubisoft, the publishing giant behind numerous blockbuster triple-A franchises, announced that it is shutting down online services in over 90 of its games.

Owners of any of the games Ubisoft listed will still be able to play their games, just without any of their online features. Things like online co-op and multiplayer will no longer be available. Likewise, users will no longer be able to unlock Units from any games that used Ubisoft Connect services. Units are a special currency used by the publisher that players could unlock by completing in-game challenges to spend on cosmetics.

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Unlockable content in these games, which Ubisoft describes as “maps and skins” are disabled going forward, meaning players can no longer unlock them. For PC players, these pieces of content are being removed entirely, even if they’ve already been redeemed. Console players will still have access to unlockable content in their games as long as they don’t reset their saved game files.

As for the games that have been affected by Ubisoft’s online service shutdown, they’re a mishmash of popular and less well-known titles, but only releases on specific platforms have been affected. Far Cry Blood Dragon has had its online services shut down across PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, for instance. It’s worth noting that some of the games present on Ubisoft’s list have had their online services shut down last year. Assassin’s Creed 2‘s online services have been unavailable on PC since June 1, 2021, along with online services for Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, and other titles.

The company’s decision to shut down online services for so many of its games follows rumors that the company is being eyed up for an acquisition. According to Bloomberg, private equity firms, namely Blackstone Inc. and KKR & Co. have expressed interest in buying the French game publishing giant.

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Over 100 PlayStation VR2 games are in development, Sony says
Playstation VR2 headset on a PlayStation-themed wallpaper.

Sony has released a massive FAQ about the PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Blog ahead of the headset's February 22 launch. It reveals some key new details about games for the platform, namely that over 100 PS VR2 titles are in development, and that Sony doesn't plan on giving its games physical releases for now. 
For the most part, the FAQ is full of basic information about the PlayStation VR2's specs, how to set it up, and what's required to use it. But the Games section of this FAQ reveals quite a few illuminating details about the future of the system. It reiterates that there will be around 30 launch titles for the system, but also reveals just how much is in the works for the headset. In response to the question, "How many games are in development for PS VR 2?" Sony writes, "There are currently more than 100 titles in development for PS VR2."

That's a good sign, as a new, expensive VR headset like this lives or dies on its game lineup. PSVR2's early days might be a bit odd as Horizon Call of the Mountain is one of its only true exclusives -- and it's not backward compatible with PlayStation VR titles (something this FAQ reiterates. However, those picking one up can still know that lots of games are in the works for it.
Another FAQ question asks, "Will PS VR2 games be digital only or will there be physical disc releases?" -- which is sensible to clarify as this headset's predecessor had physical games. "Initially at launch, PS VR2 games will be digital," Sony says. "Physical disc releases for select titles may be available at a future date." So don't hold on to the idea of picking up a physical copy of Horizon Call of the Mountain; you'll be getting PS VR2 games through the PlayStation Store for the time being.
Check out the full FAQ if you have any technical questions about PS VR2's setup and which games it supports. PlayStation VR will be released on February 22. 

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You can turn off Frey and Cuff’s banter in Forspoken
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Even since reviews for Forspoken dropped, its snarky sense of humor has proven to be very divisive. Still, if that witty banter bleeding over into gameplay is one of the things preventing you from picking up Forspoken, know that you can adjust the amount of dialogue Frey and Cuff have in the game's settings.

As Frey explores Athia, she and Cuff often comment on what they see and other goings-on from their adventure. Cuff will also give audio cues during combat encounters that dynamically happen in the open world. Of course, these aren't all purely informational, as Cuff and Frey will joke about what's going on or boast about how amazing they are in an effort to show off to one another.

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This console generation isn’t about games or hardware. It’s about services
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It’s been over two years since the start of the current console generation, which launched with a rocky start at the end of 2020. You'd think it's been more than long enough to understand what it's all about, but for many, there's still confusion. That might be changing this year. As Tomas Franzese wrote earlier this month, 2023 could be the year where we finally see what games define this generation’s consoles, at least in terms of exclusives. He also noted that games could stop being cross-platform, launching on just current-gen consoles instead of simultaneously on last-gen ones.

While that'll finally give us some memorable games, it doesn't bring us closer to defining the hardware itself. Besides a few extra teraflops and new ultra-fast SSDs, there isn’t much that helps the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S stand out from their predecessors. Sure, the PS5 looks like a giant spaceship, and the Xbox Series X is built like a fridge, but we didn’t know what these devices could offer that the PS4 and Xbox One couldn’t besides some pretty lighting effects and virtually non-existent loading times.

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