E3 2017: The Twilight of Living Room Gaming?

This year’s E3 has me convinced that Xbox and PlayStation are in deep trouble, and that the de facto winners of this decline are the PC and Nintendo Switch. Xbox tried to advertise “exclusives” that were all going to be available on PC as well, while Sony kept talking about VR. The 4K revolution is dead in the water. Nobody cares about 4K, even though we recognize that it’s an improvement.

VR and 4K are things that would’ve been nice to have if they were fully-functional and properly showcased three years ago. But by now we’re so starved for quality games that we just want to have things to play on our existing machines. I’ve seen people argue that they’re totally satisfied with their PS4 and even their Xbox, and that they look forward to the release of the titles in development, but the overall excitement for this generation of machines is lower than I’ve ever seen with previous generations. The logic of a console cycle is that you’ll be given a front-row seat to the cutting edge of gaming for the duration of the console’s lifetime, building up a library that will some day stand as a distinct epoch of gaming innovations. Each console has its own gimmicks, branding, and eccentricities that you can incorporate into your identity, and the rituals you learn on that machine become part of the shared identity you have with your fellow gamers. But now there’s nothing special about consoles, since they all share the same controller layouts, hardware is always just a mid-tier PC, and the distribution models and features are homogenized. PC has never had the epoch-ritual-identity quality that consoles offered; they were generic machines that did a lot of stuff, and also gaming. Consoles are now in the same boat, and without that strange generational epoch psychology, they just become worse PCs with a smaller library and less features. This E3 proved that Sony and Microsoft have absolutely nothing interesting to offer.

Nintendo Switch stands apart from all of that, and is winning as a result. This E3 was a huge success for the Switch because they are creating an epoch-ritual-identity framework that people can become invested in. The games, tone, and features of the Switch are distinct and flavorful, and you can be guaranteed that you’ll be able to build a library that will some day stand as an epoch of gaming.

The “AAA” games shown at E3 were boring and mediocre. The indie games looked interesting, but we’ve learned by now that indie games usually fail to follow through on their enticing designs and premises, so we have to take them with a grain of salt. VR and 4K editions of exiting games are not even close to worth the cost, and only push us further into the outdated living room as the hub of entertainment. I suspect many gamers will look at this E3 and decide that traditional consoles are enjoying their final twilight days.

I’ll be discussing the games, hardware, and announcements themselves in future posts. This was more of a broad evaluation.

Comparing the versions of Ground Zeroes

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Konami has released direct comparison information on the various versions of Ground Zeroes.  As you can see, the PS4 is the only version that will run at 1080p resolution; Xbox One has the same resolution as the Xbox 360 and the PS3, although it has the same frame rate as the PS4.

There are a number of very helpful screenshot comparisons as well.  Here is a raw image captured from the PS4 during gameplay, and here is an image taken from the Xbox One.  You can do more research on this by visiting the compare page of the Ground Zeroes website, like a responsible consumer.

MGSV will kick mountains of ass, confirmed

It’s still hard for me to figure out how the hell Metal Gear Solid V will be able to fit on the PS3 and 360, because it sounds like a behemoth.  But, I have no reason to doubt that NeoGaf user “duckroll” is telling the truth when he/she says that, in the latest Famitsu magazine, Kojima has revealed the following things:

– Ground Zeroes is the prologue to Phantom Pain, and it is intended to be similar to the pre-title sequence of a Hollywood movie, where something major happens to catch the audience’s attention, before the real story starts.

– The main content in Ground Zeroes is largely meant to be a tutorial for Phantom Pain. He uses the exact word – tutorial, so there’s no doubt about this at all. The story content in Ground Zeroes is limited to the night setting in the rain, but you’ll be able to see other times of the day via the side op missions. There is no dynamic weather or day/night cycle in Ground Zeroes.

– Phantom Pain is the game which will feature the full range of expanded features carried over from Peace Walker – base building, recruiting soldiers, etc. Most of this will not be in Ground Zeroes at all. You will not be able to use the fulton recovery system in Ground Zeroes either, but there are optional captives you can rescue using the helicopter.

– The save data in Ground Zeroes will carry over to Phantom Pain, and there will be benefits in the full game for extra stuff you decide to do in Ground Zeroes.

– The reason Ground Zeroes is being released as a separate package in the first place is because the main game is taking a long time to develop due to the large amount of content. So the marketing team at Konami worked out this release format with Kojima so gamers can at least experience the prologue segment of the game earlier.

– Kojima wants to reward fans who buy both Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain later on with some sort of content in the full game, but he hasn’t worked out the details with the marketing team yet.

– Ground Zeroes (and Phantom Pain by extension) will support a secondary display device via smartphones or tablets. It can be used to display stuff like leaderboards. There have also been feedback from people outside of Japan for a map display and so on, but Kojima has some concerns about players diverting their attention between two screens, so he’s still looking into it.

link to the post

 

Peace Walker’s systems in huge, open-world areas

Now, assuming this translation and paraphrasing of the supposed interview (which doesn’t display when I click on the link) is accurate, the real bombshell is confirmation that Metal Gear Solid V will include building Mother Base, capturing soldiers with Fulton Recovery, research & development, and (therefore) a massive amount of replay value and layers to its gameplay.

I could not be more excited by this news, even though it was sort of mentioned before.  Whether or not you believe that Ground Zeroes will be worth $20 because Kojima is calling it a glorified tutorial, doesn’t matter.  What matters is that eventually, when MGSV is released, we’ll be able to build Outer Heaven with our own hands, just like we should.  I’ve said before that I love how Peace Walker gives you an insight into Big Boss is different than Solid Snake, and how something as crazy as Outer Heaven could exist.  Now we’ll be able to fully immerse ourselves in that role, sneaking around freely in huge environments, stealing weapons and technology, kidnapping soldiers, and doing the dirty work as we try to get revenge on Zero.

 

Must Read: PS4 and Xbone power gap, and lowest common denominator development

http://www.edge-online.com/news/power-struggle-the-real-differences-between-ps4-and-xbox-one-performance/

This above article is an absolute must-read.  It proves that there’s an obvious power gap between PS4 and Xbone, with Sony taking the lead in almost every way, including ease of development.  However, developers also say that they’ll develop according to the lowest common denominator (the Xbone) because it may not be worth the money.

Honestly, this is why the Xbone needs to be a massive failure.  It needs to fail so hard that developers get the message: develop exclusively for the PS4, take advantage of everything it offers, and stop hamstringing this generation of games for the sake of the shrinking Xbox audience.  I wonder how many superior PS4 exclusives we’ll need before the power gap becomes undeniable, because unlike the complex Cell processor that the PS3 bragged about, it’s actually easier to develop for the PS4.

Again, go here to read the article.