The Friday Inbox asks who will end up paying for Xbox Game Pass if it becomes more dominant, as one reader praises Microsoft Rewards.
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The face of PlayStation
I’ve been thinking about all the complaints and concerns raised about Sony and I have to say a lot of them are justified. Even if people do seem to be a little too quick to overlook the fact that the PlayStation 5 is the fastest selling console ever, which is, you know… kind of a big deal.
I would echo something a reader said recently about the poor communication this generation, which I think is certainly a valid complaint. Sony don’t really talk to fans anymore except through their blog or the occasional State of Play, which never has any human presenters.
Sony has always lacked the big personalities that Microsoft and Nintendo have enjoyed, from Jay Allard and Peter Moore to Reggie Fils-Aimé and Shigeru Miyamoto. People know those people and whether you like them or not they’re the face of their companies. At the very least the new Bowser guy at Nintendo knows how to take a joke about his name and while Phil Spencer always comes across as weirdly self-satisfied he knows his games and seem happy to say the buck stops with him.
With Sony though there isn’t anyone. There’s that American guy that always sounded like he was half drunk at E3, but he left and so did Adam Boyes. Shuhei Yoshida (I had to look up these names) seemed a cool guy but he seems to have been demoted or moved sideways and you never see him anymore.
There’s also Mark Cerny but he only seems to be wheeled out during a console launch and now seems to have returned to his cave.
The only permanent face of PlayStation is Jim Ryan who, let’s face it, is not much of a public speaker – which is probably half the reason Sony does so little public speaking. But even then, Phil Spencer is always on Twitter replying to people and seem to turn up on random podcasts and the like. Does Sony really have to take the faceless corporation thing quite so literally?
In response to the letter from Domino yesterday, the reason for the criticism is the sheer volume of letters and Reader’s Features that seem to assert Sony has to have their own equivalent of Game Pass, or the PlayStation 5 will fail. I don’t think any of the responses have been fanboyish either, and they offer a genuine counterpoint to the praise of Microsoft and Game Pass.
Yes, for some Game Pass offers great value for money, but it’s still far too early to ultimately know how many gamers it’ll convert and which console will be most successful. As it stands any new PlayStation 5 stock is still sold out in seconds, so clearly there is plenty of demand for Sony’s latest console. As I’ve said before, my decision will always come down to which console has the most exclusives I want to play, and based on the previous gen Microsoft have a lot of catching up to do.
I know everyone praises Game Pass for its value for money offering. But for me the real star of the show is Microsoft Rewards, which gives you points for performing actions in certain games.
This has had a massive impact on my motivation to try new games and now I find myself playing far more indie games than AAA titles. And the points can be converted into vouchers, so I’ve had around £70 in-store credit to spend in the last year. This was good because it really reduced my buyer’s remorse for getting Cyberpunk 2077.
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New to me
In response to Tottispurs, I’ve had an Xbox Series X since launch and can confidently say I’m loving it. This year alone I’ve played and completed 11 games, including some next gen releases such as Call Of The Sea, Unto The End, The Medium, Control Ultimate Edition, and Gear Tactics – and loved them all. Currently I’m playing Dishonored 2, a game I couldn’t get into on my original Xbox One as it felt off control wise but it is a transformative experience on the Xbox Series X with near instant loading thrown in.
I guess my point is there are plenty of games around if you embrace lower budget and indies. I for one am not currently bothered about new releases as I still have a backlog of about 30 games I’m working through and using the opportunity to clear this down while I can. Roll on The Falconeer, Wasteland 3, and ReCore next
GC: It’s probably best not to start this merry-go-round again. Neither side seems to understand the other’s perspective when it comes to complaints about a lack of ‘new’ games.
Thick and thin
GC, I have to agree with you that if any fans were going to be loyal to any company’s consoles it would be Nintendo.
I’ve had every home console Nintendo has made. And apart from the Virtual Boy every handheld console. I did have a PlayStation while I waited for the N64 to come out, and owned a PlayStation 3 for six months, but always return to my beloved Nintendo games.
zookeeper (NN ID)
Paying for Game Pass
I’ve been reading with interest the enthusiasm everyone seems to have with Microsoft and their emphasis on a digital streaming future.
Some have mentioned that it will be the Netflix of gaming, with a large choice of games to choose from.
Whilst the prospect is intriguing, one thing I would like to know is how will big budget games studios recoup their cost of development if they are required to make their product available via Game Pass for example?
As we know, famous musicians have made their thoughts very clear with regards to what they think of monetary payments made to them for their music being available on streaming services such as Spotify.
Or will it be rather like existing video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney where you would be able to play games that have been released six months to a year ago?
Or will it be like the new model adopted by the big movie studios, where new film releases are available at a premium price but not part of the choice available on the big three streaming giants?
I’d love to have a digital only future where you can instantly jump into any game you like but how will developers be making money?
I think Google may have seen this issue and that led to their pricing structure and design, but I presume it did not go down particularly well with fans, leading to Google eventually scaling back their ambitions.
Maybe Microsoft will start acquiring studios all around the world to ensure that all the top new games are available on Game Pass but that would be huge financial investment to be making.
They have probably already started with Bethesda, so who knows which studio will be the next target of Microsoft’s acquisitions team?
GC: Who indeed, but they definitely have more purchases planned.
I was bored and have been looking at reviews of Pit-Fighter from the early nineties. Admittedly the Mega Drive version looks better than the abysmal SNES port but how was it getting review scores of over 90%?!
I’m sure there were many games on the Mega Drive at the time that were infinitely better than this.
A decent year
I just wanted to sing the praises of Monster Hunter Rise on Switch, I really am blown away by it and this must be the best Switch exclusive since Super Mario Odyssey? It’s my first Monster Hunter game and was initially worried about the ‘clunky’ combat (compared to say a Souls or Bayonetta game), but once you get used to the rhythm it’s consistent and passible enough with the variety of play and atmosphere carrying it through.
It looks phenomenal and performance is rock solid. There’s so much content too, apparently this is the most accessible it’s been (?) but I’m around 10 hours in and don’t have a clue what half the systems do. What on earth were the PSP and 3DS games like?! I do wish there was ‘real’ hunting though… so far essentially all you do once you’re beamed into an area is go to the monster location on a map and chase it around.
Sure, you can explore for crafting secrets but you’re not hunting the vicious beasts using sound or environmental clues. It has me worried the gameplay loop may get repetitive? It might open up later in the game though.
Capcom have done wonders with RE Engine on Switch, even putting Nintendo’s first party output to shame. It did get me wondering if those Resident Evil: Revelations 3 rumours might be true? If you’ve done the groundwork may as well use it… I’m actually interested in that Monster Hunter Stories spin-off in the summer now, off the back of Rise.
It’s actually been a strong year so far on the Switch and looks good through to No More Heroes 3 at the end of the summer. Third parties are coming through on it right now, with Japanese publishers like Square Enix and Atlus putting out big names this year and even EA and Activision porting over recent titles.
I’ve noticed a lot of chatter in the Inbox over the lack of big games in these COVID pressured times and while that’s true on triple-A titles, of which there were too few that had gotten too bloated pre-COVID, there’s still just too many good games released to have time to play.
Along with Monster Hunter I’m juggling Super Mario 3D World, Genesis Noir, Cyber-Shadow, Little Nightmares 2, and Gnosia from ’21 alone, as well as a backlog from last year.
GC: It has actually been surprisingly good so far, in quality rather than quantity. As for Monster Hunter, earlier games did used to have a more of a hunting element but they were also extremely difficult to get into. Believe it or not but Rise is by far the most accessible so far.
Regarding Deathloop, which has just been delayed, if anyone is interested it is the cover game on Edge magazine this month, they have a 16-page feature about it. You can buy it digitally on Android, iOS, and Amazon or get a single physical copy from here.
Why do I get the feeling that Microsoft are going to buy Kojima Productions next? Sony are going to regretting tying that one down I think.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Paulie, who asks what is your favourite first or third person shooter?
FPS games used to be the dominant genre up until recently but have begun to fall out of favour, especially with the rise of third person equivalents. Games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield are still very popular but what’s your favourite and why?
Which do you prefer out of first and third person views? And do you play the games primarily for their single-player content or their multiplayer? Which upcoming games are you most looking forward to and how do you see the future of the genre?
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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.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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