Tag Archives: Microsoft

Why Cross-Generation Games Make Sense For Microsoft

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The closer we get to the launch of the next generation of game consoles later this year, the more it looks like Microsoft is stepping outside the box of what console users traditionally expect. Its latest controversial announcement is that none of its first party games for Xbox Series X will be exclusive to that system for a year or two.

Personally, I don’t think Microsoft stands to lose a whole lot by making games like Halo Infinite or whatever else it has in store for 2020 and 2021 still support the original Xbox One (not to mention PC). It makes sense when you consider what kind of company Microsoft is compared to Sony or Nintendo, as well as what really happens when new console generations start. And when you think about it, how important are next-gen launch exclusives today really? Continue reading

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The Outer Worlds: Where Are The Space RPGs?

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I’d actually seen almost none of the promotional material for Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds before playing the game. All I really knew was it was the next RPG from the people behind Fallout New Vegas and that the setting was sci-fi. I guess I went in expecting another tabletop-inspired RPG with entertaining characters. What I did not expect was a space outlaw game.

BioWare’s Mass Effect series got close sometimes but never really went for that Han Solo-esque fantasy. The only other video games that even think about trying to be space crime simulators are actual simulation games like Elite or Rebel Galaxy Outlaw which are more about totally open sandboxes with no concrete main story. Really, there aren’t enough conventional RPGs with any kind of space opera setting. Continue reading

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The Gears 5 Campaign Added Just The Right Amount Of RPG Elements

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I only fully understood the details of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate $2-for-2-months deal and took advantage of the subscription a couple days before the deal ended, so I only just used it to play through the campaign in Gears 5 a couple weeks ago. Overall Gears 5 has a much more exciting campaign than the good-but-relatively-safe freshman attempt from developer The Coalition in Gears of War 4. The two central new ideas in Gears 5 — the open-world portions and your robot companion, in my opinion make it feel a little more like an RPG, but not in the way so many other blockbuster action games have. Continue reading

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[E3 2019] Video Game Platforms And The Pre-Pre-Next-Gen E3

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I have a feeling E3 this year is gonna feel a bit cool because the console gaming industry is starting to move into next-gen transition mode. I’m interested in a lot of games that will be at E3 of course, and I imagine there will be some big surprises, but I’m not going in with any specific hopes and dreams for earth-shattering revelations. Continue reading

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Next-Gen Speculation Begins

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So we’ve had a few days to digest what Sony showed Wired when it revealed some specifications for what we all think it will call the PlayStation 5. There’s a lot that it tells us and a lot that it doesn’t. We can now begin to speculate some of the impact these specs might have on game design and even on the games we’re playing right now. Continue reading

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Google Stadia: An Alternative to Console Wars

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So Google’s recently-announced Stadia is a video game streaming service, as we all expected. There isn’t even a box involved, Google wants you to play video games over streaming through all kinds of computers and mobile devices. The obstacles previous attempts like OnLive and Gaikai faced haven’t really changed, but Google’s decidedly hardware-agnostic approach addresses issues that, really, have defined video games since the beginning.

I think the features Google touts with Stadia sound cool — basically being able to google search a game or watch it on YouTube, then immediately start playing that game on whatever device you already own. If it ever actually works, maybe it could be a way to end console wars, or at least offer people an alternate path around them. Continue reading

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Why Do The Classic Mini Console Games Have To Be Locked Up In More Pieces of Plastic?

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Sony has jumped on the classic console bandwagon with the PlayStation Classic that includes 20 games from the original PlayStation for $99. Look man, I just want to play those same games on the PlayStation 4 already sitting under my TV, I’d happily pay the same price. Or better yet let me transfer the ones I already bought to play on my PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Microsoft is absolutely right to jab Sony with that “Play 500+ classic Xbox games on Xbox One today” tweet, even if it they didn’t perfectly word it. The point is you don’t have to put another plastic box under your TV to play a handful of games exclusive to it. That’s the whole problem with console gaming. At the same time though I see why console manufactures are making these nostalgia consoles and why Microsoft probably won’t, I’m just asking for some more options here, which SEGA and SNK have been happy to provide. Continue reading

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Will Discord and Twitch Succeed Where Origin and UPlay Failed?

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I had a blog post about Discord and its competition with Steam (along with other PC gaming services) ready to go that I’d written on Tuesday… and then on Thursday Discord went and announced it’s actually going to sell games.

Back in 2014 I did a post comparing Origin and UPlay to Steam, primarily through why each PC game launcher was created in the first place, and how that affected the current status of each one. Steam started as a way to facilitate the installing and patching of games, Origin as EA’s personal game launcher, and UPlay as Ubisoft’s customer loyalty program. To this day, people primarily install Origin and UPlay just to boot up EA’s and Ubisoft’s games respectively. That in itself is fine. Blizzard’s Battle.net gets away with it, Fortnite gets away with it, Minecraft gets away with it. Those services juts aren’t ever going to come close to competing with Steam.

Discord found another way to get onto millions of computers: as a chat app and a universal game launcher. Continue reading

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Microsoft Ran Its E3 2018 Media Briefing Like A Streaming Service Would

Microsoft's studio acquisition announcements from E3 2018

One overarching subject came to my mind during Microsoft’s E3 2018 media briefing when the company was revealing the video game studios it had acquired for the purpose of making exclusive games. When people were cheering these acquisitions I realized you’d probably never see reactions like that in other entertainment industries, not for a platform holder or service provider locking up future content exclusively to its platform and services. E3 has almost always been a vehicle for platform wars, and that’s one of the things that’s still really peculiar about console games. Continue reading

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What’s Hiding In The Shadows Before E3 2018?

Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2018

If Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t one of those games that gets mostly shown behind doors this year, I think it could be the main sleeping giant of E3 2018. We know almost nothing about it, but what little we do know sounds extremely ambitious, and it’s from the developer of one of the best-rated games of this console generation. To me it just feels like it has the most potential in proportion to how little people are talking about it in the run-up to E3. Other than that I guess Super Smash Bros. for the Switch is the big thing I’m looking forward to. That’s another game we know almost nothing about other than what’s obligatory in Smash Bros. games, but is gonna be a main-pillar game for some people (myself included).

Those are the two games that immediately pop into my head in terms of personal interest and potential future hype at E3 2018. In March I wrote about my anticipation for a new Splinter Cell as well, which is looking increasingly likely to be revealed at E3. Something else I hope E3 reveals is the Prey expansion pack Arkane has been teasing. Microsoft is also rumored to be bringing out the bulk of its first party lineup at E3: Halo 6Gears of War 5, and Forza Horizon 4. I guess enough time has passed since the last entry in each of those franchises for at least one of them to show up this year. Another rumor going around is Mortal Kombat 11. The last rumored reveal I can think of right now is that people are speculating Nintendo will show off the new Metroid Prime and a new Star Fox game… or whatever it is Retro Studios has been working on. Continue reading

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