Will Microsoft win in the long run? (pic: Metro)
The Wednesday Inbox contemplates one more year without an E3, as one reader is unconvinced that the world needs another Perfect Dark game.
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Don’t know if I’m surprised or not that the Xbox Series X/S is the best-selling console of the year so far but it does beg the bigger question of how well people think the console(s) are going to do when stock isn’t an issue. A lot of people will say that Sony has it in the bag but I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
Sure they’ve got it in the bag in terms of launch hype but we’ve already seen a lot of people writing in about becoming worried that the PlayStation 5 is too expensive/the Xbox Series X is too good value to pass up. That’s only going to increase as the next gen audience gets more mainstream, I think, and I see Microsoft winning out eventually.
Maybe the Xbox brand is seen as too much of a loser outside the US and UK but I think Microsoft will always have a base here and personal I appreciate the edge that strong competition gives. It does make me laugh to see those double figure Japanese sales though and remember Microsoft going on about how they were ‘humbled’ by how the console had been received over there. Just goes to show you shouldn’t believe anything these companies say.
Between the lines
No surprise about E3 being cancelled and I’d put good money on no big publishers having anything to do with this online plan. Why would they want to be seen as just another name in the line-up when they can have their own event, at a time of their choosing, and be the only game in town, as it were.
It’s a real shame though because, as GC implied this way round we get no proper hands-on previews or interviews from journos, just unfiltered marketing hype that will be as carefully controlled and unreliable as anything gaming has ever seen.
This isn’t really anyone’s fault. Sony might not have been going to E3 2020 but they were still planning public events, so they were planning hands-on, but now we just all have to watch the same trailers and try and work out the truth of what a game is like by reading between the lines.
Hot old thing
I didn’t realise Grand Theft Auto 3 was 20 this year, that’s crazy if they let that pass without some kind of remaster or something. I fear that Rockstar are just going to count the next gen version of GTA 5 as the anniversary game though and maybe through in a few new references to the original, like maybe Claude as a quest giver or something.
Maybe that makes sense given how popular GTA Online still is but I’d much prefer a proper remake. GTA 3 has got to be one of the most influential video games ever and yet it plays like a dog by modern standards and that’s not really fair given it’s never been updated. It reminds a bit of Super Mario 64 which deserved a lot more work to get into a shape where people could appreciate how it appeared back when it was the hot new thing.
Curious to see what franchises people will be bringing up in the Hot Topic this weekend but I think I’ll be going with Grand Theft Auto. Even it’s ‘modern’ incarnation is old as dirt now and it’s certainly one I remember with a lot of nostalgia.
GC: Actually, we haven’t had a single entry to the Hot Topic yet. If people aren’t sure how old a franchise is Wikipedia will tell you in an instant.
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Not a penny
As much as CD Projekt may have messed up with Cyberpunk 2077 this hacking business is horrible. If any ordinary developers end up getting doxed or whatever by this it’ll be disgusting. And why attack Capcom? What have they ever done to everyone? I would say they’re generally one of the most popular games companies out there.
I am surprised though that both companies chose not to pay up, despite being so different and in different countries. I guess this was maybe advice they were given by the police/security firms?
I genuinely hope neither company suffers lasting damage though. The execs at CD Projekt may have acted badly but that’s all, and Cyberpunk 2077 is already well on its way to being a great game.
GC: We imagine the logic is that if they give in they’ll only encourage further attacks. If they don’t pay up they suffer short term damage but can try and ensure it never happens again.
What I don’t understand about Microsoft’s situation at the moment is they don’t put more emphasis on new franchises. Everyone seems to agree that Gears Of War is looking past its prime, even with the attempt at a reboot, and I’m really not sure Halo is the draw they seem to think it is. Obviously it used to be huge and they want to get back to that but wouldn’t that be just as easy by making something new and modern.
They even go to the trouble of setting up a new studio, rather than just buying it, and what’s the first project they work on? A reboot of Perfect Dark. There hasn’t been a decent Perfect Dark for 20 years now and I have real trouble imagining anyone cares about it all that much or most younger gamers have even heard of it.
Even the new franchises they have announced just seem to be clones of things that already exist, like Obsidian’s Avowed, which looks just like Skyrim – even though Microsoft then when and bought Bethesda, who… make Skyrim. I’m not having a go, it just seems like a waste of resources and wrong priorities.
So I’ve read a lot of letters recently about why communication about delivery of next gen stick is so bad and I had a thought.
Now admittedly I don’t know much about bots and scalping, etc. but if retailers/manufacturers gave, say, even 12 to 24 hours notice of new stock going up doesn’t that just assure that every bot going will be running and ready to hoover said stock up the moment it goes live?
Could websites even cope with that amount of traffic? If not, then an honest punter gets no console. If they can cope then said bots get everything, as they are inhumanly quick at completing the transaction.
So maybe the lack of news/advanced warning of new stock is the only viable option to stop scalpers getting everything?
This is just a thought and my logic is probably deeply flawed, I’m willing to be educated though.
Anyways stay safe, stay well, see you on the other side of this thing.
GC: What you’re describing is basically the current situation, except that bots and the people that use them always have advanced knowledge of stock coming in (from Twitter sources and the like) and so it is the ordinary customer that is left unawareness – making things even easier for scalpers.
The big three
Is it me or is EA actually pretty good at the moment? I know they go through these phases, but they seem to have got a handle on Star Wars now, the Mass Effect remaster are imminent, Apex Legends is still great, and It Takes Two shows they’re continuing to support indies.
I’m not saying they’re saints or anything but out of the big three, including Activision and Ubisoft, I’m much more interested in what they’re doing at the moment and actually detect some kind of enthusiasm and artistry on the part of the developers – instead of just production line competency.
Make my day
I’m the owner of the Twitter page @ItsIsaacTech I’ve been helping people all over the world for the past few months to secure a PlayStation 5, from America to Ireland and the UK, and through that we have built a beautiful community with 10+ thousand followers.
I have been told by various sources that we should be expecting a Currys drop before the end of next week and that Argos is preparing for a bigger drop on the 22nd. Obviously, you know about the GAME drop scheduled Wednesday morning [now likely Thursday, thanks to the weather – GC] but I hear that their stock is not complete.
Most of my information comes from insiders, people who work on the customer services side typically. It’s an interesting world, the PlayStation 5 stock world, but I do it to help people. I’ve given away two PlayStation 5s to my followers. It’s nice to make people’s day.
Any chance of a Ys 9 review soon?
GC: Yes, it came in late but we’re trying to get it done at the moment.
I would also like to recommend the Nioh games, especially the second. Really great games but like GC said, I don’t know anyone else that’s even heard of them amongst my mates.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what is your favourite retro video game franchise?
There are a lot of major series celebrating their 25th, 30th or even 40th (in the case of Mario/Donkey Kong) this year so which one is your favourite and why? You can suggest any game as long as it’s at least 25 years old this year and there’s been a new game in the last 10 years (i.e. it’s not a dead franchise).
Why do you think the series has lasted so long and what is your favourite entry? Do you think the franchise has an overall good reputation and has it got better or worse with age? What do you hope will happen to the series in the future and what would you like the first next gen entry to be like?
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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.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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