The Tuesday letters page works out how much it costs to run a console for an hour, as one reader finally completes Subnautica.
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Start the clock
The Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 are going to be two years old this Christmas, which is usually well past the honeymoon period for most consoles. Obviously things have been a bit different this time round but normally you’d expect to start hearing about their successor by the five year mark, in fact I seem to remember the PlayStation 5 was hinted at surprisingly early by Sony, at not much more than four years in.
I think it’s safe to assume that will not be happening this time round but when could we be looking at movement in that area? If we assume the generation hasn’t really started yet, do we just add five years to now and assume we won’t hear about a new console until 2027? That is an awful long way off, especially if you assume the PlayStation 6 won’t be out until a year or so after that.
By that time I imagine Sony would be starting to wonder if a console even makes sense anymore. Will broadband be fast and reliable enough to make streaming only a reality by the end of the decade? If Sony releases a PlayStation 6 in 2028, will it be outdated in just a few years? Because I can bet that Xbox wants to go streaming only as soon as possible. It’s interesting to think where our hobby might be by that point, especially if this generation still doesn’t kick into gear next year.
So that story about fans preparing unofficial patches for Starfield is pretty much the perfect illustration of everything that’s wrong with the modern games industry, both in terms of a terrible thin that publisher do and the fact that gamers not accept it but are complicit in it! If you want Bethesda to release less buggy games getting ready to fix it for them half a year before it’s out, thereby signalling that you fully expect it to be broken, is not the way to go.
It’s the same with everything. Don’t like microtransactions? Stop giving money to FUT. Think battle passes are a con or fed up with endless sequels and no new IP? Then stop giving publishers your money until they give you something you actually want!
I know that’s easier to say if you don’t like a thing (I’m not a big fan of either Bethesda or FIFA) but time and again we see publishers do listen to us, not when we say something but when we don’t buy something. Remember how quickly Microsoft had a turnaround with the Xbox One when pre-orders weren’t what they expected? That will work with anything and everything if enough people do the same thing.
Into the Spider-Verse
I hope Spider-Man 2 does have co-op. They certainly seem to have been building up to it, to the point where I’d half expect it even if there weren’t leaks. Apart from anything I’m interested to see how you could get an open world single-player game working with two people. It sounds easy, but if you can go anywhere how do you maintain that freedom of movement when they both suddenly break off and do different things?
The only example I can think of is the Lego games, which obviously does not have the most complex of gameplay or stories, but it does work so I’d like to see it be done with a more involved game. You’d have to restrict things a bit when it comes to boss battles and the like but I think it could really work.
Plus, there’s tons of different Spider-Man characters you could play as (Spider-Gwen would be great), so maybe it could even be more than two-player!
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Crazy to think that a flop of a console, that nobody likes and has very few games of its own, could end up selling more than the SNES and Mega Drive. I guess those two were going at each other so much they split sales between them, when if they one dominated they could’ve done twice as much but it’s still a strange thing.
I’m not even ragging on the Xbox One, but it’s just a console like the Wii U or PlayStation 3 that no-one’s ever going to miss. There’ll be no Xbox One Mini, no compilations, just backwards compatibility for the few games worth remembering. And yet at the same time, the SNES and Mega Drive, which sold less, will live on forever. Heck, we had someone complaining they might not be able to get hold of the Mega Drive Mini 2 yesterday. Just goes to show that it’s not just raw numbers that prove how popular a thing is.
Wrong way round
I’ve just seen that you can pre-order The Callisto Project on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on Amazon and it is cheaper than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions! Now that is confusing, with all the talk of game prices being higher on next generation and upgrades!
Currently playing: Far: Changing Tides (PS5) – I’m wondering if the next game will have an airship in it, the first game had a land vehicle, the second has a boat, so only one way to go!
After reading the more recent articles regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision and the whole ‘unfair’ argument, I can’t help but smile. It seems a lot if your readers seem to think this practice is somewhat new or at least not commonplace. As an Xbox owner and Game Pass subscriber I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Call Of Duty franchise appear on Game Pass, day one of launch.
As to those who say it’s unfair or not right I would like to remind them that it is just business and unlike Sony, Microsoft doesn’t gate keep their IPs (Minecraft being the biggest example or Microsoft owned multiplatform title) and have already stated Call Of Duty will still be available on all platforms, unlike Sony who bought the majority of decent game developers in the mid to late 00s and had them make exclusive content like Spider-Man or God Of War, which you can’t get on Xbox.
The fact so many people are assuming Microsoft will make Call Of Duty exclusive to Xbox just goes to show how many PlayStation owners are stuck on that band wagon. Fortunately for all those who believe this acquisition will leave Sony behind, it won’t… PlayStation owners will still have all their Sony exclusives and will still be able to purchase Call Of Duty on Sony platforms, unlike Xbox owners who are still locked out from all the top PlayStation titles.
The only saving grace is that if you’re a Game Pass subscriber you will be able to play Call Of Duty for free on Xbox, whereas you will have to pay £70 on PlayStation, a small price to pay when you consider all the awesome PlayStation exclusive you can still enjoy. If anyone still thinks the purchase of Activision is unfair I would like to remind them, Sony has had exclusive content for over two decades and even when Xbox was being called out for its lack of exclusives, they are still sharing.
I guess it’s easier to do that when your company’s value dwarves all your competitors. I personally am expecting more acquisitions to happen for Microsoft and of course more people to complain it is unfair but alas, you can purchase a Game Pass subscription for a very competitive price and have your cake and eat it as well.
GC: Sony bought Insomniac (after decades as a de facto second party developer) in 2019, after Microsoft started its long stream of acquisitions, and God Of War is made by Santa Monica Studio who Sony established from scratch in 1999. The only reason Minecraft is multiformat is because it’s much more popular on Switch than Xbox. Microsoft has already lied once about its plans for newly acquired studios, when they suggested Bethesda games would remain multiformat.
The cost of consoles
Doing some quick and dirty calculations on the cost of electricity I came to the conclusion that it will soon, if not already, cost 50p an hour to run a games console at full power usage.
To combat this I will mostly be playing on my Switch, and will be charging it at work.
I finished Subnautica recently and for the most part it’s a glorious game. The underwater alien world looks beautiful and the exploration can be engrossing, especially as you gain access to the various vehicles reaching greater and greater depths. It’s just a shame the game is let down by a number of frustrations. There is an early bug where the escape pod you start in begins fixing itself between play sessions. This made the early part of the game feel completely pointless and is apparently a very common bug that has never been fixed.
Unfortunately, this was far from the only bug and whenever I started enjoying myself the game would do something annoying like completely crash. Even the excellent ending was marred by crashes. I understand the game is by a small team and as such the world they’ve achieved is miraculous, but it’s completely undermined if the game doesn’t work properly.
Apart from bugs my other major frustration was a lack of direction and general pacing issues. Radio messages you receive while playing are meant to give you a bit of structure and guide you through the story, but they seem to arrive at complete random. Sometimes I’d have no messages for days then suddenly I’d get three in a row. Eventually they completely stop, and you’re left to your own devices which would be fine if I had a better grasp of the world by that point but really, I was still fumbling around trying to find my way.
This is perhaps controversial but why is there no map? If I crashed on an alien planet and was looking to survive, I would absolutely be making some sort of makeshift map. It’s unrealistic not to have one. I understand it’d be hard to fully map the depths but even just a map marking the different biomes as you discovered them would have been very welcome, especially as the same biomes repeat themselves in different areas. There was more than one time when I completely lost my bearings, going around in circles underwater in the dark feeling like I was wasting my time. That wouldn’t be fun in real life and it’s not fun in a game.
Any idea when you will be reviewing the new Sam Barlow game, Immortality? I’ve not seen it mentioned much when people are talking about games released this year, but I loved Her Story and Telling Lies, and I saw Edge gave it a 10, so I’m pretty excited for it!
GC: We can’t pretend we’re such big fans, but we will review Immortality this month.
So that FIFA x Marvel promotion… I just, what? Apart from anything it’s driving me mad trying to work out if Yaya Touré is meant to be wearing armour or is bare-chested?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks what’s the most invested you’ve ever been in a console war?
Which generation did you get the most passionate about and which side were you on, between Sega, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and others? Do you regret any of the things you said or did at the time and do you think you were ultimately right about the side you picked?
Have you ever regretted a choice of console, and did you reverse it that generation or at the start of the next one? Which part of the modern game industry would you have found the most surprising at the time of your console warring?
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