Weekend Whammy

Weekend Whammy: Next-gen Consoles Prices & Coronavirus

Hello dear readers, you have entered a world of magic, of love, of unending beauty, of…uh, stuff. Yes, it’s time for a another Weekend Whammy that isn’t remotely near a weekend! YEAH! This week, there’s no damn games! But there is some stuff to talk about in regards to the next-gen consoles, their costs and their power Oh, and the Coronavirus. That as well.

It’s still pretty slow in terms of the games coming out, so I’ve just got one review: Corruption 2029. Luckily it’s a pretty good little turn-based tactical whatsyamacallit that offers up the tension of XCOM in a much leaner (and cheaper) package. Some people might be put off by the lack of content outside of the core gameplay loop, but I like these kinds of small games that focus on doing one or two things very well. As much as I love modern triple-A titles, they are often so big and bloated in terms of mechanics that they don’t do any one thing particularly well.

But I do have a new game in for review by the name of Bloodroots, a pretty cool looking top-down brawler. Oh, and the main character is called Mr. Wolf, so obviously I have to check that out. Based on the trailer it looks like it could be a lot of fun, with the emphasis being on using things in the environment as weapons.

I’m still playing loads of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, and getting seriously into building my own decks out of the insane amount of cards there are. Even when you toss a deck together with barely a thought to synergy the campaign duels become a pushover, which just demonstrates how naff the decks the characters in the shows used actually are. I’m pretty sure Zane was the only character with a decent deck that had some synergy.

I’ve also come to appreciate Legacy of the Duelist’s structure because it’s letting me avoid some of the newer concepts that were introduced into the card game, like Pendulum summoning. I can chill out playing through Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX and 5Ds without ever having to worry about the new, insane summoning options.

With that said, the way the game doesn’t let me back out of activating certain cards or such when I’ve accidentally clicked on them is infuriating. Especially because other times it lets you cancel. Ugh.

I’m really fancying the idea of playing through the BioShock games again. The whole collection is free on PSN right now, after all, and I haven’t played the original game in…er, since it came out, probably. In fact, it’s time for an unpopular opinion: I prefer BioShock 2 over the first game. The sequel played so much better than the original. *ducks for cover*

And if you fancy something to read there’s a neat article over at Kotaku talking about why you shouldn’t play games before going to sleep.

So some rumours have come out that the production cost of the PS5 is coming out to $450, possibly due to some of the components also being in high demand in the mobile industry. That puts Sony in an interesting place regarding pricing the PS5: are they going to take a loss on every console? Or will they aim to make a profit, in which case we could be looking at a near $500 console. That’s a hefty price-tag, and I wonder if Microsoft might be willing to soak up a loss in order to undercut Sony. I believe Microsoft are certainly in a stronger position to take the hit, and it might just be what they need to gain back some ground since Sony are going into the next generation strong.

This has got me wondering which console I’m going to be picking up since I doubt I’ll be able to afford both unless I rob a couple of banks. Which is tempting. I’ve got a mask. Hmm. Anyway, the decision might just come down to Sony’s stance on PS5 exclusive titles. Microsoft have already announced that there won’t be any Xbox Series X exclusives for quite some time, which isn’t very interesting from a reviewing standpoint. If PS5 is going to have exclusives then I’ll be picking up Sony’s machine first so I can cover them.

Microsoft’s strategy also worries me in regards to it putting extra pressure on developers to create games that can run on three very different levels of hardware. There’re already rumours that Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed because CD Projekt Red are finding it tricky to get the game running smoothly on the original Xbox. If a third tier of console is introduced, one that’s vastly more powerful than the original, are developers going to struggle to develop games that can run decently across all three? It also means developers can’t use the full potential of the new console….or can they?

Microsoft have announced a new Smart Delivery system, which means that the game can detect what console you’re playing on and will automatically adjust itself. Or in other words, developers can create an Xbox One Series X version of a game and an Xbox One version. The consumer will essentially get both, so if you buy Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One but then upgrade to a Series X later, you can fire up the game and get a free upgrade to Series X version. This actually already exists just in a simpler form – developers can add PS4 Pro or Xbox One X features to their games if they want. I’d still rather just see a game developed purely for the new consoles, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Speaking of Microsoft, according to their latest blog post the new generation of Xbox is going to deliver insane GPU power in the region of 12-teraflops. To be more precise Microsoft said that the new console has roughly twice the power of the Xbox One X which is what puts it in the 12-teraflop region. Go read this handy article from the boys and girls over at Digital Foundry for a better breakdown of the tech and what it could potentially mean. If what they’re saying is correct then, on paper, the new GPU in the Xbox is more powerful than the GTX 2080, which is pretty incredible. 4k 60FPS gaming might actually be attainable with oomph like that.

And while we’re on the topic of big gaming companies, I’d like to quickly chat about the upcoming GDC event which is currently facing numerous companies pulling out due to the Coronavirus. Sony has already confirmed that they won’t be attending, and so have Kojima Productions. I was listening to the awesome crew over at Easy Allies talking about the situation and found myself disagreeing entirely with them when they stated that they though that Sony and co should be attending the event, and that in the same situation Easy Allies would go.

Okay, I’m not saying that we should all be freaking out and locking ourselves inside just yet. However, I do believe that choosing not to attend a large, international event where thousands of people from various countries will be in attendance is a smart, responsible decision. This is an extremely infectious virus that exists in a time where it can spread rapidly thanks to the ease of travel that we have. We don’t need to panic, but we do need to realise that based on the data we have Coronavirus is a serious threat, one that we can halt provided we’re willing to take some basic precautions, such as avoiding International travel where it is not entirely vital. Simply put, GDC isn’t important – Not in the grand scheme of things. For the majority of people Coronavirus isn’t a major danger, but as someone with Cystic Fibrosis I fall into the category of people to whom the virus is deadly, so maybe I’m just being selfish, but we’re being warned by numerous scientists that we’re on the brink of a major pandemic. Coronavirus is capable of incubating itself in someone for a long time with no outward symptoms. Curtailing some holidays and some events is a pretty small price to pay to stop this bloody thing in its tracks.

And with that little rant it’s time for me to sign off. Have a good one, folks.

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