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Closed beta sign-ups for Quake Champions, id Software’s competitive arena-style FPS, are now live.
The closed beta teaser above should give folks an idea of what to expect, but more details and gameplay videos profiling Quake Arena’s Champion, Nyx and the first Arena, Blood Covenant, will be released this week on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Interested parties can sign-up for the closed beta through the official Quake Champions website. The tester is expected to start in the coming weeks.
Those attending PAX East 2017 in Boston can get their hands on the title at the Bethesda booth March 10-12. While there, they can also sign up for the closed beta.
Quake Champions was announced at E3 2016 during Bethesda’s offsite event. The four classes revealed were Ranger, Visor, Nyx, and Scale Bearer.
A release date for the PC title has not been announced.
The gamepad! A concept that every gamer in the world is intimately familiar with, no matter how often they play. Each console has its own spin on what a gaming controller should be but if you’re after something unique, the PS4 has you covered with a set of specialised controllers for different games. Here, we’ll take a look at the best specialist controllers for PS4.
Exactly what we mean when using the term ‘specialist’ controllers varies from product to product but it can mean anything from a dedicated steering wheel controller and arcade fight sticks all the way to specially designed pads that are meant to feel more like using a mouse and keyboard on your PS4. Of course, on top of that, there are actual mouse & keyboard converters available for the PS4 that will enable you to use your existing mouse and keyboard setup on your console, which may appeal to the diehard online multiplayer shooter fans out there.
You don’t have to be an eSports superstar or even a semi-pro competitor in order to get the most out of these controllers. You won’t be using a steering wheel to play a platformer and using an arcade fight stick to play a first person shooter is downright insane, so if you’re planning on picking up a controller purely to play a specific game or type of game, odds are good that you’re the kind of fanatic that wants a controller that will improve your gameplay experience, hone your skills, make you more comfortable or just generally immerse you in the action quicker.
Different controllers suit different genres, of course – dancing games are vastly improved with a PlayStation Camera and a set of Move controllers, Street Fighter V is much more effective with a fight stick, racing games leap into life when paired with the right steering wheel controller. The list goes on and doesn’t stop until you’re considering buying something that looks like a mouse/keyboard/gamepad mash up all in one. Those, by the way, are becoming more and more common amongst FPS players, for better or for worse, in order to improve reflex-time. If you don’t fancy grabbing one of these weird mutant controllers, consider the mouse and keyboard converters and save some space, maybe.
This list is by no means definitive but at the very least, we’ll try and highlight some of our top picks for the best PS4 controllers, the best specialist controllers for PS4 that is, as well as the best mouse and keyboard converters for PS4.
Although it’s not actually a controller per se, it’s hard to find a PS4 accessory more specialised than the PlayStation Camera. Largely used for the PlayStation VR headset these days, this little guy has been around since the launch of the PS4. Before VR came along, players were mostly encouraged to use the camera for live streams as well as video chat, alongside a handful of games that used the camera for a small feature.
Beyond the realms of titles like The Playroom, Just Dance and LittleBigPlanet, the PlayStation Camera also allows players to sign into their PSN accounts using facial recognition and launch games and apps using voice. More than any other use now, though, is PS VR. If you’re considering picking up a PlayStation VR headset, you’re going to want to grab one of these cameras as well. In 2016, Sony even gave this little guy a redesign so you can pick a squared-off design or the newer rounded type and see which you like better.
PlayStation Move Controller
Along with the PlayStation Camera, you’re probably going to end up with at least one of these things. The PlayStation Move controller, originally designed and released for the PS3, is what you’ll be using for a wide range of games while in VR. The aforementioned range of non-VR games (especially the Just Dance series) will make wide use of the PlayStation Move controllers as well, but the clear selling point here is the ability to use your hands in a more natural motion while immersed in VR. Having a set of these ready and waiting makes all the difference when playing games in PS VR.
Hori PS4 TAC GRIP
Here’s where this post really earns the term ‘specialist’. Hori is well known for creating an array of single-purpose gaming controllers over there years and the TAC GRIP for PS4 is no exception. Its full name – the Tactical Assault Commander GRIP – should give you a fair impression of the kind of games this controller is designed for. The pairing of a half-controller and gaming mouse (for left and right hands respectively) is tweaked ever so carefully to appeal to those of us out there who spend hours upon hours playing online multiplayer shooters and need every last bit of precision humanly possible. It even features bespoke buttons for quick-aiming, sniping and walk mode just in case you had any doubt this is built to be the definitive FPS controller.
Both the controller and mouse are wired with three meters of cable length, ensuring no input lag that crops up occasionally with wireless controllers. The left-hand gamepad section comes with a strap to secure your hand in place and make sure that you don’t accidentally drop the thing while you play. The right-hand mouse section is capable of 800 to 3200 dpi which can be adjusted with a click of a button. Also found on the mouse are the missing ‘right hand’ trigger and bumper buttons – replaced here as four thumb buttons on the left side of the mouse. If you’re not satisfied with the mouse’s performance, fret not since any number of gaming mice can be connected to the gamepad via the USB cable and used to almost the same effect.
The TAC GRIP also comes with its own software which enables the controller’s buttons to be completely remapped and customised, which is a nice bonus feature. It’s not quite as near to the PC ‘mouse and keyboard’ experience as it seems to want to be, but it’s definitely a cheaper way to get that experience on your PS4 than some of the other options out there.
Hori PS4 TAC PRO
Earlier when I said the TAC GRIP wasn’t perfect but it was a cheaper way to get the mouse and keyboard experience on a PS4? Well, meet the GRIP’s big brother – the Hori TAC PRO for PS4. As you can most likely tell from the image, the big difference between the GRIP and the PRO is the ‘left-hand’ gamepad section. Mainly that it’s not there anymore and has been replaced by a dinky little keyboard instead. This makes the overall experience far, far more akin to playing a PC shooter. Although it’s a little unwieldy at first, once your wrist settles into the right position, you’ll find muscle memory taking over for the most part.
The ‘section of a keyboard’ styled left-hand controller features 20 mechanical keys which are a bit of a joy to use, especially when trying to keep up with the high-octane action happening on screen. As with the TAC GRIP before it, all keys are completely programmable using the accompanying software, this time being able to store up to three profiles at a time, too. The included gaming mouse is almost identical to the version that comes with the TAC GRIP. It’s by no means perfect and while it does a great job of emulating the feel of playing PC shooters, there’s distinctly something missing overall. Having said that, much like its little brother the GRIP, there are better options out there (look out for the Xim 4) but you’ll be paying much more for them.
Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai
The Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai is arguably the absolute best PS4 arcade fight stick on the market. Featuring nine large, clacky (in the best way) “HAYABUSA” buttons and the “HAYABUSA joystick”, this stick is a must-own for die-hard fighting game fans. This is one of the very few home fight sticks that manage to capture the feeling of playing at an arcade while still working on a PS4. As a matter of fact, this stick actually works on PS3 and PC as well with no additional adapter needed, which is a valuable bonus to have. All in all, if you consider yourself a fighting game fanatic, you’ll play best when you feel your best and odds are good, the Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai stick will help you get there quicker.
Mouse and keyboard converters
As is typical in life, something that attempts to emulate something can only really get so far. It’s great that products like the TAC GRIP and TAC PRO exist and serve their purpose but they will never be able to capture the feeling of playing a game with a real mouse and keyboard perfectly. They may come pretty darn close at times but ultimately, nothing compares to the real thing.
In that case, it’s good to know that actual mouse & keyboard converters exist for the PS4, meaning you’ll be able to pick up one of these little boxes and plug in your existing (and most likely expensive) gaming mouse and keyboard in order to play using them on your PS4. There’s not a lot of these about at the moment but the ones that are out there seem to be doing the job rather beautifully – expect to see more companies making these soon. Of course, as will all emerging tech, you should be prepared to spend a pretty penny on one of these, at least until the market gets flooded with a lot of similar products.
It’s worth noting, also, that if your only goal is to play single player games using a mouse and keyboard, one of these converters will suit you just fine. If, however, you’re aiming to play online with one of these, be warned that there have been cases in the past of players being banned from matches or games for the ‘unfair advantage’ of using one of these converters. Your mileage may vary, of course, but it’s better to know that before you buy than getting an unpleasant surprise months in.
The absolute best mouse and keyboard converter for PS4 on the market today, without question, is the Xim 4. It also happens to be by far the most expensive. Funny how that works out, huh? Compatible with the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, the Xim 4 enables console gamers to use a huge range of PC hardware to play their games with. Unlike some other similar products currently out, the Xim 4 avoids compatibility issues and really boils down to a very simple plug-and-play setup. This little box essentially tricks your console into thinking your gamepad, mouse, keyboard, joystick or whatever else you’re using is a standard controller.
The accompanying software, the Xim 4 Manager, also allows players to configure the device entirely using a PC or even a Smart Phone (via Bluetooth). The great advantage of this software is that the database of compatible devices and games is expanding constantly and the Xim 4 receives these updates via this software, in order to stay ahead of the game at every step. As you may expect, this software also enables you to completely remap and reconfigure any and all buttons and keys on your device. The Xim 4 is a beautiful little device and does its job near flawlessly, the only catch may be the price tag.
Hama Speedshot Ultimate
Right now, the only product that even remotely rivals the Xim 4 is the Hama Speedshot Ultimate. As a nice extra, it’s also a fraction of the cost, too. There is a PS4 specific model out there as well as a multi-format edition that will work on PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. The multi-format edition is known as the Speedshot Ultimate and it’s the one that’s worth your attention.
Much like the Xim 4, in order to use your mouse and keyboard, it’s a simple plug-and-play setup via USB, no outside installation or any software is required. Up to eleven different profiles can be created and used to store different button configurations, with extra features such as turbo, auto-fire and auto-repeat available as well. It even comes with a nifty little sticker sheet in order to keep track of button layouts.
The thing that lets the package down somewhat and may explain the much-reduced price tag in comparison ot the Xim 4, is compatibility options. There is a largely reduced database of compatible PC hardware although the vast majority of well-known brands and models should work just fine. For full freedom of devices, you’ll want to grab a Xim 4 instead, although you’ll be paying over double the price of this one.
With that, we’ve finished our look at the best specialist controllers for PS4 as well as PS4 mouse and keyboard converters. As mentioned before, these are purely for the die-hards and won’t be suited to everyone. If you do find yourself yearning for the kind of options one of the above controllers or converters offer, then you may just want to grab yourself a nice treat and get your gaming up to speed.
Battlefield 1’s new mode is a mix of Conquest and Rush.
Battlefield 1‘s upcoming DLC pack They Shall Not Pass delivers a new game mode called Frontlines.
As you’ll see in the video above, Frontlines brings a sort of tug-of-war mechanic to Battlefield 1. The maps is broken up by a linear series of objectives, only one of which is active at any time, starting in the middle. In order to advance through this phase, one side needs to capture all the objectives on the way to the enemy base.
When one side reaches the other’s base, their objective changes: they need to destroy two telegraph posts inside the base. Unfortunately for them, during this phase the defending team can use the telegraphs to summon artillery strikes.
This second phase ends when the telegraph posts are destroyed or the attacking side runs out of reinforcements. In the latter scenario, the game reverts to the first phase, and players start fighting for objectives again. The round ends after a successful attack on both telegraph posts or when time runs out.
They Shall Not Pass brings new maps as well as a class, vehicle and stationary weapon to Battlefield 1. It’s expected sometime in March on all platforms.
To prepare yourself for the DLC, make sure you have the Winter Update which dropped last week, buffing, nerfing and adding new features and progression systems. Check out the Battlefield 1 Winter Update patch notes, or opt for a more concise rundown of Battlefield 1 Winter Update major changes and features.
Battlefield 1 is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Speaking as part of a conference call with investors, chief operating officer Thomas Tippl first discussed 2016's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. While he described it as "a high-quality, innovative game," he revealed it "underperformed [Activision's] expectations." We already knew sales were down significantly compared with the previous year's Black Ops III. That was due in part to Infinite Warfare being a new sub-series, making for a difficult comparison with the established Black Ops.
However, the futuristic setting has also been a source of complaints from some longtime Call of Duty fans, a fact that Tippl acknowledged. That doesn't mean the company necessarily regrets exploring that space.
"t's clear that, for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn't resonate," he explained. "We have a passionate, experienced studio deeply committed to this direction, and despite the risks we saw, we believe it is important to consider the passions of our game teams in deciding what content to create.
"While it wasn't the success we planned, it allows us to protect the core tenets of our culture that Bobby discussed: empowering our talented teams to have the chance to pursue opportunities that they are passionate about. Providing an environment that recognizes passion is a critical component of our success, and a process to learn from our mistakes is what makes our company special, and it's why the most talented people in our industry are attracted to our company."
All of that said, even with Call of Duty still doing well, Activision is clearly aware of the demand for a Call of Duty game that hews closer to the series' older titles.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
"In 2017, Activision will take Call of Duty back to its roots and traditional combat will once again take center stage," Tippl said. "This is what our dedicated community of Call of Duty players and Sledgehammer Games, which has been developing this year's title, are the most excited about."
Beyond that, no further details were shared. It stands to reason that this year's game--which was greenlit more than two years ago--will feature a classic or modern-day setting, but that remains to be seen. For its part, Sledgehammer said of the game on Twitter, "It's our biggest achievement as game makers."
Sledgehammer previously assisted with the development of Modern Warfare 3 and served as the lead developer of Advanced Warfare. Activision rotates between three main studios--Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer--for its annual Call of Duty releases. Sledgehammer was, at one point, at work on a third-person Call of Duty game set during Vietnam.
As per the job listing, the studio is looking for someone who is “dedicated to high production values” and can “create realistic next gen textures and materials for use on architecture and terrain.” One of the duties and responsibilities mentioned is also to “model and texture realistic, modular, hard-surface and organic set pieces and props for a diverse set of environments.”
This seems to be pretty regular stuff, to be honest, but it’s good to see that the game will look to take advantage of the next-gen hardware the developers have at their disposal. As of yet, we may not even know what the next Call of Duty title will be, but at least it’s good to know that it will probably look good.
Read more at http://gamingbolt.com/call-of-duty-...ove-graphics-even-further#ApVqWHk8jjPq1kOZ.99
Interesting if this is true.
A sequel for Destiny has been confirmed and we know a few details about it already.
Guardians will be apparently be fighting the Cabal in the Tower, there will be a steady stream of content, and as well a bit of a reboot we might even see the game come to PC.
Considering the amount of information floating about in the ether already, it’s best to take the latest rumour with a pinch of salt, as it builds on what we already know, and may just be a fanciful load of old todgers.
Popping up over on Reddit, a user claims to have a source at Bungie “within the Administrative ranks”.
According to Inside_Leaks, Destiny 2: Forge of hope is going to be the sequel’s title, although considering how the names of the expansions usually work, that seems to be an odd choice, but if they’re giving the series an overhaul, it’s not entirely out of the question.
The story details are in line with what we’ve heard so far, so again, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to flesh out the info.
“The sequel will heavily focus on chronological events set after the Fall 2015 Expansion The Taken King. The cabal forces attack the city leaving the civilians and mentors of the tower defenseless. It is the guardians job to fight back the cabal and reclaim the city.
“While doing so the guardian will discover the long lost stories of Queen Mara Sov and The Exo Strangers motives. The story will culminate with the tower and city fighting back the Cabal empire resulting the guardian defeating the leader of the Cabal in the new Raid.”
The tipster echoes the plans for a regular content schedule, saying, “Bungie is planning to release a substantial content updates for each quarter (Similar to the April Update).
“Bungie already have a small team working on the first major expansion to be released in Fall 2018. Details are limited but it is aimed to be centred around the Vex and the Origins of Kabr and Praydeth.”
They continue, “Bungie is scheduling for an event release every 1-2 months centering around a theme similar to Overwatch while also delivering new narrative paths and new game play mechanics.”
They also state that the overhaul will scrub any existing Destiny characters, but that the “upside to this is the new release will have a more customization character creation including facial hair and class themed face paint and tattoos.”
We even get a launch date cited, so we’ve progressed from a pinch of salt to a whole bucket load.
Destiny 2: Forge of Hope is supposedly slated for a Q4 2017 release with a window of November 4 – 18 if the OP is to be believed.
And finally, the game will be available on PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox Scorpio, and PC, with three editions to choose from.
The basic edition will have a pre-order bonus of some kind, the second one will have the pre-order bonus as well as an in-game cosmetic, and the third will have the pre-order bonus, in-game cosmetic and a “1:2 Scale of the Exo Strangers Relic of Necessity”.
That’s a big old dump of info. Some of these points have been covered previously, so again, stay skeptical.
Does any of this sound legitimate to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Via Supply Drops
Xbox Scorpio, now with added numbers and acronyms.
Project Scorpio, the mysterious new Xbox One hardware iteration expected at the end of the year, is now ever so slightly less mysterious.
Digital Foundry got its hands on a new Microsoft document, which it has verified with Xbox developer sources, which gives some clues as to Project Scorpio’s innards.
According to the leaked document, Project Scorpio does not have ESRAM – the 32MB of super quick memory integrated with the Xbox One’s very processor.
ESRAM is an interesting hardware solution which helps developers cope with Xbox One’s memory size and speed limitations, but Scorpio is just going to have faster, better RAM instead – so there’s no need for this extra bit of help. According to the documents, Scorpio’s memory setup can easily outperform Xbox One, so nothing has been lost.
Developers will still need to optimise their games to support ESRAM, though, because the Xbox One can’t do without it – and Microsoft has said there will be no Project Scorpio exclusives.
The other major note form the document is another mention of Scorpio’s 6 teraflop GPU – about 4.5 times as powerful as the one in the Xbox One. This isn’t totally new information, but it’s nice to see it reiterated.
In the nitty gritties, the paper says Scorpio has four times for L2 cache of the Xbox One, putting it on par with the AMD Polaris range, and that the GPU is capable of Delta Colour Compression, like the PS4 Pro.
There’s plenty more discussion of Xbox Scorpio’s innards in the video above. Details are subject to change, of course, in the months before launch – but probably not much.
Microsoft’s mission to bring Xbox One and Windows 10 closer together have pushed many to wonder if this commitment to PC will also benefit Xbox One. Namely, when it comes to the control methods available to the latter.
With games such as Halo Wars 2 on the horizon, adding official keyboard and mouse support could make the game more enticing for some, even if it’ll already be available on PC.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says keyboard and mouse support is something the company would like to add, but can’t promise anything. The executive told a fan this on Twitter.
Of course, Microsoft never actually announced the feature, and as it stands, you can only use controllers to play Xbox One games. That said, adding mouse and keyboard support will open a whole new can of worms when it comes to balancing online competitive play.
Many players have been complaining that the server send rate for MWR does not match the original COD4 server rate. This should rectify that.
The post Raven to increase server send rate in MWR in next patch appeared first on Charlie INTEL.
The hard drives of both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro can be swapped out for ones with more storage space. However, those who play regularly on PS4 will find that even having an HDD of 2 terabytes (the most a PS4 can be upgraded to) isn’t enough for all of their games and apps. Up until now, the system(s) haven’t had external HDD support, but that will soon change thanks to an upcoming firmware update.
When update 4.50 (code named Sasuke) launches, PS4 and PS4 Pro users will be able to use any external USB 3.0 HDD to store games and apps. Hard drives up to 8tb in size will be supported. Users will be able to download and install applications directly to an external drive. The saved content can be managed via the settings menu. Apps saved in an external HDD will show up in the Content Launcher of the Home Screen, making it easy for folks to keep track of what apps they recently launched.
For PS4 users like myself, this is a godsend. I recently purchased a 2tb HDD for my PS4 Pro, but I know that I will fill it up by the end of the year. Being able to use an external HDD that can have 8tb of store space means that I and other PS4 gamers shouldn’t have to worry about space for a long time.
In addition to external HDD support, update 4.50 will give players the ability to set custom wallpapers — a feature that was oddly missing from the PS4. The update will also overhaul the PS4’s Quick Menu, simplify the Notifications app, allow users to post directly to the Activity Feed, and add 3D Blu-Ray support for PlayStation VR. You can read more details over on the PlayStation Blog.
A release date for firmware update 4.50 hasn’t been announced yet. Those who signed up for the firmware’s beta will get an early look at the new features starting today.
Respawn Entertainment has provided a look at the 6v6 Pilot only mode Live Fire coming soon to Titanfall 2.
As previously reported, the Live Fire mode in Titanfall 2 focuses on round-based, close quarter combat. Each round lasts for one minute and when the timer runs out, the team holding the neutral flag wins, even if they lost most of their members. The overall winner is declared on a best of five basis.
Players can also expect a new Pilot execution animation and multiple commander intros.
The Live Fire content also comes with two free, new maps designed specifically for the mode. These are Stacks and Meadow.
As for other content, a new Pilot execution animation and multiple new commander intros for each faction will be added.
In March, players can look forward to a revamped version of the Colony map, new Prime Titans, a large patch full of fixes and the like, and more.
Titanfall 2 is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
We’ve gone through everything we know about the Switch and identified the ten pain points we can see where Nintendo can doom this console to a Wii U-shaped grave. It’s probably too late for them to do anything about any of them, but you can read this article and then say “I told you so” if they come to pass.
We already see hints of this in the released specs for the system. Nintendo has always been able to work magic with underpowered hardware – remember that the Sega Master System was a beefier console than the original NES – but over the last few generations their budget chipsets have started to show some serious strain. While multi-platform games have never been the biggest draw on a Nintendo system, we’re worried that the machine’s unique design will work against it.
A terrifying thing is that report from December that the Switch will run at a 60% decrease in clock speed when undocked. That’s a massive performance hit, and it’s hard to understand how games will be able to handle it. Some theorize that it’s similar to PS4 Pro titles that also play on the PSP, but will developers want to put in the extra work?
It’s 2017 and Super Mario Run means you can play a real Mario game, and not some janky clone hacked together by a 14-year-old in Croatia, on your phone. The era of “you need to own a Nintendo system to play Nintendo games” is coming to a close. In many ways, this is a good thing. It’s super annoying to have to buy a dedicated system for one publisher’s titles. But it’s also going to make selling those dedicated systems a lot harder.
We seriously doubt that you’ll be seeing any of Nintendo’s big titles on PlayStations or Xboxes anytime soon, but the fact that Mario is no longer exclusive should be a warning sign. People now have their choice of dozens of different Nintendo systems to play on, both home and portable. Adding another one to the pile, especially so soon after the failed Wii U, is a tough sell.
Let’s just lay this out on the table: Nintendo doesn’t get online. At all. Their systems have consistently made linking up with absent friends to game a chore at best and impossible at worst. Starting with the Wii, the company has made connecting up a matter of memorizing a long and obtuse “friend code” and inputting it with the controller. Just putting in my Netflix password drives me bonkers, and it’s just “password1.” Even worse, you had to put the friend code in for each different game. They’ve cleaned up their act a little bit, but the big N’s online infrastructure is leaps and bounds behind Microsoft and Sony.
Miiverse is a step in the right direction, but it’s just a social platform. If Nintendo doesn’t deliver online, we can see the Switch having some serious problems retaining players.
Nintendo had its biggest success in the traditional retail age, when cartridges would hit stores on the same day in limited amounts, and real 90s kids would force their parents to drive them around until they scored their new game. Those days are gone, but the company still entertains a weird forced attachment to scarcity as a marketing tool. Recent reports indicate that many stores are only getting 20 units for launch day.
Obviously, Nintendo doesn’t want to over-produce on hardware and get burned, but 20 units of a new Nintendo console seems outrageously stingy. We can only think that they’re holding back on deliveries to re-create the Wii launch furor, where Craigslist scammers outrageously elevated the asking price and the TV news reported on the whole mess. Sure, publicity is good, but supply shortages are a stunt that gamers don’t have to live with anymore.
This has been, far and away, the biggest issue with Nintendo’s last few consoles. They simply don’t have the third party support that they once did, for whatever reason, and the libraries are scant. We all know that people typically buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games – your Marios, your Zeldas, your Metroids – and the other stuff is gravy. But with the extended development times of those franchise titles, many of their recent systems have only received a single entry – or none at all. It’s a fair bet that the company will keep banking on nostalgia and sell you all the NES and SNES games you already bought twice on the Wii and the Wii U, but eventually, that’s going to dry up too.
The Wii ended up having a few dozen solid games and an ocean of garbage shovelware. The Wii U didn’t even get the shovelware. It remains to be seen what the library of the Switch will look like. We’d push Nintendo into lower-cost downloadable titles with the company’s signature attention to gameplay detail, but time will tell.
For all the smack we talk about Nintendo’s failings in the home console market, they’ve been doing very well indeed in portables since the original Game Boy. Buoyed up by frequent Pokemon games, the company’s hardware iterations have been fairly priced, reasonably powerful and solid purchases. Sure, the recent surfeit of 3DS models is a little annoying, and some of them have been flops, but for the most part, Nintendo does portables right.
That’s why the Switch’s weird quasi-portable crossover status is so baffling. Is the company moving away from the 3DS, or do they think people really want to carry around two Nintendo portables? Will games come out for both platforms with different functionality? The DS killed off the Game Boy Advance by accident; it’s not too wild a prediction to think that the Switch will either kill the DS or be killed by it.
Third Party Alienation
Nintendo has always had a rough relationship with third party publishers and developers, dating back to the Seal of Quality they mandated on NES titles. That relationship has only worsened over the years, as their consoles are dependably less powerful than competitors, making porting to them a pain. The Switch announce video showed Skyrim running on the system, which is cool until you consider that game is over five years old at this point and Bethesda hasn’t even officially confirmed it’s real.
You can think back to the Wii U launch when high-profile creatives like Ken Levine talked up the system only to never release anything for it. EA put out a paltry four Wii U games in the console’s lifespan.
One of the most troubling things we’ve heard about the Switch as a portable system is that the battery life is a scant three hours. Nintendo won the first portable war against Sega’s Game Gear and Atari’s Lynx almost entirely on batteries, with the original Game Boy’s low power consumption a major selling point. Considering most mobile devices pack pretty solid lifespans, three hours in between charges seems pretty low. And that’s just what the company will admit to – odds are in practice that number will go down even farther.
This all comes back to the essential question of what the Switch really is. Is it a home console that you can also take on the go, or a portable that plugs into a TV? We find it very hard to believe that Nintendo is going to be able to serve both audiences with a single device, and going too far in either direction is going to compromise playability. From the reveals, it looks like the Switch is designed for portability first, which makes battery rumors pretty scary.
If this thing is over $300, it’s going to sink like a lead balloon. With so many elements of the Switch’s composition up in the air, it’s hard to estimate a price point for the console. Hell, people still aren’t sure if the damn thing has a touchscreen or not. We’re betting yes on that one, by the way. With a modern console running under $300, Nintendo is going to have to hit that price point to stay competitive.
Yes, we know the Switch comes with a lot of stuff that the Xbox One and the PS4 don’t – a screen and battery, most notably. But that’s not going to hold a lot of water, especially for people who don’t plan to make the most of the system’s portable capabilities. If Nintendo can’t deliver a price to match the system’s lack of power, they’re in deep trouble right out the gate.
Probably the thing that is going to work hardest against the Switch’s success is Nintendo’s own history. Everybody thought the Wii was just a weird novelty box and it went on to sell bazillions, and that unexpected success has cast the company in a role it might not be suited to fill. Instead of iterating forward on the success of the Wii, they tried to take another hard left with two-screen gaming for the Wii U and flopped. The Switch’s home/portable crossover feels like one of those turns; a decision made just to be different rather than fill a need in the marketplace.
Nintendo fanboys will snap the Switch up on launch day. That one Triforce guy will probably be first in line. But what happens six months afterward when the shine is off the console, and all the launch games have been played? Hell hath no fury like a fanboy scorned, and we can see Switch buyers taking to the Internet with some pretty nasty complaints if it doesn’t deliver the goods.
With that said, I have been following what Nintendo is doing with its upcoming console/mobile hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, with keen interest (and not just because it’s my job to cover gaming news). Despite my admitted indifference towards the company, I have been waiting for a reason to buy one of its systems for a long time. The Switch seems like the perfect device to get a disillusioned former fan like myself back in the fold.
There are numerous ways Nintendo can botch the Switch the way it did the Wii U. Instead of focusing on that; I want to talk about how Nintendo can make the Switch a huge hit and once again become relevant to hardcore gamers. If the world-famous Japanese company plays its cards right, the Nintendo Switch has a good chance of being one of the great success stories of this console generation.
A Strong Launch Lineup
This is a no-brainer, but the Switch needs to come out of the gate with a killer lineup of games. This not only includes brand-new first party games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, but also third party titles (I’ll get to those in a bit), and some Wii U ports. I’m not asking for the Switch to launch with a million games, but a solid ten or so will hold day one buyers over for a few months as Nintendo slowly releases titles over the coming months.
Third Party Support
While I understand that most people don’t buy a Nintendo console to play third party games, third party support is vital to a system’s success. Nintendo’s consoles have been relegated to being a gamer’s second (and often neglected) system. It doesn’t have to be this way with the Switch.
The Switch will not be able to match the PS4 and Xbox One regarding specs. However, it appears to have enough horsepower to play games like Skyrim, Dark Souls 3 and NBA2K. With strong third-party support, the Switch has the potential to be a primary console that has both first and third party games. Couple that with the system’s portability, and Nintendo could once again have a system that is complete unto itself and isn’t lacking the big third party titles found on competing platforms.
The main thing that has kept me from purchasing a Nintendo system all of these decades is their funky controllers. The N64 and GameCube controllers looked like they were made for alien hands. The Wii’s nunchuck-like controllers aren’t exactly made to be used sitting on a couch. The Wii U’s gamepad felt like an oversized, uncomfortable handheld. I always said if Nintendo seriously wants me (and like-minded gamers) to be in their good graces again, it would need a system with a standard, no frills, no bullshit controller. I know the Wii U had the Pro controller, but it wasn’t made for every game on the system.
During the Switch reveal trailer, I was initially turned off by the joycon controllers that come with the system. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Switch would support the Pro controller. Given how the entire video was (thankfully) aimed at adults, it gives me hope that every game for the Switch can be played with the Pro controller. This would go a long way toward making the system enticing to consumers since they’ll be able to play it the way they do other consoles.
A Robust Virtual Console
Nintendo’s greatest strength is nostalgia. One way for the Switch to capitalize on this is to have its Virtual Store jam-packed with classic games from Nintendo’s vast library. I think it’s safe to say that the Switch will not have a full library of new games for at least the first year. Having the Virtual Store pick up the slack by giving consumers a plethora of diverse titles to play would help tremendously.
NES and SNES games will be good enough on their own, but if recent reports are correct, it appears that the Switch will also have GameCube titles for players to buy. We don’t yet know Nintendo’s full plans for the Switch Virtual Store. But, if it eventually has games from every past system, the Switch will be extremely attractive to anyone who wants to replay titles from their childhood.
Long Battery Life
This is another no-brainer, but for the Switch to succeed, it needs to have a decent battery life. One of the big selling points about the system is that it can be played on the go. However, if the batteries die quickly, it defeats the purpose of having a portable device. It is unlikely that the system will have a battery life longer than five to six hours. Still, even a battery life of that length will be good enough for most gamers.
Recently, images of Switch peripherals and accessories were leaked. Among the items were a USB charger and a car charger. If people are meant to play the Switch on the road, charging options like these will be crucial. It’s good to know that folks will not need to worry about the Switch’s battery prematurely dying on them since they can have it plugged into an external power source even away from home.
Low Price Point
This generation of consoles has proven that price is extremely important. Look at the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. One of the principle reasons for the PS4’s initial domination over its direct competitor was that it was $100 cheaper. Moving forward to holiday 2016, both current gen systems sold millions of units because of their low prices (sometimes as low as $200).
Nintendo can sell a ton of Switch units with the right price. We’ve heard reports/rumors of the system being anywhere between $250 to $400. Though $400 is an acceptable price for a launch console, I think that is a bit steep for the Switch.
Considering how Nintendo needs to win back the average gamer and not just please its die-hard fans, a price point between $250-$300 would be fantastic. If Nintendo can manage to keep enough systems on store shelves, the Switch will sell in large quantities. We could see a $400 SKU that comes with all manner of accessories, but it would be wise if Nintendo releases a $300 SKU aimed at the average consumer.
Give Fans What They Want
Nintendo has one of the strongest, if not the strongest, first party lineup out there. With that said, it is odd that fans haven’t gotten to play more of the company’s big titles. Mainline Zelda games only seem to come out when a new system is launched. Mario games are almost as rare. And where the hell is a new core Metroid entry?
Nintendo’s fans are vocal about the titles they want to play. It would be wise for Nintendo to listen to them and consistently release its biggest franchises for the Switch. I’m not saying that Metroid or Zelda should be made into annual franchises, but seeing a new main entry every two to three years from these and other series would make the Switch more appealing. The demand is already there. Nintendo just needs to actually produce more of its biggest franchises to keep fans happy.
A Better Online Experience
The Switch needs a fully functional online service akin to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, especially now in 2017. For years, players have been getting together online on their respective platforms to form parties, communities, compare achievements/trophies, or simply to chat with one another. The Wii U’s online service was incredibly limited and restrictive. Nintendo needs to let go of the leash and let players interact however they want. There obviously needs to be controls set in place to curb abuse and harassment, but people shouldn’t be restricted in the language they use online.
Also, the Virtual Store needs to be streamlined so that players can find games and buy them with ease. The Steam Store is a prime example of a sleek, user-friendly store that Nintendo would do well to emulate. Overall, the Switch’s online environment needs to be a place that players want to spend time in.
And for the love of [insert deity], Nintendo, no friend codes for the Switch. Seriously.
For years, fans have wanted to play the popular monster catching simulator on a Nintendo console. However, the games have always been relegated to handhelds. After all, these are “pocket monsters” and, in Nintendo and Niantic’s eyes, it wouldn’t make sense to have a main Pokemon game on a home console.
Thankfully, the Switch is both a home console and a handheld. We don’t know the exact fate of the 3DS, but all signs seem to indicate the Switch will serve as the successor of both it and the Wii U. Since the Switch looks to be Nintendo’s only handheld for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to have a proper Pokemon game for it.
Pokemon has always been a wildly popular series, but it has gained more notoriety thanks to Pokemon Go. The mobile game was so huge that it helped Nintendo sell a lot of 3DS systems over the holidays thanks to it having a new Pokemon game. With Pokemon hotter than ever, a brand-new game on the Switch will generate high demand for the system.
Like I said above, Nintendo could totally screw the pooch with the Switch. Given the company’s recent history, this isn’t hard to fathom. However, the Switch is an innovative piece of technology, and it has the potentially to be wildly successful if handled correctly. We’re less than a day away from seeing the big Switch-centric Nintendo Direct, so hopefully we’ll get a better understanding of what Nintendo has in store for us at that time.