Tag Archives: Nintendo

Playstation is Go!

Yes, the console war is off to a nice start. It is important to you (the reader) to know that for whatever reason, I am a Sony guy, hence, take no offense and if you are a dedicated Xbox person (no offense taken) then you might not like this article.

The event started last saturday when I saw this article that was massively Microsoft minded and how the new Xbox would be 30% faster, that person went on by throwing teraflops at us and making all kinds of speculated boasts, fair enough, I merely glanced at it and disregarded it to the largest extent. There will optionally be differences between the two, but the difference will be less than 50% (personal conviction) of what that person claimed. In the end, the PS5 will be a huge step up from the PS4 and a decent step up from the PS4 pro.

CCN (at https://www.ccn.com/sony-ps5-reveal-beats-xbox-series-x-without-trying/) gives us “Sony’s PS5 reveal video gets more views than the Xbox Series X trailer after being criticized for being boring and technical“, yes that was always going to be the case, in the end there are two parts, the technical superiority and the games, the first one we can see and anticipate, the second one we can hope for and in coming towards our hopes and dreams the PlayStation has been a lot more rewarding than its counterpart ever was. The one time the other one stood out was when the date was October 27, 2017 and that was the day that Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed Origins. Even as a Sony person I have to give voice to the amazement that the Xbox One X brought at that time. Assassin’s Creed Origins blew my socks off, and as a 4K title it was overwhelming. Yet that was pretty much the only time that the Microsoft console truly shined. As the self-proclaimed most powerful processor system it was surpassed by Nintendo, which with the Switch has the least powerful processor of the three, so that is the impact of superior hardware.

As such CCN gives us “The PS5 video has 13.5 million views compared to the 10.6 million views on the Xbox Series X reveal. This suggests that Sony may not have to try very hard to make the PS5 more successful than the Xbox Series X.” My response would be, Sony listens to its gamers, Microsoft only claims to do so and then does what the bottom dollar presented tells them to do, the gamer is not a consideration (proven twice over), that is how I see it (Die hard Microsoft console fans are allowed to disagree).

For me it is a much more interesting field, even as I am considering two IP’s on the matter, I can clearly see that the advantage that Microsoft created with the Xbox 360 has gone. My personal achilles issues is that the entire matter of storage has not now, not ever been properly addressed by Microsoft since the first One was released, that is 8 years ago. In all that time it was about being online, about being able to download, all whilst we see that on a global play there is a bandwidth issue, it is to such a degree that some people see how some players (YouTube and Netflix) decided to limit the video quality so that they won’t congest the internet in Europe in this Corona beer environment. It had grown to such a degree that Brussels decided to talk to Netflix on reducing internet congestion (at https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-in-talks-with-netflix-about-reducing-internet-congestion/) and the quote “Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton today spoke with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to discuss ways to help reduce internet congestion, a Commission official told POLITICO“, as such a case I saw coming years ago (not on the how it would happen) is seen three days ago in the article, there is congestion and in that environment Microsoft wants to be an ‘Always Online‘ player? As such the Sony solution with their secondary internal drive (SSD) might be a slightly limiting factor, but as it would (speculated) fit the 2tb and 4tb drives from Samsung, the Playstation 5 will have a great situation, and the 2tb SSD version is now $325, which is not required in the initial year (unless the games become really big) I reckon that Microsoft has a lot more to lose, superior processor or not. Even as they come again with their ‘most powerful processor‘ song, the moment the gamer chorus starts with ‘Yet where can we store our shit‘ they will fall silent very quickly, 1TB in 4K/8K gaming will do that. Sony has a similar start but you can add a drive to enhance player needs and 2tb/4tb will do that nicely. I expect that the 2tb drives at the end of the year will be $250-$300, so there is that too.

The larger issues is not merely that, Tom’s guide (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/ps5-release-date-rumors-specs,news-26954.html) gave us “In his Road to PS5 talk, Cerny gave more details on the SSD again, with the key spec that it could load 2GB of files in 0.27 seconds. That should make for some unnoticeable loading times once game devs get to grips with the new console.” in this consider a Bethesda RPG where the load times in between locations becomes almost zero, the additional joy we get by replaying Fallout 4 and Skyrim, this evolution is one I anticipated, although not the “load 2GB of files in 0.27 seconds“, that is just the icing on the cake. The idea that Elder Scrolls: Restoration (see several other articles) becomes a technical viability opens up a lot of doors for RPG games, in this I wonder what Guerilla games could make of Horizon Zero Dawn 2. It is almost beyond belief and that is before we consider other franchises that offer us more and more. 

You see in the end it is not about Sony or their Playstation, it is about the gamer and gamemaker and it seems that Sony is facilitating to an amazing degree to those two, as I personally see it Microsoft is merely facilitating to those embracing Azure, in lesser degree to the game makers and last to the gamers, it is another setting entirely. Gamers are the first priority, Sony learned that lesson when they launched on 3 December 1994, a first try to debunk Nintendo as the king of gaming, they succeeded. So whilst we are all in folds on how much it is going to cost, consider that the Xbox360 was $699 and we all shelled out because we were going to get an awesome experience. That was proven true by Microsoft and I never regretted buying a second one when the red rings of death came to ring my front door bell (two days before Fallout New Vegas was released).

It seems to me that Microsoft forgot about what gamers need and they seem to listen to those who want gamers to take a certain direction, it is not the same. Still there are options where Sony could improve too, not the gaming side, but the connected social media side where we share what we want to share, that side is up for a tremendous amount of improvements, and when they do this considering that people are not always online (consider rural France and Germany) they might just wipe Microsoft out of existence, they don’t seem to care what happens to those gamers without excellent digital path access. As i Personally see it, it is due to a population of gamers without a global scope on the matter. 

The Sony presentation (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8LyNIT9sg) is nice, but as CCN told us a little boring, still boring or not Google told me that it is #20 most trending videos at present, so boring is nice. Yet the presentation is also important as the OS is part of all this and the improvements in social media we will see before 2022, is lacking at present. As I personally see it both have that weakness and just like I was correct in storage, I expect that the social evolution on sharing becomes a much larger issue down the road and it seems that both are not ready for this part, even as it is not part of the console, it will be part of storage and synching (when possible), as such the console needs a pass through need that developers would have to adjust for and that is at present not a given. Even if it is easy, getting this in place BEFORE the console releases gives the makers of games a lot more to be ready for and I believe that it will impact the success of any of the consoles. 

How am I right?

This is much simpler. We have our friends and our social circles, at times we want all our friends to be aware, yet we have gaming friends and a social circle. They are not the same (for the most in Europe and America they are very different), I think that Sony did not consider this, or rejected this even as their PS3 presentation years ago gave sight of their plans. It was in that case a rejected plan that is now on their plate.

I am not talking about some marketing play, I am talking about gamers talking to their other gamers in an actual way, not pushing them messages (what happens too often). In this Google Plus had solved a few of the issues in the very beginning. Having circles solves it. Circles of connections playing the same game, playing a type of game and the individual messages that you can direct. So another game gets some of the messages and if that person is curious he or she can come look at YOUR wall where you see everything. So you basically have several walls, your wall, your shared wall, and circles and a message will be on some or (ill advised) all walls, your friends can select from your wall what they are interested in, and as you gain gaming fame they will optionally want to see more. It makes for a much easier social media, and that is the foundation of the dictionary “applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking” it is not about pushing content, but sharing content and like in any conversation, when the other party is not interested, they cut off the conversation, that part is often ignored because some players in social media need the traffic and the advertisements to go through, actual social media is about connecting and conversing (via sharing). It is a lesson that Microsoft (for the most) never learned in the last 8 years. Sony did not learn it either, but their solution was not about pushing marketing (to the degree Microsoft did) and as such we were a lot more happy, as well as the fact that we were not required to be online all the time, the system synched when we were (most often when synching achievements).

As this approach is matched with the games, we can select for games where the information goes (all to our wall) but then we can select per game where it goes (those who have the game too), when it is a genre we can also share it with those sharing that interest. So Fallout 5 is initially shared with those who have Fallout 5 and an interest in RPG, these players can then disregard (optionally temporary) Fallout 5 materials or disregard your material. That is a reality too, I have several friends and we shared Mass Effect 3 multiplayer gaming, but only that, as such my achievements in Mass Effect Andromeda was not interesting to them. In this I mentioned ‘optionally temporary‘ as a person starting in a game might not be interested in someone’s achievements who is at 90% (for means of spoilers and optional envy). This too makes for a much nicer experience in social media.

It is the side effect of any facilitating system of news events and achievements.

I believe that the PS5 will have a large base growing much faster if the social media template is set to facilitate to a much larger degree to gamers. Whether it is done or not will not affect the initial need and desire for the PS5, but I feel certain that over time it will be a much larger facilitating and desired part of any console. I also need to emphasize the win that Nintendo had on the switch with the calendar, I am amazed that none of the others see that part. You might not want to share your calendar, but an overview of achievements gained over a week is not something a gamer is not interested in, and the option to keep that calendar for years (an option the Switch does not seem to offer). I believe the option for gamers to open this part (per game) to the developer will be much more interesting to the makers too (as the gamer decides whether to inform others). It allows for an optional  deeper connection between maker and gamer. 

This allows for two elements the first being a direct gauge where the maker can inform (once) the gamer on season passes and DLC options. The second is that we can be aware of updates required on games we have, not blindly updating a game we haven’t touched for weeks (Microsoft actually has a much better system in play here than Sony does).

As we see that the PlayStation is Go! (Thunderbird pun) we see that no matter how great any system is, there will always be space for improvements. Sony however seems to have been listening to its gamers for the longest of times, lets see what the PS5 brings and what the second wave brings. This time around there are benefits and disadvantages for Sony. The last time around the Nintendo Switch was not a factor, this time it is and no matter how strong any system is, gaming is about joy and that is a lesson Nintendo has taken to heart every single time, they did this long before the Nintendo 64 (at $699 in those days) became a reality.

Even as the PS5 players will adjust to “We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5“, we see that the ‘truth’ of the matter is that the largest Sony base will initially be interested in less than 200 of them, especially if they upgrade from the PS4 and never had a PS4pro. 4K will be the larger reason for that. As such even the makers will benefit from the setting where someone did not buy it initially, their title was good on what was and optionally now will be a great added title (especially with patches in place). 

It is still early days, for the most, I am merely anticipating what is and what we will get, not what might optionally be missing. In that regard the Playstation family has never disappointed us (apart from the day one games on PS4) and it is still 9 months away, as such I believe that there will be a lot more information coming our way soon enough, most of that is most likely around the time this year’s virtual E3 hits us.

 

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WYSIWYG?

What you see is what you get, that has been around since the old PC XT (or AT) tried its hands on desktop publishing. The phrase continued and spread in other paths, and we all accepted the term. Yet the term evolved and the fakeness of the term used later was ignored. As such the evolved WYSIWHY has come to be: What You See Is What Hyped You.

We see it in all matters of events. How the media gives rise to ‘Fed cuts rates by half a percentage point to combat coronavirus slowdown‘ (source:CNBC), even as there were less than 300 cases in a nation with 325,000,000 people, no such consideration was ever given with Swine flu or HIV. It was merely an administration what wanted to avoid the use of ‘recession’, now we see ‘Recession fears grow as Wall Street investors brace for a wild week for stocks‘ (source: Washington Post), even as we accept “after coronavirus fears caused the biggest weekly decline for U.S. stocks since the financial crisis“, the idea that a case of the flu, with a present 109,975 cases is just insane and most people are just buying the cake shovelled towards us. Consider that China has 73% of the cases and 19.3% of the cases are spread over Italy, South Korea and Iran. So how can these 4 nations impact the world economy to THAT extent? Lets not forget that the global fatality is still around 3.4%, all whilst the cases in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Singapore, Austria, and Canada are without fatalities (at present), as such the overreaction is large and WYSIWHY is as I personally see it the stage.

Yet this is not about that, even as the beer virus (Corona) is staged to you in ‘E3 2020 is on a knife-edge right now – and it could end the gaming show for good‘ by Techradar (at https://www.techradar.com/news/e3-2020-is-on-a-knife-edge-right-now-and-it-could-end-the-gaming-show-for-good), there are a few important parts here and it is time to call the spades that they are not diamonds (or hearts for that matter). 

As I personally see it, there is a larger rift between Sony and Microsoft and it is coming to blows soon enough. Sony wants to be slightly cheaper than the Microsoft product, all whilst the Microsoft presentations are hiding the simple fact that they DO NOT want to reveal the storage space on their contraption. Look at all the presentations over the last year, it is all about hype creation, all whilst storage is a massive part of a console, no matter how you play, you need storage and for almost a year Microsoft steered away from it in any way they could and for them the E3 is coming too soon to feel comfortable. More importantly, in 2013 they had this ‘always online‘ part and it nearly destroyed the Xbox as a product, now they are afraid to come out and play as the kids would say, they are all into hype creation, whilst essential issues like price and storage are averted. I give them a pass on price this early, not on storage, because if the systems is this ready, the storage is known, even if there are multiple options. 

Microsoft desperately needs WYSIWHY and the people in gaming have had enough of that stage. The Techradar article mentions Microsoft once, a player that distinct in the E3 history, to see it only once, implies (for me at least) that this is about avoidance. Sony has had a great run and it has the benefit of a huge PS population, it is ahead by a lot. To be honest, if the PS5 is $100 more expensive than the Microsoft version, I will still go for the Sony option, as I personally see and feel it, there was too much treason by Microsoft towards me, too much harassment towards online and too much bricks on the road for the offline players (not to mention all the advertisements on my XBox One home page), intentional limitations is as much of an harassment than anything else and Microsoft is out of options with me.

There are a few options, especially as the E3 trade show is a moneymaker, merely delaying it would already be a clear alternative, no the talk is ‘cancellation’ and it does not sit well with me (so far ESA has clearly denied any cancellation of the E3). Yes, even as the corona cases are blatantly out of proportions (the shouting that is), we see no foul in delaying the E3 event, cooler heads prevail and I see that the E3 might have to be delayed, yet for how much, that is the question, also, as the E3 is getting closer to the end of the year, the PS5 and the Microsoft alternative could actually be presented to players, as such I see that there is a lot more going on. Nintendo has a hard time ahead, but the Switch is so switched on that it will stay standing in the upcoming Sony vs Microsoft battle, but Microsoft does not want that, you see with the Nintendo Switch surpassing Microsoft on lifetime sales the stage is not pretty for Microsoft, they were willing to grudgingly be in second place, but to get to a trade show where the weakest processor sells better then the most powerful one, especially as pricing is seemingly not the issue is too unsettling for Microsoft, until they can hype some kind of a win over the other two, they want to avoid the E3 completely, yet the E3 is more than these three, the game makers (Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sega and others) are also a factor, they are the people also enticing the audience and even as we see good things, we see that Ubisoft is in terrible danger. First we get “The Division 2 is still having a few issues, despite the release of a new update. The issue appears to be affecting Xbox One owners, who are unable to login because their characters are locked.” (source: the Express), then there were a load of issues with Breakpoint, Digital Trends gave us yesterday “Ubisoft will try to save Ghost Recon Breakpoint with huge overhaul, new modes” this is on what some would call ‘an old system’, and it seems that they are nowhere near ready to go to the new systems, whatever presentation they bring with get nitpicked by thousands and Ubisoft might not ready for that as I personally see it because they could not properly test games (as the released evidence shows or muzzle their marketing department until it was safe for them to create hypes).

Bethesda’s largest issue was Fallout 76, and that is fair. They gave us two days ago “Just Because It Didn’t Go Well Doesn’t Mean It Was Wrong to Try Something Different“. OK I support that part, trying something new could break the bank, it did with the Nintendo Switch, and there is no shame in trying and failing (Nintendo WiiU anyone?) This is how gaming goes. When you are on the edge of what is possible, doing the same will not get you anywhere, I personally was not up for Fallout 76 (I prefer my games single player), as such Pete Hines is correct and beyond that, until they have something that is really ready on PS5/XBox, they might prefer to remain quiet, I get that. The E3 is too big and it is possible that some makers don’t have anything ready at that point and that is fine, but the fact that no one has anything, that becomes too weird.

If I can design a gaming idea in 8 hours, so can those who are better at it then me, that is merely a simple truth to behold and the cancellation of the E3 does not make sense. Yes it makes sense for Microsoft (for all the expected reasons) and it makes sense for Ubisoft (for all their unfortunate events), yet there is more than these two and there is so much to behold in gaming land that it is sad to see so much depend on the PS5/XBox to falter (whilst some are hiding behind a bottle of Corona).

As Techradar finishes with “given the melting pot of illness, behind-the-scenes disagreements, and online distribution channels threatening its survival. And the status of E3 2020 could be decided any day now. We’ll keep you informed either way” we see that nothing is set in tone, but the flexibility to avoid issues are in play, we get part of that. 

So let’s look at the elements

  1. Illness. Not an issue, the delay could optionally avoid that and give rise to solving another part.
  2. Behind-the-scenes disagreements. OK, we accept that, but that has always been the case, in this stage we see that Microsoft and Ubisoft are in a massive negative swing, so do these two players have THAT much swing on the E3?
  3. Online distribution channels. Not an issue educating and buying a muzzle for your marketing department solves that. What is hyped is an issue, but only to the hyper, online distribution channels have been a larger issue for much longer and the NDA tends to solve several issues, in addition, barring those who break the NDA is also a solution, the fact that they can never get nfo ever again also makes them unemployable, so people tend to take these parts serious. It also implies that the smaller fry gets left out which is not a bad thing, there are plenty of larger players that have (to the best of my knowledge adhered to the NDA states, as such just the muzzling of their marketing department remains, hiring the right people tends to solve that.
  4. New: E3 2020 Creative Directors Resign, OK that is an optional event, there is a larger issue in play and it is not merely the running aways by Creative Directors. There is not enough information to judge the actions of iam8bit, and the actions by Geoff Keighley give rise to a lot more and this has nothing to do with any fear of any case of the flu. 

As we look at the stage of the E3, the amount of questions rising within me is increasing almost exponentially, no matter how certain paths go, anywho has ever planned for an event will tell you that largest contributors walking out past the 90% point is not merely rare, it should be grounds for a large open debate towards what is really going on, in that same trend we see the walking off by Geoff Keighley and the face he presented towards gaming at so many events should also be the foundation of questions.

What you see is not what we are getting and the media is actually part of the problem here, and it is seen in other ways too, as CCN gave us on February 15th (at https://www.ccn.com/this-company-wants-to-save-e3-2020-and-its-inviting-keanu-reeves-for-the-ride/) ‘This Company Wants to Save E3 2020, and It’s Inviting Keanu Reeves for the Ride‘, we can optionally argue that this is the coolest invitation that Keanu Reeves ever got for St. Valentine, the truth is that he is more than a crowd pleaser, as actor, as the actor for the John Wick stories, as the man playing Silverhand in CD Projekt Red ‘Cyberpunk 2077‘ it is one of the better thoughts, yet Limited Run Games (the company behind this action) is largely unknown and so far the media is ignoring all this and I see no refusal or denial from the agent of K. Reeves (as far as I was able to look into this). As CCN (in their article) gives a lot more, we see the stage that makes no sense, The E3 is a lot larger than the mere product makers, there are the entertainers, the software makers and there are multiple event carriers in place, the math doesn’t add up on my side and the media gives too little attention to this (the news media, not the gaming media).

When a global event like E3 is on such a stage, how can the news media remain silent to such a degree? Lets not forget that the event is 3 months away, optionally 5-6, as such there is a much larger stage in play, can you all see that? For the most I steered clear of the  Electronic Software Association (ESA), I am not stating that they are not a factor, but I have no idea what factor they are and what their agenda is in all this, even as we see statements like ‘ESA says E3 2020 still going ahead as planned‘, we cannot say what the finite standing is, they will have to take the Coronavirus as a factor, because there are costs for moving an event like this and as such there is a financial path to consider, I am not denying that in some cases. 

The math doesn’t add up and the stage is too large, whatever is plaguing E3 has a much larger issue that is not reported on and it seems to me (paranoia comfortably setting in) that this might be a case of the media having to deal with people who are either shareholders, stakeholders, or advertisers. Yet this is merely my take on the stage.

Is it true?

Well that remains to be seen, until the end of last month Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Bethesda were all confirmed (more were), so I have to remain skeptical at the whole ‘cancellation’ hype, yet there are rumours in the weeds that the cancellation drive is growing and two players cancelling at this point implies that the cancellation drive is not non-existent. There are optionally more issues in the field, one is ‘Top Rainbow Six Siege creators call for Ubisoft to prevent harassment and ‘stream sniping’‘ (source: Windows Central) which is nothing against Ubisoft as a company or a product maker, but it is fallout that they have to deal with, as such I also accept “Ubisoft has made strides in tackling cheating and toxicity, top content creators voice concerns over tools to protect broadcasters“, we can argue that there needs to be ample protection against cheaters, yet against bullies it becomes a different matter, what can you allow for to keep the game as open as it is without restraining valid gamers beyond valid measures, it is an optional headache that Ubisoft doesn’t need and more clearly does not deserve. In addition to all this, there are several software houses pulling titles from the NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW service. This will also lead to all kinds of questions, as such we see that this E3 has an enormous amount of questions and this will be the first E3 lacking all kinds of answers, we can expect a whole range of spin answers, but actual answers? I fear the worst at present.

At present there is no cancellation of the E3, yet I believe that if this does happen during the week, whatever factor is given to the Coronavirus will be off by at least 50%, it is in my humble opinion too much about certain people needing it not to happen because of very different factors, the Coronavirus was seemingly no more than a happy coincidence.

 

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Change the question

If the answer does not fit the situation, change the question. It is one one of the oldest concepts in political sciences and Microsoft needs to hold onto that thought. Even as we saw a little over two weeks ago ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, we see the setting, but we forget that the Xbox One, the most powerful gaming system was surpassed by the PS4 in the early beginning and has been surpassed by the weakest gaming system (Nintendo Switch) as well. So as Microsoft people are making some claim of “we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward“, they are leaving out that Google Stadia has the option of beating Microsoft as well, leaving Microsoft in 5th of 6 positions. And as I see it, there is no guarantee that Apple will remain in 6th position, implying that in the console war, Microsoft will end up being the massive loser of the lot. 

Reasons (as I believe them to be)

I believe that stupidity (read: non-comprehension), deafness (the lack of listening to gamers) and the short sighted Azure stage all interfered with the Xbox. And that is before people realise that bullying people to go online as well as having a 1TB system and the lacking the options for gamers to replace the drive without nullifying the warranty. All solutions that Sony adhered to in a much earlier stage, after which the brilliant execution by Nintendo (with their Switch) pushed the console to third position, two elements that could have been fixed upfront in 2012, is now the massive anchor chain around the neck of Microsoft games and I believe that it was the board of Microsoft that pushed stupidity, not Phil Spencer, issues that could have been fixed in the month of release never was and now the people are a little fed up with Microsoft and left for happier shores. More importantly, Sony and Nintendo are actually not rivals, they both have packages of software that are not competing, in a more drastic light, the group that has the larger console next to the docking station of the Nintendo Switch is growing fast.

And in all this, the PS5 is coming (as well as the new Microsoft console) leaving Microsoft behind even further, even as some might bite towards the hype creation video’s, there are a lot of gamers that are not willing to trust Microsoft anymore, implying that Microsoft is heading for even more news of dread on a large scale. It is still too early to tell, yet the video’s we see are still part of the hype creation whilst essential facts are left out. For example (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nl9Aj8N7ew) we see the hype of SSD, yet the size and size options are left out of the equation, all whilst the hype is hiding behind all those lovely downloads, it is interesting how size (which actually matters here) is left untouched. Whilst we see ray tracing and 4K, everyone is forgetting that this implies the need of 50Gb-100Gb per game extra. for example Fallout 4 required 100GB install sizes as a minimum in 4K, so with a 1TB drive it will only hold 8 games like that, or the essential need to reinstall games, especially in RPG, size will be an issue, yet not only that Gears of War 4, for example, required a chunk the size of 103GB so count your chooks and smoke those! And that is before you consider the storage that 8K gaming takes. 

This is merely one source, yet the amount of sources (including Microsoft) is vague on the space available, they give “NVMe SSD (we’ve heard read speeds of anywhere up to 2GB/s)“, just the size of their bloody drive is avoided as much as possible by everyone. Even at this stage, several sources make the claim that the PS5 will have 2TB (which is not enough) yet in the past we could upgrade that drive to our content without invalidating the warranty, and at present you can get 4TB for $650. Yes, I understand that not everyone needs that and that is fine, there are however plenty of gamers who want to upgrade and as the price is now $650, there will be every indication that this price within the first year will diminish by a lot (as it always does), the idea of 4K gaming without space restrictions is a lot more realistic in 4TB than in what the Xbox has done so far (1TB), as such the issues will become cumbersome sooner, not later. 

Microsoft never learned that lesson, all whilst Sony told the users what the needs were and they could upgrade at their own leisure. Microsoft did not see a reason to offer that, because you could buy a second drive, which means more stress on the machine, another cable and more devices, whilst most people merely wanted one device.

The Nintendo (Sony too) never had the demanded requirement to be online, you could sync when you were online and that was a gift to many, Xbox demanded to be online with their little issues (like achievements). So, whilst the Tech Insider gave us last week ‘The price of the PlayStation 5 may top $450, and that could cost Sony the next major battle with Xbox in the console wars‘, I personally have a hard time believing that this is the actual case, the drawbacks that Microsoft pushes for and the benefits that the PS5 give you leave us with the reality that $450 (perhaps $499) is not the worst feeling for all the benefits that Sony offers. 

It is in that same article that offers “More than just a high price, the history of video game console pricing dictates that charging over $US400 for a new game console is likely to result in a sales flop.” Really? When was that? Perhaps you all forget about the Xbox 360, I paid $699 for that one and it was a hell of a lot more successful than the Xbox One ever was, almost 100% more successful. And that was with the 20Gb drive, the 120Gb drive was an additional $119, an amount I was happy spending, giving me all that storage space. The PS3 was initially $599, and that was before I replaced the 60GB for a 300GB solution ($79 extra), Yet, we now need more storage, but that is the consequence of resolution, and that is all before we consider the offline issue. You see in many places internet is a drag, not all the customers of a console live in London or New York, as such there are places where the broadband is an issue (the places are more and more rare nowadays), yet when we consider that the EU gave Belgium (the entire nation) a fine because its internet was too slow, how much fun will streaming and downloading of games bring? And they are not alone (but the group is not that big either), yet these are all issues that Microsoft does not seem to ‘care’ about, they still bully (as I personally see it) people to be online. Good luck!

The Dutch give us that around 180.000 houses will get 9 MB.sec maximum, so there is that, and I believe that there is a group that is between that and the 30MB/sec minimum of streaming, and that is before we consider the additional issues of going online and updating your profile or download patches. Or perhaps you want to consider “Many rural areas of France have slow and unreliable internet connections” and lets not forget that these are the better places in Europe to be in. We still avoid Germany and a few other places, so in all, there is a group of Europeans that are not regarded as gaming material by the Microsoft standards, they can be happy with the other two players, as such they will not be unhappy, but it shows just how far behind Microsoft is, they could have fixed their issues a long time ago and for them issues will be harder soon enough.

So as we change the question from the price of a console (‘Xbox Series X Vs. PlayStation 5: Microsoft Is Still Holding A Huge Wild Card‘ source: Forbes), to who will have the infrastructure to enjoy their console, Microsoft is not doing that great at present. So even as Forbes gives us: “Sony has been struggling to get its build price for the PlayStation 5 below $450“, all whilst we see that the PS4 Pro 1TB (on Amazon is $319), whilst the launch date was set to $399, in a stage where we now see a new console, well over twice as powerful with an SSD drive and a few other issues, in that setting $500 is not the weirdest price and even as Microsoft beats that, the downside that the issues that Microsoft has not fixed is still dragging their gamers down (as I personally see it).

As I see it, Sony has over time done what Microsoft seems to refuse: ‘How can I include the most gamers towards our Sony console‘, they achieved this to a much larger degree by allowing for larger drives (at the need of the gamer) and set the policy towards off-line gaming without having to mess up achievements or other needs, Microsoft never properly fixed it, all whilst the Xbox 360 had that in perfect working order (like the Playstation then). So whilst Microsoft needs to consider a switch (pun intended) from the board of director choice of console towards a gamers need for a console, we see that their need to change is massive and at present missing, they are much more in the need of some hype creation whilst the gamers miss out too much and that is not including the lack of exclusive console games.

No matter how we slice it, the Sony consoles have an advantage and Microsoft has too much to catch up on, we will see how 2020 ends and as both systems gain traction over 2021, we will see who ends up being the winner, my money is on PS5, price difference or not, when the first issue hits the Xbox Two (or Scarlett), the people will start running towards the Sony solution fast and hard, there will always be those who worship the Xbox and that is fine, dedication is part of the gamer credo and as such there will be enough people going for the Xbox Two, yet the population of the Sony system is well over twice as large, with backward compatibility on both systems, the numbers on the Sony side will unlikely be the one dwindling down, the fact that the PS4 games work and they will now work in 4K mode, will imply that there will be a dozen games that will be replayed under those conditions. The idea of my replaying my Fallout 4, God of War 4, Skyrim, Horizon Zero Dawn and several others can now be admired in 4K is appealing. Yes, I know that the Pro and the Xbox One X had these options, yet buying a new console and a 4K TV was not in the cards, in addition, I was really happy with my PS4 original edition, now I will (have to) upgrade both, especially as I can now get a 4K TV for well under $400, which is a lot cheaper than it was in 2016 (almost 1/3rd the price), so well worth the change.

When we change the question we can look at the old axiom, we can have something cheap, fast or better, but we can only select 2 of the 3, I believe that in gaming, most people will select fast and better quality and accept the price that comes with it, because when the numbers pan out, I will have used my PS4 for almost 7 years and in all 7 years without any issues at all (one small one in the very beginning), only now 7 years later am I in a more essential need to upgrade my 2TB drive, that is a very good run (and deleting 1-5 games makes sense in this day and age). All whilst I had that issue on and off with the Xbox One since I had it past 2 years, so as such the PS4 was efficient and banked on my needs, other systems should take a lesson from that.

Cheap system – Expensive system

Fast system – Slow system

Good Quality – Bad Quality

What will be your needs? And in the end, will the two choices you make hinder or help you, in finality, how will you feel when the choice you made hit you in a less nice way?

When I look at those questions, I am left with the personal conviction that Sony wins, which is actually a large issue when you compare the PS3 and the Xbox360, Microsoft gave up the benefit that they had and they only got surpassed near the next gen console release dates, an advantage they lost completely in one generation of console, we seem to forget that. Which is weird because even today, the Xbox 360 is still played by some and the games have always been decently amazing, even by today’s standard in gaming (not referring to resolution). It took Sony nearly everything to keep up with the Xbox360, a field they need not worry about with the nextgen systems and optionally even less with what comes.

Now Microsoft needs to wonder if they can get close to the Nintendo Switch, an issue that the PS5 is less likely to have, that is how I see it and whilst Microsoft hides behind ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, all whilst the reasoning should be how can we become part of the larger population again, we see the optional stage where Microsoft is no longer worthy of real consideration, a sad day for gamers indeed.

 

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Value of original gaming IP

When my mind designed the sequels to a new Elder Scrolls game, Far Cry and Watchdogs I did not care about the revenue, I did not care about the revenue factors in gaming franchise, I was merely one creative mind devising new ways and new stories, because the story is everything, it really is. 

Consider the intro and staging of Far Cry 3 against Far Cry 5, the stage of Assassin’s Creed 2 versus AC Unity, or AC Origins versus AC Odyssey and you might get a glimpse of that setting. In all honesty, I never considered revenue in any of it, but I realise that it is a driving force of the houses that publish them. Lets face it, would Mario exist if we did not consider the value of the $650 million it represents? In that same light Call of Duty, GTA, FIFA and Zelda, they all represent a serious level of coins. As such I see the need to continue some franchises, yet  wonder when we test their push for the storyline, how far will some get?

Consider in all this that the Elder Scrolls represent less than a billion, Skyrim alone represents half a billion dollars and has sold over 20,000,000 copies. And let’s face it, we always want to do better than the previous one, which is what drove me to set the story design of Elder Scrolls: Restoration.

Yet even as we see more versions of a game, Apple and Google are driving the need for original IP, it is the larger drive in gaming, not because it is Apple and google, but because the makers see that the original IP can be the beginning of a massive drive towards a system. There is also the fact that when we get a new system we do not want to play the same game over again on that system. 

Yet there are exceptions and they tend to be System driven. The Last of us on PS3 and PS4. Skyrim xbox360 – Xbox one and PS3 – PS4. Pretty much anything involving Mario, and the list goes on, yet Google and Apple do not have that yet and they need to rely on original IP to get the people in. That part was shown all the way back to the Nintendo 64 and the first PlayStation. 

IP that is owed is easier to evolve and more important, when the first game is a hit, it tends to be easier on revenue expectations as well. However, as we look at Apple, we see the need and the logic to have the subscriptions, yet when we see a game like Pilgrims with a mere 14,000 subscribers, the path for Apple is still less than stellar. Now we can push franchises like No Man’s Sky (Hello Games) there, however if Apple is to make a name for itself, it needs original IP, an original RPG, and original racing game and so on. that will drive sales, that will drive longevity in gaming and in a $120 billion industry last year alone, it makes sense to carve a name for yourself.

Yet there is also the stage where the expected and the non-considered walk. When I started to first design an original IP, was it truly original? It was (for the most) and I even added a new game mode that none had considered. Arcade is the way we consider, yet who has considered ‘historically accurate’ as a game mode? 

In this I wanted a more original RPG were the stage is Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden mapped), where you start in the land and get a choice of three places to start, from there you grow your village, grow your interest on the terrain and grow, after which you need to plunder, need to destroy your neighbours and add to your place (and take it from there), an RPG where you can set the rune tone to one god and receive the back handed prayers in success. Yet how can we link ‘Arcade’ and ‘historically accurate’? Well there we get the test of how good a person can play and basically they play two games. Even as a person buys provisions (with real cash) to get an advantage, they buy more, because the purchase in an arcade also comes with a ‘boon coin’ in the ‘historically accurate’. So if a person buys a load of fish in Arcade, they also get a boon coin with a fish in the historically accurate, which sets the chance to find a fish shoal to 100% there. Get two for the price of one. The same for weapons where a kart is bought for one side and the other side gets the smithing coin, giving them a 100% chance of a quality forged weapon. I even set out the stage that an actual player in one village would influence the growth in the virtual version where another player is a neighbour (like choice of stone, location and direction of growth)

I also wanted to make sure that ‘historically accurate’ was there to show that life is not a game and when we slice and dice like in Viking: Battle for Asgard, yet I thought that the game was too small, it was too easily defeated (except the boss at the end) and even as the game had good points, I wanted to see this game in a much larger setting. I wanted compelling to translate to addictive and I wanted a lot more to stand out, I also wanted to make sure that the choice of a god rune had a much larger impact, so over time as people played the game, they would have a new experience if the village rune stone was not set to Odin, but to Loki, Thor, Balder, Frigg, Vidar, or Tyr. What benefit do you want to see? And when chosen in Arcade it will be the set stone for ‘historically accurate’ as well. As such as the history of your village evolves we see that people realise that the impact one would hope for in Arcade would have a different term in the ‘historically accurate’ (HA), we forget in playing that famine was a real think in those days, as was disease and that could go from village to village. We could push it to Greece on the same premise and see where this leads, yet Scandinavia where the weather would have a much larger impact seems to be a more preferred personal feeling in this. So how many games take that into consideration? 

Yes, games like Fallout have a survival mode and there we see “The only means of physically saving the game is to sleep in a bed, on a mattress or in a sleeping bag. The exit save function is still available, but is a temporary save that is deleted automatically upon loading“, it is almost like hardocre mode in Diablo, how many times did you have to die before you figured out that running into batle is as stupid as it could be? As such the HA mode will give the player a much larger consideration to what he’s doing, it is not intend to drive microtransactions, which is why you can optionally only buy stuff in the arcade mode and only the real gamers and winners will get through the game without ever buying anything, that is why I would add an achievement named ‘no purchase required’, how many games heralded the need to not embrace microtransactions? 

It was a stage that my mind evolved over a few days and that is the easy part of the creative element in a game, I wonder how many creative minds are out there in the gaming industry, because I feel personally that people like Sean Murray and David Braben are as rare as it gets in this industry (no insult to other game makers intended), for me it is a stage where I see where places like Apple Arcade (and Google Stadia) are and where they go, so far I am actually not that impressed, not when it comes to companies this big.

 

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Changing the headline

It started (for me) around 6 hours ago when Emma Boyle at Techradar gave us ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘, which sounds nice, yet the initial problem for Ubisoft will be to make proper games, an initial essential requirement. As I see it, Ubioft lost their edge and now they are using PR and marketing to make it into ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘ (at https://www.techradar.com/au/news/ubisoft-is-aiming-to-create-more-unique-games-with-an-editorial-shake-up), proper games are made not merely by innovative designers and thinkers, but it requires a team of methological thinkers to properly test the game, they need a few wild cards to make sure that ‘stupid choices’ are optionally caught. We are now all about the results of The Division 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, yet the fuming disasters of Assassins Creed Unity are still not forgotten. All whilst Far Cry 4 was more of the same (not a flaw and not the worst idea), yet the short sighted impact of Ubisoft needs to be seen where the bungle of a title is best prevented, at the very top (Yves Guillemot). I have had my issues with Yves Guillemot, yet he does have a proper business instinct and that is something that Ubisoft needs as well. The eyes are now all on Watchdogs: Legion which is approaching release and the idea, concept and work on it is pretty amazing. It takes Watchdogs in another dimension, one that we have not seen before (as far as I know) and it could make way for an entirely new Cyberpunk line. Yet the story is merely one part, it is the release and the initial feel that matters and to be honest, with previous blunders, I would feel more relaxed if they delay it to fix things BEFOREHAND, than give us some lame excuse afterwards, because that is marketing for you, get the money first. 

Consider the fact that I was able to initially ‘design’ a new Watch Dogs 3 (playing in Okinawa) in less than 8 hours, setting the initial stage for close to 50-100 hours of gameplay and with the setting of optionally 4 storylines, all set in hypermodern (slightly futuristic) Japan. Each of the storylines was different and a separate play through of the city with other approach options. Taking lessons from past successes and failures to give the people a new experience. And I got there by ignoring the storyline and setting a free roam stage where you could fall into choices. 

Yet Polygon gives on the 17th (at https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/17/21071083/ubisoft-editorial-team-changes-paris-serge-hascoet-yves-guillemot) ‘With all its games looking the same, Ubisoft shakes up its editorial team‘, there we see the words of CEO Yves Guillemot “blamed on a lack of differentiation in consumers’ minds“, it is actually simpler than that, when you try to build game that pleases all, you end up with a product that pleases none, as I see it, it is really that simple. And as I personally see it, the quote: “Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will remain in charge of Ubisoft’s editorial group, but that he will be given more subordinates and they will be given more autonomy, so that he is able lead from a broader perspective rather than directing individual projects himself” sounds nice, but will it work out that way? It is merely internal marketing of another kind (I am not laying blame on Serge Hascoet). Ubisoft is in a difficult place and this preemptive setting is merely good for the stage if Watch Dogs: Legion misses out too much, if this goes sideways (which I will not initially expect), the value of Ubisoft will diminish 30%-60%, which would scare the shareholders to no degree.

That this is all marketing (to some point) is seen with: “Guillemot said Breakpoint had “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community” and that it “did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”“, how about the fact that it was littered with bugs? There is a reason why people are happy to wait 12-20 weeks and pick up the game for 75% less, bugs are a main reason. The lack of quality has driven the massive day one release buy to a soft interesting week 5 or later buy. You can only remain with a setting of special editions with optional additions when you do something about the quality, and that had remained absent. As such I hope that the Watch Dogs: Legion delay is also so that it can be properly tested. I also oppose to some degree the statement “the company needed to leave more time between the launches of its live service games so that they aren’t cannibalizing one another’s interest and audience“, yet too many games at the same time is an issue, but it is not merely about Ubisoft, the game designers ALL want to capture the audience, even as they all know that the consumer in this day and age can only afford one new game, the stage is still set to getting them all. So as we then get into comparing Breakpoint against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, we saw how Activision kicked the hell and nearly all life out of Breakpoint, that danger would have been a lot less if it had been properly tested. Activision also took a stand, as we take notice of “Modern Warfare’s single-player campaign focuses on realism and feature tactically-based moral choices whereupon the player is evaluated and assigned a score at the end of each level” (source: GamesRadar). Making of forcing a choice is not debilitating, bad testing is, that simple truth hit Breakpoint at least twice over, and as such if became the failure it is (as I personally see it). In all this, the power of better testing will enable ALL games from Ubisoft and making sure that the release date is not what marketing it makes out to be, but when development states that it is ready is a second part in all this. They forget that in the end it is the gamer who wants it and as CD Projekt Red has proven twice over, it comes when it is ready, and as I see it their 93% rating proves them right, which opposes 57% from Breakpoint and it sets a different precedent, it makes the gamers wonder if Ubisoft is still a AAA developer, a question they never really asked before, as I see it Watch Dogs: Legion will push that question to a larger degree in a much larger population making the 60% loss more and more direct, in this I am trying to remain an optimist, the losses could be larger.

The clear message becomes, that Ubisoft better get it right with Watchdogs, if that fails several franchises could be up for grabs for very little, because that is also the curse of shareholders, they will sell, as long as they break even in the deal and for now, that is not the case.

I for one would be a little sad, Ubisoft is a French company, to see a non American (or Japanese) company be this successful was an interesting side, it opened others to the idea that good games did not need come from either two countries (CD Projekt Red also proved that) in all, France has too much on the anvil and they could win and remain or lose a lot, it is not a great place to be, but the two elements I gave out could limit losses to some degree and there is no fault or damage to shift a release date, that is just junk others thrown into the mix. 

And it is not over for Ubisoft, as we see how top title after top title is making an impact on Nintendo Switch, there is a lot from Ubisoft that does have a massive following and they could again. Consider FarCry III on Switch, and even as some are already on Switch, they were not the greatest Assassins Creed games (I still do not regard Assassins Creed IV an AC game). More important, as we see Witcher III on Nintendo, where is AC Origins? It was a masterpiece, could that not be transferred? It is easy to look at transfers, but it is also the cheapest way to repair a software house (and it optionally gives low cost and high yield revenue). In addition the setting where a games might take up to 100 hours, yet the main story take no more than 20 hours, making it an unbalanced equation. Set that against a speed run on Witcher 3, which is not my favourite game mode by the way, taking a player no less than 25 hours. As such we should take notice that there is an optional shortfal in some Ubisoft games (not in AC Origins, or AC Odyssey though), as such there is a lot more that Ubisoft can do, especially in Watch Dogs: Legion and as I personally see it, they better do that BEFORE the game is released, not as some lame DLC excuse (free or not). All this is coming to roost at Ubisoft even before that new Microsoft contraption and the Sony PS5 are released. It shows just how much Ubisoft needs to get fixed and not in a marketing way. They actually remained in the game longer than I anticipated, but as far as I (and others) can tell, they are running out of options, so whether we see an obituary of Ubisoft in the coming year, or a revitalisation is up to the big chair, the quality of games is not something they can short change the gamer on again, they have done that too often (as I personally see it) and the entire “but we fixed it” will not hold water, not this time, there are too many competitors at present.

Their first-person shooter is up against Activision (80%), their RPGs are up against Guerrilla Games  (90%) and CD Projekt Red (92%), and several other games are up against Santa Monica Studio (94%). It goes on and Ubisoft needs to see that they are not alone and that others are winning the gamer share that Ubisoft once had, it is the direct result of sub-standard delivery on quality all that whilst we see that there is no other group that is so into gossip like gamers, mistakes like this become the setting of failure within hours of day one sales and there is a larger group no longer running out on day one, they are largely becoming week 2 buyers (at best)  when it comes to Ubisoft games, as I personally see it, when a gamer gets to spend their cash once on a new game twice a year, that new game better be really good. 

That is the setting that Ubisoft faces and marketing will not save them this time. As to what the new headline should be, I leave that up to the reviewers who took over from me, I looked at games for 13 years, I gave a view of games to two generations and even as I still love games, it had become time (in 2000) for others to take over, yet I never stopped looking at games with a critical eye (yet enjoying them became my number one priority). No matter what story you see published, Guillemot must be realising that his time is over, I will admit that even as For Honor was never my cup of tea, it was unique and amazing as a title, even as it was a multiplayer title, Ubisoft outdid themselves that time around. I recognise that there are plenty of games that are not my cuppa tea, yet that does not stop me from admiring excellence, for Honor delivered, and they are not alone. 

As I stated, changing the headline would give us the real issue and I think the headline should be ‘If we had only given more time to testing out product‘, it might end up being a lousy obituary, but the truth tends to be that, lousy and hard hitting. In the end, we will need to wait until later (after Q2) 2020 to see where Ubisoft is going and what the optional gamer will buy from that point onwards. Yet this is all happening whilst some of the others are solely focussed on getting their one games out. So no matter how we personally see it, Ubisoft is in a vice and they basically put themselves there, considering that AC Origins was a 2017 release. When you get articles on ‘Here are the best (worst) <insert title> bugs‘, you have an actual problem and with 2 years of bugged titles, something should have been done a long time ago, especially as I personally see it that this issue has been around since 2012 to an increasing degree (I will abstain from the ‘to a larger degree’) expression. I understand that NO GAME is absent of bugs, Ubisoft merely has too many of them and for the most they are all over the web and YouTube, so it is not merely my view, as per illustration have a look at the funny parts (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykcA3yKPolY), it is merely the tip of the iceberg and we all know what happened to the Titanic when they wanted their drinks on the rocks.

 

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And the laurels go to

It is that time of the year, with 13 days to go and no new titles in sight it is time to look at what I consider to be the best games of 2019. This year I particularly look at value, graphics, sound and gameplay still matter, yet in the past value was underrated, in my mind the re-release of Tomb Raider is still the cause of this, a game that is truly a Tomb Raider game, yet way too short, the graphics the sound it was all sublime, yet I am not paying $99 for a game I finish in under 10 hours in hard mode, that is just not on. The makers made a massive miscalculation there, whilst the feel of the game was great. As such value needs to be a massive factor nowadays, it is also the reason why I never touched any of the sequels.

Resident Evil 2 (Remake)

I had a few issues with adding this title, I played the original on the (very first) Sony Playstation, as such I wondered whether it should be allowed to go in, yet the changes in the game, setting up barricades, having limited resources and the fact that you always need to look behind you made a jittery boy out of me, I believe that some puzzles were easier (to get into), but the overall need in the game makes it a Resident Evil Plus edition, it rips your nerves whilst you play, and I personally advise you not to play that in a dark room, especially if you brothers and sisters in the house playing a game of let’s give that player a heart attack, you will piss your pants (believe me you will). The atmosphere is coming with an attached level of graphics and decent music, the sounds are amazing (or awful pending on your point of stress). Capcom outdid itself when it decided to re-release the original Resident Evil 2, you can play as either Clair Redfield or Leon Kennedy and they are basically two games, there are some changes and the two issues that bothered me the most is limit of ammo and managing your inventory, which by the way is the central issue in survival, so it works out nicely for all you survival fans. Considering that this is a remake of a 20 year old game made me realise how perfect the makers had the game in the old days and I never appreciated it to that degree, even as I gave it one of the highest scores in those days. Resident Evil 2 (remake) is pretty much a must on every PS4 (pro), if you like the genre, if not keeping it around to give your dad a try into gaming (and a heart attack) is a solid second reason. 

Sekiro: Shadows die twice

I had a go when it came out and I loved it, yet budget reasons made me leave it off my ownership list, now that the game has been made a GOTY title it becomes an uppassable need to own, the graphics are great yet it feels very non-western, crouch walking in the shrubs gives it stealth and the setting where we attack from behind also gives the edge to the fight, I like the entire stealth part, yet the idea that I was 50% above the shrubs whilst no guard saw me was a little unsettling, the game is actually more than that, the gameplay is very much intuitive and makes for a much better experience, there is also the feeling that I missed a few things on every level IO played and comparing that to time played gives rise that value is well set. The fights themselves from the very first level give rise to a larger stage where the button mashers will not live long, not even after the second attempt make the game more testing and keeps it closer to a Bloodbyrne experience, but let me tell you now not to compare them, the same with Nioh, they are all set around a tactical approach and Sekiro fits in there nicel, so those who loved any of those games will see a fight style they love, you are at times (quite often) attacked, and even whilst you can not avoid them, you can dodge them and you will have to if you want to stay alive, the game relies on counter attacks and second actions to give you the upper hand, a stage I found refreshing compared to Nioh and Bloodborne, Sekiro feels more tactical that way, the choices you make have impact, the considerate and cautious fighter tends to win, seeking out WHEN you make your move is important and Sekiro has gone to great lengths to make it close to utterly perfect, so good luck finding some AI flaw and exploit it. Breaking the oppositions posture and position tend to be winning choices and there are several bosses, all very different in how they attack, each a puzzle in its own right. Oh and it’s important not to lose your focus in this game, I did so once (my phone rang), that one second was enough to get killed, Sekiro is unforgiving that way and for me that was half the appeal. This game is near perfect and one hell of a journey (as far as I got). 

The outer worlds

I am in my heart an RPG lover, I never made any secret of that and this game delivers. I am not making any attempt to hide my discomfort regarding that one person who made a 12 minute YouTube on how to get the game done in that time, any person who sees that as a solution is not really an RPG lover, it is like running all over No Man’s Sky, a real RPG lover looks at where he is and takes in the views he /she is offered and the Outer Worlds does not disappoint, I personally believe that too many views are colour tainted or look too non-terran for the impact and that is a little sad, but in the story it all makes sense. I did like the steampunk feel the game had, it was fun to be in that world (too many RPG’s stay away from the steampunk vibe). The game has humour, good looks and decent ploys in the game, there are often more than two actions you can take and even as you forget option number three, it could be the one placing you in best position. Important is that this comes from the makers of Fallout: New Vegas and their fingers are on the button often, you see and feel that yet what you often forget is that this is not a main development house, a B-level maker that is giving you a AAA game that is much better than a house like Ubisoft has given us in the last few years. That part matters, because when we see graphics, value, sound, music and gameplay, we see that Outer Worlds passed a test unlike any, I regard it as a beautiful game, I personally like the fact that the game adjusts and appreciates the stealthy player (me) and there were some nice benefits there, overall the Outer worlds is a good game for RPG fanatics and actually a decent game for those who never dabbled in RPG, the learning curve is good that way and the game seems to like all kinds of gameplay. 

Those are the three titles for 2019 hat I found worthy of being a game of the year, I will say here that I have not looked at Death Stranding yet (budget), and there are a few more titles out there, as some papers give you a list of 20, I personally do not regard some as they were either not on console, or I merely looked past them, these three titles are well above board and well above gaming standards to stand out. Even when we look at last year we see a small drop in new titles, I get that, there is every chance that the large houses are focussing on the two new consoles, apart from Ubisoft releasing such a disappointing game, a AAA releases an actual bad game, the 40% rating that it got is a specific one, yet there was also a 3/10 and metacritic had a mere 55/100, Ubisoft had dropped the ball to THAT degree. The fact that this game is supposed to have actual DLC is laughingly inappropriate, it shows that there is a new wave of gaming required and I hope that some of the Indie developers take up that challenge. 

Nintendo has always been the odd duck out, yet they gave us two/three games that should be in this list. 

Pokemon Sword/Shield

Pokemon Shield/Sword are the first two. For anyone that has played a Pokemon game there is a joy of changes and adaptations coming their way, the Switch was pretty much maximised for that experience. using the switch to lob balls at the Pokemon, the graphics look larger and the 3D view we see make for a much larger experience and all that whilst the game did not change its core. Now as we see the pokemons in the grass and the environment, we can avoid random fights, we see what is coming our way and we can search for the specific Pokemon in the location, a massive plus, the entire region you see in 3D is still a lot larger than before, so we have more to travel, the fights are like the Gamecube Colosseum had, which is really nice, all that and new pokemons too? Yup, so there is a lot to look forward to, the entire experience made it more fun to play, the initial feeling that we get when we try another Pokemon game (like Ruby in 3DS) was not here, the look and the game was different enough to feel invigorated to play this game, from the very beginning this feeling comes across the experienced pokemon player, so there is that to look forward too. I found the overall look and feel comforting and there is no beating the value of a Pokemon game, even as some might be able to finish the game in 30-40 hours, we see that these people are running to the finish line missing the point that every Pokemon game has had since I started on the Gameboy Advance (sapphire), the game has more than a mere quest and missing out on any side quest because it is not the main quest means that you limit your options and miss approximately 40% of the game. I was especially surprised on the amount of Pokemon’s I had never seen before. Yet another point of consideration to get either of these games. In light of all the enhancements that this game has, it is an absolute must for anyone with a Switch.

Luigi Mansion 3

Another must for the Switch players (and my persoal favourite of the year) and here Nintendo does not (has never) disappointed its players when it comes to sequels, here humour takes a large limelight in this game and even if it does not play in a mansion (its a hotel), even as I missed the second game, I did get the original one the Gamecube and this game is a lot (really a lot) larger, as well as a much larger combination of puzzles and other options once you use a person named Gooigi, the man is too much of a scaredy cat to be a ghostbuster and still this game is the best ghostbusting game I ever saw, the approach to humour in this game is often practical and is without a doubt a setting where this could be the funniest game that Nintendo ever released (crazy bunnies eat your heart out). It is without any doubt in my ghost stricken heart that this is an absolute must for any Switch owner, and I almost forgot about the graphics, they are good, above good. It is like playing a pixar animation game, the switch outdoes an Xbox in no uncertain ways, each floor having a theme look on it and the game took it to a new level, basically a level you have never seen before in this kind of game. In addition the setting where it does not take you to THE next floor, but from level one you go to level 5 for example gives it a nonlinear feel and there is more to find, so like the Mario odyssey game you will revisit places. If there is one part that I missed is the option to upgrade my vacuum ghost sucker. Overall this is an amazing achievement every time I think of this game I want to run home to play it for an hour or so, that level of addiction in gaming is one I have not felt for a long time and needs to be accentuated as well. Nintendo still knows what makes us gamers tick and they show it.

There are two sides to all this, there was no intent, let’s be clear about this, yet the titles I illuminated on consoles have two PS exclusives and the Nintendo exclusives are there too, with this in mind, we see that Microsoft seemingly stayed away from all this, now there might be a clear reason as they are now in the final year before their next console comes out and there is every chance that they want to rule it (which is fair enough) and whether that is the actual reason is not for me to say, but it seems that 2019 was ruled by Nintendo and Sony, which is partially sad and partially just the way it seems to be. Yet overall 2019 was not a great year for gaming, yes there were 5 great games, there was also Jedi: Fallen order and Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which is an alternative that kicks Breakpoints ass. I did no consider either as best game yet they are not bad games and worth consideration, especially when you are a Star Wars fan. I found 2019 to be a little disappointing when it comes to gaming, I accept it as the two new consoles are now a year away and it implies that both Sony and Microsoft are taking the new consoles serious, which implies that release day games on either should be interesting. 

What was your choice in gaming in 2019?

 

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What I experience versus how it is seen

That is a fair issue in gaming, we experience gaming in a different set of parameters and that is how is has been like forever, yet I believe that the constraints of this tug of war has met its end. Gaming is now experienced in a whole range of different slots (online gaming, mobile gaming, console gaming, pc gaming) that people are seeking a red line, there are those who were there before and those who are here now and they both what to get a finality in gaming.

It makes sense, but not to all the gamers in the land. I came from the very beginning. The CBM VIC-20 and the Kempston controllers; there had been a gradual increase to all our controllers and until the first console era (Xbox/PSX2/GC) the stage was set, now we get a whole range of controllers, all set to a stage of someone, and the controllers have been used to gain the upper hand. Luckily the difference between Xbox and PS4 is not huge, so overall we keep abreast of any ‘new’ developments. Now we are getting haptic controllers, which will be a new sensation for some, but the issue is that we need to experience gaming in a real news sense and there the plot fumbles and dies.

Now that we are facing 6 iterations of gaming, it becomes more and more essential to embrace a form of gaming, as gaming is going to enhance our lives and how we interact with the systems we play. Let’s take a look at the options:

  1. Forza Horizon
  2. Tombraider
  3. Minecraft

3 games, three very different games and just these three will benefit differently from whatever controller is out there. Forza the car simulator will need haptic for counter steering, but in the end is is still a controller, Tombraider needs haptic for its bow, yet it is still a person going through mazes, and in Minecraft we get to chop and bow enemies. Yet these games can be played on an of the 6 systems, so how can those systems endure next to one another?

It is a setting what we are getting confronted with when we get headlines like ‘Here’s Why PS 5 With Haptic Feedback Tech Will Change Gaming‘, there is no setting that will get the same on a Microsoft Xbox, and it is not expected to be. Even if Microsoft gives it a different name, they will be around and we get an entire market streak that is befuddled and stated towards misrepresenting what people face. To give you already the go ahead, ASUS gives us “Oh, and the haptics are fantastic. The phone has two vibration motors that deliver excellent feedback during gaming and everyday tasks“, so we get haptics with our mobile gaming as well!

Beyond that Microsoft and Sony give the talk like we expect them to, yet in an age that now include Apple, Google, both streaming and dedicated gaming, as well as Nintendo, what should be there, is not. Instead of finding the differences that make gamers play on different systems, we see a push to make the systems all compatible, so that they all can give us Fallout shelter and Gems of War so it can be equaled on all 6 consoles, with no difference.

Why?

In the next games like Cyberpunk, System Shock, we could get the entire division in another way, when we ADD HARDWARE. When we do not the system takes over, but to set the stage in a field where our mobiles become our virtual keeper, or have an upgraded model that has such a feature, that is not in the plans, and it is so directly essential to create a new awareness of hardware and options.

And the past has been facilitating towards these boundaries, yet neither Sony, nor Microsoft has been considering this jump ever. How weird is that?

Console gaming

Console gaming has not met any changes since the beginning, when we consider the games on the PSX2 versus PSX4, Xbox VS Xbox One X we see a range of software but that is it, where has been the upgraded gameplay? Merely games that merely needed more resources? That has been the setting for al video games at present, and that is now the one element that will stop the next wave. Yet we all want the new powerful console, and for the most we will not care if we go from PS4 to PS5 or from Xbox One X to Xbox Two Ultimate. I merely believe that the one increasing game play to set to PS4/Xbox One X to or PS5/Xbox Two AND install a direct setting to the mobile (depending on game) had an advantage.

And it is not new! Going back to the GameCube, those with a GameCube had the option to link both their GameCube and their Gameboy advance with a cable, in certain games the Gameboy became the mini map, and it is interesting that in an age with apps and blue toots this connection has not been explored more. It goes on beyond the game itself, the gaming center has not been evolved and considered in some social media foundation, it is like they all were waiting for Facebook to take the lead in a world where they wanted to be the only player. A gaming center could be the surrounding world were people would look for like-minded fans, we see that in Google YouTube every day, I wonder if the new consoles set the world in gaming experts, gaming explainers and players. This need is essential for the next gaming world, merely for the reason that gaming is a stage of evolution, at present it stopped evolving and that is a bad sign.

We still have a year ahead of ourselves, I wonder if this year will show a new year of gaming, a new beginning of gaming. I hope it will be so and I hope that the larger players will up the ante towards gaming; it is the only way to up the game.

 

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