Scorpio And The Windows User

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Last time I talked about what Scorpio may and may not do for Xbox, talking about Microsoft’s strategy being oriented around creating a better gaming service. Scorpio might not affect me personally all that much though because I do most of my gaming on a pretty decent gaming PC. From my perspective what matters most is what Microsoft does with Windows.

I guess Microsoft bringing Windows into its service strategy has been beneficial in some ways. I like how the Xbox app integrates my PC games into the Xbox Live community. Finally having games like Gears of War and Forza on PC is great too, and I would certainly buy the new Halo shooters if they showed up on Windows. But Good God is there room for improvement. Continue reading

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How Microsoft Got Here, Where Scorpio Might Take It Next

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I’ve been pretty busy this past week so I’ve only just now gotten to put down any thoughts about Scorpio now since we got a clearer picture of it. This really ties into the post I made in early March comparing the first party game strategies of all the console manufacturers. Scorpio plays directly into Microsoft’s service-based strategy, but I don’t know if it’s going to improve the company’s market share against Sony or if it’s even an attempt to do so.

Microsoft is trying to fight this with beefier graphics, but I’m not sure beefier graphics is what’s going to help. I guess a good way to examine Microsoft’s struggles in this console generation would be to look at what worked for the Xbox 360 before. The problem is it’s not entirely clear what boosted that console the most. Continue reading

The Necessary Decentralization Of Steam

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I’ve already done a couple posts about the way Valve handles what it lets onto Steam and how it manages the store, but Valve seems to want people to know some major changes are coming. I’m also still trying to figure out how I even view Steam as a store and a platform at this point. Continue reading

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What Cooking In Zelda Breath Of The Wild Gets Right

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I haven’t had free time to do much else but play Zelda: Breath of the Wild so I guess I can talk about something else in it this week, like why I enjoy its cooking system so much compared crafting systems in other games.

When I start up a new blockbuster game, particularly a role-playing game, one of the things I dread being introduced to is the crafting system. Seemingly every game has to have one these days but the majority either feel like a needless stop on game progress or something I can just completely ignore. Mainly, Breath of the Wild does two things to make its cooking system, which is basically a crafting system, more enjoyable and rewarding. Continue reading

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What Q1 2017 Means, And Zelda’s Use Of Geography

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My time over the last few weeks has been taken up by Zelda and a few other relatively big things going on in my life. I guess I can take a moment though to at least say something about my time with Zelda and look back at what has been an uncommonly good first quarter of the year in video games.

It almost feels like a fall release schedule in that there has simply been too much new stuff for any one person to play thoroughly, between Gravity Rush 2Yakuza 0Resident Evil 7NiohNier: AutomataHorizon: Zero DawnMass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s interesting to look at though is that it has been an uncommonly good quarter for console games. Of what I mentioned, only RE7, Nier, and Andromeda have PC versions. If I’d been able to play these games I would have actually gotten some use out of my consoles. Possibly more important though is that this quarter likely signifies 2017 as sort of the year Japanese console games came back. Continue reading

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My Reactions To Different Weapon Durability Systems

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Undoubtedly the most divisive feature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been its weapon degradation system. The discussion over it has gotten me looking back at how I’ve reacted to weapon degradation in previous games only to find it hasn’t been a uniform reaction at all.

In short, weapon degradation is one of those things that in the context of game design is just a tool to be used in different ways. Different developers may use it to different effects for different kinds of games. Like open-worlds in general or quick-time events or whatever else, I don’t believe weapon degradation is universally good or bad. Continue reading

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The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games

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Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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What Separates Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn From Other Games?

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With lots of hype comes lots of scrutiny. As of this writing I haven’t touched either Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, and before I (or you) do I think it would be good to examine that scrutiny and think about what each game needs to do to rise above it. Continue reading

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Can Ghost Recon Wildlands Be The Next Step In Mainstream Open-World Games? [Open Beta Impressions]

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I’m not one for open betas but Ghost Recon Wildlands is one game I’ve been cautiously optimistic about pretty much since Ubisoft first revealed it at E3 2015. I have high hopes for it, for what it could mean for open-world games going forward. As of this writing I’ve only tried the beta for a few hours but I think the game accomplishes some key things I want to see in more games, even if this game doesn’t nail everything perfectly in the end. Continue reading

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst And Quality VS Quantity In AAA Games

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I finally finished Mirror’s Edge Catalyst — I figured I needed to go ahead and clear the space from my SSD. It’s been out for like half a year but I think the game’s strengths and weaknesses are still pretty relevant in discussions about more recent and soon-to-come games. Specifically, it’s another example of what can help or hurt the design of an open-world game, or really any game positioned to be a blockbuster. Continue reading

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