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U.S.-China trade deal clears way for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – VentureBeat

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The United States and China have agreed to wind down the foolish trade war that president Donald Trump started in late 2018. Last week, the two countries signed “phase 1” of a trade deal. That agreement includes an increase in U.S. exports to China and some mechanisms for potentially protecting intellectual property in China. But it’s maybe more important to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo because it gives some assurance that the U.S. won’t enact new tariffs on video game consoles.

As the U.S. and China went tit-for-tat throughout 2019, the console manufacturers made an unprecedented joint request aimed at Donald Trump’s government. Trump was planning to add a 25% import tax to a huge swath of Chinese goods by August including products like Xbox and PlayStation. In their June letter, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo asked U.S. trade representative Joseph Barloon not to go through with that plan.

Trump never responded directly to that request, but he did delay the new tariffs to December 15. The United States then further delayed the taxes to work on the trade deal. And now, Trump claims those proposed tariffs are off the table.

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If that’s true (which is impossible to predict because Trump could always go back on his deal), then the entire video games industry dodged a bullet.

Clear skies for the launch of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch Pro

It’s tough to tell if the trade deal will have a wider positive effect on the economy. It doesn’t undo any of the previous tariffs that are already in effect, which are taxes that Americans must continue to pay. But that’s exactly why the timing was so important to console manufacturers.

The tariffs never went into effect on consoles, so Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don’t have to wait for the government to repeal them. This is especially crucial this year because new, expensive hardware is coming out during the holidays. Sony has the PlayStation 5. Microsoft has Xbox Series X. And Nintendo may even have a Switch Pro, according to some rumors.

The one thing that all of these new devices have in common is that they cost a lot of money. PlayStation 5 and Xbox are using advanced AMD Ryzen CPUs and cutting-edge SSD storage. It’s unlikely they are going to sell for under $500. And the last thing Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo need is to add an extra $100-to-$125 to the price to pay a 25% import tax.

I reached out to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for a comment on this story, and they all declined to respond. They are likely practicing the Billy Beane strategy of hanging up the phone when you get the answer you’re looking for.

But now with tariffs seemingly no longer looming, the big three have a clear runway to launch whatever hardware they want. And this is good news for gaming fans because it means that Microsoft and Sony can get as aggressive with their pricing as possible.

That should also have a run-off effect where it should leave more money in consumers pockets to spend on software. And that should help the wider business overall.

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The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia drops into Fortnite with his mate Doom Slayer – Pocket-lint

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(Pocket-lint) – Fortnite has always been the king of the crossover and now it’s at it again with Chapter 4 Season 1 with Geralt and Doom Slayer making an appearance.

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The next big thing in Fortnite is now live with Chapter 4 Season 1 getting an all-new map and a whole lot more. One of those things is a new character called Selene, available from the get-go. But things will get interesting for The Witcher fans come mid-season when Epic Games adds Geralt of Rivia as Battle Pass skin.

As always, the Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks and as you progress through you’ll unlock items and whatnot. Geralt will be unlocked via that Battle Pass, as will Doom Slayer – of DOOM fame, of course. Other unlockable skins include Massai, Dusty, Nezumi, Helsie, and The Ageless. The Geralt unlock won’t be available until later on in the season, Epic says.

The latest season includes plenty of other tweaks and treats and makes use of Unreal Engine 5.1, making this the best-looking version of Fortnite to date on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

All of this will take place on a brand-new island with new points of interest that include The Citadel, Anvil Square, and Brutal Bastion.

The new season of Fortnite is up and running right now and you can get involved yourself. You can play Fortnite on just about anything right now and the download is of course free.

Writing by Oliver Haslam.

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‘Elden Ring’ Reveals Free PvP Colosseum Update, Hopefully Ahead Of DLC Announcement – Forbes

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FromSoftware has just released a new trailer for an upcoming free update to Elden Ring that drops tomorrow, Wednesday December 7.

It’s a PvP-focused update to the game which will herd players into battles into the many colosseums doting the map, hence why it’s called the “Colosseum Update.” They just released a new trailer for it, which you can see below:

According to the official press release about the addition, we have some confirmation on what exactly the modes are that will be added:

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“The Colosseums of Limgrave, Leyndell and Caelid will open their gates, allowing players to engage in battles such as duels, free-for-alls and team fights.”

In the trailer, we see a traditional 1v1 battle at the start, but it progresses to players fighting each other’s summons, and then finally a 3v3 team fight battle which is well beyond anything the game is currently capable of now.

Elden Ring has spent many months balancing all of its magic and weapon skills in an effort to try to create more parity in PvP, which has turned out to be a significant part of the game, and the core of the game’s endgame once you’ve done everything in PvE.

There is a theory that I personally subscribe to, that FromSoft is revealing this PvP update now and launching it tomorrow so it will not get drowned out by a potential announcement this Thursday at The Game Awards. There are rumblings, and fervent prayers, that this would be the stage in which they would finally announce sizable, PvE DLC for Elden Ring. We are well, well behind the pacing of past DLC announcements from FromSoft games, given that Elden Ring came out almost ten months ago now, but it’s obviously a bigger game than past ones. Elden Ring DLC repeatedly is brought up as the “World Premiere” at The Game Awards that everyone is hoping to see, and these days, with the demise of E3, it’s pretty much the biggest place in the industry to debut things, outside of first party PlayStation and Xbox showcases.

That’s the hope anyway, but the concrete facts right now are just that this PvP update will come tomorrow, so get your builds ready and find some teammates in order to take on the toughest PvP challenges in the game yet. Should be a lot of fun.

Follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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After Backlash, Overwatch 2's New Tank Will Be Easier To Unlock For Free – Kotaku

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Blizzard

On Twitter, Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller tweeted that Blizzard had reviewed data from Season 1 and decided to move Ramattra from tier 55 to tier 45 in the battle pass. And some challenges will be made “easier” to complete.

“Hey, all! Quick update on some changes coming to Season 2,” said Keller. “After reviewing data for Season 1, we’re moving Ramattra into Tier 45 of the Battle Pass and making a few more weekly challenges easier to complete. Excited for you all to see everything new in Season 2 starting tomorrow!”

This is part of Blizzard’s ongoing efforts to make progression in the shooter “more rewarding.” Of course on Twitter, players were mixed. While many seemed happy about the change, others were still upset that the hero was locked behind such a high tier of the pass, suggesting a lower tier would be better.

Now, it should be noted that unlike in the original Overwatch—which added all characters for free for all players with no restrictions—Ramattra will still be locked behind a paywall unless you grind. But at least now the grind will be less terrible and once you hit 45 you can stop focusing on challenges and the battle pass and just enjoy your new character. Well, unless Blizzard removes him like Mei or Bastion for a few weeks.

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