The Friday letters page discusses the true cost of Xbox and the Game Pass, as one reader is glad to be gaming at the age of 50.
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Very encouraging to see Microsoft announce their ‘E3’ plans so early, well before Sony or Nintendo. With the news about improved console sales I think they know that they’re now a true contender and that they’re setting the agenda in a lot of ways, forcing Sony to create a Game Pass equivalent, experiment with streaming, and take backwards compatibility seriously.
I’m not saying this as a fanboy but as someone that usually buys both company’s consoles and believes that gamers are served best when the two are competing equally. Microsoft still have to show they can put out consistent high quality first party games though. Forza Horizon 5 was great but very formulaic, while Halo Infinite only just fit the bill and is now looking worse in retrospect with the lack of support.
The one problem on the horizon that Microsoft has though is managing all its new studios. It already seems to be having trouble with Perfect Dark, so I wouldn’t expect to see that at E3, and Fable is taking a peculiarly long time to be revealed.
If I was making my predictions for the event though I would guess that Fable will be the centrepiece along with Starfield and maybe one major surprise (possibly Gears Of War 6). I wouldn’t imagine too many new games though as Xbox has so many announced at the moment, that we’ve seen nothing of, that it’s kind of pointless.
The Outer Worlds 2 was meant to be out this year at one point and yet we still haven’t seen anything, ditto Hellblade 2 and Redfall. We haven’t seen anything on Avowed or the Indiana Jones game either, and I’m not even clear if Rare’s Everwild is even still a real game. State of Decay 3 is in the same boat and so is Contraband and the Forza Motorsport reboot.
There’s so much that we have only a logo and pre-rendered teaser for that Microsoft don’t need to announce a single new thing and they’d still have too much to cover! And yet I still think there’s a 50/50 chance we’ll see a bit more on The Elder Scrolls 6, because who doesn’t love pre-rendered trailers?
GC: Officially, Redfall is supposed to be out this year, for what that’s worth.
I know it was mentioned in the story but I just want to underline that the reason so many people were watching Overwatch 2 on Twitch was to get beta codes. Nobody actually wanted to have it on for four hours and I’d be surprised if the majority didn’t just have it on in the background, with the sound off, while they waited for the drop.
Like GC said, I fear this will be the future of marketing when it comes online games but if I was Blizzard I wouldn’t be so smug about your record-breaking figures. There have been a lot of new online games lately that have come out hot and then faded away in just weeks.
I’m not saying Overwatch 2 will fare that badly but the anticipation is not at the levels that it seems from my discussions with fans at the moment. It’ll definitely be hit when it’s released but I’m not sure how well it’ll do far the honeymoon period is over.
To be honest I find it a bit worrying that Sony has only just now started up a gaming preservation team. I know the wheels turn slowly at big companies but Sony seems particularly slow with a lot of these things. They could have done the PS Plus revamp months ago, it seems to me, since in most regards it’s barely more than a name change and they’ve known backwards compatibility was a big deal now for at least five years.
Microsoft is a bigger company but they seem a lot more nimble on their feet. As gross as it was, Phil Spencer was on the phone to buy Activision Blizzard the second he saw an opportunity. I get the feeling that if Sony did anything it was sending Bobby Kotick a postcard a month later.
I don’t mind admitting I favour Sony and as such I want to see them do well, but it seems to me they’ve lost a lot of momentum in the last year or so. If Microsoft has now announced their E3-ish press event then I hope Sony does the same because they’re being a bit too secretive right now, even for them.
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Timothy Dalton am cry
In response to the reader who is giving up on gaming to grow up. All I can say is I turned 50 this year and my gaming is going as strong as ever. I remember when I turned 40, my wife would often question my gaming interests. My response to which would be a ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ in as purposefully a petulant tone as I could muster.
She is actually pretty easy going on me, and I think accepts that it’s not a big deal as long as I spread my time fairly across other matters and pull my weight (do the hoovering and polishing, etc). I once heard her talking to her sister on the phone and she said ‘Well, at least he’s not hanging about on street corners’, which made me laugh.
I am patiently waiting for my Steam Deck to turn up, so I don’t see my interests changing anytime soon.
PS: Here is my Bond order: Roger Moore, Sean Connery (it’s very close between them), George Lazenby should have been given a few more films to mature into the role. Daniel Craig? No thanks. The modern Bond films are watchable and fun action romps, but they are not Bond in the old sense.
It takes one
Just writing in to let everyone know that It Takes Two is currently available for £13.64 on the PlayStation Store. My nephew and I are having a blast playing through it (he’s 12) and the game is filled with moments that will genuinely leave you grinning from ear to ear.
It is also worth pointing out that only one person needs a copy of the game in order for two people to play online, which is pretty generous in these times!
You’re gonna need a bigger house
RE: David. LG has been supporting 4K at 120fps and VRR with their OLED range for a few years now, with other companies following suit. I’m all for technology progressing but 8K seems an unnecessary upgrade to me, which is more about marketing than tangible improvements.
Even at 4K resolution you need a large enough screen to appreciate the benefit at normal viewing distances. For 8K to be beneficial you will require a screen size of 275 to 280 inches at normal viewing distances. I hope David planned ahead…
The following quote backs up my own thoughts on 8K TVs:
Can the human eye even see 8K?
‘Technically yes it can, but the difference will be very subtle at best. The human eye can see only so much detail, and extra pixels beyond what you can discern are basically wasted. To get anything out of higher resolutions and their proportionally tinier pixels, you need to sit closer, get a bigger TV, or both.’
Unlucky for some
I know the remake of XIII got heavily criticised at launch but do you know if they ever fully fixed the game?
I have very fond memories of the original on the GameCube, so was always keen to play the remake but was put off by the bad reviews. I would be playing on an Xbox Series X if that makes any difference.
GC: They never sent us a review copy at the time, for obvious reasons, so we have no way of checking. We never heard of any great redemption though.
It’s just over a year I’ve had my Xbox Series X and Game Pass, the latter of which I picked up for £81 for two years. Both have been excellent. The issue with subscriptions services though, is for you to get your value you need the time to consume the content while it remains on the service, along with there being enough content that interests you.
Both have been in perfect alignment the last year. Due to Covid I spent much more time indoors and along with day one indie games, older games, and Microsoft’s improved first party output it’s been a glorious, high quality, value busting year gaming on Xbox and Game Pass.
Microsoft Flight Simulator, Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite day one alone is over £200. I’ve played many hundreds of pounds more of games and I’m just including the ones I’ve completed, like The Forgotten City, Echo Generation, Narita Boy, The Ascent, Sable and significant chunks of Hades. But the last few months have reminded me why subscriptions services will never be my preferred way of consuming content and that Game Pass will join all other subscription services in that I’ll pick it up for a month if something interests me. I’ve not bothered with Netflix for almost two years.
I’m out and about way more, when I find some friends it’s going to be the best. All of April’s additions for Game Pass haven’t interested me at all. Two chunky, much anticipated games in Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring released, so no time for what’s on Game Pass. The last three games I’ve bought on Xbox – Death’s Door, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Mass Effect Legendary Edition – all wound up on Game Pass. The last fact led me today to not considered buying Rouge Legacy 2, which released today, in case it turns up on Game Pass.
Can’t be having a sub service dictate my gaming choices and I picked up Rogue Legacy 2. Should of cost £20.99 but with the 20% Gold discount and the 10 quid in reward points I got it only cost me £6.79. Microsoft have basically heavily subsided my Xbox gaming the last year (£165 earned in reward points in 14 months), bless ’em.
If you pre-order My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure on ShopTo you can be put into a competition for £500! I don’t think I will bother entering at £30.85!
GC: Where does it say that? Also, why do all the ponies look like they have an eating disorder?
Why hasn’t RoboCop been in Fortnite yet? He seems like the only 80s action hero that isn’t available. Surely he’s not more expensive than the Terminator?
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cubby, who asks what is your favourite game of the current generation?
It’s obviously been a strange start to the new generation but it’s being going for a year and half now, so what do you think is the best game on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?
Since there are so few next gen exclusives you can talk about cross-gen games but which one has impressed you the most and why? What, if anything, do they say about the new generation, and what do you hope to see from the new consoles in the future?
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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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