Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 02/08/19

August 2, 2019

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: There will be more assassinations

At Jump Dash Roll we love Hitman 2, the latest iteration of everyone’s favourite gaming assassin, Agent 47, in the world. It’s delightful fun and eminently replayable with the sandbox worlds and all the murder death kill opportunities within. The devs, IO Interactive, have coddled the game and its predecessor since launch with drip-fed content ensuring everyone can get their monthly dose of stealthy and murderous fun. 

Excitingly though this hasn’t stopped them teasing a third Hitman game at some point in the future, that is already in development at some stage. This juicy tidbit came out in the below documentary, The Fall & Rise of Hitman:

Our guess is that Hitman 3 has been in progress for a while now, most likely since the team got their hands on dev kits for the PlayStation 5 and the new Xbox. What that means release-wise is anyone’s guess, but just think of the worlds and fun that we can expect to see and have with all those extra teraflops. 

Conclusion Two: Sony is fast

A game that’s always being played out between the home console manufacturers, whether they like it or not, is how many units you can sell and how fast you can do it. For years Sony’s PlayStation 2 was the leader here, reaching 100 million unit sales in five years and nine months. 

Well now the PlayStation 4 has reached that significant milestone in LESS time, taking just five years and seven months, according to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad

What does this mean? Well, firstly, that the PS4 is hella successful, and secondly that it is likely propping up the challenges set by Sony in terms of sales, turnover and gross profit. Whether it is massively helping their net profits will depend on a few things — including the R&D spend, the amortisation of the manufacturing equipment and the attached sales, with consoles notoriously being used as a form of loss leader for the games. 

Regardless, it shows Sony is in a position of strength it hasn’t been in since the PS2/Xbox generation. Can they use this to continue leading into the PS5/Scarlett next generation, or will they drop the ball as they did during the PS3/Xbox 360 era?

Conclusion Three: Streamers are real people

Let’s say it once more, with feeling. Streamers are real people and as such should not be subjected to any form of harassment in any way. This is true whatever the streamer is doing to make their content more valuable to the public, and as a result themselves. 

One example of a streamer doing something to make sure they earnt more cash is that of Your Highness Qiaobiluo, a popular streamer on China’s DouYu platform, according to Kotaku. She never showed her face when gaming, and had images suggesting she was a young lady. It turned out, in an interview this week, that she was in fact a fifty-eight year old. 

This, of course, doesn’t matter. What did matter was that she felt hiding this would gain her more popularity and reward, which is fine and akin to any other streamer who creates their character rather than actually being themselves. It makes sense doesn’t it, given streaming is a creative pursuit with multiple artists. What also matters is that when her real form was revealed, is that many followers left her stream. At first. Now she is bigging it up, and calling herself Granny. Her new persona works, despite any abuse or harassment she got when her old persona was lost.

Many others have been harassed too, of course. An example of a streamer who has been harassed, typically due to the way they present themselves on camera, is Kaceytron. She’s a gamer who has faced, and does face, sexist harassment because she is a gamer and streamer who is comfortable with her sexuality. 

Well, to tackle that head on she’s organised a special day, with the hashtag #slutstream. Good. Let’s not ignore abuse, as we risk leaving it hanging out there. Let’s tackle it in a mature and direct manner and try to change the world one by one. Whether you find the approach agreeable or not, the idea was sound and best wishes to all of those who were involved.

Conclusion Four: A wild download figure appears. It is super effective!

It’s the game that sparked huge interest in Augmented Reality, as well as controversy over numerous accidents — some fatal — as players tried to catch virtual Pokémon in real-world environments. Now, just over three years after it was released, Pokémon Go has been downloaded over one billion times according to a trailer spotted by Serebii.

Half of that billion figure was reached within three months of launch, while the rest has been a case of steady of accrual thanks to constant updates to the game. The recent July update was the biggest of the year as Team Rocket and new Shadow Pokémon hit the scene, adding new battles, medals and rewards to collect. Niantic will be putting out another update this month which will update PVP battles and the appraisal system and give you more space to store your Pokémon.

Pokémon Go has been nothing short of a phenomenon, one that is showing no sign of slowing down. Generation 5 will be rolling out in late 2019 — will that billion figure prove to be the peak of the game’s popularity? Or will we see another half billion downloads clocked up by 2022? 

Conclusion Five: Death may be stranded a little while longer…

We hope, anyway, as the alternative may not be pleasant. Hideo Kojima tweeted on Thursday that Death Stranding was entering a crunch period — for those of you who haven’t followed our reporting on crunch, it’s an unpleasant period of time at the end of a game’s development where studios ask (and sometimes demand) staff work ridiculous hours to ensure a previously announced release date gets met. 

So, when Kojima posted this, the response wasn’t met particularly well by gamers who were concerned that the development team might get burned out.

The general (and correct) consensus is that crunch is bad, Kojima Productions shouldn’t sacrifice the health and well-being of their employees to meet an arbitrary date, and that a delay would be preferable if it meant that the finished game was released unrushed by happy and healthy developers. 

The fact that it needs customers to point this out to an industry leader like Kojima shows that there is still plenty of work to be done to end the toxic nature of development crunch. Hopefully the message will get through and we can look forward to a fun (and no doubt completely insane) game when it hits the shelves, whenever that may be. 

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Rob Kershaw

I've been gaming since the days of the Amstrad. Huge RPG fan. Planescape: Torment tops my list, but if a game tells a good story, I'm interested. Absolutely not a fanboy of any specific console or PC - the proof is in the gaming pudding. Also, I like cake.