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Your Wednesday Roundup
Catching you up on console news
Zoom alternatives, Apple models, and catching you up on what’s happening with your favorite consoles.
Read time: 10 minutes
Here are small and developing stories you should keep your eye on.
Don’t Zoom, Gather: ever since lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions were set in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many peoples have opted for video conferencing platforms to help make it through the day. Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and most notably, Zoom, have been popular platforms for friends and co-workers to get together and chat. But a new platform is looking to change-up the way we get-together virtually, and it’s called Gather. Like many other video conferencing platforms, it allows users to chat via video and provides them with a chatbox. But unlike other platforms, Gather allows users to control an 8-bit avatar that can navigate any ready-made space designed by Gather developers. But the best part about Gather is you won’t have direct access to everyone right from sign-in like you normally would. To chat with someone, you’ll need to navigate your avatar within close-proximity to another person’s avatar. Only then will you be able to hear them and see what they’re typing in the chatbox. It’s a nice change of pace from what’s normally provided, and it gives people a sense of privacy not typically offered in other video-conferencing platforms. Oh, and why am I sharing this? Well, I know many of my readers are working professionals themselves, having to use Zoom as I have. I’m more than happy to break my “console-only” rule every now and then if that means my readers can get extreme value from a piece of information, and this certainly fits the description. If you use Gather, make sure to send me a photo! I’d love to see it.
Dishonored and Wolfenstein not available on PS5: Microsoft doesn’t like to waste time, do they? Collections for three of Bethesdas’ popular titles were released yesterday for the current-gen Xbox and PlayStation. Titled Dishonored & Prey: The Arkane Collection ($59.99) and Wolfenstein: The Alternate History Bundle ($79.99), both provide access to all of the most recent titles for the Dishonored, Prey, and Wolfenstein series. Overall, it’s a great package, and it’s sure to provide users with a bit of nostalgia, especially for those that have played the OG Wolfenstein games. Typically, these titles have all been cross-platform, and they did so with the current-gen consoles, but not so much for the next-gen. Although it hasn’t been made official, it doesn’t look like either collection was made available for the next-gen PS5. This should come as no surprise, as the titles available are now first-party Microsoft games, but it is surprising that it happened so soon. Microsoft has not been shy with making quick and bold moves, and this is clearly another step toward building out the “exclusives” library that they got so much grief about earlier this year.
Cyberpunk 2077 goes gold: On Monday, the Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter handle officially announced that the game had gone gold. What exactly does that mean? It’s industry/marketing jargon that means a final version of the game has been pressed into the disc. But don’t think that this game is done and will sit until released. Despite the final version being “ready,” CD Projekt Red developers will still have to test certain parts of the game through it’s QA team, so the highly anticipated title still has a little bit to go. With that said, the developers were elated and shared a lot of their enthusiasm on Twitter. And for good reason, as the CD Projekt Red team had been working on crunch time for the last several months (something CD Projekt Red said they would initially avoid). It’s pretty normal for a game to “go gold” around this time frame. Mass Effect 2 went gold 4 weeks and 3 days before it’s official release, and GTA IV went gold even closer to the release date, with just 1 week and 5 days remaining. In any case, this is very good news for the community and CD Projekt Red, as Cyberpunk 2077 has been hit with two delays this year. It’s looking like we will be able to get our hands on the title come November 19.
The current major console manufacturers are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. This list may change as new competition arises but, for now, these three reign supreme.
Despite some of the more negative press Sony and the PS5 has received in recent weeks, Sony is still optimistic about how the next-gen console will sell this holiday season.
In fact, PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, predicted that the next-gen console will “sell more in its first fiscal year than we sold in the first fiscal year at the time of PS4 launch.”
That’s looking like a tough benchmark to beat, as the PS4 had racked up 7 million unit sales by April, and it had a lot more going its way. The PS5 will have roughly five months to exceed that same feat, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll get there this time around.
As previously mentioned, there hasn’t been a lot of positive hype surrounding the next-gen PlayStation console. Along with awful pre-order event management, lack of info regarding console capabilities, and $70 titles, the Xbox team has been generating a lot of positive attention around its next-gen console. This is in complete contrast to the Xbox One, which was met with a lot of bad press and angry consumers.
The Xbox One had a myriad of problems at launch, including the need for a consistent internet connection to play any game, inability to play used games, and being $100 more than the PS4. That’s not the case this time around, as the Series X and S has been met with rave reviews by critics. The next-gen Xbox also has new, potentially game-changing features in the form of its game pass and xCloud.
And when you include the acquisition of Bethesda Studios, Microsoft has positioned its next-gen console as a quality (and some say superior) rival to the PS5.
My thoughts: Sorry, but I don’t think there’s any way that the PS5 exceeds PS4 sales. The PS4 had A LOT of things going its way back in 2013.
Better exclusives. Better console. Better features.
There was no argument there, and it was one of the easiest picks any console gaming consumer could make back then. But that was 2013, and Microsoft has learned a lot from its past mistakes. The criticism the Xbox One received is no longer applicable to the Series X or S, and frankly, there isn’t much to criticize any more.
If the PS5 exceeds PS4 sales, I don’t think it’s because of people opting for it over the next-gen Xbox. I think it’s because of the unprecedented situation we’re in that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have given people a lot more time to game and has gotten more people into gaming as a form of entertainment and social interaction.
But that’s not a sure thing either, as more general gamers will likely see the Xbox and its Game Pass as a great bargain considering they’ll have access to thousands of games right out of the box.
If the PS5 beats the benchmark set by the PS4, I’ll happily eat my words. But I just don’t think it has the leverage they had over its competitor in 2013. We’ll see what happens.
Over the last week, Microsoft has been sending numerous units of its Series X console to media outlets and influencers throughout the world. From The Guardian to Danny Peña, anyone with influence on buyers got a chance to play with the upcoming next-gen console.
For the most part, the Series X has been met with praise and excitement. Outlets and influencers have been providing videos of the console’s performance, with the big highlights including graphics, quick-resume, and loading times. Loading times and quick-resume, in particular, has been a big subject. Many people have provided side-by-side performance videos of the old Xbox One loading a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Monster Hunter World with the Series X. The results are night and day, as the Series X was able to load each game significantly faster. Not only that, players were able to resume playing within a second of making the decision. Although it’s been scoffed at by critics and PlayStation fanboys, this feature is sure to make an impact on how gamers enjoy their games.
But there has been one critique the upcoming next-gen Xbox has received. Numerous reports have stated that the Xbox Series X, while supremely quiet, also runs extremely hot.
In a now unavailable video, Jeux Video's Ken Bogard stated that the console is “hot, like really hot! It doesn’t make any noise, but damn it’s hot! The console is emitting heat like crazy. It’s almost like a fireplace shaft."
This was further confirmed by Giant bomb co-host Jeff Bakalar, who stated in one of his podcasts “the entire thing is a little toasty.” He even mentioned that the expansion card was “hot to the touch.”
With only a month left before the next-gen Xbox is released, Microsoft has some work to do to ensure consumers aren’t having this same issue at home.
My thoughts: yikes…kind of.
Is it concerning that the Xbox Series X may suffer from potential overheating? Absolutely. Is it more concerning that the console is a little over a month away from official release? Oh yeah. But for some reason, I’m not that concerned.
At least not yet.
There’s a strong chance that the Series X consoles currently in the wild are test consoles and that Microsoft not only provided units to help their marketing, but to also monitor the performance. With this feedback, I’m sure Microsoft will make adjustments to ensure that their consumers won’t experience the same issues that media outlets and influencers did.
With that said, it’s a bit surprising that they would send a test unit out to people without recognizing this glaring problem. With a console as powerful as the Series X, you’d expect a problem like this to arise, so wouldn’t you want to set something in place to ensure this doesn’t happen? It’s interesing to see this play out, and it doesn’t paint Microsoft in the best light.
We’ll see what happens, buy my bet is that this is a non-issue by release.
The Nintendo Switch has been seeing record numbers in 2020. Since lockdowns and stay-at-home orders became official, people have been clamoring for a new console to help keep them entertained and connected. For the most part, the Switch has been that console, as Switch sales are up 95% in the first half of this current fiscal year, while Nintendo shares have seen a 30% rise in 2020.
But as the Switch gets older and consumers are looking to enter the next era of gaming, people have wondered whether or not Nintendo will release a new console. We got a confirmation, sort of, during one of their corporate meetings, when the Kyoto-based manufacturer stated consumers would get a new console in 20XX.
What that means is completely unknown, and many people have joked that we wouldn’t see a console until 2100.
But some people think that Nintendo could follow in the steps of Apple and create an iPhone model for the Switch. What does that mean?
Well, instead of creating a brand-new console, Nintendo could potentially upgrade the current Switch and put out incremental upgrades, which is what Apple does with their phones. By following this method, Nintendo could “break-free” from the current model of console gaming.
Not only does this help with brand recognition (Nintendo wouldn’t have to market a new product, but an existing one that already has a set relationship with consumers), but it also keeps people within the Switch ecosystem.
In a year that’s already shown us cloud gaming, game streaming, and Amazon joining the industry, it wouldn’t be a crazy idea. The industry’s landscape is already changing, and console gaming as we currently know it will certainly take on a new look. If Nintendo goes this route, it only solidifies this fact even more.
My thoughts: hell yeah. I really hope Nintendo moves forward with this idea.
I love my iPhone, and I love the fact that I know what I can get with it. In fact, that’s a huge plus with iPhones nowadays, and that same thought could be transferred to the Nintendo Switch if they follow this model.
They’ve already created a phenomenal product, why throw it away from something different? Why not build on it and expand it? By following this model, you already have a leg up on the industry and competitors.
People know the Switch. People love the Switch. People would love it more if there were tangible changes made to the Switch.
And with the industry moving in a different direction due to gaming subcription services and cloud gaming, Nintendo needs to find a way to keep up and provide something different.
This could be it.
A child sues Nintendo. Seriously.
A boy and his mom are suing Nintendo over its Joy-Con controllers, and they’re asking for over $5,000,000 in damages.
The class-action lawsuit addresses the frustrating issue known as “Joy-Con drift,” which is when a controllable character starts to drift without any prompt or action from the person using the Joy-Con controller.
Look, I’m not going into detail on this because it’s actually quite nuanced, but this is hilariously ridiculous.
I get it, the “Joy-Con drift” issue is frustrating, and I’ve lost a handful of Mario Kart games because of it, but asking for $5,000,000 in “damages” is absurd. If this was the case, I should’ve sued Microsoft for the red-ring Xbox 360 console it gave me back in 2006.
You can find the full article here.