The Friday letters page ponders why PlayStation owners are more loyal than Xbox fans, as one reader questions the first year of Nintendo Switch.
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So it looks like things are starting to get nasty between Sony and Microsoft, with all these investigations over the Activision Blizzard buyout. If it doesn’t go through though I will be absolutely shocked because even though it does give Microsoft an unfair advantage what are they chances that anyone looking into this understands the nuances of the games industry or is going to say no to Microsoft? Especially as none of the third party publishers have said anything against it (probably because they’re scared of Microsoft too).
The whole ‘block rights’ thing from Sony sounds absolutely true too but I’m struggling to be too outraged about it. The whole Game Pass situation has come about solely because Microsoft is a lot richer than Sony, so if Sony has to fight dirty by paying publishers not to put their games on Game Pass, then I can’t blame them. It’d presumably be cheaper than getting them on PlayStation Plus and it’s not like the publisher couldn’t just say no.
I’m not one to cheerlead for any multinational corporation but if Xbox beats Sony purely because it’s got more money I think that’d be a shame, especially if it’s games aren’t as good. You know, if it had any games.
Four good years
I think if you’d asked whether PlayStation owners are more loyal than Xbox back when the Xbox 360 was big you would’ve got a very different answer. That’s the only time Xbox has been ahead and plenty of people were ‘loyal’ to it, until Microsoft started messing around with Kinect and then Xbox One.
There was only a period of three to four years where Xbox was actually widely liked so it’s not surprising people don’t consider themselves loyal. I think that is rapidly changing with Xbox Series X/S, or rather Game Pass, but the remaining problem of no exclusive games and Microsoft buying themselves victory being all a bit icky.
So are we expecting Overwatch 2 to be really big? Or is it just going to be a blip as the whole franchise continues its unstoppable decline? Considering it’s free I can’t really see it being anything other than a massive hit, and yet I’m seeing very little hype for it.
Is that because existing fans are so jaded over it and everyone else just doesn’t know or care, until it launches and then it’ll be big? Things like MultiVersus seem to become big literally overnight, just because you can download it for free and give it a try, so I don’t see it being any different for Overwatch 2, especially as we already know the game’s good.
Or at least I still think of it as good. I haven’t played it for a good few months now, I have to admit, andto be honest it’s in part due to the constant negativity.
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We all know this autumn’s games line-up isn’t much to get excited about but I was looking through what is coming and Gotham Knights is one of the biggest, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about it, either her or amongst my friends. Considering how big Batman: Arkham was it seems weird that they’ve made a Batman game without Batman and just his four dweeby sidekicks.
Some of their powers seem weird and supernatural too, with the teleport and everything, so I’m not really sure what’s going on. Batgirl seems like she plays the most like Batman, so I guess I’ll stick with her as much as possible, but the whole concept seems like something nobody asked for.
I do have some hope that it’s just not being shown off very well, since the same team did the surprisingly good Arkham Origins, but if this ends up being a flop I am not going to be surprised.
All good things
After reading your bit on Xbox trying to push through their little deal, what they’re saying doesn’t make a bit of sense. They’re saying having Call Of Duty on Game Pass will not give them a hold in the gaming market. Course it will. I’m a PlayStation fan, I’ll be honest I don’t want Xbox to buy Activation and if I’m honest I don’t think some Xbox fans do either.
Like GC said, it’s one of the top three selling games of the year. If Xbox buys it this will be the last Call Of Duty on PlayStation Plus. Subscribers will be moaning because the price has gone up, Xbox will put up their price saying, ‘But it’s Call Of Duty’. if it goes though it will be a dark day in gaming but I can’t see it going through. If it does I think for me gaming will come to an end.
Forspoken has always looked terrible but my hope is that it and Stranger Of Paradise are part of what has convinced Square Enix to rethink their business and focus on making more traditional Japanese games. Both those games are made by Japanese teams but they’re obviously trying to appeal to Wester (read: American audiences) but in the most unappealing way possible, with terrible tryhard dialogue and out of place characters.
The normal present day character thing in Forspoken actually seems like a good idea (nothing in Stranger Of Paradise does) but everything so far just makes it seem so grating. I think problem is that the games take the scenarios seriously but the dialogue is just cheesy nonsense that is not at all in tune with the rest of it.
I’m worried that Final Fantasy 16 is going to have a similar problem, as it’s obvious trying to appeal to the West too with its Game of Thrones aesthetic. Does Square Enix not recognise that all of its most successful stuff is the games that are most authentic to what they are and their great heritage? Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 14 have been great, so more of that please and less of the rest.
Count me in as someone really looking forward to Splatoon 3. I hope Nintendo make a real effort to push it though, as they have a tendency to not bother as much when something is really big in Japan and just write it off as something the West isn’t into.
For me it’s by far the most exciting online shooter of the last couple of generations and it really needs to be appreciated by more people. One of the few times I’ve felt it’s a shame a Nintendo game is trapped on their formats.
I’m playing devil’s advocate here, as the first two years of the Switch’s life was undoubtedly filled with a lot of excellent games, but if memory serves was it not also made up of a lot of cross-gen releases (Zelda: Breath Of The Wild), version 1.5 ports of Wii U games (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) and a few genuinely top notch exclusives (Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids)? I remember being a bit disappointed in the line-up at times as there was a lot of cannibalising of the Wii U line-up (and I wasn’t for double-dipping! Well, apart from Breath Of The Wild…).
I’ve been happy with the PlayStation console exclusives so far, without them being anything earth-shattering; there have been lots of ‘good’ games like Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, Deathloop, Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sifu etc., but maybe only Returnal and Demon’s Souls are really top tier in my eyes.
The Xbox Series X has definitely had a slower start and I’ve used it mainly to play the Xbox One games I missed out on last gen. I can definitely understand why people have been underwhelmed with the PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X generation as there hasn’t been much incentive to upgrade other than improved performance, but on PlayStation 5 at least I feel like the lack of third party AAA games has been the biggest contributor to the barren release schedules.
As an aside, I would’ve thought that a bunch of tech savvy games developers would’ve adapted a bit quicker to hybrid/home working than they seem to have done but maybe there’s some things that are intrinsic to game development that don’t transfer well. I’ve often seen it written that Nintendo’s way of working has been particularly badly affected by the pandemic – did they allude to that at some point, or is that just anecdotal? I wonder if it’s maybe just that they’d be less inclined to let people take work home given they’re very guarded about their IP.
GC: What do you mean ‘just’ that they don’t let people take work home? That’s the whole point. In the past they’ve had dormitories full of developers sleeping overnight at their offices. If you want to say that the Switch didn’t have one of the best first years of any console in history then fine, but we certainly wouldn’t agree. Especially as you’re leaving out Splatoon 2, ARMS, Snipperclips, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Does Return To Monkey Island not have a release date anymore? Has it been delayed? If it’s due out this year it’s a bit late for it not to even have a month it’s out in, no?
GC: There’s never been a date or month, but it is still supposed to be out this year.
I’ve found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge a bit disappointing to be honest. It’s very receptive, not in the way you expect but the level layouts and boss battles are basically all the same, just with different graphics. Feels like they could’ve mixed it up a lot more than this.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cosmo, who asks what’s your favourite video game universe?
Which game or franchise do you think has the most interesting fictional universe? Is it because of its lore, its characters, its art design, gameplay, or something else? What makes a good fictional world and how has your pick elevated the games it’s been in?
Have you explored the game world in media outside of video games, such as books and comics, and do you feel it’s interesting enough to be adapted as a TV show or movie?