The Friday Inbox wonders if Nintendo will get drawn into the upcoming acquisition wars, as one reader goes on an Elden Ring news blackout.
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The shape of things to come
Long-time reader, since the glory days of Digi, first time giving my take on things, but I think the Microsoft take over is a good thing. It shows Microsoft is pushing for a better proposition for its Game Pass service and with the cloud and play anywhere I’m hoping we are seeing the end of consoles being needed to actually play games, which I see as a win for gamers everywhere.
I guess I’m dreaming of a world where I can play any game regardless of the hardware (or lack of) that I own, much like other forms of media such as music and movies. I’d happily subscribe to anything Sony released in the Game Pass space if cloud streaming is available.
I’ve seen talk of it being them taking the easy way to success but I don’t really buy that, I think long term it will benefit us all as they take us to a point where we don’t need to ‘pick a side’ by putting down hard cash on a console.
One or the other
If it wasn’t Microsoft, it would be Amazon or Google eventually hoovering up the big gaming publishers.
Microsoft said a few years ago it doesn’t see Sony and Nintendo as its biggest long-term competition in the cloud space, which is inevitably where gaming is headed.
We should be grateful it’s Microsoft and not Google, etc. doing this.
Frankly, Sony isn’t big enough to compete with the behemoths at play here.
Which is why I see them partnering/bought out in next few years.
Great news for
In terms of Microsoft snapping up Activision Blizzard, I was as surprised as anybody at the news, and of course the amount of money shocked the life out of me. I’d thought they’d try and get into the Japan market via an acquisition – with a purchase of Sega or even Capcom, despite the complexities of foreign companies taking over Japanese ones.
Personally, I’m not yet sure about what this means for gaming on the good-bad scale, but I am a little puzzled by some of the ‘definitely the worst day for gaming’ comments. It is, for sure, a blow to Sony, but they’ll have a couple of years to respond, I’m guessing. The completion will take until 2023, and anything agreed in the pipeline from Activision Blizzard will still come out on PlayStation, like with Bethesda and Deathloop. It might even see Sony respond on the first person shooter scene, possibly reviving Killzone and giving it new life in the new generation.
On the Activision Blizzard side, it hopefully means the sorting out of the controversy they’ve had going on within the company, and hopefully the actual teams and employees will be treated better going forward. On the gaming side, whilst I am partial to Call Of Duty every now and again it might reduce the frequency of these games, as they really don’t need to be yearly releases and have become a bit stale for me.
It also could mean other series get a revival, such as Spyro The Dragon, Tony Hawk, Overwatch, and Diablo – with the latter two being described by some as having their new sequels stuck in development hell.
I’m not saying I think it’s going to be roses and it’s great news for everyone, but I am keeping an open mind as to what might happen.
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Worse than NFTs
As someone who owned both a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One last generation, as well as the relevant Nintendo hardware, I do consider myself somewhat ambivalent in terms of loyalty (though full disclosure my first love is Nintendo). However, I bought an Xbox Series X last year, mostly due to the fact that Xbox being behind Sony has led to some intriguing and consumer friendly moves.
I’m a fan of Game Pass (it suits me very well, though I appreciate people’s concerns) and I was actually a fan of the Bethesda buyout – I thought that both companies could benefit from the new relationship and that it would be great to have a mature and competent developer working on first party content for Xbox.
However, much as my Xbox Series X has no doubt become a lot more desirable off the back of the Activision buyout, I would like to join the chorus of concerned voices. Not that I have any particular interest in Activision’s output, and am disgraced by the scandals, but the direction that the industry is going in now seems particularly worrying. Xbox taking first party games development seriously should have led to more diversity, not less.
It sets a horrible precedent (as already demonstrated by the increased share prices of other games companies) that means that no company is safe. Does the next Nintendo console that flops mean that Nintendo is vulnerable to a takeover? Is the next games company to deliver a genre-defining experience going to pay for its success by being a target for hungry mega-corporations?
t’s enormously worrying, and now that Microsoft has opened Pandora’s (X)box and demonstrated that this is a viable strategy, it could lead to an arms race where others make bids on companies just to prevent rivals like Microsoft buying them first.
And to think a week ago I thought NFTs were the biggest threat to gaming…
GC: Those are all valid points. But Nintendo has always taken care with its shares, to make sure it’s not vulnerable to a hostile takeover.
My Xbox Series X controller broke just before Christmas, and I feared a Christmas without any Xbox gaming. The right bumper had stuck inside and was unresponsive. I couldn’t get it back out. The pad is only about 10 months old, and I was pretty disappointed about that. I attempted to pull it back out using a small screwdriver and all I achieved was a slightly damaged controller shell and my button still broken. I watched a YouTube video on how to repair it and didn’t bother trying to take it to pieces in fear of voiding my warranty.
After contacting Microsoft, they arranged for UPS to collect my controller. So they picked it up on the 18th December and told me it would be 12-14 days to receive it back. That would mean no gaming on Christmas day on the Xbox.
Lo and behold, a knock at the door on Christmas Eve and it was UPS delivering me a parcel. I had feared they might not repair it as I has caused a little bit of damage to the controller shell, but I was shocked when I opened it up and they had given me a brand new controller.
Microsoft have since phoned me on three occasions, two occasions I missed the call as I was at work. They just wanted to follow up the repair order and make sure I was satisfied with the replacement. They deserve some kudos for the whole thing as their service was faultless and getting me my controller back in time for Christmas was wonderful.
Nick The Greek
One format, no chance
I’ve been thinking, wouldn’t it be good if Sony and Microsoft did a console together? I know it will never happen, but could you imagine a life where all games are available on one console? I mean, Microsoft could do what their best at, mostly the online department, and Sony doing the hardware.
No more of this is better or that is better, games could be made easier, faster, without delays. Could you imagine a life like that? It would be like winning every lotto in the world all on the same night, maybe some day it will happen. It did with Sony/Nintendo, just a shame it didn’t make it to market, who knows how the gaming world would be if it was realised!
GC: You’d also need Nintendo for every game, which is even more unlikely.
Law or custom?
RE: My letter about the next acquisitions being Square Enix or something like CD Projekt, I was referring to Sony, not Microsoft.
Square Enix would also seem a logical target for Sony, because of their long close relationship.
I’m aware of Japanese law regarding protection of domestic firms from foreign buyouts. Does GC know much of the law there regarding Japanese companies buying other Japanese companies?
Owen Pile (NongWen – PSN ID)
GC: No, but it’s notable that all of the major consolidation in Japan has been through mergers, not acquisitions. Including Square Enix, obviously.
Since we are talking about Sony buying other companies. What about Nintendo doing buyouts? It had a huge war chest that must have been bigger than Scrooge McDuck’s vault and it must be even bigger now with the success of the Switch.
Could it buy other Japanese companies or is that off the table? I know they won’t but what does everyone think a good fit for them would be? Me personally, and I have said it before, Sega needs Nintendo to show them what to do with some of its dormant or failing franchises. Though I don’t think Nintendo needs Sega.
Think I’m going to take a break from reading gaming media for a month as I don’t want to see spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring.
It’s crazy how much content is released for a game now before its release; like movie trailers now, where quite often I feel I’ve probably seen all the best bits before actually watching the film. I’ve already seen a screenshot of a really cool machine in Forbidden West I wish I hadn’t. Would of been amazing coming across it the first time in game. Just clicked off a site as a story trailer has been released for that game too.
If I had the willpower I’d create the conditions as a kid where all I knew of a game was a review and a few screenshots in a mag. I see how I go abstaining for the two aforementioned games. Probs just read a couple of trusted reviewers reviews like GC.
Recently managed to get hold of a normal priced PlayStation 5 and have been happy to see all the free PlayStation 4 games I get with my PS Plus subscription. Fancied giving Bloodborne another go, as I bought it when it first came out but made a dex build I didn’t enjoy and sold it not long after that Gascoigne preacher werewolf boss.
I have played and completed every FromSoftware game since Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 3, so Bloodborne is the only one I just haven’t managed to get into. Having redownloaded it last week I have had a few sessions on it and I just can’t get into it. I had to look at a guide just to figure out how to teleport out of the hunter’s dream! I had to look at a guide to figure out how to level up!
Perhaps I have just got too old, and I can no longer be arsed with constantly dying while slowly learning attack patterns.
I like to think that’s it’s just the aesthetic of the game that I don’t like but perhaps it’s the lack of a shield or block.
Anyway, this has left me feeling a bit wary of Elden Ring. I’ve been looking forward to it for years, it feels like, and now I’m just not sure I can be arsed to play a reskinned Dark Souls in an open world.
GC: Each to their own but as far as we’re concerned Bloodborne is FromSoftware’s best work and one of the greatest video games of all time.
I think buying Activision for £50 billion is a smart investment by Microsoft. Just think, all they have to do is get every man, woman and child on the planet to spend £5 on skins for Warzone, and they’ve made their money back. Everything on top is just gravy.
Do you have any update news about the new Lego Star Wars game, The Skywalker Saga? I’m really desperate to be reassured it’s still coming out this year. Thanks to all you cool dudes. Your daily writings bring joy to my mundane world
Gadget (aka Gary H)
GC: Inbox magic managed to answer that one before we even had a chance to use your letter.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Rackham, who asks what was the last physical game you bought and why?
Digital game sales are now in the majority, but do you still buy physical copies as well? And if you do, what was the last one? If you’re now 100% digital, then what was the last physical game you bought and did that have anything to do with your decision?
If you’re a mix of the two methods, what is it that decides which you’ll go for? Are you generally happy with digital sales taking over and what would be your concerns if physical copies went away entirely?
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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