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Games Inbox: Does Xbox have a tech advantage next gen?

Does Microsoft have an advantage in consoles and streaming? (pic: Microsoft)

The Thursday Inbox is unimpressed by CliffyB’s reasoning for LawBreakers’ failure, as one reader recommends the Atari Flashback X.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk


Starting a war
I was really disappointed to read Phil Spencer’s comments about Nintendo and Sony and cloud gaming. I thought he was above that sort of snarky trolling of his competitors but this was both meanspirited and… weird? As GC point out, Sony are using Microsoft’s cloud technology, presumably for their equivalent of Project xCloud, so how can they be ‘out of position’?

I think what he was getting at was that Nintendo and Sony don’t have the resources to set-up their own cloud network, but so what? At some point cloud tech is going to be pretty trivial, and at that point the only thing that’s going to matter is games. And unless Phil forgets, Xbox’s exclusives have been pretty terrible all generation.

That doesn’t mean they will be next gen but it still seems weird to be this antagonist right out of the gate, after coming dead last in yet another generation of consoles. I hope this doesn’t inspire similar comments from Sony as I hate seeing all the execs bickering at each other and pretending we wouldn’t all have every format if we could afford it. Perhaps with cloud gaming we will.


Old technology
RE: MT. I don’t see how wanting to replay a game I’ve enjoyed with updated graphics and controls, or other additional features, is superficial at all. There are plenty of older titles that are still perfectly playable, such as the NES/SNES era Mario games, because the 2D sprites still look good and the controls are precise.

The majority of those early 3D games were very much hindered by the technology though (something which affects gaming more than any other medium) to the point where, especially when compared to modern games, it actually effects my overall enjoyment. There are many PlayStation 1 and 2 games where it’s actually difficult to make out everything clearly due to the graphics and dying because of clunky controls has never exactly been much fun has it!?

Plus, those that weren’t old enough or weren’t even born when the original was released aren’t going to go out and pick up a PlayStation 1 and play a 20-year-old title (again this isn’t an issue with movies) so it’s a chance for new fans to appreciate a classic they otherwise would never have had the chance to play.


Multiple problems
Aside from likely being total bull, and not based on any real evidence, the other problem with CliffyB’s comments about his failed game is they give credence to this ridiculous ‘get woke, go broke’ delusion that seems to get pushed so much nowadays.

The other (other) problem with his comments is that blaming people who have different values for your own perceived victimhood is probably why there’s such a problem with tolerance and compassion today, and why ‘woke’ has become a pejorative stigma instead of the rational unspoken default.

The last thing someone who values diversity should want to do is empower those obsessed with the idea that a piece of work is likely to be commercially risky because its creator might come close to attracting the dreaded labels of ‘virtue signalling SJW snowflake.’


E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk


Dan Houser’s Animal Crossing
So, Dan Houser leaves Rockstar a day after MAR10 Day and in the same month in which Animal Crossing releases on Switch, coincidence or conspiracy?

There are two obvious reasons why he’s leaving, according to the information we have. Option 1, he wants to spend all his free time building his getaway island or more likely. Option 2, he will be employed as a freelance script writer for future Animal Crossing DLC.

You heard it here first.
Bad edit

GC: He can afford a real getaway island, so it’s got to be option 2.


Breathtaking gameplay
I had to put Super Mario Galaxy 2 on my 4K TV today, just to see if mine and your memories were warranted. The Wii U switched to Wii mode and it became awful on the screen. The graphics haven’t quite held up, it’s looking a bit messy with a pixelated outline which kind of lets it be OK.

The gameplay is absolute bliss and so well paced. I’m sat here writing to you with Mario’s heart throbbing away with a near death encounter and a sense of real achievement. It brought back the memories and I know what’s coming and it’s amazing. I’m about to grab the first star. I wanted to write to everyone first before I complete it.

The star hovers above my head. The sound is haunting me. I have a 2:1 subwoofer set up outputting the sound. It’s 20 years old and it’s from Cambridge Soundworks. I breathe in and I breathe out… Almost… And breathe again. Exquisite sound recording. The sounds are amazing and the best I heard in any game.

Play what you like and tell everyone else about your experiences. We will have a good time chatting about it. It’s why I love this page.
Nick the Greek


Wood panelling
Here’s my contender for the best-looking mini console… the Atari Flashback X. And yes, all those switches work!

I also have the Flashback 9, which had an SD card slot for your own ROMs (this doesn’t but has 110 games) but it looked awful. This however looks the business!

It’s not perfect, they insist on including paddle games even though it doesn’t come with paddles (old original ones will work, by the way) but when you have Asteroids, Centipede, H.E.R.O., and Pitfall on a system looking like this all is forgiven!

Keep up the good work.
Atomicbud (gamertag)

Got wood? (pic: Atomicbud)


Stadia exclusive
In the latest edition of Edge the co-founder of Typhoon Studios, the creator of Journey To The Savage Planet has written his last column after two years, and he states that they have just sold the company to Google. I hadn’t seen this mentioned anywhere on various gaming sites, unless I missed it. Thought that was interesting.
Andrew J.
PS: I am a backer of The Wonderful 101: Remastered, I have gone for the physical edition rather than the digital edition this time, as I normally do with Kickstarters.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Priority preference
Priorities in order for me regarding next gen hardware performance are: 1. frame rate, 2. graphics, 3. resolution. The preference is we will have PC style option to prioritise game to game.

60fps is a deal breaker though. If the launch games all look nice but run at 30fps I’ll probably not bother. I don’t think this will be the case though, going by the rumoured specs and what Phil Spencer has been saying about performance and frame rates in a Stevivor article:

‘I think we’ve reached a point with Xbox One X in the generation where games look amazing, and there’s always work we can do to look more amazing. But I want games to feel as amazing as they look. We don’t have that in today’s generation, mainly because the CPU is underpowered relative to the GPU that’s in the box in order to reach a feel and frame rate and kind of consistency or variable refresh rate and other things that we want’.

I can’t wait for the new hardware. The recent delay of Cyberpunk 2077, rumoured to improve performance on the current base Xbox One console, highlights just how long in the tooth that machine is. My PS4 Pro struggles with newer games like Control, still an utterly absorbing and wonderful game though. The Pro patch for Dark Souls 3 is one of the most disappointing moments this gen. They uncapped the frame rate and the best it could manage was to lurch around in the 35 to 45fps range

There’s plenty of gamers who don’t much care for focusing on the hardware side of gaming, they often say irksome things like just play games as if the two are mutually exclusive. But I enjoy reading up on the hardware side, speculating on the possibilities of new hardware and seeing the improvements they bring. Like playing Super Mario 64 for the first time, with its analogue controls and beautiful 3D environments, or Resident Evil 7 in VR.

For me the rumoured next gen specs are balanced and powerful and genuinely could provide the foundation for some stunning games, beyond just saying they will look a bit nicer and load quicker.


Inbox also-rans
So The Last Of Us Part 2 is going to have ‘nudity and sexual content’, I’m feeling pretty disgusted with Naughty Dog right now. Not for that but for the fact that over the course of four Uncharted games we didn’t even get to see Nate shirtless! So unfair!

GC: Was he never? We think you might be right.

Will Charla, a female Charizard with a pink bow on her head, be featured in the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes? Please take this rumour with a grain of salt.

GC: That’s from the cartoons, yes? They don’t generally have that kind of crossover. Also, the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes are themselves just a rumour.


This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Coolsbane, who asks what’s the worst game in your favourite video game series?

What do you consider to be the worst entry in your favourite (or at least one you really like) video game franchise? Is it actively bad by other standards or does it just look that way compared to the others? Is it a mainline entry or a spin-off and are the reasons you don’t like it something that could’ve been fixed or was it just a fundamentally bad idea?

Do you usually buy all entries in the franchise in question and did the game affect whether you bought the next one or how you feel about the series in general?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk


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 4Player viewer features 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.

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