5 Conclusions - 15/06/18
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: February 22nd is the new silly season (well, day)
Historically publishers have looked to release their triple-A titles between October and November to ensure they get maximum hits for Christmas. Whilst this is still the case, the rest of the year now sees its fair share of big games, too.
The problem with this is that every now and then too many publishers can pick a different date and that can lead to the situation we have now, in that February 22nd, 2019 is the silliest of silly seasons — or days.
Sony’s Days Gone, EA’s Anthem, Metro Exodus and Crackdown 3 are all coming out on the same day, the 22nd of February 2019. For now, at least, for it’s likely one or more publishers will blink and change the date. I would expect Anthem to be the big one and that will not move at all, with Metro probably most likely to change its date. Whatever happens, the early part of 2019 is clearly well stocked.
Conclusion Two: Microsoft waves the white flag
For a multitude of reasons Microsoft has failed this generation. From a position of strength they have been toppled by Sony who got into the gen with more firepower, more games and a whole strategy designed to win this gen across the board — developed after their relative failure with the PS3. Microsoft with Kinect, the underpowered Xbox One, the too little, too late Xbox One X and the lack of quality first-party or exclusive titles have not done what they worked so hard to achieve last time out.
Now they’ve decided to focus on the next gen. In this week’s E3 conference there was confirmation that work is happening on the next generation console. We didn’t need to be told this to confirm it was happening, but by explicitly stating it publicly we can be certain that Microsoft is aiming to win again and working on that now, accepting this gen is done.
Further confirmation of this is in the fact they announced they had bought or signed up four third-party developers with a variety of game libraries to make games just for Microsoft. The fruits of these partnerships will be seen in a couple of years’ time, right around the time we should expect new consoles.
Allied to all of this is what Microsoft has been doing recently to ensure they’re in the best place to win long-term, for example the delightful Games Pass. It is clear that Microsoft is working on winning the next generation whilst Sony is still very much on the here and now. Time will tell what happens but history does show us that the company who does the best things, first, wins. It’s not rocket science - but does Microsoft have the better formulated plan this time out?
Conclusion Three: Nintendo’s online subscription now makes sense
A few weeks ago Nintendo revealed the price and offerings for its online service, starting in September this year. The price was reasonable but there seemed very little to warrant paying it. Until now.
With Fortnite out now on the Switch and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming this December, for many people all over the world there is now an abundance of reasons to pay to go online. Fortnite is the game du jour right now with millions in love with it, especially younger gamers who are likely to have a Switch and play it out and about. With the new Smash Bros. we have the ultimate brawler with every character who has ever been in one of these games, and it’s out in time for Christmas. Nintendo wins Christmas and it wins at its first ever online service? Wonders will never cease.
Conclusion Four: Feedback is important
At Jump Dash Roll The Division is one of our very favourite titles right now. Despite this fact, it was also clear that a lot of the game could be improved upon. Part of this was implemented since the release and often based on feedback from the community. A lot is still imperfect, though.
Brilliantly, according to what we have heard this week at E3, Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment, the developers, have taken on board pretty much all of the feedback shared over The Division’s lifetime and used it to help them create The Division 2, focussing on the endgame first and working backwards. The result, although not yet available to play, looks to us as being an amazing game built around what the incumbent fans wanted and needed, rather than what the devs and publishers thought people should have. The end result should work both for the fans and the business, ensuring everyone’s a winner.
In summary then: listening to the people who buy and play your games is a good thing and can lead to a better experience for everyone involved. Who knew, huh?
Conclusion Five: You must upgrade to Windows 10
If you like to game on your PC, via Steam, then as of January 1st, 2019 you will not be able to do so if your operating system of choice is XP or Vista. To continue enjoying your vast library of games you will have to upgrade to Windows 10, basically. Whether you like it or not.
For most this won't be an issue as Windows 10 will be what's running on the majority of PCs. Those who are not running it will likely have made a conscious choice not to upgrade. Should such users still not want to hop onto the funky touch-focused current Microsoft OS, then turning their PC into a linux box is probably the safest bet. Or you can find an alternative way to play your favourite PC games.