5 Conclusions - 12/01/18

January 12, 2018
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A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Conclusion One: Samsung’s micro-LED tech will give everyone a Switch Mk. II

Micro-LED screens are a new thing from Samsung. Unveiled at CES 2018, the company is showcasing a 146 inch behemoth. But aside from its size, the underlying technology is quite something. It has tiny LEDs which can switch themselves on and off. They provide the light so no backlight is required, similar to OLEDs. However because the material is not chemically organic you won’t get burn in. Which is nice. Lastly, but not least, the LEDs are super bright.

So what we have is the brightest display tech, with the ability to turn off completely, and no burn in. Fundamentally we have a tech that can deliver the greatest blacks, the best colours and everything in-between with no issue. Wow.

But why does it give everyone a Switch Mk. II? The tech is modular. This means any number of screens can be connected to give bigger screens. So, when Samsung make smaller sizes - as it becomes financially viable - we can have a micro-LED handheld which can plug directly into our home displays. No need for a dock. Oh my - how fabulously exciting!

Conclusion Two: Awesome Games Done Quick is, well, awesome

Awesome Games Done Quick is a regular charity event, currently running (January 7th to January 14th) where a group of people speedrun an awful lot of games for charity, streaming the results all over the internet. Aside from the fact the charitable nature of it makes it rather awesome, you get to watch people do things you could never dream of. Like completing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - all main quests - in under four hours, or finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum in under 1.5 hours. It’s mental. Oftentimes it is done by utilising a variety of glitches, and other times it’s just down to well-practised, brilliant skill.

Conclusion Three: Japan is back

2017 saw a rise in console hardware AND software sales for the first time since 2016, according to reports in Famitsu. The hardware market was worth 2023 units, where one unit is 100 million yen, 172.9% the total indexed versus one year ago. For software it was closer - but thanks to Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon - it was worth a stunning 1893.8 units. 

Bizarrely Zelda was only the 8th biggest seller. So what else can you take from this apart from the fact Japan is back? With Nintendo and Sony doing so well, Pokemon back big time and more, mobile gaming’s allure has slowed and traditional home - or handheld - gaming is back. For now, at least.

Conclusion Four: The 2018 Megaton is Chibi-Robo on fire

Nintendo. Genius, brilliant, masters. At everything to do with gaming. But also at generating heat in fans worldwide. We had the megaton that wasn’t back in 2002 - a radically overhyped Nintendo announcement which made everyone expect the world only to find that a new game had been announced for the Gamecube. Regardless, megaton as a meme has remained in the vernacular of Nintendo gamers and when something heats up it really does. Typically we don’t get the payoff. Perhaps this time we will? Eurogamer reported that fans believe a Nintendo Direct - detailing the company’s 2018 plans - is imminent. This week Nintendo and many other games companies got in on the act waiting and waiting for the presentation to drop. Which it didn’t, yet. The tweet which was most shared around people’s timelines was the Chibi-Robo on fire. This is our megaton, unless the Direct does drop and it does give us an actual massive announcement.

Edit: We got a Nintendo mini direct which you can watch here and decide for yourselves if it was the megaton or not (hint - it wasn't).

Conclusion Five: Cyberpunk 2077 is coming this year

It might, at least. Five years after its announcement and over two years since The Witcher III was released by CD Projekt Red, the game’s Twitter feed got a new addition for the first time since 2013:

So it totally means the game’s coming this year in a sorta-Bethesda approach. Silence, smash the new year and get the game out probably during silly season. We can but hope. Any new RPG from this developer is worth getting your hopes up for.

Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 30+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the Nintendo Switch and most things in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple right now, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either ad infinitum...