The Friday letters page worries what influence Games Pass will have on future games development, as more readers are upset at Phil Spencer.
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Only bad news
It feels like it’s all falling apart for Sony now, eh? A price hike right now seems like the worst idea other. I know the inflation issue is real but are they so strapped for cash they couldn’t absorb the difference until everything blows over? They obviously could for the US, but apparently the rest of us in the world aren’t so important, so we’ll just have to cough up even more for the giant white monolith.
It’s pretty shocking news and if Microsoft doesn’t increase the price of the Xbox Series X then it’s going to look like even better value for money. The Xbox Series S is already virtually a steal. It was always great value and now its almost like it’s laughing in the face of the PlayStation 5.
I hope Sony manage to struggle through all this, but they are going to have to start a major charm offensive at some point. At the moment they’re coming across as pretty contemptuous towards their audience, as if they hate talking to them and don’t want to tell them anything… except bad news.
Only in America
You know what hurts about this PlayStation 5 price rise? The fact that the US doesn’t get it. They have the exact same inflation problems as everyone else, worse than many in fact, but apparently Sony can afford to subsidise them but not us?
If it was everyone in the same boat then fine, that would’ve been something, but to have it spelled out how much more important Sony thinks the US market is than us… it’s not a good look.
I was planning to get a PlayStation 5 this Christmas but now I’m having second thoughts. Not necessarily because of the price increase but just because Sony has been so awful this year. The cheaper Xbox Series X and cheaper Game Pass is looking pretty tempting right now.
And just think how expensive this is going to make the PlayStation VR2. Yeah, what a sensible thing that was to push so soon. Sony need to sort themselves out and quickly.
I heard a Matt Damon soundbite where he was saying that the rise of streaming and the fall in the sales of physical media have placed more onus on films to recoup their money at the box office. In his opinion, this has made it more difficult for experimental films to break even and made it less likely for these types of films to be made in the future.
Drawing parallels with the gaming industry, this chimes with Sony’s party line this far; that they can’t continue to make the games they’re famous for if people expect them to be ‘free’ on subscription services on release. These services seem to be a double-edged sword in that they give smaller, indie releases more exposure and a guaranteed income, but they have also changed the perceived value of big budget releases, with people less willing to pay £50-70 for new games.
I hope we’re not approaching a point where the market doesn’t grow enough for subscription services to become profitable, while physical and digital games sales fall so much that it’s not worth making a certain style of games. I know those type of over-produced, super-slick cinematic games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re definitely part of what I enjoy about gaming. Plus, the last thing we need right now is less games.
GC: It’s a very good point. Subscription services becoming dominant will undoubtedly change the types of games that are made. And it’s already making it very difficult for any non-AAA Xbox game that’s not on Game Pass.
Rest in peace
Very sad to read about the passing of Oli Frey.
80s gamers will likely know the name already, but even if not, they’d know his artwork. So many incredible magazine covers, what a talent and contribution to the games and magazine industry back then. And reading his wiki, some very different areas too!
Thank you for that great interview with Sir Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.
I am most certainly looking forward to and will be buying both those books.
Judging by that photo, Steve Jackson hasn’t looked liked he’s aged at all in the last 30 years? Not many people can claim fame to that.
Anyway, it inspired me to drop the Roald Dahl books and grab an old Fighting Fantasy book out of the loft and read it to my daughter at bedtime.
I’m reading her Caverns of the Snow Witch to her at the moment, as she’s very much into interactive entertainment and games.
It’s a whole new world of entertainment for her and was certainly the only thing that had me reading from a book when I was a snotty nosed teenager.
So kudos to those two. Their books where a big part of my childhood and in my opinion they deserve all the accolades they get.
OMG, is it me or is Phil Spencer a compulsive liar? It’s like every second word he has to tell a lie or he might implode. He says that he can’t see exclusives being around much longer, well if that is the case why don’t you start ending exclusives and bring Starfield over to PlayStation, and I mean the same day as Xbox. And while you’re at it bring the rest over.
How can anyone trust a word he says, let alone buy a console from him. Don’t get me wrong, Sony isn’t perfect but at least they say their games aren’t going anywhere else, until four years later then they go to PC. This deal can’t and shouldn’t go ahead. If it does, before you know it Sony will pull out of gaming and then all we have is Xbox and Nintendo. Xbox can charge what they like, when they like, and before you know it people will saying come back Sony.
OK, I get the feeling Phil Spencer is half telling the truth. I imagine he approached Sony and Nintendo with Game Pass to be on all consoles and share exclusives long ago, to which they laughed and said what exclusives do you have?
So Phil has gone to secure all these exclusives for Microsoft to see if they will change their mind, if they play ball then no exclusives anymore. If they are still not interested then securing Bethesda and Activision will be a good back up plan for them, I genuinely don’t think it’s his plan A though.
I was giving some thought to the recent Phil Spencer comments. Personally, I think they are being taken too literally and what he’s really saying is all our games will be available on all consoles, but it will be via Game Pass. A point someone else picked up on in the Underbox. But is this likely happen? I think it could.
My argument for this is based on TV. I am a Sky customer using Sky equipment but still have access to virtually all streaming services available for the cost of a subscription to the service I want. I don’t know for sure, but it is responsible to assume Sky get a few sheckles for allowing this. At the end of the day it’s just an app running on a machine. Why couldn’t gaming follow suit?
PlayStation Plus on Xbox and vice versa seems like a win/win. Both say hardware isn’t where the money is, but it is in subscriptions to software. Microsoft should know, look at Office 365 revenues: $22 billion and 270 million users!
Game Pass runs on Xbox, PC, Android, and Mac (via a workaround) surely it’s just a matter of time before hardware becomes irrelevant and console wars a thing of the past. Exclusives can still remain, as they do in the TV world, but we gamers just have to pick a subscription.
Too simplistic? Probably.
GC: If that’s what he meant it’s not what he said.
Just found out it’s the 25th anniversary of GoldenEye 007 this week! Although that has made me feel incredibly old the sweet memories it’s brought back are worth. There’s no point remaking it in my opinion, you’d have to change too much, but kudos to the first great first person shooter on consoles!
Rockstar banned people from saying GTA 6 on YouTube last year? I did not know that. How weird.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what’s your favourite open world game?
Open world games have been popular for decades, but they’re not really a genre themselves and can encompass everything from role-players to racing games. So which is your favourite and why? How intrinsic is the open world design to your enjoyment and how much time did you spend exploring it instead of playing the main game?
What do you think of the current state of open world games and how would you like to see them evolve over the next generation, in terms of technology and design?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
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 via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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