The Monday Inbox is still angry about Spider-Man exclusivity for Marvel’s Avengers, as one reader asks who’s to blame for DC being grimdark.
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So Pikmin 3 isn’t exactly the most exciting announcement for Nintendo. It would’ve been fine any other time but when people are waiting for is big news and we’re just not getting it. I tend to agree with the reader the other day who thought that all we’d be getting this year is the 3D Mario remasters. We’re just a month away from the Super Mario Bros. anniversary, and their presumed release date, so it seems impossible we’d get any other big news between now and then.
That means that if Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 did come out this year – which I assume is what everyone’s waiting for, it’d have to be announced in mid-September and released no more than two months later, two and a half months tops. I just don’t see it.
I think, especially as they’re rumoured to be remastering Super Mario Sunshine at the moment, Nintendo will be well aware of what happens when you rush something and they will not want a repeat of that or The Wind Waker. We may never find out if that was their original plan but I think they’re just going to take their time, assume the next gen launches will be a mess (let’s face it, they usually are) and just try to get back to business next year. It’s what I’d do in their situation.
I am replying to the letter from Ray concerning xCloud on iPhones. The reason that xCloud (and presumably Stadia) has not agreed to do a deal with Apple is they use a policy of treating all apps equally and checking all content is suitable. Microsoft point out that all games are government censored and have already been rated.
Neither xCloud or Stadia is aimed at mobile phone users. Basically, they are aimed at providing enhanced performance and graphics on TVs and monitors, supported by a good selection of games at an affordable price. A lot of console and PC games are obviously unsuitable for very small screens. Not only that, since none of the games support mobile phones you need to plug a controller into your phone to get your game to work.
However, the main reason for failing to reach a compromise is probably money, as neither of these corporations see much money to be made out of it. Things may change in the future as technology advances, Apple may be obliged to change some of its policies as Samsung continues to make inroads on their sales. Microsoft may change its policy if they feel it is financially worthwhile. Stadia I am not so sure, as they have a vested interest due to Android.
GC: Video game streaming is absolutely aimed at mobile phone users. As Microsoft themselves admit, a dedicated console or PC will still be superior this generation, until broadband speeds improve, so streaming is for those that don’t care/don’t have the hardware or want an Xbox handheld.
Rules are rules
Call me cynical, I’m surprised no-one else has mentioned this, but surely Apple have rejected xCloud on iOS because they see it as a direct competitor to Apple Arcade? Their reasoning (that they are unable to quality test each game) doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, given that Sony have their own Remote Play app that allows you stream ANY game from your home console to a mobile device.
The key difference? Sony’s offering is free, while Microsoft requires a subscription to Game Pass, and who is going to pay for two gaming subscription services, especially when one offers console-quality titles while the other offers App Store tat?
GC: Apple Arcade is more an indirect competitor but what you say is probably part of it, with Apple being a jobsworth about it on purpose to frustrate Microsoft and, potentially, leverage more money out of them.
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I use the wish list feature on my Xbox to keep an eye on the weekly sales. A few weeks back some relatively recent blockbusters were discounted, but they still smarted at the price, so I gave them a miss.
On a trip into town I popped into my local CeX shop for some browsing and was shocked at how little the same games were in store. For example Red Dead Redemption 2 and Borderlands 3 were only £15 each, yet the recent Xbox sale only had them down to around £25-£30 (£35.99 for Borderlands 3 as I type), and normally they are £60 each.
My point is that as we head closer to the next generation, and the general shift we’re seeing from physical disc versions of games in favour of downloads, are we going to be stuck in a monopoly of online suppliers who can set whatever price they like and we just have to stomach it? How long will GAME, CeX, and the other outlets of physical discs hang on as market competition, or supermarkets and the like still stock games?
The other aspect is game size. The jump from around 4GB last generation to about 40GB this gen, plus all the patches, make me wonder how big the jump will be next gen. I’m still waiting for fibre optic cable and dread the week or so it takes me to download a big game. Will we further become a nation of haves and have nots, with a secondary tier for whom internet access is a barrier? There’s no point having all these possible online systems of game play if you can’t access them.
Spooky Dreamer (GamerTag – SpookyDreamBoo)
I think the most influential design for a game controller must be the SNES. The rounded edges were more comfortable than the rectangles that had gone before (although Sega did beat Nintendo to the punch on that bit), the placement of the four main face buttons, and the addition of shoulder buttons was perfect. No analogue stick because there was no requirement at the time.
I think all normal controllers (i.e. not Wiimote, etc.) since have used and expanded upon the basic formula set by that piece of design perfection. GameCube went a little leftfield, but it was there or thereabouts with the button layout.
Really enjoyed reading Jowbullman’s article on reaching 50 and still gaming.
I’m one year short myself and, as he says, it’s been a pleasure watching gaming evolve and grow. I remember being mesmerised by Space Invaders and astonished by Virtua Series games.
But I empathise with his love of the PlayStation 3, as I only retired mine last year and finally bought a PS4 Pro on a great deal.
But, as far as retro gaming goes, if you haven’t got access to the original consoles, I’ve found the mini consoles to be a great slice of nostalgia and have bought the lot of them, including the PC Engine Mini. I’ve only excluded the Neo Geo Mini, as it’s not really doing the machine justice, and I don’t count the Capcom device as a Mini, because it’s not.
As we look through our rose-tinted glasses though, I can’t help but be grateful that games have become easier and more accessible. Most old games are crushingly hard, and whilst my younger self with nimble reflexes could manage, older me cannot. I can barely finish Super Mario World anymore, for heaven’s sake!
So, as age catches up, it’s great that we can dive into the fantastic narratives of Uncharted, Skyrim, Tomb Raider, and the like and still enjoy the experience. Long may it continue!
Passes for games?
I have numerous gaming friends and colleagues who don’t own an Xbox, who have never heard of Game Pass or Xbox All Access.
All Access I can understand, but Microsoft should not focus on Game Pass alone in future marketing as All Access is a great deal too.
GC: Sounds like they’re not doing enough marketing for Game Pass, to judge by your friends’ comments.
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You started it
Wow! So last week Square Enix announced that for their forthcoming Avengers game, the character of Spider-Man would be exclusive to the PlayStation consoles, and the internet seems to have lost its mind. All across social media, there are angry posts as fanboys rage and threaten to boycott the game.
I have not seen such collective anger from the gaming community since, well, Naughty Dog decided to give equal representation to minority groups in Last Of Us Part 2.
What I find so strange about this surprise and anger is that the use of console exclusive content in a multi-console game has been happening for years, and was a sales tactic pioneered by Microsoft.
So hearing Xbox users vent their fury over this after they have previously benefited from such marketing strategies for over a decade seems incredibly hypocritical.
I remember not buying Marvel Ultimate Alliance for my PlayStation 4, because Microsoft had my favourite comic character, Dr Doom, as an Xbox exclusive.
Console exclusive content never used to be a thing, until Microsoft entered the console market. When they launched the first Xbox console into the market, they insisted that all third party publishers had to give the Xbox versions exclusive content on multiplatform games.
As a result of this, I remember when Canis Canem Edit and Onimusha, two games that I adored, had similar exclusive content for the Xbox in exactly the same fashion as the forthcoming Avengers game, and as a PlayStation 2 owner I had to miss out on this content in the versions of those games that I played.
It got worse when we moved onto the next generation, as Microsoft would ensure that all the DLC for the biggest games, ranging from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, to Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 4, were timed Xbox exclusives. I had to wait a year to play this DLC on my PlayStation 3.
So Xboxers need to grow up and shut up. Do your homework, Microsoft is pretty much responsible for creating and pushing this marketing tactic, a tactic that was, until recently, accepted by the gaming community.
Spider-Man is pretty much a Sony property, so I was not surprised to see that he is a PlayStation exclusive for this game. Sony have been producing Spider-Man films for two decades, have just had a mega hit with an exclusive Spider-Man game, always maintained a very close working relationship with Marvel, and they seem to like having the Spider-Man brand closely associated with theirs.
If you like Spider-Man, then you need to buy a PlayStation, in the same way as if you like Master Chief, you need to go Xbox.
GC: Nobody’s saying it’s a new concept, it’s being going on for a long time and people have always hated it, regardless of format. And Sony do not own anything other than the film rights to Spider-Man, apart from anything else he’s in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 on the Switch.
Great bunch of Reader’s Features again this weekend, kudos to everyone that takes the time out to write them. I know the comments section can be very under appreciative, but I can assure you that doesn’t go for everyone.
Why do DC games always have to be so grimdark? I was trying to think where it all began and I really thinkg it’s down to Injustice. How has an okay-ish beat ‘em-up had such an influence on some of pop culture’s most famous characters? Sad to say it doesn’t look like changing with Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what franchises are you most looking forward to in the next gen?
With the next gen consoles almost upon us which long-running series are you most looking forward to getting a new sequel or reboot? What do you hope to see from the new game and how do you think the next gen hardware will help to change and improve it?
As long as it’s still an active franchise, that has had a recent new entry this gen, it doesn’t matter whether it’s been announced yet or not, so feel free to make assumptions about what will eventually be coming to the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
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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