The Wednesday Inbox thinks the Nintendo Switch eShop needs a revamp, as one reader recommends the book Hey! Listen!
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There’s no stopping this train
Every day we get more news about problems with Halo Infinite and a complete lack of news about anything to do with Sony… I just don’t understand why the new consoles are even bothering to come out this year now. We’re probably less than three months from them being out and we know virtually nothing about them yet, no price, no launch line-up, nothing about services or dashboard from Sony… nothing seems ready.
Whether that’s entirely the fault of the pandemic or not doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that any sensible observation would be that they wait until next year and make a proper job of it. If they have to make a gentleman’s agreement behind the scenes for one of them to not one-up the other then so be it. But I honestly think anyone that does come out this year is going to end up with far more bad publicity than good.
This isn’t about pointing fingers or playing favourites, it’s about one or both not kneecapping themselves the second they next gen race begins. I’d rather six months, or even a year’s, delay than have three years of no games, faulty hardware, and constant excuses – which is exactly what I fear we’re headed for. What do you think GC?
GC: Although logically a delay seems like it must be a possibility Microsoft has been adamant they’re launching this year and Sony has already started TV ads…
I know last weekend’s event was specifically for the DC side of Warner Bros., but now we’ve finally had the new Arkham game announced, has there been any more news about that Harry Potter/Hogwarts role-playing game?
I always linked those two in my mind because they both seemed to be open secrets and I think were first heard about around the same time, so now one is officially out there I wonder if the other is likely to be announced soon. There were rumours a while back about something being said in August, but I guess that came to nothing.
Sparky the Yak
GC: They were allegedly both going to be announced at Warner’s first E3 showcase in June, but obviously that never happened. When it’ll get revealed now is anyone guess, although there is an outside chance it could be at Gamescom this Thursday. We doubt it though.
I’ve recently seen numerous comments (not just here on GC) about the state of the Switch’s eShop and while I agree it is far from perfect, I just wondered what could actually be done to improve it?
The current gripe seems to be around discounted shovelware making itself visible in the charts by dropping to a bargain price for a few days and pushing other titles out of sight. But on the other hand, there are occasionally some genuinely great discounted games, so that’s not always a bad thing.
Or is the problem simply that the sheer amount of content has become unmanageable? Without knowing exactly, I would guess that Sony and Microsoft are not dealing with the same volume of content each week. If anything, it seems comparable to the App Store, and I’m not sure Apple’s current approach fixes the problem. Behind a smart landing page with curated apps that, presumably, didn’t end up there by goodwill alone, the App Store still feels as chaotic and open to manipulation as it ever did.
Does Nintendo need to re-think the entire infrastructure of the eShop (I think we know how likely that is…) or is it merely a case of better organisation of what’s already there?
GC: We think you have it about right. The eShop suffers all the same problems as other digital store fronts with lots of content and there’s no easy answer on how to improve it. We’d certainly like to see more curation and less shovelware though.
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Are you planning on reviewing Microsoft Flight Simulator?
It’s probably the biggest recent release and although I haven’t got a gaming PC I’ve been following it with interest as not only does it look great, the innovations it’s looking to bring in terms of streaming real-time data look impressive and could have implications for other genres.
TheTruthSoul (PSN ID)
GC: No. It’s not really a game, per se, and none of us are invested enough to do it justice for a review. We’d welcome a Reader’s Feature on it though.
Very saddened and concerned to hear about the troubled development behind the scenes at Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs. Firing the lead creatives, Brian Mitsoda and Ka’ai Cluney, with no meaningful explanation is downright bizarre and the only thing of that is remotely like it is how Konami treated Hideo Kojima.
I am of course speaking of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. A delay is one thing but dismissing key personnel without warning and not showing off anything from the games in a while now, it has all the signs of a doomed game.
I could be wrong, of course. They could show off more before the end of September and it could be amazing. Or it could be next year’s Anthem. Or worse still, Duke Nukem Forever! If you’ll pardon my choice of words here, it all looks very grave…
Wrong end of the stick
RE: JAH’s question, whilst I can’t hope to nominate the best ever video game TV show tie-in, I can suggest the worst, namely The Crystal Maze video game on PC.
It will surely go down as one of the greatest injustices in video game history. On the one hand you had the TV show, fronted by the charismatic and brilliant Richard O’Brien (the greatest bald person ever).
It’s premise of putting lone contestants into challenges, whilst their exasperated team-mates looked in with despair at their incredible stupidity was brilliantly captured.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better the camera would cut to O’Brien who would start playing his harmonica, or perhaps would turn to a contestant and begin talking about some utterly irrelevant aspect of his life. He was very good.
Then you had the PC game. It was utterly terrible. In fairness it had an impossible task. It had no chance of capturing what made the TV show so good.
The fact that it achieved a meta-critic score of N/A, not even zero, because no review site ever even gave it a bash says it all.
Some things should never be and the video game version of this show is one of them.
PC Gamer covered this once and explain all of this better than me.
GC: We think he meant TV shows about games, not games based on TV shows.
So, we’ve all heard about the Halo delay, no doubt a huge blow to Microsoft’s chances at catching up to Sony in the next gen console wars. But news has starting coming out about the current gen version of Halo Infinite being scrapped all-together.
This leads into Microsoft breaking a key promise of not needing new hardware to play Microsoft’s first party games.
This I feel also leads into their strategy of keeping the Xbox One S as a cheap entry level console, which now looks completely dead in the water without the flagship Halo.
When huge industry veterans like Ryan McCaffrey (a known Xbox loyalist) from IGN is tweeting about it, it seems clear there is trouble on the horizon for Xbox fans.
Fans have been cheerleading and shouting from the rooftops at Microsoft’s clear position being the most customer friendly company, this now looks to be in tatters.
Posing the question, are Microsoft able to have a successful console launch?
The original Xbox was beaten so badly by the PlayStation 2 that they rushed the Xbox 360 out the door, causing the Red Ring of Death fiasco. Then we had Don Mattrick and his disaster of the Xbox One launch. Now under Phil Spencer things don’t seem any better!
Does Microsoft need to do a U-turn or are they facing the prospect of being distant runners-up behind Sony and Nintendo yet again?
GC: We do feel that’s one promise most people will be more than happy for Microsoft to break.
More praise for the High Score show on Netflix found it really enjoyable.
I read a book by Steve McNeil called Hey! Listen! last year which I also really enjoyed (some interesting shady practises by every one’s favourite company Nintendo over the years detailed in that!) and this pretty much covers the same ground as High Score but with a bit more detail, so would recommend that to anyone to try.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
The fact that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will have been released, most likely, in the next three months is just mindboggling considering how little we know about them.
I’m casting my mind back to previous console launches, where the anticipation was enormous. My friends and I had poured tens of hours reading and rereading magazine articles covering new consoles. I can vividly remember Shigeru Miyamoto showing off Nintendo’s little purple box at one E3, and my subsequent devouring of all things GameCube-related over the next 18 months – or whatever it was to release.
Perhaps Sony and Microsoft are engaged in a game of chicken regarding revealing the price of the next gen consoles, but that doesn’t explain why their being so reluctant to discuss any other feature. Why aren’t Sony bragging about their supposedly super-fast SSD? Why aren’t Microsoft tweeting constant reminders that every Xbox One game can be played on the Xbox Series X?
Maybe they are, I don’t actually go on Twitter so wouldn’t know. But, you catch my drift. The lack of communication is deafening. Sony have started with the PlayStation 5 ads but that doesn’t reveal any further information.
I’m sure the pandemic has had an effect on everything, but this has to be the most strange run up to a new generation we’ve ever had.
GC: Although the coronavirus has obviously made things worse, Sony in particular were acting weird about the next gen long before the pandemic began. What we find most bizarre is that Microsoft still has not attempted any demonstration of the fact that the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console. It doesn’t have to be a game – the Unreal Engine demo for the PlayStation 5 wasn’t – but there’s been nothing beyond a few seconds of Hellblade 2. It’s absolutely incomprehensible.
I heard the news that BiliBili Games is releasing Fall Guys on mobile, is that official? ‘Cause I want it.
GC: An official mobile version is coming to China, but not yet confirmed for the West. It seems inevitable though.
Had a laugh at your Netflix rule for making video game TV shows then released it was true elsewhere as well. I mean, how else do you explain a show based on obscure PSP game Gangs Of London?!
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by the recent DC Comics announcements and asks what would be your dream superhero or comic book video game?
It can be a sequel to an existing game or something that’s relatively unlikely to get made, but we want to know why you’d pick the particular character or setting and how you’d think it would work as a game.
Would you welcome more superhero games in general and what dangers, if any, do you think there are with making too many? What is your current favourite and how do you think it could be improved in the next gen?
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.
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.
You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.
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