Steam remains one of the best services in the world, and I’ve always enjoyed their attempts to innovate. But it wasn’t until this week that I noticed they have a “Labs” division showing off experiments. The work they’re doing is rather fascinating.
E3 2019 happened less than 20 days ago but has already been forgotten. It was overlooked by the gaming world and proved to be a disaster. Not only did PlayStation dodge the whole event out of embarrassment for their lack of offerings, but Microsoft may as well have done the same. It was the worst E3 ever, and it’s especially grim when we see it as a forecast of what’s to come: that is to say, services and mediocrity.
Like many others, I’m slowly becoming convinced that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a must-buy game. But it occurred to me just how amazing CD Projekt Red is becoming, and how important it is to support not only their games, but their platform.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Death Stranding trailer released today because it finally established in more clear terms what the main plot and game structure will be about, and showed off more genuine gameplay, including gunfights, fight fights, and motorcycle riding. If Kojima had continued to delay and tease without revealing the core of the game, it would have been a massive red flag for me, and a sign that the game itself isn’t worth advertising. Unlike Metal Gear Solid games, Death Stranding has no established fan base or legacy to fall back on, so it needs to attract people. This trailer showed that they have confidence in the core game, if nothing else.
I’ve come to terms with paid multiplayer to some extent. Withholding multiplayer behind a paywall is arguably worth the effect it has: reducing annoying casual/kid players you meet online and increasing server quality, in theory. It can pressure gamers into coming back and playing more often because they know that they’re subscribed to the service, too, which means a more active player base. But the other features are lackluster to begin with. Old NES games with hacked in multiplayer components, online save storage, and unspecified discounts. If they included SNES games in that list it would be a different story. No virtual console? No universal purchase library? No voice chat (except through your smartphone)? These are not easy to overlook.
But now, with the bizarre decision to disable online save storage for Dark Souls and Pokemon Let’s Go, Nintendo has officially dropped the ball. Their explanation makes no sense, claiming that it can theoretically be abused. Regarding the non-exclusive titles being affected, look at this quote from the Game Informer article:
It is worth noting that all of these games support cloud saves on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
While Pokémon Let’s Go can be explained away as The Pokémon Company’s often overbearing paranoia and a desire to drive business to the cloud-based Pokémon Bank subscription service, the other included examples do not make much sense.
A couple of assholes are going to exploit your online save functionality (if you don’t structure it in a way that prevents this) so now everybody has to suffer? Online saves are 100% about increasing the value of your Switch purchase by making it a little less painful to replace one if it breaks, and having your whole library’s progress backed up is essential, especially for something as in-depth and time consuming as Pokemon or Dark Souls.