Games Industry

Non-Gamer Misconceptions

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A couple of valid points in this list.

Belgium has not (yet?) declared Loot Boxes Gambling

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This seems a correction to a previous news floating around such as this one. Still, things do seem to be moving in that direction regardless. For example the politician speaking at 8:47 seems to have figured out a niche that will get him what all politicians want: a lot of attention, and since others want that too, i see it likely to have more dominoes falling:

“loot boxes becoming the corn syrup of the games industry” :))

Belgium declares Loot Boxes Gambling

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When I yesterday finally wrote down my predictions for the lootboxing of games I totally did not expect this direction. Even though as a player I’m tempted to be happy of this and the implication, I find it rather scary, as once the govs get a taste of the games industry they might go much further than we as gamers might want, either by finding a new industry to parasite and tax & regulate into stagnation or even the unimaginable, going to deciding for us that all games are “according to a new study” somehow dangerous for us to play and then “for our own good” proceed to banning/censoring a lot of them (already I live in a country where I can’t buy some of the best zombie games). Call me a paranoid if you want to, and indeed I don’t find this probable, but there’s just too many fables of the rabbit calling in the lion to help with the fox and then later with the fox gone getting eaten (and their application in kingdoms past through history).

 

PS: new develompents here

Microz and the Futurez?

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This is a collection of “industry pulse” videos I’ve seen in the past month on the subject, some with what I thought were good points to think about. I had been meaning to make predictions video on the subject, so for lack of time I’ll just mix the predictions in here:

I also believe that this is a consumption of buildup credibility and there’ll be a to them surprising point where all the resentment will bubble up possibly in a surprising way.
Prediction 1: “increase in inequality”: I expect some will get away with it, those who also deliver a particularly good game anyway, but the consumers will build up a resentment towards the system. If you go out and pay 70$ for a game because it is unique and special in some way but reaaaly hate some parts of it, that part of the vote is not getting through, so it remains bottled up, looking for another way to express itself. The reason i make the inequality joke reference here is because big huge games will get away with it, while smaller games I expect will get the builtup sh** storm. Most people are getting the next Red Dead Redemption/GTA game even if it has them, because surely it’ll have great stuff in it besides that, but those same people might then spill a lot of hate on the next ones that try to do similar on a lower budget/expertise.

Prediction 2: “voting with your pocket will remain more important than words”: By this I mean that as longs as consumers will spend lots of money in microz the popular outrage will be irrelevant. This is in the past referenced by games which got bad reviews but great sales or the other way around, where I often found myself defending the great sales and criticizing the imo pretentious reviewers who expected the masses to buy based on their tastes or some moralistic aspect of games when the people, myself included, just wanted quality entertainment, (and not as dictated by the elite). Although from a design & incentives perspective this model Just like how one can easily imagine a vicious cycle for the model, where the devs make your game feel frustrating and incomplete to encourage purchases, there could be a virtuous cycle too, where a BIIIG game, say take AC Origins, in addition (not instead!!! this is the crucial point) to a big world offers also a “store” for other experiences/artwork. This could be virtuous in the sense of creating a financial possibility for great artists to be constantly developing new content. In this model the game itself would become like an “amazon store” for game content. This however is made somewhat unlikely by the incentives of human nature plus a question that i’ve been wondering about a lot for years but never got to write a full article about: “how much of the new-ness of a game experience is in fact ‘the programming’ as opposed to the artwork”. This would be solved if say an ingame store could actually sell you new ways to explore that world or interact with it, but this is borderline impossible on the difficulty scale. Anyway, back to the prediction, I think people will continue to buy great games, but this getting on their nerves will increasingly raise their expectations and lower their tolerance. Also this fits in with the fact that a free game will be more tolerated with this than an expensive one, where there’s the risk of people simply reverting to buying only the biggest titles and drying out revenue for the 2nd and 3rd best, making it a winner take all market like in P1 above.

Prediction 3: “it will become a bashing/bragging point”: I see microz (i’ll use this term to denote micro-transactions+lootboxes+the ecosystem thei incentivize) a similar credibility consumption of builtup past years, just like when govs after years of stability take the rational decision to “monetize” the accumulated credibility through inflation resulting in additional revenue streams: what they have in common is that they’re both rational on the part of the actors, and predictable in their incentives, make big outrage but have an evolutionary competition aspect to it where the actors in the end decide to do it. I’ve seen it also with softwares I loved (Winamp, Nero, Windows, Yahoo, … ) And as there here in games too I expect as one company decides to go this route another more entrepreneurial one will rise by being the new innovator advocating the desires of the customers and getting their praises even as the old titan for a while continues to get the bulk of the income and people. Thus I expect to become even more a badge of honor in some games’ hat when they don’t have microz, this getting them media attention and sales, while the old fans of the older ones will stick to those but slowly drift away. And then the cycle will repeat. I’m remembering here for example how I was very happy to support Good Old Games as a platform that just gives you the game with DRM, and as they were tiny they were a great deal but then as they grew I started to notice a tendency for them too to want to get people to use their own downloader… i see it as an eternal evolutionary competition, but unfortunately from what I’ve seen with countries rarely can a slope be reversed once it starts in one direction, instead it is more likely that some new actor comes in with a new mentality.

Prediction 3: “multiplayer focus”: I expect the issue will more strongly affect multiplayer games… but also for this reason tempt more and more singleplayer games into becoming “social” in some way (a possibility is like MGS5 did), for human nature reasons: you might or might not buy a purple star sparkly cloak for just you too see, but once there’s other viewers many will want to do the “conspicuous consumption” + identity thing. I expect the multiplayer side to get more income on this and thus push it stronger, while the spicy thing for news watchers will be that those same multiplayer players being so aware of social status will also be the likeliest to make very vocal cries of unfairness in a similar fashion to the general cries for social equality. This will be contradicting as the same people will be the ones buying the most to get an edge… but the push of our species as a social one might be very strong (i’ve even heard people advocating getting the state/laws involved on the arguments of regulating gambling or consumer protection). For this double edged reason we should see more PR trickery and spins as well as debuffing of those spins as they fall into disrepute after working a while.

 

Prediction 4: bad but also good design changes to support microz: This seems kinda obvious, but wait, I’ll actually get a bit more spicy speciffic. In some cases they’ll be obvious perversions, like when a game which should be a survival horror can lose it’s character by becoming pay to progress, however interestingly enough it’s the nature of producers trying to please consumers that even while asking for money they might actually satisfy little known consumer needs. For example in the past couple of years I’ve felt a huge undercurrent of people wanting “hard games”. This comes contrary to the previous decade or two when games got easier and easier in order to reach a mass market, but as it did some gamers wanted a return to “bragging rights games”. Interestingly enough with microz I see that as becoming a possibility.  Take for example the last two games I’ve been playing Shadow of War and AC Origins: both are at times shockingly hard. And I don’t think this is accidental. The difficulty gives the dev an opportunity to sell “helping items”. So i find it a makes-me-laugh kind of paradox where a “consumer exploitation” direction will actually respond to a pretty deep consumer need. Suddenly again devs will make hard games.. which sure, some will pay their way through, but some will actually enjoy the challenge and take it as an excuse to spend more time and get more immersed into their favorite fictional worlds.

 

Prediction 5: good things will be done out of self interest : This one’s very Adam Smith-ian. Many people foolishly expect devs to make fantastic content for free, or appeal to a sense of morality and sense of quality, but until the west goes to full on central planning with games made and mandated by gov regulations and all the bad things that entails a more reliable expectation is related to the above. The most interesting element from that news is the pushback coming from Disney now, the worries of the backlash against EA hitting back on the Star Wars brand, something that on the one hand makes me happy as an advocate of “consumer protection via the ‘selfish companies’ ‘ own selfinterest, but also makes perfect business sense as you have wholly different thinking when you’re thinking of all the SW good will built up over decades vs the profits of a certain game licensed with the brand. I find that rational because similar to how i saw the Linux community being a very vocal very small minority on the internet should it happen for example that a new SW movie comes out and somebody googles that and instead of that hits the very vocal gaming community’s outrage… it could be bad for them. This became evident to me recently upon watching a “top disliked youtube videos” and i was surprised to see the top elements being ones which somehow managed to insult the gamers or game streamers.

 

There’s some more thoughts I had, stuff like P6: It’s a form of hidden reflection of the general monetary devaluation of the west or P7: it could pull more free-ness, audience enlarging even while changing types of product… … … …  but i won’t get into more as the article already got too long… hope you found some of the thoughts interesting and thought provoking. What do you think? Any particular prediction that you particularly agree or dissagree with? One that you love or hate… or like me, one that you hate but see as quite logical?

PS: if you’re hungry for more videos/comments on the subject this post http://artsygamer.com/activisions-microtransaction-patent/ has two more interesting ones as well as a nicely heated comments discussion.

PS2: seems like I missed a reaaaly BIG one with the governments getting into the action. When the Jimquisition predicted this I thought it was just a gamer dangerous wishful thinking…

All Elder Scrolls Trailers 1994 – 2014

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Wow, what a journey through time! I can’t believe even I didn’t live the first ones. Also makes me wonder when we’ll start to see the slowdown in game-tech so we’ll be more like movies with the difference being more in content than visuals, as I was expecting to see a huge slowdown in the last ones but the leaps were IMHO still big.

Activision’s Microtransaction Patent

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It’s quite interesting to see the player outrage over this one piling up on the recent outrage on the whole turning stuff into “games as service” such as EA shutting down Viscereal Games, the makers of Dead Space, after there too also slowly transforming the IP from a cool experience into a micro-transaction shop. Here’s an even more upset commentator on the subject

What i find ironically funny and a little tragic about it is that we see here both motivated improvements of experiences for the players as well as the less desirable shifting of incentives and even a touch of the kinds of behaviors usually reserved to states in finding new and inventive ways of milking their tax people. And like with them I’d predict they’ll get through with it despite the outrage, but like with them I expect they’ll discover a lot of the unintended side effects of central planning, ways it will backfire and like there there’s gonna be a lot of “patching of loopholes” which might fix some things but might break even more things, or more likely not break but rather tie everything down in a net of hard to follow twisted cause and effects.

In the meanwhile i’ll try to further hide behind my singleplayer hat. Will there still be space in this brave new world for singleplayer stories without catches? The Visceral Games experience with the killing of a singleplayer star wars story game suggests less. But maybe new studios will spring up to fill this desire of the audience as the old ones shift towards the bigger money… because as long as people will be willing to pay for these micro-transactions, well… they’ll be around. What that patent does (as far as I understand it) would indeed increase the pleasure of the experience of the purchasers. Which again makes me think that this whole thing is simply a way to raise the prices, because to those willing to pay more (pre-orders, micro-transactions, late buyers of bundles) the overall experience might actually get improved in the manipulative way in which games have always done, by design aiming to create artificial worlds to give a feeling of achievement by buying the products. And I don’t mean this part as a bad thing… that’s why we buy/enjoy them. Then maybe the question is just one of price… and here, with some knowledge about economics and world history, I have to wonder how much of this increase in price is the normal and expected desire of the game makers to make more, and how much is their attempt to get the same even as the different governments burden them with new taxes and regulations and possibly in the meanwhile dilute the value of “the same amount of money”. In this second case this could mean they’re simply trying to preserve a similar purchasing power as they used to have, but they’re indirectly forced by those in power to do it in such sneaky ways. This would fit very well with inflationary universal experiences across countries and history of the general bad-will of everybody condemning everybody else and hating/being suspicious of the others as the binding trust of societies is slowly eroded with the erosion of the value of their currencies/freedoms.  In this case it would be no different with micro-transactions than the classic “bag of chips got shrunk with price staying the same, or bag of chips stayed the same time, but customers realize that a) it’s got more air to product b) it’s using lower quality ingredients”, like the shift from steak to hamburger meat inflation measurers have been switching to.  Should this be the case i’d expect more and more of such stories, more and more popular outrage even as this shift keeps going on due to bigger forces.

DOOM on Switch – Hands on report and experiment

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Very cool video from DigitalFoundry. I respect them a lot for their comparisons and this one was particularly interesting to me because of the “Switch like PC” they built. The comparison is far from perfect of course but it’s a nice approach. One thing to notice is that on the Switch, shader performance can be increased a lot by using FP16 instead of FP32 for calculations (Half vs Float -> 16bit floats vs 32bit floats) because the shader cores of the Tegra can either process one 32bit shader operation or 2 16bit shader operations at the same time. You lose precision but this precision isn’t even important most of the time (except for something like shadows which you don’t want to look distorted because of lower precision). That’s something especially the NVidia cards on PC can’t do. They would just process one 16bit shader per 32bit core. Current AMD cards are able to make use of that though as well as the PS4 Pro and I guess this is one of the “secrets” of bringing a game like DOOM to the Switch.

Tokyo Game Show 2017 PlayStation Press Conference Recap

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  • Montage (Monster Hunter World, CoD WW2, GT Sport, FIFA 18, Destiny 2, Rythm Game I Don’t know the Title, Dynasty Warriors 8?, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Yakuza Kiwami 2, some Square Enix Puzzle Game, Knack 2, more games to fast to recognize xD)
  • Sales figures for PS4 and PS4 Pro – continues being successful, new DualShock 4 colors, PS4 GT Sport Limited Edition, PS4 CoD Limited Edition
  • CoD WW2 featuring Japanese voiceacting in Japan, Story trailer looking good, intense atmosphere, symbolism seems censored in Japan as well?
  • Ni No Kuni 2, looking good, Trailer features English voiceacting, game seems to involve larger army based battles as well?, January 2018
  • Earth Defense Force 5, looking and running kinda meh in the trailer xD
  • Red Dead Redemption 2, old trailer, English voiceacting, Japanese subtitles
  • Dynasty Warriors 8, new ways of environmental traversal, kinda good looking visuals, special PS4 edition
  • Minecraft Story Mode Season 2
  • SquareEnix, Omega Force, Team Ninja => Final Fantasy Dissidia TN?
  • Shadow of the Colossus Remake, 2018
  • Dragons Crown
  • Final Fantasy IX Remaster
  • Some dating game? Code: Realize
  • Stella Stage (new Idol Master game)
  • Gundam Battle Operation 2, looks a bit like Titanfall
  • PlayStation VR Section starts
  • Montage
  • Bundle with PSVR and camera
  • Another montage (new games this time?)
  • Ark VR Survival Shooter? Ark Park
  • Gungrave VR
  • A-Train Exp. with uprez PS1 style graphics
  • Zone of the Enders 2 VR
  • Some cat VR game
  • Some game music symphony VR experience I don’t fully understand xD, Japan Studio VR Music Festival
  • News VR
  • PlayStation VR Section ends
  • New game from the Unitl Down creators: Hidden Agenda, Release 2017, up to 6 players can same via Smartphones
  • Animax 24h Anime only TV channel service on PlayStation
  • Some more Japan only services
  • More Earth Defense Force, Earth Defense Force Iron Rain
  • Some game I don’t know the name
  • Detroid
  • More Japan games I don’t recognize
  • Left Alive from Square Enix
  • Monster Hunter World, looking gooooooooood
  • And that’s it, nice sendoff trailer in the style of Make ’em Laugh

My take is: Western IPs seem to become a bit more popular in Japan, PS4 Slim is SONY’s focus with the PS4 Pro only mentioned once in the beginning and all the special editions available as Slim only, no surprises especially no new game from From Software, VR stays niche, Ni No Kuni 2 and Monster Hunter World looking great but are not totally exclusive (Ni No Kuni 2 coming to PC as well, Monster Hunter World to XBox One and PC). Left Alive looks interesting but no information even on the genre, Hidden Agenda is kinda exciting though.

The Nintendo Switch Paradox | How Everyone Got It Wrong

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Interesting video with some good analysis but I want to point out that everyone is not everyone ;-) I remember my predictions being somewhat in line with the current situation :-P

Discounts on Physical vs Digital

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I definitely did notice the pattern, but somehow I keep wondering about the logic if it’s not somehow post-facts. Can’t find the flaw myself though. Intriguing indeed.

Yet Another Gamer Youtube Demonetization

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For the past couple of months/year I’ve been noticing more and more content providers getting this treatment, people who made great original gaming content.  Personally i find it rather hard to believe it’s just the occasional random algorithm, just too many cases happening in way too many fields lead me rather to suspect rather a branching out of a societal wide witch hunt of thought direction and control. Sounds tin-foil-hat, i know, yet this has been way too wide spread and systematic to assume it’s just random as I used to for the long time I simply ignored this kind of stuff and the desperation with which a lot of these content providers have been moving to external and backup systems like patreon and the like.

Soul Reaver – Storyline & Worldbuilding Excellence

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An amazingly rich lore, fantastic world building, interweaving of the story through time (and even time loops), fascinating protagonists with tension and individual motivations… I remember when I played this game, I think it was in college before an exam, it was the one and only time I finished the game in a night and went straight to the exam finishing the game at 6:30am but being so very fulfilled and happy with my choice whatever happened because I knew I had just experienced something once in a lifetime with such a storyline/world. So many original ideas and so many of the things that I like in a story: pre-thought world background where you feel you’re always getting just the skimmed top, of what is much deeper underneath and the brain is always working to figure out more of the hidden stuff beneath.

PS: i have to mention that the world feels much much richer than the video presents, not just due to the dept of seeing it and exploring it, but the great abundance of other story moments told via protagonist dialogue during gameplay or when seeing objects in the environment such as murals/statues.

PS2: Maybe one of the reasons the world ended up exactly how i want a rich world to feel is captured in this development commentary:

 

As indeed it seems that due to development particularities all the planets were aligned for creating the kind of world i like: the kind that has a lot more world in it than is actually shown, as well as one in which in the end a lot of stuff was discarded but remains in the minds of the creators making what is left feel much more real/dense/with history of all the things that could’ve been but were abandoned/closed/changed. It also helped I suspect that it started from a different heritage and then was mounted on another one leading to many wonderful mutations.

15 Game Companies That Went Bankrupt

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Interesting.

My E3 findings

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I originally planned to do some step-by-step recap of the E3 conferences, with ratings and stuff. But after Void’s wonderful postings for each show and FireFish’s great (if not exactly mine) opionions (which you can read HERE) I decided to go for a more loose and essay-like recap and what I took away after some days of digesting, dislodging from imminent hype and getting things straight for myself. Let’s go, shall we?

 

Microsoft is trying to catch up…

I think no one watching the Microsoft show got a feeling of confidence from this company that managed to lose the goodwill and following of many million players of the 360 era in merely 12 months. Microsoft has since been unsteady in its decisions regarding the XBox and this was more obvious than ever at this year’s E3 show. It knows the PS4 managed to pull ahead immediately because many player’s (like myself) just wouldn’t buy a less powerful console for $100 more. They thought Kinect and TV functionality would be great technical investments and were all wrong about it. Now they announced what will be the most powerful console on the market but are again $100 more than the PS4 Pro while the redesigned XBox One S and PS4 Slim are sitting comfortably on mass market pricing. They also lost a lot of exclusivity deals with 3rd party developers and because their 1st party output is not even close to what SONY and Nintendo can do (and are doing) they decided to show just a load of games (many of them Indie and AA games) with some sort of exclusivity while trying to emphasize on the message that multiplatform games will look best on XBox One X.

 

…but they are still failing.

The problem with all of that is this: the 3rd party games shown don’t compete with the high production value exclusive games of SONY nor do they look as exciting gameplay wise as the exclusive games of Nintendo. They exist and that’s just not enough. Microsoft is also running into a problem with the XBox One X’s performance. While it manages to have 50% more GPU performance, the CPU is built upon the same bad architecture that PS4, PS4 Pro and XBox One (S) are based on. What does this mean? It means that while 3rd party games may be able to pull of a true 4k instead of lower resolution or checkerboard rendering of the PS4 Pro the results simply won’t be noticeable most of the time. The CPU is just not powerful enough for a 100% framerate increase compared to the PS4 Pro which means you will indeed get similar results in the end. The only games that normally profit from such a supererogation are 1st party exclusives that are built specifically for the platform – of which the XBox One X just doesn’t have that much. Forza 7 in 4k at 60 fps sure does look and will play impressive but a racing game alone won’t sell the console. That’s why Microsoft was trying to explain that any XBox One title will benefit from the performance because XBox One X will render them automatically at a higher resolution. That’s great but honestly no reason even for 4k TV owners like myself to pay $500. What’s also great is the cooling and form factor but I am being honest here: my XBox One S is the slickest and quietest modern console I have ever owned. The XBox One X may be even slicker and quieter but even I as someone who gets bothered by cooling noise easily (why, SONY, does the PS4 Pro need to be so noisy sometimes?) doubt the XBox One X will be a significant improvement over the XBox One S. And so I just cancelled my preorder of the XBox One X. Just now as I am writing these lines. Yup, Cancelled. What Microsoft needs to do is to heavily market the XBox One S as well. That’s a console you can get for $200 to play games like Forza, Gears of War, Halo, State of Decay, Sea of Thieves, etc. if you’re interested in them and don’t want to bother yourself with Windows 10 PC gaming. What Microsoft also needs to do is get some AAA high quality exclusive games again. Not timed exclusives and not with some exclusive content. They are doing a lot right in terms of coss buy (with Windows 10) and cross play (with Switch and Smartphones even), backwards compatibility (how much I wish I could just pop in my PS3 copies of Ni No Kuni and the Metal Gear Solid collection in my PS4), development tool quality and their id@XBox program. But if they really want to be a worthy contender to SONY again, they need to up their game (pun intended) and start getting those heavy hits in.

 

SONY is trying to deliver…

SONY’s show was pretty much what I expected. Many gamers are a bit frustrated because of the great E3s of 2015 and 2016 but here’s the catch: both years SONY announced a lot of titles that are far far away. It’s like a mortage for hype and SONY knows which is why they were focusing on stuff that comes out this year and next year. And that stuff has been announced already. Last of Us 2 is still very early in production and preparing an E3 showing does cost a lot of time and money which Naughty Dog already invested in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. But PS4 is still a great primary platform for gaming with full 3rd party support and a lot of high budget AAA productions. They also try to push VR further (which is completely uninteresting to me at the moment) but they need to keep that going. It felt a little bit like when 3D and the Vita sections started to shrink. I hope I am wrong because VR could get really interesting to me with the next generation of hardware and the experience developers will have earned with VR by then.

 

…but needs to be careful with that rising arrogance.

I feel like SONY should focus more on features that are not only for the majority of gamers. Being able to change the PSN nickname is a feature that people are demanding for years now, backwards compatibility is another. SONY also tries to explain why they wouldn’t allow cross play with other platforms than the PC with reasons of protecting kids which is insane considering both XBox Live and Nintendo are far more protective than Steam or PSN itself (on Xbox One you can set exactly what your kids can play, how they can interact online – on PS4 it’s just all or nothing). Everyone is aware that SONY just doesn’t want the competition to profit from their big PS4 playerbase. That’s nasty and not exactly for the players, but it’s reasonable from a business point of view. Just don’t pretend you have your own player’s well being in mind when that’s clearly not the case. At least be honest so it won’t be as comical when you should need to make some exceptions in the future (because your version of Minecraft will be worst because every other platform – including Nintendo Switch! – is connected and DLC will work across all of them as well).

 

Nintendo learned a thing or two from SONY…

“How to win an E3 in 25 minutes” has already become kind of a meme. Nintendo’s show – 3 months after the Switch’s release – was decent with Xenoblade 2 and Mario Odyseey releasing this year and Yoshi and Kirby coming 2018. But what really excited many fans was a logo and some spoken announcement. Metroid Prime 4 and a main Pokemon game are both coming for the Switch. No one knows when exactly, but they are coming. Nintendo took a page out of SONY’s playbook here because those kind of announcements are very unusual for Nintendo. The company likes to announce games that are already pretty far in development and can be shown off easily, yet neither Metroid nor Pokemon had even some alpha status kind of screenshot or gameplay trailer. Nintendo finally understood that sometimes fans just want to know that the thing they are asking for is coming. Acknowledgement. It’s important.

 

…but will still not compete directly with SONY and Microsoft.

Nintendo is doing a lot right lately, which even got them some praise from 3rd parties. Still, the Switch – with it’s unusual premise – will not be able to compete directly with PS4 and XO. We will certainly see more and more 3rd party games coming to Switch as sales of the system continue to grow (especially from Japan where the Switch is the best selling gaming platform each week since its release) but developers will be very careful which game they will spend their ressources on. Games for Switch need to benefit from the portability so the ports will be reasonable sidesteps instead of unwanted steps backwards. Skyrim is the type of game that definitively makes sense because of all the content that can be leisurely be experienced on the go or at home (like Breath of the Wild). Call of Duty that you really need to focus on and get everything from its blockbuster audiovisual presentation? Not so much. Anthem with its online community focus and high quality graphics? Neither. And the problem is this: as Phil Spencer from Microsoft already mentioned more than once more and more games are planned as a service to keep players engaged and connected and monetized. The Switch is pretty much the opposite of that; sure: games like Mario Kart and ARMS (that I am planning to write a review for artsygamer on) are much less interesting when not played online, but they work great with local multiplayer as well which was one of the Switch’s design goals apart from being able to take it with you and play on the go.

 

For me, nothing has changed.

This year I am coming out of E3 just as I went in. Sure, new and exciting games like Wolfenstein II have been announced. But my gaming setup will not change. The Switch will still be my daily companion and primary platform for all games that are great to play on the go, the PS4 is still getting sweet AAA games exclusive to the platform and Microsoft is still trying to transform XBox to something that goes beyond being a hardware platform while still trying to keep the hardware relevant and competitive somehow. The biggest surprise to me was honestly how much fun Mario + Rabbids seems to be and that Ubisoft is able to deliver a good E3 show in general. Everything else I pretty much knew before. That means not many pleasant surprises. But that also means almost no unpleasant suprises as well. To me, that’s enough to be a good E3. But for next year, I want more again.

Sony E3 2017 Conference

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-, + stage music was pretty cool, but i wanted games

+, – Uncharted Lost Legacy, looks good by itself, but a lot of “been there, done that”, with Drake and with Lara, feels very samey without the personality of Drake or the familiarity of Lara.

– sound problems in the presentation

-, + When i saw the Guerilla games logo for a moment i got excited there’s going to be a new Killzone… but then it was Horizon… which i guess is okay

– sound problems, kept switching streams, broke the immersion

+, – Days gone: looks good, and it’s nice to see gameplay, but it wasn’t as cool as the last one. I was hoping to get an open world vibe, but instead got a linear segments like Last of Us vibe

– presenter, with my lack of excitement for what was shown felt a bit pushing it with the “you should catch your breath” after stuff that didn’t feel that spectacular. Good, of course, but not breathtaking.

+ Monster hunter, some interesting setup, interesting dinosaur growth, so so world

+, – Shadow of the Colossus, for a moment i got super excited at a new game, and then same old places… still looks great, but disappointing, I wonder if they’ll get a backlash for just that/if others felt like i did.

– Marvel Vs Capcom looking silly and low fidelity to me, at least the way it was presented here.

+ Call of Duty WW2 nice that they’re making it, but looked a bit bland to me.

– VR games look so dated… and Skyrim again… loved that game, but i played it like 5 times already… how disappointing with so many presentations this oldie is still the highlight. With each one there is a little spark, but then I tend to be disappointed, and then i remind myself… oh, it’s VR quality … VR has come to mean substandard quality to me :P

– weak of Sony to not mention at all Vita or Ps3. Even a 30 second montage (say instead of that orchestra) would’ve helped their case for having a bigger platform including a mobile, but instead they let it rot.

-, +, -, –  God of war: the game could be okay in itself, but i feel they’re stepping and destroying a character they’ve crafted so well over so many great games (just finished an old one, still replaying others). In all games Kratos was portrayed as ruthless and manly casually killing innocents who simply were in his way, now he’s a father of a kid and they’re trying to project a whole new identity on him in contradiction to the old one. Add to that that all the God of War games were a cinematic experience, with brilliantly placed cameras on rails, with epic things in the background… this looks to be a diminutive whatever 3rd person hack & slash with some cheesy narrative. I feel they’ve missed what made the old games great, the fascinating and complicated Greek mythology, gone, the epic setpiece moments nad feeling of scale as you realize your whole world happens on the back of something huge, unique unlovable and yet interesting endearing protagonist, gone… instead they’ve added an old man and a kid and family drama. And instead of the fascinating greek tragic characters encountered along an epic journey, they put in a joke character. Sad for the series :( Does look interesting at times, so at least it’s going to be a high production values. Also the serpent thing was an interesting design.

+, – Detroit: interesting social tensions. The world looks very bland and generic. I’m afraid the choices will be skin deep and in fact still be a “you fail or succeed” instead of how to do things.

– Destiny 2: when it started out this game started with an original world, with old russia, with an interesting fiction. By now with all the MMO-ing it seems to have degenerated into dumb big obvious antagonist with a Warhammer vibe and loot grinding.

-, + Spiderman: there’s some nice dynamics, i think it’ll be fun to play, feels somewhat Batman Arkham City in posibilities of play, however with less coolness, more bland politically correct world. Nice environmental interactions, though who knows how few of them will be kept in the free roaming

Overall I found the Sony conference passable, nothing bad, just nothing impressive. I’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. Decent, though far beyond what I was hoping. No price war surprise, no big surprise titles, no internal studios mega magic, no shocking 3rd party support (where’s Reddead, a new Gta or a new Elder scrolls?)… at least MS had a new console to announce… they had just games, high quality as we’ve come to expect, but nothing surprising. I’m unimpressed.

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