Games Inbox: Do video games cost too much?

The Monday Inbox asks for Xbox Game Pass game recommendations, as one reader is underwhelmed by Devil May Cry 5.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]


Market prices
Has Black Friday been a bit rubbish for games? When Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 came out on Amazon it was £49.99, then a few weeks later Black Friday hit and it went down to £30; whereas this year it came out at £52, Black Friday starts and you get about 6-10% off, which takes it down to £43.

It seems the games that came out round about Black Friday this year, they came out a bit more and the discounts was a maximum of 12% for things like Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019, Need For Speed Heat, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Seems to me game companies are using Black Friday as a way of getting more money than normal.

With consoles, I’d say it’s the last Christmas of this generation and PlayStation only gave a £50 discount, whereas Microsoft gave a massive £150 discount. Seems to me games are still too much even on a Black Friday, but TVs, Xbox One, and other electronics are cheaper. Must say, well done Microsoft, bargain of the console deals.

GC: The discounts on new games were definitely very different to how things worked last year. But why do you say games are still too much? Video game prices have barely changed in decades. In fact, in terms of console games they’re cheaper now than during the ‘90s. And the reason the Xbox One was discounted is that the PlayStation 4 has been outselling it 2:1 all generation; Sony don’t need to discount it.


Old fashioned discount
I was 13-years-old in 1984 when I got the popular Sinclair computer ZX Spectrum+. Few gamers were at my school and it wasn’t a hobby you revealed to most people. News came from monthly magazines and my favourite was Crash for 85p. Games on cassette tape took five minutes to load and cost £7.95. I received weekly pocket money and planned my purchases hopefully to enjoy them over time.

I’d often join my dad, who attended a weekly Sunday market, to sell radios and watches to sell my games and purchase more. Arriving very early, often cold (rain would be a wasted attendance) to secure a pitch our wares placed on top of newspaper on the pavement. Occasionally somebody would shout the police were about and we’d temporarily pack up our shows, as well as other traders trading without a licence.

A licensed stall sold new games, also WHSmith and Boots did, and I’d ensure the owner setting up the stall reserved me a game for later, so I don’t recall stock issues.

I bonded with my dad more during this time and looked forward to buying a game from reading reviews (if I bought more than one magazine), eager to play and show my younger brothers waiting for my return home.


The new reality
Did everyone have a great Black Friday? Because I didn’t.

A small minority, probably no one, might recall a Reader’s Feature I did at the start of the year about cheap gaming and always being behind the curve due to a lack of funds to purchase new games. Black Friday is my Xmas, when I purchase lots of cheap thrills to keep me going through the year. Well, usually it is, because this year I didn’t spend a penny.

As an Xbox only owner, I look forward to flicking through the deals, laid out by category, in an easy to navigate form. This year was a massive list, no categories, just a mash of everything including online top-ups, and DLC, as well as the games. A sort of ‘there you go, make of it what you will’.

The first warning sign for me was weeks ago when Microsoft proudly claimed up to 50% off. Considering better deals than that were on offer throughout the year in the seemingly random publisher sales, the red flags were flying. For example, although having played all three, I’m often tempted when Bioshock: The Collection drops down from £44.99 to around 15 quid. No matter how bad your maths, that’s not up to 50%!

Away from Xbox Live, the only big game I saw at a cash-in-hand price, which I was happy with, was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at Argos for £15.99, but of course it wasn’t available at my store, and not even available for home delivery. Funny how they always get things back in stock literally the day after a sales event (a trend I’ve noticed in the past).

Feeling deflated, and hoping I still had enough unplayed games to get me through, I looked at Xbox Game Pass, which is currently on offer for £1 for three months. As someone not keen on subscriptions, or gouging me each month and not owning diddly-squat as I call it, suddenly a light came on. Are the terrible Black Friday offerings the stick, and cheapo Game Pass the carrot, to get sweet innocent gamers like me and you tied into the Microsoft service model pre the new consoles being launched? I hate myself, but I’m tempted, just to play a couple of the games listed, hmmm.
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)


E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


Not whelmed
So I’ve just finished Devil May Cry 5, having picked it up pretty cheap on PSN for £15.99. I must admit I was quite underwhelmed by it.

I love the series (well 2 was dire and I wasn’t a huge fan of 4) but 1, 3, and the reboot I highly rated. Combat is always slick and even the cheesy banter is quite fun. But for the life of me, having just completed it, I couldn’t tell you any stand out levels, they all looked identical. The story made no sense. I know that’s not the most important thing in a Devil May Cry game but still, a little something deeper would have been nice.

I will admit V was the saving grace, it was fun playing as him, completely different to Dante and Nero.
I admit I found myself thinking of the first game a lot playing this one, if Capcom need something to follow the Resident Evil remakes I would certainly vote for a remake of Devil May Cry 1.

GC: Which Devil May Cry games do have a story that makes sense, in your opinion? Surely not the first one?


Happy fans
We’ve been seeing a pretty gloomy trend in letters about Shenmue 3 here in the Inbox, whether from those who’ve played it or passive observers, so I thought I’d just chip in that having been involved in the fan community for the past few years this kind of reaction is not reflective of what I’ve seen from the broader fanbase (such as it is).

Especially when it comes to the story not ending in this game. It’s been no secret that a fourth or even fifth game would be required to contain the rest of the saga at its most condensed, and I believe the majority of fans (for whom the series was revived) have welcomed the continuation of that vision, rather than a rushed conclusion that would’ve been no more ‘Shenmue 3’ than anything we could’ve made up ourselves.

Yu Suzuki has already said that if further games aren’t possible, he’ll complete the story by other means (e.g. manga). So if all you want is an ending, you’re still going to get it. But it will be the real ending, not some alternative ending thrown together in the name of closure.
Dynamite Headdy (@2Tweet2BeSour)


Odd appeal
RE: last weekend’s Hot Topic. For me this is an easy one and I would have to say Bioshock.

I remember watching a friend play and finding the combination of gunplay and ‘magic’ just an over complication in a first person shooter. I borrowed the game from him and it still didn’t gel with me and initially I even disliked the looting system, as it seemed an odd and fairly new concept; having to forage and search everything for items seemed a chore. I gave the game back and it was largely forgotten for a few months until I picked it up in a sale.

I grew to class it as one of my favourite games ever due to the ‘odd’ gameplay mix which was actually very good once I got used to it and the looting was also a lot of fun. The game looked great but also different due to the art style and setting, and whilst that also initially put me off, as with the other elements I grew very fond of the look and setting too. I also must mention the ending you got if you didn’t harvest any little sisters for Adam (the power source of your various powers) which was actually very moving.

I loved the game and its sequel, which also added some instances of waves of enemies that you had to plan for in advance by placing mines and other objects around a certain area. Also, a nice stomping sound was added to accompany your movement although this came as a result of playing as a Big Daddy. I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite but not as much as the first two, but I do look forward to whatever the next game will offer.
silverfox-75 (PSN ID)


Independent choices
Just done the Xbox Game Pass upgrade for three months. What are the must play games that I should prioritise playing through in the next three months?

Started Gears 5 and downloading The Outer Worlds.
Glennuk1 (gamertag)

GC: We weren’t particularly impressed by Gears 5, but looking at the current list there’s tons of great indie games on there, including Subnautica, The Escapists 2, Minit, Afterparty, Hollow Knight, Outer Wilds, Wargroove, SteamWorld Dig 2, What Remains Of Edit Finch, Void Bastards, Shadow Tactics, Mutant: Year Zero, Ashen, and Thimbleweed Park.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


A fanboy for everything
I write with criticism of the Nvidia GeForce Now article.

As an early adopter of Google Stadia and somebody who played on the Nvidia Geforce Now beta, I feel it appropriate to point things out that the article missed.

Firstly, Nvidia’s GeForce Now is by and large a good product. However, it relies on you having a Steam account having brought games through the Steam store…. it is more so reliant on the user using Ethernet cable or having a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection. I attempted to use GeForce Now on a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection and the game was unplayable. The visual elements were like a 1080p Netflix movie playing over dial-up with constant buffering. Herein lies the part of Google Stadia which will be hard to rival.

With its many data centres around the world, and its 10.7 teraflops of power, I am able to play Google Stadia on a 2.4GHz WiFi connection. Also, unlike GeForce Now, I can play Stadia on my phone, my TV, my PC, a tablet, any device that supports HDMI input for that matter.

Something your journalist who wrote the article above hasn’t, eventually once Stadia is fully operational with Google Assistant, trophy system, game live streaming to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch all built in I fully expect that GeForce Now will only suffer in its popularity.

Whilst I’m not disrespecting Nvidia and their decades of experience specifically in the gaming industry, their biggest core profit comes from the PC graphics cards they build. Google, meanwhile, are a multi-billion dollar company with the financial assets to run the services.

In February 2020 (something else omitted) from the article, Stadia will be launching a base subscription which will be free for all, all you would need to do is buy the game via Stadia rather than anywhere else. It is theirs to keep forever on 1080p resolutions. The Pro subscription service has 4K streaming (upscaling applied to games that weren’t created in 4K), free monthly games, and discounts on selected games.

With regards to the games, PlayStation 4 on its launch had approximately 28 games, nine of which were indie titles or Playroom. Stadia launched with 22 games. The article also points out that Stadia should offer a Netflix type service for games, meanwhile PlayStation and Xbox both charge for newly released AAA titles, yet offer monthly subscriptions for more than what Google are asking for. So why should Stadia be any different? PS Plus, Xbox Live Gold, and Stadia Pro are all the same service in terms of what you get for your money.

Why would I choose Stadia as an early adopter? Because the experience of Stadia is so much more solid than that of any other streaming service I have used previously.
Mr Graeme Taylor

GC: The article was written by a reader, hence the term Reader’s Feature. Also, the number of devices currently supported by Stadia is vastly smaller than you’re implying and the whole point of the article was what Stadia offers now, not what it’s promised for the future.


Inbox also-rans
I don’t see Capcom announcing Resident Evil 3 at some Japanese anime convention. Which is good news because it might mean it’s something new or unexpected. I’d totally be up for an Ace Attorney on Switch.

EA better get a move on announcing that Mandalorian video game tie-in, because it’s great! Err… someone in America told me, because I’ve totally not watched it myself…


This week’s Hot Topic
With Black Friday just gone, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is what’s been your best video game bargain of the year?

Even if it wasn’t recently, what game, console, or other video game-related items have you bought for cheap and why were you so pleased with it? Were you specifically waiting for it to go cheap or did you take a chance on it because of the price?

How normal is it for you to buy something in this way and generally how often do you buy games at close to full price, as opposed to when on sale?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


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 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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