5 Conclusions - 23/02/18
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: Art censorship is now fair game
Won’t someone think of the children? Quite amazingly Ubisoft has taken a game all about assassinating people in Ancient Egypt (Assassin’s Creed: Origins), turned it into a wondrous historical tour — virtual tourism — where one might expect to see various statues and works of art in a state of undress, and censored the nudity as discovered by a Reddit user named PrimeWorldGlobal.
It’s like going to see Michelangelo's David and seeing him dressed in tartan trousers because, well you know, he's naked otherwise.
So why has Ubisoft done it? The original game received an M rating for mature from America’s ESRB and in the UK it’s rated 18+. Looking at the ESRB rating summary reminds us that the game sees you visit brothels with topless women present, shout or hear every swear word under the sun and, well, kill many people in various ways.
It’s art, darling. And apparently, censorship of art is fair game in 2018.
Conclusion Two: Sony is continuing its attempts to move from gaming into social media
Ever since the PlayStation 4 came out and Sony was clear about how they had designed the user interface, or dashboard, to enable easy communication, sharing and more — just like Facebook — they’ve been trying to create some form of social media platform for PlayStation users in this generation. You can see the appeal — social media platforms are massive global business and if Sony can make one that really works for people it will provide a significant competitive advantage now that will put them in good stead for the next round of consoles.
My PlayStation has now been launched in Japan but is available for anyone to use globally. It’s basically your dashboard on the web or mobile, with some features unavailable right now (software management, for instance) but that should be in time. It’s nothing new really, just a combination of elements in PSN, the PSN app and your Sony Entertainment Network account. What it is though, is an easily accessible version of all of those things in one. Sony will keep pushing this and maybe it will have more success than Home did on the PS3 — remember that? Regardless, it is nice to be able to check exactly how many trophies you have for any particular game when it’s lunchtime at work or school, isn’t it?
Conclusion Three: No microtransactions is a very good thing
So, Burnout Paradise Remastered is releasing March 16th 2018, and this is a very exciting fact — the game is probably still the best open world twitch racer you can get. Unfortunately, as pre-order listings went live, the description on the PlayStation store mentioned that in-game purchases were optional.
OK EA, so after all the furore over the Star Wars: Battlefront II microtransactions you’re actually going to release a remaster of a ten-year old game which had one of the longest and sustained selection of post-launch DLC — for free — which any game has ever had, and introduce microtransactions? Wow.
Only, they aren’t. It was all a mistake:
So EA is actually not quite what you thought...unless this is just a response to the news? Either way, no microtransactions is a very good thing.
Conclusion Four: Norway accuses Nintendo
I don’t know how many of you have read the terms and conditions when pre-ordering software from Nintendo’s eShop, but one clause states that the purchase is non-refundable — for a pre-order.
“When pre-ordering a video game, you have the right to cancel your order at any time before the release date. This should be a quick and easy process, for example by the click of a button", says Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy at the NCC.
Perhaps this will kick-start a chain of events whereby the cancellation of pre-orders and other purchases of digital downloads becomes more consistent and clear across multiple eCommerce sites for gaming and other media.
Conclusion Five: Another new player is in town and they also have a real chance
A few weeks ago we told you about how Google was about to enter the gaming market, in the form of streaming games. Well it seems the other tech giant which isn’t doing gaming today is also looking to enter the fray.
This week the US Patent and Trademark Office published a trademark filing from Apple which specifically covers the below, according to Patently Apple:
"Video game consoles; controllers for game consoles; video output games, namely, video output game machines for use with televisions; apparatus for electronic games adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor."
Does this mean Apple is readying itself for a gaming push — a proper one? Perhaps. However, filing a trademark means nothing in reality. They could be doing in case they do gaming in the future, or are stopping somebody else from using it or they really are getting themselves setup to launch something. We know from their phone launches that Apple likes to announce things day and date with release, so if there is something brewing, we would expect to start hearing murmurs about the actual hardware or solution at some point before then, wouldn’t we?