Thursday, 12 November 2015

6 Predictions for today's Direct

Greetings one and all, merry Nintendo Direct day! To celebrate the return of the fan favourite Nintendo news delivery in a web format, we are going to run down some predictions for today's show. Some are based on evidence and others because I may of sneezed just a little too hard.

Lets start with some sane ones based on the evidence and not a hyper sneeze.

Twlight Princess HD 
There has been so much evidence of this game that it would be more of a surprise for it to not feature in today's show. With it's decedent Zelda U absent this year and unlikely to appear in this Direct as I'd expect it would get its own direct special.

Minecraft Wii U -
This is a newest entry of the evidence ones. Today the PEGI ratings board has apparently outed the Indie mega hit Nintendo debut. It's been a long time coming as Minecraft has made a certain sense for Nintendo's system. The game's art style would look glorious in 3D and the Wii U's Gamepad just 'fits' it perfectly. Now throw in amiibo support and you've created a licence to print large amount of money. Matching Nintendo's love of surprises according to the PEGI board Minecraft Wii U even has a release date... TODAY!

Pokemon Z 
This one has also been a long time coming and the timing seems about right. The Pokemon company has revealed an new legendary Pokemon Zygarde for their next movie. The new series of the anime is called Pokemon XY & Z and finally today Pokemon game director Junichi Masuda has asked that people watch today's presentation. It is possible that today's Direct will cover Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

Now lets move on to the INSANE portion of this festive day. These are unfounded fever dreams of predictions.

Lets kick this off with a twisty one. Perhaps developer Shin'en's long gestating "F-Zero like" game "Fast Racing Neo" has been re-branded by Nintendo as F-Zero Origins and will launch early next year.

Another Direct "leak" veteran that always pops up whenever the term "direct" is whispered. In a effort to appease the fans upset about Metroid Prime: Federation Force Nintendo will release the Prime trilogy exclusively for New 3DS.

Microsoft X Nintendo
This is the biggest brain destroying sneeze idea. Minecraft is the first part of a multistage deal between the two gaming giants. Under the deal both Nintendo and Microsoft would finally get to re-release Goldeneye for the Virtual Console and Rare Replay. Nintendo would be able to access the other Nintendo Rare games for the VC and certain HD ports such as Banjo - Kazooie HD for Wii U. Microsoft would be able to produce their own amiibo for Minecraft and other cross projects. To celebrate the deal Banjo will come to Smash Bros.

Abe's Take
The "sneezers" are all unlikely to impossible but that's part of the fun of these Directs, the guessing, the teasing and a little bit of letdown, After all its impossible for Nintendo to deliver everything these things as they tend to focus on the next few months.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

They're Back

Nintendo's Direct shows quickly established themselves has a wonderful quirky event for Nintendo fans everywhere. The absolute oddness always hit the right notes with fans and acted as a fantastic counter to the serious "we're tech geniuses" the other members of the industry love using.   

Not only did these Directs provided an entertaining way of delivering news but also made a legend of Satoru Iwata brought the Nintendo President's personality to the surface and the "suit" that we had seen in the E3's before was gone forever.

Sadly Satoru Iwata passed away shortly after this years E3 and Nintendo fans all felt the same gut punch. Iwata hosting the Directs helped him become the face of Nintendo and suddenly the Direct's future was in question as Nintendo started announcing things via its Twitter and Facebook profile.

New Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima had confirmed during the investors meeting that Nintendo Directs would return and now we know when... TOMORROW! Yep the first Direct since Iwata's passing will be held 12th November at 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern / 10pm UK / 11pm CET. Its unkown who will host the Japanese and US shows but Nintendo of Europe's own Satoru, Mr Shibata. This isn't the first time Mr Shibata has hosted an Direct and he has been able to match Iwata's quirkiness and humour.

Abe's Take
What would be announced? well there is a lot of hype and "leaks" about this Direct claiming from the obvious "Twilight Princess HD" and the unlikely "F-Zero". Whilst we don't know what will be shown during tomorrow's event but we can safely rule out the NX and probably Zelda U.

For thing's for sure its good to have them back.

Friday, 6 November 2015

RUMOUR: Has 360 backward compatibility titles leaked?

At E3 Microsoft unrelieved it was giving players a feature they had been asking for ever since the system launched; the ability to play Xbox 360 games on their shiny new Xbox Ones.

Microsoft announced that at launch there will be 100 titles available and more as publishers give them the okay to re-release its title on Xbox One. Thanks to the preview program, Rare Replay and various pre-orders (buy Fallout 4, get Fallout 3) we all ready know an handful of these titles. Now an supposed leak has appeared (see below) claiming to know the rest. Whilst it dose seem to match up with what we know. However there is an issue.

This month marked the start of Games with Gold era of "all 360 GwG titles being compatible with Xbox One" however this months titles Dirt and Dungeon Siege 3 are missing from this list. Its possible that these titles wont be available November 13th but feature in the 2nd wave of titles

Abe's Take
These are the right mix of titles that i expected but with the missing titles I am uncertain on the legitimacy of this list. Whilst I expected a CoD or two but glad this list contains both Blood Dragon and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger as I didn't get to finish those titles

Lets Talk: Is Microsoft handing the keys to the Kingdom to Sony?

Since there is no interesting news, I blame Fallout 4 lurking over the horizon for that.
I've decided to rumble on about something for a little bit. 
Today I'm asking "is Microsoft playing too defensive?" You see during the 360 era MS dominated Sony by grabbing exclusive rights to games, advertising and early access DLC. Which made the PS3's early years with out any major exclusives an hard fight but an stellar comeback and MS's giant PR nightmare of the X1's reveal changed all that.

After loosing ground on Sony for a year Phil Spencer declared they was going to stop paying for exclusive content, advertising and games. Instead taking that money and reinvesting that money in their own studios and funding new games from other developers (instead of buying exclusive rights to existing games). At the time this very Nintendo-like approach was applauded by many as it meant more games and IP for Xbox One but the end to what many called the "money war",

During the 360 era MS aggressively pursued what it called "partnerships" with publishers locking in early DLC access, games and advertising. Many a Sony fan often claimed Xbox was "buying the market" and it was unfair. This caused a tit for tat bidding war that saw each console getting extras for different games making it hard of third party fans to own either system.  MS ending the "money war" could of changed that but something else happened.

Sony grabbed every exclusive contract going and not only drastically tilting the multi-format game in their favour but also meaning most adverts (both digital and physical) of these titles being PS4 branded. With Mircosoft only advertising its exclusives this Christmas; two of which aren't full exclusives Tomb Raider an timed exclusive and Fallout a multi format with early mod access. This creates a very poor image system that it shares with Nintendo "it only has its own games". Which is very untrue for the Xbox. Its an image Microsoft can not afford after their rough start and "resolution gate" (which is admittedly dying after Battlefield Hardline knocked BOTH systems down an HD peg). To show this advertising issue lets remember that by Sony's own admission their first party PS4 Christmas (the most important time in game sales) line up is incredibly light, yet its dominating in terms of advertising.

Following the Street Fighter V PS4/PC exclusive announcement Phil Spencer confirmed Microsoft wont "invest" in games that would compete against its own IP. The foolish idea an Free-to-play title can compare to the biggest fighter out there aside this create's competition where it's not needed, I highly doubt the all but forgotten Killer Instinct would of experienced any real drop in revenue when SFV launched 3 years later. This "us vs them" attitude certainly explains why Sony now has the early access DLC rights to this years competing shooters Black Ops 3 and Battlefront, which launch less than a month after Halo 5 (which will feature no-cost DLC maps).

The problem here seems to be they went from "playing to win" to full retreat. In reality what MS should of done is to continue its bidding for these contracts but instead of playing to win, they should of just "played to draw". Sure the first few times they might have to pay of parity between the platforms but it wouldn't of been long before Sony said "look we're both paying for nothing, lets just not bid" and both sides would have more money for original content.

Will the Nintendo style first party first approach work for Microsoft? Well we don't know yet as there doesn't seem to be any of these new first party titles out yet. MS is still trading on the last of its deals Tomb Raider (game), Fallout (early mods) and next year's The Division (DLC). This new generation of first party titles not only have to be good to lure players to the Xbox One but they also have to represent the console in advertising, which means they have to be ready on time as delays will create gaps in their marketing. You only have to look at the Wii U to see the damage that those gaps can cause. Microsoft has a tough fight ahead of it as it must effectively fight its allies (third parties).

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Activision gets bigger!

Today Activision Blizzard announced and huge expansion to its business. Whilst Destiny players jumped to 25 Million and Destiny's micro-transactions currency dominating PSN's top download list is all good news for the company its not what we're talking about today.

Today the house that CoD built has announce its has spent $5.9 BILLION on Candy Crush Saga publisher King. You may remember them as "the guys who tried suing anyone and everyone who used the words 'Candy' or 'Saga'.

The move today not only shifts the companies profits resulting in two thirds of its revenue now coming from digital space but also appears to be in response to their own mobile business not taking off as well as they hoped. Their clash of clans clone remains on the top downloads list but isn't earning them the big mobile bucks.

Activision hopes to use cross promotions of its home and mobile games in order to increase revenue, whilst they remain tight lipped don't be surprised to see 'engram crush saga' that unlocks rewards in destiny in the future.

FYI it was so hard to not use "the taken king" as the article headline.

Abe's Take
This is a significant shift in Activision's revenue that is sure to have repercussions across their brands and IP. Whilst the potential is there Activision's plan seems to rely on Kings 500 million customers being loyal to the brand, which is a gamble as the mobile market is incredibly fickle. Lets not forget a portion of these guys also propelled Nintendo's Wii  from 100 million to the Wii U's 10 million.

To put this move in perspective Microsoft spent 2.5 billion to nab Minecraft and the internet bricked its pants at the "expense".

I am well aware of how dry this article was so here is a picture of a Mandeer from some crazy Wii U indie game. Look at it, worry about that and not Activision seemingly hording money to become the empire... seriously WTF!!!