After two weekends away, I’m back and in charge of the Chronicle, but I want to take a moment to say thanks to Gazza who was writing and collating in my stead. I might have to ask him to take over more regularly, since he took to it so well!
Even though I was right at the heart of the action at E3, I feel oddly out of the loop with gaming news from the last couple of weeks. Leafing my way through this past week’s news, the most controversial moment was obviously when Shuhei Yoshida stated that Sony had stepped back their first party “AAA” development for the PS Vita.
There was a lot of lively debate about this, but Avenger summed it up well, albeit with a few profanities which I’ll be skipping:
What a load of [tosh] about people not wanting PS3 games in the palm of your hands. I really did not spend retail launch price on a system just for it to run indie games. Idiots have now nearly ruined the system. JP region won’t hold under indie titles, so I guess we can count on JRPGs, but still, with the reduced user base of an indie games console, there’s little hope for any AAA games now.
The counterpoint, in some ways, came from bunimomike, who saw this as a moment that has been coming for a long time:
As horrible as it is, I can’t help but think “we’ve seen this coming for ages”. Also, I’ve noticed that TSA gamers very much want decent sized games on their Vitas. Is that the majority of owners of Vitas? [...] Sony has made a good effort (early on) to encourage devs they already have a relationship with to work hard on PS3-sized games for mobile tomfoolery but it’s obviously not worth it in the long run.
Admittedly it’s a very disappointing move, but it is certainly one that has been on the cards for a while. The rather slow console sales, the studio closures that occured during 2012, the lack of third party uptake and more have turned this into the only logical move to make from Sony’s point of view. It’s just disappointing that there’s not even a cursory level of support from one of Sony’s smaller studios.
Next up on our regular feature, Console Manufacturer Execs Say The Funniest Things, Reggie Fils-Aime tried to put a positive spin on the Wii U’s sales to date, saying that the Wii U was pretty close to the PS4’s sales. Of course, Tuffcub took this to pieces, citing month by month sales and that the Wii U’s rate of sale was far, far slower than either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
Severn2j wittily opined that “There may be three horses, but I don’t really consider Nintendo to even be in the same race as the other two. As with the Wii, they are just doing their own thing (like Dressage, perhaps).”
But while Reggie’s statement smacked of desperation, there is actually a small glimmer of hope for the console, with Mario Kart 8’s recent release and the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Jones81 admitted, “I actually caved in and bought one about 10 days ago. Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 are simply incredible, and ZombiU is good aswell. Have barely touched my PS4 since then.”
So no, the Wii U might not be selling as fast as the PS4 and XBO, but releasing strong games in popular franchises to critical acclaim will certainly help the console to try and build a healthy, if niche, audience.
We’ve had Sony and Nintendo, already, so let’s finish off with a touch of Microsoft, with Phil Spencer revealing a refreshed focus for the cloud integration with the Xbox One. The primary facet to this will be dedicated servers, as we’ve seen with the likes of Titanfall, but there’s still potential for interesting uses like Forza’s Drivatars and the upcoming Crackdown’s cloud-based physics simulation.
The scepticism to its potential in the comments was palpable, but blarty had a well measured summation of the system:
Essentially, the idea with this kind of cloud processing is that complex physics calculations can be taxing, so get another system to run the calulations and your game simply picks up snapshots of results, or possibly ‘pre-informs’ the server to do it while you’re maybe doing something else in game and the server streams back the result set for all the frames or a subset of the frames and they’re ready to go when you need them.
What happens when the internet goes down? In this case, destructive particles don’t look as good, so they’re be a low-quality (in comparison) breakdown that doesn’t hurt framerate too much if its done on the client machine with everything else.
The trouble with this is always going to be in explaining how it will work. Just as with the distrust that gamers feel when publishers and developers don’t show a particular version of a game, they’ll have to show the game through development and properly demonstrate the difference.
Only a handful of trophies and achievements seem to have surfaced this week, with the Destiny alpha test and Battlefield Hardline beta test dominating the playtime of many people last weekend.
Of course, there’s no sidetracking some people, and R1MJAW played what seems to be a good dozen games during the last seven days, getting the platinum trophies for Smart As on PS Vita and Lego The Hobbit, which he claimed as a record. Sticking with Lego, and ron_mcphatty nabbed the platinum for The Lego Movie Videogame on PS Vita, which was also a record.
Crazy_Del‘s another not to be deterred from gathering trophies, and this week saw the Operation Flashpoint: Red River platinum get chucked on the mountain. It’s also a record shout from him, while Forrest_01 was a little less timely in staking his claim to a record for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on PS3, though he admits an element of confusion at the way some trophy lists are combined and others aren’t.
Taking a brief step away from platinums and PlayStations, kennykazey finished Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and Link Between Worlds on 3DS, while there was a deserving moment of jubilation for freezebug who finally, after such a long, long time, wrapped up the platinum trophy for Everybody’s Golf on PS Vita.
We’ll wrap things up with a collective achievement, as the TSA community has cumulatively managed to sett 500 platinum trophy record. A inferior race decided to figure out the average time that these platinum trophies were awarded, possibly revealing that a bunch of you skive off work in the afternoon to hunt trophies at 2PM!
We’re nearly done, but you can head over to page two for the return of said Fastest Platinum boards. To finish off this page, we have the usual submission form for photos and accomplishments.
If people want to keep sending photos in, I’ll be happy to post them, but gaming places is no longer a regular feature. If you fancy it, just use the submission form below, get in touch with me on Twitter at @teflon, or just send me an email out of the blue to firstname.lastname@example.org.