Palworld dominates the news cycle; Apple allows game streaming services to the App Store, and the layoffs continue.
Hi friends! Welcome to overkill digest numero 35, your newsletter with the best handheld gaming (and then some) reads of the week.
The news cycle is still pretty much dominated by Palworld, but I have yet to try the game despite it being on Game Pass. Instead, I spent most of my gaming time playing a modded version of Pokémon Violet (streamed from my Gaming PC to my ROG Ally; the game is just too purely optimized to play directly on any of my handhelds).
But let's get to this week's news!
Big this week
- Game streaming services and alternative app stores are coming to iPhone. Apple has shared how they intend to sorta respect the EU's DMA, but not without angering a lot of people (yes, including Epic CEO Tim Sweeney). There's too much going on to summarise and explain Apple's plans directly here – and most of it is EU-only (read this for a great analysis). But the more significant changes for us gamers are that Apple will allow game streaming services like GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass to launch in the App Store (worldwide), that Epic plans to bring the Epic Store and Fortnite to the iPhone (EU-only), and that emulators on iPhone might finally be a thing (EU-only).
- Palworld on Steam Deck. Of course, we had Timo look at Palworld to see if the game runs on Steam Deck. Spoiler: it does, and with the mentioned settings, you'll hit a decentish 30 FPS. Also, look at that cover image Chris created for the post. This is easily his best work yet. (Oh, and if you are wondering yes, Nintendo is aware of Palworld.)
- Microsoft laid off thousands of people and cancelled a Blizzard title. Continuing the worrying trend in the gaming industry, Microsoft laid off some 1,900 employees, most of them from Activision Blizzard and Xbox (Blizzard President Mike Ybarra and co-founder Allen Adham will also leave the company). Blizzard also announced it has cancelled its untitled survival game, first announced in 2022.
In other news
- The Pirates vs Ninjas Steam Fest. There's just one more day left in the Pirates vs Ninjas Steam Fest, and Chris looked at the best Steam Deck friendly deals under $10.
...and while it's technically not under $10, I've started playing Sea of Thieves again, and the game is on sale, too!
- Horizon Forbidden West is coming to PC. Sony is bringing their next first-party title to PC: Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition (that includes the Burning Shores expansion) — it will launch on Steam and the Epic Store on March 21st. Nixxes is porting the game, which will feature "unlocked frame rates, customizable graphics settings and a broad range of performance-enhancing technologies, including NVIDIA DLSS 3 upscaling and frame generation. AMD FSR and Intel XeSS are also supported." How will the game run on Steam Deck? I'll bet Timo will find out!
- AYANEO ditch Linux for Windows. When AYANEO announced their new NEXT Lite, they teased the handheld would come with official SteamOS, to then backpedal and admit it would "only" run HoloISO. Well, they've changed their minds again, as the NEXT Lite will now ship with Windows 11 pre-installed.
- Black ModCase for ROG Ally. If you – like me – think black is the superior colour, rejoice, as JSAUX has released a black version of their modular ModCase for the ASUS handheld.
- The Nintendo Switch 2 might come with an 8" LCD screen. Take this with a grain of salt (or a Saltbae amount of salt), but an analyst from Omdia expects the Switch successor to ship with an 8" LCD screen. This would be larger than the screen in the Switch OLED (7 inches), but going back to LCD seems like a massive downgrade to me.
- Epic might launch a subscription service. The Epic Store might be the next to jump on the subscription bandwagon. I guess this may mark the end of their free games offering.
- Stardew Valley 1.6 is in the polishing phase. I honestly thought development on Stardew Valley seized, but according to developer ConcernedApe, a big patch is coming sometime this year. The update is now in the bug-fixing phase and will bring new festivals, more late-game content, new items, and much more.
- Proton 8.0-5 is now available. Valve released Proton version 8.0-5 (the compatibility layer to make Windows games run on Linux/SteamOS), and it adds HDR options to several games, including Alan Wake 2, Hogwarts Legacy, Devil May Cry 5, and more. And, of course, it also comes with many bug fixes.
OK, that's all! As always, thanks for reading.
Have a good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!