5 Conclusions - 02/02/18
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: A gamer’s peak is age sixteen
EA is making FIFA into an eSport. They’ve been trying for a while but it’s getting more and more of a push from the company - probably due to the fact that eSports as a totality is becoming massive. As part of this we have the road to the Fifa eWorld cup, which constitutes great FUT Weekend League players taking part in a series of Champions Cups, playoffs, other specified events and eventually, the world cup. This weekend saw the first FUT Champions Cup.
FUT is FIFA Ultimate Team, the most-played part of any FIFA game these days and the bit where players compete to be the best, with or without microtransactions. Each week players can compete in a four-round tournament to qualify for the Weekend League. The Weekend League sees you play forty (yes, 40) games from Friday to Sunday and if you do well - very well - you get invited to a Champions Cup.
This weekend saw the ultimate winner from 128 people - two divisions comprising 64 Xbox and 64 PlayStation gamers - crowned, and it was Donovan “DhTekKz” Hunt from England. He’s 16 years old. What were you doing at that age? Probably not destroying pro players in serious competition. Anyway, where does he go from here? Obviously into playoffs for the World Cup, but can he win it? And if he does, is that the point at which his skills begin to wane? We’re going to say yes...possibly just to make ourselves feel better.
Conclusion Two: 2018 is a brilliant year for gaming already.
Wow. I thought that we had a slow start to the year with only a few games being released after the madness that is October to Christmas. Whilst that might be true, the actual quality of games is amazing so far in 2018. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (and season 3 DLC), Monster Hunter World, Shadow of the Colossus, Celeste and Dragon Ball FighterZ. There’s something for all gamers there - a veritable feast of high quality gaming to enjoy during these cold winter months.
Conclusion Three: Nintendo has changed
It was reaction to the Wii U - led by Satoru Iwata - which changed Nintendo. He kickstarted the strategy which we’re seeing come to life now, and successfully so. But it’s still a little bit weird. We have the home console which is portable in the Switch, Nintendo games and characters on mobile, more in Rabbid form in a Ubisoft game, a paid for online service and now... the Mario movie in partnership with the producers of Despicable Me.
It’s not what we’d come to expect from Nintendo. But change is good, isn’t it?
Conclusion Four: January - March is the new silly season
We’ve already mentioned above how strong the start to 2018 for gaming has been but it seems companies are already starting to get ready for similar in 2019. EA has announced that Anthem will now be launched in 2019 as opposed to Autumn 2018 as previously indicated.
Over time October - Christmas has become the window to release your triple-A titles in. Everyone wants the big game under people’s Christmas trees. However, in recent years we’ve seen a myriad of games postponed for various official reasons, many of which will have been pushed back purely because the schedule is too packed and it will not have a good chance at succeeding in a condensed market.
If we’re seeing games pushed back to next year already, then the knock-on effect is that January to March will be a great window for gamers, too. I wish somebody - other than Nintendo - would realise people do want to buy and play games in the summer months, too, though.
Conclusion Five: The world will care only about one game on and around October 26th, 2018
Red Dead Redemption 2 is released that day. This is the sequel to the wonderful 2010 game Red Dead Redemption, itself a sequel to Red Dead Revolver. Not only is it expected to be a delightful experience it’s a Rockstar game. Rockstar are Rock Stars. As a studio, everything they release now is the megaton, and normally it warrants it. The only thing which could stop people talking about Red Dead Redemption 2 is a Grand Theft Auto sequel and we don’t know of one incoming - Rockstar has discovered microtransactions since GTA V’s release in 2013, after all.
Basically just go with it. Buy the game, play the game and talk about it on Twitter or by the water fountain. It’s the right thing to do.