The morning Inbox considers the soft launch theory for the Nintendo Switch, as one reader worries about Capcom’s boating obsession.
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So it’s late February now and still we haven’t had any word on any major new VR games from Sony or any other large publisher. With E3 already starting to creep into the news I’m getting the feeling that there probably aren’t going to be any until June or thereabouts. Or maybe not… at all?
Like many I’ve been blown away by PlayStation VR, which is a lot better than I was expecting. Basically more or less as good as the PC headsets that are nearly twice the price (and running on super expensive PCs). But you never hear about it. GC are one of the few sites that actually cover a lot of the indie games but nobody, especially not Sony, seems interested in talking about it.
I understand there are stock problems and so there’s not much point advertising what you can’t sell but shouldn’t there be games at least? I can’t imagine they’re finally going to get the production lines running smoothly and then tell devs to make their games… which will then take one or two years to appear. I just don’t understand the silence. Unless it’s a kind of admission that VR didn’t take off and isn’t going to.
I hope not. But at this point I would be very surprised if Microsoft revealed a headset at E3. It just doesn’t seem like a bandwagon worth jumping on at the moment. At least from the companies’ point of view.
Losing the middlecore
With everyone, rightly, criticising the Switch launch and lack of info I have to wonder whether there really will be any kind of last minute effort from Nintendo. I think, and I’ve heard others voice the same theory, that Nintendo regards this as a bit of a ‘soft launch’, in that if they had their way they wouldn’t have launched it now but at Christmas. But they promised their investors and so we get it now whether it’s ready or not.
The theory is that they’re not really going to promote it much to the mainstream, who as we learnt with the Wii U, will probably have no idea it even exists unless there’s big TV ads and the like. So they wait for them until they’ve got the games and online service to really shout about.
The downside to this of course is that all the naysayers (you know, the ones that had no intention of buying it anyway) will start wailing that Nintendo has learnt nothing and the Switch is repeating the same mistakes again. Now the mainstream won’t hear about this either, but the sort of ‘middlecore’ gamers will, and that could ruin any chances of good word of mouth.
To clear I’m not trying to be an apologist for Nintendo here, this is all their fault. But there is some explanation for the madness.
Age of inconvenience
I have to say it, modern gaming is a joke. I bought Hitman digitally and the game endlessly updates. After two massive updates last month Hitman started crashing back to the Xbox dashboard as soon as I reached the menu screen.
Apparently this is a known problem on the Xbox One, and the only solution I saw mentioned in online forums is to delete the whole game and install it again. So that’s what I’ve done.
The main game has taken an ice age to download. Now I’ve got to download each episode on top of that. What a laborious pain. Why do developers have to update their games so often?
It seems ridiculous that Hitman’s developers updated their game just to break it. That’s like a chef walking up to your table in a restaurant, snatching away your dinner while you’re eating it then returning it in an inedible condition.
If I didn’t love the enhanced version of Grand Theft Auto V so much I’d abandon this generation completely.
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Most people probably don’t care but Sony quietly announced last week that they were going to stop PS Now on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita and the only place you could play it now was PlayStation 4. There’s no point asking why as the answer seems pretty obvious: because nobody was using it/paying for it. And the reason for that seems pretty obvious too: it was too expensive and Sony never advertised it.
What’s not obvious to me though is whether this was a failed experiment or basically just a tech demo they were making money off of on the side, so didn’t really care about. There’s been a lot of talk about how Project Scorpio could help Microsoft to hit the big reset button over the Xbox One, but one area where they also might have an advantage is streaming. Considering how much better Xbox Live is than PSN.
But we really haven’t heard much about that recently. We also, now I come to think of it, haven’t heard much about cloud computing either. Not since Crackdown 3 disappeared from sight. As bad as the Xbox One has done I think it’s often forgotten that Microsoft as a whole has been doing very well lately and I’m surprised they don’t do more to help out their gaming side. Or perhaps they will and we’ll hear more about it at E3…
Can you Bleed 2?
I remember you recently being chagrined about how many good, small games are released that are very easily missed, and as such can I highlight Bleed 2. I played the original on the Xbox 360 and it was a really playable little game with the DNA of Mega Man, Contra, and others in the same vein.
I haven’t played the new one, as I’ve only just come across it accidentally while perusing a French gaming site, but here is a small video (in French) that gives you a flavour of the game.
GC: Thanks for that, here’s an English trailer. We always welcome tips on interesting looking indie games and this looks great.
You pays your money
RE: Ron Orange and admission of microtransactions. I’ll happily admit I pay for cosmetic stuff in games. I tend to not play many games these days, but the ones I do I want to immerse myself in as much as possible and love being able to cosmetically customise them.
Admittedly I won’t pay £1,000 like the example given, but will happily pay £20-40 every now and then on games like Destiny and Halo. I work hard and have a relatively good job, so I don’t understand the snobbery of people judging others for how they decide to spend their money. How does it negatively impact them?
Ultimately, if I want a horse with armour, some armour that looks like a wasp robot or anything else then it’s up to me if I want to pay for it.
Destined to bomb
We all know the Switch’s line-up is pretty bad, but the only other one that catches my eye beyond Zelda is Super Bomberman R. Have you played it GC? If it’s a good version then a go-anywhere copy for eight players sounds pretty good great to me. Especially as the single-player doesn’t seem that bad either.
The only worry of course is the price. I just don’t see how they can justify full price. Not that it isn’t a great game that deserves your money but there are lots of very similar versions available as downloads for £15 or less. I just don’t know who they think is going to buy it if even I’m doubting it, and I’m a big Bomberman fan.
GC: We had a quick go at the hands-on event and It seemed a very good version to us. Given that price though, it’s going to be a very hard game to score.
Although I mostly enjoy single-player games I do appreciate having one online competitive multiplayer game in my collection. Something with old school sensibilities of twitch gaming and nuanced controls, that take practice to master.
For two generations it was Halo but Halo 5 didn’t click with me. That’s not a comment on Halo 5’s quality, which is high, more that I needed a break from Halo. For the last few years it’s been the Rayman Legends online challenges, surprisingly nuanced and difficult to master things. It’s been rewarding and fun going from being awful to one of the better Neverending Pit players, achieving many first places on the platform I’m playing on and a couple of world records (first place across all platforms).
I fancied something new and have taken a punt on For Honor, it looked to have the DNA of a beat ’em-up but without all the fit-inducing Pollock-esque visuals fired at my poor aging eyes.
So far it’s doing what I wanted, I’m really enjoying trying to improve and learn it’s secrets. The grind of unlocking things is less enjoyable but if that’s what it takes to keep everyone in the same room and ensure the game doesn’t, unlike me in the game right now, die an early death, something Ubisoft seem to be putting a lot of effort in to avoid, then I guess I’ll grind.
Why is Capcom so obsessed with ships? I can think of at least four Resident Evil game set on a giant boat, and I’m not sure there aren’t more I’m forgetting.
So I guess Gravity Rush 2 was a flop then? No chance of another one at all, do you think?
GC: It was a minor success in Japan, so you never know. We would’ve bet on there never being one sequel, and yet you got that and a remaster.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Sarge, who asks what game would you find it impossible to play without its original soundtrack?
For many people a video game’s music is an intrinsic part of the appeal, but what soundtrack do you love so much you wouldn’t dream of playing the game without it? Sometimes having the sound on is a problem, and sometimes people like to use custom soundtracks – or just turn the soundtrack down and their own music up. But what game would you never do that with?
Have you ever been upset with remasters or other versions that change or remove the original soundtrack? And do you own the soundtrack separately, either digitally or on CD or vinyl?
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