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Nintendo Direct on June 28th is all about third-party Switch games

Nintendo has announced when its next games showcase will take place. A Nintendo Direct Mini is scheduled for June 28th at 9AM ET. It most likely won’t feature news on Mario, Zelda, Pokémon or any of Nintendo’s other franchises, though. The company said the stream will focus on third-party titles that are on the way to Switch.

Right now, it’s unclear what to expect from Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase (to give the broadcast its full title). However, it could a be fairly meaty affair, since it clocks in at 25 minutes and Nintendo usually zips through announcements during Directs.

This isn’t pegged as an Indie World Showcase, so it may center more around titles from major publishers and larger studios. One of the more notable third-party games slated for a Switch debut, No Man’s Sky, already has a release date of October 7th, so that may not get a heavy focus. There’s always the chance of more details on Hollow Knight: Silksong, which is slated to arrive sometime within the next year.

The Nintendo Direct Mini will air a week after a Direct focused on Xenoblade Chronicles 3, though it’s not the full-on first-party showcase fans have been waiting for and expecting. You’ll be able to watch Tuesday’s event on Nintendo’s YouTube channel.

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Nintendo will host a ‘Xenoblade Chronicles 3’ Direct on June 22nd

It might not be the full-on Direct fans have been hoping for and expecting, but will host its next showcase on June 22nd at 10AM ET. The stream will focus on Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and will feature around 20 minutes of details on the long-awaited sequel.

Nintendo previously planned to release Xenoblade Chronicles 3 in September, but it to July 29th. now has that September slot. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place after the events of the previous two mainline games, though it has a new cast of characters. This time around, developer Monolith Soft is bumping up the number of party members from three to seven.

As Sony with its State of Play series, Nintendo sometimes holds a Direct that’s dedicated to one game or franchise, such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Pokémon. Nintendo opted not to run a full Direct — which typically includes looks at a variety of first- and third-party games — around the time . However, a full-fledged Direct is coming next week.

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Google Stadia Direct Touch arrives on iPhones and iPads

Cloud-based game streaming promises to make gaming more or less universal, but we’re quite still far away from that reality. Internet requirements and regional availability still present high barriers to entry, and the ability to play on any device doesn’t really work if not all devices are treated equally. Fortunately for Stadia subscribers, the service is taking another major step in that direction and is now offering its Direct Touch feature to users on iOS and iPadOS devices.

Stadia started out more as a big-screen game streaming service, favoring the use of Google’s new Chromecast Ultra with a dedicated Stadia controller. It would only later gain support for Google’s own Android mobile platform, but even then, it still requires the use of game controllers connected to the phone. That might be OK for PC games designed with controllers in mind, but not all PC games are made like that.

Back in August, Stadia finally announced a feature that many had expected to be there since day one of Stadia’s availability on mobile. Stadia’s new Direct Touch feature allowed players to use familiar touch screen gestures to control games rather than fiddling with a controller. Finally, Stadia users can finally play anywhere without having to whip out a gamepad, at least if they’re playing on an Android device.

That same feature is finally arriving on iOS so that iPhone and iPad users can enjoy the same freedom. As before, HUMANKIND is the test case for this functionality. As a 4X game in the same vein as Sid Meier’s Civilization, it’s definitely the perfect example since playing it with a controller will be painful.

Stadia also announced a more social feature being added to the service. While Parties aren’t exactly new, Stadia now has public parties where you can connect with like-minded players. Of course, since it’s public, you might want to exercise some level of caution to avoid any privacy and safety problems with strangers.

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Watch Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct in 12 minutes

Earlier today, Nintendo was one of the last major publishers to host an E3 2021-related event, and the company did not disappoint. After seemingly trolling its fans with a lengthy look at the expansion pass for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the company delivered the goods. 

We got a brief but tantalizing look at the sequel to Breath of the Wild, and it was glorious. Nintendo showed off the game’s expanded open world, which includes the skies above Hyrule, and said it hopes to release the title sometime in 2022. The Legend of Zelda wasn’t the only highlight from the presentation, however. 

The company also showed off Advance Wars remakes, a new WarioWare game and a rebooted version of Metroid Dread. We also got confirmation of a Guardians of the Galaxy release, the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter and a street date for Shin Megami Tensei V. In all, it was a fast-moving 45-minute presentation that saw the company cover a lot of ground, but if you missed any part of it, we got your covered with an even faster paced 12-minute cut of all the good parts.        

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Wholesome Direct Show Showcases Over 75 Cozy Indie Games

This year’s Wholesome Direct livestream featured cute, cozy, and calm games from a variety of indie developers and publishers. While several titles and updates, like Ooblets, were anticipated, the livestream also revealed a considerable amount of brand-new titles, many of which have demos available to play right now.

Wholesome Direct 2021 comes on the heels of last year’s show, which marketed itself as an alternative to mainstream E3 presentations. Instead of focusing on the industry’s AAA blockbusters, many of which are violent, gory, and adult-oriented, the Wholesome Direct show spotlighted smaller, more docile titles that might otherwise be overlooked.

One of the show’s biggest titles was Ooblets, a farming and life simulation game that’s currently available in early access. Developer Glumberland announced the release of version 0.8, which brings a new Port Forward region for players to explore, as well as new minigames, cosmetic items, in-game systems, and more. The game’s 1.0 launch is still TBD, but the new update is available now.

Other interesting titles included The Gecko Gods, a puzzle platformer where you play as a gecko and explore an island that once housed a lost civilization. The trailer showed off some of the game’s puzzles, which seem to take heavy inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s shrines. The game also has a unique visual style and a large world to explore. It’s slated for release in 2022.

One of the show’s surprises was the release of Beasts of Maravilla Island. Available immediately after the show ended, this adventure game allows players to explore an island habitat and take photos of its wildlife. The photo mechanic is similar to the recently-released Pokemon Snap, but Beasts of Maravilla Island has its own secrets for players to explore.

All of the 75+ games shown during the livestream can be found at the Wholesome Games website.

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PlayStation mobile games might not be direct ports of PS titles

Mobile gaming continues to be big business, especially in the past year or so when people around the world were mostly forced indoors and onto the virtual world due to the pandemic. Despite its popularity, however, some franchises and big names in the gaming industry are still absent from that space. Sony’s PlayStation has long been a holdout from direct involvement in mobile gaming but that might be changing soon, just not in the ways some might have hoped.

The PlayStation has, of course, hundreds of titles under its roof over the course of its decades-long history. Some of those have even made it smartphones, though mostly through unofficial and legally dubious means. Some fans of those titles would probably love to play those on their mobile devices but that’s not exactly going to happen that way.

Instead, Sony will adopt a strategy similar to what Nintendo has done with some of its games on Android and iOS. GameSpot reports that PlayStation head Jim Ryan raised the topic of the PlayStation brand coming to mobile at the company’s recent Corporate Strategy meeting. There, the exec said that “PlayStation has a huge catalog of diverse first-party IP that can transition to smartphone gaming and complement our AAA games or live service games.”

It bears noting that Ryan talks about IP, the business and legal term used to refer to properties, franchises, brands, and characters. It’s more likely that Sony will create new games around those popular IPs designed specifically for mobile rather than port existing titles. The latter is at least technically possible though, as the mobile emulation scene has proven.

Whether it fares better than Nintendo in that strategy remains to be seen. Nintendo brought a couple of its well-known characters and franchises to mobile, including the iconic Mario, but few have actually proven to be even remotely profitable. Some do say that Nintendo just doesn’t get mobile anyway and Sony might have better chances in that regard since it does make its own Xperia smartphones.

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PlayStation Direct could be the best PS5 restock option this week

If you’re looking to secure a PlayStation 5, your best bet this week could be PlayStation Direct. Sony’s direct selling website has always been a popular option for those looking to buy a PlayStation 5, but this week in particular seems to be a very active one for it. PlayStation Direct has restocked consoles twice in a row this week, and that could suggest that there will be more PlayStation 5 consoles on offer as we approach the weekend.

Before you get too hopeful, it needs to be clear that this is just speculation on my part – I don’t have any insider information about when Sony plans to restock the PlayStation Direct website, but the fact that it’s already been restocked twice this week (today and yesterday) could potentially mean that more consoles are on the way. It’s as good a sign as we’re bound to get, anyway.

Unfortunately, even if there are more consoles on the way, it isn’t easy to know when Sony will list them. Both today and yesterday, the queue opened up around the same time in the mid-afternoon, so that could be a safe time to start checking tomorrow and on Friday. Sony, sadly, doesn’t really give a heads up when it comes to PlayStation Direct restocks, so you’ll definitely need a little bit of luck if you’re going to catch the queue in time.

That queue is precisely what’s appealing about purchasing through PlayStation Direct. Everyone trying to visit the PlayStation 5 listing on PlayStation Direct will first be placed in the queue, and bottlenecking the number of people who are going through the checkout process helps immensely. If you’re lucky enough to get through the queue while there are still PlayStation 5 consoles in stock, getting through checkout and actually completing an order is a lot easier and a lot less stressful than it is through other retailers.

So, if you’re looking to pick up a PlayStation 5, then PlayStation Direct could very well be your best bet for the rest of the week. We’ll see if another restock happens tomorrow, but for now, check out our tips guide for securing either an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.

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