Despite GameStop’s stock boom, the company is still struggling – take a look inside Ryan Cohen’s ambitious plan to ‘transform’ the retailer into the Amazon of gaming

Ryan Cohen - Chewy
Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is now the head of RC Ventures, an investment firm that’s taken a 12% stake in GameStop.

  • Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is the largest individual GameStop shareholder.
  • He’s also a board member, and is intent on turning the company into the Amazon of gaming.
  • Cohen is already making major moves at the company, and he has big plans for the future.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

What does Ryan Cohen want with GameStop?

That’s the big, unanswered question at the heart of his 12.9% ownership stake in the company – an investment he made well before GameStop became a meme stock.

Cohen, who cofounded Chewy and acted as CEO before it sold to PetSmart for $3.35 billion in 2017, does not have a background in the video game industry. His claim to fame is outfoxing Amazon at its own game – e-commerce – in a specific category: pets. That’s an especially meaningful claim to fame when it comes to Wall Street, which saw Cohen’s involvement in the company as a reason to buy the ailing retailer’s stock before Reddit found it.

Read more: Ryan Cohen made millions when Chewy got acquired. Now the millennial entrepreneur has a plan to turn around GameStop.

But Cohen is no casual investor in GameStop – he’s a member of the board, and an activist investor who has successfully lobbied the company to follow his advice several times thus far. He is clearly in this for the long term.

Though the lingering question of “Why GameStop?” remains unanswered, we know a lot about Cohen’s plans for the future of the company.

1. Cohen wants GameStop to become a technology company, with a focus on ecommerce over brick-and-retail stores.

gamestop store
A GameStop Corp. store on November 5, 2013 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cohen’s investment firm, RC Ventures, owns 12.9% of GameStop. That stake makes it the second-largest single shareholder of GameStop.

Those shares cost tens of millions of dollars, and they put Cohen in a position to more directly engage with the company’s leadership. But those private conversations apparently didn’t go very well.

“Given that our attempts to privately engage with you since the summer have yielded little progress, we feel compelled to send a clear message to the Board today,” Cohen wrote in an open letter aimed at GameStop’s board of directors published in November 2020.

“GameStop’s leadership should immediately conduct a strategic review of the business,” he said, “and share a credible plan for seizing the tremendous opportunities in the rapidly-growing gaming sector.” 

The letter, overwhelmingly, focused on the company’s need to transition to ecommerce.

“GameStop’s challenges stem from internal intransigence and an unwillingness to rapidly embrace the digital economy,” the letter said. “GameStop needs to evolve into a technology company that delights gamers and delivers exceptional digital experiences — not remain a video game retailer that overprioritizes its brick-and-mortar footprint and stumbles around the online ecosystem.”

2. He wants to reshape the company’s leadership, and has already begun doing just that.

GameStop CFO Jim Bell
Former GameStop CFO Jim Bell was ousted from the company in late February.

Throughout his letter, Cohen directly criticizes the company’s leadership — both its executive suite and its board of directors, to whom the letter is addressed.

GameStop CEO and board member George Sherman, “appears committed to a twentieth-century focus on physical stores and walk-in sales, despite the transition to an always-on digital world,” Cohen said, and the board lacks “the type of strategic vision” necessary for GameStop, “to pivot toward becoming a technology-driven business that excels in the gaming and digital experience worlds.”

That criticism appeared to have a major impact, as GameStop announced in early January that Cohen and two of his former Chewy lieutenants would become new members of the board. Pending a vote in June, the trio will make up one-third of the board’s membership.

Soon after Cohen joined the board, major c-suite changes began.

Amazon vet Matt Francis was hired on as the CTO in early February. A former Amazon Web Services engineering lead, he’s tasked with, “overseeing e-commerce and technology functions” for GameStop.

Then, in late February, CFO Jim Bell was suddenly forced out of his role at the company. The board of directors “lost faith” in Bell, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke with Insider.

3. Cohen is in charge of a newly announced committee that intends to “transform” the company.

Ryan Cohen - Chewy

Just this week, GameStop announced that Cohen is in charge of a new committee at the company that intends to, “identify initiatives that can further accelerate the company’s transformation.”

The “Strategic Planning and Capital Allocation Committee” is tasked with “identifying actions that can transform GameStop into a technology business and help create enduring value for stockholders,” GameStop said in a press release on March 8.

If that language sounds familiar, that’s because it’s very similar to the language used by Cohen in his letter to the board last November.

The group — which includes Cohen, former Chewy exec Alan Attal, and activist investor Kurt Wolf — was seemingly created to carry out the changes proposed by Cohen last year.

4. One potential for GameStop’s future: online trade-ins.

GameStop Clerk
A customer laughs with a clerk as he purchases a copy of the video game “Grand Theft Auto IV” at a GameStop store in New York

In September 2020, when Cohen initially purchased a significant chunk of the company’s shares, he privately proposed a plan to the board to focus GameStop on e-commerce opportunities.

One example of those opportunities is tied to GameStop’s core business: reselling used games.

Cohen reportedly proposed an online version of the retailer’s (in)famous game trade-in program.

During those talks, he proposed a major expansion of GameStop’s online footprint, according to Bloomberg. Beyond just games, GameStop’s online store would offer “a wide range of merchandise,” the report said, and prioritize fast shipping.

Cohen has yet to publicly spell out his specific plans, and his representative didn’t respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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The best deals on Nintendo Switch consoles, games, and accessories right now – including 35% off select Super Mario games

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch debuted in March 2017, while the smaller Switch Lite was released in September 2019.

  • The Nintendo Switch is rarely discounted, but there are plenty of deals on games and accessories.
  • We’ll update this list regularly with the top Nintendo Switch deals as new discounts are announced.
  • Right now, you can save 35% on select Mario games as part of Nintendo’s “Mar10 Day” promotion.

Even with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X, the Nintendo Switch continues to be the highest selling video game console on the planet, with more than 68 million units sold worldwide.

The Switch was the top selling console for 24 consecutive months leading up to the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the console will still be easier to find in stores for the next few months while Sony and Microsoft ramp up production of their new systems.

Nintendo’s $300 Switch offers many of the most popular games on the market in a portable package, with the option to connect the Switch to a larger television or home entertainment system. The $200 Switch Lite is smaller and can’t connect to your TV, but it’s still a popular pick for parents who want an affordable alternative to the PlayStation or Xbox, and gamers who want a second console.

Below, we’ve collected the best deals on Nintendo Switch consoles, exclusive games, and accessories. These discounts should all come in handy whether you’re looking to buy a Switch for the first time, building your library of games, or trying to find the cheapest price on a Switch peripheral.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch deals for March 2021:

for Nintendo Switch (medium)for Nintendo Switch (medium)Mario Tennis Aces (medium, Preferred: Target)Switch Pro Controller (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best deals on Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles

Nintendo Switch Lite Case Side

The Nintendo Switch can be connected to a TV for high-definition gameplay, or taken on-the-go as a portable console. Furthermore, the Switch’s controls can be separated from the console and used as two separate controllers called Joy-Cons.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a handheld-only version of the console that lacks the original Switch’s removable controllers and ability to connect to a larger television. The Switch Lite appeals to gamers who may already own a PlayStation or Xbox and want to play games with a similar level of quality while they’re traveling. Parents may also be more willing to invest in a handheld console at a lower price point when introducing their children to gaming.

The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in four colors (coral, turquoise, grey and yellow). There haven’t been many deals that drop the Switch Lite below its standard retail price of $200, but a refurbished model is sold for a $15 discount when it’s in stock at GameStop.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Editions 32GB Console (Geek Squad Certified Refurbished) (medium)
Best deals on Nintendo Switch games

Super Mario Maker 2

Though the Nintendo Switch has been around for just under four years, there are already more than 2,300 games available for the console. 

From now through 11:59 p.m. PT on March 13, you can save 35% on select Mario games in celebration of the 35th anniversary of “Super Mario Bros.” The deal, dubbed “Mar10 DAY,” includes “Super Mario Maker 2,” “Super Mario Party,” “Luigi’s Mansion 3,” and “Mario Tennis Aces.” All of the games are usually $60 but you can get them for $39 during the sale.

You can get digital versions of the games from Nintendo. The deal also applies to physical versions of the games at retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and more.

for Nintendo Switch (medium)for Nintendo Switch (medium)Super Mario Odyssey (medium)Super Mario Maker 2 (medium)Yoshi’s Crafted World (small, Preferred: Walmart)for Nintendo Switch (small, Preferred: Walmart)Ring Fit Adventure (medium, Preferred: Amazon)
Best deals on Nintendo Switch controllers

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the official alternative to the Switch’s built-in Joy-Cons.

Though the Switch’s Joy-Cons give players access to two controllers at all times, some gamers prefer the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, which more closely resembles a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller.

Nintendo also sells spare Joy-Cons with multiple color options for Switch owners who want to add some additional flair and an extra set of motion controllers for multiplayer games. 

Switch Joy-Con Pair, Neon Pink and Neon Green (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Switch Joy-Con Pair, Neon Red and Neon Blue (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Best deals on on Nintendo Switch accessories

nintendo switch lite figures

As a portable console with replaceable controllers, the Switch has no shortage of accessories. The most important addition you can make is a MicroSD card, which can expand the Switch’s initial 32GB of storage by 128GB or more for less than the price of a new game.

If you plan on taking your Switch on the go, it’s probably a good idea to pick up a basic case with space for extra game cartridges too. The Switch is fairly durable so you don’t need to spend a ton protecting it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nintendo’s giant Super Nintendo World theme park in Japan is finally opening after 8 months of delays, and visitors will need to wear a mask

Super Nintendo World (Shigeru Miyamoto)
  • Super Nintendo World in Japan is finally set to open on March 18, Nintendo announced.
  • The park was originally supposed to open in summer 2020, but this was disrupted by the pandemic.
  • Visitor numbers will be limited and people will have to wear masks, Engadget reports.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Japan’s huge new Super Nintendo theme park, Super Nintendo World, is finally opening its doors this month after being delayed by the pandemic.

Nintendo announced Monday the park, located inside Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, is scheduled to open on March 18.

The park was originally meant to open in summer last year ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but this timeline was disrupted by the pandemic. It then set an opening date of February 2021, but this also got postponed, after Osaka declared a state of emergency due to high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Engadget reports the park is set to take only a limited number of visitors at a time, and require them to wear masks.

In a presentation given in January 2020, executives said the park would resemble a “life-size, living video game.”

They also said visitors would be given special “Power-Up Bands” – wearable wrist bands that would let visitors collect coins and compete with each other via an app on their phones.

Bloomberg reported the park would feature locations from the Super Mario video game franchise, including the Mushroom Kingdom, Peach’s Castle, and Bowser’s Fortress.

Nintendo said back in 2017 that there would be an attraction based on Mario Kart

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Nintendo is reportedly releasing a new and improved Switch console this year – here’s everything we know

Super Mario

Nintendo’s got a more powerful version of its wildly popular Switch console, and it’s set to debut this year, according to a new Bloomberg report.

The new Switch model is capable of producing 4K visuals on a TV, according to the report, and has a larger screen that uses OLED technology.

Moreover, it could be available as soon as this fall: Manufacturers are reportedly scheduled to begin production this July. According to the report, Nintendo is working with Samsung to source the OLED screens that will go into the new version of the Switch. 

Currently, there are two models of Nintendo Switch: The original version that launched in March 2017, and a less expensive Switch “Lite” that launched in September 2019. Both consoles have sold briskly since launch – as of December 31, 2020, just shy of 80 million Nintendo Switch units have been sold, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo Switch
The original Nintendo Switch.

Rumors of a new, more powerful version of the Nintendo Switch have been circulating for years. 

Initially, those rumors were paired with word of a less expensive, handheld-only version of the Switch. That eventually came to fruition as the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Thus far, Nintendo hasn’t confirmed the existence or development of a more powerful Switch – a Switch “Pro” model, if you will. Both Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furakawa and Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser have said the Nintendo Switch, as a platform, is “at the midpoint” of its life cycle, which leaves the door open for new versions of the popular console. 

One thing is clear: It’s unlikely that a more powerful Switch would power games that couldn’t run on the original Switch that launched in 2017.

Nintendo has a vested interest in catering to its massive market of Switch owners, and the company’s leadership has repeatedly said it expects several more years of life for the Switch as an overall platform. 

Given that it’s been two years since the last iteration of the Switch, and Nintendo’s now competing with graphical powerhouses from Sony and Microsoft, 2021 would be a smart time for Nintendo to launch a more powerful version of its very popular console.

Nintendo representatives did not respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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A brand-new Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch was just unveiled, and it’s the open-world game fans have been waiting years for

Pokemon Legends: Arceus
An image from the upcoming Nintendo Switch game, “Pokemon Legends: Arceus.”

  • A brand-new type of Pokémon game was unveiled in a presentation on Friday morning.
  • “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” looks like the open-world, 3D Pokémon game that fans have wanted for years.
  • The game is headed to Nintendo’s Switch, and is scheduled to launch in “early” 2022.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

For years, Pokémon video game fans have been clamoring for an open-world version of the wildly popular game series.

And on Friday morning, they finally got exactly that: “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” is an open-world Pokémon game headed to the Nintendo Switch in “early” 2022, The Pokémon Company announced in a video presentation.

The game “honors past Pokémon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements,” according to its website – a mix of the mainline Pokémon games with a more active style of gameplay. 

The game is already being compared to Nintendo’s 2017 reinvention of the “Legend of Zelda” franchise, “Breath of the Wild,” particularly because of a camera move from the trailer that looks very familiar:

Beyond the art style and open-world nature of both games, the debut trailer for “Pokémon Legends” demonstrates that it’s still foundationally a Pokémon game.

Tracking, battling, and capturing Pokémon is core to the gameplay of “Legends,” albeit in a very old version of the Sinnoh region from the “Pokémon Diamond” and “Pokémon Pearl” games. “The story unfolds in a long-gone era, before the idea of being a Pokémon Trainer or having a Pokemon League even existed,” the company said.

The game is headed to Nintendo’s Switch console, and it’s scheduled to launch in “early” 2022.

Check out the debut trailer for “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” right here:

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Nintendo is buying the North American studio behind ‘Luigi’s Mansion 3,’ a rare move for the 132-year-old Japanese company

Luigi's Mansion 3
“Luigi’s Mansion 3” on the Nintendo Switch has sold nearly 8 million copies since it launched on October 31, 2019.

  • In a rare move, Nintendo is outright buying a game-development studio: Next Level Games, the Canadian firm behind the smash-hit Nintendo Switch game “Luigi’s Mansion 3.”
  • Next Level Games and Nintendo have worked closely in the past, with Next Level taking on major franchises like “Punch-Out!” and “Luigi’s Mansion.” Their most recent collaboration, “Luigi’s Mansion 3,” has sold nearly 8 million copies since launch in October 2019.
  • The vast majority of Nintendo’s internal game development is handled within Japan, and it rarely buys third-party game studios. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a rare move for the Japanese gaming powerhouse, Nintendo is buying the game studio behind the smash-hit “Luigi’s Mansion 3” for the Nintendo Switch.

Canadian studio Next Level Games will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo on March 1 – “pending satisfaction of all relevant terms and conditions” – which Nintendo says will enable, “an anticipated improvement in development speed and quality.” 

Nintendo and Next Level Games have worked together for years, going all the way back to the Nintendo GameCube with “Super Mario Strikers” in 2005. More recently, Next Level created “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon” for the Nintendo 3DS, and its wildly popular followup “Luigi’s Mansion 3” for the Nintendo Switch.

The latter entry has sold nearly 8 million copies since launch on October 31, 2019, according to Nintendo.

Read more: Amid a huge lawsuit against Apple and Google, video-gaming giant Epic Games just signed a nearly $100 million deal to build a massive new headquarters

Of note, Nintendo rarely purchases third-party game studios.

The last major game studio Nintendo purchased was over 10 years ago, when it bought RPG-maker Monolith Soft. Nintendo’s first-party game development is largely handled in Japan, with European and North American arms of the company serving as localization and marketing.

If the acquisition is approved, Next Level Games will become Nintendo’s second game development studio in North America – Retro Studios, based in Texas, was purchased by Nintendo back in 2002. 

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@businessinsider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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The best deals on Nintendo Switch consoles, games, and accessories right now – including $10 off ‘Animal Crossing’ and ‘Super Mario 3D All-Stars’

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch debuted in March 2017, while the smaller Switch Lite was released in September 2019.

Even with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X, the Nintendo Switch continues to be the highest selling video game console on the planet, with more than 68 million units sold worldwide.

The Switch was the top selling console for 24 consecutive months leading up to the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the $300 portable will still be easier to find in stores for the next few months while Sony and Microsoft ramp up production of their new consoles.

Nintendo’s $300 hybrid console offers many of the most popular games on the market in a portable package, with the option to connect the Switch to a larger television or home entertainment system. The $200 Switch Lite is smaller and can’t connect to your TV, but it’s still a popular pick for parents who want an affordable alternative to the PlayStation or Xbox, and gamers who want a second console.

Switch exclusive titles include iconic Nintendo franchises like “Super Mario,” “Pokémon” and “The Legend of Zelda.” This year’s biggest Nintendo exclusive, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” was one of the best selling games of 2020 with nearly 30 million copies sold.

Below, we’ve collected the best deals on Nintendo Switch consoles, exclusive games, and accessories. These discounts should all come in handy whether you’re looking to buy a Switch for the first time, building your library of games, or trying to find the cheapest price on a Switch peripheral.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch deals for December 2020:

Prices and links are current as of 12/29/2020. Added new deals for Nintendo Switch games. Removed deals that are no longer active. Updated by Kevin Webb.

Best deals on Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles

Nintendo Switch Lite Case Side

The Nintendo Switch can be connected to a TV for high-definition gameplay, or taken on-the-go as a portable console. Furthermore, the Switch’s controls can be separated from the console and used as two separate controllers called Joy-Cons.

Unfortunately, stock for the standard Switch remains low at many retailers. With that in mind, some of the below products might not currently be available for shipment. We’ll update this section with more Switch purchase options and deals as stores start adding more inventory.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a handheld-only version of the console that lacks the original Switch’s removable controllers and ability to connect to a larger television. The Switch Lite appeals to gamers who may already own a PlayStation or Xbox and want to play games with a similar level of quality while they’re traveling. Parents may also be more willing to invest in a handheld console at a lower price point when introducing their children to gaming.

The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in four colors (coral, turquoise, grey and yellow). There haven’t been many deals that drop the Switch Lite’s price below its standard retail price of $199.99, but a refurbished model is sold for a $20 discount when it’s in stock at GameStop.

Best deals on Nintendo Switch games

Pokemon Sword

Though the Nintendo Switch has been around for just under four years, there are already more than 2,300 games available for the console. Nintendo franchises, like “Super Mario,” “Pokémon” and “The Legend of Zelda,” rarely see discounts larger than $20, but games from other publishers are frequently on sale for cheaper.

You can also find plenty of other fun Switch games on sale at popular retailers or from the Nintendo eShop, the console’s home for digital releases.

Best deals on Nintendo Switch controllers

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the official alternative to the Switch’s built-in Joy-Cons.

Though the Switch’s Joy-Cons give players access to two controllers at all times, some gamers prefer the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, which more closely resembles a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller.

Nintendo also sells spare Joy-Cons with multiple color options for Switch owners who want to add some additional flair and an extra set of motion controllers for multiplayer games. 

Best deals on on Nintendo Switch accessories

nintendo switch lite figures

As a portable console with replaceable controllers, the Switch has no shortage of accessories. The most important addition you can make is a MicroSD card, which can expand the Switch’s initial 32GB of storage by 128GB or more for less than the price of a new game.

If you plan on taking your Switch on the go, it’s probably a good idea to pick up a basic case with space for extra game cartridges too. The Switch is fairly durable so you don’t need to spend a ton protecting it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 10 best video games of 2020, according to critics

animal crossing new horizons nintendo switch
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons”

Whether you were carefully outfitting a tropical island, exploring City 17 as Gordon Freeman, or something else entirely, there were a ton of great games to play in 2020.

And it was quite a year for gaming, with more people than ever turning to video games as the ongoing pandemic forced millions indoors. 

But what’s the best of the best? Here’s how critics ranked the top 10 games of 2020:

10. “F1 2020”

F1 2020

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia

9. “Crusader Kings III”

Crusader Kings 3

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

8. “Microsoft Flight Simulator”

Microsoft Flight Sim (Hurricane Laura)

Platforms: PC (and coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series S|Series X)

7. “Demon’s Souls”

Demon Souls PlayStation 5 PS5 Demon Souls

Platforms: PlayStation 5

6. “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”

Ori and the Will of Wisps

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch, PC

5. “Half-Life: Alyx”

Half-Life Alyx

Platforms: PC

4. “Hades”

Hades (game)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC

3. “Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition”

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC

2. “The Last of Us: Part II”

The Last of Us: Part II

Platforms: PlayStation 4

1. “Persona 5 Royal”

Persona 5 Royal

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Check out the full list on Metacritic right here!

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@businessinsider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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