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Console gaming thread
Quote:Speaking to The Independent at IFA 2018, Yoshida said that the company believes its system - the PlayStation 4 - offers the best experience and thus shouldn't be compromised by users on other platforms. Yoshida goes on to say that some games already do allow cross-platform play with users on PC, reiterating that these decisions are made to provide the best user experience.

It's perfectly natural for any company to believe that their product is better than the competition - after all, that's what they're in the market for. However, Sony seems to be the only one using that belief as an excuse to prevent users on different platforms from playing games together, so it's hard to see this as a logical reason for the decision.
Quote:At IFA 2018, Sony's CEO Kenichiro Yoshida flaunted what he called the "best experience" offered by the PlayStation 4 to users as the main reason for the lack of support for cross-platform play on the gaming console. Yoshida made that statement in response to the backlash faced by Sony for blocking cross-play and progression in Fortnite on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Now, Xbox engineering lead Mike Ybarra retorts the remark.

Responding to Yoshida's recent statement on the cross-play issue, Ybarra said on Twitter that Sony "still isn't listening to gamers."
Quote:If the best interests of the user are so paramount to Sony, why does using an Epic Fortnite account on the PS4 permanently block the account from being used on the Nintendo Switch? How is that restriction — which hit Switch owners with no warning — in any way justifiable?

It isn’t, of course. I’m just tired of pretending that the hypocrisy on these issues is something other than what it is. The only thing Sony is defending is its own pocket, and the only thing that’s going to change that is if customers vote with their wallets and opt to buy games on platforms where such restrictions aren’t in play.
But you don’t have to be an eternal devotee of late-2000s RPG gaming to recognize a tension between the way the game industry is moving and Sony’s insistence on the “best interest” of its fans.

Major game developers are moving towards titles that they can keep running for years. There are fewer true console exclusives with every passing generation. Devices like the Switch have emphasized the idea of taking a title on-the-go and playing with friends, while console gamers are aware that Sony is the problem holding up this particular feature. You could even argue that the rise of services like Twitch and content sharing indirectly contributes to fostering an atmosphere in which cross-play is expected because it encourages viewers to expect that content will be shared. In other words, it’s not just large-scale trends, like faster internet speeds that have encouraged cross-platform play — it’s the evolving expectations and desires of the player base.

For now, Sony is safe in its position. The Xbox One will not catch the PS4. The Switch may catch the PS4, but that’s unlikely to happen before the PlayStation 5 launches in 2020. But as Microsoft could testify, console launches have a nasty habit of resetting user brand preferences and a company that performs well in one generation can find itself floundering the next. Come 2020, Sony could find itself distinctly out of step with what consumers want — especially if Microsoft and Nintendo keep hammering the company on the issue until then.
Quote:Members of the Resetera community have discovered that some Nintendo Switch games have had their listings updated to reflect whether or not they support the save data cloud backup feature that's included as part of the online service membership. It was already known that not every game would support it, but now we're getting an idea of which titles didn't make the cut, and it seems that some of Nintendo's own games are being left behind.
Splatoon and Pokémon are two of Nintendo's biggest franchises on the hybrid console, and it seems like a significant oversight on its part to leave the feature out. Some users have speculated that, because these games have big online components, this could be to prevent cheating in ways that would allow players to have a significant advantage over others. On the other hand, it's unclear why titles such as Dark Souls also don't support it, seeing as they do it on other platforms, though recent reports indicate that each publisher can make that decision for their own games.

Up until now, Nintendo fans may have been worried about the lack of communication from the company and what could possibly come from its online service after being delayed for so long. Information like this is more likely to confirm rather than alleviate those fears, and it could end up hurting the Switch's image.
Quote:Admittedly, the lack of game backups is the kind of problem most people don’t think about until they have a damaged console to deal with, but this is just absurd. The ability to backup saved games was present on PCs from the beginning, thanks to manual file copies, but the original PlayStation had a mechanism through which players could copy save game files from one card to another. Nintendo’s decision to require a subscription service in order to save games is incredibly consumer-hostile. The fact that the service you pay for can’t even back up every game in the library is icing on the rhetorical cake.

For me, an issue like this would make the SwitchSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce a non-starter, even if I were considering buying one. I got my start in PC gaming and my heart rate still speeds up when I/O accesses take an unusually long time. That delay, followed by a repetitive grind/whirr, meant you were probably going to be (re)playing a lot more of the game than you intended to when you sat down. Losing a hard drive unexpectedly a few years back reinforced the lesson.

Not having much time to game doesn’t mean you don’t love gaming. It means you have to be very conscious of how you spend your time. Nintendo doesn’t care enough about your time to provide a saved game solution that actually functions reliably and keeps your game data backed up even when you’re paying them for it. Clearly, it’s a minor point to millions of people who have kept the Switch at the top of the sales charts. But it shouldn’t be. There is no excuse nor reason for an incredibly successful game company not providing its customers with a robust backup service whether they pay for an online service package or not. But there’s truly no excuse for providing such a service for money and then failing to make it robust.
Nintendo seems to be determined to be as big of a jerk as possible.
Quote:We already knew that Nintendo’s service wouldn’t work with every game. What’s new — and this information wasn’t disclosed in the most recent Nintendo Direct — is that the Nintendo Switch Online service may delete your saved games as soon as you stop paying for it.
We’ve also learned that the NES Classic library you can download will only be playable for up to a week without an internet connection. That’s better than the day Microsoft proposed for the Xbox One back at its debut but raises the question of why Nintendo needs a guaranteed sign-in function for frickin’ NES games in the first place. Is anybody so desperate to play 40-year-old Nintendo games they’re going to try to steal them on the Switch? Nintendo is obviously concerned they are.

The more Nintendo reveals about this service, the worse it looks. Subscribe in perpetuity, or lose access to your saved games forever in the event of total system loss.
Switch online service goes live:
Sony announces PlayStation Classic, details on how to preorder:
Sega Mega Drive Mini delayed until next year:
Sony announces the impending end of production of the PS Vita:
Quote:Best Buy and Game Stop were one of the first to list the console for pre-order in the United States, and it looks like the former might have depleted its pre-order inventory (the website is now showing the product as 'coming soon'). It also looks like Amazon has tapped out, marking the product as 'unavailable'. You aren't out of luck though, as Game Stop still has it available, and now Target and Walmart are both offering the console for pre-order. You can find links to the product below, if you want to pre-order it.
Quote:Which brings us to now. Sony announced that it's hosting a Fortnite open beta to "allow for cross platform gameplay, progression, and commerce across PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems." Details are scarce, but Sony plans to share more specifics about when the beta will be held and "what this means for other titles going forward" as it makes those decisions.

The company also admitted that its approach to cross-play simply didn't make sense in modern gaming:

"For 24 years, we have strived to deliver the best gaming experience to our fans by providing a uniquely PlayStation perspective. Today, the communities around some games have evolved to the point where cross-platform experiences add significant value to players. In recognition of this, we have completed a thorough analysis of the business mechanics required to ensure that the PlayStation experience for our users remains intact today, and in the future as we look to open up the platform."

This is a big step towards allowing true cross-play on all platforms. As long as developers care to support as many platforms as possible--and many already do so they can maximize a game's potential audience--the so-called "platform wars" won't create actual rifts between people who just happen to own different gaming rigs. The company sustaining a brand associated with CD and cassette players is embracing the future.
Quote:The post scarcely indicates that Sony is throwing in the towel on platform restrictions. Only “selected” third-party content will ever be available for cross-play, and there’s no information in the blog post about how to sign up for this Fortnite beta. But Sony’s willingness to take even this step forward towards a future in which being on different console platforms is no barrier to playing together is a good move for gaming. It’s a good move for gamers. And it puts Sony on the side of helping people extract more value from their peripherals rather than attempting to maximize profits with unreasonable demands.
Quote:As we head into the final quarter of 2018, another line in the sand has been drawn which provides an indication of how well Microsoft's top-tier console, the Xbox One X, has fared. According to claims by UK retailer, Argos, the Xbox One variant has doubled the rate of growth year-on-year compared to Sony's offerings, with Fortnite having potentially influenced this increase. It also seems to have resulted in an uplift for peripherals, with year-on-year growth of headset, gaming chair, and controller sales boosted by 65%, 24%, and 20% respectively.

With respect to this performance, Argos Head of Buying, Nick Hill said that:
Quote:"It’s incredible to see how much Fortnite has influenced our customers and inspired a new generation of gamers. Demand for gaming laptops, controllers, gaming chairs and headsets has soared as customers look for ways to further enhance their gaming experience.

Based on previous gaming phenomena like Pokemon Go two years ago, we predict that Fortnite fever will peak this Christmas as more of our customers spend their free time immersing themselves in the game. The Nintendo Switch continues to be a big seller for us, with sales up nine per cent year-on-year, as it allows customers to play games like Fortnite on-the-go or plug it into a TV at home."
Quote:Citing "suppliers and others with direct knowledge of the plan," the report claims that Nintendo is looking to refresh the Switch's hardware so that it stays competitive with other consoles. The Wall Street Journal's sources say that Nintendo may specifically be looking to improve the Switch's 6.2-inch, 720p LCD screen in order to make it "brighter, thinner and more energy efficient." This could mean a slimmer Nintendo Switch, or at least one that's more vibrant.

The report didn't mention any other specifics when it comes to possible hardware upgrades. The Nvidia Tegra-powered Switch is considerably less powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One, both of which sport custom AMD Jaguar processors, and lacks bells and whistles like VR support and 4K gaming. While the Switch sells itself on versatility over raw power, Nintendo could be looking to get just a bit closer to its rivals in terms of performance.
Sony confirms it's working on the successor to the PS4, it doesn't have an official name yet:
Quote:The Mega Sg is a retro console that can play Master System, Mega Drive, and Sega Genisis games, but brings the experience to modern televisions at 1080p thanks to the console's HDMI port. Much in the same way as its previous consoles, the firm is striving to deliver the highest quality possible with its Mega Sg. The console will offer support for up to 2,100 games, has original controller ports, and can even connect to the Sega CD. The firm also plans to offer cartridges that will allow compatibility with Game Gear cartridges. Unfortunately, the unit will not offer support for Sega's 32X accessory.

The console will come in four colors and will be priced at $189. The company is now taking orders and it is expected to ship starting in March of next year. While you can use your original Sega controllers, the firm will also offer a wireless option, which can be purchased for $24.99.
Quote:Depending on your age, you might not be old enough to remember or know about the Intellivision. The console was released in 1979, around the same time as Atari's 2600 and was quite popular. Now, it looks like firm could be making a comeback, introducing its newest console, the Amico.

The Amico is just an idea at the moment, but the company is adamant about releasing a new console that will make its retail debut on October 10, 2020. The console isn't meant to compete with juggernauts like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One and capture hardcore gamers, and is instead envisioned to be more casual.
Quote:Having launched in Japan back in 2001, the GameCube was Nintendo's first officially released disc-based console, a departure from the cartridge format previously used by the Nintendo 64. Despite production of the console being suspended for around three months roughly two years into its run, the GameCube still managed to shift 21.74 million units in its six-year lifetime. Now, the Switch has surpassed this threshold, boating a total of 22.86 million units sold to date, thanks to 3.19 million consoles having been sold in the last quarter.
Quote:In celebration of the console's fifth anniversary, Sony asked 23 game designers to reveal what games they thought were the best. While there are plenty of different answers, there were some titles that you just knew would be on folk's lists like God of War, Uncharted 4, and Resident Evil 7, just to name a few. The firm also revealed that it has sold more than 86 million units worldwide and other interesting details like the most popular controller colors, top games, and its rarest PlayStation 4 model sold.

While the PlayStation 4 has enjoyed immense success, Sony has already confirmed that it is working on the console's successor. More recently, it was reported that Square Enix has started work on a title for the upcoming PlayStation. But don't expect to hear any announcements about it at this year's E3, as Sony has revealed that it won't be participating in the event.
Quote:It was 17 years ago this day that Microsoft launched its first ever video game console in the United States. The Xbox would arrive in a time when Sony's PlayStation 2 was dominating the market having arrived a year earlier and video game veteran Sega was bowing out of the console wars, discounting its remaining stock of Saturn consoles.

If that wasn't enough, Nintendo was also preparing the release of its Nintendo 64 follow-up, the GameCube. To say the very least, it was a highly competitive market that pitted newcomer Microsoft against some powerful industry veterans. While the console wouldn't be a huge hit, it did spawn some notable services like Xbox Live, which has since evolved and is still a huge part of the experience today.
Quote:While Microsoft's next generation of Xbox consoles - codenamed Scarlett - is right around the corner, it seems that the firm isn't done producing new hardware for the current generation. According to a report from Brad Sams of Thurrott, the company will be releasing an Xbox One console without a disc slot in 2019.

According to the report, this should lower the price by at least $100, meaning that the new console will come in at under $200. There should also be a new version of the Xbox One S on the way that does have a disc slot, and that's also aimed at lowering the barrier of entry.

But perhaps that's burying the lede, as Microsoft is also working on a program that will allow you to take all of your discs to a participating retailer and make them downloadable. This is worth noting, as there are surely some gamers out there that purchased discs when the Xbox One first came out, only to find out that they'd still have to download tens of gigabytes worth of data anyway.
Quote:The PS5 will allegedly make use of an AMD Ryzen 8-core CPU and will be able to produce 4K gameplay at 60fps. This new unit will be able to power new peripherals like a successor to the PlayStation VR. This new accessory will not have a breaker box like the current generation model and will come with new Move Motion controllers and a built-in camera. Although a ton of information about the console was spilled, one part that the user could not confirm was whether the PS5 would offer PS4 backward compatibility.

Again, while the source was accurate prior about Sony pulling out of E3, it doesn't mean they will be right about all of the things mentioned above. Furthermore, things could always change. The good thing is that this should give anxious gamers something to think about when waiting for the arrival of the next PlayStation console.
Quote:Polygon pulls no punches. According to that site, Sony’s attempt to emulate Nintendo “lands with the grace of a belly flop.” Dual Shock 4 controllers are not supported, despite the use of USB. There’s no power adapter included in the box, so you’ll need a device that can provide power over USB or a separate adapter.

PCMag’s final conclusion speaks for all the sites we’ve read: “Sony could have done so much more here with just a little extra effort put into the emulation code and presentation, and a little more thought put into the game list. To be clear, the PlayStation Classic isn’t a bad retro game system. But considering the original PlayStation’s legacy, it’s a disappointing one.”

If all you want is a barebones reprint of a classic experience, you’ll be happy with the PSC. Everyone else should steer clear.
Quote:The Thanksgiving season, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday soon after, always makes for high sales numbers for many companies, and Nintendo seems to have had particularly good results this year. The company today announced that its Switch hybrid console broke two records during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

For starters, the console had its best-selling week ever in the United States, pushing it past a total of 8.2 million units sold in its lifetime in that region. This also represented a 115% increase in sales over the same period in 2017.

Perhaps most notably, the Switch has dethroned the highly-popular Wii to become Nintendo's best-selling console ever in this five-day period, which is certainly good news for the platform. According to Adobe Analytics, the hybrid was also the most popular video game product online from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
The company's other hardware did fairly well during this period, too. The Nintendo 3DS pushed past 22 million units sold in its lifetime, while the NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition surpassed sales of two million and 2.5 million units, respectively. In total, Nintendo says customers spent over $250 million on its products during these five days.
Quote:According to an announcement from the Japanese gaming company, the Nintendo Creators Program (NCP) will be shut down at the end of this year, saying that it is "no longer accepting videos and channels, and will not review any that have been submitted, but not yet registered". Following the wind-down, the NCP website will go dark on March 20, 2019.

While Nintendo thanked content creators for their continued support and dedication, the revenue sharing program has previously drawn the ire of content creators who have sought to generate revenue. Towards the end of 2017, YouTuber Jason Gastrow took issue with the gaming giant after it claimed copyright over a review video he had uploaded, leading to its demonetization.

Although the program still has a month to go before it is finally put out to pasture, its retirement will ultimately give creators more flexibility and scope in terms of the how they share and profit from their content. Plus, to provide extra clarity, Nintendo has published some content guidelines and FAQs to help people obtain a better understanding of what is and isn't permitted moving forward.

The move is likely to be a breath of fresh air for Nintendo enthusiasts although the guidelines still only permit the upload of "Nintendo Game Content" that has been officially released. This is of particular note given that two YouTube channels were recently wiped from the platform after publishing leaked tracks from the soon-to-be-released Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch, with one channel receiving a sizeable 21 copyright strikes.
Quote:The firm announced that it was discontinuing the NES Classic in April 2017, and announced the SNES Classic shortly after. Promising more units, Nintendo said it would release the NES Classic again in 2018, and since then, the two consoles have been pretty easy to find in stores for their suggested retail prices.

Time is running out though. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé said that once the two devices are out of stock after the holiday season, they're gone for good. If you still want one, you'll once again be looking at marked up prices on eBay.

But what Nintendo wants you to do is what it's always wanted you to do: buy a Switch. Users can access the company's classic content through Nintendo Switch Online.
Quote:Today, a press release from Nintendo reaffirms the success of the Switch, saying that it's the fastest-selling video game system of the current generation in the United States. This means that, at the same point in their lifetime, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hadn't sold as many units as Nintendo's hybrid has.

This success is further emphasized that both competitors were released closer to the holiday season, meaning that at this point in their lifecycle, they had gone through two Christmas periods. Meanwhile, the Switch is just now entering its second holiday season.
It's clear that Nintendo has managed to turn things around since the dark days of the Wii U, but it will be interesting to see if the Switch manages to keep its momentum in the coming months and years. The holiday season isn't over yet, either, so these numbers are still likely to go up significantly in the next few days.
The PS4 has now outsold the PS3 and also the XBOX360 (but not both combined yet). Big Grin

Unfortunately the XBONE cannot say the same. It has yet to reach half the sales of either last gen console. Fart

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Adam knew he should have bought a PC but Eve fell for the marketing hype.

Homeopathy is what happened when snake oil salesmen discovered that water is cheaper than snake oil.

The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it. -- George Carlin
Quote:The PlayStation Classic, in contrast, has just received a $40 price cut online in all its territories. One could draw conclusions about how the NES and SNES have larger fan bases, but the more likely theory is that Sony shipped a half-baked offer and was rewarded with an entirely proportional level of sales.
By comparison, the PlayStation Classic packed in Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, at least as far as top-tier games. And the problems didn’t stop there. Because almost half the games on the list are PAL conversions, they run at lower frame rates. Because the console’s frame rate is locked at 60fps, this means the games in question use frame repetition to display 60fps with a 50fps PAL base signal. This makes them less smooth than they were when running on original hardware.

Adding insult to injury, it’s now been demonstrated that the SoC inside the SNES Classic can run the PlayStation Classic’s games more smoothly than the PSC does itself.

The video shows that the PlayStation Classic should be wiping the floor with the SNES Classic, yet this isn’t the case. Using the same emulator, a weaker SoC, and less RAM, the SNES is faster. This has little to do with the underlying hardware and everything to do with a cheap, cynical attempt to profit off the desire for nostalgic hardware without actually doing anything to justify consumer investment.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that the PlayStation Classic is reportedly very easy to hack. Long-term, the platform may turn out to have legs as a homebrew microconsole. As a nostalgic investment, however, it doesn’t measure up.
Quote:AMD Gonzalo with the codename 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9 could possibly be the APU that powers the next-generation gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft. At this time, it's not clear it's based on the Zen+ or Zen 2 architecture. However, Brad Sams, Executive Editor at Thurott, said last month that Microsoft's Xbox Scarlett will come equipped with an AMD Zen 2 octa-core processor built on the 7nm node.
Quote:Even if we assume a default 1.6GHz static clock with no Turbo mode whatsoever, at any point, switching from Kabini to Ryzen should be worth a huge performance improvement, dwarfing the gains from PS4 – PS4 Pro or Xbox One – Xbox One X. With an estimated peak turbo clock of 3.2GHz, it shouldn’t be any kind of problem for the new AMD APU to offer 2x the sustained performance of Jaguar, and that’s strictly based on things like L2 latency, cross-core communication latency, and general IPC. Any additional improvements gained from increased support for SIMD instruction sets would be ladled on top of that.

Now, how much will this increased CPU horsepower help improve game quality? That’s less clear. GPU horsepower has always been much more central to the overall performance equation than the CPU. But having more CPU cores aboard (and having hopefully better access to multi-threading resources) should give developers more legroom to improve AI and increase game multi-threading. There’s been a lot of emphasis on the PC side on improving game visuals through the adaption of HDR or FreeSync as opposed to strictly pushing detail levels, and it’d be nice to see game developers targeting something more along the lines of a locked 60fps at 1080p and a 30+ frame rate at 4K (If it has to be 30fps at 4K, I’d love to see locked 30, rather than what’s all-too-often a “Take a shot at 30fps and settle for 25fps”) kind of system.

CPU-wise, at least, the new consoles should be far more powerful than the last few generations. We’ll have to wait to see how much horsepower the GPU side of the equation will receive.
Quote:Nintendo rounded off 2018 on a high note with respect to its announcement that its Switch hybrid console was the fastest-selling video game system of the current generation in the US. Plus, while being a late addition to its stable of games, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was readily snapped up by gamers, with a whopping three million copies bought in just 11 days. Not only did this make the game the fastest selling title within the series but it ended up being the fastest-selling game on the Switch.

Although the company has set itself an aggressive sales target of 20 million units this fiscal year, it appears that the company will not be resorting to slashing prices to get there according to a recent interview with Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa, who said:
While this is not good news for those anticipating a price drop before dropping their hard-earned cash on Nintendo's console, it does demonstrate Furukawa's confidence in the staying power of its price point and consumer demand. However, according to an earlier report, 22 Super Nintendo games could be coming to the Nintendo Switch Online service, which may be appealing to those yet to pull the trigger on a purchase.
Quote:As impressive as Switch sales have been to date, Nintendo has slightly trimmed its own sales forecast for its full fiscal year. The company now expects to sell ~17M Switches by April, down from its initial 20M projection. That would bring the company to an estimated 34.78M Switches sold in two years by April of 2019. It’ll be interesting to see if Switch can catch the Xbox One’s sales total before the next generation of Xbox launches. I’m not sure it can, but it ought to be fairly close.
Quote:According to the report, Nintendo is planning a smaller, "more portable" version of its Switch hybrid console, which is referred to as Nintendo Switch Mini. The information reportedly comes from manufacturing partners and game developers who were informed by Nintendo about the plans. This model is meant to be easier to carry around but it may have limited functionality, though it's unclear in what way. This revision may arrive as early as mid-2019 as a way to expand the user base of the Switch.
Quote:Any significant change to the body would make current Joy-Cons incompatible. That might be part of the plan, though. The current Joy-Cons are expensive because they work wirelessly and include motion controls. Nintendo could just have fully integrated controllers on the small Switch to save money. That might be a problem for games that make extensive use of motion controls like Mario Party. Most games that have motion controls make them optional, though, so the majority of Nintendo’s catalog should work fine without removable Joy-Cons.

So, why go to all this trouble? Nintendo reports a substantial drop in 3DS sales. A smaller Switch that doesn’t cost so much could replace the 3DS, especially for parents who want a highly portable console to keep kids occupied. The $300 Switch is overkill for that. Something that costs less and still lets you run the full catalog of Switch games could be appealing to a whole new subset of gamers.
Quote:Microsoft hasn’t exactly been shy about its ambitions for Xbox-as-a-platform. The company made it clear that it wants Xbox games to be available on all kinds of devices, from consoles to smartphones, when it announced Project xCloud in October 2018. Now a Game Developers Conference (GDC) session listing has revealed that it wants Xbox Live to power multiplayer gaming across iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC devices.
There is one caveat that’s sure to disappoint PC gamers: Microsoft said the new Xbox Live SDK will “enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.” Restricting the platform to games purchased via the Microsoft Store is a bit of a letdown—there are simply too many other storefronts for people to exclusively use Microsoft’s. (Especially now that Epic’s in on the action.)

For anyone willing to accept that limitation—which likely includes many people who mostly play games on their phones or dedicated consoles—Xbox Live’s expansion will be something to watch out for. More information should be available when Microsoft makes its presentation at GDC 2019, which runs from March 18-22 in San Francisco, and when the new SDK debuts. There’s no doubt cross-play is the future; the question Microsoft has to answer is if the new Xbox Live SDK and Project xCloud will be the foundation upon which that future is built.
Quote:Nintendo could be getting ready to add some sort of virtual reality (VR) support to the Switch hybrid console, according to a couple of reports. Specifically, the first such experience may be part of a Nintendo Labo set.
While this may seem surprising given the hardware, there have been some hints at this in the past. References to a VR Mode have been spotted in the Switch's operating system, and even before the console was released a Nintendo patent showed a tablet-like device being inserted into what appears to be a VR headset.

This report is corroborated by another bit of information from GoNintendo, who claims its own sources have confirmed that the Japanese company does indeed have a VR announcement coming sometime this year. What's more, GoNintendo's anonymous source adds that the first virtual reality experience will be part of a Nintendo Labo kit.
Quote:Rumors have been swirling around about the possibility of some sort of partnership between Microsoft and Nintendo, and a report from Direct Feed Games on YouTube claims that they're true, and that we'll see the results sometime this year.

This partnership entails a couple of different outcomes, according to the report. First, Microsoft might truly port some of its Xbox exclusive titles, specifically the less demanding ones, to the Switch. The report specifically calls out Ori and the Blind Forest, a widely praised indie title that was released on the Xbox One in 2015.

But for those games that can't run on the Switch that easily, Microsoft is looking for different ways to make money off Nintendo's console. This involves Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud, with Microsoft essentially releasing a Game Pass app for the Switch that lets you play all of the titles included in the subscription service via cloud streaming.
Both Nintendo and Microsoft have reasons to want this, too. The Switch's library lacks a lot of big third-party titles, and the arrival of Game Pass would greatly expand that collection. Microsoft, on the other hand, would collect money from the subscription service on even more devices. The Redmond giant seems to be more interested in offering services than selling products lately, so this would be a good fit for its strategy.
Quote:Nintendo has seen huge success with the Switch, which has become the fastest selling game console of this generation. Nintendo has brought its traditional “try anything once” attitude to the Switch with accessories like the cardboard-based Labo. Now, Labo is evolving into a VR headset. It’s like Google Cardboard for your Switch.
The Switch won’t be the only modern console with VR capabilities, but it’s the only one that can do it cheaply. For example, Sony’s PlayStation VR headset costs $200, and that’s after several significant price cuts. We don’t know what sort of software experience Nintendo has in mind, though. The kits are listed as ages 6 and up, so the games will probably skew younger.

The main concern is that the Switch’s screen is only just good enough when you’re playing a regular game. It’s a 6-inch 720p LCD, which wouldn’t be usable for mobile VR on a phone. With the magnifying lenses, the pixel density is going to be poor, and LCDs are usually too slow to offer smooth motion in VR. Nintendo has either figured out how to get around this, or it’s going to give a lot of kids upset stomachs. Either way, Labo VR is something to watch.

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