First Impression: Octopath Traveler

Few games have caught my attention the way that Octopath Traveler did when it was announced. Coming from any other studio, for any other system, it may have been different. But a Square Enix RPG exclusively for the Nintendo Switch sounds to me like the Promised Land I was hoping we would see. The best case scenario for the Switch is exactly this: a blurring of console and handheld, where scale and scope don’t matter nearly as much as variety and purpose. From the moment you see it, Octopath Traveler assures you that the Switch will uphold Nintendo’s tradition of supporting colorful, unique, mid-sized games (mostly from Japan) that would be lost in the shuffle if they were released on a regular console. Yes you can have Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Switch in all of its 3D glory, but you can also have a text-menu-sprite-turn-and-grind JRPG that feels like the 1990’s again. These kinds of games don’t need to break the mold. They need to satisfy an appetite that very few people are catering to.

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The Next-Gen Half-Step Streaming War Begins (New podcasts!)

Despite putting up my E3 2018 podcast just two days ago, I decided that I wanted to do another one to talk about the Steam Link App, my next-gen industry analysis article, and the hilarious ways that VR is trying to create a killer app. As you’ll hear when you listen to it, I go further into the reason why I predicted that the next generation of consoles were going to use streaming game services as their big selling point. However, I could never have predicted that this morning — right as I was preparing to upload the episode and publish this article — news broke that PlayStation Now is gearing up for a major rehaul.

Listen to the E3 podcast now (Episode 004)

Listen to the streaming/VR podcast now (Episode 005)

Read on for more discussion and proof that my prediction was dead-on correct…

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Why Xbox is moving towards streaming

Last week I sat down with my brother and tried to calculate — through sheer analysis — what Microsoft would do at this E3.

I didn’t post any of it online, so I can’t claim any victory points for it, but after a few hours of discussing the state of the industry, along with Xbox’s past, present, and possible futures, I concluded that Microsoft was going to announce a new generation of Xbox consoles and push streaming as their next big move. Today Phil Spencer confirmed that Xbox is going to push a streaming service, and new hardware. Turns out my prediction was 100% correct.

Here’s how I reached my conclusion.

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