Your Wednesday Roundup
You know the drill
Beer, simulations, and catching you up on your favorite consoles
Read time: 9 minutes
Here are small and developing stories you should keep your eye on.
Gaming + Mental Health: more studies are coming out on the mental health benefits that are provided by playing video games. This time, a study from Oxford University suggested that playing games can help improve a person’s “wellbeing.” The study also provided researchers with actual play-time data, a metric that wasn’t accurately available. Previous studies only relied on self-reporting playing time, which didn’t have as much correlation to reality. With that said, it is worth noting that the games used during the study were Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville, both of which are all-age games. Although the study has poked more holes in the “video games are bad for you” argument, it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up when the study is expanded to included M or even T rated games. The study has worked out in favor of games for now, but it’s likely that researchers will find negative correlations between people and video games in the future, especially as the list of titles researched continues to expand.
PS5 Unboxing Simulation: didn’t get your hands on a PS5 console? Although more units won’t be available until later this holiday season or, more likely, until 2021, future PS5 owners can get ahead on the experience by going through the PS5 unboxing simulation. The simulator, which was designed by video game developer Alex Grade, gives people the full experience of unboxing their PS5. You’ll get a chance to open the box, sort through the wrapping, and even hook it up to your virtual TV. You’ll also be able to hold an unboxing knife, walk around “your home,” and even throw things around. One player got bored with unboxing the PS5, so they decide to throw their box (garbage inside) out onto their kitchen floor, causing a huge mess. Another player, who was frustrated about not unboxing a PS5 in real life, decided to slam the virtual DualSense controller onto the TV until he got bored. The only thing you won’t be able to do is play the PS5, as it looks like the simulation is finished whenever you power on the next-gen console. Although it’s not the real thing, at least you’ll get practice for whenever you get your hands on a PS5?
Accessibility Awards Announced: AbleGamers, an accessibility organization that focuses on finding and creating games that are accessible to gamers with disabilities, released its awards list for its 2020 Video Game Accessibility Awards. The annual YouTube event honored this year’s games and studios that did their best to create games that were inclusive to the disabled community, which is one of the biggest communities in the United States. In fact, one in every five people deal with a disability in the U.S., and the current population is made up of around 328 million people. That’s a lot of people, and it’s great studios are developing games to accommodate anyone and everyone that wants to enjoy them. The awards were broken up into nine categories — Same Controls But Different, Second Channel, Improved Precision, Clear Text, Do More With Less, Play Alongside, Bypass, Training Ground, House Rules, and Helping Hand. The Last of Us Part II stole the show, racking up two awards (Second Channel and Helping Hand), with other games such as Apex Legends (Improved Precision) and The Outer Worlds (Clear Text) each taking home one award. But regardless of who won what award, the real winners are gamers who get to enjoy video games, regardless of what disability they work through. On a more personal note, I spend a lot of my professional time working and marketing accessibility, so it’s wonderful to see the gaming community recognizing efforts to make the space a more inclusive one.
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.
Almost a week after the release of the PS5, the next-gen console is getting its first system update.
Known as the 20.02-02.25.00 update, Sony hopes this will help “improve system performance.” Sadly, nothing else was mentioned or shared by Sony on what the true purpose of the update is.
But although there haven’t been any confirmations on the official details of the system update, there’s a strong hunch of what it might be.
Since launch, the PS5 has experienced issues with its rest mode, external hard-drive crashes, and an annoying download queue bug that forces players to take a couple of extra steps to download a game. It’s likely that this update is working to alleviate some of the problems experienced by console owners.
It’s also worth noting that the update chews up 866 MB in data. Although it’s not a lot, it’s still something that’ll further limit the number of games you have available on your console, especially if you own a PS5 Digital.
I’d be surprised if this update didn’t address at least some of the issues PS5 owners are experiencing.
As we mentioned last week, launch consoles are arguably the worst version of that console someone can own. Although manufacturers work hard to clean it of all bugs, consumers will always end up finding something that isn’t working well. It’s a risk any gamer takes when investing in a launch console.
So to see that an update is already being pushed out is encouraging, and it’s an added benefit to know that it’s the software of the PS5 that’s having issues and not the hardware.
Granted, we’re still a little under a week since the official release of the console, so only time and usage will tell us how the PS5 will hold up.
But if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony puts out more updates throughout the rest of 2020 to ensure none of its launch consoles experience any siginificant performance issues.
If you’re hoping to snag an Xbox Series X or S, you’re going to have to work pretty hard for it these next few months.
At the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference last week, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart said that he thinks “we’ll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter, so Microsoft’s Q3, calendar Q1.”
So, from that quote alone, it seems that people will still be struggling to get the next-gen Xbox well into 2021, which does make sense. Although many people flock to the new consoles, history has shown that it takes people a year plus after launch to fully transition to the new console.
But that’s not all of what Time Stuart had to say on the distribution of the Xbox series consoles:
“And then when we get to Q4, all of our supply chain continuing to go full speed heading into kind of the pre-summer months. And that’s where I start to — I expect to see a little bit of the demand — the supply profile, meeting the demand profile.”
What that means is that Microsoft, although will still be churning out consoles, will not be able to meet the demand for the Xbox Series X until around Spring 2021.
Although that does suck, it is good to have clarification on when more stock is planned to be available. Console shortages are normal, especially during console launch season, but COVID-19 has made the distribution strategy for Microsoft (and Sony) a lot more complex, leading to an extended shortage.
It’s good to read that Microsoft is working diligently to meet demand and that there is a time in mind where the units available will exceed demand.
Yes, it does suck that demand will exceed supply for the next three or four months, but it is nice to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
People don’t want to be caught on their heels and make last minute purchasing decisions soley because they won’t have another opportunity. They need time to plan and save, as not everyone has $500 plus in disposable income.
By giving a “deadline” of Microsoft’s Q3 (around April 2021), that gives people time to prepare, whether that be financially or by getting the games and accessories in advance.
Big kudos to Microsoft for keeping gamers first. I know this situation hasn’t been easy, but I do think they’re making the most of a difficult situation.
Down goes the king.
After an incredible 23-month period as the best selling console of the month, the Nintendo Switch is projected to fall to either the PS5 or one of the Xbox Series consoles.
It was truly a remarkable run, and it’s a run that rivaled sales of the Xbox 360 during its two year period as the best selling console of the month.
A lot of credit goes not only to the Switch itself (it’s an amazing console) but to the different variations of it and the games made available. The release of the Nintendo Switch Light, a true handheld version of the Switch, and Animal Crossing: New Horizon has helped bolster sales of the Switch.
And although it won’t be the best selling console this month, don’t be surprised if the Switch reclaims the throne next month. Stock for the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation has been extremely limited, and it’s been hard for consumers to purchase a console post-launch.
That has not been the case for the Switch, as more units are expected to be available this holiday season, as well as a list of stellar titles that includes the new Hyrule Warriors title, a prequel to the award-winning Breath of The Wild.
Expect Nintendo to trade places with Microsoft and Sony for best selling console of the month for the next few months. Until Microsoft and Sony provide enough consoles to meet demand, it’s likely that the Switch will continue to reign supreme, at least for a little while longer.
Bud Light + Gaming
Credit: Bud Light
It looks like we’ll have another console entering the “arena” this holiday season, and it’s not coming from a traditional gaming company.
Bud Light, one of the beer brands owned by Anheuser-Busch, is creating a console called the BL6. This new console will not only allow you to play games, but it’ll also allow you to chill and keep your beers cold!
The console will come equipped with a projector, 16 GB of memory, two slots to keep your beer cold, and Tekken 7 and Soulcalibur VI installed.
Oh, and it’s shaped like a traditional six-pack.
Because of course.
Sadly, it’ll be hard to get your hands on one of these consoles, as an auction site currently has the BL6 listed at over $1,700 and rising.
Although I haven’t enjoyed a Bud Light since my college days, I’d happily start drinking them again if that means I can get my hands on a six-pack styler console.
With that said, it would’ve been awesome if the company created a console that cooled more than two beers.