Microsoft at E3 and Beyond With Nintendo

Xbox-E3 2018 press conference briefingI’m Still Impressed by Microsoft at E3 2018

E3 is now long gone, it’s been weeks, an eternity in the games industry. Now, most fans are reflecting on the game announcements and release dates and biding their time. Somewhat strangely, I’m still lingering on Microsoft’s press conference. Especially since Nintendo and Microsoft released this:

Microsoft is trying to make the most of this flawed generation, but like the business veterans they are, they’re always focused on the long game. Teasing obvious new hardware and new studio acquisitions are significant, but what keeps me interested is the Xbox Game Pass. Even with how limited their first party offerings are, you get great value based on the $10/month price point. If I were any less into following the industry and the obscure games than I currently am, Game Pass would be my set it and forget it ticket to gaming.

I’m rarely playing the new hotness. I’m now getting around to The Witcher 3 and the years old Resident Evil 1 remake is up next. These are games that I picked out at least a year ago. The point here is that Game Pass’ aged inventory is almost a non-issue to me, and a ton of people like me. I would’ve been stoked when they announced the arrival of Fallout 4, I’m still excited to check out New Vegas after all.

Acquiring all of those new studios and committing their full effort to the Xbox platform is a big deal, but especially in regard to Xbox Game Pass. Playstation’s first party offerings are killing it, I still think about re-buying a PS4 to replay Bloodborne and God of War only makes it more tempting. Do I need to play through Bloodborne again? No. Is God of War worth a console purchase when I have a PC and a Switch already? Debatable. But they’re good enough to make you think about it. That is what every console maker wants and where Microsoft aims to be in the next few years with their new studios. Game Pass could make that come true with an outstanding value proposition.

Microsoft and Nintendo teaming up to promote Minecraft is crazy interesting. Yes, they’re partnering to capitalize on Playstation’s current bad press, but it’s still relatively unprecedented in the current landscape. Phil Spencer is regularly documented saying that he doesn’t care what device you play Minecraft on, he just cares that you play Minecraft. With Microsoft already teasing the next generation of hardware and the near inevitability of a sort of streaming option for Xbox Game Pass in the future, what’re the chances of me streaming Fallout 4 on Xbox Game Pass to my Nintendo Switch Pro in four years when I finally get around to playing it?

Crazier things have happened, maybe not in the games industry though. Let me know what you think of my farfetched ideas in the comments below and thanks for reading!

Update: Nintendo just announced a Minecraft edition New 2DS XL today! That has to be a good sign for third party relations.

Iterative Consoles and Playing Games on a Budget

PS$ Neo Iterative console questions Uncharted 4
Uncharted 4 might be the best looking game ever

Iterative Consoles Could be Great for Consumers on a Budget

With rumors swirling about iterative consoles from both Microsoft and Sony, many console fans are angry about the companies forcing them to upgrade. When people picked up their PS4 or Xbox One, the industry was set in long console cycles. Consumers expected, with good reason, to be up to date on hardware for around 8 years based on the industry’s history. Things seem to be changing, hopefully we’ll know officially after E3 2016, but the rumors seem to be at least somewhat true.

Console makers are looking at other electronics segments with annual updates and taking note. Criticism from gamers about consoles being years out of date when compared to a current PC have assuredly weighed on console makers as well. Leaked information puts the rumored Xbox “Scorpio” on pace with competitive PC graphics cards with benchmarks around 4 times more powerful than their current machine. Technology is advancing too fast for traditional console cycle lengths, and that works for me. It might work out for the best for you as well.

Unlike some tech enthusiasts, I don’t need have the latest and greatest that companies have to offer. My phone is great, smartphones still amazing me, but it hasn’t been top of the line since 2013 and I only bought it 6 months ago.

I love reading and keeping up on the latest tech, but like the current car industry, many electronics are plateauing right now. New versions are only marginally better than the best of last year, or even a few years ago. I look for deals and buy the best thing for the money, which is usually a year or 2 old at this point. Most things that were top of the line last year, or the year before, are still damn good today. That’s taking annual generations into account, at this point there has only been one PS4 and one Xbox One. They’re each the best version you can get, its a little different than phones, but similar enough.

Upgraded Consoles will Prime the Used Market

Each machine is already selling well and competitively priced, so if a new model of either is introduced, prices will bottom out and there will be a healthy pre-owned market from people who upgrade. It sucks if you just bought one only to find out that new versions may be on the horizon, but you probably got a pretty great deal and the console will remain relevant. I owned each of the current gen machines briefly and decided to sell them, but I still might jump on a great deal after the Neo or Scorpio come out.

With the recent release of Uncharted 4, I’ve heard a ton of members of the gaming press talk about how little we need new hardware to produce amazing looking games anyway.

I bought my PS4 just for Bloodborne, but there are a few other PS4 games that won’t be making the jump to PC that could make a “last-gen” PS4 a tempting deal. Even better is the fact that Sony is taking care that all games still perform well on the original PS4 even if they’re being mainly developed for the new version.

Original Consoles will Maintain Support

I love gaming, but I do it on a budget and I’m not alone. New hardware will definitely make some consumers happy. I’ll be with the group who is excited to take their outdated, current-gen console off their hands. Some people may be mad, but there’s really no essential reason to sweat upgrading either console right now. Maybe we’ll see a mind blowing demo at E3, but it’s pretty unlikely that any news will change how inessential the new versions are. Sony has already sold 40 million consoles to their faithful fans and will not stop supporting them. The Neo will just give hardcore fans a better way to play without alienating anyone with the original console. No harm in that, and there will be plenty of used consoles in great condition to pick up for crazy deals.

So, with that in mind, what do you think of shorter console cycles? There will be a more powerful option for people who want to shell out for one. Everyone sticking with the console they already own should remain about the same, and there will be pre-owned and older model deals for people to pick up cheaper. It seems like it might not be worth it for Sony and Microsoft, but more choices should serve more consumers. Let me know what you think in the comments below and thanks for reading!