5 Conclusions - 19/01/18
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: Monster Hunter: World is 2018’s first big thing
Famitsu magazine from Japan has, according to Gematsu, scored it 10/10/10/9, a nearly perfect score with only one of their 4 reviewers deigning to drop a point. It’s Capcom redefining what a Monster Hunter game is, moving to a faster-paced open-world gameplay setup (helped by this generation of consoles), something which will resonate more with Western audiences. The game is basically going to be amazing and anyone who enjoys an action-RPG should make time in their schedule from the 26th of January.
Conclusion Two: Tencent will rule the world
It already rules Asia, being the most valuable company in that entire continent according to Reuters. Tencent is the biggest games company in the world measured by its revenue, says gaming market research company Newzoo. It mightn’t be a familiar name to those of us in the West but it has built this success by winning in China. Think of everything we have here - Facebook, WhatsApp and gaming - in China you probably get the equivalent experience from Tencent.
Now Lego has joined forces with Tencent to develop online games and maybe a children’s social network. You might be aware that Lego is pretty well-known in the West. With this move, Tencent will be the biggest games company in all parts of the world pretty soon.
Conclusion Three: 2017 showed that the Switch can compete with the big boys
While the NPD data for December hasn’t officially been released, Aaron Greenberg at Microsoft has seen the results, and it’s great news for Nintendo in the US. The Switch, which has enjoyed a tremendously successful year thanks to the release of some critically acclaimed games, capped off 2017 by outselling both Xbox and and PS4 in the final month.
It may be less powerful, but the Switch’s portability combined with Nintendo’s decision to allow more third-party releases (including less family-friendly titles), has pushed the Switch into the top spot for units sold once again. Nintendo are predicting first year sales of 14 million units. If you consider that the Wii U sold less than that over its entire lifetime, it’s a staggering achievement for the Japanese company. The Switch may be far behind the 73 million units of the PS4, but Sony had a 3 year head start — and if Nintendo continue on this trajectory, we could be looking at a huge upset in terms of power versus popularity by the end of Generation Eight.
Conclusion Four: Nintendo Hasn’t Lost Its Quirkiness
If there’s one thing that we’ve loved about Nintendo, it has been its desire to experiment. Some have paid off like the original Wii and others, like the Virtual Boy, are best left forgotten. So it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo’s new initiative, called Labo, will fare. If you’re a fan of cardboard or, as a kid, found the box to be far more interesting than its contents (or maybe both) then Labo will be right up your alley. Built around three pillars, Make, Play & Discover, Labo pairs Nintendo’s newest console with a variety of cardboard-based experiences ranging from a car and a fishing rod to a thirteen-key keyboard or a full on cardboard suit that steers robots.
Each Toy-Con, as they’re apparently called, comes with a cartridge and a set of instructions. It begins with a set of instructions to build your Toy-Con then, once complete, you get to play.
Going by early information the sets vary in difficulty but it looks like a fantastic way for kids of all ages, especially when you consider the final pillar, to Discover. Once you’ve completed your build, you are then shown exactly how, say, the Joy-Con allows the piano to work and so forth. For any parent with kids this is a unique and engaging way for your offspring to learn and have fun at the same time. Time will tell if it’ll be a hit but heck, anything you can build yourself and customise with felt tips has to be successful, right?
Conclusion Five: January is quiet
I hope everyone is playing their way through whatever games they got for Christmas still. I think all games companies - apart perhaps from Capcom - agree. Maybe Capcom, who’re releasing Monster Hunter: World and have released Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (and Season 3 DLC), in January see the opportunity to get their numbers up. They have a history of big releases in this month to be fair, Resident Evil 7 and 4 standing out.
Aside from that January has been largely barren. Then in February we get Civilization 6 DLC, Shadow of the Colossus remaster, Secret of Mana remake and more. It might not be silly season but it’s a positive feast compared to right now. Still, I’m quite happy exploring Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and will be for quite some time.