Xbox Series X – is money its killer app? (pic: Microsoft)The Friday Inbox worries that cheaters are making multiplayer games unplayable, as one reader recommends Inkle’s Overboard.
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Low risk strategyI’ll be honest, Microsoft’s involvement in the games industry is starting to scare me. I don’t mean this to be a console war thing. I admit I own a PlayStation 5 but I would’ve bought an Xbox Series X, with no thought of ‘loyalty’, if that had seemed the better option at the time but I judged it was not. But now it seems they’re intent on buying up the entire games industry and sidelining anything they can’t control (like Japan).
I know this has been said before but with Thursday’s announcements it’s more obvious than ever that they’re just going to outspend Sony without ever innovating anything themselves. Sony spent four generations building up their first party studios, they didn’t just go round with a cheque book and buy them all within just a couple of years.
Game Pass isn’t innovative it’s just something Microsoft can do because they’re super rich and Sony isn’t. It’s the same with cloud gaming. Sony invested in that years ago but they’re not as rich as Microsoft so they can’t run their own datacentres and have to rely on others. They make people pay for the PC version of a game ‘twice’ because they need to make money, whereas Microsoft do not.
When Nintendo do well with something like the Wii or Switch even their detractors salute them for taking a risk and innovating but with Microsoft there’s no risk at all. If the Xbox doesn’t work out they’ll just stop and barely notice the dent in their cash reserves. More likely it will work out though and Microsoft will just keep outspending Sony until they can no longer compete. It’s a sad state of affairs and very unfair.Hammeriron
Budgetary concernsPersonally I don’t think Battlefield 2042 needs a story campaign. I agree there’s an interesting premise to the backstory but for me the biggest issue is simply that it would take time and money away from the multiplayer. I think people don’t realise how long it takes to make games now, and how expensive they are.
There’s a reason there aren’t so many AAA releases anymore and it’s not just because of the pandemic. These things take time and they’re really expensive. EA are a big company but they haven’t got infinite funds and while I don’t care about their bank balance I do care about them spending Battlefield’s budget in the right place.
I must say I don’t understand the reasons behind not doing a battle royale though. I’m not a massive fan of the mode, so I’m not that upset, but it does seem like something that would be a natural fit for Battlefield. Maybe their new mode is a minor variation on it but not doing it just because no one liked the one in Battlefield 5 seems a bit cowardly.Campana
Bigger worldA good point was made the other day about why Ubisoft has never had a proper crossover game for Tom Clancy and why no other games have tried it either. Considering how games are always trying to copy movies you’d think the whole cinematic universe thing would be a no-brainer.
As has been said, Days Gone is just a few plot points away from being set in The Last Of Us universe and while there are a few Easter Eggs I think it’d be funny if Uncharted was officially too. Gears Of War and Halo are a harder fit but I’m curious to see if DICE try to link up the Battlefield games now. It’s a bit harder now the new one doesn’t have a story mode but it’d be cool to see descendants of the same people keep turning up. War never changes and all that.
Actual connected video game universes for superheroes would make sense too and yet DC never tried and I don’t think Marvel is either, as their games are split across multiple publishers. Maybe with Star Wars though? Their continuity is a lot more strict and it’d be fun to see Cal Kestis turning up in Ubisoft’s game or being referenced in other one. I like that sort of thing, makes the game seem part of a bigger world.Polenta
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Quarterly quotaSo how long are people going to bet before Microsoft’s promise of a new first party game every quarter is broken? The first quarter after Halo? The second? Most companies can’t get hit one release date right in five years, let alone one every three months.
I appreciate the thought though and I think this points to a lot of reveals happening at the weekend. Although if any of them are not so good there’s always going to be the question of where they rushed out just to make the quarterly quota?
As frustrating as it can be I think my attitude towards release dates is still the same as it always is: better to be out when it’s ready then out when the accountants say it’s done.Boxy
Treading waterI read Ashton’s letter and he is right that the PlayStation 5 does not put out its full potential and the reason for this is that there’s not enough merchandise out in the world for them to make a profit on creating games for the PlayStation 5 right now. They really have no choice or their stock will plummet. Not enough PlayStation 5s out there to make a profit on a new game.
I hate it also because I have my PlayStation 5 and I’m bored playing the same old games like Resident Evil Village or God Of War. Call Of Duty war games got way stupid and we all sit in silence just waiting to know anything! My anticipation is turning into hypertension. I should have just waited until the beginning of year 2022 to get one. 900 bucks was a waste.Anon
Going OverboardSparky the Yak asked recently whether Inkle’s new game Overboard was worth a purchase; I’d say yes it is, especially if you are a fan of Inkle’s previous works like 80 Days. I’ve been playing this since it launched and intended to write in about it once I had completed a perfect run. I’m not quite there yet, but I am having a blast.
It’s very short, deliberately so in fact. An average run of the game is around the 45 minutes mark and you will need to play it multiple times in order to achieve the best outcome, but luckily there is enough to do that it hasn’t become stale yet.
My first playthrough was less than five minutes long thanks to a spectacularly bad decision early on but the game restarts almost immediately for you to have another attempt. Oddly, it reminds me a lot of Hitman, as I try to Groundhog Day through the same series of events, trying to manipulate things in my favour.
I hope I’ll have more to say once I’ve finished it but at the moment I will say that it’s well designed, well written and somehow manages to feel much more expansive than it actually is.EiichiHoba (PSN ID)
GC: Great, we’d welcome a Reader’s Feature on it.
Minor delayWill you be reviewing Final Fantasy 7 Remake Episode Intermission and/or the Tokyo 2020 Olympics game?
Thanks for your continued hard work.Dangeraaron07 (PSN ID)Currently playing: Spider-Man Game Of The Year Edition (PS5)
GC: We don’t know about the Olympics game, but the Yuffie episode only became available yesterday, even though we’ve had the PlayStation 5 version for a while now. We don’t think it’s very long though so we should have a review soon enough.
Cheats always prosperI know there must be plenty of nice PC gamers but I know I wouldn’t ever want to play against them in cross-play. The mouse and keyboard mismatch is one thing but the amount of cheating is just… is there any PC gamer that doesn’t cheat at everything all the time? I guess if they’re only playing each other it must almost equal out so that nobody has an advantage anymore because everyone’s cheating but that is not an environment I want to game in.
I’m not suggesting console gamers wouldn’t as well, if they could, but thankfully cheating is harder on consoles and so there’s less of it, which I see as a major positive. Given how long this has been going on for I assume there’s no technical solution to cheating so unless the moral underpinnings of society suddenly see a massive upswing I think we’re stuck with things as they are.
To be honest, it’s putting me off playing multiplayer altogether as I imagine console cheating will only become more common over time, not less. Battlefield 2042’s solo mode against bots may end up being more important than even DICE realises…Tanok
Inbox also-ransDoes anyone remember when the Amstrad GX4000 had its own little picture as a featured console on the Mean Machines front cover?John Atkinson
Regarding the technology debate, a couple of years ago I wrote in explaining the differences between DirectX 11 and 12. In fairness to GC they printed it, and I assume read it through to the end. Credit were credit is due.r-s-w
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Hot Topic this week due to E3 at the weekend.
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