The Wednesday Inbox considers the pros and cons of the Switch Pro rumours, as one reader suggests a £30 Nintendo Switch subscription service.
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I wonder how many people checked out the 60 frames per second mode for the updated Xbox Series X/S Bethesda games?
I’ve been playing Fallout 4 a lot recently, before the update on the Xbox Series X. I know Microsoft had hinted about the last gen boosts a while ago but I’m really happy the update has dropped whilst I’m in the middle of my playthrough.
The difference it’s made is night and day. The game is really clear and smooth. The muddy, low resolution textures are even more apparent now playing like this. The textures were low resolution even back in 2015 when the game launched, but it’s all good as the improvement it’s made is massive. The difference is really noticeable when you’re killing someone in VATS mode.
I know your page said that Dishonored Definitive Edition was another Bethesda title that was given a framerate boost. If I have a lone copy of Dishonored 2, will that get the same effect without it being part of the definitive edition?
I recently bought Dishonored 2 for a measly £5 from Amazon. Absolute gaming goodness for that price and one of my favourite games ever. I know it’s in Game Pass but I don’t like the idea of a game disappearing off the menu when I’m in full flow, plus I like to own a copy of my favourite games.
Nick The Greek
GC: First party games, which now includes Bethesda titles, will never disappear from Game Pass, as Microsoft owns them. Dishonored 2 doesn’t have an FPS Boost option but it’ll probably get one eventually.
I can’t say all I’m that bothered about a Switch Pro, especially if it follows in the footsteps of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, because they were both underwhelming. The problem was that neither Sony or Microsoft wanted to split their userbase, and so insisted all games run on the base models as well as the Pro versions, essentially, holding back the upgraded consoles. I understand why they chose to do so but if Nintendo do the same with the Switch I really see no point in purchasing one.
I don’t have a 4K TV, so an upgraded dock capable of 4K output isn’t a selling point for me and I play docked 99% of the time. So if the Switch screen gets an upgrade I won’t really see that as a benefit. If, however, games run better, load times are reduced, and there are more quality of life improvements, so to speak, then I may be tempted.
Overall, I’d much rather they focus on the true successor to the Switch, which in my opinion simply needs to be more powerful and feature Joy-Cons that aren’t defective.
GC: The rumours are the exact opposite of what you’re assuming, including exclusive games.
The Nintendo way
So, the Switch Pro rumours are gathering steam (even if it feels like a case of saying something enough times until it comes true). I’d be interested in an upgrade, but the one thing that bothers me is this persistent speculation about it having exclusives that will only work on the Pro console.
I don’t really like that as a business model because it feels like a way of trying to catch out the consumer or force their hand into an upgrade. Apple gets a lot of stick for discontinuing support for older iPhone models, but at least that’s vaguely justifiable because the technology is fairly old by that point. Improved performance is one thing but cutting a large part of the existing Switch audience out of the market for certain future titles just doesn’t seem in the spirit of what the console represents.
If it is true, minimally I hope they find a Nintendo way to do it, like including the N64 Expansion Pak with Donkey Kong 64 or the Wii MotionPlus with Wii Sports Resort (although I know that’s a very different thing). Pro games exclusive to a Pro console feels like a very corporate approach, and I know Nintendo is a business like every other company but one of the reasons I love (and occasionally despair of) them is because they don’t behave like one.
That being said, maybe it’ll end up being as inconsequential as the New Nintendo 3DS…
GC: Nintendo has been making exclusives for upgraded consoles since the days of the Game Boy Color, and including the New Nintendo 3DS.
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Off the wagon
Just read Matt’s letter in the Tuesday Inbox, and like him I’m late to the party having just started Red Dead Redemption 2 on Monday.
Every early review I’ve either read or seen on YouTube waxes on about how good it is, but with time I’ve noticed a few dissenting voices, especially with the role-playing elements.
My own experience after a day is I was bored out of my skull, slowly wading through snow, cuts to pre-rendered scenes every few seconds (it felt like), inconsistent controls, and being led by the nose and forced to do a series of actions rather than what I wanted. I know it’s a sort of tutorial, but one of the best writing tips I was given is no one will ever read that fantastic chapter 3 if they stop reading because of the awful chapter 1.
I also know everyone says it’s just the start and everything becomes fantastic later BUT I really don’t feel any desire to go back. I’d rather just start something else that will give me pleasure, because Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like a chore rather than a pleasure, and pleasure is what I want when I play my games.
First off, love your work and always enjoy your Inbox, great job.
Just a question really, to see what your readers and other gamers think of an idea a friend floated past me.
Would people be interested in an Xbox style Game Pass for Nintendo? Everything ever released for every iteration from NES through to Switch, with a subtle difference.
Users sign up to the service for a min of 12 months for let’s say, £30 per month but you get a free Switch with the package.
Personally, not being able to afford a Nintendo Switch outright I would love this. We also believe it would quickly secure Nintendo as the number one console.
Just a thought.
GC: £30 sounds like it’d be too rich for most people. From Nintendo’s perspective there’s little incentive to change their current policies, given the Switch already is the number one selling console – next gen stock notwithstanding.
Behind the curve
Nice take on Apex Legends on Switch. Since it’s a free-to-play did give it a spin and yeah… it’s pretty awful. Like you say, there’s something technically marvellous about playing a game like this on a handheld, and yet I have to admit it’s pretty much unplayable. Given Apex is an online competitive shooter I’m surprised they didn’t run with a cloud-based solution à la Hitman 3 or Control. The Switch it has a few impossible ports now but it feels like the end of the road for such games with the new generation.
It makes you wonder what Nintendo will do, they seem to be pushing the ceiling of the device themselves. Bowser’s Fury is stuck at 30fps in portable with slowdown during busy scenes (it’s great but gives me a headache compared to Super Mario Odyssey and parent game Super Mario 3D World) and let’s not talk about Hyrule Warriors… Calamity indeed. The so-called Switch Pro is unlikely to be much more than a quality of life improvement if rumours from unpicked firmware updates and suppliers are to be believed, and people are setting themselves up for a fall there… with maybe another marginally faster performance profile out of the X1 chip thanks to running it hotter?
There’s a big semi-conductor shortage at the mo’ so manufacturing new designs at scale is off the agenda, there’s only so much capacity and with PlayStation 5, Xboxes, and new generation graphics cards on the production line already… Nintendo will be back of the queue.
It’s like the Wii all over again, where the success of underpowered hardware left them rich but trapped behind the curve.
Microsoft really are going HAM with buying up big name games for Game Pass. It really does seem like their policy is play to win and I don’t know that they’re not going to lose.
What makes me wonder is why now? There’s nothing special about March, more’s the pity, and yet they’re doing all this now? Does that mean they’re going to buy up just as many games for the rest of the year? Or maybe even more as we get closer to Christmas. I don’t see how Sony is going to counter that.
Getting away with it
Since the story of insider trading at EA broke, I seem to have spent most of my reading time with my mouth agape. I knew FIA Ultimate Team raked in piles and piles of cash but I had no idea the depths EA had, and continues to, plum to make ever more desirable cards less and less likely to appear. Frankly, I find their behaviour sickening.
I feel these two extracts from their statement are the most telling: ‘This practice runs counter to the game’s competitive integrity… We do not allow the trade or sale of items outside our game for many reasons, including that it would create an unequal playing field for our community’.
FUT has always been pay to win. Competitive integrity does not exist in that game mode. The playing field is already unequal, because it’s pay to win.
So, I was convinced this was going to prompt change and outrage from the community. So I took a gander at the #EAGate hashtag trending on Twitter.
It was not a community outraged and asking for greater transparency, nor did I see people boycotting FUT. Instead, there was clamouring for freebies in the form of free packs and/or players, and grovelling at EA’s feet to have just one more bite of the apple.
If players stopped buying packs for just one month, everything would change but it seems that no matter how bad it gets, EA has the majority hook, line, and sinker.
What is it with Microsoft and being absolutely terrible at names? Why call something FPS Boost? FPS already has a very specific meaning in gaming so why are you confusing things with what sounds like adding a first person mode to old games? Just call it Boost Mode or something, it’s not like it’s only the frame rate it improves anyway.
I can’t believe that EA have the nerve to come out and say that ‘they’re angry too’ about employees selling rare FIFA 21 items to make a profit. That’s literally the system they’ve set up to profit from themselves!
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Newton, and asks what’s your favourite beginning to a video game?
What game do you think makes the best first impression, regardless of what follows? Assuming the beginning means anything with the first hour (although it can be a much smaller section within that time) what game do you feel starts off the best?
What is it about its opening that works so well? Is it the presentation, the story hooks, or simply the gameplay? How important is a good beginning and which good games do you feel start poorly?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
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