5 Conclusions - 03/08/18
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: Spend a Fortnite being Epic down the Amazon
Yes, the conclusion is clunky, but bear with me. It was reported this week by XDA Developers that Fortnite on Android mobile devices might not be coming via the typical Google Play store front route. No, it seems that Epic Games is going to bypass that simple and readily-available path for some other option.
Now, not every Android app gets to people’s phones via the Google Play Store right now. It’s part of the beauty of the platform that you can do things the way you want, not how Google wants. Amazon has its own app which you can use to download games and apps to your device, too.
XDA suggest that Epic might want to avoid the Google Play store to avoid paying any part of their proceeds to Google. Would Amazon require the same? If they already have an app store which Epic can leverage, and Amazon is happy to let Epic do this for free because they then get the world’s biggest game going through their ecosystem — when Amazon wants to be big in games as well as everything else in order to keep growing — then why wouldn't Epic and Amazon signs up to this in order to continue their world domination? So yes, I’m calling it — Fortnite on Android via the Amazon app store. Amazon gets into games and in the future, Amazon rules another part of the world?
Conclusion Two: Autonomous cars enable video gaming
Elon Musk is a very clever man. One of his many companies/projects/missions right now is to take the electric car and make it mainstream, quicker and better than anyone else, in the form of really cool Teslas. What is also happening in the world of automotives is autonomy of the vehicle, i.e. driverless cars.
What if you combined both? I think that’s what old Elon is up to, if one of his latest tweets is anything to go by. You see he’s after people to join Tesla to create games. This seems an odd area to actually encourage people to do as a job at Tesla. Unless it’s truly integral to the future vision, right? So, picture this: the new Tesla in 202X is a fabulous piece of kit which has a battery that takes you at least 500 miles and charges using standard AC in your house within fifteen minutes. Once ready that car can take you from London to Edinburgh — or wherever you want — without you having to do anything other than lounge about inside. What will you do with your time? Play the awesome Tesla video games unique to that car and as good as anything your classical console manufacturers can do. Perhaps it becomes a real challenger to home and mobile consoles? Regardless, it’s pretty cool to think about playing games whilst driving — and you’re the only person in the car — isn’t it?
Conclusion Three: The final season of the Walking Dead will be for everyone
This month we’re going to get the final season of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games, six years after the first. That first season kicked off Telltale’s output as we now know it (impactful decisions, progressive choices, and so on), introducing interactive narratives across all kinds of stories, from comic books to existing video games, epic TV series to Batman. A lot have been hits and a lot misses. The engine, the modus operandi and the whole damn thing has been done to death and needs to be updated — something we believe Telltale is doing.
Before all of that though we get closure, Clem gets closure. We reckon she’s gonna die but whatever happens it will be a result in part of what’s gone before. For many it’s simple - they will get their old saves all sorted and ported and whatever is needed to ensure the final season reads them and allows them to continue their stories. If you don’t have that luxury — maybe you haven’t actually played any of these before, or your experiences were across multiple saves and different systems — then you can use Telltale’s just-released story builder. It allows you to go from start to finish and make all the big choices, then import those decisions into your game when playing the final season. So you can repeat what you’ve done, or try something different but either way, you can make sure you experience YOUR end to the whole thing.
Conclusion Four: More Dragon Age and Mass Effect is coming
Well, possibly. BioWare is currently hard at work on Anthem, but aside from that they cannot and will not let go of their gigantic franchises Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Assuming Anthem does well they should be in a position to let the world know what’s going on with these franchises, or perhaps something inspired by them?
A blog post by Casey Hudson, General Manager at BioWare, hints at stuff going on which the studio isn’t willing to talk about, but clearly wants us all to know about. It doesn’t explicitly say it’s something to do with those two series, but mentions that fans of Mass Effect or the Dragon Age series have explained how interested they’d be in something more.
I think BioWare has taken a hit in the past few years, since the ending of Mass Effect 3 there has been controversy surrounding everything good and bad about their games, but perhaps with the need for Anthem to be big and the recognition of what has or hasn’t worked in the past, will anything new from them match the stellar levels of their truly classic library of games?
Conclusion Five: Gamers love the past
It seems that gamers just can’t get enough of old things. And by old, we mean really old. The NES was released thirty-five years ago, a year where a vast swathe of today’s gamers weren’t even alive for. Yet, “old” doesn’t equate to “unprofitable”, as Nintendo found out when it received recent monhtly sales figures for the NES Classic. Despite having no internet connection and only thirty games built into the self-contained console, it still managed to shift more units than the PS4, Xbox One and Switch in the whole of June.
The most impressive stat? The NES Classic was only available for two days in June, as it was released on the 29th of that month. So, a retro console costing fifty quid containing games which are two to three decades old managed to shift more units in two days than state-of-the-art rivals with 4K visuals, online gaming and a vast library managed in thirty.
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given the first release of the NES Classic sold out immediately and led to hawkers selling them for huge amounts on eBay just before Christmas. What it does mean is that Nintendo are a) likely to pump out as many of these units as they can fire off the factory line and b) seriously consider their next step. The SNES Classic has already been another hit, so surely the N64 Classic will be just around the corner? If gamer appetite is anything to go by, it'll be another winner.