The Friday Inbox wants to see an Xbox version of Mario Kart or Smash Bros., as one reader looks forward to Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
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Just to add fuel to the fire, I’m happy with the buyout of Activision. When I heard about it several people said to me Call Of Duty would be Xbox exclusive, which I said ‘No, it will never happen’, as it’s a massive money maker. But it would be good that the studios Activision owns could then start making new games and not be sucked into the Call Of Duty yearly update.
Seems like that may happen under the expert eyes of Microsoft. You don’t really hear bad things about what Xbox does studio wise, apart from buying up companies then they let them do what they want, which is making games.
Already Microsoft are saying they want to resurrect old IPs and I’m all for it.
So what is Sony going to do? I reckon they are on the phone to Take-Two and Rockstar for all they own and GTA.
GC: That would be awful though, wouldn’t you say?
If you’ve got it, flaunt it
The weekend feature really did rip Xbox to bits and every single word he put was right. When Sony was on the ropes with the PlayStation 3 they didn’t splash the cash like Microsoft, they took a steep back, cleaned themselves up and took another step back and said that won’t happen next time. They sorted out their developers and made a plan for the PlayStation 4 and when it launched it was like Usain Bolt.
Microsoft, on the other hand, had a cry, threw their dummy out their pram, pulled out the cheque book and left the prices bit blank. I know that after they sign the paper work for Activision Blizzard they will then say Call Of Duty is Xbox only. After this I wouldn’t buy an Xbox at all, it’s not worth my time anymore.
GC: Sony doesn’t have as much cash to splash. They’d probably do exactly the same thing in Microsoft’s position.
Breaking the bank
I just wanted to express my disbelief at not just the proposed acquisition of Activision, but the level of cash used to do so. This level of cash is more than the GDP of Luxembourg! And perhaps even more surprising is it’s potentially up to half of Microsoft’s cash war chest. That is a massive statement of intent for Microsoft in the gaming space.
I’m not opposed to it all, and I know this kind of feeds into the Hot Topic from last week, but I love physical media. I have a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (old version), I don’t have Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass (or any of the Sony equivalents) and am happy with my discs. I hope Xbox in the future doesn’t just become a giant digital rental service.
Thanks for the great gaming coverage as always.
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Super Halo Kart
Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet but with the recent Xbox acquisitions and the range of famous mascots they now own, surely they’ve got to be thinking now’s the time for their own versions of Mario Kart and Smash Bros.
The family audience is not something we would associate with the brand and with the amount of money they’re spending surely this kind of game is exactly what they need for Game Pass, to make it a real insurmountable success. Seems the perfect game type for the Overwatch team to work on.
After the news that Microsoft spent a Nintendo on Activision Blizzard it makes you wonder that, if streaming really is the future of gaming, in the not too distant future, how many developers will we all be paying a subscription to, to play their games?
Imagine how much money could be spent if a user subscribes to several of their favourite developers every month at an average of £10.
It begins to make a single platform holders subscription services, Game Pass for example, seem like a lesser evil than what could potentially become.
It’s an impossible future to think about right now, will players soon be willing their preferred platform of choice to buy out as many developers as possible just to keep everything in one place at a reasonable price?
What seems like an unfair business model to many may end up being way too convenient for us all to complain about very soon.
GC: Do you mean publishers? Because most developers don’t release more than one new game every three years or so, so a subscription service doesn’t really make sense for them. EA Play is probably the closest to what you’re suggesting and it’s already part of Game Pass Ultimate.
I know there have been lots of reactionary takes to MicroVisionBlizzard and whilst I don’t agree it’s the end of gaming as we know it I’ve enjoyed reading the passionate takes, particularly Saturday’s Reader’s Feature which was l, I thought, well written.
My own personal hot take is far more boring, and that the effects of the merger will only become clear in the next decade or longer.
In the immediate term, I find it very encouraging that a company as large as Microsoft wants to spend a huge chunk of money on a gaming publisher. It points to gaming as an industry being in rude health, and far from the end as has been prophesied since the announcement.
As for the impact on games that’s where I am more unsure. If Microsoft were drawn to purchase Activision because they feel they were under-utilising their stable of IP, wasting their studio talent literally churning out Call Of Duty and the odd other game here and there, and will change the focus of the company onto creating more original, innovative or creative experiences then it’s great news. Certainly Phil Spencer’s comments so far point to them creating more than Activision currently do.
If Microsoft were drawn to them because they loved the revenue churn of Call Of Duty, or thought the way they drag money out of mobile players with pay-to-win Zynga games was the experience they needed… maybe to implement it into console gaming… or wanted a slice of all those games as a service Blizzard titles, then it’s not great news for the games which they will produce on Xbox (at least not for me, millions of people love these games though!)
As always, I’m sure the answer lies somewhere in the middle, or possibly they are drawn to both things, or neither! Who knows, but we’ll only find out in the next decade or more… so I’m not quite ready to read the last rites of gaming just yet. It’ll just keep on keeping on for now.
I said it was a more boring take!
GC: Even in its most unsuccessful iteration for over a decade Call Of Duty was still the best-selling game of 2021 in the US, with Cold War the second best-selling. Although it’d be nice to think that, in the future, Activision will go back to making a greater range of games there should be no question as to the primary reason Microsoft bought the company.
10 years later
Hotline Miami turns 10 years old in 2022. Once you’ve gotten over the existential dread caused by that statement, I recommend you check out NoClip’s new documentary about this great game.
Danny O’ Dwyer interviews the two developers, and they discuss its creation and legacy, as well as Hotline Miami 2’s negative reception (i.e. death threats) causing them to almost give up on game-making.
It’s happened before
It’s funny. I remember in the 90s Nintendo was the dominant force in gaming and Sega was its competition. Nintendo would use its weight to dominate the market, punishing retail stores who dared sell competitors’ products. However, I loved Nintendo and was very excited saving for my N64 from my hard-earned paper round wage or pocket money. I felt like I knew the way the industry worked and knew exactly what to expect from my favourite developers.
Then came Sony, they changed from the cartridge we all knew to a CD-ROM. This drastically changed the types of games being made and I wasn’t a fan: huge loading times, FMV everywhere, and completely new genres of games that had never been thought of before. Sony bought with them a huge amount of cash, which the likes of Sega and Nintendo couldn’t compete with, so everywhere I looked I saw promotions for PlayStation. They may not have outright bought up companies but they convinced major developers and publishers to jump ship and develop for PlayStation, taking beloved (not by me) franchises such as Final Fantasy away from my beloved Nintendo.
I was about 13 at this point and I took it quite personally. Sony were the greedy corporation trying to ruin my hobby, and as far as I could tell everyone who had one had it chipped, so after the initial outlay for the console people weren’t buying anything. Around the time the PlayStation 2 came out GTA 3 had convinced me to get one and I had the realisation one afternoon I was watching a Sony Pictures DVD in my Sony PlayStation on my Sony TV. Talk about monopoly.
Which brings me to my point. I am a PC gamer and have an Xbox now, when did I last buy a game? Can’t remember but between sharing Steam games, EA Access, Game Pass and the free games on Epic Games Store or Ubisoft I’ve played pretty much everything I want for no extra cost, my 14-year-old self would have exploded with excitement that this was legal.
Microsoft may have been losing the console game every generation but they are, for me, now the market leaders, taking genuinely new ideas and incorporating them into a model that actually does look after its userbase. Sony and their fans may be upset at Microsoft moving the goal posts, so to speak, but that’s only because they have moved them from where Sony put them.
I have written in several times before about my anticipation for Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and at last it has a release date of April 5th. My birthday is April 8th so the timing is almost perfect. The new trailer looks great and April can’t come soon enough!
Pigfish2 (PSN ID)
I don’t understand why people get so worried about games being released cross generationally. I can play brand new PC games on my 14-year-old PC, which was last upgraded in 2013. This doesn’t make them any less good on brand new beast PCs.
GC: People want games to take advantage of the new console’s abilities. The SSD in particular cannot be used as a key element for a cross-gen PlayStation game, because the PlayStation 4 doesn’t have one.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks would you still be interested in gaming if Sony and Nintendo were no longer involved?
The news that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard has changed everything, with many fearing that equally large companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix will swoop in to buy the remaining third party publishers. If that happened, how would it affect your interest in gaming?
Do you worry about the increasing consolidation of gaming, where only a few number of giant companies own everything, or do you think it won’t change anything fundamental? What do you see as the most optimistic, and pessimistic, outcomes for the future of the games industry?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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