Games Inbox: Will Sony win the next gen console war?

The morning Inbox is looking forward to the next gen consoles releasing in 2020, as one reader is upset at Ubisoft’s Fate Of Atlantis.

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Starting a war

Looks like Sony has made a sensible first move in the next gen console wars. They had more information than I expected, even if I didn’t understand any of the technobabble, but those that do seem impressed so that’s probably a good thing. I like the promise of backwards compatibility and a disc drive and while it’s obvious there’s going to be a lot of streaming stuff lately they’re obviously trying to keep their base happy too. So it’s good to know they’re actually bothering to do that.

This gen has been a cakewalk for Sony (although I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if the Switch had come out straight away, instead of the Wii U) so it’s kind of hard to predict what’s going to happen with the next gen. Usually the winner of the last gen gets cocky, as happened with the PlayStation 3, but on the limited evidence so far Sony seems to be trying to avoid that.

But Microsoft do have a kind of advantage in that they’re starting from scratch and going in all guns blazing. They’ve got to make their mark in the next gen or they’re going to forever be the runner-up in the console market. If they even see gaming as console market that is, given streaming and mobile games or whatever.

I think the clincher will be whatever Sony’s planning for streaming. If they’ve got an at least passable equivalent to Google and Microsoft then I see them maintaining their lead. They’ve got the momentum, the content, and I think they’re still pretty well trust after this gen. It’s theirs to lose, definitely.


Random reveal

Not that it really matters but does anyone not think it’s a bit weird that Sony made their big annoucement, which was a lot more detailed than I expected, out of the blue and to some website that isn’t even dedicated to games? In these days when companies can talk directly to their customers it all seems a bit distant and… random?

When I saw the headlines I thought it was just going to be rumours or leaks but to find out that Sony had just casually announced all this stuff seemed weirdly anticlimactic. I’m sure Microsoft is carefully going through everything, adding +1 to all the specs, too so it seems weird to give them a heads up.

Will be very interested to see what they show at E3 now, but it’s a bit deflating to know that Sony may not say anything more all year?


Exceeding expectations

In conjunction with the rumoured Anaconda specs the PlayStation 5 info makes me think that the next gen consoles will exceed my hopes. Better GPUs and CPUs than I was expecting and PC bells and whistles like SSD and ray-tracing. I know nothing’s finalised yet, but fingers crossed.

The SSD is the most wish-fulfilling addition. I picked up a gaming PC two years ago and the SSD was a revelation. My computer goes from cold to having Windows and all the applications loaded up in 20 seconds. It’s going to make huge open worlds like Cyberpunk 2077 seem much more seamless.

Backwards compatibility with PlayStation 4 and VR was a no-brainer but nice to get it confirmed. I have 300 games sitting on my PlayStation 4 (including PS Plus games). I’ve got games to play for years. I’m perfectly happy with this, especially knowing I can access all of them on PlayStation 5. Google might have the stronger infrastructure right now for a digital-only future but Sony’s has a huge customer base that, like me, has already invested digitally in their platform (I only have three physical copy games at time of writing) and am happy to carry that custom over to another generation.

The best news though is it’s not out this year, so November 2020 looks like it could be when it releases. I am happy to continue to squirrel away the pennies till then and go and collect a PlayStation 5 and my first 4K big TV. If Cyberpunk released on launch day then that would be a fun day. I know that the reveal mentions PlayStation 5 supports 8K but I don’t think that was to imply you’ll be playing games in 8K. It just means it carries the most up-to-date HDMI standard which supports 8K, I think the same standard also supports 4K 120Hz.
Simundo Jones


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Slow start

GC, I know you don’t do a big chart story unless there’s enough big releases to actually talk about but did the Labo VR sets not register at all in the charts? They weren’t in the top 10, which I thought was a bit disappointing considering they can’t have had much competition at this time of the year.

I know the UK isn’t exactly the first place you’d look to, to see how a Nintendo game is faring but I bought the Labo VR Starter Set and have been really impressed with the whole thing. But obviously I realise that unless it sells we won’t likely see more games compatible with it, let alone a ‘proper’ VR headset for a future version of the Switch.

Is there any indication of how it sold? And what about Japan?

GC: None of the sets charted in the all formats top 40 at all, but the all-in-one set made it to number 34 in the individual formats charts and the starters to number 36. Not exactly an inspiring start but as you imply, one week of UK sales is not the best way to judge anything Nintendo. The Japanese charts usually come out on a Wednesday.


Happy to wait

I’m kind of okay with Apple money-hating all these indie developers. Big name developers are always getting paid to do things but I do think the makers of Baba Is You, or whatever, are exactly target number one for Microsoft or Sony. If Apple Arcade is going to raise the profile of indie games in general and give an influx of cash to tiny developers I’m actually all for that.

I have no intention of actually subscribing to it, because who wants to play proper games on a touchscreen, but I’m perfectly happy to wait a few months to play them on consoles, which will benefit from being the best version anyway. You often have to wait anyway as sometimes it seems kind of random which format gets which game first.
Herzog Drei


Always a surprise

Not to complain but we are now well not the third week of April and there is still no sign of a Nintendo Direct, and I assume there’s not going to be one this week now because of Easter. There’s got to be one this month because Nintendo promised to release Joker for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and it’s big update.

I know I should wait and whatever but the Switch has been easily my favourite game of this generation and I don’t want it to get overwhelmed as the next generation hype comes out. I’m sure there still won’t be much difference between the PlayStation 4 and 5 graphics so the Switch could have years of life left in yet.

But Nintendo need to up their game with their releases. They said this year would be better than last and so far it isn’t. They’ve got so much promised for 2019 and we still don’t know anything about any of it. Which considering what happened to Metroid Prime 4 could easily mean it’s been delayed.

Do you know any rumours of a when it might be GC?

GC: We never know about them in advance. We don’t think even Nintendo UK does.


10p a go

I was trying to justify the cost of the Capcom Home Arcade by myself (and my wife) by saying that I’d only have to play the games a combined 2,000 times to break even, if you assume they all used to be 10p a go. That seems fair to me, especially given the fighting game’s inclusion. But then again, how many times are you going to play through something like Alien Vs. Predator?

I just don’t understand why they didn’t add more games. I don’t know how many arcade games Capcom released but it’s got to be more than 100 at least. What are they going to do, release a second edition with different games but still £200?


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Adding up

I appreciate it has to be that price because of the joysticks, which I’m actually okay with, but I can’t help be disappointed at how few games are included with the Capcom Home Arcade. They seem really random too, like someone just threw some darts at Capcom’s back catalogue and went with whatever (let’s face it they were always going to hit one of the Street Fighter II games).

If you can go to all the bother of re-licensing Alien Vs. Predator why not also do Cadillacs And Dinosaurs, whose licensing fees must be £10 and a bottle of whiskey? Although most of the games are good nothing about the selection makes sense to me. Not least because including tons of games was surely the best way to overcome the huge price. Like, if it had been 50+ games for £200 that would’ve been a lot easier sell than a paltry 16.

DLC expansions would be one thing but I don’t see them mentioned anywhere on the website and I can’t imagine them just suddenly saying, ‘Oh, and buy the way you can by more!’ two months later or something. It’s all very odd. I’m interested but at that price I think it’s a pass from me.


Inbox also-rans

Does anyone else resent Assassin’s Creed Odyssey new DLC being called The Fate Of The Atlantis? Only Indiana Jones knows that! The fact that Disney let Ubisoft get away with it just goes to show how little they care about LucasArts. Sad.

In all the excitement of the PlayStation 5 and Capcom announcements I think the release date for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on Switch got lost a bit in the shuffle, but it’s out on 19 July. Looking forward to it, could make up for the rubbish Lego games lately.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Carnie, who asks what’s your dream licensed video game?

Games based on movies, TV shows, comics, and other existing properties have seen something of a resurgence in recent months, particularly with Star Wars and Marvel, but what video game would you most want to see made based on something that already exists? Whether it’s James Bond or Hellboy let us know what kind of game it’d be and if you have a dream developer you’d like to see work on it.

Please remember it’s the Easter bank holiday this week, so we need as many emails in as soon as possible and by Thursday afternoon at the latest.

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