Netflix Gaming: Should Streaming Services Start Offering Other Entertainment Media?

So now we know Netflix is adding video games to its subscription at no extra cost, but the company hasn’t let slip much more than that in terms of details. It’s pretty clear why Netflix wants to get into games, but there are a lot of questions regarding how it plans to deliver those games. And really, why should Netflix stop at games?

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Is Steam Deck Handheld PC Gaming’s Breakout Moment? How Mainstream Can Valve Take it?

The rumors I went over a couple months ago are real — Valve just announced its “Steam Deck” handheld PC. While the main concern I had before — who precisely Valve’s intended audience is, remains, what we know for so far makes for an impressive product for a number of reasons.

It seems handheld gaming PCs have been slowly popping up more and more over the last few years, with GPD’s machines being maybe the most prominent, and Nintendo’s Switch handheld has almost been sort of a lightning rod for them in terms of what kind of design to follow. You can view a Switch-like device for PC gaming as the logical end-point of multiple goals: making the ultimate homebrew handheld with an open platform, reaching the last frontier for PC gaming, and maybe even giving PC gaming a more accessible entry point.

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Deathloop At State Of Play: Can This PS5 Exclusive Be Arkane’s First Real Hit?

With Arkane Studios’ Deathloop headlining the latest PlayStation State of Play, I can’t help but think about how much trouble the developer has had actually selling people on all its games, as excellent as they are, over pretty much its entire two decades in video games. In some ways Deathloop is different from anything Arkane’s ever done, maybe even in terms of its marketing opportunities, which has me hoping it can be Arkane’s first real breakout hit.

When Sony announced its next State of Play would mostly center on Deathloop I saw some groans from people who were tired it was getting yet another lengthy gameplay video, mad Microsoft bought Arkane’s parent company (meaning this probably-temporary PlayStation 5 console exclusive is technically a Microsoft game now), and mad this presentation wasn’t about the new God of War or one of Sony’s other in-house blockbuster franchises. There’s a sense that as many times as Arkane has tried to dive into what Deathloop is all about, we’re still not entirely sure how the final game will feel.

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Scanlines vs Hard Pixels: Is Pixel Art Truly Retro Anymore?

In the weeks since Square Enix announced new editions of the older Final Fantasy games along with Dragon Quest III, the discussion around how to best view and revive older 2D video games flared up again. There are very old memes making fun of indie developers’ love for hard pixels, but people now seem to be talking more about the science and cultural history behind Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) scanlines and hard pixels.

This piece at Waypoint goes pretty deep into it, but what really started the new conversation was a tweet from the @CRTpixels twitter account comparing how Castlevania: Symphony of the Night looks with its raw pixel data on a modern LCD screen and how it looks on an old CRT. The art was originally designed to be seen through CRT scanlines, and there’s a sense of implied detail you only really get through them. The ensuing replies for or against either side show that over time we’ve developed preferences despite the fact that the CRT look was the original intent in pretty much all pre-HD video games.

I’m starting to think it’s a generational thing — a difference between people who grew up with CRTs and people who grew up with LCD screens, and it’s turning into an artistic choice as much as anything else.

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Sonic The Hedgehog At 30: There Is Still Hope

Posting this week was always gonna be a choice between observing the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo 64 (and Super Mario 64) or the 30th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. I guess I could come back around to the N64 when we hit the anniversary of its North American launch later this year, so Sonic it is.

I already sort of did this exactly five years ago for Sonic’s 25th anniversary. This time I think I’ll go more over the possible future of the franchise. Even though it’s been multiple decades since the last indisputably great Sonic game, SEGA and indeed many fans haven’t given up on it yet. Just this week they announced a couple new projects they hope to release next year. I haven’t played a new “main” Sonic game in a very long time, but I still get a little bit curious and it’s nice just to speculate on what SEGA could do.

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The COVID E3 Still Had Some Surprises — And Can The Switch Redeem These Nintendo Franchises?

Last week I tried to predict that this year’s toned-down E3 wouldn’t really have any big shocks in regards to gaming for the rest of 2021. While COVID did have an effect on the scale of E3, the console manufacturers still managed to pull out a few surprises. The Nintendo Switch in particular this year might prove to be a new chance for some franchises to strike it big.

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Will Any Big E3 2021 Announcements Make It Out This Year Despite COVID?

It’s already been clear that COVID is slowing down the development of big games, and that’s probably gonna have an effect on what gets announced at E3 2021, which starts really heating up this weekend. Even before COVID it seemed like each E3 was revealing more and more games that weren’t making it out the same year. I guess it’s possible developers could still shadow drop some stuff on us this year, but I would assume just about any AAA game at E3 we don’t already know is coming out this year, is slipping into 2022. Due to that, I’m not even sure how much impact E3 might have on my current gaming plans for the rest of 2021.

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Will COVID Slow Down This Console Generation?

People seem real mad right now that Sony’s biggest upcoming first-party games: Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarök, and Gran Turismo 7 are coming to PlayStation 4 as well as its next generation PlayStation 5. They’re hungry for exclusives to justify the $500 and all the effort they spent getting those supply-constrained PS5s, but the system just launched, and we’re in a unique situation that might make this new console generation different from others.

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SteamPal: Who’s It For? Is It Finally Time For Handheld PC Gaming?

The GPD Win 3

Reports are making it seem pretty likely that Valve is trying to put together a handheld system — a “SteamPal” for taking your Steam library on the go. I went over the potential for something like this a bit back in 2015, and attempts at handheld gaming machines with full-fat PC operating systems have only gotten more powerful since. After what happened with Valve’s last attempt at pushing console-like hardware configurations though, it needs to figure out how to approach this. It’s definitely a segment that exists now but hasn’t blown up yet, and while I can think of a lot of uses for a PC shaped like a Nintendo Switch, I’m not sure yet if they will gain real traction.

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What Should A New TimeSplitters Even Be In Today’s Market?

I’m actually surprised by how much big video game websites and people I follow have covered or expressed excitement about the prospect of TimeSplitters coming back. I always thought it was a relatively niche first person shooter franchise but apparently a lot of people do or did love it. Ever since Deep Silver announced this week that the series’ developer, Free Radical, is coming back with some of its original leads though, I’ve been wondering what TimeSplitters would even be in this day and age.

How do you bring an FPS series back from the dead after three console generations — and by time the any prospective new game comes out since this is only just now entering production, the better part of 20 years? It’s hard to think of any game franchises that have come back after that kind of hiatus. The FPS landscape today is completely different from what it was when the last entry — TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, came out in 2005.

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