Destruction AllStars – the next big thing? (pic: Sony)
The Thursday Inbox worries about Sony’s declining interest in Japan, as another reader argues against too many overlong games.
To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]
New for 2021
So the first big PlayStation 5 game of 2021 is going to be Destruction AllStars, eh? I’d forgotten all about it to be honest and assumed the first would be Ratchet & Clank or Returnal, but while I’m not really interested in the game you can’t say no to free and I will be giving it a go on PlayStation Plus.
I’ve seen some people suggesting that Sony has been doing a bad job with the games so far but I really don’t understand that. As far as I’m concerned it was a good launch line-up, especially under the circumstances, and now we’ve got two first party games out within the first three months of the year – maybe three if Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart makes it out in time.
I do think it is high time we heard something from Sony though. They sure did give up on those Nintendo Direct style livestreams pretty quick and their silence on the whole stock issue is a bad look. We need to know more release dates and we need to see more games announced and more details on things like God Of War 2 and Horizon Forbidden West. As long as they don’t keep us in the dark for too long though, I’ve no complaints.
As to whether Destruction AllStars will be a major hit for them, we’ll have to wait and see. They’re clearly hoping it’s going to be the next Fall Guys and I can see it being a kind of mix of that and Rocket League.
The recent sales data figures for Japan last year make for interesting reading.
It’s no surprise that Nintendo came out on top, but the level of their complete dominance was.
They had 87% of the hardware market overall and most of the top 20 software sales were Switch titles. What was very funny was the fact that the 3DS – a ‘dead’ system – outsold the entire Xbox family of consoles in 2020!
The PlayStation 4 did a bit better but what was surprising was that the PlayStation 5 during its launch window only sold half the amount that the PlayStation 4 did during its launch window.
When you take into account that for the last two years the Switch has been the fastest-selling console in the US, second only to the Wii, and it’s software sales around the world have been colossal, then is it any wonder that Nintendo has kept it’s cards close to its chest regarding information about game releases and a possible Switch Pro?
My question to you GC is this: do you think that Sony will all but abandon its home market and leave the field entirely to Nintendo to dominate as they have done, as Microsoft are no threat either, and concentrate on the US and Europe? If so, then what do you think the implications are for gaming as a whole, and in particular for Japan?
GC: They were already becoming disengaged in the PlayStation 4 era and everything points towards that trend continuing. What money Sony makes from what markets is their own business but the concern for gamers across the world is that without their patronage Japanese games made primarily for a home audience will decrease in number, especially from developers without close ties to Nintendo.
Optimist of the year
Game Pass subscriptions have hit 18 million now. So it’s adding about one million a month at current levels. With Halo Infinite later this year, if it’s game of the year worthy, Game Pass will comfortably hit 30 million by the end of the year. If Starfield and Wolfenstein 3 are released this year too, which they are heavily rumoured to be, the attach rate will be even greater.
Next year onwards and Xbox release schedule starts to look scarily good. That’s when its big hitters start rolling in. PS Now has 2 million current subscriptions. Yes, if they went in full force like Microsoft they could greatly increase this amount, but with cloud gaming improving all the time once a company/brand becomes big enough, such as Spotify or Netflix it’s very difficult for other companies to muscle in.
GC: We’ve not heard a single rumour about Wolfenstein 3. MachineGames making the new Indiana Jones game implies it’s not their current project.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
Stay calm and do without
To all these people thinking of buying a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X off eBay, and all the other selling sites, don’t give into them. Every console they sell they have the chance to buy two more consoles with the money they get, just stay calm and wait.
The stock will come sooner rather than later. I mean, GAME has now sorted their online site so you can only buy one console and most shops are checking orders before they send them, to make sure they haven’t sent to that address before. It’s only the little shops like Argos that put sales before customers. Hold in there, you will get one and Sony and Xbox are trying to increase units.
GC: Argos is a considerably bigger chain than GAME.
I have recently been finishing some of my unfinished Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One X but for some of my games there is no saves stored on the cloud from my Xbox 360. I will have to get my Xbox 360 out of the cupboard and set it up again to save the saves to the cloud.
I have Xbox Gold now but during the Xbox 360’s life I only had it now and then and at the end of its generation for two or three years before moving to Xbox One. How do I do this? Would I need to open each game on my Xbox 360 to get the save’s to go to the cloud? I did back up my Xbox 360 saves on a memory stick but although it works OK with my PC the Xbox One doesn’t like it as it is a different file system.
PS: Dandara: Trials Of Fear Edition is free on Epic Store from today at 4pm
Currently playing: Horace (Switch)
GC: There may be an ‘upload all’ option in the settings, we’re not sure.
Talking about stock
A few thoughts on the PlayStation 5 stock situation:
- We’ve always seen supply issues on brand new consoles, this must be made more difficult with the COVID-19 situation.
- Game companies are now selling a significant amount of games virtually, so manufacturing and distributing a console now is more of an exceptional process made more challenging logistically with rules on social distancing, etc.
- COVID-19 has now meant a significant portion, if not all, sales are online which exposes this to bots/scalpers.
- It is disappointing to see CeX able to sell next gen console on the high street at a significantly higher price, this plays into the hands of scalpers and those running bots.
- Lack of communication from Sony seems to be an issue.
With these points in mind I do feel that we’re in the eye of the storm, where there are several compounding factors affecting PlayStation 5 supplies. In my own opinion I feel things are more or less normal for a new console launch, however we’re massively impacted by online-only and the greater prominence of bots.
I feel that once we are back to more of a ‘normal’ and there is more high street availability the situation will improve. I personally am waiting it out until availability improves. With this all being said I do feel that more communication from Sony would be good.
Just found this website that details all the improvements PlayStation 4 games have on the PlayStation 5 and all I can say is wow, must have taken some effort to find all that out!
I mean would they have contacted all the developers or somehow learned it all from playing each game?
GC: Not necessarily, if they’ve got hardware that can quickly measure frame rate and resolution.
Value for time
I’ve read a few letters recently in the Inbox, regarding people’s opinion on the length of games and also the view some have that at times they have nothing to play due to baren release schedules. I thought I’d thrown my own opinion into the hat.
First, I’m of the opinion that games generally are too long. I understand people want value for money but a lot of the time it feels like side content exists purely for the sake of padding out the length of the game, rather than adding to the overall experience. For example, I love Zelda: Breath Of The Wild but do I really need to collect 900 Korok seeds? I mean 100 or so maybe, but 900? Seriously! Is this gonna bring me added value or enjoyment?
As someone who was a casual gamer at most, up until the past few years, I want to catch up with some of the titles I may have missed but often the staggering size of them puts me off. I have two kids and don’t have the time to play many of the 50+ hour length ones.
Game length seems an obsession at times. Books, albums, films, and TV shows aren’t judged by their length. Shorter games could mean reduced production times and costs which means possibly less chance of price increases for gamers. Developers may also be encouraged to take more creative and commercial risks. I’m not saying long games shouldn’t exist but not everyone of them needs to be some 100-hour epic.
In regards to the second point about release schedules and saying there is nothing to play, I can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand there are so many games available if you are willing to try something new and keep your eyes peeled you might find something interesting for cheap during sales. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can be a good thing. What Remains Of Edith Finch, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, and Luigi’s Mansion are all examples of games I’ve enjoyed that aren’t the usual type of game I go for.
However, I also accept that games aren’t cheap and I’ve also had times that games I’ve tried weren’t for me. That’s why I either buy physical copies that can be traded in or wait for digital sales/offers.
I do understand complaints about the lack of new games. At times it seems like months without anything of note at all, then all of a sudden a bunch will arrive at once. I currently have a number of games in my backlog, not as many as some but still at least something between five and 10 but I know that I would have played them if I really wanted to.
Games like God Of War 2 and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be day one purchases and I will play them straight away. In some ways it doesn’t make sense, I could clear my backlog and then play these games when they are cheaper, but I know deep down that some of the games I have yet to play were because they were cheap and some will be hits and others misses.
I recently bought Control in the January sale on the PS store but have just seen that it’s part of the free games for PS Plus this month. Is there any way to get a refund? It seems so unfair!
GC: You could try asking Sony, but we don’t fancy your chances.
Just finished The Mandalorian series 1. This could easily translate to a Fallout style role-playing game or, more recently, an Outer Worlds game. Someone could do a set of skins and calls it done.
This week’s Hot Topic
Every year at the end of January we run the Reader’s Top 20 of the year, where you get to vote for your favourite games of the previous year, so that we can collate a top 20 of everyone’s favourites.
To take part in the 2020 poll all you need to do is email us a list of your top three games and, if you want to be part of the Hot Topic at the weekend, an explanation of why you picked them.
Although we impose certain restrictions on our top 20, such as no remakes, you can vote for any game you like as long as it was released in 2020 in the UK.
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.
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.
You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.
For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.