Games Inbox: How many consoles do you own?

The evening Inbox speaks up in defence of Microsoft (but not Gears Of War), as one reader mourns the closure of his local games shop.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]


One’s enough

I notice a lot of people on the Inbox seem to talk as if they have all or most of the consoles that are released… am I the only one that only has one? (A PlayStation 4.) I enjoy gaming, but not enough to want to spend over a grand per generation on different consoles. I’ve been that way most generations and as far as I can gather, by seeing what my friends do, that’s the norm?

Apart from anything I think I’d be overwhelmed if I had so many different formats. Where would I put them? How would I have the time to play all the extra exclusives? Plus I’d have to pay three online subscriptions instead of just one. It all seems like far too much hassle and much too much money.

Personally I can’t waiting till video game streaming is 100% because that will simplify things greater. No stupid brick under the TV, no discs to keep on the shelf, and hopefully, with cross-play, less concern about what formats your mates have got. I’ve always been one for the one format future and while I don’t think it’ll ever happen exactly like that this is the closest we’ve been in a long time.


Waiting for a Switch

I see there’s been another (fake) leak about the Switch Mini and while it’s not true everyone seems convinced it’s going to happen, and probably quite soon. I don’t understand why if it’s out this year they didn’t announce it at E3? Does that imply they’re hiding something? Surely they’d want it to out in time for Pokémon Sword/Shield, which it sounds like it’d be perfect for.

Haven’t seen anything concrete on the supposed Switch Pro though, so maybe that’s being held back for next year? Would be a bit odd to release two new models at once I guess.

I ask because I haven’t got a Switch yet and like many I don’t want to be caught out by Nintendo announcing a new model just as I buy the old one. But there’s a lot coming out soon, beginning next month, and I’d rather not play unnecessary catch-up by it only coming out in the autumn. Oh well, when’s the next Direct…?

GC: Isn’t this a question about understanding or predicting Nintendo? Because you know how that always goes…


Specialist subject

I was slightly bemused by the head of Platinum’s comments on console manufacture.

The benefits of using more standardised architecture for console are, amongst others, easier ports between platforms, cheaper consoles, backwards compatibility, and a more straightforward design process for game developers.

Weighed against these advantages, the novelty value of each console having custom-made chips seems small.
Matt (he_who_runs_away – PSN ID)

GC: We don’t think he wanted custom chips for pure novelty but because it implied consoles could have certain specialities, as they used to, instead of just being a jack of all trades.


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Gone but not forgotten

Just writing to note the sad demise of one of the best ever independent games stores.

GForce in Glasgow has sadly closed down after 27 years.

I have bought almost all my games from them since 1992 and they were usually available a couple of days early, and sometimes up to a week early.

They built my first PC (Pentium 90, DOS, and Windows 3.1).

A gaming institution is no more but I for one will never forget them.


Quite different

The obvious difference between Kinder Eggs and some loot box systems is that even if you get a duplicate toy in your Kinder Egg it still has a value – you might enjoy having two of the same toy, or you can swap it with a friend or stick it on eBay. Not to mention the chocolate you’re also getting either way.

None of this applies to loot box systems in which you might end up paying for just a duplicate costume, for example, that is literally impossible to extract any benefit from, hence you’ve won precisely nothing and gambled away your money.

But of course EA and their ilk know this, and are just trying to wriggle out of scrutiny with what strikes me as an intellectually dishonest comparison. Le shock.
Dynamite Headdy

GC: Don’t forget it’s ‘quite fair’. Not very fair, but quite fair.


Less is more

Following the recent high-profile update release, my brother, a friend and I thought it would be worth giving Sea Of Thieves a try. And we gave it a proper try too… but it’s very dull. The whole experience has really brought home what I feel is the biggest missed opportunity in modern gaming – co-op.

Sea Of Thieves could be brilliant but it’s not. The islands are all the same, the missions are all the same, and there is absolutely zero sense of progression. I wish the great basis they have could be made into something more substantial.

It feels like Rare are using so many resources to make it an ‘online experience’ for as many players to interact with at once, that they forget to make it a fully formed, proper game. I realise that profit is the bottom line, and that’s fair enough, but I really wish that there were more quality, fully formed adventure games that you can play through with friends – not the empty, repetitive games as a service which are ten a penny now. You really don’t need 60 people playing at once to make a game fun – three or four players with more room for an actual game would be far better.

GC: Technically you can have couch co-op if one player is on an Xbox and the other is on a laptop – Sea Of Thieves has very low system requirements. That’ll be even easier to do once Project xCloud starts.


Hardcore reloading

RE: Smokin Monkey. The only games I remember you throwing bullets away are Operation Flashpoint, which is ancient but spawned the ArmA series. And Arizona Sunshine which is a VR game.

You can pick up the clip and it adds to your total but you need to be quick.

GC: ArmA is a good call, those games were always the most realistic.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Legitimate concerns

Sigh… It can be hard reading the pages of GameCentral and being, primarily, an Xbox gamer. The letters are rolling in expressing opinions that Microsoft had an open goal this E3 and still managed to kick the ball three feet short of scoring…

I am hopeful for the future though, I’m a Halo devotee so the new title has me excited. I believe that Playground Games have the tech to create a beautiful Fable, I want them to realise the potential of that franchise and the portfolio of developers Microsoft has purchased have all released games I’ve enjoyed. And thanks to Game Pass Ultimate I’ll get to play for ‘free’ (till 2021).

I do have worries. Gears 5 really needs to update its gameplay, anything from adding a hub world with gated entry via items à la Batman: Arkham, a greater focus on melee, or a complete rethink of its combat mechanics but a sixth entry where it’s simply a linear slog through waves of enemies will be something of a letdown and would be unhappy evidence that Microsoft haven’t learned a thing from the other Gears Of Wars and its sublime update.

Microsoft do have one area in which I feel they excel. Online multiplayer. Sea Of Thieves has been one of my favourite games this generation. I’ve played most of Sony’s big games on release, and dabbled with VR, but I always return to Xbox multiplayer. Halo, Forza, Sea Of Thieves, and old favourites or new curiosities on Game Pass mean my PlayStation 4 and Switch lie unused for long parts of the year…

That’s just me though… the love expressed on these for the Switch, VR, Sony exclusives, and all manner of games and activities is infectious and I’m thankful for being lucky enough to have tried them all.

I just wanted readers to know there are people out there who genuinely prefer the multiplayer focus of Microsoft first party releases.
DarKerR (gamertag)/DarKerR-UK (PSN ID)


Inbox also-rans

The John Wick game sounds really interesting. A fighting system that looks like a video editing timeline? Finally, my career choice will benefit my gaming life!
Sparky the Yak

Man, I haven’t thought about Evil Genius in years, what a blast from the past to dig up. Maybe one day EA will get round to a new Dungeon Keeper. Yeah, right…


This week’s Hot Topic

With E3 2019 having just finished the subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks what you thought was the best and worst announcements of the show.

What do you think was the best game or hardware (or service) reveal and why? And which was the worst? What gameplay footage impressed you the most and which games are you now looking forward to more – or less – than you were before E3?

Do you think E3 2019 was a vintage year and what were the best and worst aspects about it? Who do you think ‘won’ E3 and what was the best press conference? Please make sure to label your emails either for the weekday Inbox or Hot Topic, so we know which is which.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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