The evening Inbox hopes that Nintendo teams up with Microsoft this E3, as one reader wonders why Japanese games used to be so easy.
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I don’t even know what to think about the Microsoft and Sony annoucement (literally, since a lot of it is in business language) but… wow? I think. So basically, as I understand it, Sony has admitted it can’t do cloud gaming with its own hardware and has decided to use Microsoft’s. That I can get, because Microsoft is one of the biggest companies in the world and their data centres aren’t just used for games, so you wouldn’t expect Sony to have something to compete.
But the other stuff about semiconductors and artificial intelligence is what I find most interesting, because it’s so unnecessary. Sony needs good datacentres to ensure they can have cloud gaming properly next gen, fine. That makes sense and obvious. But why collaborate with Microsoft over AI of all things? If they’re going to co-operate on that then why not everything?
We all know that Microsoft has messed up this generation but I think their failure to comeback immediately, as soon as Phil Spencer took over, shows they’ve basically given up on competing head-to-head with Sony and now want to be the tech company everyone, perhaps including Nintendo, goes to in order to make their consoles and games.
They’re still making consoles and games this gen but I think we’re going to see that become a side business going forward. It seems like Microsoft aren’t going third party, they’re becoming first party to everyone.
Sony and Microsoft partnering… It’s like cats and dogs shaking hands! I can see Sony making all these pre-new-gen moves to try and double down on its current status; between the lip service talk of allowing cross-play, allowing changing ID names, etc., etc. it’s like they’re trying to fix all the things that people weren’t happy with this generation so they can go into the next without a mark on the record.
Another one being their lacklustre online services and infrastructure, which has just been somewhat ameliorated and expanded upon thanks to this new agreement. Microsoft didn’t have to help them out with this; they know they have the better service and could have just said no, but hey, I imagine it’s free money, and/or they likely get certain other benefits out of it, I’m sure. So, win-win for all involved, and gamers too, right?
GC: Hopefully, although the annoucement was very much lacking in details.
Amazing achievement by Nintendo to have the Switch outsell the PlayStation 4 in Japan, despite a huge head start. The ups and downs of gaming’s oldest company truly are a roller-coaster. But as your story said, it’s hard to see where it’s going to go from here.
I can’t see the Switch still being around in 2027 but I equally can’t see Nintendo coming out with some mega powerful (and mega expensive) sequel to compete with the next gen. The answer for them has got to be making a deal with Microsoft, similar to the one Sony has just made.
Except… I have a feeling Microsoft approached Nintendo first, they said no and then Microsoft went to Sony – who surprisingly were all for it. I have nothing to back this up, other than the knowledge that Nintendo does not play well with others and often backs out of deal with other companies.
I hope there’s an announcement at E3 that proves otherwise, because I think working with Microsoft is a good move for them, but I worry they’re going to be too prideful for that. As with anything to do with Nintendo, we’ll just have to wait and see…
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What does GC think about the Steam crowdfunded game The Outer Wilds becoming an Epic Store exclusive? I was one who wasn’t too bothered about the Epic Store, I just wanted to play Metro Exodus.
But I may have to rethink my position as this is a really shady thing to do. And in a nice move the devs have told backers they can give them all refunds and still make money.
GC: It’s not something that affects us so we’re not sure our opinion is relevant. But if they’re offering refunds isn’t that a good thing?
I haven’t seen it mentioned on the Inbox yet but the Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers deal is actually really good. £35 off buying two full price games is a major discount, especially as you don’t have to buy them at the same time. Not every game is included but it’s more or less everything Nintendo first party and I’ve already bought ARMS and will get Super Mario Maker 2 later if it gets good reviews (which I’m certain it will).
People always complain about Nintendo not having sales, which isn’t quite fair really. If I was selling something and the demand was still there I wouldn’t discount them either. But this seems like a good compromise between the two and something that I hope continues forever.
I’d say that Microsoft and Sony should look at doing the same thing but I guess the need isn’t so much there, but I’m glad Nintendo is at least throwing a bone to more frugal gamers.
PS: Here’s a list of all the games that are in the deal.
I’ve just been reading your review of the Castlevania collection and noticed that you made reference to the Japanese versions, which you said are, ‘always easier’.
What’s the reason for this? I remember barely getting started with the original Castlevania because of the high difficulty level, so I’m tempted to check the collection out if it’s a little more forgiving.
Great review by the way!
GC: Thanks. It was very common for Japanese-made games from the 80s and 90s to be made purposefully more difficult for export to the West, not just Castlevania. Although there’s no general agreement on exactly why.
Showing my age but the picture of the half Xbox controller half DualShock reminds me of the picture on the old Hulk TV series intro with half David (Bruce) Banner’s face and half Hulk.
Wonder which company is the scientist and which one will go on a destructive rampage messing up everything they’ve created?
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Never really understood the talk on generations, it always felt quite arbitrary. Have noticed a number of letters coming in with their favourite games and listing Zelda: Breath Of The Wild on the Switch… an amazing game no doubt but that makes even less sense. Given Nintendo’s console release schedule since the GameCube, and its use of technology, I’m not sure you can include them in the generation talk at all…
They’ve had three machines, while the others have had two and the two most recent of them are essentially the same power wise. The Switch really doesn’t compete in the same market as Sony or Microsoft (or PC). Looking back historically, bundling the Saturn, PlayStation, and N64 together doesn’t really work either, they’re such vastly different machines.
The Dreamcast is surely of that generation too since it was nowhere near powerful enough (and long dead) to take on the GameCube or Xbox. Now with streaming and the various team ups hopefully we can put it all to bed.
GC: Generations aren’t measured by power, merely release dates. The Wii U and Switch is the only time the various waves of consoles haven’t lined up neatly against each other. Unless things get more complicated next gen, it seems natural to consider them part of the same (current) generation.
Guacamelee 1 is also free on Humble Bundle until May 19th. You have to subscribe to their newsletter to get the game free and then you can unsubscribe once you have got the game. Here’s the link.
I know it has been really slated, but at just £30 I have had to reserve and buy the PlayStation Classic and thought I would share with the other readers.
GC: That is cheap, but there’s a reason it’s been discounted so heavily…
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Purple Ranger, who asks what is the best Xbox exclusive ever?
Following a similar topic on the best PlayStation exclusives (and with another on Nintendo yet to come) we want to know what you think is the best exclusive released on any Xbox console, i.e. the Xbox, Xbox 360, or Xbox One. Anything is eligible as long as it was an Xbox exclusive at some point – it doesn’t matter if Microsoft themselves published it or not.
Why do you like the game so much and do you feel it was important to the success of the host console? Did it make any special use of the console’s unique features and how did it compare to other exclusives of the same period?
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