Part of the rivalry to end all rivalries (pic: Sega)
The Friday Inbox hopes Microsoft can sort out Bethesda’s QA and facial animation, as one reader asks for help replacing a PSP battery.
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A war to remember
As far as I’m concerned I’ve enjoyed the discussion about the differing paths Sony and Microsoft has taken. The only people that seem to be angry about it are people that for some reason don’t want us to discuss it or seem to not want comparisons at all. As long as you’re not insulting about it I enjoy the back and forth, especially as there is such a wide gap in ideology and we really don’t know who’s going to win yet.
This may well go down as a classic console war in fact, much more interesting than the non-event last gen when Microsoft disqualified themselves before they even started. Xbox 360 era was another good one but PlayStation 2 was another whitewash. I’d say though that there’s no real argument about which was the best: the SNES vs. Mega Drive.
The greatest rivalry in gaming was not only a war of words, that pushed both companies to make great games but both consoles were ahead at different points, with the SNES eventually winning out after Sega fell at the last. If we got a situation like that this gen, regardless of who wins, it will be best for everyone.
I have never heard of that Skyrim mod, The Forgotten City, before but that seems pretty amazing, that they’ve basically made a completely different game out of one that already exists. Reminds me of the days when people would use Doom to try and make all different kinds of games – total conversions they called them – but they were never as ambitious as that.
Also, did anyone notice how much better the graphics are than anything Bethesda have ever done? The faces are stylised but they’re still 100% more realistic and non-lazy looking than what exists in any of the actual Elder Scrolls or Fallout games. I know that’s not saying much – Bethesda has the worst facial animation in the business – but still, kudos to those modders.
I know Microsoft has promised not to interfere with the way Bethesda works but that’s exactly the opposite I’m hoping for. Microsoft need to impose some decent QA on them and sort them out with a better graphics engine. I don’t know if this has been a question of pride or budget for Bethesda in the past but I’m hoping neither will get in the way for their future games.
PS: Really looking forward to the Resident Evil showcase on Thursday, hope it’s a good one!
All are equals
So I don’t want to put anyone’s nose out, but I found the question about the ‘best’ developer pretty redundant.
How on earth do you objectively compare all game companies? Some are better at some things, online engagement (Epic, say?) and others are all about engrossing narrative (let’s say Naughty Dog).
The skills and the talent needed for even a shift from third to first person is so great the majority of AAA teams focus on the same type of game but ‘better’ or sequels.
I’m all for favourite developers but choosing the ‘best’ just seems silly.
GC: How is it any different than talking about a best director or best musician?
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With all the Sony have lost the plot hyperbole doing the rounds recently I wanted to drop a note on a positive customer service experience.
I added PS Plus last April for a year using a ShopTo code and somehow agreed to an annual recurring charge. Whilst I don’t remember that agreement, I am sure I will have so you can imagine my surprise last week to get an email thanking me for my £50 purchase for another year.
Got in touch with Sony support, explained the issue and a day later they agreed to refund the value which they didn’t have to do legally.
Thank you Sony.
With the PlayStation 3, PSP, and PS Vita stores closing down I have decided to update my consoles to the latest firmware and buy a few games before it closes. I was looking for some advice: I tried to update my PSP and although I managed to download the firmware update by using my current router, I could not install it as my battery has died and it says even though I have it plugged into the mains the battery has to be at 15% charge to install the update. Has anyone had any experience of buying a replacement battery for the PSP?
My PSP is a launch day model PSP-1003. I am not keen on using third party batteries after hearing about horror stories of them causing fires, so what I thought I would do was just use the battery to update the firmware and then after that just run it off the mains. Can anyone recommend a battery on Amazon or
elsewhere? Thank you if you can help.
Currently playing: We Were Here Too (Xbox One X)
Reading recent Inboxes and the constant console strategy discussions has kept me coming back to the same point – why is it a bad thing?
Sony’s history is mainly of selling discrete but complimentary products you don’t repeat purchase that often (TVs, headphones, Blu-ray players, etc.) and that plays out in the approach to their console. This has been used since the original PlayStation and has worked excellently for their console.
Microsoft has historically been a subscription company, whether it’s Windows/SQL license keys, M365, or cloud computing you pay on a more per use model. They are also used to their services being used for other purposes and know how useful backwards compatibility is to prolong revenue streams and the userbase.
With the success of subscription products in the West in recent years (seriously, toilet paper subscriptions are a thing?!), this has clearly influenced their strategy change for gaming and becomes more in keeping with the rest of the company.
Both aren’t right or wrong and just seem more natural to their companies. All while giving the benefit of more consumer choice to consume games at different price points and ways.
Rather than argue about it, enjoy the choice and play games.
Game for a recommendation
I wanted to second Ben Knowles. Fan Boy 3 is probably one of the best board game shops in the UK. There isn’t another quite like it.
Can I also give a mention to Cups in Chester who are just getting back on their feet after lockdown. Really helpful, friendly staff. They hope to reopen their gaming room in May.
The wheel turns
I’m not put off by the current next gen bickering. It’s nice we seem to have a contest again. Sony are in the doghouse right now, but it’ll be Microsoft’s turn again soon. It’s not that long ago their first next gen gameplay reveal that was all representative footage on PC and Craig the Brute was deservedly making them a bit of a laughing stock.
I think Sony’s criticisms are less deserved. A company that responded quickly with a no quibble refund to the Cyberpunk 2077 scandal and is giving away quality free games as part of the Play at Home scheme, while also improving PS Plus with the PS Plus Collection and big titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake doesn’t smack of a company that’s taking it customers for granted or being arrogant.
The concern and alarm at the closure and exit of Japanese talent to focus on triple-A Western exclusives I do understand though. I think it is a loss to Japanese gaming that Sony won’t be putting the full weight of its first party development behind it. I think it also does mean Sony’s first party output won’t be as diverse going forward. Given that Sony’s Western exclusives are all very samey it raises questions about Sony’s traditionally diverse output.
We should of seen it coming when the new PlayStation Studios logo was revealed, and it was very Marvel-like, that Sony would be looking West from now on.
I don’t know if Sony feel out of love with Japan or Japan fell out of love with Sony, but I feel their focus on Western exclusives is the right move though. They’ve found a style they are peerless in and should focus on it. Despite commercial success Sony never really received the critical acclaim that Nintendo got. They do know though and it’s because of games like God Of War and The Last Of Us.
So although I understand the alarm about this direction I don’t think for a second Jim Ryan is taking PlayStation to its doom. Much like when Dillon went electric, I see it more that a certain part of the fanbase just don’t like the new direction.
Regardless of personal feelings I do think what’s happening at Sony is seismic and the current scrutiny and traffic for it is deserved.
GC: It’s likely because the Japanese home console market has been steadily shrinking for years, and at the moment Nintendo is more dominant than they have been for a long time.
Looking forward to the Resident Evil showcase on Thursday night. I’m getting a really good vibe from Village, even if that RE:Verse thing looks awful.
A game controlled by blinking at a webcam? That sounds like the dumbest thing ever, but I have to admit your review does have me intrigued. Pity it’ll never come to consoles, but it totally sounds like something Nintendo would do.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grant, who asks what is the last physical copy of a video game you bought?
Was the game brand new or second-hand and why did you buy it physically instead of a digital version? How often do you still buy physical copies as opposed to digital and how much of that is out of preference compared to necessity?
Are you okay with physical copies becoming an increasingly niche concern and will you miss them when they’re completely gone? What determines whether you’ll buy a physical or digital copy if both are available, and do you ever buy limited or collector’s editions?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
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