The Wednesday Inbox is still reeling from the news that Microsoft has bought Bethesda, as one reader hopes they buy Sega next.
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Would you credit it?
What an absolute disaster it has been trying to pre-order an Xbox Series X.
Tried pre-ordering the Xbox All Access 24-month subscription deal with both GAME and Smyths – the only two providers in the UK.
GAME’s website was completely down all morning and into the afternoon. When I finally got on there it turns out you can only apply for the All Access deal if you’re already an existing member of All Access Game Pass.
So then I tried Smyths… made it through the whole Klarna credit agreement process, which involved a hard credit search and setting up a direct debit, only to find out that there was an error/no stock left.
So now I have to contact my bank to cancel the direct debit and I also have a hard credit search on my credit rating with nothing to show for it. Absolutely wonderful start to the next generation!
So at 10:15am Tuesday morning I managed to pre-order an Xbox Series S from Very with no problem whatsoever, no waiting, no site crashing. It was all very straightforward. I honestly don’t know how Sony made such a mess of it with the PlayStation 5.
So, up at 6am refreshing pages… GAME site crashed, Argos crashed. I used stock alert on Microsoft Store and every time I tried to pay it crashed and kicked me out. The problem turned out to be PayPal. Everyone trying to check out using it made it crash.
Then when I just paid by putting in my bank details it worked and order went through. Hope this helps.
Alternative next gen
So, been unable to order either a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (I was on the GAME website for an hour this morning in a queue, got through that only for the site to fall over!). But I’m starting to wonder whether that matters.
I have loads of unfinished titles and games I’ve yet to purchase for the current generation (many of which look stunning), so I’ll probably now mop those up over the coming months.
I have made a next gen purchase however, I’ve pre-ordered an Oculus Quest 2 in the belief it will truly give me something different in terms of experiences, something I don’t think the next gen consoles will really provide any time soon.
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Firstly, thank you to Zeeshan Shafiq for reminding us that a new generation of consoles is something to be excited about and that once you have a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X you’ll feel that magic of a new machine. Sony do seem to have dropped the ball with the pre-orders, a couple of more casual gamers I know, who were definitely getting a PlayStation 5, didn’t even know the pre-orders had come and gone until a couple of days after.
But even if Microsoft give plenty of notice and have a more organised plan there’s still going to be a scramble as I can’t see them having enough consoles to go around either. As for Sony’s selection of PlayStation 4 games included with their subscription, I’d be pretty annoyed if I was a Sony loyal.
Most PlayStation 4 owners have played those titles and they seem more like an incentive for Xbox owners to jump ship than they do a reward for Sony fans. A bigger selection of games, including a bunch of more obscure titles, indie games, PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 games and a couple of smaller PlayStation 5 games would of given Game Pass a run for its money.
A confusing time
I’ve flip flopped through so many decisions over the last couple of weeks (and still haven’t ruled out the Intellivision Amico next year as a mid-life crisis purchase!). I’ve been confused over the fact there are still more PlayStation 4 games coming out, horrified by PlayStation 5 game prices, and astonished by the lack of any real show of power from the Xbox Series X.
Now though we have the massive Microsoft purchase of ZeniMax and I love Bethesda games… so Xbox Series X here I come (when I can afford it!). I’m assuming that the next Elder Scrolls game and Starfield are now Xbox exclusive? If I’d just paid $7.5 billion I would want them to be!
Never saw that coming, love these sort of huge surprises… am surprised though given all the in-contrast small leaks recently they kept a lid on a multi-billion deal!
GC: Microsoft has said nothing about exclusives yet, except for a vague statement that they’ll make decisions on a case by case basis. We would guess that new IP, such as Starfield, is likely to be exclusive, and that existing franchises, such as Elder Scrolls, is less likely to be.
Thanks for those renders with the sizing of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X on a media cabinet with a TV.
That’s some seriously large pieces of kit, and I don’t think I’d got the impression they were so big, especially the Xbox Series X, but neither of those monsters will be sitting next to my TV. The Good Lady has already spoken!
Compared to the Switch, they are absolute behemoths and I hope that size really does equate to power rather than just being an enormous set of heat sinks and fans.
Anyway, with luck, they’ll be able to shrink them down with time, hopefully to a more palatable PlayStation 4 kind of size.
I wrote in immediately after last week’s Sony conference expressing my disappointment at the cross-gen revelations. After having some time to reflect on this I can say that I’m still really disappointed at the cross-gen revelations! Although not necessarily for every game…
Spider-Man: Miles Morales I can understand, it’s basically DLC following quickly on the heels of the last game and so likely using all the same assets. And I definitely understand the business reasons for this too: 100 million existing PlayStation 4 users is a difficult market to ignore.
Horizon Forbidden West though is a different matter. Guerrilla Games themselves have said how their ambitions for the first game had to be dialled back due to technical limitations with current consoles. It may be that everything they want in the sequel can still be achieved, and I’m sure it’ll play and look stunning on PlayStation 5, but as one of Sony’s most technologically accomplished studios I’d have loved to see what they could come up with when freed from the constraints of current gen.
Also, with its target release date of 2021 we’re probably still looking at it being at least a year away from launch. Just seems a waste to not go all out with this one and demonstrate what the PlayStation 5 can do.
On the flip side though I’m surprised that Destruction All Stars ISN’T cross gen. Only judging on what I’ve seen so far but, like cross-gen Sackboy’s Big Adventure, it doesn’t look like it needs next gen hardware to run and for a new multiplayer IP it could benefit from the bigger install base. Especially when Sony are charging £70 for first party next gen games. Seems crazy to charge that for this one.
GC: We’d agree with all that. Although the strangest thing is that Sony was so adamantly against cross-gen and then suddenly changed their mind for no obvious reason. We could understand if Microsoft’s approach had suddenly been proven unambiguously superior, but Halo Infinite seemed to suggest the opposite.
Seen it all before
I’ve been gaming since the Atari 2600 era and this is the most underwhelmed I’ve been for a generation change.
I don’t know if it’s because of all the initial secrecy and then mad rush of these next gen announcements, or if I’ve just become jaded with all the same old hyperbolic nonsense about teraflops and game changing features, but I just can’t get excited, yet, with this new generation of consoles. I haven’t seen anything that would make me want to run out and grab either console on day one, even if stock was available.
I think I’ll be happily playing Cyberpunk 2077 and Star Wars Squadrons on my PS4 Pro well into next year, and maybe then a killer app or killer bundle offer will tempt me to convert, but I just don’t see either yet.
Next on the list
Microsoft have certainly made an unexpected and aggressive move in securing a slew of big-name franchises at a mindboggling $7.5 billion. With so many games now under their ownership, what’s next?
I’ve read that Japanese companies are usually reticent about takeovers from overseas, but surely the next logical step is for Microsoft to acquire a big Japanese publisher? Their inability to crack this market points to my reasoning here.
Which are available though, and which have lucrative franchises? In terms of franchises, Sega could be it, with Sonic, Yakuza, and Shenmue being quintessentially Japanese games. It’d also means acquiring Total War, and Football Manager, to bolster their PC market.
But everything is possible now, if they can suddenly and unexpectedly spend billions…
ttfp saylow (gamertag)
Now playing: Paper Mario: The Origami King and Ring Fit Adventure
GC: Sega is owned by pachinko maker Sammy and buying them would probably be almost as expensive as Bethesda.
No easy rides
Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax makes a lot of sense and should hopefully be beneficial to both parties. Microsoft get a huge injection of quality titles for their streaming service and the opportunity to make future Bethesda games exclusive. If that happens, then it’s a massive incentive to purchase an Xbox Series X/S in the upcoming generation.
Meanwhile, Bethesda, who have a history of making high quality titles that don’t sell particularly well (Doom, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored) get a bit of security and potentially a chance to reach gamers that they wouldn’t have otherwise (assuming a larger percentage of the 15 million Game Pass subscribers would try the games for ‘free’ at low risk, than would have purchased it outright).
While I understand Sony fans being annoyed at the news, ultimately I think the competition will drive the industry forward. PlayStation’s first party studios really came into their own when their backs were against the wall with the PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Plus was also a direct response to the threat of the Xbox 360. Similarly, Game Pass and full backwards compatibility likely wouldn’t exist in their current form if the Xbox One hadn’t struggled this generation.
It’s not clear how or when Sony will respond. However, it seems certain that they won’t get an easy ride this generation, and I reckon that will be good for all gamers in the long run.
So I already see there’s an Xbox Series X console gone up for sale on eBay for £800! Well. at least the kind person whose selling it is willing to pay for the free delivery out of his own back pocket!
Really keen on getting Void Bastards on Switch but remember you saying the frame rate is all over the place as it been improved/patched for the physical release hope you might know?
GC: We haven’t played it since launch, we’re afraid.
This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox follows the pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 last week and the Xbox Series X/S pre-orders due to start on Tuesday, and asks simply: have you pre-ordered a next gen console yet?
If you have, how much do you intend to spend on next gen hardware and software overall this year? What are you hopes and expectation from the consoles in the short and medium term and which games are you most looking forward to?
How do you think the pre-orders and marketing were handled and did they cause you to change your original plans at all? If you haven’t pre-ordered when do you intend to get a next gen console, if at all?
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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 Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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