The Wednesday letters page questions the profitability of Game Pass, as one reader suggests Nintendo make a replica Game Boy console.
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A difficult decade
I know I’ll be accused of being alarmist, but it seems to me that the idea of Microsoft just giving up on gaming is slowly entering the realms of possibility. I don’t suggest it as something that’s going to happen overnight, but I really don’t know how much more they can keep messing this up. Despite the enormous losses they must be making on it, Game Pass still hasn’t taken off the way they expected and now we find out their hardware sales are down 32% on last year. That is a massive drop, just as the Xbox Series X becomes easier to get hold of.
It’s easy to see why, with the lack of games, but they still don’t have much of a line-up in either the short or long term, with only Starfield being a proper big hitter and I’m really not sure how that’s going to turn out. Actual sales are irrelevant with Game Pass but if it’s a typical bug-filled Bethesda games the blowback is not going to be good.
Phil Spencer has been in charge of Xbox for almost a decade now and he still has very little to show for it, other than running up a huge bill for Microsoft. Knowing how these things work I can only imagine that the knives are slowly being drawn across the boardroom, if he doesn’t demonstrate some real forward momentum. I mean, how long are Microsoft going to give him? Another decade? That seems unlikely to me.
Old school horror
I like the idea of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom using more old school enemies. I know the ReDead but I’ve never even heard of the three-head dragon before. Although I admit I’ve never played the first game all the way through. It also suggests that the game is going to keep its back to basics approach from Breath Of The Wild, looking back to the very earliest games for inspiration rather than just copying modern trends.
What I also like though is that the game is looking really dark, with the way it portrays its monsters and the overall threat. I don’t know if it’s going to be as disturbing as creepy as Majora’s Mask but it seems to me that that has been at least some influence in the tone they’re going for. Personally I don’t really want to know more though. I completely trust Nintendo and this is a day one purchase even if I knew less than I do now.
Speaking of the Game Boy I wonder if Nintendo would ever make replicas of any of the original consoles? They’d essentially be mini-consoles but still real size (which is pretty mini) and you could just put everything from the Switch’s virtual console onto them.
I have very fond memories of the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance SP, from various period in my life and would love to play their games again in their original form. Maybe improve the screen to modern standards but I really miss the clamshell design of the SP, which was really classic for me.
The thing I most remember from the Game Boy Color though was the snap of putting a new cartridge in, which I guess is something that’s never going to be replicated in the modern. Funny the things you miss purely because of nostalgia.
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How to make Nintendo hate you
My Wii finally gave up on me last year and I have since discovered the wonderful world of emulation, which led me down a path of custom games and fan made titles. I discovered there is an entire community that has created a Super Mario Galaxy 2 engine where they can edit the game and create their own levels.
I know Nintendo hates this kind of thing but surely they should just hire these people? The mods are sometimes of the highest quality and they could surely benefit from more Mario games being made, especially ones of this quality.
There’s a whole community dedicated to bringing these games to PC and I’ve recently discovered attempts to make them playable on consoles too. I watched this and immediately ordered an Xbox Series S. Now I’ve just got to convince my children to help me set everything up.
GC: This does happen sometimes with mod makers of Western games but anyone that tries to use Nintendo IP will make themselves an instant, and highly litigious, enemy.
Red money pit of death
So I appreciate my maths may be bad here, and that my understanding may be off, but if the average Game Pass price is 10 dollarbucks and we take 70 poundspence for a retail game then Microsoft are bringing in 29 million × 10 per year. That’s about 3.5 billion a year on Game Pass and you’d need to sell nearly 50 million games at £70 a pop to match that.
With God Of War at 11 million sales are we sure Game Pass is a money pit?
GC: You’re talking about revenue, not profit. As well as missing out on traditional game sales for its own first party titles, Microsoft has to pay for all the third party games to be on Game Pass. If that combination was profitable Sony would’ve copied it in an instant, instead they’ve said that’s specifically why they don’t do it.
Really enjoying Hi-Fi Rush but the PC port seems to have a few issues when using a controller. Every time I use the special attack the Xbox keyboard pops up, which is very distracting, and when I press right trigger to call in an ally Chai also does an attack. If I’m stood at the edge while trying to aim Peppermint, this results in Chai falling off and losing health!
Has anyone else encountered these problems, and know of a solution?
Metroid Prime wasn’t that hard a boss, Ridley… now that was a hard boss! Tight enclosed arena, dash bashing you with little room to manoeuvre, whipping you with his spearhead tail… and when you finally burn his wings away and punch the air in celebration, he just enters phase two of the fight and does all of the above at ground level, ramping the difficulty up even higher, just for laughs!
However, awesome game and I will be getting it as a physical release… hopefully with a nice keychain or a smelly map included.
big boy bent
I had problems with the final boss in Metroid Prime 1 on GameCube so much so that I got fed up and deleted my save(!) 20 years ago, to stop me keep trying again and again as I had failed so many times! I am going to get the remastered version at some point to try it again.
Also, noticed the remastered version has difficulty levels, so that might help me get past the final boss if I struggle again. I don’t think the original had multiple difficulty levels?
GC: We don’t think so, but there definitely is an easy difficulty in the remaster.
I have to concur with DarKerR on the final boss in Metroid Prime.
I too found it difficult, I must have been one or two shots off completing the game when Ridley got me.
I remember slumping out of my chair and falling to my knees. I looked up at the time and I’d been slogging it out with Ridley for nearly 40 minutes.
I never felt so dejected and demoralised after playing a game.
I never went back to it again and it’s the reason I’m apprehensive of buying games that I’ve heard have seriously difficult boss fights, like Cuphead.
Maybe I’m just a coward but I don’t play games to get stressed, in fact I’m always hoping for the opposite.
Having said all that, the original Metroid Prime was a fantastic game and up there with Super Metroid as a classic.
So if you haven’t played it? You’re in for one hell of a ride, as long as you’ve got the stomach and the determination for the final boss.
GC: We’re not arguing that Ridley isn’t difficult but if you’re having trouble with him, you should strike Metroid Prime 2 off your list straight away.
Is it May yet? Seriously, I just want to play Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom right now and I think the next few months of waiting is going to be very painful.
I see Dead Space has done a lot better in the US than it seems to have in the UK. Maybe that means another remake is actually likely now? Although I’d prefer they just skip to a new game as soon as possible.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader matc7884, who asks what you consider to be the best value for money in gaming?
It can simply be a good bargain you found in a sale but perhaps it’s a free-to-play game that you’ve spent dozens of hours with, or a paid-for title you’ve put even more time into?
What is your minimum requirement for good value for money, in terms of length and quality, and when have you been most let down by an otherwise good game? What’s the most surprised you’ve ever been at a game’s value and what do you think other games could learn from it?
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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 and content.
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